Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brush up with the Bad Breath Bible author

The same week I’ve been cleaning out ancient products from my mother’s bathroom closet, Dr. Harold Katz’ TheraBreath products came into my life. Orange, green and white packaging looks as old-fashioned as the stuff I’m weeding out of the closet, but the doctor’s products and their claims are reassuring. Makers say that today we are more careful about artificial stuff in our kids’ peanut butter than we are in what is in their toothpaste. 
Dentist and national oral health care expert Harold Katz, author of “The Bad Breath Bible,” ( invites us to avoid

FD&C blue dye No. 2, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Triclosan and Saccharin and aspartame.

He advocates that buyers should look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities. Aloe vera tooth gel is said to kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, Katz says.

His naturally oxygenating Fresh Breath toothpaste comes out of a tube looking like petroleum jelly. It’s simple, basic and has no flavor. The aloe vera concoction is “24-hour guaranteed. The gum in this line is tasty, and I love the powerful lozenge. They’re designed to wet the mouth, as is the rinse that feels like you haven’t used anything. By that, I mean there’s no sting or “medicine breath.” The Perio Therapy line for gum care offers a gel toothpaste with sodium fluoride. It has an old-fashioned blue and silver look. Give the doc a try.

Tara Walker’s Dream

Little tubes of Tara Walker’s dream have a winged look. It’s all part of the design to keep products bacteria-free. Products arrive packaged in hermetically sealed tubes with less than three ounces per tube in a sleek metal tin. Don’t worry about any unseemly ingredients in the plastic, or cross-contamination from your germy fingers. Tara is keeping it fresh. What’s inside is worth keeping in good condition, like Rejuvenating Dream Serum® +100 Concentrate, with 109 antioxidant-rich bioactive botanicals. This little dose of elixir packs essences of flowers, leaves, fruits, seeds and stems of plants sourced from every continent. Look for marine ingredients, too. I’m sampling a cleanser, that reminds me of a good oil cleansing, plus day and night treatments that are just-right for feeling great while traveling. Keep it clean with Tara.

Polish me

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you Zo’s polish is a highlight of my day. It’s one thing I’ve tried in the ZO® Skin Health line, created by renowned dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi M.D., and designed to restore skin to “bright, beautiful and youthful glory.” I feel a luxurious heat when I apply ZO Skin Health Offects® Exfoliating Polish. It’s a super-fine paste with magnesium crystals to immediately remove dead surface cells and offers vitamin A to improve cell turnover. Antioxidant vitamins C and E fight free radicals and repair damaged skin cells. That’s the facts, but I just have to say, it feels good going on and I’m better for it having been there.

Other stuff from ZO:

ZO Skin Health Ossential Daily Power Defense with time-released retinol, antioxidants, and DNA-repairing enzymes is a disguiser for dark spots, blotches and discolorations to minimize UV damage that causes uneven pigmentation:

ZO Skin Health Olluminate Intense Eye Repair deals with that stuff you don’t want around your eyes: wrinkles, uffiness and dark circles.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Road trips make summer memories

Have you hit the road yet this season? Here are some of my highlights:

Bryan and College Station

I snapped the larger-than-life class ring sculpture at Texas A&M and toured the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. That was a full day, right there. I loved a brochure that pointed out a city ordinance boosting Aggie maroon and minimizing Texas University orange in the area. Apparently businesses such as What-a-Burger and Home Depot which have the rival’s color as a main design are required to add some maroon to the structure.

Baton Rouge

Of all the great meals I had in New Orleans, I’m keeping Tony’s Seafood Market & Deli in Baton Rouge, La., on my tops list. It’s a big warehouse of a place with catfish swimming in a concrete basin on one end, and catfish being fried on the other. There’s no place to sit down, so after patiently waiting in a long line with people in their church clothes, we took our sandwiches to the car and ate under the partial shade of a tree. The toasted, pressed muffuletta was so good. I shared half of that an an oyster po-boy with my husband. I can’t even tell you how or why that oyster sandwich was so amazing. We are still talking about it.

Fort Worth

You can walk right by the Fort Worth Water Gardens without realizing the sublevel wonder is right beside you. At street level, near the convention center, you can barely hear the roar of water falling down crazy banks of steps built at unusual angles. You may not realize there are families, couples and perhaps quinceanera girls getting photographed. I found it and my jaw dropped. Then, I realized you could walk down into it, so I did. After dinner, I was again impressed to see it at night, all lighted. I posed for a News is Everywhere photo, which Roger will maybe run. I had been to Fort Worth within the year and walked through part of this complex without discovering the water gardens. After I posed this on Facebook, someone noted that a scene from “Logan’s Run,” a 1976 science fiction movie, was filmed there. I Googled that a bit and decided it’s one I want to catch.

Another Fort Worth highlight: Spotting a nacho truck that looked like the bed was filled with giant tortilla chips draped in cheese and jalapeno slices.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tattoo a Banana

Tattooing a banana, burning with pride and making scents

I started small with a paper clip point and tattooed my first banana with my husband’s name. Just poke holes in the skin and wait a bit for them to darken. You clearly get an outline. Quick success convinced me to try the template and create the statue of David, or perhaps poke “The Last Supper” onto my banana.

Am I nuts? As nuts as Phil Hansen, who wrote “Tattoo a Banana and Other Ways to Turn Everything into Art.” It’s a perfect kids, parents and summer book, though I think a girls’ night out planner could have some fun with Phil’s ideas, too. He’ll get you playing with food to make art and secret messages from potato peels, marshmallows and toast. Make a Pastafarian with uncooked macaroni. Some ideas are so simple that you can’t wait to try them. Have the kids rake a big picture or word from fall leaves, take a picture, then finish the fun that used to be a chore. Carve a phrase on the sole of your shoe, walk through water and leave your message behind. Follow a flamingo’s shadow. Phil is a fun guy, and now I’m more fun. Visit to learn his “shocking stories.”

All-American candles

Here are some new finds to brighten your summer:

If you are burning with patriotism, consider that Bridgewater Candles are made in Spartanburg, S.C., where makers believe in “supporting American jobs while sharing our blessings with the world.” I’ve got a red one warming my thoughts with the knowledge that the Light a Candle, Feed a Child program supports a Rice Bowls non-profit donation to feed a child for a day. Sweet Grace is that fragrance. Bridgewater offers a well-made candle in an attractive jar with a vintage-styled lid. Even in the middle of summer, these candles made me jump the calendar envision a warm, cozy Thanksgiving scenario.


I wonder if the court of King Louis XIV had the same idea as TasselAire. Now our tassels can look good and serve another purpose, holding in a scent. I’ve always tried to anchor a liquid scent by dropping it onto a wine cork in a bowl of potpourri. Tht’s the idea for TasselAire’s success. There’s a fabric “carrot” under the fringe of my silky green tassel that I can drop lemon verbena scent onto. Hang it on the doorknob and a waft of scent rewards everyone who opens and closes the door. I think I’ll try it on a closet hook, too. I’m just going to say, it’s degrees more stylish than the plastic cones of air freshener from my youth.