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VOLUME 3 ISSUE 9 | July 2010 | theVIPmag.



Adventures under the sea

Surf’s Up!
Boards at Bolivar
SETX What makes
a perfect margarita?
a visit with Walter Umphrey

Angler extraordinaire
Timberline Ranch FIRS
An inside view of the PLACT
Umphreys’ 5,600 acres 2008 &
Excellen 009 Overall

ce in Ma
by the P gazines
of South ss Club
east Tex

Is your body bikini-ready?

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inside july
vip magazine
c o n t e n t s

06 starters
06 Letter from the editor

10 vip shelter

10 Tour of Timberline Ranch

14 vip style
14 Fashion accessories for
pool or beach
17 This is my wave, baby

21 health&beauty
21 Skin and body prep for

27 totally social
27 Celebrating the best
of events, who was there
and what they were

The Must-Have Magazine

40 totally worthy
40 Legal legend and
Walter Umphrey
42 VIPersonality
VIP of Southeast Texas recognized for Overall Excellence
Todd Faircloth At the June 4, 2010 banquet of the Press Club of Southeast Texas, VIP won awards in six
categories of the association’s 18th Annual Excellence in the Media competition. There were
45 vip guide almost 600 entries in the various categories for newspapers, television, radio, public relations
and magazines from 2009.
45 A view from The judges honored VIP with first place in “Overall Excellence” for magazines for the second
under the water year in a row, an accolade of great pride to all the creative and business staff of the magazine.
48 3 great dates in July
VIP also won honors in the following categories:
First Place — Personal Profile Interview
Second Place — Magazine Photography, Magazine News Story, Magazine Feature Story
Third Place: Faith-based/Inspirational Print Category

VIP would like to thank all of our contributing writers,

photographers, editors and designers
(past and present) for raising the standard of
quality in every issue. In our third year of
publication, the VIP team has created a product
that is exciting, valuable and informative
through the myriad talents of many
dedicated people. We are proud to be
recognized by our peers, and
promise there will be many
competition-worthy issues ahead!

4 July 2010 |

vip magazine
e d i t o r ’ s l e t t e r

still waters

Executive Editor
cheRYL RoSe

THER THAN THE Contributing Writers

pure bliss of air-condi- cathLeeN coLe
tioning, there’s nothing hoLLI PeteRSeN
haLeY StRahaN
to beat the heat like
cool water. Here in Photography
Southeast Texas, water Contributing Photographers
options abound from SILVIa mccLaIN
Crystal Beach to Sam KYLe PeteRSeN
Rayburn Lake to the JoY PRUItt
backyard pool. In plan- JUDY StoKeLY
ning this issue, we didn’t know our region would be
watching an epic natural disaster in the Gulf. We are all being reminded how deeply wa- Art
ter — particularly our beaches and coast — is tied to both our pleasures and livelihoods. Executive Director, Advertising Services
This month I had the opportunity to meet Walter Umphrey, a double-V VIP. Though aNNa SINgLetaRY
a name that looms large in this area and in this state, I found Walter to be a cordial and Manager, Creative Media
approachable gentleman, without formality. I thoroughly enjoyed the in-depth visit to BLaNche BoND
his ranch, and the opportunity to see how pretty East Texas is.
A moment of memory for actress Rue McClanahan, who died June 3: I “met” Supervisor, Creative Media
Ms. McClanahan by telephone a couple of months before her expected arrival in DoN gRaY
Beaumont to be the headliner and inspirational speaker for “Putting on the Pink,”
Lead Designer, Creative Media
the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” fall event. We talked for over an hour, and in real life she JUStIN BLaNe SmIth
was just as she was on television or stage –charming, thoughtful and interesting. It’s
possible that was one of her last press interviews, as soon thereafter she began experienc- Contributing Designers
ing health problems and wasn’t able to make the trip to Beaumont. Break a leg on that KRISteN FLoReS
heavenly stage, Rue. You’ll be missed. (Read the story at, October 2009) IVaN gaLVaN

to advertise in VIP,
Cheryl Rose Contact Us
Executive Editor VIP of Southeast Texas
380 main Street
Beaumont, tX 77701

The Beautiful Briny Sea TO SUBSCRIBE

PLeaSe caLL 409.838.2821 oR SUBScRIBe
oNLINe at
Photography: David Joiner
at YoUR BUSINeSS LocatIoN,
The underwater photography this month comes courtesy of David Joiner, a Houston PLeaSe caLL 409.838.2821
native. What started for Joiner and his wife. Cynthia, as a vacation activity has become
a 20-year passion. They have taken diving expeditions around the Caribbean, including to SUBmIt aN eVeNt, oRgaNIZatIoN oR PeRSoN
Cozumel, Honduras, Belize, The Cayman Islands and Aruba. FoR coNSIDeRatIoN IN aN UPcomINg ISSUe,
SUBmIt oNLINe at
However, one of Joiner’s favorite dives took place at the nearby Flower Gardens, oR BY USPS at aDDReSS aBoVe.
diving with the hammerhead sharks. The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
is a coral reef about 115 miles south of the Texas/Louisiana border. “The sharks school
there in the spring and it is not uncommon to see 15 to 20 hammerheads swimming
around the boat,” he explained.
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The Best Kept Secret A tour of Timberline Ranch

ess than an hour’s drive north of Beaumont, the flat,
nearly treeless plains begin to roll, as the land ripples
in soft hills. To either side of the road, the forest nears
— tall pines and oaks and deep green vegetation. We are
leaving the “south” in Southeast Texas for just plain
“east” — leaving the Gulf Coast for the Piney Woods.
Off a farm-to-market road, a long white fence marks the begin-
ning of the Timberline Ranch. A herd of Texas Longhorns grazes
near the entrance to the 5,600-acre ranch home of Walter and
Sheila Umphrey of Beaumont.

Timberline Ranch
This ranch, one of several homes they own, is a special retreat
for the couple. Twenty-five years ago, they purchased the property
that had a main house on 750 unimproved acres. Over the years,

10 July 2010 |

they have added acres to the spread, molded the land, dug lakes,
created pastures, planted trees and built roads, barns and buildings.
For a dozen years, the Timberline Ranch was the Umphreys’
primary home. Walter flew by helicopter to work each day in Beau-
mont to steer his law firm, Provost Umphrey. Then Hurricane Rita’s
105 mph winds blew through in 2005, taking down 100,000 trees
on the ranch. Sheila remembers that the damage upset her husband
so much, they moved to Beaumont while repairs were made. Once
relocated, they found it more convenient to remain in Beaumont,
though they often spend weekends at Timberline. “East Texas is
the best kept secret in the state,” Walter said.

