PetSet Celebrates With Virtual Gala Watch Party

By Jennifer Roosth      Photography by Quy Tran


THE SETTING: Even a global pandemic could not stop animal lovers’ kindness, as they rallied around a hybrid format of fundraising. Part virtual gala, part V.I.P. watch party on the much-loved Annie Café & Bar’s outdoor patio, PetSet’s first virtual Fierce and Fabulous Gala raised nearly $200,000 to support the Greater Houston area’s animal welfare groups.

THE STYLE: Animal lovers from Houston and across the country logged onto their device of choice to tune in to the soirée, hosted by Great Day Houston’s Deborah Duncan and Johnny Bravo Holloway. Meanwhile, Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist, Houston PetSet’s co-presidents, celebrated the occasion by hosting a small patio gathering at The Annie Café & Bar. Personalized touches such as food and beverages prepared by Event Elementz and styled by local non-profit design house, Magpies and Peacocks were delivered to the homes of donors to coincide with the event.


The virtual program also included special guest appearances by Dr. Stephen Klineberg, founding director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and Professor Emeritus of Sociology, at Rice University, and America’s Got Talent Season 13 semi-finalist Christina Wells, who added an emotional touch to the show with her performances of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors and Mariah Carey’s Hero.


THE PURPOSE: The evening’s program kicked-off with a peek into the homes of supporters enjoying the watch parties across the city. The twin sisters then took the mic to thank their guests for joining them to support the cause. Together, the crowd of competitive contributors enjoyed the heartfelt program shining a light on positive animal welfare in Houston. This event not only marked a success for animal welfare but also showcased the resilience of the Houston fundraising community.




With winter about to kick into high gear, we’ve mixed our favorite purses with some of the flowers that inspire us most. The outcome? Everything’s coming up roses, and more, in this season’s most desirous statement bags, according to our fashion forward-thinking Alexandra del Lago



What a year for both giving and receiving during the holiday season. No matter what, the show must go on… and all year long, we’ve been searching the globe for the most unique, interesting, practical, and dazzling offerings for everyone in your life. Join our style seekers Alexandra del Lago, Jake Gaines, Lance Avery Morgan, and Leanne Raesener for these inspiringly glamorous ideas. 


Respecting the delicate flavor of caviar and other species of delicious roe, Larusmiani’s ultra-fine 5-piece caviar set includes two knives with mother-of-pearl handles, two small spoons, and a spoon made entirely of mother-of-pearl. Go ahead, take a dip. $1835. At


The Southern Tide x Star E.V. Collaboration to create an environmentally astute V.I.P. golf cart has our vote as the best way to get from the clubhouse to the 18th hole. Price upon request. At


Bora Bora is where you’ll want to go as your next five-star destination…to flee the everyday world. The recently renovated Four Seasons Bora Bora, with its tropical splendor and amenities, is like no other in the world. From ocean-topped villas to the best activities on the planet, you’ll feel like you’ve really escaped. Price upon request. At


From the neighborhood park to the French Riviera, this raffia straw hat will tell many stories. The dramatic brim provides plenty of shade, and the laced grosgrain on the crown  is inspired by the ribbon ties (chose black or navy) of traditional Basque espadrilles. $300. At  


With its recently refurbished interior, you’ll feel perfectly at home in the new world-meets-old world style at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. The sleek chrome-laden restaurant, Alain Ducasse, will welcome you back to the City of Lights with open arms.  At


With technology that mimics actual true sunlight, this Simple Human Sensor Mirror Pro Wide View mirror is perfect for the vanity or, yes, selfies, with its real-life settings of office, restaurant, and candlelight. $400. At


Feel like you’re on holiday every day…with a clever Slim Aarons-esque print from photographer Gray Malin. With a bevy of beachy keen images to choose from, having one is never enough to capture that mid-century lifestyle finesse. Unframed prints start at $299. At  


The luxury of putting on a dress by Esme Vie is unparalleled. Part of a capsule collection, and exclusive to The SIL, an online boutique created by Vernon, Texas native Natalie Bond Bloomingdale, this St. Tropez dress in lilac dream, with an accent of rose floral buttons, is a terrific choice for a dramatic entrance. $1095. At


