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Richardson’s Cottonwood Art Festival May 7-8

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art festival

The City of Richardson’s Cottonwood Art Festival has scheduled its 2016 events: May 7-8 and Oct. 1-2. Art lovers and collectors converge in this two-day event that brings together art, music, food, and family fun.

The free event held in Richardson’s scenic Cottonwood Park will exhibit the museum-quality work from more than 200 artists competing in a range of categories including painting, sculpture and ceramics. This is a rare opportunity to interact with artists in person, and learn about the creative process behind their work.

“Cottonwood Art Festival is a great place to find a one-of-a-kind piece of art for your home or office,” said Serri Ayers, director of the Cottonwood Art Festival. “The setting is beautiful, so you can do some shopping, watch the kids have an amazing art experience, and then relax in our courtyard with a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage—all while listening to live music.”

For the children and families, an interactive children’s area, ArtStop, offers mini-Monets a chance to experience the wonderful world of art first-hand. Complete with life-size paintbrushes and staffed by more than 100 volunteers, ArtStop offers dozens of activities for children and their families to encourage imaginations to run wild. At ArtStop, it’s OK for the kids to throw mud on an electric potter’s wheel, paint a masterpiece and chisel away on a large block of plaster.

Now in its 47th year, the semi-annual Cottonwood Art Festival is a juried show. Jurors have selected more than 240 artists to exhibit their museum-quality work at the festival. The artists compete in 14 categories: 2D Mixed Media, 3D Mixed Media, Ceramics, Digital, Drawings/Pastels, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metalwork, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Wood. Rated as one of the top art festivals in the United States, the prestigious show is the premier fine art event in North Texas.

The festival will be held Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cottonwood Park is located at 1321 W. Belt Line Rd., one block east of Coit Road in Richardson, TX.

Parking and admission are free.

The artists’ works are available for purchase, as are food and beverages.

Whether shopping for art, listening to music, enjoying the outdoors, or making art of your own – Cottonwood has something for everyone. For more information, go to:www.CottonwoodArtFestival.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/CottonwoodArtFestival
Twitter www.twitter.com/CAFRichardson.

2016 Chevy Camaro Southern Road Trip: Find New Roads

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2016 Chevy Camaro Find New Roads

Road Tripping In The 2016 Chevy Camaro Find New Roads Campaign

The Camaro is turning 48 years old in 2016, to commemorate the event Chevrolet wanted to have a media drive through 48 states. Did I mention that they wanted to tackle this feat in a month?!

The moment the email hit my inbox, “Dear Camaro Road Warrior,” it began. I was challenged to “Find New Roads,” and thus the planning began. Chevrolet had designed an East and West route and we were to list our top four options AND we could bring along a photographer. Our route took us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Raleigh, North Carolina. We had 36 hours to get from Point A to Point B, not a problem for a car as fast as the 2016 Camaro. With less weight and more power the 2016 Camaro has the right combination for performance success and we couldn’t wait to put it to the test.

We kicked things off at breakfast where we randomly drew for keys. My friend and fellow journalist let out a “YES” when he drew the keys to a Chevy Camaro SS V8. I was just as excited to end up with a V6 standard in bright yellow. Around 8:30 a.m. we were in the parking lot checking out our new ride and shooting pics. I might mention here…. what good is a road trip without travel games? We were given “Points of interest” to check-in for points, as well as extra points for stopping at a bonus state (a state that was somewhat out of our way). Our bonus state was New Jersey. Add 350 points to my score please!

First Stop A Raceway, But Not For The Track

Our first stop was Dover Raceway. Remember we had to #findnewroads and remember my aforementioned planning? I never knew the nation’s largest sports statue was a monster named Miles until I found him while surfing the internet. I quickly placed a phone call to the raceway and spoke to Mike. After an approval process, it was determined that we could indeed drive our flashy yellow car right up to the statue.

As excited as we were for the photo ops, we knew we wanted to do more to make this a memory that we wouldn’t forget. I know, you are guessing that we wanted to take the Camaro on the track, right? Wrong. Chevrolet rules stated that no vehicles would be driven on a track without supervision. So, we did the next best thing, we decided to dance. Miles after all is a monster and Halloween was fast approaching, so we did the “Monster Mash.” You can view that dance somewhere online using the hashtag #findnewroads.

So how did the car perform on the way to Dover, Delaware? Like a champ! While we did not enjoy the traffic from New Jersey to Delaware, once we were on the open highway we found the sixth generation Camaro to be refined and responsive. This generation has a leaner and stiffer platform to contribute to performance through reduced aerodynamic lift for better handling and efficiency. Chevy says 28% stiffer than the previous model and 223 pounds lighter. It’s the most efficient Camaro ever, delivering more than 30 mpg on the highway.

More Than A New Design

“Every Camaro model offers exceptional chassis strength and rigidity, but the modular design made the architecture more adaptable and mass-efficient, because we didn’t have to compensate for the unique demands of, say, the SS convertible when building a 2.0L Turbo coupe,” said Al Oppenheimer, Camaro chief engineer. “The result was an elegant engineering solution: 12 chassis components that could be combined to meet the structural requirements of each specific model, without adding unnecessary mass to other models.”

In Milton, Delaware we checked out a U.F.O. The owner who called the U.F.O. home came out to check out our car. We agreed both were “out of this world.” Bonus points for finding our own “point of interest” that was not included on Chevrolet’s list. We did stop at another checkpoint in Milton, the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Yes, you heard me, Chevy not only asked me to test drive the new 2016 Camaro but they let me stop at a Brewery along the way. Crazy huh?

I love my job. You should know that Dogfish Head Brewery was chosen because they created a philanthropic branch that supports charitable organizations with both grants and beer for fundraising events. After a quick stop in Rehoboth Beach for some of Thrasher’s Original French Fries, we called it a night in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
Chevrolet went above and beyond to talk to previous Camaro owners and enthusiasts.

Performance Designed For Camaro Enthusiasts

In doing so, they were able to develop this sixth generation that outperforms all predecessors. “Redesigning the Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to offer something more,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development. “For Camaro enthusiasts, it retains iconic design cues and offers even more performance. For a new generation of buyers, the 2016 Camaro incorporates our most innovative engineering ideas with finely honed performance and leading design.” We were lucky enough to attend one of these events while out on the road.

Tom Peters, design director likens the 2016 Camaro to a “T-shirt on a muscular physique”. He added, “From every angle, you’ll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro.”

Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and Magnetic Ride Control active suspension are available on the Camaro SS for the first time. All new Drive Mode Selector has four mode choices: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and on SS models, Track settings.

The morning brought rain from D.C. all the way to Charlottesville, Virginia. However, we didn’t let the weather put a damper on things. Some of our best pictures were taken in beautiful Monticello.

The designers went above and beyond to make this generation more personable to consumers. The 2016 Chevy Camaro offers consumers 10 exterior colors, five interior color combinations, lighting options and a plethora of accessories including wheels, and stripe packages.

