Monday, October 20, 2014

For 40 years the Texas Renaissance Festival has been a rowdy, muddy, musical, creative adventure for me and mine. I can’t get enough of it and you can get your fun in weekends through Nov. 30.
I’ve loved this festival since before the French High photo club headed out there in the ‘80s. But I’ve skipped a few. This time around I enjoyed the Magic Garden area, a quiet, dark path lined with bamboo and with cul-de-sacs featuring oversized mosaic-tiled benches and bromeliads in orange, purple and gold that look like a disco garden in an Alice in Wonderland type of fantasy.

Does Gratitude take practice?
Some blessings are obvious. Take time to be appreciative of that cup of coffee; breathe; and know anything is possible. “Sunrise Sunset: 52 Weeks of Awe & Gratitude” is a little book offering Kim Weiss’ photos of, sunrises and sunsets, of course. It also has some nuggets of thought from several contributors who remind us of what makes a glorious day. I love M.J. Rose’s practice of imagining which painter may have painted the sky that day. Monet? VanGogh? Magritte? A big old “thank you” goes to Kim Weiss for this book from Health Communications Inc.
Other kinds of beauty:
·         Warming Honey Cleanser from Cleanse is the name that sounds like it says it all, but that's just the starting point. Papaya enzymes and green tea extracts. Warm up on your face and you just won't want to stop cleaning. That warm feeling gives way later to an appreciation of pore minimalizing, protection of your ceramide barrier, etc.
·         Weleda gives you your oats. Why do you want them in your hair? You do. The company has been developing anthroposophic medicines and natural cosmetic products since 1921 and now they’re bringing us the scent of mimosa flowers and tonka beans while organic oat extract and jojoba seed oil gets to work restoring, protecting and smoothing the hair’s surface. I’m enjoying the shampoo and the replenishing treatment with sea buckthorn and coconut oil. If you do an internet search for all the ingredients and philosophies of this product, you’ll be occupied with interesting information until it’s time for your next shampoo.
·         Environ Intensive Hydrating Oil Capsules are teeny packages of vitamins, soy protein oil, green tea, etc. that go deep to nourish stressed, aged and sun-damaged skin. It’s very, very nice to smell, feels great going on and, since I’m the tester, I have to add that I look pretty good.

Surf Sweets
Know how they say to get Halloween candy you don’t like so you’ll stay out of it? Surf Sweets has ruined that for me. Spooky Spiders, Sour Worms, Organic Fruity Bears and such are made with organic fruit juice so guess what, they don’t taste all artificial and yucky. It’s a healthy alternative to a lot of the scary stuff that’s out there. Treat yourself.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Swants, sweggings and your name in lights


Swants  & Sweggings make list of fall finds
This hint of cool air had me  in Kosby Swants from Festified Holiday Clothing. Swants are lounge pants made of sweater material and Sweggings are a bit more form fitting, as in sweater leggings. My Swants match other old school lined patterns in the line, like a hat that covers your ears. Though spelled with a K, I can’t help but link the spirit to Bill Cosby’s famed patterned sweaters of the ‘80s. Should your entire family or office long to be outfitted in leg lamp attire, menorah hats, garments that light up or more fun, dare I say knowingly tacky, and very funny gear, hit this site.
Don’t stop there. Fill your 2015 calendar  with festive looks for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. You will definitely be the talk of the party with your NFL sweater, sweater dress or looks for you dogs and children.

Vintage Marquee Lights
Sometimes vanity is fine. I love the letter D. No surprise with my name being Darragh. It’s impossible to find coffee mugs or key chains with my name on it in stores with racks of souvenir goodies. But, I can have my D, or my whole name in lights thanks to Vintage Marquee Lights.
Initials, a fleur de lis, a heart…  your heart’s desire comes to your door though this company. Please note the caution message in packing: “Sharp rusty edges. Handle with care.” Then you screw in all the little  light bulbs and you have yourself a work of art. This look is classic and fits in with so many decors. It’s a literal statement piece when you spell out your message. Have fun at

If you’d been a genius kid on “Jeopardy” you might get tired of having every third person talk about remembering watching you and trying to stump you with questions. You might want to acquire a new identiy, too. Maybe you wouldn’t mind using your prize winnings to live overseas as a renegade graffiti artist. But what if you fell in love, and your smart self could save your girlfriend’s life?
“Elixer” is called a high-octane action thriller by new writer Ted Galdi. It’s such a timely topic that I don’t even want to mention the deadly virus that makes up the plot of the book. I read this book a few weeks  ago and it’s even more timely today. I was hooked.
There’s a corrupt pharmaceutical  company, romance and government danger. What more could you want?