Combining creativity with craftsmanship, Cassandra Collections, by designer San Antonio-bred Austin resident Cassandra King Polidori, features unique jewelry to be worn as everyday essentials…or for formal occasions. How about a cadre of them? Price upon request. At


With The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign to support the Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, as you beautify, you’ll be helping those in need, too. We recommend the Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede scent, $142. At, Darphin INTRAL Redness Relief Soothing Serum, $90. At, and LA MER Crème de la Mer’s The Moisturizing Cream, $190. At


With Estee Lauder’s Pink Ribbon Products campaign to support the Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, as you beautify, you’ll be helping those in need, too. We recommend the Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede scent, $142. At, Darphin INTRAL Redness Relief Soothing Serum, $90. At, and LA MER Crème de la Mer’s The Moisturizing Cream, $190. At


How better to try something new? Feel the rush in a safe, contained environment with an indoor skydiving experience. For skydiving simulators and wind tunnel skydiving in Texas, there are a variety of locations near you. Price upon request. At


Welcome to the ultimate paper lover’s indulgence. Here’s a selection of jotters, stationery, gift tags, and coasters–all with a beloved Bell’INVITO signature touch of detail. The Pucker. $455. At


Want to live an eternal Palm Beach lifestyle? All that it takes is donning an Ala Von Auersperg Kathe caftan in her signature bright, festive colors and timeless silhouettes. No matter what the occasion, from entertaining at home to attending a wedding, it’s always right. $650. At


Why not make it official? The world of The Crown beckons you. Actually, the manor of Alconbury, UK, welcomes you. Once you fill out the paperwork, you’ll be titled. A Lordship is offered, too, for the gents. Tiaras and septors not included. $30. At


Need your morning java as fresh as possible? Look no further than this easy-to-use Chambord French Press coffee maker. In four minutes flat, the job is done, and you’ll be on your way. Plus, this will look so very sleek on your counter. $50. At


Who can decide on just one perfect purse? Very few can. So why not ask for a wardrobe of them to refresh your style? Kathy Fielder and her eponymous store in Dallas have scads to choose from, and these are just a few of  our favorites. Prices upon request. At


Be the hit on your mountain with these Keith Haring Tribal 78 skis that boast an excellent  edge grip on the ice and are very stable throughout each aspect of the turn. Adds more color to your outfit on the black run, don’t you think? $2500. At


Electronics can be customized to your every need. We recommend the coolest new products from JLab Audio that will have you on the go with the most innovative wireless sound quality on the planet. We suggest the Epic Air ANC–truly wireless smart active noise-canceling earbuds with a companion  JLab Air ANC App. We also dig the Talk Microphone–a USB microphone great for video conference calls and podcasting, the Studio Pro wireless headset and the Buddies Studio Wireless kids headphones are important with virtual/online learning, and these can be both wired and wireless. Prices vary. At


Interesting art can and should, surround you at all times. So, why not choose a pocket square that tells a story, too? This L’Envie silk number is one of the dozens of designs by London’s esteemed clothier, Rampley & Co. $85. At


Masterclass, with its online courses taught by experts, will help you learn to cook from Gordon Ramsey, write a book from James Patterson, or learn about conservation from Dr. Jane Goodall, to name a few  examples of the world-class masters. Subscription is $15 a month. At


This aerial photographer’s drone dream has a 20-megapixel camera that captures super sharp images and video and is extremely easy to navigate. It will make your family’s next vacation a lot more exciting (at least for you, dad). The DJI Phantom 4 Pro Version 2.0 Quadcopter utilizes the Flight Autonomy system for a total of five directions of obstacle sensing and four directions of obstacle avoidance. $1599. At B&H Photo


The new slim swimsuit silhouette will take off visual pounds when you visit your favorite resort again soon. The always-right Vilebrequin trunks continue to be a classic and comes in father-son sets that are memory-making and perfectly Instagram-able. From $260. At


Whether you are channeling your inner 007, or just want to have the latest style in shades, there are plenty of designs to choose from, thanks to Houston-based designer Margot Hogan, founder of Transparent Sunglasses. Her horn-rimmed shades for men, like those presented here, will have you seeing a rosy future. Prices vary. At


We relish an everyday object that can become extraordinary, don’t you? Like these billiard balls, for instance, that will refine any pool table and game room. In the signature Tiffany & Co. blue, of course. $1750. At Tiffany & Co.