The interior has a center console that is designed specifically for the driver. The controls are easy to reach and easy to use. The air vents have control rings around them that allow you to adjust the fan speed and temperature. This saves space and eliminates the need for extra controls. The flat bottom steering wheel and quality materials make the cabin complete. It is completely driver focused.

Chevrolet Adds Improved Technology

The 2016 Camaro has some serious technology. Operating from the Chevrolet MyLink system, Apple CarPlay is the smartest way to use your iPhone when on the road. Chevrolet is the first car brand to introduce Siri Eyes Free Functionality. Here’s a glance at what Apple CarPlay offers: View Apple Maps on the instrument panel and control via Siri. CarPlay can also predict where you might want to go using addresses from your email, texts, or calendar. Siri can read, send and reply to text messages for you so you don’t have to look at your phone. You can make calls, return calls and listen to voicemail just by asking Siri. Access your songs, playlists, artists and iTunes Radio using the car’s built in controls, or tell Siri your listening choice.

CarPlay works with any iPhone 5 or newer, and uses your phone’s data plan for Siri, navigation, and audio streaming.

Camaro’s instrument cluster features analog instruments as well as an 8-inch high definition center screen that can be configured to provide additional information including navigation, performance and infotainment features.

I love the dual heat and a/c controls with rings around the air ducts. No need for conventional buttons, the control rings are used for temperature and fan speed adjustments. This makes it handy and easy to keep your eyes on the road.

Another segment first and favorite of mine, the LED ambient lighting system integrated in the dash, door panels and center console. It offers 24 different colors as well as fade and transition effects that spread across the interior. No surprise, there’s even a theatrical “car show” mode that cycles randomly through the entire color spectrum when the Camaro is parked.

Chevy Camaro Engine Options & Pricing

The 2016 Chevy Camaro standard engine is a new 2.0L Turbo with 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Camaro I’m driving is the 3.6L V-6, available on the Camaro LT. It produces 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. That’s  the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V6 in the segment.

The 2016 Chevy Camaros are built in Lansing Grand River, Michigan. The car I was driving begins with a base price of $26, 695. That extra “YES” that my friend let out earlier cost approximately an extra $10,000. The base price for the SS is $37, 395.

Happy 48th birthday Camaro. Now I anxiously await to see where Chevrolet will send me to test out the new 2016 Camaro Convertible. Stay tuned…

Luxury Boosts 2016 Hyundai Elantra

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2016 Hyundai Elantra

2016 Hyundai Elantra First Drive

The week couldn’t have begun more perfectly. The fantastic Pier South Resort-Hotel situated in the beautiful Imperial Beach – a short jaunt from one of my favorite California cities, San Diego. It could hardly get any better than this, could it?

Well, actually it could! The windows to the door on my luxurious suite had line art renderings of the sexy silhouette of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra (as did the windows on all the doors) since Hyundai had taken over the entire hotel. Even the outside of Pier One, the elevator doors, the restaurant doors, the bar – the entire property screamed Hyundai Elantra!

So, was that it? No, not even close. The next morning the presentations by Hyundai illustrated why the company is so proud of its new Elantra. North American President Dave Zukowski discussed the phenomenal growth record of the company in North America. Zukowski noted growth would continue with six more new vehicle launches in 2016. He pointed out growth in the CUV/SUV market was not lost on the company. As Hyundai has seen sales of its popular Tucson more than double in the last three years. Was that a hint of more great things to come in this market segment ? I’d bet on it but … onward with the Elantra for today.

Hyundai Defines Objectives

Scott Morgason, Director of Product Planning, discussed the objectives the company was achieving with the new Elantra. He noted that it comprises 30% of Hyundai sales in America. A full 34% of compact car buyers remain loyal, so it is important that buyers of the Elantra are not just satisfied, but ecstatic with their purchase and the vehicle’s performance. Enter, the newest Elantra.

All the stops were pulled out in designing and building the new Elantra. Morgason reported high strength steel is more than doubled in the new Elantra – from 21% to 53% in this generation with greatly improved body rigidity. Torsion is nearly double (26.8%) that of previous Toyota Corollas (15.1 in 2014) and Ford Focus (17.3 in 2012). Even the previous 2016 Elantra was a superior 20.7.

It’s important to drive the new Elantra. This is really the only way to know if this makes a difference. Hyundai could have chosen a few city streets and a freeway for our first drive, but they had so much confidence they set us free on some very twisty mountain roads. Switchbacks were the rule of the day. I could hardly contain myself I was so happy sailing into each curve and accelerating through it as I felt the Elantra hugging the pavement. There is real power under the hood and it’s powered by a real transmission!

Hyundai Elantra Powertrain Options

Consumers can choose from two powertrains. The standard engine is a two-liter-cylinder gob with 147 horses and 132 lb ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual transmission for $17,150 or a six-speed automatic for a grand more.

Those wanting to add more zip to their lives can go the turbo route with a 1.4 liter GDI Four (available this spring). It will churn 128 horses at 5,500 rpm with 156 lb ft of torque from 1,400 rpm. It will be mated to an EcoShift seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Hyundai projects it will deliver a fantastic 35 mpg overall with combined city and highway driving.

The things that turned my head most during the presentation and the actual drive of the Elantra were the many features that are available on the Elantra. I had to check Hyundai files to make sure so many features were available and to look really carefully to insure I was reading correctly when a slide said the most I would pay for a fully decked out Elantra with every bell and whistle was only $26,750 when was chose their Loaded Ultimate model.

Features, Tons of Available Features

The list of attributes is long, so you may want to pour yourself another cup of coffee before continuing in this paragraph. You’ve heard of many of these features, but you were not able to get them all on a compact at this price level. Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and a Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidance.

That’s still not all. Elantra sports a hands-free Smart Trunk, a Dynamic Bending Light and Smart Cruise Control. Dynamic Bending Light works with the headlights. They turn with the direction of the steering wheel for better nighttime visibility and safety. Another added touch is automatic high beam/low beam switching when oncoming traffic is detected. Smart Cruise Control uses radar to maintain your distance from vehicles ahead by adjusting vehicle speed according to other traffic.

Hyundai Keeps You Connected

Smart people instantly recognize the importance of all the above safety features but everyone will enjoy the extensive connectivity and other technological convenience and safety features one finds in the new Elantra.

All 2016 Hyundai Elantra models come standard with iPhone USB and auxiliary input jacks. Or course, my “can’t live without feature” Sirius XM radio is on board with two infotainment systems available. Depending on the model there’s  a 7 inch display audio touchscreen or an 8 inch navigation touchscreen system. Both have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support using app-based navigation, streaming audio, voice controlled search, etc.

Blue Link enhances these systems even more with remote start and climate control, destination search, remote door lock and unlock, car finder, enhanced roadside assistance and even stolen vehicle recovery.

Regardless of what vehicle you may be shopping for or the price you are willing to pay; regardless of any and all previous prejudices you may have … when you visit your car dealer I would ask if the vehicle you are being offered has all these attributes and if its “Ultimate” model boasts an MSRP of $26,750.

Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila Review

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Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila Addison Walk’s Restaurant Row

I recently took my Mexican-food loving husband with me to a relaunch celebration for Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila in North Dallas. It’s always good to have him drive me to events like this one, in case I’m tempted to sample a free Margarita. Since he’s strictly a Dr. Pepper man, I have the perfect chauffeur.

The celebration was open to the public for a happy hour event, hosted by Chef Antonio Marquez (pictured) and GM Mario Letay.

Judging from the quality of the food we tried, and the throngs of people who turned out to mingle and chat, Cinco Tacos will be a very popular addition to Addison Walk’s restaurant row.

Of course, free beer and margaritas are always big draws, but the quality of the appetizers convinced many first-timers to stay over and make dinner reservations.

Chef Antonio Marquez proved his mastery with a dinner menu featuring such delicious and authentic dishes as Duck Barbacoa sope with Ancho pepper mole.

Since I’m such a sucker for a good mole sauce, I was especially impressed with the dense, lovely Ancho pepper mole. The presentation of each dish was so artistic and picturesque that cameras were flashing as each course was served.

I remember the first time I had lunch with a food-writer friend who took photos of her food and beverages before tasting them, I was quite taken aback. But now, everyone does it!

Other dishes we sampled included rib eye tacos that were exceptionally tender, and a Durango beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce.

A vegan friend at our table shared some of the specially prepared dishes the Chef brought out for her to try since she didn’t eat meat or fish dishes. My husband (who is definitely a committed carnivore) discovered such a liking for her pinto beans with cauliflower, the waiter brought him an extra plate of the vegetarian special.

My personal favorite was Bolo’s Mahi Mahi with hot avocado salsa. The salsa made a piquant relish that brought out the delicate flavor of the grilled fish.

A dessert trio consisting of grilled corncake, cajeta crepe and Cinco vanilla flan put the finishing touches on a fine meal. My husband and I share a weakness for flan, and agreed this tiny but tasty morsel was one of the most mouth-watering examples of flan we’d ever tasted.

Although the restaurant is a little far to travel for people who live downtown or south of Dallas, this kind of sublime dining experience is well worth the drive. And for those of you who live in the area, what are you waiting for?

For reservations or more information call 972-866-8900.

Homegrown Flavor from Indoor Garden

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indoor garden tips
Photo credit: Gardeners Supply Company

By Melinda Myers – Special to Focus Daily News

Add some homegrown flavor to your winter meals. From microgreens to tomatoes, it is possible to grow produce indoors.

Microgreens are a quick and easy way to add some flavor and crunch to your plate. Just plant seeds labeled for sprouting or microgreens in a shallow container filled with a sterile potting or seed starting mix. Within two weeks you will be harvesting nutritious mini vegetable and herb leaves for salads, sandwiches or snacking.

Take it one step further and grow a few of your favorite herbs on a warm sunny windowsill. Select a container with drainage holes and set on the appropriate size saucer to protect your woodwork. Fill the container with well-drained potting mix and plant seeds or transplants. Purchase basil, chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary plants from your local garden center or the produce department.

Greens, like lettuce and spinach, will also grow in a sunny window or better yet under artificial lights.

Grow them in a container filled with a well-drained potting mix similar to your windowsill herb garden. Plant seeds according to the seed packet. Continually harvest the outer leaves when they are four to six inches tall.

Those that like a bit of a challenge may want to try growing a compact tomato, pepper or eggplant. You’ll get the best production with a combination of natural and artificial light or full spectrum lights.

Natural sunlight and full spectrum lights contain the variety of light plants need to grow, flower and fruit. Blue light promotes leaf and stem growth, while red combined with blue promotes flowering. Consider investing in energy efficient and long lasting high intensity grow lights for the greatest yields when growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other fruiting plants indoors.

Leave lights on for 14, but no more than 16 hours each day. Plants need a dark period as well as bright light each day to grow and thrive. Use a timer to ensure the plants receive the right duration of light.

Most flowering and fruiting plants need a high intensity of light, so keep the lights six to twelve inches above your plants. Use reflective surfaces under and around the plants to bounce light back into larger plants.

Increase your indoor growing space by going vertical. Shelf units with built-in light fixtures like the Stack-n-Grow Light System (gardeners.com) provide multiple layers of growing space.

And once your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants start flowering, you will need to shake things up a bit. Gently shake the plants several times a week, better yet daily, to move the pollen from the female to the male parts of the flower so fruit will develop. A gentle breeze from a fan or vibrations from a battery-operated toothbrush work well.

Indoor gardening won’t yield the same results as a sunny outdoor garden, but the flavor can’t be beat when gardening outdoors is not an option.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers has a partnership with Gardener’s Supply Company and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Valentine Dining In Dallas

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romantic restaurants in Dallas

It’s that time of year, and for every box of chocolate or over-sized stuffed animal you give the one you love, just as many men and women are going to be thinking where is the “perfect” place for the Valentine meal not to be forgotten. We’ve summed it up for you here so you can just make a reservation and be done.

Checkered Past Winery
When Checkered Past Winery located in Dallas on Lamar Street opened in early December in the historic South Side building the owners already knew they wanted their little wine establishment to be much more than just a place to drink just any ‘ol wine.

Nope, co-founder, owner and winemaker Sandro DiSanto, who is a first generation American with roots in Sicily wanted the place to promote Texas wines.

With that in mind he and his partner/General Manager, Carolynne Chancellor looked for not only Texas wines, but Texas wines that are easy to drink.

DiSanto, Chancellor and a third partner have been working toward opening Checkered Past Winery since 2008 and with the doors now open folks can enjoy wines from Red Caboose in Meridian, Texas as well as wines from not only Burleson and Texoma, but also the popular Central Texas town of Fredericksburg. Of course, there are also wine choices from outside of Texas and as far away as Italy and France.

Chancellor also has a vineyard in nearby Tyler, Texas so the wines at Checkered Past Winery also emphasis that and you can even find organic wines on the menu too.

Don’t mistake Checkered Past Winery for just a tasting room either, it’s more than that. With a menu that serves a cheese and charcuterie board, scrumptious Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Skewers and even a Baby Arugula Salad for finicky eaters, there is something everyone can enjoy.

Beer is also served alongside the wine and food. It’s local too from Fort Worth’s Rahr and Son’s Brewing Company, Lakewood Brewing, Community Beer Co. and Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Billed as an underground bar expect lots of metal and wood used for the table tops, large concrete pillars in the middle of the floor and the artwork is worth checking out in this 2,500-square-foot space too. There are not only recycled tires on the walls, but scooters too, sort of the logo for the place overall. The industrial feel suits the Checkered Past Winery well complete with a laid-back vibe and a good place to hang for the evening.

Julia Pearl
What type of city would Dallas be without some good ‘ol Southern cooking? Comfort food is all about feeling good and at Julia Pearl Southern Kitchen there’s no way you will feel anything but good after you have eaten there. Well, good and satiated after a serving of Deviled Eggs complete with crispy chicken skin or maybe the Balsamic-Honey Glazed Pork Belly with sweet potatoes shaved with apple Cole slaw.