Peaceful Retreat
Passing through the brick gatehouse, a concrete drive winds
by pasture, forest, barns and houses. Seven families call the ranch
home, including the ranch manager and three horticulturists.
Ahead, a large bronze statue of a snorting bull, a gift from Walter’s
law partners, indicates the entrance to the main house.
The previous owner built the antebellum-style house. The porch
is stocked with rocking chairs, including a giant one, another gift.
The Umphreys found this the pretty glass conservatory in England and had it Inside, the home’s décor is hunter green with dark paneling. A dra-
shipped back to the ranch. matic staircase spirals through the center. The back patio overlooks
the swimming pool and lake. Surrounded by live oaks, pines and
magnolias, the view of the lake’s serene waters provides a sensation
of tranquility and peace.
All five lakes on the ranch were planned and built by Walter and
his ranch employees. The lakes range in size from 18 to 54 acres,
and all are stocked and managed for fishing.
The lake closest to the house is a visual gem, surrounded by cy-
press trees that the Umphreys planted as saplings. Wire enclosures
protect the cypress tree roots, since beaver (and the occasional
alligator) sometimes cross over from one of the two creeks that run
through the ranch.
A small flock of Lesser Canada Geese, including several fluffy
goslings, browse the grasses near the lake. The geese are ranch pets
that wander the spread at will.
Within sight of the main house is the party barn, a covered
structure built for their daughter Paige’s wedding. Now the barn
area is used by the Umphreys for the occasional law firm party,
but they also allow local community groups to use the facility for

A Working Ranch
Driving into the interior of the ranch, cattle watch the truck pass
by. These are Brafords — a Brahman-Hereford mix — and around
600 call the ranch home. The ranch has 1,700 acres of improved
pasture. Another 1,800-acre parcel is part of a high-fence natural
When travelling through Virginia, Walter Umphrey was taken with the covered forest area for raising deer. The deer here are a hobby, not a sport,as
bridges and decided to build one on the ranch. Walter does not allow any hunting on the ranch. The exception >>

The Lodge is built entirely of cypress wood. | July 2010 11

is predators such as coyotes, which attack the
Broad golden fields dotted by red barns sweep
away in each direction from a lane lined with
live oak trees that Walter said were first planted
in one-gallon pots. The hay grown on the ranch
supplies a feed store they own in Woodville.
A surprise business of the ranch is 1.1 million
square feet dedicated to growing seasonal color
flowers, the majority of which stocks stores such
as Home Depot, K-mart and Costco locations from
New Orleans to Houston to Dallas. The entirely
automated greenhouses are 2.5 acres each, and
come from Belgium. Computers from Denmark
control the light, ceilings, water and temperature
for the seedlings. At peak seasons, one greenhouse
E has 17,000 hanging baskets, a beautiful sight, but
E SE still not as outstanding as when the greenhouses
COM ANSION ! are a sea of red during poinsettia season, Walter
O &T A scale model of the Tyco Feed Store in Woodville sits on
J ARDIN the ranch. The Lodge
The centerpiece of the ranch is the Lodge, a
beautiful building the Umphreys built in the last
few years for entertaining and guests. Sheila, who
has a master’s in fine arts and an interior decorat-
ing business, created a perfect balance between
rustic and luxurious inside. Dramatically high
ceilings, roof beams, planks, textured walls and
tile balance granite countertops, leather furniture
and bronze statuettes. The Lodge also is filled
with taxidermy mounts of predators killed at the
Umphrey ranches. A mountain lion crouches on
the fireplace mantel in a living room ringed by
deer trophies.
The outdoor patio is nearly as large as the
Lodge, with big ceiling fans to generate a gentle
breeze for guests relaxing by the swimming pool,
designed to look like a natural rock pool with
Braford breeder cattle wander the pastures. Purebred waterfalls. A gorgeous and restful swathe of green
Brafords are 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Hereford, and are lawn slopes away beyond the pool.
known for their superior maternal ability. Tossing a favorite ball into the pool for their
beloved dogs to retrieve, the Umphreys have ob-
viously created a special oasis. Timberline Ranch
is a major operation that they have carved out
(Below) The flowers in the greenhouses change four times of these piney woods, taking justifiable pride in
a year. The business employs 120 seasonal workers. their accomplishments. VIP

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12 July 2010 |

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Architectural Landscape Design




