Monday, October 28, 2013

Wear your Oiler Pride

It happened again. We were out to breakfast with my aunt in Katy and a little boy came in with a Dallas Cowboys shirt. Well, she said to us in mock seriousness, the boy was under his parents’ influence, and unable to make his own decisions in clothing. As he was nestled into his high chair, she expressed her dismay with the Cowboys and harkened back to the days she had seats for Houston Oilers Games.
Since then, we have lost Bum Phillips. But, I acquired a “new” Oilers shirt for Aunt Anne through a company specializing in people like her. I mean, those who pine for a sports team that is no longer.
Prep Sportswear says they offer the largest array of custom fan apparel for football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer and more -
Now, there was no way when the Oilers played that we dreamed of the electronics we have now, but fans can sport that logo on hoodies, iPad, iPhone, Kindle skins and backpacks, blankets, scarves, towels and more. Personalize further for a just-for-you statement.
Go teams!

Going Pink and Sexy
If you want big, sexy hair, have you tried the product “Big Sexy Hair?” It’s in those super-tall red cans, but now, limited editions have a pink Ombre design to support breast cancer awareness.
Powder Play made my big hair bigger (I won’t vouch for the sexy claim) and Root Pump Plus has a little spout that looks like a fog horn for the same kind of look. My favorite is Soy Renewal, that puts a bit of smoothing power into my crazy curls. Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Harder keeps it all in place, even during a walk on the breezy Port Arthur Sea Wall. Look good while you are helping out.
Five percent of net proceeds (up to $40,000) from sales of the special edition cans will benefit Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), a national public service program that helps patients struggling with the appearance-related challenges of cancer treatment. 

Now that’s a welcome
Years ago I saw a square wreath in a Martha Stewart magazine and every year since then I thought about making one. I haven’t. Thank goodness Creekside Farms can create goodness from lavender, sage and herby things that are hanging on my mom’s door now, providing an amazing fragrance and a peaceful view. Want a fall look? There is art in they way they arrange artichokes, magnolia pods and apple quince in bursts of color that welcome holiday guests. This California company can make lavender sachets for weddings and corporate gifts that won’t get passed on.
While they work the unexpected into their crafts, don’t worry, they can make a classic circular wreath, too.
Visit for a peek.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Industrial Lunch Box Goes Whole Hog

Industrial Lunch Box goes whole hog
Van Choate caters Cajun flavors to hungry refinery workers, and he can cook you up a whole hog. Or a gator, he says.
“Do I have to furnish the gator?” I asked while enjoying some smoked boudain.
“No, I’ll go get you one,” he reassured me.
Hush Puppy’s Industrial Lunchbox is new on Savannah Avenue in Port Arthur. Choate says he offer his rice dressing, smoked pork and fried fish in an “interesting atmosphere.” Nestled between refineries and a car wash, the venue offers an outside deck and music from Jack Flash on Fridays. Flash plays classic rock on the keyboards and sports a rockin’ eye patch.
Choate said he wanted a site where he could get a couple of hundred hot meals out fast. He said the restaurant was “so cute,” that he decided to get a little steam table going to boot. He’s proud of his spices and “to the bone” flavoring for chicken as well as molasses blackberry chipotle sauce he soaks into meatballs. He aims to stick with what works, but could be inspired to add liver to the menu.
“I want something simple with good taste,” Choate said.
He’s from Orange, but his people are from Crowley, La. Choate says he has run Tuffy’s, Cajun Cookery in Orange, Catfish Kitchen and currently has Hush Puppy Seafood in Vidor. Industrial Lunch Box is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Trump jewelry
I ran in for a quick look at new pieces of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry available at Alter’s Gem Jewelry in Beaumont. My favorites are delicate circles of diamonds in a pendant that are at once modest and flashy. A representative asked if it was something I might like as a Christmas gift. I don’t know any women who would say no to it.
The people in Trump jewelry communications have let me know that women who buy Trump’s jewels will be in the company of “red-carpet style icons such as Demi Moore, Oprah, Lindsay Price, Ginnifer Goodwin, Brooke Shields, Natalie Portman, Emmy Rossum and Blake Lively.