If you could have any classic car of your choice, wouldn’t you choose a vintage 1957 Chevrolet Corvette? At 63 years old, and entering its golden years, it’s as gorgeous as ever and still rides like an adventure-filled dream. Price upon request. At


Born to reclaim the lost legacy of great American irons, Texas-based P53 is the only bespoke golf irons company in the world to commit from day one to 100% U.S. forging and hand-made production in over two decades. P53’s head of design and customization has worked with over sixty of golf’s major champions. The time, care, skill, and effort invested into every set of P53 irons is peerless. Created by founder Christopher Griffin. Price upon request. At


Take a break and let A.I. do the mowing with this Automower by Husqvarna. It will have your neighbors scratching their heads as they watch it cut the lawn on its own, even when it’s drizzling. From $1599. At


With Table Topics, you can be sure there’s never a lull at a dinner party. Try these questions to start great conversations that range in many themes, including Past Present Future, and our favorite, Not Your Mom’s Dinner Party. $25 per box. At


Leave it to Hermès to create a portable turntable. You can now spin your favorite vinyl records anywhere, and look cooler than ever while doing so. Price upon request. At Hermè


For the wintery nights, how about cuddling up in these luxe Equadorian-made blankets by QISU, a company founded by Austinites Fernando Gonzaga and Mark Erwin? Offered in a selection of vibrant colors with contrasting fringe, these alpaca wool throws will liven up any space, especially since they are so ultra-soft,  hypoallergenic, and waterproof. Prices and sizes vary from $249. At


Austinite Kate Hersch, founder of August Morgan, is popular with the home entertaining crowd for many reasons. Her quirky and quippy linen cocktail napkins are the hostess gift to give and receive. $40 for a set of four. At


A towel that expresses who you are by the pool, or at the surf, is a treasure. We love these 100% cotton velour, oversized ones by Texas-raised stylist-to-the-stars Stefan Beckman, founder of Lateral Objects in New York. Each towel can come with its own dive mesh pouch. $120. At


Home fragrance has been completely redefined with the introduction of Home Cologne eau de toilette by San Antonio-based Soular Therapy. This luxury ambiance spray offers an elevated, boutique experience in scents like The Study No. 629, The Library No. 721 (shown), and Hacienda No. 117. It’s inspired by nature and architecture to instantly transform any room, office or vehicle…while also sanitizing linens and cotton fabric with its 70% ethanol alcohol, skin-safe formulation. $39-65. At


Hand-crafted in Japan, we love that these extremely sharp stainless steel knives have durable birch Pakkawood handles and blades with a hornet’s nest pattern on each side. The seven-piece set, for the chef in your life, includes five knives, a birch block display, and honing steel. $1199. At


A custom pillow can change the face and feel of any room. Treat yourself and your spaces, with peacock feathers, vintage fabrics, and jewelry for a one-of-a-kind look, created by The Pillow Goddess founder Deborah Main, an Austin-based artisan. Prices vary. Shown, $1217 and $1395. At


Enhance any occasion with the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest, crafted by artisans to the highest standard of elegance and luxury. This curated creation includes a removable serving tray, a champagne bottle thermal flask, two thermal caviar bowls, and four hand-blown champagne flutes, all with a leather carrying sleeve. $47,000. At


From the patio and backyard to the family room, turn up the fun with the Nebula Capsule II, the 1 ½ pound device that projects up to 100 feet wide with a 270-degree angle. And just think, you can introduce your kids to classic films in a new way. $580. At



Texas is known for our dynamic personalities. Some are born with it, and for some, it develops over time. Here, our pop cultural chronicler, William Jack Sibley, a fifth-generation native Texan, reveals the almost-lost story behind legendary San Antonio philanthropist, Robert L.B. Tobin, and the extraordinary life he led in Texas…and beyond.