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vip style

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Gary Linthicum
Kacy Compton

photography by LEE E. STINSON

THEVIPMAG.COM | July 2010 17

brazen or heartless. None of them wish destruction
on anyone. Just think of them as positive-thinkers,
making lemonade out of lemons. Or, more accu-
rately, obsessed fanatics, hungry for one thing and
one thing only – surf.
“Storms in the Gulf are really awesome wave
generators,” said Beaumont resident and 20-year
surfing veteran Kacy Compton. “Actually, South-
east Texan surfers could be meteorologists because
we’re totally focused on the weather. We are always
looking for the perfect conditions for great surf.”
The truth is that there is no such thing as a half-
hearted Texan surfer. Because the ideal surf condi-
tions arrive only occasionally, local surfers must be
committed to catch a wave at any moment.
Compton, who frequents the shores of High
Island and Galveston, habitually travels the world,
chasing the perfect wave in tropical locales like
Hawaii, Guatemala and Costa Rica. And, while the
Texas surf can’t possibly compare to the swells
of exotic islands, he continues to look forward to
coming home to the beaches of the Bolivar Penin-
“There’s no better vibe than the one in Texas,”
Compton explained. “The beaches aren’t over-
saturated. It’s just that good ol’ boy lifestyle mixed
with sand and surf. Everyone’s extremely welcom-
ing of newcomers and we’re a tight-knit group.”
Gary Linthicum, Beaumont resident and local
attorney, agreed that though the surf may be in-
consistent, there’s nothing like enjoying your pas-
sion right in your own hometown. As a teenager,
Linthicum fell in love with surfing at the Bolivar
Peninsula. After a 20-year hiatus, he returned to
the sport six years ago.
“I’ve chosen to live in Southeast Texas because I
like the quality of life here,” Linthicum said. “I’ve
chosen to surf here because of the camaraderie I
enjoy with the local surfing community.”
With a demanding career and a vibrant family
life, Linthicum likens surfing to a thrilling depar-
ture from daily stress. “I find a lot of joy in the
water,” he described. “It’s a complete escape.”
In fact, most surfers describe their experience
as less of an athletic challenge, though it certainly
qualifies, than a Zen-like vacation from everyday
“When I’m at work, I’m thinking about the mil-
lions of things I have to do,” said James Chaney, a
Port Arthur physical and occupational therapist.
“When I’m out in the water, all that stress disap-
pears. All I’m thinking about is the next wave and
where I need to be in relation to that wave. I’m
literally moving with nature. It’s a definite rush!”
Though Chaney, who’s been an avid surfer since
2006, has also had the opportunity to surf tropical
waters - most particularly during his short resi-
dency in Maui, Hawaii — he attributes the clarity
of mind he experiences as a quality universal to all
beaches, whether he’s surfing Honolua Bay or off
the Galveston Seawall.
In fact, enormous waves or not, Texas surfers
will agree that there is beauty and excitement in
surfing even the most unassuming of local beaches.
“You gotta love to surf if you’re gonna be a
surfer in Texas,” Compton said. “There’s a lot of
heartbreak – a lot of heartbreak! But it’s peaceful
out there – totally relaxing. I’ve seen dolphins and
sea turtles out in our waters. In Texas, we may
have to take what we can get, but we also really
love it.” VIP

18 July 2010 | THEVIPMAG.COM

Tears for Piers
Hurricanes may generate a surfer’s dream wave, but Ike certainly was not
doing the local surfing community any favors when it irrevocably damaged the
heart of Southeast Texas surfing: Meacom’s Pier, near High Island. Built in 1965
by John Mecom Oil Company, the one mile-long wooden pier — the longest
wooden structure on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline — created ideal sandbars
and unbelievable surfbreaks. Over time, the pier’s popularity grew, creating an
unofficial home to surfing aficionados.
“Meacom’s Pier was the closest place you could go to really catch great
waves,” James Chaney said. “Everyone misses it.”
Marked for demolition by the Texas General Land Office in November 2009,
the loss of this beloved surfing home base was met with tears of nostalgia and
regret. Each piling removed took with it the history and love of the surfing com-
Kacy Compton remembers growing up at the pier and catching his first
waves in its salty waters when he was just a boy. Passing down the tradition,
Compton taught his now 16-year-old son, Dylan, to surf along the same shore-
line when he was only seven.
With such a dedicated following, there are currently rumblings that the pier
will eventually be rebuilt. In the meantime, local surfers congregate at other
nearby beaches or even throw pool parties to revisit their fond memories of
Meacom’s Pier.
“Meacom’s Pier was our home,” Gary Linthicum explained. “Without it, we’re
all a bit displaced.”


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he summer days are heating up
and it’s time to break out the
teeny bikini. VIP asked local
beauty experts for their best
Bikini Wax 101 secrets to a beach-ready body.
Getting your first bikini wax can
be a nerve-wracking experience. Wax and Relax
The first step before hitting the pool is to take care of personal
Michelle Ruppell of Beaumont’s grooming. Waxing is a great way to remove hair from sensitive areas
Spa Della shared a few tips to like the bikini line and underarms. Waxing removes hair for longer
make the experience as painless than shaving, and it reduces the risk of unsightly bumps and razor
as possible. burn. “The bikini wax is my most popular service this time of year,”
said Cindie Springer of Cynthia’s Day Spa.
• Have at least ¼˝ of hair growth If you have extremely sensitive skin, very thick hair, or just don’t
to wax. want to deal with shaving or waxing, laser hair removal could be a
• Don’t use any lotions or irritants good option. “In four treatments, you can completely remove hair
on the area before waxing. growth from the bikini area, underarms, legs or anywhere else on the
body,” said Mellie Bevilacqua of Beaumont Family Practice Aesthet-
• Relax! You will remain com- ics. This non-invasive procedure is fairly painless and removes hair
pletely covered throughout the permanently, she explained.
• Exfoliate afterward to avoid Buff it Up
ingrown hairs. Cold winter air dries out the skin and can leave you feeling rough
and flaky. Indulge in an exfoliation treatment to slough off that dull
• Avoid the ocean or lakes for layer and reveal healthy new skin. “Our Caribbean Therapy body
48 hours afterward to reduce scrub is a great way to get ready for summer,” said Katie Craigen of
bacteria exposure. the Getaway Day Spa, located in Beaumont’s MCM Elegante Hotel. >>

THEVIPMAG.COM | July 2010 21

“We use Dead Sea salt to slough
off the dead skin and a steam
DIY tanning canopy to moisturize and soften.”
Other ways to exfoliate the
Avoid the common self-tanning skin include chemical peels and
pitfalls of orange palms and microdermabrasion. Michelle
streaky ears by following these Ruppell of Spa Della recom-
simple steps to an even glow. mends glycolic facials to her
patients looking to shed their
• Exfoliate your body to smooth dull winter skin. “A glycolic facial
rough patches. Concentrate on will help get rid of all those dead
areas like knees and elbows. skin cells,” she said. At Cindie’s,
Springer uses diamond micro-
• Completely dry the area you dermabrasion to smooth out the
will be tanning. Do NOT mois- skin. “The great thing about
turize. exfoliating the skin before you get
• Apply a small amount of tan- into the sun is that it will allow
ner to your body with closed- you to get a smoother tan,” she “Many people like to come and tanning salons,” said Craigen. “It
explained. get a spray tan as a final touch lasts two weeks and has antioxi-
fingered hands. Open fingers It is important to take care of before they go out in their swim- dants, vitamins and hydrates the
could cause streaking. Start at your skin after receiving an exfo- suit,” said Robyn Reyes, sales skin,” she said.
the face and work downward. liation treatment. New skin can manager of Bronze Body. “Spray
Do not apply directly to feet or be particularly susceptible to sun tans give you a nice brown color Protect Yourself
backs of hands. damage. “I wouldn’t recommend and work for all skin pigments,” The most important thing
going out into direct sunlight for she said. A professional spray you can do to maintain a beach-
• After tanner is applied, gently a few days after a treatment,” tan is waterproof and should last worthy body is to protect it from
run your hands over your legs Ruppell said. about two weeks, she added. the sun’s harmful UV rays. Be
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eating drinking
s a l t n ’ l i m e