Spanish Olive Oil
I’ve read you should stock the best olive oil you can afford. Carbonell, which I’m told is Spain’s top brand, has a distinctive flavor that sets it apart from Italian “extra virgen” varieties (that I also love). The lovely lady on the label looks like she’s enjoying it as much as I do. I use olive oil for lots of things that I used to use butter for, like cooking eggs, and Carbonell is a flavorful option that is affordable and has some flair. This bottle was so good that I began craving new ways to cut back on every other seasoning so I could taste the oil even more. For recipes like the following, visit

Apple and Mango Marinated Chicken

1/2 cup Carbonell Extra Light Olive Oil
4 cleaned free-range, boneless chicken breasts (cut into 3-inch strips)
2 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups mango juice or your favorite equivalent
(guava, pineapple or blend)
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
additional kosher salt and
black pepper for seasoning after the marinating process


1. Remove any fat and cartilage from the chicken breast and cut into small 3-inch strips.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together juices, salt, pepper and Carbonell Extra Light Olive Oil.
3. In a glass baking dish, container or resealable plastic bag, lay the strips of chicken in the marinade and let them sit overnight for maximum results.
4. Remove the chicken from marinade and season both sides of the chicken with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper (50/50 blend).
5. Heat outdoor or indoor grill to high and place strips on it, quickly grilling each side. Do not overcook the chicken as these little strips will cook in about 3-5 minutes total cooking time (remember some of the acids from the juices have broken down the chicken already).
6. Remove cooked chicken from the grill and place in a new clean container.
7. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and let chicken rest (it will continue to cook slightly). Serve over a simple salad or roasted corn salad.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Need help tippling in the French Quarter?

Ever wonder how your tattoos will fit in at, say, Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street? Something tribal or floral ought to blend in fine, but don’t fret, you won’t run into locals.
Fleur-de-lis and celtic tats may mark you as a local at Kerry Irish Pub, where they’ll pour you a Guinness.
No one will even be peeking for ink at The Rib Room bar, where a specialty cocktail should set you back $10.
What to swill, who your drinking buddies will be, a musical heads up and best features are outlined in “The French Quarter Drinking Companion.”
With lalugh-out-loud reading, very useful tips and the occasional photograph that makes you miss New Orleans, Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce and Richard Read decipher the libation scene of “America’s most eclectic neighborhood.” You’ll get both a “been there” and “gotta try that” vibe.

These three have courageously and generously outlined neighborhood, Bourbon Street, high-brow hipster and beer bars, as well as those that fly the rainbow flag.
Grab a bitters and soda or pop open an Abita beer and settle in for a cozy night’s read. You can snuggle in a blanket as you prepare for your next crawl through the French Quarter. It’s a Pelican Publishing Co. thing.

Your mama’s crafts
Back in the ‘70s we made our crafts from scraps. Moms sent salad empty salad dressing bottles to school, potato crisp cans became canisters and one of my teachers saved her air freshener cones for a science lover to make rocket ships.
Later crafters headed to stores where sealed bags of tiny accessories were sold for big bucks.
Alison Caporimo is bringing the spirit of making something from nothing back in “Instacraft: Fun & Simple Projects for Adorable Gifts, Décor and More.” ShalI I begin with bricks painted to look like classic books, to prop up your real books? How about a ripped lace stocking covering your basic clay pot to fancy up your aloe display?
This author wants to make every surface sparkle, as evidenced by the Master lock done up in nail polish. I get her. One quickie is to decorate a cloth bag with markers and sprits it with alcohol for a run-together of colors. This book will create hours of bonding time with parents and kids and older girlfriends. We all need more of that.

Mangos and Mimosa
Sea salts are a natural luxury we are familiar with, or should be. Ever had loofah in your scrub? Kanshi Salted Mango Hand & Body Scrub (Repê comes from a jar you’ll be happy to see at the end of a rough day. What an aroma, what a soothing feeling to go on, and what a conditioned feeling for the rest of the evening. Oh well, might as well start the day with another scrub.
Kanshi makes a Mimosa Natural Soy Candle to burn for more than 36 hours. Does a lead-free wick excite you? The smooth amber tint of this votive pairs well with fall evenings.

