FASHION & STYLE

A TALE OF TWO PANDEMICS

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

A TALE OF TWO PANDEMICS

It’s one of the stories my Mother would randomly tell us about and up until a few weeks ago, it seemed kinda far fetched. She would tell it as I would imagine a war veteran would candidly share his combat experiences. Naturally, the last few days of the news, escalated by a quarantine, has given my memory a jolt and I am remembering bits and pieces of my Mother’s first hand experience in the Spanish Flu of 1918. (I think it’s very interesting we still label it as the Spanish Flu.) Of course, the comparisons are inevitable and since I’m home bound and you can hear a pin drop in the Texas Hill Country, I thought I’d share my memories, during this homebound time, of what my Mother told me about the 1918 flu pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu. That pandemic lasted from January 1918 to December 1920 and infected 500 million people which was about a quarter of the world’s population at the time. My mother was just about two years old at the time and she was living, along with her older brother, on a ranch in New Mexico with their parents–my grandparents. They were from an established ranching family, who had moved from the Runnels County area to the Snyder area (Texas, of course, for you foreigners). Tenacity and gumption were in their DNA, my Grandfather’s father had been in the Texas Frontier Forces which was the precursor of the famous, or infamous, Texas Rangers-which is another interesting story and if this flu thing continues, I’ll tell you all about it. But back to my grandparents on the ranch in New Mexico. With the help of “ranch hands”, my grandparents were well on their way to starting their new life when sometime around the early part of 1919, my grandfather had a horrific fall on a horse and had to be taken to the hospital in Santa Fe. Being a pioneer woman, my grandmother stayed on the ranch with her two little ones and with the ranch workers, kept the ranch operations going—that is until she started “takin’ ill”. By this time the epidemic was barreling through New Mexico. But being the determined woman she was, she kept going even tho the workers pleaded with her to go to the doctor in town. She kept going and continued to fail and when she finally got so bad, the “help” took her to the hospital where she died of the influenza just two doors down from my grandfather, who was bedridden from the horse injuries. The nurses wheeled her body on a gurney to my grandfather’s hospital room so he could view her body before they put her corpse on a train, along with my then two year old mother and her brother, Loyce, and shipped them back to Snyder to my Grandfather’s sister, Cora. And because by then, the Spanish flu was now at pandemic proportions, my mother was shuffled around to whoever was the healthiest household in their extended family. This was not uncommon at the time, families were being disrupted all over the world because no vaccine or cure was known. Sound familiar? Like so many things, I wish I would have asked my Mother more questions about that time, not that...

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Hotel Settles

Posted by on Feb 23, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Hotel Settles

I know, I know……..you’re saying “Big Spring is NOT in the Texas Hill Country!” Duh. For you foreign readers, I’d advise you to google it and see just how “not in the hill country” it reeely is. For us, Big Spring is a perfect stop when we’re going up to Santa Fe or in this case, coming back from Sedona. West Texas has always been in my DNA with a Mother growing up on a ranch outside of Snyder. I’ve heard relatives talk about Big Spring for years. Lately, when someone has mentioned Big Spring, it’s been because of Hotel Settles…..or the refurbishing of Hotel Settles. So this time, we routed our trip to go through Big Spring and not the usual path through Lubbock. It was a Sunday and we had to drive like a bat to get there before the 2pm closing. It was worth the speeding ticket. What an oasis in an otherwise barren part of the world. (Now, you friends in BS, don’t get your dander up. We know some of the funnest people on the planet are from BS—and you know who I’m talking about.). But, back to the hotel….the beautiful hotel. You can see it for miles because it’s so flat out there and there’s nothing to block the view. The facade is that brick which is so indicative of West Texas…in fact, my Grandmother’s “town house”, in Snyder, was built of that very same colored brick. Ohhhh, those childhood West Texas memories of going there during the summer. I can still remember the smell of the water sprinkler’s droplets on the parched flowerbeds and lawn……..and the hum of the huge “swamp” cooler in the window. But, again, I digress…..back to the hotel. After you go through two sets of doors with polished brass handles, you walk into the lobby and immediately see the grand staircase……the kind where Leonardo DiCaprio would extend his hand as you take the first step. To the left is the dining room, which thankfully, we were able to eat a meal—probably not indicative of other culinary hot spots in the area. The salads were very fresh, with a farm to table taste, and the chicken fried steak did not have the prerequisite gristles. An indication that Chef David Bull, out of Austin’s La Corsha management team, keeps long distance tabs and quality control on the restaurant. After our lunch, I walked around and saw the outdoor pool, which I’m sure is a welcome spot on those hot as blue blazes days in West Texas. Upstairs, the baby grand piano sat quietly—as did the grand ball room . I thought, if only those walls could talk. You can look at the vintage pictures on the walls and inject your own fantasies of times gone by. Can you tell, I just loved Hotel Settles? Not only is it a great pit stop, but would be a great destination to experience the flavor of a Texas region. I’d love to get some people together and have a theme party there. Gatsby? Halloween? Texas Independence? I know, I know………reel it in, Dj. Reel it in. Ohhhh, if these walls could talk. Some of the most entertaining stories have originated in West Texas—wish I could share them Be sure to request Brenda for...

