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If there are two things Houston is known for, it’s food and philanthropy. And combining the two is always a good idea! Taste of the Nation, benefiting the national No Kid Hungry campaign, was held at Silver Street Studios and featured gourmet bites and sips from some of the city’s top chefs. Alba Huerta, Rebecca Masson, Ryan Pera and Daniel Vaughn chaired the event. Meanwhile, the eighth annual Raising the Barre dinner also had its fair share of high-profile chefs. Here, Houston Ballet dancers teamed up with chefs like Jacques Fox, whose Artisans restaurant hosted the event, to create memorable courses inspired by the dancers’ unique backgrounds. More than $80K was raised to benefit the Ballet’s community engagement programs.


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Valerie and Ellie Cassady at PepperLou Gifts

In West Houston, in a nondescript shopping center at the corner of Memorial and Kirkwood, there's a hidden-gem boutique filled with treasures from all over the country called PepperLou Gifts. It's the brainchild of Ellie Cassady, a joyful 19-year old with different abilities, and her mom, Valerie. This holiday season, the duo has a ton of fun, festive events in the works at their store — which is named after the family's two cats — including plenty of holiday discounts and CDC-friendly ways to shop safely.

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