Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sharon Jones has heart for her "babies"

I ran into Sharon Jones who was checking on her red-shirted “babies” in her cardiac exercise class at Rehab Center for Cardiac & Pulmonary Patients at Medical Center of Southeast Texas. She said the seniors often come in “mad and upset” about their condition and before she knows it, they love their exercise routine and their improved movement. Exercise bikes with cushy, couch-like seats are a favorite, Jones said.
More than one senior wearing a Mended Hearts shirt indicated Jones was, well, something like assertive in her means to get them moving.
“I get right in there with them,” Jones said. “ I say ‘Come on baby, let’s go. You’ve gotta move it.’”
One of her babies didn’t mind telling the time she came to class on her walker, and Jones told her not to bring it back again. The student got down to business and was able to leave the walker behind.

Bring the folks to folk art
How fitting my family should walk into a folk art exhibit on my belated Dad’s birthday. A “hot head” fashioned from found electrical items made Mom recall how my father had a flair for heart-felt yard art and making something from nothing.
Eyes Spy: Folk Art from the Permanent Collection is on view at Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont through Sept. 1. At the opening, we heard Andy Dean Emmons tell how “Woodpecker” came about. A crape myrtle knot he found by tree trimmers became the head and he came across bone that looked like wings. Several artists’ works are in this collection with mediums from aluminum foil and wood to glitter and clocks.

Texas love
They want boots. Travelers passing through Orange on Interstate 10 make The Horseman’s Store one of their first or last Texas stops, according to their destination. I stopped by, inhaled the aroma of leather, then visited with the staff as I browsed western shirts. Sales associates say those who weren’t born in Texas want to take some home for themselves and for grandchildren.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fiddling with success


‘Fiddler on the Roof’
If you didn’t mist up when Tevye and Golde sang “Sunrise, Sunset,” then I don’t know what to tell you. “Fiddler on the Roof” was such a hit when Lamar State College-Port Arthur and Port Arthur Little Theater presented it in 1996, they did it again with Tom and Linda Neal again in the lead roles. These groups had another summer hit on their hands.

Get Nude at the mall
I had to go there with the headline. Sensuous Nude is an Estee Lauder scent. Bealls at Central Mall has opened an Estee Lauder and Clinique counter. I have to sneak perfume, because my husband is allergic. The counter has a great array of aromas as well as very tempting nail and lip colors. Stop by.

Go thermal every morning
Have you been hearing about thermal coffee makers? Frigidaire Professional Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker is one of those beauties that look sexy on your counter even if you never use the thing. But you will use this one. It’s easy and reliable and the thermal stainless-steel carafe means your java will stay hot a long time. You don’t even have to worry about breaking the pot.
Of all the assets on this one impressive machine, my favorite is the mesh filter that rinses clean, so you don’t need to buy filters even to recycle. Look at how you make coffee now, and figure how improvements like this machine could make your morning even brighter and more efficient.
Frigidaire’s small appliance line is newly available at Target. Designed to balance style and durability with easy cooking features, the line includes a convection toaster oven, thermal coffee maker, five-speed blender and 5-in-1 grill and griddle. Frigidaire and Target are two names we trust.

Magnetic shirt
Of all the amazing new products I’ve enjoyed sampling and sharing with readers, my husband was most excited to try out a magnetic shirt. What this means is, it looks like a nice, dress, button-down shirt, but the closures are actually magnets, so the shirt is ridiculously easy to put on and take off. In fact, he kept undoing the closures to show people how very cool MagnaReady is. But what is a neat trick to some is a valuable tool to others. This shirt enables wearers from wounded vets to arthritis suffers to snap their shirt fronts and cuffs on easily. You won’t skip a buttonhole. If you like gadgets, you’ll want one. If you need one for ease of mobility, you’ll want the whole line.

