It’s been a week since Texans stocked up on non-perishable food, water, and wine to prepare for what we knew was going to be a powerful weather event. Weather forecasters warned that Hurricane Harvey could bring an unprecedented amount of rain into south Texas as it made landfall near Corpus Christi late Friday night. Things weren’t too bad in Houston on Saturday morning, but then it rained and rained and rained some more, causing severe flooding in neighborhoods all over Houston.
I was visiting my sister and her family in Seattle when the storm started forming in the Gulf of Mexico. I was supposed to fly home on Friday, August 25 but decided to stay. I was afraid I would get home and not be able to stock up before the rain came – many stores were already sold out of hurricane supplies – or that I would be stuck at home by myself with no electricity or way to get out of my neighborhood. I was glued to Facebook, checking in with friends who were posting about the conditions in their neighborhood and following Space City Weather’s excellent forecasting.
My dog, Winston, and cat, Pumpkin, were safe and with trusted caregivers, and my condo didn’t take on any water, thank goodness. Still, my heart aches for my native city and all the people I know who lost their homes, cars, belongings, and businesses in the most extreme rain event in U. S. history.
As hard as it has been to see pictures of the devastation, it’s going to be even harder to return home Monday night and drive around a city in various stages of recovery. I’m looking forward to being reunited with Winston and Pumpkin, but I’m anxious about what it will be like to live in a city that’s under so much stress. It will be a long time before Houston returns to normal, whatever that looks like.
I’m working on ways that Kelly Gartner Style can help flood survivors with organizing their temporary homes and shopping for new clothes; I’ll share more about that next week. In the meantime, I wanted to highlight several local boutiques, all owned by dear friends, that have special offers for women affected by the storm.
Marlo Miller Boutique
Marlo Miller’s clothing store is in one of the areas most affected by flooding. She had to pack everything up and isn’t sure whether or not water will damage the store, but she wanted to do something to help flood victims. She has a container of clothes available to those in need and may do something more in the future. You can find information about Marlo’s store here. One of the things Houston will need is for people to shop local businesses. Marlo has beautiful clothes, shoes, and accessories, and carries my favorite brand of leggings, so if you want to add something stylish to your fall wardrobe, I know she would appreciate it if you dropped by!
Thinking Boutique by Alicia
Alicia Elatassi’s boutique is also in an area ravaged by flooding. Fortunately, her shop is okay, but water continues to rise in the neighborhood due to elevated water levels in nearby reservoirs. Alicia’s boutique is unique in Houston – she travels the world, bringing back artisan goods to sell, and she also hosts events like book clubs and GNOs at the store. The space is filled with vibrant clothes and accessories as well as home goods, decor, and gifts. Alicia is donating an outfit to any teacher whose home flooded. She carries clothes in all sizes, so there is something for every body type. You can visit her website or her Facebook page for more information.
Tutu Cute by Jacqueline Smooke
Jacqueline Smooke owns a women’s and children’s boutique, selling clothes out of her home in Memorial and at fashion shows and vendor events. She has everything from cute tops and trendy sweaters to gorgeous evening gowns. Jacqueline has spent the week coordinating rescue efforts and collecting supplies and delivering meals for first responders, and she is generously offering clothes for flood victims at 50% off from now until November. Visit Tutu Cute’s Facebook page to find out more (you will have to ask to join.)
Lisa Rosenfeld, Independent cabi Stylist
My friend, Lisa Rosenfeld, sells a women’s clothing line called cabi at home shows and private appointments. Cabi has stylish, on-trend clothes, shoes, and jewelry appropriate for work and any casual occasion. One of my favorite things about cabi is their Heart of cabi Foundation. The foundation helps women in developing countries start their own businesses and provides clothing to women in the U. S. who have been affected by natural disasters like Harvey. I reached out to Lisa to see what cabi is doing for flood survivors, and she said area stylists will host a Heart of cabi event the week of September 18. I don’t know the details yet, but I’ll share them as soon as I do. You can also donate to the foundation by purchasing the Blushing Blouse (a portion of net proceeds goes to the foundation) or by rounding up your order total on Lisa’s website.
Annette Ultis opened The Branch Boutique in March, selling on-trend clothes out of her Houston home. From the beginning, she has sold HOU tees and workout tops, donating the proceeds to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an organization that supports families who need help finding or keeping their homes. Annette traces her passion for helping others to her grandparents, Dolly and Lightning Hancock, who served as leaders in the Houston/Galveston diocese. She is grateful to be able to bless others with these “Shop for a Cause” shirts.
The shirts are $25 each with FREE SHIPPING.
- Small-2X in Tanks
- Small-2X (NO MEDIUMS) in V-Necks
- X-Small-2X in Unisex Crew Necks
You can order the shirts online at www.thebranchboutique.com or through Annette’s Facebook business page, www.facebook.com/thebranchboutique.
I’m so proud to be a Houstonian. We will take care of each other and make sure everyone has the support they need to get back on their feet. It will take a while, but we’re in it for the long haul! #houstonstrong