Monday, April 30, 2012

G.W. Bailey takes home a piece of Port Arthur

After the Red Hussars posed with photos, I had my moment with G.W. Bailey. I offered him a little chip of the pink granite that makes up the Port Arthur sea wall, and the actor with plenty to say got quiet.

“If those rocks could talk,” Bailey said. He recalled his youth and good times on the waterfront.

Bailey caught up with classmates at the recent Thomas Jefferson’s Class of ’62 high school reunion dinner at Holiday Inn Park Central. Red Hussars, from the school’s famous drum and bugle corp., also enhanced the weekend that included a sock hop and visit to see Bailey’s exhibit at Museum of the Gulf Coast.

The actor has had roles in the “Police Academy” movie series and TV series “M*A*S*H,” “The Closer” and “Major Crimes.” He said he’d keep his “Port Arthur rock” next to the piece of the Berlin Wall a friend had given him.

Port Arthur Convention & Visitors Bureau supported the Class of ’62 in preparing for its reunion. Family and class reunions and convention groups with bookings at Port Arthur hotels are encouraged to work with the bureau for amenities including “goody bags,” tourism brochures, name tags, welcome banners and more.

For great positive news and images of what’s going on in Port Arthur, LIKE the Port Arthur Texas Visitors Bureau Facebook page. Call at (409) 985-7822 or contact the Bureau at

Tom Dunlap of Port Arthur has two reports:

Gulf Coast Gala featuring Frankie Avalon was “tremendous,” he said. He attended with a packed house and was thrilled to support Lamar State College-Port Arthur, as well as Museum of the Gulf Coast, where he volunteers, he said.

Dunlop is also rightfully boasting about his spring garden, in which four little rows of “Contender” string beans has so far yielded 25 pounds of “beanage.”

A must-see museum

Tools and toys of daily living in the early 1900s are displayed with precision at the Orangefield Cormier museum. Two vast “warehouses” of memorabilia, from household kitchen ware to a typewriter the bank used to own, tell the Orangefiled story. A drug store, jail, bank and other areas have been recreated, some with lumber from old area buildings. Dolls, games, Texaco tankers and photos from days of old help keep younger visitors entertained and informed. Look for a bit of Port Arthur’s oil history, too. For hours and more, visit or call 1-409-735-2285.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pantastic, musical and drinkable ideas for Mother’s Day

My mother manages to turn out some amazing meals from pans I can’t abide. Wobbly handles and uneven bottoms respond to her touch, but not mine. I wish she’d let me bring her some T-fal fry pans with non stick interior and exterior and an even heat base. While this noted brand does have some more pricy items, the pans are something of a more moderate investment that will surely save stress while frying an egg in the mornings. They’re easy to clean and I absolutely love how easy it is to turn eggs over, sauté onions or melt cheese. The handles are firm and the overall product is sure to make even a novice cook impress diners.

T-Fal Actifry is something I have NOT tried, but you apparently can for about $249 from Bed Bath & Beyond. It’s billed as “A healthy multi-cooker—thanks to its unique technologies, it creates lower fat versions of the foods we all love such as French Fries, Stir Fry, and Mac ‘n’ Cheese with no more than 1 spoonful of oil.” T-fal’s Air Bake bakeware features non-stick insulation when two heavyweight aluminum sheets surround a layer of air. The air reduces the temperature of the metal that comes in contact with the food which makes for even baking and browning. It’s available at Ingenio, features T-fal’s patented Thermospottechnology and removable handles for easy storage and stacking. The line is exclusive for HSN shoppers and retails for $119.95 and will be available on

Finally, a radio!

I was hoping that freeing the Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player from its plastic casing would be the most difficult part of getting it from package to my ears. I’m not a techie, but I did get my favorite stations (go KVLU from Lamar University ) into this cool contraption during commercials of a crime drama I sometimes watch. It’s about the size of an old-fashioned lighter and yes, I realize players you can clip to your T-shirt and take on your walk have been around a while. When I saw this one has an FM radio and comes in a rainbow of colors and costs less than $50, I wanted to play with it and I approve. It comes with a few songs I’ll describe as Euro-tech, but you can load your own. I’m waiting for my daughter to do all that for me.