And that all before you even dig in for the good part.

Sure, there might be other southern style kitchens around, but “Top Chef” contestant Tre Wilcox isn’t involved in those restaurants is he? Neither is Julia Pearl Chef Jermaine Brown who is officially helming the kitchen.

Both chef’s haul from Chef Kent Rathbun’s Abacus Dallas, but they have a long list of successes otherwise on their resume. Chef Brown began his days at Brennan’s in Houston and has worked his way up at some impressive award-winning restaurants in the area. As for Chef Wilcox, he also spent time at Loft610 and Marquee Bar and Grill before landing at a place that even your granny would approve.

Actually located in Plano, Wilcox created the menu at Julia Pearl with a nod to southern inspired family recipes that come straight from head guy Darcy Dudley and his wife’s family matriarchs, Julia and Pearl.

The Julia part of the menu is traditional southern cooking, but the Pearl part of the equation cooks in a more modern taste for folks to enjoy.

Entrees are rich in flavor like the Julia Pearl’s Southern Fried Chicken, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish and there is even Grilled King Salmon. Add to that a smattering of biscuits, fried okra, whipped potatoes and collard greens, just to name a few sides and you have a full-on down home meal.

The dessert of choice is Pearl’s Red Velvet Cake with white chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream to top it off, but the Lemon Pound Cake or the Banana Bread Pudding is also worth saving room for too.

In the 6,000-square-foot space the dining room is charming, but the bar will also be calling your name. Special southern-inspired drinks rate high like Pearl’s Old Fashioned mixed with Jacob’s Ghost (Jim Beam) White Bourbon, Bitters and Orange Slice or Julia’s Ruby Red Cocktail featuring grapefruit juice, Deep Eddy Vodka and St Germain.

Located at 2301 N. Central Expressway off I75 and Parker Road check Julia Pearl Southern Kitchen out for a meal that you will definitely be inspired to try and recreate at home.

Hickory
Much loved Executive Chef and creator of Dallas restaurants Abacus and Jasper, Kent Rathbun is at it again with his latest offering, a new restaurant called Hickory. Located in the perfect location off the North Dallas Tollway in Plano’s Shops at Granite Park, it’s not burgers and barbeque as usual here since these Rathbun favorites are served up in a 6,500 square-foot restaurant that has the perfect roadhouse vibe. Lots of wood and metal combined with custom lighting and an overall industrial aesthetic was included in the design as were 50-inch screens hanging on the walls throughout so customers don’t have to miss any game or sporting event ever.

No stranger to the Rathbun concept, General Manager Dennis Egert and Chef Cuisine Jeff Qualls are at the helm here handpicked for their unique brand of leadership that fits well with Rathbun’s latest concept.

“We’re excited to bring together these two great staples of Texas cooking in an elevated, full-service setting,” Rathbun said.

With a 1,374 square-foot patio for enjoying the menu and the bar options, there is not only a fireplace to set the laid back mood outside, but also picnic tables and a lounge area. Inside it’s community and high top tables as well as banquettes for dining.

Menu items include burger options that go from hamburgers or cheeseburgers to a higher end Farmhouse Burger that comes with pepper-crusted apple wood smoked bacon and a fresh farm egg. For barbeque lovers you aren’t being overlooked with a smorgasbord of choices prepared in-house on the “Little Red Smokehouse” aka an indoor smoker. The Texas-style barbeque options include not only the smoked brisket, ribs and pork shoulder, but a hickory smoked turkey breast or Wagyu basket. Hickory is proud of the sides they offer too like the Granny Smith apple coleslaw, the burnt end baked beans, waffle-cut Maytag blue cheese fries and the buttermilk onion rings. You also get bread and butter and spicy dill pickles and a whole variety of sauces to choose from for the meat.

Craft beers and cocktails are high on the list and standouts include the barrel-aged Old Fashioned and the popular Killin’ Thyme with vodka, cucumber, lime, soda and thyme. For beer drinkers there are draft selections that include seven from Texas brewers and whiskey drinkers can have a selection of bourbon flights, all chosen to pair perfectly with the barbeque and burgers on the tasty and well-thought out menu.

Ten 50 Barbecue
It’s a Texas-size barbecue experience with authentic Texas barbecue that is slow roasted for up to 16 hours and the taste says it all. The pit master at Ten 50 BBQ, Darren Willis, takes his job seriously and it’s a 24-hour day to make sure the meat is just right.

Hickory, oak, pecan and mesquite charcoal are used for cooking and guests walk through the service line choosing their meat of choice while it is still cooking. The owners are also all about locally sourced with choices like brisket, ribs, sausage, turkey and pulled pork. One special on the menu that will really make your mouth come alive try the Torpedoes; chicken and brisket filled jalapeno that is hotter than a summer afternoon in the big D.

Sides are made from scratch, everything from fresh cut fries, coleslaw, onion rings, potato salad, friend okra and the best of the best, the 4 cheese mac and cheese. What isn’t made from scratch on the premises comes from the popular Village Bakery bread and of course, the homemade pie and banana pudding is always a crowd pleaser. And if you think you know banana pudding, Ten 50 offers a twist, which is a chocolate banana pudding that really is worth saving room for as the end to a hearty meal.

While you won’t go hungry at Ten 50 BBQ the folks there also make sure you won’t go thirsty either with 24 craft beers to choose from and most are locally selected. Think Revolver Blood and Honey or the Lakewood Temptress to name a few, the beers rotate and are chosen to make for the perfect pairing.

Get your party on with you and 50 of your closet friends, barbeque just seems to bring people together and the Ten 50 BBQ décor is perfect with rows and rows of tables and wooden chairs and a full bar. To round out the experience an old truck is situated inside to make sure guests not only taste an authentic Texas meal, but also feel the Texas BBQ vibe at the same time.

Pink Magnolia
When Dallas Chef Blythe Beck opened Pink Magnolia near the Bishop Art’s District last summer she had a plan. It included Southern cooking in an upscale dining environment with a menu that featured Deviled Eggs, Biscuits and Butter and even Texas Lamb Chop Lollipops for an opener. If you still have room, and you should save room, the entrees are diverse and wickedly tasteful too like the Cayenne Garlic Shrimp and Grits, Candied Orange Smoked Duck Breast or Cornmeal Fried Catfish.

Yep, tasty to say the least, but Beck knows tasty well since she did an eight-month stint at Kitchen LTO. Prior to that spent time at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, Hector’s on Henderson and Central 214 in Hotel Palomar.

Located in the old Driftwood space in Oak Cliff, Pink Magnolia sees Beck partnering with Restaurateur Casie Caldwell. Caldwell was the brainchild behind the permanent pop-up restaurant idea Kitchen LTO incorporating rotating chefs and designers at Trinity Groves and it is where she met Beck too.