“When choosing tequila, it is important

to choose a variety that specifies
100 percent agave on the bottle.”

photography by CLAUDIA ZAMBRANO

VIP goes on the trail
of the Perfect Margarita


othing says summer like a frosty marga- apple martinis, to stay

rita on a hot day. For such a simple cock- the undisputed queen of
tail — the International Bar Association summer cocktails.
standard calls for only tequila, lime
juice and triple sec — the margarita has Talking Tequila
spawned countless variations. We talked The basis for a great margarita is good tequila. Over the
to some local bartenders (and some past decade, the tequila business has exploded with high-dollar
amateur margarita aficionados) to find luxury brands and trendy celebrity labels. Most experts agree
out what makes the perfect margarita. that there are a few guidelines to be aware of when navigating
the many types of tequila.
When choosing tequila, it is important to choose a variety
Margarita Mystique that specifies 100 percent agave on the bottle. Any other varietal,
Margaritas have remained a perennial party favorite since called a mixto, will contain only 51 percent tequila and 49 per-
they were invented in 1932... or 1937... or maybe 1948. The histo- cent fillers such as fructose sugar. These added sugars account
ry of the margarita is highly disputed, as most locals would love for most of the epic tequila hangovers that cause many people to
to hang a “Home of the Margarita” banner in their city streets. shy away from margaritas.
The margarita is the national cocktail of Mexico, and many Tequilas are designated into four basic groups: Blanco, which
versions give credit for the invention of the margarita to bartend- is aged less than 30 days and retains the agave flavor; Reposado,
ers from that country, including one legend that holds that the aged a minimum of two months resulting in a subtler flavor;
tangy elixer was first concocted in honor of Rita Hayworth. Gold, which is a mixture of blanco and reposado varietals; Anejo,
Another tale credits a bartender at the famed Balinese Room in which is aged a minimum of one year.
Galveston with creating the world’s first margarita for singer Most bartenders prefer the blanco, gold or reposado tequilas
Peggy (born Margaret) Lee. in margaritas, as the expensive anejo tequilas are thought to be
Wherever its birthplace, the margarita remains an immensely wasted in a cocktail.
popular drink, standing up to the winds of changing fashion and Whether the more flavorful white or gold tequilas or the

24 July 2010 |

smoother reposados make the better margaritas is a point of Jimmy Buffett’s Perfect Margarita
contention among margarita lovers. “Patron Silver is most Perfect Margarita from Jimmy Buffett’s
requested in our margaritas,” said Russ Stephenson, manager
Margaritaville Restaurant
of The Grill. But Gordan Parrish, public relations representa-
tive for Easy’s Tapas and Martinis, said, “I prefer to use a gold
Crushed ice
tequila. I think gold is better in a margarita because it has a little
3 lime wedges
more agave flavor.”
2 oz. gold tequila (Cuervo 1800)
1/2 oz. tequila (Cuervo White)
Mix it Up
1 1/4 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice
A purist would limit the ingredients of a margarita to three:
1/2 oz. triple sec
tequila, lemon or lime juice, and triple sec. With so few ingre-
Splash of orange Curacoa
dients, any one taste can overpower the others and ruin the
cocktail. “The key to a good margarita is consistency,” said
Put all ingredients except the 3 lime wedges into a shaker.
Stephenson. “A consistent margarita with the right flavors is
Squeeze two of the lime wedges into shaker. Shake well.
always a winner.”
Rim outside edge of glass with lime, then salt.
Of course, it is also important that each of the ingredients be
Add fresh crushed ice to the glass.
of good quality. “We use sweet and sour in our margaritas, and
Strain mixture over ice into glass. Add lime wedge.
it so important that you use a good one,” Parrish explained. “We
use Grower’s Fancy Juice. The sweet and sours are really differ-
The Grill Signature Margarita
ent from brand to brand.”
courtesy of Russ Stephenson, Manager
Many bartenders add a splash of orange juice to their marga-
ritas to sweeten the cocktail. “I use the triple sec very spar-
1 1/2 oz. Patron Silver
ingly and add orange juice,” said Parrish.
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
Of course, there are many versions of margaritas popular
1/2 oz. Cointreau
today like strawberry margaritas, sangria margaritas and mar-
Splash of sweet and sour
garitas with rum and liqueur floaters on top. While these are
popular, particularly at restaurants serving frozen margaritas,
Shake and pour.
they are very different drinks from the traditional margarita.
“Tangy!” “Salty!” “Tart and not too sweet!” These are some
Easy Frozen Margaritas
of the enthusiastic reactions we elicited when we asked some
1 can frozen limeade concentrate
local margarita fans what they loved about their favorite drink.
6 oz. tequila
One thing is for sure, most people love a good ‘rita. The zingy
2 oz. triple sec
concoction walks a fine line between a girly beach drink and
those eye-poppingly strong cocktails for serious connoisseurs
Fill blender with crushed ice. Add all ingredients
only. A true crowd-pleaser, the perfect margarita is perfect
and blend until smooth. Pour and serve.
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26 July 2010 |

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JOY PRUITT | July 2010 27

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28 July 2010 |

Brent Coon’s 50th Birthday Bash 1

at Brentwood Country Club

P Re
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Spindletop Roller Better

Girls 1. Dallas Costanzi, Lori York and Clayton

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1 1. Ron and Kelley Borel. 2. Frank Culpepper and Jeff Landgrave with Copy
& Camera Technologies, Winner of the Torch Award (Small Business).
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32 July 2010 |

AMSET Treasure 1

Auction 1. Mitch Smith and Russ Waddill. 2. Carlo

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Busceme and Tom Kiehmhoff. 3. Michele Smith
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2 3 4

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Children’s Museum 3

1. Tawana Cadien and Nick Canizales.
2. Anthony Delgadillo and Marissa
Sellers. 3. Jonathan Naas and Daron
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36 July 2010 |

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vip worthy
m a n o f t h e l a n d