Which boots today?
Kind of like Cinderella’s glass slipper, there’s a clear rain boot with cheetah, floral and other colorful inserts that will keep stylish women dry this season. Change up the look with inserts that slip in and keep you in a perky mood on a cloudy day. I’m hard to fit, and the ones I tried fit well. I know. You won’t want to get your new boots dirty, but that’s what they’re for, ladies. Here’s the scoop: Interchangeable Boots, Totes+Wristlets- TwoAlity Waterproof Gear- Look for new waterproof totes and wristlets from TwoAlity as featured in Bobbie’s Buzz on The TODAY Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. They were created by a set of twin sisters when they were just 19.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pink out this October

Pink out this October
Here are some product lines that are going pink to support October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m touching on the product; look them up and read labels to learn more about initiatives and special projects:

Pink Out Loud is a Paul Mitchell line at Professional Salons covered with pink lipstick kisses. You’ll add your own after trying the sculpting brush for that is kind for detangling my recalcitrant curls. There’s also a paddle brush; Fast Form, with reduces drying time while taming and soothing with avocado, shea butter and avocados. Those avoiding frizz can go with Super Skinny serum. The kisses are definitely uplifting and you’ll also love that Paul Mitchell’s limited edition has teamed up with Bright Pink to share the importance of self-exams and early detection. Visit for locations.

Sparkling ICE
This fizzy, zero calorie mountain spring water is sporting a pink ribbon on pink grapefruit flavor and maker support cure funding. This is a light, tasty way to stretch our calorie budget. I’m adding this flavor into the rotation of ICE flavors.

suki® ultra-protect™ body balm: 100% of proceeds from October sales of this product will benefit Breast Cancer Action (, an organization whose mission is to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer.
This balm is about the softest stuff I’ve tried and it hydrates after daily exfoliation. Directions say to warm a small amount between palms and smooth into skin. This extra step makes it a salon experience. Good for: dry stretch marks, sore, chafed, cracked & damaged skin, eczema patches, mom's bellies & baby bottoms.

    jane iredale Smell the Roses Hydration Spray: jane iredale celebrates seven years of partnership with Living Beyond Breast Cancer® with this launch. One hundred percent of profits from the sale of Smell the Roses Hydration Spray will be donated to Living Beyond Breast Cancer® in support of women affected by breast cancer.
So, this is what they mean about smelling the roses. They’re wonderful, and you can put this bottle in your bag and smell them again, all day long. Rose Damascena Flower Water in a spritz is a skin tonic and cleanses the skin, calms inflammation and reduces redness without disturbing its natural protective shield. Have you been worried about your shield?
This rose scent will calm you down while nourishing, cleansing, and, apparently, increasing blood circulation. Another perk; it can be used to wet makeup brushes to create precise lines. Oh, yeah.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A new taste from Bebeaux'

Bebeaux’s to host Shrimp Creole launch at Madison’s
I’m loving watching the Beabeaux’s Cajun Food Line get popular here in Southeast Texas. That gumbo is ready to eat and doesn’t even need my usual round of extra seasoning.
Want to try the new Shrimp Creole? Get to the Launch into Fall party at Madison’s on Dowlen from 7 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 4.
Lauren Bebeau, director of sales, says the family recipes are true to the history or Arcadia, Louisiana. Zummo’s andouille sausage is a key ingredient and probably a good part of the reason we locals like it so much.
Look for it at H-E-B, Market Basket, Brookshire Brothers and The Big Store at Crystal Beach.

