Heart & Crafts

Shop for a cause at Downtown’s inaugural Heartmade market.

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As an alternative to playing parking lot wars and trekking through bustling shopping malls, hit Downtown’s first ever Heartmade Holiday Market on Dec. 9. The free, family-friendly event benefits Hoof Prints and Heart Beats, which offers free equine therapy for children and adults with physical disabilities and social disorders like autism.


The collaborative effort — in which booth fees are collected as donations — was conceived by photographer Tracy Manford Carlson, who is HPHB’s chairman of the board, and graphic designer Sonja Fulbright. The creative duo will transform Main Street Square into a holly, jolly marketplace where artisans, jewelers and food purveyors will peddle their wares as Christmas carolers stroll about and Santa poses for pics with kiddos.

Though this is the inaugural event for Heartmade, it follows a pair of successful spring markets held in 2016 and 2017 that boasted a similar set-up. “We jumped at the opportunity to partner with the Heartmade team on a holiday event,” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications at the Houston Downtown Management District. “We hope this will be a holiday tradition for years to come.”

Wellness+Giving Back

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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