Fast forward to Pink Magnolia and remember, Beck has been coined the Naughty Chef since it was while at Central 214 that she worked on the television project The Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck. She was also featured on Beat Bobby Flay – Season 3 on the Food Network in 2014 and through it all she has kept her cooking style as naughty as her previous show.

Earthy with cayenne red hair, Beck talks the talk and also walks the walk with her menu options and while her choices are about pleasing the taste buds, she goes for the soul as well. The name Pink Magnolia was inspired by the magnolia flower as a nod to southern strength and hospitality, which Beck has in spades. It is also all about her “pink positivity” a southern favorite, much like her latest venture has become.

The Revenant Film Review, Not For Faint Of Heart

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The Revenant

The Revenant, Inspired by true story of Hugh Glass

“The Revenant” is a drama/action/adventure film directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman) and written by Inarritu and Mark L. Smith. The film is based in part on the novel by Michael Punke. Opening Friday Jan. 8 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, rated R for strong combat, violence and gory images (including a Grizzly bear attacking a man in a horrendously realistic and seemingly endless wrestling match) as well as language, a sexual assault and brief nudity.

In other words, this film—inspired but not necessarily faithful to the true story of Hugh Glass, a legendary explorer, fur trapper and sometime Indian fighter—is not for the faint of heart.

But it is a film that begs to be seen on the big screen, since the epic survival tale takes place in an untamed American wilderness that’s bigger and more expansive than anything most of us will ever experience. It is, as press releases insist, an immersive experience. Emmanuel Lubezki’s dazzling cinematography will make you gasp almost as much as the violent action.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Glass. He’s left for dead by his fellow fur-trapping colleagues after being brutally mauled by a female Grizzly bear. Its ultimately a story of survival against incredible, even unbelievable odds. DiCaprio is fantastic as the bearded, filthy, severely injured survivor who crawls on his belly until he finally can stand again. He’s a strong contender for another Oscar nomination.

Avenging Apparition

The term Revenant means an avenging apparition who rises from the dead seeking revenge. In a drastic departure from the real story of the frontiersman who survived the bear’s attack and being left for dead by his companions, the unscrupulous John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and naive young Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), Glass becomes a creature totally focused on revenge for being left alone to die.

When the real-life Glass finally staggered back to the fort after a 200-mile trek through blizzards, Indian attacks and other near-death experiences, he did confront his former friends. But then he forgave them, which actually seems to this viewer like a better story. Especially since it is true.

But Hollywood filmmakers, even highly respected award-winning ones like Inarritu, don’t always stick too close to the truth when drama demands a more spectacular, gorier climax. So the film drags on for about 20 minutes longer than necessary. The extra time allows the relentless Glass to whip his betrayer, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) into a bloody pulp. Afterwards, Glass shoves him downstream for an Indian chief to scalp.

However, the film also has some tender moments of love and loyalty. These moments are shown in flashbacks of Glass with his Pawnee Indian wife and son, both later killed. A wandering Pawnee who’s lost his own family and tribe to soldiers shows friendship and compassion to Glass, keeping him alive during a fierce blizzard and helping to heal his wounds. These acts of nobility, however, are few and far between.

The real Hugh Glass died in 1833 at the age of 53. He had survived more near-death experiences than an entire army of battle-scarred soldiers. Personally, I found his history more interesting and far more satisfying than the film version.

Holiday Gifts For The Gardener

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gifts for the gardener

Holiday Gifts For The Gardener

By Melinda Myers 

Make this holiday season one filled with creating memories and gifts that keep giving throughout the year. Here are some gifts for the gardener on your list.

Terrariums have made a comeback and make wonderful do-it-yourself projects and gifts for beginning and experienced gardeners. They enable gardeners to continue to grow no matter the weather outdoors and can be updated and used as decorations throughout the year with some simple updating for holidays and other special occasions. Just add a few ceramic items like a Christmas tree ornament, ceramic bunny or other adornment or two that represent the season. Don’t know where to start? No problem. You can create your own from an old glass jar or vase or purchase an elegant terrarium with copper bottom guaranteed to create the perfect stage for your tabletop garden. Or purchase a terrarium kit that includes the plants, container and all you need.

Be Creative And DIY

For the artist, young or old, and avid birder, consider a green birdhouse. These biodegradable birdhouses are made from 100% recycled paper and designed to last through one nesting season. You will have fun decorating it with stickers, markers or paint, making this a gift you and the birds will enjoy. Plus, once the season is over, there’s no need for cleaning. Simply add it to the compost pile.

Not feeling artistic? No worries. Give a decorative treat for the birds. Those with live Christmas trees can extend their enjoyment by decorating the tree with colorful birdseed ornaments once it is moved outdoors. Make your own ornaments from suet, peanut butter and birdseed or purchase ready-made ones.

And no green thumb is needed for this DIY holiday beauty. Easy care waxed amaryllis bulbs (gardeners.com) are self contained and easy to grow. The bulb is sealed in gold or silver wax, making it both decorative and low maintenance. There’s no watering or container needed. Just set it in a bright location and wait for the floral display to appear before your eyes. You’ll be enjoying big blooms for several weeks.

Made With Love

Stay on your diet as the holiday approaches with a sugar-free advent calendar. You can make your own from felt and fabric glue or start a family tradition by purchasing a handcrafted advent calendar like the wooden bird cottage advent calendar (gardeners.com) that celebrates nature and the holiday. Each day leading to Christmas you’ll remove a bird from its cubby in the cottage. Peg it to the birdhouse and watch the flock grow. Your friends and family will know Christmas is coming each year when you break out the calendar. It’s sure to provide years of memories and could soon become a family heirloom.

Make this the year for creating memorable gifts, trying something new or packaging DIY projects that are sure to provide seasons of fun and beauty.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Soulman’s Bar-B-Que Experiences Dramatic Growth In 8 Years

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Soulman's bar-b-que

A bright future is ahead for North Texas-based Soulman’s Bar-B-Que. Its 40-plus-year-old brand is seeing booming growth surpassing 500 percent during the last eight years. Currently with fifteen established restaurants, 11 have emerged in the last eight years under the leadership of Brett Randle, CEO of Soulman’s Bar-B-Que.

With plans to continue expansion, Randle explains what makes Soulman’s so successful and why this growth is possible.

“As a team we are passionately committed to keeping things true and simple. Our future growth depends on a daily focus on what makes our restaurants successful–great food, great service and clean environment in which to enjoy it. Preserving our heritage is vital to us at Soulman’s. As a 41 year old brand, we try hard to stay away from trendiness. We are a traditional Texas Bar-B-Que house. We do things the accepted way, the right way, and we’re resolved to continue that through our growth,” says Randle.

This classic style of barbecue enables Soulman’s to pursue continued growth with four more restaurant locations anticipated to open.

“In 2008, we had four locations and we’ve grown to 15. We have 16, 17, 18 and 19 already on the way for 2016,” adds Randle.

And this growth has nothing to do with luck. In a commodity market that relies on fluctuating meat prices, Soulman’s has been able to adjust to these market changes and come out on top. When beef prices soared last year, Soulman’s strategized to provide the best, affordable and tasty options for their customers.