Congrats to Rae-Gina Powell
Jerry Bellot, president of the Cajun-French Music Association’s Golden Triangle Chapter, presented Rae-Gina Powell with a $750 scholarship to Lamar State College- Port Arthur.
The CFMA is dedicated to promoting Cajun music and culture and meets the first Friday of the month at the American Legion Hall on Nederland Avenue.

“Twelfth Night”
Beaumont Community players built a simple stage for “Twelfth Night” that keeps attention focused on characters that are classic William Shakespeare. There’s gender switching, reunions, pranks and of course, love. Hilarity ensues. I wonder what the Bard would have done writing for modern situation comedies.
BCP ads modern touches to this very fun and complex show. There’s even a Monkees song. I’m a believer. Catch this show through Oct. 4 in Beaumont.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sour Lake murals, CavOILcade, part of a Texas fall

Sour Lake Murals
I wish I  could have experienced the bathhouses that made Sour Lake a spa resort. This little town has two bed and breakfast spots and walls of historic murals. Get a brochure on the city to learn that Sam Houston was a VIP at the springs seeking relief for his war wounds.

I finally stopped at Ernie's  Hardware in Sour Lake after years of seeing billboards. Just as I suspected, there are gift items, like flamingo socks, in there amidst brass fittings and hammers. This General Mercantile could be considered fancy, as they will sell you canvas Ernie's bags.

Ready for a fall festival?
Yes, The Pickett House is still serving heaps of fried chicken and chicken and dumplings boarding house style. Yes, it's still amazing. Consider heading up there around October 17-19 for the 26th annual Harvest Festival in Woodville. Stages will feature a Western shoot out, square dancing, book signings from Texas authors bluegrass and more than I have room to share.
On the topic, teachers can get credit by taking the Pioneer Skills for Living workshop Sept. 27 at Heritage Village Museum. For details, call (409) 283-2272.

My Texas
Texas is lovable. Do  you know how many Pinterest boards are devoted to the Lone Star State? The Josh Abbot Band has released “Small Town Family Dream,” with a cut called “FFA,” and yes, that’s exactly what you think it is. You can conjure up images of blue corduroy jackets and teens in boots. Listen also for “My Texas,” featuring Pat Green, and shamelessly working in references to Enchanted Rock, the San Antonion River Walk and more to love about Texas. “Dallas Love” is another country sound. These songs are heavy on the fiddle and can make you crave a cold one and a dance floor.

CavOILcade coming up
What’s new in fall fashion? The CavOILcade Style show will give you a first glimpse, and there’s lunch at the Pompano Club in the deal.
Here are some CavOILcade highlights:
The parade will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. The procession will leave Lamar State College – Port Arthur at 1500 Procter Street and travel to Houston Avenue.
The style show will begin at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Pompano Club. The $25 ticket will include a buffet at L’Chambre Room at the Pompano Club.
The Queen’s Scholarship Coronation will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Theater. Tickets are $20.
For information on CavOILcade, contact Pam Trosclair at 409-983-1009,  or 409-498-1793. Tickets may be purchased at the CavOILcade office, 2901 Turtle Creek Drive, suite 420.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bachlorettes in the house? Here's a toast

A little pink is good fore any season and some wedding-inspired cocktails get some help with new ready-to-serve Sauza Sparkling Margarita Watermelon over ice for a bubbly twist on the classic margarita. My testers were immediately put in a good mood from the fizz and the color. It was a refreshing pick-me-up. Also, look for Original Lime, Wild Berry and Mango Peach. Try it from the bottle or get playful with these ideas from Sauza:

Tying The Knot
·         1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
·        one fourth  part orange liqueur
·         1 part passion fruit juice
1 part soda water
·         1 half part agave nectar
·         Lime juice
             Lime peel (garnish)

Preparation: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour into glass over ice and garnish with a lime peel (optional).

Happily Ever After
             1 part of Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
             1  part cranberry/raspberry juice
             1 half part lemon-lime soda

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Serve chilled over ice. To create a layered cocktail, pour ingredients in order given into individual glasses filled with ice. Do not stir. Garnish with a peach and a sprig of mint.

