Sunday, December 29, 2013

Let's talk about this new year...

I got that “clean sweep” feeling the day after Christmas. Out with the old, in with the new; get in shape (after the egg nog is gone); and do nice things for others. Also, I can’t wait for Mardi Gras. Here’s some good stuff for 2014:

Clock this
Doesn’t the New Year put you in the mind of clocks? If I told you I’m looking at a clock that runs on water, you might make fun of me. That sounds like both old school and modern technology mixed together. I’m truthing you, eying my little round purple clock with a “digital” display. It’s Bedol’s Battery-Free Eco-Friendly Water Powered Clock. It even has an alarm. Watch a video for a very cute jingle that will get stuck in your head and a little lesson on proprietary metallic plates inside the semi-transparent water reservoir that channel the ions in the water into a current that powers the clock and alarm. Got that? This is the kind of gift that is sold through museum gift stores because it is so cool. Bed Bath & Beyond can hook you up, too.
Leg Magic X
If I can get an unidentified member of my family to like Leg Magic X as much as I do, I’ll be so happy. And this other person will hopefully get more balance.  The photos show older adults using this to their advantage. This little exerciser folds out into a small space that you can go by several times a day for a 60-second workout. That kind of routine is my kind of heaven. Leg Magic X is designed to exercise the lower body large and small muscle groups according to their natural movement, while standing in an upright position.”  I’m loving it. Makers say the magic is that “it increases muscle activity up to 400% and increases blood flow in the legs by as much as 77% in only 60 seconds.   The 9 degree slope uses body weight for a low impact workout as it helps strengthen legs, lower body and the pelvic floor without putting strain on the hips, knees and ankles.” That’s some technical talk and ladies, makers say this 20-pound wonder works the Kegel muscles. Seriously, go to to learn more.

Got a guitar for Christmas?
The topic of guitars keeps coming up and I have been promised a Beatles song guitar solo as an upcoming birthday gift. Not from Paul.
If you are learning how to play as your New Year’s resolution, this book will inspire.
“Guitar Aficionado: The Collections” is an oversized book of photographs and interviews of “The Most Famous, Rare and Valuable Guitars in the World.” I liked reading up on the pawn shop history of  Texas legend Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar, the Mickey Mantle autograph on the back.
Some pages will make you go “wow” and others nearly cry at the memories the music invokes. If those guitars could talk…. Well, Tom Beaujour and Christopher Scapelliti are making them talk about as much as the guitarists who played them did.
Get ready for stories from guitar greats including Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, James Hetfield of Metallica, Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe and more.

Cook like a food truck
What’s trendy now is noted community chefs taking it to the road with gourmet creations. Let this be your food truck road trip year. “The Southern Food Truck Cookbook” is Heather Donahoe’s trip that does more than open the way for one of these traveling kitchens to roll into your life. This guide to discovering the south’s best food on four wheels lets you get right to it. Let’s start with Louisiana, because Heather didn’t make it to Texas. Learn how to fashion the celebrated crab cakes of Bon Repas or ginger lime shrimp salad from Freshjunkie in Baton Rouge. Keep going for honeysuckle gelato in Atlanta, where they also make Bloody Mary watermelon pops and coconut rice in Nashville. Heather hits Kentucky, The Virginias, North and South Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee as well.
This is a beautiful book with shots of fun trucks, like Wrapper’s Delight; mouth-watering food spreads; recipes you’ll love; and the author’s good anecdotes.
Mission Savvy of Charleston, West Virginia is a raw/vegan kinda place. Here’s one of theirs, that goes with raw Thai spring rolls:
Almond Dipping Sauce
Gather it up: 1 cup almond butter
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 half tablespoon tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 seeded jalapeno pepper
2 cups water
Make it happen:
Add ingredients to bowl of food processor or blender and mix thoroughly.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fish Bible is the gospel

Pat A. Riley Jr. is back in town and I spotted him at the Nederland Historical Society’s Christmas party at the library. He was at the door, because a live performance was happening. As I was pulling in the lot, KVLU’s radion station personalities were speaking of the Southeast Texas Dulcimer Friends. When Mr. Riley opened the door for me, that’s who was playing. Great timing.
Al also met Sonya Willis of Nederland, who says if anyone is interested in meeting with the historical group, give her a call at 722-2831.