“2014 was a challenging year with regard to Cost of Goods. Specifically, brisket prices sky-rocketed to unprecedented levels very quickly. Considering Brisket makes up approximately 35% of Soulman’s food spend, a near 100% increase in a matter of months was potentially catastrophic. However, our team rose to the challenge. We introduced more efficient products, re-negotiated food deals and created new menu items that would sway our product mix away from brisket. Overall the plan was a great success,” Randle says.

Compared to the national average of restaurant growth, Soulman’s is a standout establishment. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Executive Summary, “restaurant-and-foodservice sales are projected to top $709 billion, up 3.8 percent from 2014.” In comparison to similar markets, Soulman’s percentage of growth shines.

Restaurantnews.com shares the 2013 Restaurant Chain Growth Report, which compares Soulman’s growth in 2013 with other restaurants with fewer than 20 units. Compared with other lunch and dinner restaurants like El Taco Tote based in El Paso, TX which has experienced a 15 percent growth, Soulman’s increased their business by 22 percent in 2013.

For more than 40 years, Soulman’s Bar-B-Que has satisfied the hardest to please barbecue lovers…Texans! Their selections of meats are cooked “low and slow” over hickory in a time-honored tradition: beef brisket, ham, hot links, sausage, turkey, chicken, pulled pork and, the crowd favorite, ribs. Ranch House Beans and Spicy Cream Corn are among the delicious homemade sides.

Soulman’s currently owns and operates 15 North and East Texas locations in Cedar Hill, Dallas, Forney, Garland, Greenville, Hurst, Lancaster, Mesquite, Quinlan, Rockwall (2), Royse City, Terrell, Van and Allen – the newest location.

Rita’s Holiday Gift Guide 2015

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Silver and gold gift boxes on white. This file contains clipping path.

As you put together your holiday Christmas list and try to figure out the perfect gift for that per-fect someone, here are some items we found that could really put a smile on the one you love’s face come Christmas morning.

Stocking Stuffers You Can’t Refuse
For the hard to shop for person on your list try the Hanging Air Plant Terrarium – certainly a gift that can be used and admire, $24.

Classic Cocktails Bar Set,

Automatic Electric Corkscrew

Whiskey Glasses

Happiness Is…Magnetic chalkboard $8.95

Just about the best holiday mugs we’ve ever seen, $36, www.whitepeachpottery.com

From jetsetters to mountain men, everyone can appreciate the fuss-free portability of Union Wine Co’s wine in a can available in Rosé, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. $6 at www.Unionwinecompany.com

Home

Archipelago Botanicals is a national candle and fragrance company specializing in natural soy candles, scented diffusers, natural fragrances and bath & body products including lotions, body scrubs, body wash, hand crèmes, hair care and more. With a variety of collections, Archipelago Botanicals draws inspiration from natural botanicals and uses care in the selection of premium natural ingredients. Light one of Archipelago’s scented soy candles, draw a hot bath, and prepare to be pampered. The Havana Parsons Candle features a warm blend of Bergamot, Tobacco Leaf and Ylang Ylang. It’s a favorite from the Excursion Collection – consisting of 22 location-oriented scents for the jet-set decorators that love the collections diversity of color and fragrances. The candle is presented in a dramatic white glass, topped with a black lid and adorned with a colored fabric swatch. Designed to create an unforgettable gift that needs no spe-cial wrapping, and can be placed around your home year round, as this candle burns for approx-imately 100 hours!
Havana Parsons Candle, $30, www.ShopArchipelago.com

Winter Candela Collections classic Winter Home Fragrance scents are now housed individually in beautiful gold embellished cartons and each is a limited edition scent that is hand-poured into custom designed scalloped glass, perfect for gifting that something special with a burn time of 45 hours. Choose from scents like sweet tabak and vanilla, the essence of rosemary or the nostalgic scent of pine.
TOCCA’s Winter Candela Collection $45 each for 7 oz. candle, available at Nordstrom

Monogram Series Lovespoon Candles, $23.95 (jars) and $27.95 (tins)

Don’t let your love one struggle to fall asleep ever again! The S+by ResMed is the world’s first non-contact sleep sensor and offers a better sleep from the very first night.
$99, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Amazon

Spirits
Here’s the vibe, welcome to the world of CÎROC® – where the jet-set mingle with stylish sophisticates in the hotspots where next-generation luxury comes alive. CÎROC enthusi-asts embrace celebration from the sundrenched private beaches of Ibiza to the star-studded hotspots of Los Angeles now so can you.

The ultra premium tequila is Herradura 100% agave tequila since 1870 and crafted using only the most mature blue agave and artisanal methods. Distilled twice and aged to perfec-tion in American white oak barrels. Since Herradura means horseshoe in Spanish each horseshoe on the bottle is applied by hand and the colored embossed ribbon seal references the tequila ex-pression type. $37.95

How do you drink the best? The Prosecco Al Fresco flutes with a bottle of Prosecco couldn’t make anyone happier. It is the Riedel Veritas Champagne Wine glass, the world’s first ever Champagne-specific shape designed to optimize the flavors and aromas of Champagne and spar-kling wine. The dramatic, all-new glass, which features a wider bowl than a flute and a tapered rim, unlike a coupe, offers a way to toast to a moment of happiness with bubbly that tastes better than ever.
$69/set of 2, www.Riedel.com

Men
Tom and Teddy of Australia are a man’s best friend. They offer men’s and boy’s matching swim trunks in a variety of styles, colors and prints that capture the spirit of Australian summers. Tom & Teddy founders are beach enthusiasts that were inspired by memories of sand, surf and the special bond fathers and sons share. The company also offers men’s and boy’s short and long sleeve rash tops. Their rash tops each have 50+ UPF, which barriers over 98% of the sun’s intense rays. Starting at $55, boys and $95.

Kahtoola’s winter fitness gear could be a perfect fit for him. Both the NANOspikes and MICROspikes are the ideal fitness routine helper for the wintertime. They slip over running shoes and stabilize anyone like a parent with a stroller to the most skilled athletes when the ground starts to get slick and dangerous and super lightweight too.
NANOspikes $49.95 and MICROspikes $69.95 at REI

Travel
For the frequent traveler, Peace Love World is a brand that embodies the sentiment of the season. No matter how hectic holiday travel gets, Peace Love World’s new luggage col-lection will help you jet set in sanity and style.
$100 to $250. Also, the 4 set travel kit has a different sized bag for all of your needs, $118

For the frequent travel these stylish Psi Bands are acupressure wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to motion sickness/travel, as well as morning sickness/pregnancy, anesthesia, and chemotherapy.

Laptop messenger bags, laptop backpacks, carry-on luggage or laptop/tablet sleeves, ecbc is de-signed with the modern, gadget-bearing traveler in mind and is TSA-friendly too. All the rolling luggage comes with a portable power pack included, so modern travelers with ecbc bags are al-ways fully charged and stress-free.