 Dark calcium
Ever thought you’d have to hide your calcium supplements? I’m keeping Adora premium all-natural dark chocolates are 30 calories a serving and provide up to 50 percent of the daily value of calcium plus vitamin D3 and magnesium. Adora acknowledges supplements aren’t “sexy” and thinks these, also available in milk chocolate, could become your “BFF,” that’s best friend forever. Thompson Brands, chocolatiers with a heritage since 1879, have made these supplements into something else. They look like a candy and come wrapped up like one. I keep them with Kisses and consider them a daily treat.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall road trip to Woodville

Been itching to hear some dulcimer music? The 25th annual Harvest Festival at Heritage Village Museum in Woodville is set for Oct. 18-20. Blacksmithing, flintnapping, soap making and bobbin lace making are also on the program. Not enough action? Stay for the Western Shoot Out and square dancing.
Fall is a great time for a Texas road trip and I made hit Woodville in time for a big fried chicken lunch at the Pickett House Restaurant. This family-style destination has still got it, with heaping bowls of chicken and dumplings and watermelon rind preserves. They said that even people who don’t  like greens like Pickett House greens. I’m one of those people, and it’s true, I loved these greens. The walls are outfitted in vintage circus posters that I’m told were once part of a Port Arthur collection.
In related road trip news, Stark Museum of Art in Orange will host Illustrated Family Day on Saturday, Oct. 19. It’s free.

Circle of Friends
Mirasol has curly hair like me, so her Shine Serum Lustre, in melon is also good for controlling frizz and preventing tangle for me. But the little girl in ethnic costuming on these labels are designed to appeal to children. She wants to quiz you about her country, where her uncle weaves reed boats. Okay I’ll spill the beans. She is from Bolivia. And her serum smells so good.
The Circle of Friends line features herbal products like chickweed, aloe leaf and guava with with other illustrated children: Jenny’s Root Beer shampoo; Bonita’s Banana moisturizing shampoo, and Makwa’s calming cream. This boy is dressed like a doctor. Georgee is dressed for the beach, because he has swimmer’s shampoo to battle chlorine green.
Because of this product, I have looked up information on Lake Titicaca, totora boats and the plant rosa canina. Now Mirasol is in my Circle of Friends.

Rise Above with Love: Campaign Bright Future
Nobody minds looking good for a good cause. Jane iredale – The Skin Care Makeup launches Bright Future to celebrate six years of partnership with Living Beyond reast Cancer. A rose-colored Swarovski Crystal dots an already too-cute tiny silver compact filled with wee portions of Peach Sherbet, Pink Glaze, Red Carpet, Pink Cloud and Dusk eye shadow. The little box is like a tiny charm on a chain that also harnesses the capped brush. Why pop $30 on this little beauty? A full 100 percent of profits go toLiving Beyond Breast Cancer. Call 800-762-1132 to learn more about why plastic surgeons and dermatologists think so highly of this mineral makeup line based in the Berkshires in Massachusetts.

Texting Leopard, Texting Cheetah
We don’t often have frigid weather in Southeast Texas, but when we do… Jeanne Simmons has got style wrapped around warmth for all ages. Guys want some furry looks? Kids looking cute with an animal head hat? Ladies hip to the Dagney hat? Done and done. I recently stayed dry in a gully washer in a Dagney, a brimmed, gray wool and polyester classic that would have fit right in at Dick Dowling Days. Another find to highlight is texting gloves. I’d heard that texting caught on later up north because of everyone needing bulky gloves. Available in both leopard and cheetah prints, these stretchy wonders have the index finger in both the right and left hand glove tipped in a fabric that lets you maneuver your touch pad phone or electronic reader. This is what they thought of after someone said, “What will they think of next?”,

Need the Skinfo
You might expect Skinfo Mint Mask, 20 Minutes Cooling Clay, to be green. Mint is green, right? This made-in-USA product is earthy is green in that sense. It’s also earthy, as in made of kaolin clay and hectorite, so I wish I’d been using it when I studied geology at Lamar University. I love a good mask and this one, cleans and tightens pores while absorbing oil and can control breakouts.
Skinfo Shine Control is an efficient compact to slip in your purse to keep the shine off your nose. It comes with the thinnest “puff” I’ve ever used and it feels so light and good on the skin. It’s the
jojoba oil esters, biotin and niacinamide that work to conceal redness.