An Outdoors Advocate


like projects.” have a lodge home there. “It’s a beautiful lake,” Umphrey
Spend much time with the man selected as said. “You don’t have to be wealthy to enjoy its public parks.
a Texas “Legal Legend of the 20th Century,” It’s suitable for family and kids or just fishermen. And it’s so
and you’ll soon learn this is a favorite refrain of close, just an hour away.”
his. Walter Umphrey is indeed a man who likes A few years ago, Umphrey gave the lead donation to fund
projects, juggling a multitude of them at once, the Umphrey Family Pavilion at Sam Rayburn, a meet-
knowing the important details of each one. ing space for fishing tournaments, community events and
Umphrey is a genuine up-from-his-bootstraps concerts. Recently, Umphrey and several business partners
American success story, a defender of the “little invested in the Rayburn Country community near the lake,
guy.” Just past his 74th birthday, Umphrey walks planning a facelift for the golf course and clubhouse. “I’m not
tall and radiates a calm confidence. He’s at the office of Pro- a golfer, but I like projects,” he reiterates. “You could see it
vost Umphrey, where he is managing partner, every weekday was just a gem in the rough.”
by 6:30 a.m. After spending nearly every day of his career Several of Umphrey’s philanthropic ventures and volun-
at the courthouse, he now makes an appearance there only a teer activities have supported opportunities for nature lovers.
few times a year for the firm’s most important cases. He has He has served on councils for both the National Wildlife Fed-
a little more freedom to pursue his other pas- eration and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower
sions, which include a deep appreciation of Center. Locally, he purchased and donated
the outdoors, wildlife and Texas. Legal pioneer land at Mesquite Point-Pleasure Island for a
“Wildlife and conservation don’t just state park.
happen. It’s size of population, the numbers Walter Umphrey Umphrey’s philanthropy has cast a wide
living on acreage…there is so much to it,” Um- net from causes benefitting disabled children
phrey explained. “You’ve got to prepare and is as at home on to medical research and scholarships. With
work hard at it.” his wife, Sheila, Umphrey has made major
From 1991 to 1997, Umphrey served on the his tractor donations to both their alma mater universi-
Texas Parks and Wildlife commission. He was ties, including a lead gift for the new football
appointed by former Texas governor Ann Rich- as he is in a stadium at Lamar University. Umphrey, who
ards and worked his way up to vice chair of the
commission. “It’s the best job in Texas,” he courtroom. went to Southern Methodist University on a
football scholarship playing offensive guard
avowed. “You get to visit all the ranchers and before transferring to Baylor, is pleased by the
farmers, all the best places in the state. There’s nothing like it.” enthusiasm of the Lamar students and general community
Umphrey was born in Port Arthur, and didn’t grow up for the football program. “We’ll be regulars at the games, but
with hunting and fishing as a lifestyle. His adoptive father, fall is tough – I’ll have to work it in between my hunting and
Fulton Lee, was a police constable and later a Justice of the fishing,” he said.
Peace. However, his father-in-law, E.W. McCarthy, the former Always accompanied by his three beloved yellow Labs,
president of Gulfport Shipyard, was an avid outdoorsman. He Umphrey enjoys getting out of town to spend time at one of
introduced Umphrey to the various sports and to the man- their ranch homes or taking scenic motorcycle rides.
agement that must go into protecting wildlife so that it can This father of two, grandfather-to-seven has traveled far
flourish. and wide, participated in legal dramas, and created busi-
On his several ranches, Umphrey raises and manages a nesses. However, he still treasures simple times – dinner with
variety of game animals including mule deer, quail, dove, tur- friends, playing with his dogs and even riding his tractor. He
key, rainbow trout and bass. He no longer shoots big animals speaks with pride of his personal New Holland tractor with
personally, but instead limits himself to dove and quail. “It 20-foot Bush Hog attachments that he keeps on the Timber-
takes more experience and skill,” he said. line Ranch. “It has radio, air-conditioning, telephone. I love
Umphrey enjoys fishing, going after mostly bass and to get in it and stay and mow all day.”
crappie. Though his ranch lakes are stocked, he appreciates Though he could live anywhere, Umphrey is comfortable
the beauty offered at Sam Rayburn Lake, a man-made lake in Southeast Texas. “I like to stay where my roots are, where
managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Umphreys I’m known,” he said. VIP

40 July 2010 | THEVIPMAG.COM

Larger Than Life
Walter Umphrey has a fascinating
career history, with national and
historic benchmarks throughout. The
list of legal and personal accolades he
has accumulated is formidable, and
really, any of these deserve a story of
their own. For those unfamiliar with
his amazing story, here are a few,
abbreviated highlights:

• Co-founded the Provost Umphrey

Law Firm in 1969 with the late David
Provost. Today more than 30 lawyers
“scatter like quail each Monday,” Um-
phrey described, from four offices to
locations around the nation and globe.

• In his first federal case in 1972,

Umphrey won a $4 million verdict.

• Admitted to the Supreme Court Bar

in 1973.

• Umphrey and the firm tried and

won the nation’s first class action/
consolidation trial involving asbestos
exposure — $1 billion involving more
than 2,000 Texas asbestos victims.

•Umphrey was the lead attorney for

photography by SILVIA C. MCCLAIN

the State of Texas against the tobacco

industry in 1998, which resulted
in a historic civil litigation settle-
ment—$17.6 billion.

• In May of this year, the Jefferson

County Bar Association awarded Um-
phrey the Blackstone Award, the most
prestigious award or recognition that
a Bar Association can bestow upon
one of its members.

• Umphrey and his wife, Sheila, have

a special milestone this month, an in-
creasingly impressive one: Their 50th
wedding anniversary on July 8.