Read the fish Bible
Cajun tales that warm the soul are as important as dishes that tempt the palate in “The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Fish Volume 2.” You may have heard or collected Jerald and Glenda Horst’s editions. Pelican Publishing puts out this sixth and final volume of the beloved series.
Panko Trout and Catfish Eggrolls sound as revolutionary as the Figs and Fins recipe with snapper and a pint of fig jam. Ever stuff your peppers with fish? You may have grilled your garfish cake.
Get your mouth set for Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, Feb. 27-March 2, with this book. The photos, the feeling, the history and “new” concepts make this a gospel of good news.

New Year’s Beauty Resolutions:
Beauty Spatula
My mom and aunt have always joked about packing a tiny spatula in their bags to get the last drop of a delicious meal. Boy, did they ever have a laugh at the new Every Drop Beauty Lip Spatula, a teeny scoop to reach the bottom of  lip gloss, lipstick and more. The just slightly larger Every Drop Beauty Spatula gives you “access to hard to reach product,” such as foundation and lotions. The spatulas don’t absorb like cotton swabs, are flexible for use with several sized bottles and can be used as an applicator. Frugal women, and those relishing the final applications of an out-of-production item, will wonder where Every Drop has been all their lives. Visit for info on One-of-a-Kind Cosmetic Tools.

Double Duty
Could you imagine a product that exfoliates and lightly hydrates for radiance? I’m impressed with Gylcolic Expert Moisturizer by Exuviance. It can tingle a bit and you should wear sunscreen. Those who are “into” skincare info know these are hallmarks of “the good stuff” and may actually be familiar with Doctors Van Scott and Yu, patent holders of the “lunchtime” glycolic peel who work with the powers of Alpha Hydroxy and Polyhydroxy Acids. Exuviance has more skin wonders in its line. I think this one has been perfect at taming my discomforts of winter skin. Glad to have found it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who's your Patron?

Who’s your Patron? Yurman.
Google David Yurman jewelry and you’ll see a lot of glamorous women wearing his rings and bracelets, and sometimes not much else. Now there’s something that I’m guessing men will enjoy as much as women: A impressive bottle stopper simulating the hilt of a sword. It has gold-toned heft, is accurately described as having “meticulous craftsmanship and masculine elegance” and it is only available this holiday season. This stopper goes on a Patron Anejo bottle, which is already an impressive sight. Get yourself a bottle and “stop.” Come on, buy it now. You’ll be sorry if you don’t and should have to waste a moment hunting it down later. It’s a limited edition item by Evan Yurman, design director for David Yurman Men’s Collection.
More to drink:
Angelini Estate Sangiovese is a turkey and duck kind of wine with beautiful legs and elegant structure. It says that right on the label. It was dark, so I didn’t check out the legs for myself, although Port Arthur’s Shawn Bruno, now a Sour Lake wine maker, taught me how. I enjoyed this wine and Angelini Pergola Rosso so much that I’d say it was good for any special occasion or will make any occasion special. There’s the aroma of lavender and rose petals in the latter. Please people, read your labels!
Georges Doboeuf just released their 2013 Beaugolais Nouveau, the first wine of the harvest. He and Franck Duboeuf tell us there was wonderful weather in September and the Indian Summer produced a harvest that is mature and rich in sugar, along the lines of the 2011 vintage. Remember that one? I don’t, but hey, it’s fun reading up on your wine history. It’s like you’ve made a friend and maybe you’ll find it a little hard to drink it all up because then your friend will be gone. Don’t worry. There’s plenty more on the shelf. This is a casual wine for $10.99.
Unicum Plum is fun to say. Ever heard of plum liqueur? It’s a far cry from juice from a dried plum, which is what we used to call a prune. I tried a sample and it is as rich and fruity as I imagined. It takes me right back into a figgy pudding Christmas in London. Well, from books I’ve read on that. Here’s how you experiment:

Plum Toddy
Created by Joaquín Simó

1 and one half ounces Unicum Plum Liqueur
1 dash Aromatic Bitters
Hot Water for Top
Cinnamon Stick for Garnish

1.         Combine Unicum Plum Liqueur and aromatic bitters into a glass mug.
2.         Top with hot water.
3.         Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Ideal Serving Glass:
Glass Mug

1 drink, no drinks contains more than 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol

Pumpkin trending update
Pumpkin Vanilla Crème is my latest experience in this crazy-for-pupkin season. It was a crazy cup of flavored coffee from  Crazy Cups: A Bit Obsessed With Flavors. These recyclable individual coffee pods work with Keurig machine and work with your passion for aromatic, pleasurable coffee. Mix and match for gifts with flavors like
White Christmas, Italian Chocolate Cheesecake and Peppermint Chocolate Mocha. I’m working my way through. You can also make Crazy Cups of tea and hot chocolate. Heard enough? One more thing. There’s 35 percent more coffee in every capsule. I can’t wait to get more work done because it means it’s time for more coffee. Pick your flavors at

Why won’t anyone invite me to a tacky Christmas sweater party? I’m ready. My closet doesn’t have a section of ‘80s clothes for no reason. Skedouche claims to have made those sweater parties hip, and they’re cranking holiday fare out. Could you believe a Chanuka sweater with light-up candles? Or a similar version in a wine sweater? Don’t stop there. They’ve got more holidays and more “fashions” for you with boots, vests and glasses. I’m sporting a Kosby hat from the collection, but I don’t find anything “tacky” about it. Gotta say, it won’t go unnoticed with a red knit design that pulls down over my ears, a tassled string to tie under the chin and a faux fur pelt lining keeping my ears warm as can be. We don’t often get too cold in Southeast Texas, but when we do, we can Get everybody lined up  and lighted for a family photo!
It’s important to know how to pronounce Cicciabella. It’s CHEE-CHA BELL-AH, and means pretty little one in Italian, according to this line of  charming slippers. They’re original, stylish and warm and they just might flash through your mind in the day, when you think how great it will be to be wearing them later, when you are relaxed. I tried Kwilts, which look like they’re knit by hand, with a button over the buckle, and lined with soft, fuzzy stuff. Cicciabella calls them playful.

Monday, December 9, 2013

From Rather to a Little Black Dress

What an honor for a journalist like me to meet Dan Rather at the Lamar State-College Distinguished Lecture Series. His talk at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose  Center was humorous, educational and emotional. The event was well attended and it seems I’m not the only one who would like to thank Lamar for bringing us speakers of such caliber. Rather mentioned he had spent time in Beaumont as a youth, cutting brush for a pipeline path. He caught a Beaumont Exporters game. He also spoke of the passion that virtually consumes dedicated reporters who work to be brokers of the truth.

You’ve got mail… and gifts
Even the napkins are fun at Flagship Mailroom on FM 365. While sampling fruity jams with crackers, I scooped up one with a quote from Phyllis Diller. The photo shows a “vintage” scene of a woman visiting Santa. The quote: “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”
You can have a much milder holiday with gifts like inspirational bracelets, hats that cover your ears and little figurines of birds with hats that cover their… whatever they call ears. Clothes candles, and the means to ship them deck these shelves. I know someone is getting a Texas-shaped dinner bell this season.

Exercise Freak
If the title of the pink Denon wireless fitness headphones intimidates you, substitute another word. They’re called Fitness Freak, but don’t worry if you don’t think you walk or run enough to earn the badge. If you are a gadget freak or accessory freak, you’ll love on these plenty. There’s nothing but Beatles on my phone, and I can now go on a wireless jam on my afternoon break. The pink in-ear headphones support Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the music sounds amazing. Maybe you have a tangled hot mess of little wires for your phone. Switch ‘em all out for these beauties and you’ll “freak” over the performance, which incudes Bluetooth 3.0 wirless connectivity with integrated amplifier, sweat-proof design and a rechargeable battery with up to seven hours of music. Does your workout last that long? Load the Denon Sport App to map and track your action.

Little Black Dress Wines has released Divalicious Pink Pinot Grigio 2012, which made a hit at a party we hit. It’s a composite: 75% Pinot Grigio, 13% Muscat, 10% Chardonnay and 2% Viognier. Who wouldn’t look good in that?  The color and flavor is a great fit for the holidays. Here’s how they put it together: “To make Divalicious Pink Pinot Grigio, Zidanelia “Z” Arcidiacono, the winemaker behind Little Black Dress Wines, lets the grapes to macerate on their skins for a limited time, resulting in a wine that’s a delicate and appealing shade of pink.”
So, this Little Black dress goes with anything, for just about $11.