Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reconnect with artist Carolyn Hancock

 Above: Carolyn Hancock and her painting, "I Wonder."

I do much of my paperwork where I can gaze at a portrait of my daughter painted by Carolyn Hancock. The artist made an impression on me when she lived in Port Arthur and worked with the Texas Artists Museum in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Kind, creative and talented is how she rolls.
I got an e-mail that she was giving away a painting and people could enter to win it. Guess what? I won it!
“Monterey Morning” is a small pastel of the California Coast at Asilomar in Monterey, California.
Hancock lives in Richmond, where she says her golf course home glows with  paintings of people and landscapes, ranging from quiet serenity to vivid contrasts of color.
She loves figurative art and coastal paintings, ranging from the Texas bayous to the California coast.
 “And living on the golf course, surrounded by so much green, I couldn’t help but add golf course paintings,” Hancock said. “I play golf and throughout the day see so many unexpected colors hidden among the trees.”   

Hancock was honored in 2013 by being elected an Associate Member of the Pastel Society of America. She is President of the Pastel Society of Southeast Texas. Her work has recently been exhibited in Art of the Pastel 2014 in Clute and in Pastel Revisited at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts in Spring, Texas. Her painting “I Wonder” was purchased by The Woodlands High School Art Trust Foundation and is included in the permanent legacy display at the school. Dr. Joe Allen Rice chose her painting “A Technicolor Day” as the cover for his book.
She is also a website designer, blogger and author of the newsletter “Scrumble.” Her articles have appeared in Fine Art Views daily newsletter and the online magazine Artists on Art. 

I loved connecting with Hancock again. You can too, through her art blog and newsletter at carolynhancock.com

Local fun here now and on the way
This year’s Mexican Heritage Society Fiesta will include a car show, Gator Country visit, music from Las Fenix and Magia Loca, folkloric dancing, pageants and food on Sept. 12-13 at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.

Some pages to LIKE
Readers, I’d love you to LIKE the Port Arthur Texas Visitors Bureau Facebook page for beautiful images and good news of our city.
While you’re at it, The Texas Artists Museum page is another winner, so like that one.
For more Fiesta information, like the Mexican Heritage Society of Port Arthur Texax page. That’s right, look for the Texax.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"The Producers" hit it big

“The Producers”
It’s true what the Port Arthur News reported, Mel Brooks can try to offend everyone, but you’ve just got to laugh anyways. “The Producers” offers so many surprises I can’t reveal. I will say, pay attention to the dancing pigeons. I love it when Port Arthur Little Theatre works with Lamar State College-Port Arthur to put on summer musicals. Pack the house to see your neighbors on stage. This comedy is about putting on a Broadway show that is sure to fail, but somehow gets rave reviews. Fun, fun and more fun.
Get your tickets for the show, July 25-27 and Aug. 1-2 at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center.

Trip to the Dead Sea
Feeling Biblical? Or like Celopatra? I am.
The Rosmarinus Officinalis smells divine. That’s rosemary leaf extract. But this smooth cream has more natural stuff and moisturizes while leaving skin looking and feeling radiant and helping diminish the signs of wrinkles, fine lines and pores. It’s Silk’n Dead Sea Mineral Cream and promoters say it’s a grait pearing with Face FX anti-aging treatment. It’s creamy and not greasy and soaks in for instant soothing.

Tracy Byrd headed to Isle
Tracy Byrd will make his debut on the Isle of Capri Main Stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30 in the Event Center.
Byrd’s songs include the No. 1 Hit “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” and "Keeper of the Stars," which won the 1996 Academy of Country Music's Song of the Year award. Tickets for Tracy Byrd are only $15 with a Fan Club card and $20 without and can be purchased starting on Wednesday, July 30 online at www.lake-charles.isleofcapricasinos.com, at the Isle of Capri Banana Cabana Gift Shop or by calling 1-800-THE-ISLE. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jivin' Gene wows 'em in Katy

Our own Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois made a Fifth of July appearance with the Liberty Opry, which went on the road to Katy, Texas. Of course, they loved him, along with the rest of the swamp pop, country and patriotic tunes played to raise money for A.A.R.P.
I attended with my aunt and other family members and we loved how several generations took it to the dance floor. We also loved the museum section of the VFW Post 9182, which featured a table set to represent Prisoners of War – Missing in Action. I’d never seen one of these before. There is a protocol, with symbolism such as a red rose, wine glass turned upside down, and salt and a lemon to represent bitterness and tears for those who are not at home to dine with loved ones.

Take Highway 71
I was taken by mention of mole bitters. I’m captivated by the chocolate and chile combo over chicken, so there’s no reason it couldn’t mix well with tequila. You can make or buy the bitters, but this is what you do with them, according to makers of Tequila Don Julio.

Highway 71
Created by NYC Mixologist Thomas Waugh

1 ounce Tequila Don Julio Añejo
1 half  ounce Coconut Infused Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Chocolate Molé Bitters
Smoked Cinnamon Stick for Garnish

**To create Coconut Infused Sweet Vermouth:
1 750 ml bottle Sweet Vermouth
1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes

Add sweetened coconut flakes to a bottle of Sweet Vermouth.
Let sit for 2 hours.
Strain out coconut and add liquid back to the bottle
Label and refrigerate.