THEVIPMAG.COM | July 2010 41

vip worthy
v i p e r s o n a l i t y

Todd Faircloth
“Crappie” Diem - A Bassmaster
who seizes the day and the fish!


reams are like pennies … everyone has a pocket

full of them.
While it is important to dream big, the real
question is whether or not you have the chutzpah

photography courtesy of BASS COMMUNICATIONS

to venture out of those entrapping comfort zones
and really do something about it.
Todd Faircloth, 34, is certainly one of those
rare, brave ones.
Growing up in the bass-bountiful small town
of Jasper, Texas, Faircloth picked up his first rod
and reel at the age of 3. Even at that young age, he discovered an innate
love and talent for the patiently mastered art of fishing alongside his be-
loved hero — his father. With time, his devotion to the sport only grew.
Though talented enough to win local, amateur competitions, fishing
remained a mere hobby for Faircloth. It was not until the age of 24, after a
temporary stint in carpentry, that Faircloth made the bold decision to risk
it all.
Giving up the familiar daily grind to pursue his true passion, he dedi-
cated himself completely to bass angling. After qualifying for his fourth
fishing classic and picking up a few sponsors along the way, he recognized
that he had, indeed, created a career doing what he loved.
“I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors,” Faircloth
recalls. “I needed that freedom of being my own
boss and having control over my own life.
This was a dream that just fell into place
for me.”
Today, this Bassmaster Elite Series
Pro enjoys a nationally respected
reputation with over $1 million in
winnings. Known as an ultra-com-
petitive, versatile, power-fisher-
man, skilled in the technique of
pitching and flipping, Faircloth
travels the nation, casting out
on some of America’s most
picturesque waters. What do you love most about
In 2008, Faircloth earned your job?
the runner-up position at The challenge of figuring the fish out.
the Angler of the Year race.
And, in 2010, he placed third How much of fishing is strategy
at Bassmasters Classic. (Think and how much is luck?
Super Bowl of fishing.) 80 percent strategy, 20 percent luck.
When fishing is your day job, it
begs the question: How do you spend What makes a successful
your weekends? For Faircloth, the bass angler?
answer is simple. He relishes spending Hard work and dedication.
quality time with his loving wife of eight
years, Angie, two sons, Hudson and Harrison, Fishing in solitude or with com-
and his one-year-old baby girl, Helen Claire. A pany – which do you prefer?
hands-on dad, Faircloth believes in instilling an impor- Depends on the company! The best
tance for living your dream in his children. Yet, he never fails to remind company would be my boys. I like to
them of the motto he espouses: You get what you put into life. VIP see their excitement when they catch
a fish!

42 July 2010 |

photography courtesy of BASS COMMUNICATIONS

Favorite place to fish? Most interesting location you’ve What are the most commonly photography by JUDY STOKELY
Sam Rayburn (Jasper, TX). It’s my traveled to for the sport? overlooked hot spots for
home lake and where I learned to fish. Chicago, IL. catching bass?
Large main lake flats.
Best part about Rayburn? What are your must-have
The solitude and natural beauty of the tackle box items? What’s better - catch or release?
lake, combined with good fishing. Yamamoto Senko, All-Terrain Tackle Release, because it provides the
Jig, and Sebile Flat Shad. same experience for others.
What’s the biggest fish
you’ve ever caught? Favorite lure, rod and reel? Tastiest fish?
11.5 lbs. 5” Yamamoto Senko and a Castaway Fried crappie.
Most meaningful award?
Winning my first Elite Series Tourna- What’s your best tip for the
ment at Table Rock Lake (Branson, novice fisherman?
MO). Try different depths and locations –
don’t get hung up using the same bait
on every spot. | July 2010 43

Where Business &
Pleasure Meet
Business Meetings & Conferences
Receptions & Luncheons
State-of-the Art Communications
Flexible Room Arrangements
Exquisite Decor

1776 Calder Ave. Beaumont, Texas

www.broussardsc entre.c om

44 July 2010 |

vip guide
s e e t h e s e a

photography by DAVID JOINER



ar out to sea, glides by, seemingly oblivious including the Bahamas, Hondu- thought it was great,” he said.
away from the to the scuba diver right below ras, Cozumel, the Florida Keys He now heads out to open water,
beaches and it. The diver signals to his and the Flower Garden Banks where the visibility is much
the crowds, buddy, pointing up. His partner National Marine Sanctuary, better, a few times each year.
another world looks and nods. For a short which includes Stetson Bank, in He’s used to getting “checked
lies below time, they are not outsiders the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas out” by the marine life, includ-
the surface. looking into this world, like coast. Growing up in Port Nech- ing sharks, which doesn’t bother
Brightly people looking through an es, he watched the television him. Instead of avoiding sharks,
colored aquarium’s glass. They are, series “Sea Hunt” that portrayed he knows how to invite them for
coral and for a while, members of this Lloyd Bridges as adventurous a visit. “I learned to call sharks,”
sea sponges spread for miles submerged menagerie. scuba diver Mike Nelson. The he said. There’s no food in-
in a vast underwater garden. Beaumont attorney Dana young boy was hooked. volved, so no feeding frenzy. He
Dolphins, sea turtles, rays and Timaeus knows what it’s like At 15, Timaeus made his first learned the skill from a videogra-
countless varieties of fish swim in that underwater realm. He’s dive in a freshwater Texas lake. pher in the Bahamas. He makes a
around the reefs. A whale shark been diving since 1972 in places “The visibility was poor but I deep sound in his >> | July 2010 45

throat, he explained, which vi- Southeast Texas. He learned
brates a membrane in the regu- about the Flower Gardens At 15, Timaeus
lator. “We’ve called sharks in,” and oil-rig diving in the Gulf
he said. “They swim right by of Mexico and the beautiful made his first div
in a freshwater
us and go away.” Isn’t he afraid freshwater lakes around Texas
that he’s calling the sharks to including Sam Rayburn and

Texas lake.
dinner? “We’re warm-blooded Toledo Bend. He eventually dis-
red meat,” he said. “They want covered other gorgeous places
fish.” to dive and enjoys treasure
Timaeus says diving has hunting. In Venice, Fla., he’s
come a long way since the early found prehistoric shark teeth
days, thanks to better technol- fossils. “You never know what
ogy. Diving now takes more fi- you’re going to find,” he said.

photography by lee e. STinSon

nesse and technique than brute Today scuba diving is his
strength, which is why it’s a vocation and his avocation.
popular sport with women. “Scuba diving for me is a way
“Scuba diving is serious fun but of life and a love of the water
it’s also skilled fun that requires and all things in it,” he said.
some discipline associated with “One of our greatest joys is to
that skill,” he said. “It’s a man- introduce the young and the
aged risk and a low risk when young at heart to scuba diving.”
done right.” His wife, Anne Acord, shares
Timaeus was certified to his passion for scuba diving,
teach in 2000 and he’s an although she was pessimistic at
instructor at Scuba Brothers, a first. She had told her husband
dive shop in Nederland owned she probably wouldn’t like it,
by Allen and Anne Acord. The she remembered. What was
Acords named their business her incentive to learn? “He
for their sons, James and Alex, said he’d do it with or without
who also dive. me!” she laughed. She became
Allen Acord, who grew up in a complete enthusiast on her
Port Arthur, first started diving first trip to dive the reefs off
in 1990 while he was in the U.S. Cozumel. “Scuba diving is
Army stationed in Germany. relaxing and something the
When he came home in 1993, whole family can enjoy,” she
he wanted to continue and was said. “It’s an adventure every
happy to find that there is a time you go diving. This is how
thriving diving community in we get our rush.” VIP
photography by lee e. STinSon