It’s no secret that San Antonio’s Robert L.B. Tobin lived an epic life. The opening of the downtown Tobin Center for the Performing Arts has led to an increased interest in the eponymous namesake as a heralded Texas family of vast wealth, stature, and notoriety.


Like so many old Texas clans for whom noblesse oblige was an assumed provenance, the Tobins of San Antonio orbited in a highly rarified universe. Robert Tobin’s father, Edgar Tobin, was a World War I flying ace who started the Tobin Aerial Mapping Company (later Tobin Aerial Surveys) to serve the oil and gas industry when no comparable business even existed. His first customer was Humble Oil, which then, of course, evolved into Exxon/Mobil. His wife, Margaret “Mag” Batts Tobin, was the daughter of Robert Lynn Batts, a former University of Texas law professor and Chairman of the U.T. Board of Regents (Batts Hall on the U.T. Austin campus is named for him). He also served as Chief Judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Robert, their only son, born in 1934, was a descendant of the Canary Islanders who founded San Antonio. Very few locals could match his inimitable pedigree. In 1954, when he was just 19, as a sophomore at the University of Texas in Austin, his father and Braniff Airlines founder, Tom Braniff, were killed in a plane crash in Louisiana. Remarkably, at that young age, Robert took over the operation of his father’s company and led it to unprecedented growth (eventually introducing color aerial photography, among numerous other innovations).


Diligent, accomplished, assured, and, yes, some would say entitled–Robert Tobin was not a man accustomed to being told no. When he was only 20, he was asked to serve as president of the local Children’s Service Bureau. In addition to becoming a member of the boards of the Worden School of Social Service at Our Lady of the Lake University, the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the advisory board of the San Antonio Council for Retarded Children, Tobin served as a member of the National Budget and Consultation Committee, and the Santa Rosa Hospital Advisory Board. He also put in his time in the upper echelons of San Antonio’s exclusive social clubs: the Order of the Alamo, the Argyle, the German Club, and the San Antonio Country Club. But, because of his avid interest in the performing arts, he also volunteered to be a stage hand at the Municipal Auditorium, which in his 20s led to his being awarded an honorary member of Local Union No. 76 of Stage Employees. It was an honor he would cherish throughout his life.


One couldn’t ask a young man to be a more civic and socially engaged citizen. With his towering stature of six-foot-six, dramatic good looks, thick mane of prematurely graying hair…and a penchant for wearing black capes, Tobin was a strikingly memorable presence wherever he went. But soon after he became the youngest chairman of the Board of Managers of the Bexar County Hospital District, amicable feelings between some San Antonio civic leaders and Young Tobin noticeably transformed.


His mother, Mag, was a passionate opera devotee and arts patron, who not only served as the president of the McNay Art Museum but also sat on the board of directors of the New York Metropolitan Opera. In fact, in 1984, she funded the McNay’s Tobin Wing in honor of Robert’s 50th Birthday to house his growing theatre arts collection. Robert Tobin, a generous philanthropist himself, continued the tradition by serving as chairman of the McNay and donated his world-renowned extensive theater-arts collection to the McNay Museum of Art, including more than 8,000 rare books–some published in the early 16th century, 20,000 stage maquettes, and unsurpassed drawings, paintings, and posters, all acquired via an inveterate collector’s matchless taste and discretion.




Tobin’s views were more global than what San Antonio could offer him at the time. It wasn’t so much that San Antonio stifled his artistic aspirations–on the contrary, San Antonio was never meant to be the end game for Tobin. After a very public, and publicly chronicled, dust-up regarding the building location of the Southwest Medical Center in the early 1960s, the world became his venue. The Tobin’s family friend, Candes Chumney, who identified herself as “the daughter Mag Tobin never had” believes the Medical Center battle soured Robert on his hometown. “Here was a very dignified gay man, who at the time never discussed his sexuality in any open environment. Family and close friends knew, of course, but that kind of personal, frank disclosure simply wasn’t the norm then.”