Clean BBQ
Okay grill people, here’s something you’ll want to try. Clean BBQ is a disposable grill liner made from the kind of heavy duty foil used in disposable cooking pans. Why do you need this? Naturally cleanup is a breeze, and who doesn’t want a break after all that cooking. The benefits are you don’t have to worry about a wire bristle from your cleaning brush to get into your food and you can reduce the risk of cross contamination. These are two things that can keep you at the picnic and out of the hospital. Where would you be next weekend? I can’t decide if amateurs or pros will love them more. Check them out in 20-packs at Home Depot and online at

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Classic Travis and chocolate moon

Classic Travis
Travis Woods of The Classics Recovered Band knows his way around a guitar, and a squeeze box. Even though I’d been typing up press releases about this band’s area appearances for years, I just met Woods, of Buna, in connection with Southern Summer Night. His band has played for charities such as the American Cancer Society and St. Catherine School in Port Arthur. Woods said that by the end of this year, his gang is hoping to claim they have helped raise $1 million for area good causes.
Here’s another cool fact: Woods has played steel guitar for Shoji Tabuchi, and will return to his Branson, Mo. Theater in August to play the squeeze box.

Tape trick
Remember when this column kind of started out as reader household hints? I welcome more. Send them to me at and let me know I can use your name and city.
I’m putting this shout out because I just witnessed Tammy Domingue do some Scotch Tape trick. She made a roll about an inch long with the sticky side out and quickly removed some Sharpie ink from plastic. She says it works on all kinds of surfaces. I’m a big fan of generic brands, but I’ve got to have a real Sharpie and real Scotch tape. Here the two collaborate for a  great tip.

Best for baby

Is your Southeast Texas fig tree loaded? Great. Give some to a pregnant woman. Figs, yogurt, almonds and whole grains are great for hair health while expecting. That’s a tip from “The Modern Princess: A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. Men, tell your women they are beautiful when they are pregnant. Women, if you have a few dollars to splurge, invest in nice gold earrings that will still fit after you gain and lose weight, and consider a nice bag that can double as a diaper bag. Take a ‘babymoon” vacation.
These are more unexpected tidbits from Princess Ivana Maria Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, who has compiled this useful book. How to design the nursery, a packing list for the hospital and a few recipes are tossed in for good measure. Advice is varied, and here’s a good one for everyone: Don’t waste time on worrying about things that aren’t likely to happen. Focus on positive results.

Sweet summer read
If space travel means a spa buffet where sauces come out of spigots in the wall, book my transport. The future is funny in “Chocolate Chocolate Moons,” about a “fat girl” of the future. Her husband runs a pizza place on Mars, where beings are tall and thin because of the gravity. But Molly Marbles already weighs less in moon pounds than earth pounds, so she’s ahead of the game before becoming a security guard at a culinary institute. Jackie Kingon’s novel is funny, and one of the most amusing things is how our future generations are portrayed as knowing abut our time in history in askew versions. After all, none of them were around then. Molly and a Martian must solve the crime of who poisoned Chocolate Moon candies, and Molly’s former heavy Earth Guy, who is now a hunky spokesperson for the low-cal Freedom Plan, may be involved. This book is funny, and wholesome.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Been biking this summer?

How’s your summer?
My family’s bikes got some “work done” and my daughter and I whizzed through the neighborhood ringing our handlebar bells. Mine’s shaped like a red bell pepper because I like to cook. The rush of cool air felt like a beach breeze and I eventually started thinking about heading home because I’d have to find time to take a walk. Then it hit me, I was on the bike having fun and exercising at the same time.
This anecdote happens to loop into something new for bikes:
While I think the best bicycle accessory is a big wicker basket to fill with blessings, some safety advocates would say a bike light is a more important one. Twistlit is an L.E.D. bike light from that offers Geartie Technology. That means a simple “industrial” twist tie lets you position powerful read or clear lights that can be set to blink or not. Summer nights seem to last forever, but cyclists must remain visible as they head home from adventures. Good for all ages of peddlers. I love how easy these are to get on and go. It’s as easy to tie one on as it is to close a bread bag.