Take The Plunge

The open water is calling you, but first you need to learn how to
photography by DaviD Joiner

scuba dive. Contact a local dive shop for information on lessons and
According to Allen Acord, a typical certification course takes two
weekends and costs about $350, which covers the tuition, books
and use of all the gear you’ll need except a mask, fins, weight belt
and snorkel. You’ll need to buy those items for yourself. The first
weekend consists of classroom and pool instruction. On the second
weekend, you’ll go to a dive site, usually a lake. When you pass the
course, you’ll be a certified open-water scuba diver.
46 July 2010 | TheVIPmAg.COm
How do I know if that’s a live wire?
You don’t. Just assume any downed power line is live – and deadly. A downed line can
electrify anything it touches, including you. Keep your distance, and call us to report it at
1-800-ENTERGY (368-3749). Get the facts about power line safety at

Felipe Varela, Storekeeper

� ������� ���� ������� ������ ���� ����� ������� ��������� ���� ��� ������ ��������� | July 2010 47

vip guide
c a l e n d a r

Independence Day Celebrations July 4

great dates in july

Shangri La Gardens Independence
{ July } Day Concert
The Orange Community Band
will perform from 7:30-8:30p.m.
Opening Spindletop Roller Girls JULY 4
Reception for Game starts at 7p.m. Ford Exhibit
Independence Day Celebration at
George Wentz: Hall. Tickets $10 in advance $13 day of
event. Children 2 - 12 admitted for $5.
Riverfront Park
A Retrospective Live musical performances, delicious
Being Andy Warhol foods and drinks, and a dramatic
July 23 Traveling exhibit featuring 49 fireworks display. Riverfront Park,
Enjoy the colorful paintings and photographs taken by Andy Warhol. Beaumont. Orchestra performs
collages by native artist George Through August 15. Museum of at 8p.m., fireworks start at 9p.m.
Wentz at the Art Museum of the Gulf Coast. 409.982.7000, 409.838.3435, beaumont-tx-complex.
Southeast Texas. Reception com/riverfrontpark.html
6-8p.m. On exhibit July 24-Sept. Independence Day Celebration in
26. 409.832.3432, JULY 2 Port Arthur
First Fridays on Lincoln Avenue Patriotic music and awe-inspiring
Shopping, food, and entertainment. fireworks. Lamar State College Port
Arthur. 409.984.6101,
Lincoln Avenue, Groves. 6–9p.m.
Spice of the 409.962.3631,
Season 2010 Motorcycle Ride
Familiar Spirits
July 30 Texas Motorcycle Rights Association –
A Port Arthur Little Theater
The theme this year for the annual Ride to Pleasure Island. July 2–4.
production of a dramatic play that
benefitt Leadership
culinary event to benefi Contact David Die, 409.749.4995 will scare and delight audiences.
Beaumont is “Let the Games Performed as a dinner theatre at the
Begin!” Masters of Ceremonies JULY 3 Beau Reve House on Sara Jane Road.
will be Bob Phillips, Texas Country Light up the Night Fireworks Display Performances 7:30p.m. July 9–11, 16–18.
Reporter, and Kelli Phillips, KFDM- Crystal Beach’s fireworks show. Food Peddler & Outdoor Expo Combo Shows
TV News Reporter. Forty celebrity & drinks available. Go to the beach at A “his and hers” weekend at Ford
waiters will serve at the Beaumont Alma Road and turn right. Bring your Park, July 9–11. The 7th Annual
Country Club. 6:30p.m. Tickets $75. own beach chair! Show will start at Southeast Texas Great Outdoors
409.838.6581, dark, 7–10p.m. Expo offers attractions and exhibits

Event Submissions
Do you have an event you would like to promote? Do it with VIP for FREE! Please send us details—dates, times, location, contact phone,
web address and a brief description—to Information should arrive at least 60 days in advance of the event.

48 July 2010 |

featuring the best in hunting, fishing, networking event hosted by Coldwell JULY 29
ATVs, boats and camping. Combined Banker Southern Homes, 628 South
with The Peddler Show offering arts Main, Lumberton. 8–9a.m. The Sound of Music
and crafts. Small admission price Port Arthur Little Theatre kicks off
and free parking., JULY 23 its 2010-2011 season in conjunction with Lamar State College Port Arthur
Opening Reception for George in the classic musical. Show dates:
Cruise Night Wentz: A Retrospective Jul. 29–Aug. 1, Aug. 5–8.
In honor of Collector Car Enjoy the colorful paintings and
Appreciation Day, a cruise down Main collages by native artist George Wentz Pioneering Women Media Party
Street in Vidor. 6p.m. Music, prizes. at the Art Museum of Southeast Pioneering Women presents
409.769.0877 Texas. Reception 6-8p.m. On exhibit “Celebrating 90 Years of the 19th
July 24–Sept. 26. 409.832.3432, Amendment.” Media party at Suga’s
JULY 12 at 5p.m. 2010 honorees are Charlene
Babineaux, Cindy Bloodsworth,
Nations National Championship Opening Reception for Women Barbara Daniels, Cheryl Black-
Baseball outing for the family. Ford Artists: Selections from the Fitzpatrick, Jane McBride and Eleanor
Fields. July 12–24. Tickets for the Permanent Collection Mitchell.
day: Adults $3, Kids (12 & under) A dramatic grouping from the
$1, and Seniors (65 & older) $1. permanent collection of the Art JULY 30
409.951.5417. Museum of Southeast Texas, featuring
a range of styles of artwork by women Spice of the Season 2010
JULY 10 artists. Reception 6–8p.m. On exhibit The theme this year for the annual
July 24–Sept. 26. 409.832.3432, culinary event to benefit Leadership
Wild West Family Day Beaumont is “Let the Games Begin!”
Come dressed as a cowboy or cowgirl
to celebrate cowboy artist, Charlie
JULY 25 Masters of Ceremonies will be Bob
Phillips, Texas Country Reporter,
Russell, with western games, art World Wide Wrestling and Kelli Phillips, KFDM-TV News
projects, and rodeo demonstrations. The RAW WORLD TOUR comes to Reporter. Forty celebrity waiters will
Stark Museum of Art, Orange. Ford Arena for one show at 5p.m. See serve at the Beaumont Country Club.
10a.m.–2p.m. Free. 409.886.2787, all your favorite RAW Superstars live 6:30p.m. Tickets $75. 409.838.6581, in action! Ticket Prices are $63, $48,
$38, $28 and $18 (including facility
Beaumont Art League Photo Show
Reception, 7–9p.m. 409.833.4179,