Thereafter, he slowly withdrew from San Antonio’s public, social, and philanthropic scene. San Antonio’s loss was the world’s gain. Obligations and interests in New York, Santa Fe, Spoleto, and European capitals made his local appearances ever rarer. Robert became a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera for some 20-odd years, a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, president of the Spoleto and Glyndebourne Festivals and collaborated with his friend, John O. Crosby, in the early days of building the Santa Fe Opera.


As Robert’s health began to decline after a cancer diagnosis in 1990, he returned to his home town of San Antonio to set a course for his continuing legacy of philanthropic support for his various interests, including his beloved McNay Art Museum, the Santa Fe Opera, the arts, and other civic support for San Antonio. In 1998, Robert asked his long-time trusted advisors Leroy G. Denman, Jr. and J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. to oversee his various business and philanthropic endeavors, which after his death in 2000, evolved into The Tobin Endowment.


Since Robert’s passing in 2000, visitors to the McNay Art Museum can enjoy not only the Tobin Wing established by Robert’s mother in 1984 to house Robert’s Theater Arts Collection, but visit the new “Tobin Galleries” which opened in 2008 as well. Also, San Antonians enjoy the Tobin Library at Oakwell, the 100 acre Tobin Park and soon, the Robert L. B. Tobin Land Bridge in Phil Hardberger Park, among many other gifts by The Tobin Endowment in honor and memory of Robert Tobin. Under the leadership of the late Leroy G. Denman, Jr. and Chairman of The Tobin Endowment, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., The Tobin Endowment has contributed over $65 million to the arts since 2000, including a $15 million naming gift to build The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio.


In fact, under the leadership of the late Leroy G. Denman, Jr. and J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Chairman of The Tobin Endowment, The Tobin Endowment has contributed over $65 million to the arts since 2000, including a $15 million naming gift to build The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio. In 2017, in recognition of The Tobin Endowment’s philanthropic work in the State of Texas, it received the Texas Medal of the Arts by the Texas Cultural Trust.


In addition, The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, established shortly before Robert’s death in 2000, has donated rare costumes and design materials to The University of Texas, San Antonio, among other gifts, and published a history of stage design and technology. Months before his death, Tobin personally donated more than 30 paintings by Robert Indiana, Paul Cadmus, Joan Mitchell, and other notable American artists to the McNay.


The former manager of the Argyle and Board Chairman of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, Mel Weingart, was a close confidante of both Mag and Robert. He lived for a time in the Tobins’ side-by-side Manhattan townhomes on Park Avenue and managed their New York dealings. “I think Robert would be in seventh heaven about the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts,” Weingart said. “He was humble. He would have never sought out name recognition on his own. This is a way to acknowledge the person and the family, who, for a significant period of time, honorably represented the city in the art world in a profound and noteworthy way.”



Indeed. Visionary, aesthetic, discerning, and a consummate patron, Robert L.B. Tobin gave, and continues to give, more to his hometown than even he could possibly have conceived some 20-years since his passing. Iris Rubin, a close confidante and University of Texas college chum of Tobin’s, declared that “Robert was blessed with taste, intelligence, and the ability to apply it all successfully. He was a citizen of the world. We were lucky he was from here and especially fortunate that he graced our city with the gifts that he ultimately did.”


  1. Bruce Bugg, Jr. shared his memories of the man behind the legend. “Robert Tobin was a virtual kaleidoscope of so many interests. He had an intimidating public persona–as people remembered him wearing his black capes–yet in private, he was a kind and compassionate man, of keen intellect, whether in business, the performing and visual arts, or whatever topic a guest might wish to discuss. He had a wicked sense of humor, christened by a dry wit–he was a wonderful person as anyone lucky enough to have known him knew all too well–he is missed but remembered for his ongoing generosity to San Antonio and the arts he so loved.”