A silver sip

When is high stress good? Apparently the higher elevation of Jalisco, Mexico stresses agave plants into more depth and character for Avion Tequila. After harvesting, agave gets a slow roast in brick ovens and gets distilled in stainless steel pots with copper coils to remove sulfur. I could go on about “ultra slow filtration,” but I’ll just let you know the Silver version is smooth and Mom might like a bit served up on date night. This brand is new to Texas and a maker has San Antonio ties. I love Silver’s aroma, which my research shows has herbal tinges of mint and rosemary, delicate hues of flowers and black pepper and hints of grapefruit and pineapple. A little goes a long way and its smooth. Avion Reposado is aged six months and Avion anejo gets two years in oak casks. I’m sure I’m not the only mother who could go for this. Word is you can try Avion on tap, yes, I said tap of tequila, at Iron Cactus in Austin. Here’s a recipe:

Elevated Margarita


2 parts Tequila Avión® Silver

1 part Fresh Lime Juice

½ part Agave Nectar

1. Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice.

2. Strain into chilled glass.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Auora Cleaning

I’ve never seen a label instruction like this: “Excellent for home, office, car, therapy settings space and aura cleanings.” Diamond gem elixer is all over the web and Rhiamon Energy Essentials includes it in clear Away Essential Spray, which does smell great. I’ve sprayed it all over and I suppose my aura feels pretty good. The elixer is said to have the highest vibrational frequency for clearing. Apparently some blenders use a tuning fork if they were making their own. Clear Away smells so good because of lemon, grapefruit, sage, peppermint and rose. This line also offers chakra balancing blends. Sounds a little far out, or like Austin.

Living passionately

My sister identified the sandalwood from across the room when I misted Aphrodisia Room & Linen Spray. Her husband is from India and the scent took her back. Because I’ve never been, it took me forward. Until I get to go, I can use my imagination and this blend of neroli, patchouli and geranium. Adora Winquist, founder of Opus Gaia, has released Aphrodesia Bath and Body oil set which she says “will enable you to love and live life passionately even more.” Sounds like an “Eat, Pray, Love” moment. I poured some of the bath and body oil into a jar of sugar to make a scrub. I “love” it.

Coconut in the desert

This Earth Month season has Desert Essence asking earth dwellers to “reflect and respect” yourself and the environment.

New to me, this company was founded in 1972 and offers a full range of authentic nutrient desert and natural botanicals for body, face, hair and more with aloe vera, jojoba, tea tree oil and the like. I do like, in fact. They’ve thrown a cucumber into some lines. I’m enjoying the coconut hair defrizzer and heat protector that has a calming effect on my curls. I can’t decide if I like Coconut Soft Curls Hair Cream or Coconut Shine & Refine Hair Lotion better, but I look forward to each encounter with Thoroughly Clean Face Wash withEco-Harvest tea tree Oil and Awapuhi. Tea tree makes lots of things better, and the invigorating ingredient is in good hands with Desert Essence. Check out the broader line at

Friday, April 13, 2012

Suit up and let the games begin

I knew the minute the Selk'bag arrived, embarrassing photos would end up of me online. I decided to take the priest’s advice from a completely unrelated confession, and “roll with the punches.”

The Selk’bag Sleepwear System is like a sleeping bag with legs that’s as good on grass as it is the football stadium. I sampled a puffy purple one designed for our lighter Southeast Texas weather and tried this head-to-toe masterpiece on, much to the delight of my family, especially my visiting sister. I admittedly looked a bit like an Easter bunny, so I grabbed a basket and willingly posed for photographs. My sister just about split a gut laughing. All week she doubled over in laughter again when she thought about it. But she admitted that the laugh will be on me when the weather turns cool.