Want to smell like chocolate?
Palmer’s has been around for years, but something knew is the ‘no-mess pump dispenser’ on Skin Therapy Oil, a cocoa butter formula with rosehip oil, Vitaman E, sesame oil and the good recommended for scars, stretch marks and aging skin. If you’ve lost weight from your fitness regime, you’ll love it. Besides the amazing aroma, I love how this oil absorbs quickly. Makers suggest this oil can replace lots of other potions cluttering up your shelf space. I’m going to pump it on all summer. Glad the drug store will have more for fall weather.
Other Palmer finds include:
·         Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Lip Balm with SPF 15, $1.65 at drugstores
·         Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Deep Conditioning Protein Pack , $2 at drugstores
        ·      Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Heel Repair, $6.49 at drugstores

Wine selections
Holman Ranch Vineyards is in the “fruit zone,” with vines planted 15 degrees off due north which allows for all day sunlight and breeze protection in Carmel Valley. They stress the vines, which is good for us, giving an emphasis on reproduction. There’s fog in the morning, but not too much. All this detail makes me want to visit the grapes, by the Santa Lucia Mountains. But hey, Holman Ranch did all this work, so let it come to us here in Texas. Here’s some blends I enjoyed to the utmost and that make them proud:
Estate Grown Chardonnay: This 2010 release is labeled “A fine food wine,” so I tested it with guacamole mild enough to enjoy this wine’s honey and toast flavors. It’s “long on the palette,” and that should help you savor the experience.
Clones 146 and 152 vines make Pinos Gris a dry offering with honey and citrus tastes. Pairs with an evening on the patio.
Estate Grown Chardonnay: This 2010 release is labeled “A fine food wine,” so I tested it with guacamole mild enough to enjoy this wine’s honey and toast flavors. It’s “long on the palette,” and that should help you savor the experience.
Clones 146 and 152 vines make Pinos Gris a dry offering with honey and citrus tastes. Pairs with an evening on the patio.
Pinot Noir: They were going with “true varietal character.” Holman Ranch has been creating since 1928. They have achieved.
Sweet vanilla bean and strawberry  2010 Hunter’s cuvee Pinot Noir is aged in 50 percent new French oak and 50 percent neutral French oak for seven months. It took just one evening for me to appreciate  this wine with chicken.
2011 Sauvignon Blanc  with fruit made me appreciate a good white. Red is my first pick, but sometimes it’s true, that variety is the spice of life.
Pinot Noir was my favorite with sour cherry and tobacco to round it all out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mason Jars get crafty

Back in the day when everyone canned food in Mason jars, I wonder if anyone thought of making a ring-bearer pillow for the wedding rings in a jar. While I’m pretty sure gussied up treat presentations were common, I’ll bet no one thought of creating a Mason jar clock. Lauren Elise Donaldson challenges us to think of those durable icons as night lights, cake stand bases, candelabras, ribbon chandeliers… the list goes on in “Mason Jar Crafts.” This Ulysses Press book has photos and simple directions that will make you scour your cabinets and put a call out to friends: Send More Jars. My favorite could be a jute-wrapped jar filled with soil and succulents. Put a fork in a jar to hold a place card or mark your guests seat with a personalized flag in a jar full of sweet treats for the night.
You get the idea. Mason jars rule and this author wants everyone to know.Word is Mason jar decor will light up Southern Summer Night on July 20.

Here’s a little ditty
Eco Ditty will tell you all about how its Harmony Art Organic Cotton is grown so that you can “reduce, reuse, eat happy.” I’d be happy too if I knew the snack bag I colored myself was helping the environment. What’s even better than a recyclable sandwich and snack bag? One with fair-trade fabrics.  It’s summer and kids need snacks. Soon they’ll need to pack lunches for school. They’ll love this soft bag with a closure. Mine has a turtle in an under-the-sea scene and came with pens so I can color in the lines. Makers got to thinking about it after a family member discovered she was allergic to PVC plastic. Guess where this helpful product is made… Nederland, Colorado. Even their press material uses less paper than your average media kit.

Clear and polish
If you’re not sweating, you aren’t enjoying a proper Southeast Texas summer. Bioré Skincare has a routine set up for summer skin. I’ve tried the new acne clearing scrub, which smells so fresh and is extremely gentle. You’d hardly know it was a scrub. The not-so-secret power: salicylic acid to target deep-down dirt and oil. It’s a treatment you’ll look forward to. Follow it up with Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips and finish with Bioré Blemish-Treating Astringent.