Red and organized
Let's begin now. You've got a life to plan and you can't just keep hoarding the good stuff to use later. If you've got something like a luxurious red journal to fill in with everything from art lesson goals to soccer pick up, get a Dotmine Day Planner and fill it up. The one I'm cradling is stamped on the cover to fill from August 2014 to December 2015. No excuses like, it's too pretty to disturb. It's dated, baby, so let's go, long range, weekly, for the long haul.  There's nothing like an old school planner, yet this one is contemporary. The kids just got new school supplies. This is what you need. How's 2015 looking? Ink it in with good stuff, now. Check out Dotmine on

This mask is not for Halloween.
What can licorice, mulberry root and rosa canina fruit extracts do for your face? First, endure this: Skin renews itself every 28 days but aging slows this down and we have lessened blood flow, lower levels of collagen roduction and reductions in the natural exfoliation process of the skin are all factors for lackluster skin. This is according to Perfective Ceuticals, who, fortunately, bring us Divine Brightening Mask to even out skin tone and discoloration. I tried this paper mask infused with hydrolyzed collagen and felt dewy afterwards. It’s like you can feel the moisture getting into your skin. They suggest you can use it after chemical peels or before big events, like you’re going down the red carpet or just out to eat with your favorite friends. The licorice acts as an anti-pigmentation agent that inhibits production of melanin and absorbs UV rays. The other goodies do their own thing. The paper mask has holes for your eyes, nose and lips. Relax as you use it for 30 minutes. Learn more at

Monday, September 1, 2014

Get ready to Fiesta!

New car show to highlight Mexican Fiesta
The 4Ever Rollin Car Club, a hot new band of sisters called Las Fenix, and a visit from Gator Country will spice up this year’s 46th annual Mexican Heritage Fiesta, Sept. 12-13 at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.
 A whole extra day has been added Friday to pet and pose with the gators and visit with car owners proud of their rides from the 1950s through current models. On Saturday, enjoy music by the popular Houston band, Las Fenix, Sal Cavazos, president of the Mexican Heritage Society, said.
There’s no charge for Friday’s car show and gator viewing. Saturday’s events will require admission to attend pageants, dance shows and concerts. Saturday’s six vendors will provide a feast of authentic dishes including pork and beef tamales, rice and beans, an array of taquitos and everyone’s favorite: corn in a cup.
For a full schedule, visit

Smell your favorite park
Sounds like I could be making this up, but hear me and smell me out. Air Wick is thinking the sweet vanilla and pumpkin scent of Acadia, Maine could be preferable to your college roommate’s socks. Enter oils and sprays that hint of grapefruit, white flowers and sandalwood, representing the Grand Canyon. Gulf Islands get magnolia, pineapple and coconut. It’s my sister’s love of Hawaii that made me seriously want to check out this product line. Kaloko-Honokohau is represented with fragrance notes of papaya, mandarin, hibiscus and sandalwood. Are you there yet?
This is a brilliant idea on Air Wick’s part. Who wouldn’t want to recreate a memorable vacation?

Paleo Ice Cream
Pumpkin and sweet potato spicy flavors appear to be as hot this coming season as they were this past year. Ben Hirschberg has them in his new book “Paleo Ice Cream: 75 Recipes for Dairy-Free Paleo Ice Cream.” But I’ve got to say, the oregano, cucumber-mint, cayenne, goat cheese and olive oil were some flavors I didn’t expect in ice cream.
I’m willing. Hirshberg makes these healthy blends from bases like banana and coconut milk, with sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. All healthy, all addictive. He’ll teach you not be afraid of xanthan gum or chocolate stout beer as in ingredient. If you’ve got an ice cream maker and an adventurous spirit, you’ll go nuts (how about almond or cashew) keeping up with or ahead of the author. He does encourage experimentation, with just about any flavor legal in your state. That’s what he said. Here’s a recipe for one of his toppings:

Sunflower Seed Butter Sauce
One fourth cup sunflower seed butter
One half cup coconut milk
One  and one half tablespoons honey
1 half teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Ine a medium saucepan, stir all ingredients together over low heat untila a homogeneous mixture is formed, about 45 seconds.
Pour over ice cream and enjoy.