Entertainment
A trip through Paris as it will never be again—dark and dank and poor and slapdash and truly bohemian in “The Other Paris” by Luc Sante $28, Farrar, Straus & GirouxElf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas on DVD and Blu-r, Warner Bros. Home Entertain-ment Group, $14.99/$19.98KindNotes are a beautiful and unique glass jars filled with 31 thoughtful, personal messages that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Each message is individually enclosed in a decorative linen envelope with messages that cover a wide range of sentiments: inspirational, love, friendship and many more. Choose from messages already available or customize what you want the letters to say. KindNotes retail from $29.95 to $41.95, www.kindnotes.com

Beautiful color photos, honest reviews, helpful insight and extraordinary depth make “The Complete Walt Disney World 2016” a must-have tool if you’re out to make your next Disney World trip your best vacation ever. $24.95, Keen Communications

Technology
The Smart Charging Station at www.GreatUsefulStuff.com is available in Bamboo, Hi Gloss Cheery or White or Black Leatherette and perfect for charging anytime and anywhere. Starting at $90 to $110 at www.GreatUsefulStuff.com

Boombotix is a leader in audio and portable technology with many products availa-ble for that someone on your Christmas list. Boombot PRO – Gold, Gunmetal Gray, Black is a waterproof speaker that includes 2GB of flash storage, meaning you’ll never need your phone for more intense outdoor activities. The improved acoustics with professionally tuned amps from previous models make it the highest rated speaker in its class. The ultraportable, rugged speaker has a rechargeable battery that keeps playing all day long, Siri integration, and a one year no-matter-what warranty. $99.99 – $120 at www.boombotix.com

Boombot MINI – Pitch black, Gunmetal grey, Electric Blue, the featherweight design of the Boombot MINI enables marathon runners, triathletes, or anyone needing premium acoustic qual-ity sound to clip anywhere and everywhere. With 6 hours of long-lasting play, this mini driver boasts tons of power for such a small speaker. $39.99 at www.boombotix.com

Motorola Talkabout T460
$89.99 at www.MotorolaSolutions.com/Talkabout

Altec’s Bluetooth is indestructible, the Boom Jacket is waterproof, sandproof, shockproof and snowproof and it is submersible, inpervious to indignities like dirt and sand and has the longest battery life up to 40 hours, comes with mounting options for the adventure / thrill seeker. $199.99 at Best Buy

TomTom has something for everyone on your list – whether you’re shopping for an adrenaline junkie, aspiring triathlete, golf aficionado, or someone who’s simply trying to be a little healthier in the new year, TomTom has you covered. The Golfer Watch is the ideal gift for any golfer on your list – beginner or pro; the Multi-Sport Cardio GPS Watch featuring a built-in heart rate monitor is the perfect accessory for anyone trying to improve their fitness routine and the Bandit Action Camera is TomTom’s newly launched and the market’s first ever 4K HD action camera featuring a built-in media server that cuts the editing process down from hours to just minutes. Prices vary visit www.tomtom.comVivitar 40″ Smartphone Selfie Monopod with Bluetooth Enabled Remote atAmazon.com

Women’s Stocking Stuffers
FOR THE CLASSIC WOMAN
Gorgeous gifts just as sophisticated and timeless as her
-Elemis Enriched Future Gift Set (Nordstrom.com, $172)
-Oscar de la Renta Signature Gift Set (Macys.com, $92)
-Cartier MUST de Cartier GOLD (NeimanMarcus.com, $150)
-Tweezerman Candy Apple Red Petite Tweeze Set (Tweezerman.com, $30)

FOR THE WILD CHILD
Gifts with a touch of sass for girl who’s not afraid to break the rules
-Cartier La Panthère Légère EDP (Macys.com, $128)
-Tweezerman Fashion Leopard Mini Slant Tweezer and 10x Mirror (Tweezerman.com, $25)
-Tweezerman Onyx Value Gift Set (Tweezerman.com, $25)
-Tweezerman Glitterati Python Slant Tweezer (Tweezerman.com, $26)

FOR THE BEAUTY JUNKIE
Killer kits sure to excite any beauty guru or girl who has it all
– Tweezerman Ultimate Brow & Lash Set (Tweezerman.com, $85)
-Elemis Forever Frangipani Collection (Nordstrom.com, $66)
-Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary Gift Set (Macys.com, $95)
-Also, the Extraordinary Rollerball & Lip Gloss Duo ($22) is great for gift exchanges or as a stocking stuffer!
-Tweezerman Gold Star Gift Set (NeimanMarcus.com, $85)

Women
Cross off everyone on your check list with one unique item by O-Venture. Big O Key Rings are available in a variety of colors in leather or silicone. These round keychains are 4” in diameter, making it a great bangle/accessory to wear up the arm, hung over door knobs/gear shifts, or as stocking stuffers. Each ring comes with a secured magnetic clasp that makes it possible to hook onto totes and gym bags. Whether you’re gifting these functional items for the hostess or the individual on-the-go, O-Venture provides the ideal solution to all your stress of holiday shop-ping.
Leather: $55/Silicone: $28; www.O-Venture.com

Kent Stetson’s convertible crossbody clutches with removable metal chains. Each laminate coat-ed envelope clutch has a unique craft cocktail design that’s digitally printed onto the bag. Once the magnetically closed flap is opened, you’ll see the glass empty inside. Adorned with a 3D el-ement from a lime to a wine cork, these statement clutches will help you imbibe without feeling guilty this season. $190, www.O-Venture.com

Ecco Bella is an organic skincare and cosmetics brand that formulates their products with VitaminCells—trillions of microspheres that deliver the world’s most powerful skin vita-mins (lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin, CoQ10 and Vitamins C & E) deep into the skin to protect and rejuvenate it from stress, sun damage, environmental aging. Organic Eau to Parfums ($30) are mood alterting and their collection of Anti-Aging or Anti Blemish foursomes ($140) are en-riched with their powerful VitaminCell formulas; www.eccobella.com

Goldfaden MD Plant Profusion Collection is a breakthrough luxury anti-aging collection inspired by science and powerful natural ingredients. It is the first physician strength, naturally-inspired skincare and the collection features the exclusive GOLDFADEN MD Plant Profusion Extract Complex, PURFLORA, a proprietary complex blend that is simply nature at its best.
$145 to $235 and is available at www.goldfadenmd.com, www.spacenk.com and www.net-a-porter.com.

Unlike traditional aromatherapy oils, xSense functional scents’ specially formulated, pure essen-tial oil ingredients have been clinically found to improve daily tasks. Simply apply one of xSense’s three scents, PlaySense, WorkSense or RestSense, directly under your nose and allow the scent to work for the holiday season and into the new year.
Deluxe sample pack of 3 multi-use vials of PlaySense, WorkSense, and RestSense: $14, 10 milli-liter (0.3-oz) roller-applicator bottle of PlaySense: $45, 3-pack of 10 milliliter bottles each of PlaySense, WorkSense, and RestSense: $95 at www.xsense.com

This holiday season, give the gift that keeps giving all year long – flawless, beautiful skin. Nerium International’s Age-Defying Night and Day Creams, NeriumAD Formula, provide a 24 hour skincare regimen, featuring a patented, next generation ingredient, NAE-8. With two innovative products that promise youthful, beautiful skin, Nerium is the one gift you may even want to keep for yourself.