The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, in the heart of downtown San Antonio, continues to thrive as a favorite venue of world-class performances and events. The eponymous Robert L.B. Tobin Society is the inspiration for recognizing those who support The Tobin Center. Membership in it provides the opportunity to join fellow community, philanthropic, and cultural leaders who demonstrate support for The Tobin Center and the legacy of its namesake.


For more information, visit and



We love supporting our cozy, local eateries around wintertime, don’t you? Join our editors Jake Gaines in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio as they share their stellar statewide recommendations that are must-dines as the weather turns cooler.


So Well Done Austin Salad


The Well, Austin’s newest eatery entry, is about as natural as it gets. The new concept from the team at Nova Hospitality incorporates top tier nutrition, functional ingredients, local and sustainable farming, and authentic bold flavors. Choose from pick-up and outdoor dining. At

The Lolo Austin Texas wine bar


The wine bar in town to love is LoLo, with a range of sparkling, white, and red wines…and some vine surprises, too. They also serve small snacks and cheese plates. At

Rebel Cheese Austin Texas


In the Mueller District, the new favorite kid in town is Rebel Cheese. The vegan deli and wine shop boasts the largest selection of fresh, house-made, artisan vegan cheeses that can’t be beaten. At


pastry from La Tarte Tropézienne  dallas texas


La Tarte Tropézienne, the famed French pâtísserie based in St. Tropez, France, has recently opened its first U.S. location in downtown Dallas. Beyond their renowned namesake tarte, they also offer viennoiserie, sandwiches, wine and champagne, caviar, and more. At

Georgie Dallas Restaurant


Georgie by Curtis Stone has rebounded from the pandemic punch with refreshed menus that have offerings as distant as Australia where chef Curtis Stone is from, such as the Australian Blackmore wagyu, and seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients from Dallas’ urban backyard. At

Food from Rise & Thyme Dallas tTexas


Rise & Thyme is the seasonal American café that offers guests a wide variety of options, from salads to sandwiches, pastas to patty melts. Open for takeout, delivery, limited indoor seating, and a full range of outdoor seating in the new downtown AT&T Discovery District. At


Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Bier Garden


Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Bier Garden, opens its first Houston location and third nationwide on the bustling Washington Corridor at the corner of Washington and Durham. The rustic, yet relaxed open-air concept is a blend of contemporary Italian cuisine and German bier garden. At

Chocolate Crepe Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café


Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café has brought the highly versatile French street fare staple to Houston’s nearby Sugar Land Town Square. With cuisine inspired by the founder’s  frequent trips to crêpe carts while studying in Paris, the venue offers seating inside and on the expansive patio. The menu has a variety of breakfast sweet and savory crépes, in addition to salads, paninis, wine, and champagne. At

Adair Restaurant Houston


Located in the Wells Fargo Plaza, the new eatery is perfect for breakfast and brunch. Whether you eat inside or on the patio, you can begin the day with avocado-chorizo toast or swing by for lunch for a quinoa bowl in a stylish environment. At


Salad from Jardin San Antonio


Chef Jason Dady has opened a new concept eatery located within the Sullivan Carriage House at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Jardín serves fresh Mediterranean fare inspired by the gardens, with ingredients served straight from the grounds. Guests can either dine in for lunch or dinner or are invited to obtain pre-packaged style meals-to-go and enjoy a picnic in the garden. At  

Los Azulejos San Antonio


Located in the heart of Castle Hills, Los Azulejos and its iconic, vibrant interior brings an upscale contemporary concept of authentic Mexican food with dishes that are representative of the vibrant colors and rich flavors of Puebla and Mexico City. The menu features flavorful dishes like Huachinango Zarandeado, Enchiladas Suizas, Ribeye Tacos, and The Lobster Trio. At

Sandwich Best Quality Daughter San Antonio


Best Quality Daughter, the highly-anticipated new restaurant, by Chefs Jennifer Dobbertin and Quealy Watson, has just opened at Pearl. A concept that pioneers New Asian-American Cuisine, the restaurant experience is inspired by a reflection of the founder’s travels and the comfort food of her youth as a second-generation Chinese-American. A warm, fun, and stylish environment serves as a culinary beacon to locals and travelers alike. At