Combine Tequila Don Julio Añejo, coconut infused sweet vermouth and chocolate molé bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
Strain contents into a rocks glass over one large piece of ice.
Garnish with smoked cinnamon stick.

Ideal Serving Glass:
Rocks Glass

Sauza Blue
This 100 percent Blue Agave has a flavor that penetrates whatever fruit you have on hand this summer.  Southeast Texans may already know a thing or two about what goes with Tex-Mex food, as well. But as many flavors as the contents of this bottle mix well with, consider sampling the nuances over nothing other than crushed ice.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Hellion" in Houston

Courtesy photo “Hellion” director Kat Chandler by Chris Castillo

“Hellion” in Houston
While I enjoyed fireworks, my husband, Chris, saw a Fourth of July screening of “Hellion,” filmed in Mid-County venues, at Sundance Cinemas in downtown Houston. He chatted with director and screenwriter Kat Chandler, who he met when she screened a film at Spindletop Lamar University Film Festival in Beaumont.
Three young lead actors from “Hellion” were part of a question and answer session with Chandler after the screening. My husband tells me the audience gave the film rave reviews and and noted that Nederland and Port Neches-Groves football team logos were featured.

My word of the day from Dictionary.com was lagniappe, which is the “little something extra” phrase we know so well.  I was tickled by the phrase “chiefly southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas” in the description. Love it. Use this word today!

Tostada Regia
World Cup action was on the big screens at my first summer stop at Tostada Regia on Interstate 10 in Houston. I was soon back for another tostada de bistec, a gigante presentation of chopped beef steak, avocado, rich crema and other fare tucked between large, crispy tortillas. It looked like a sandwich, but I did spy others taking it apart and eating with a fork, so I did, too. Little pots of warm, dark and refreshing green salas come with very crispy chips. The next time I went there were pop videos on the big screen. I loved that tables with mom, dad, kids and grandparents fill the tables at this restaurant. There are several more in the Houston area.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Poenicia downtown makes Houston go gourmet

Phoenicia downtown
How much fun would it be to get off of work in downtown Houston and walk over to an international shopping experience, a ready-made gourmet dinner and perhaps some vino and music?
Months ago I shared my love of Phoenicia Specialty Foods on Westheimer Road in Houston. It’s a sprawling warehouse of fun from bread that comes from above – on conveyor belts – to coffees, jams, canned fish and anything else you’d want from around the world. I found the downtown market, and a great paring space, and had a quick bite for my first ever Astros game.
There was plenty to choose from, but in the essence of time, my husband and I chose a roasted chicken, olives stuffed with cheese and  flatbread with feta. We just found a seat and tore into that chicken, while watching fascinating people through the window as they headed home or ventured in to dine with us.

Hair clay
If vegan clay in your hair sounds good for your pixie or pompadour, think about my poor curls. Wait, NEUMA’s neuStyling Texturizer and Clay is working for me, too. They actually had me a promise of “textured, frizz-free finish with volume, shine and movement.”  Natural ingredients certainly can do the job. My curls are more manageable and soft. The texturizer  (with sunflower seed oil, aloe, apricot oil, horseradish and burdock) issues from a beautiful pump bottle and the clay is in a plastic jar. Both have a floral medallion logo and tout a “beautiful, sustainable” product. I like it a lot.

More good summer looks
It’s what you’ve been looking for if you’re just about any age woman with facial emergences you shouldn’t have to deal with. Here’s something that covers with a bit of color and acts as a make that fights acne as you wear it. with multi-tasking makeup that fights acne while you wear it. Hydroxatone’s Anti-Acne CC Cream contains salicylic acid to clear and prevent breakouts, controls excess oil, moisturizes and visibly reduces redness. It feels so good and works just right for me.

Purge, baby: This next stuff went on soft, stayed on 10 minutes and left my face the softest that I can recall. Makers say the purging Bioelements Kerafole mask smoothes, hydrates and reveals fresh, radiant skin. If I do say so myself, the citric malic acids, ginkgo biloba, kelp, chamomile, orange clove and tea tree, lemon and lavender oil are said to do this: calm, tone and revitalize, while ridding the skin of impurities and reducing pore size. Sometimes, you’ve just got to treat yourself. It can change your attitude.
 Sunny days: I’ve been walking around with my hand over my neck because the sun can damage a little bit at a time. Bioelements RayDefense protects without some artificial and synthetics products you don’t want and shields against damaging UVA and UVB rays that can cause aging lines and wrinkles. I’ve been applying this high quality sunscreen/moisturizer before daily walks. We Southeast Texans have got to have our time in the sun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Austin gets an "A"

Austin gets an A

My "capital" time in Austin was spent checking in on places I already love.The great mother Whole Foods is my current favorite place not only for exposure to foods from around the globe and the interesting people who shop for them, but also for a cool respite. I’m not gonna lie, that underground lot is one of the few places one can park in Austin. I got a tiffin, one of those stacking metal lunch boxes.

Keep Austin Weird

I looked it up, “Portlandia” fans. They were keeping Austin weird before Portland. Don’t worry. There’s enough weird for everyone.