Age-Defying Night Cream, NeriumAD Formula $110 or the Age-Defying Day Cream, NeriumAD Formula $165 with the purchase of the Night Cream at www.MyNerium.com.The best boot ever is the Waldläufer Dove Boot and comfortable for her too. $190 at www.waldlaufer.com

The first gel mask to provide year-round hydration it’s the Wilma Schumann Hydra-Gel Profes-sional Treatment Masques that can be used at home. The Wilma Schumann Hydra-Gel Profes-sional Treatment Masques consists of Red Wine (Anti-oxidant, pink) – An antioxidant mask for-mulated with Red Wine rich in polyphenols making it an ideal addition to any anti-aging regi-men; Deep Sea Soil (Nourishing, black) – A nourishing mask formulated with pure Deep Sea Soil, Allantoin and Hyaluronic Acid; Aloe Vera (Soothing, green) – A soothing and calming mask containing Aloe Vera, Collagen and Allantoin to calm irritated or reddened skin and to provide mild hydration and Pure Collagen (Hydrating, white) – A deep hydrating mask containing Glycerin, Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid to boost skin’s moisture.
$39.00 for a set of 4 masks and available in each of the four formulations or in a Variety Pack with one of each formula at CVS Elevate Beauty Pharmacies and www.wilmaschumann.com.

Arcopédico’s L31D Tall Riding Boot made from Lytech material, which is vegan, water-resistant, washable, and flexible. Featuring a interior zipper for ease of wear and fashion-able and functional back lacing for a custom fit.
$180, available in Brown, Black or Black Lava at www.Zappos.com

The hottest address in New York, Bond Street, has inspired both the scent and the name of this elegant and eclectic new eau de parfum. At its heart is intoxicating, traditionally ultra-feminine gardenia–given a whole new spin that renders it fascinatingly gender-fluid. Women will adore it; men will find it amazingly wearable too. With citrus and spicy saffron topnotes surrounded with sensual jasmine and delicate, mood-lifting orchid, and, most compel-ling of all, sultry but sustainable with masculine-leaning base notes: amber, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, and oakmoss. The bottle is gender-free deep aubergine, the color of understated ele-gance and power. It displays just one embellishment—the name of the scent: a deliberate abbre-viation, which also serves as its own logo and as a curvilinear design element, rendered in touch-able raised gold. 100ml, $320; 50ml, $260 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and www.bondno9.com

The Pipefish bracelet is a light, flirty bracelet to wear with everything from sundresses to jeans. Sleek organic lines mean this beautiful pipefish can be worn from day to night. Meant to be worn fitted, the pipefish is life-sized and wraps around the wrist and is sterling silver. $359 at www.alohikai.com.

C.O. Bigelow Perfume Oil available in Amber, Magnolia, Patchouli, Musk, Vanilla, Rose, Ver-bena, Freesia, Cinnamon/Orange, and Lily of the Valley. $15 at www.bigelowchemists.com

#LiveHappy Long Sleeve Tee makes life fun and sends a good message. $28.95 atwww.Livehappy.com

Children
Whether your little one is heading off on a Jungle excursion or just going to Grandma’s for the day, this rolling Wildlife Trolley from Lassig will help make traveling a little easier. Not only will little ones love venturing around the train station or airport with luggage just like the grown-ups, but it allows for adults to focus on juggling their own bags! In addition to the wheels, features include telescoping pull handle, deep main pocket with mesh pockets and zipper divider within, carrying handle, and front zipper pocket. Available in six bright Wildlife designs: Elephant, Turtle, Birdie, Tiger, Giraffe, and Rhino. All materials used to manufacture Lassig bags are free of PVC, AZO, Phthalates, Nickel and Cadmium. For every product purchased from the Wildlife Collection, Lassig will donate a portion to support the Momella Foundation and two of their conservation projects: the Big Cat Guardians and the Sparkling Elephant Project, which aim to enhance creativity while educating and creating awareness for endangered wildlife species throughout Tanzania. Brand: Lassig’s Wildlife Trolley, $49.99 athttp://www.habausa.com/wildlife-trolley.html

BSensible makes a revolutionary 2 in 1 Waterproof Fitted Sheet made of 100% Natural Tencel®. This thermoregulatory fiber stays coolest in the summer and warmest in the winter. It also dries more quickly for maximum comfort and is ideal for sensitive skins. Available in 8 different col-ors.
Brand: BSensible® Baby’s 2 in 1 Waterproof Fitted Sheet, $39.99

Candide’s Luxury Baby Wrap is an incredibly easy to use baby wrap sleeping bag, specially designed in lightweight or padded material to suit the changing seasons. With no zip-pers or snaps, this soft and comfortable wrap is available in padded jersey material for cool win-ter nights or lightweight cotton specially designed for those hot summer nights. The Luxury Baby Wrap is recommended for ages 0-3 months and is available in White, Hazel or Grey. Brand: Candide Baby’s Luxury Baby Wrap, $24.99

Who or what am I? A baker, a lion, or even a watering can? You need a ‘cool head’ to win this game! Only those who ask just the right questions and combine them in just the right manner can figure out the solution and keep a hold of as many of their counting dice as possible to earn points. The aim of the game is to have the most points at the end of the game. A funny, classic guessing game for 2 or more players 5+. Includes neat metal tin. Perfect for travel! Brand: HABA’s Who Am I?, $13.99

The Original Squeeze™ is the original reusable squeeze pouch with a spill-proof spout. Perfect for beginning eaters and kinders, the patented spill-proof nipple spout makes mess-free eating a cinch. Fill your Original Squeeze™ with homemade baby food, healthful smoothies or wholesome purees and pack it up every day for all life’s adventures! The Original Squeeze is perfect for babies 6 months and older. Brand: The Original Squeeze Company’s The Original Squeeze™, $13.99/2 ounce size or $15.99/6 ounce size

Tug and the Tooth is a new Tooth Fairy tradition that celebrates and supports chil-dren as they lose their baby teeth. Tug, a lovable tooth-shaped character has a backpack to hold a child’s lost tooth. He exchanges the tooth with the Tooth Fairy for something special left for the child in his backpack. Tug comes with a beautifully illustrated story about a little girl’s first loose tooth. She is introduced to Tug who comes to life in her dream and takes her on an adventure to the Tooth Fairy’s Castle. Tug and the Tooth is a premium keepsake for children losing their baby teeth. $29.95

Axial has joined forces with the most recognized name in off-roading – Jeep®. The SCX10 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon was designed to resemble its full sized “scale/1:1” counterpart.

Little Cosmetics is a line of pretend makeup for preschool children ages 3 to 5 that looks and feels just like real makeup, but is completely fake – no color transfers or applies to skin.

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