JULY 15 Lakes Schedule Courtesy of

Charlie Russell’s Yarns, performed //////////////////////////////////////////
by Raphael Cristy
Award-winning historian Raphael Sam Rayburn Tournaments
Cristy provides special insights July
about the American West through 3 Anglers Quest Saturday Series #7 Mill Creek Park
storytelling and the writings of 4 Anglers Quest Individual Series #7 Mill Creek Park
famous cowboy artist Charlie Russell. 10 Bassmaster Weekend Series Umphrey Family Pavilion
Lutcher Theater. 6:30p.m. Free. 17 CAST Couples Cassell Boykin
409.886.2787, 17 Get Reel Bass Anglers ((Club)) Monterey Park
20 PAR Bass Club (Night) Mill Creek Park
23 PAR Bass Club (Night) Mill Creek Park
Super Saturdays on the Avenue
A shopping extravaganza in 3 Anglers Quest Saturday Series #7 Mill Creek Park
Downtown Port Neches on the 4 Anglers Quest Individual Series #7 Mill Creek Park
3rd Saturday of every month. 10 Bassmaster Weekend Series Umphrey Family Pavilion
17 CAST Couples Cassell Boykin
17 Get Reel Bass Anglers ((Club)) Monterey Park
23rd Annual Cajun Food and Music 20 PAR Bass Club (Night) Mill Creek Park
23 PAR Bass Club (Night) Mill Creek Park
Burton Coliseum, Lake Charles will
be jumping with lively Cajun sounds Toledo Bend Tournaments
July 17–18. Savory Cajun specialties, July
raffles, arts and crafts booths and 10 Bass N Bucks Cypress Bend
games for kids. Admission is $7 11 Sportsman’s Bass Club (Night) Cypress Bend
per person, and free for children 24 Media Bass Super Team Cypress Bend
12 and younger. 337.217.0880, 24 Fairmount Bass Club (Night) Paradise Point Marina
JULY 22 17 PAR Bass Club (Night) Six Mile
20 PAR Bass Club (Night) Six Mile
Morning Mixer 21 Fairmount Bass Club (Night) Paradise Point Marina
Lumberton Chamber of Commerce 28-29 BFL-Cowboy Division Cypress Bend | July 2010 49

vip guide Complementary & Alternative Medicine
g u e s t c o l u m n for Cancer & other Incurable Diseases

photography by SILVIA C. MCCLAIN
To-Do’s for
Summer ’10 text by MICHELLE MCCALOPE

“Summer. Summer. Summertime.

Time to kick back and unwind.”

he lyrics from Will Smith’s song “Summertime” describe my
mood to a T. Summer is a great time to relax and refresh your
mind, body and soul. Here are my top tips for enjoying the
long days of summer.
• Medicinal Plants from around the World
Go somewhere. Anywhere. Get out of the house. Whatever your • Ayurvedic Therapy • Weight Control
budget allows. You don’t have to go that far. One of my favorite memo-
ries is going to a Galveston hotel, hanging out at the pool, and lying on • Pain Management
the cushy chairs, just enjoying a lazy day and people-watching. When I
came back home, I felt renewed and refreshed. • Herbal Medicines
Have a healthy summer. Experiment with grilling fruits and veg-
etables instead of just meat. I plan to buy a new barbecue grill and try
• Nutritional Therapy
my hand at grilling squash, corn, peaches or pizza (of course, healthy
pizza if my trainer is reading this) or some of the other recipes featured Dr. Mahesh D. Kanojia
on the Food Network. I am a Food Network fanatic!
Re-connect with relatives. Go visit your cousins or that great-aunt … brings a rare and needed
you haven’t seen in awhile. You’ll be glad you did.
perspective to cancer. He possesses
Read a good book or check out a great summer flick. In fact, you both an expert knowledge base
can combine the two by reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” The in eastern and western practices
movie version of the mega-bestselling book comes out in August.
and leverages both in creating
Enjoy a delicious ice cream cone. It’s one of the summer’s simplest an integrative approach centered
pleasures. Put the kids in the car and go to your favorite ice cream shop.
There’s nothing better! around the patients values, beliefs
and resources.
Watch the sun set over the lake, river or ocean. It doesn’t matter
which one as long as you’re near water. Not only is it romantic, but some- Several years ago, Dr. Kanojia became convinced that
how life seems to slow down when you’re enjoying Mother Nature. he could do more for the general health of his cancer
Dress the part. Put on that pretty sundress, those high heels, or cute flip- patients by adding complementary therapies to his
flops. The summer is a great time to showcase that casual-chic look. allopathic methods of cancer care. He has traveled
Try something new. I’m planning to buy a bike and to take swimming extensively and observed first hand traditional Indian
lessons again. I know how to swim, but I need a refresher course. What and Chinese medicine, and the curative power of
is it that you’d like to do? Just do it!
many medicinal plants.
Entertain friends at home. It doesn’t have to be anything complicat-
ed. Just throw some burgers or hotdogs on the grill and mix up a fruity
drink. Good friends and good food are all you need for a great summer Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Relax. Unwind. Kick back. After all it’s summer and I can’t get that
for Cancer and other Incurable Diseases
song out of my head!
Michelle McCalope is an award-winning journalist and president 3455 Stagg Drive Beaumont, Texas 77701
of McCalope Media, a public relations and communications firm in
Beaumont. VIP Phone: 409.835.2082

50 July 2010 | | July 2010 51

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