The company’s web page shows bagged wearers looking like they’ve just suited up and dropped down for a map on the desert landscape or wherever. The product is well-made and worthy of attention. It was the story that hooked me:

“The Selk'nam (meaning “men”) as they called themselves, were nomads who lived in Chile’s austral extreme. This area was previously known as the Land of Smoke and now the Land of Fire, or Tierra del Fuego, due to the numerous bonfires the natives would light at night to ward off conquerors passing in the open seas. Hunters and gatherers, the Selk'nam were characterized by their tall height, physical strength and toughness in adapting to the most hostile and extreme environments. Their silent resistance to freezing temperatures, fatigue, hunger and thirst won them respect from Europeans and fear from their enemies and neighbors.” Look up the rest of the story and suit up with me.

Be “board” with these games

To be honest, my Easter guests enjoyed Endless Games without using the provided board. We laughed all evening playing games and not keeping score with “Flipin’ Out, which called for players to flip over discs of letters that begin the words of certain categories. Tropical fruits, things that go in a garden and the great state of Texas were some fun categories. The example in the rules shows how silly you can get. When you name something sharp, you could flip “s” for scissors, “k” for knife or “c for cheddar cheese. More fun ensued with Name 5, with challenges like movies with Bradd Pitt, allergy symptoms, super powers and fruits or vegetables beginning with the letter A. We have found the first few are easy, but reaching five can be challenge with some categories.

GreenPan an Earth Day pick

Going green with GreenPan is my idea of healthy all the way around. Yes, it is possible to cook with very little or no oil and my past week of breakfasts have proven it. If you haven’t seen GreenPan on shopping TV, let me summarize the non-toxic line’s benefits. GreenPan’s Thermolon natural surface is different from traditional non-stick pans that are created with PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene) and PFOA (PerFluoro0ctanoic Acid) classified as a “likely human carcinogen,” according to GreenPan makers. They are Belgian, well-made and worth a little investment to replace cheap pans that have become wobbly and flaked over use. I pledge to not overheat these pans so I can continue to produce fabulous food with the easiest clean-up ever.

A paper towel is all I needed to clean up a round of eggs. Visit for more information on how these pans address a very valid health concern.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Orleans statues have their own stories

Ever leave New Orleans with a story to tell?
I’ve spent days in New Orleans without leaving the French Quarter, but those who “get out more” are treated to sculpture telling the city’s history. The Audubon Zoo is a fitting place to highlight a bronze statue of Audubon, with his sketchbook in hand. In “The Story Behind the Stone,” Robert Jeanfreau shares stories behind the works we pass by. Each page tells me something I didn’t know and Audubon’s tells me two: His letters of recommendation were picked from his pocket upon arrival to New Orleans. He was asked to make a drawing of a woman in the nude and not reveal her identity. He did as requested and received a souvenir rifle for his trouble.
Once back in the French Quarter, look for something you can’t see at ground level. The statute of St. Louis, King of France, is between St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere. Not quite visible to most viewers is the crown of thorns atop the pillow he holds.

Happy Easter to all
I hope your season has been eventful and you have had your fill of eggs, either stuffed or chocolate. Here’s two ways to keep your eggs fresh:
Freshvac boxes are what I call “screamers,” because they make a noise when you release the seal that keeps vegetables, etc. so much fresher, so much longer. One of these boxes was sent to me to review a long time ago and I have always wanted more. I am not a fan of internet shopping, but I’m happy to report my shipment of more boxes has arrived and the screamers are full of purple onions and mushrooms.
Good Bites Sandwich Box is “Mom Invented.” Colorful plastic lids snap onto a base that’s in the shape of a sandwich, with a side compartment for something else, like apples, grapes, olives, Easter eggs, etc. So you can save money, have the kids (or parents) eat right at school and work and box it all up in a BPA-Free container you can toss in the dishwasher. But my favorite part is that this mom made sure a flat space on top was the perfect size for a sticky note you child can look forward to every day. Your note can tell a joke, give a word of encouragement or remind the kids about game practice. Sales help other Mom-Invented endeavors.