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PRIME TIME

Posted by on Jan 18, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

PRIME TIME

You know the saying “Life’s too short to drink bad wine”? I feel the same way about beef…….life is just too short to eat so-so beef. Like some other fine pleasures in life, it’s taken me a while to cultivate a taste for primo beef. Growing up, I never knew there was any other way to eat a steak other than fried and smothered in cream gravy. (I can’t imagine why I got my college freshman 20 in grade school.). Fast forward to Main Street in Marble Falls where Texas Elite Meat is quietly opening an up-scale meat market and soon to be grill. And, it’s is going to be a big addition to our quality of living in the area. When I first met Bert Naumann, the owner, he shared his story about growing up in Waco where he first got the idea to open a high quality meat company. Because Waco real estate had gotten so crazy, thank-you Chip and Joann, he started looking elsewhere. Lucky us. Now, I won’t have to order steaks from Allen Brothers in Chicago who happens to supply the Badu House. (BTW, Bert……you need to make a trip to Llano and start supplying that restaurant with some Texas beef!). Texas Elite Meat steaks are from the Scharbauer Ranch outside of Midland (for you foreigners, that’s way out in West Texas) and has won awards such as World Champion Brisket at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo——–c’mon, can you get any better kudos? Oh, and did I mention the number one steak house in New York City, Daniel, owned by French chef Daniel Boulud, serves Scharbauer Ranch steaks? And, you my dear friend, are able to park you car on Main Street, walk in, point to the prime steak of your choice, take it home and enjoy it in the comfort of your home. You’ll know something is different the moment you put it to the fire or like I do it, pan sear it on all sides (including edges) in a cast iron skillet, then stick it in the oven to finish it off. It’s like that Renee Zelleger line, “You had me at hello”, well, that rib-eye had me at that first sizzle. You immediately notice the aroma of the fine beef. not to mention when you take that first bite. BTW, TEM is getting a commercial grinder so they can do mouthwatering hamburger patties and will even provide all the fixin’s so the only thing you have to do is light up the grill. A web page will be coming soon and in the mean time, the address and phone number are below. You must go and support Texas Elite Meat. It’s just one more reason to love the Texas Hill Country! Bert always takes time to visit Can you see the marbling on the steaks? Chef Daniel Boulud serves Scharbauer Cattle Company steaks at his New York City restaurant—-just like the ones you get at Texas Elite Meat! Can you get a better endorsement? My friend, Josette loved the seasonings More goodies are coming The address is 204 Main Street, Marble Falls……Texas, of course!YOU DO KNOW TO CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED WORDS FOR MORE...

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Texas Monthly & A RANCH

Posted by on Nov 17, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Texas Monthly & A RANCH

Another multi sensory night in the Texas Hill Country when the Texas Cultural Trust and Texas Monthly hosted the Violet Crown Art Exhibition at the Double Heart Ranch, home to newly declared artist and advertising executive, Gay Gaddis. The fall temperature cooperated with an outdoor evening so we could enjoy the Fossil Ridge Creative Center, a tastefully, understated think tank which easily can be a birthing place for any and all art centered projects. Stephanie J. Baker, Executive Director of FRCC, coordinated the evening, including a panel, led by Gay, which gave a brief history of her transition from one of the country’s leading women in the advertising business to renewing her interest and creative juices as an artist. An exciting part of the panel’s discussion was the announcement that Gay was becoming a board member of the Texas Cultural Trust, which already has a whopping powerhouse of a board. What an addition with her “small town values and tenacity” as quoted in the promo for her book, “How To Kick Ass In Business And Life”. By the way, The Texas Cultural Trust was established in 1993 by the Texas Legislative “to provide permanent funding source for the cultural arts in Texas through the Texas Commission On The Arts, which is why guests of the evening were from all genres of the arts—-including film, architecture, dance, music, etc. But, I digress…….back to the ranch….. You must click on and read the history of Double Heart Ranch. I thought I had a bragable Texas lineage, including a card caring member of DRT and Texas Rangers’ Frontier Forces in the family, but the heritage of this ranch is quite fascinating. Then, of course, there was the viewing of Gay Gaddis’ new collection of hill Country paintings entitled Violet Crown. There is a picture on her blog of a Texas sunset which has to be one of her inspirations. The crowd was mostly young uber cool and very Austin smartly dressed. As the sun went down so did the temperature so we said adieu and called it a night. Life is sooooo good in the hill country………… For a quick snippet of Texas history, read about the Double Heart Ranch Oscar provided Texas ranch style valet service Texas monthly’s Tim Taliaferro, Texas Cultural Trust’s Heidi Marquez Smith, and T3 founder author and Artist Gay Gaddis The ranch gallery where Gay Gaddis’ newest collection, Violet Crown, is exhibited. For you foreign readers, this is an excellent interpretation of Texas sunsets. The art studio is muy cool And, doesn’t every party have a s’mores station!!! Local hill country artist Omar Garza and wife, Julie. Catching up on local news with Mike Lucksinger and Anita Levens A quick moment with Heidi Marquez Smith, Texas Cultural Trust Executive...

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GOD BLESS TEXAS and KEN BURNS

Posted by on Sep 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

GOD BLESS TEXAS and                            KEN BURNS

If you’re a fan of PBS, you’ll know this Sunday night is the first in a series of the new Ken Burns film/documentary called Country Music. Last night, we got to see a sneak preview of the seven episodes. Because the preview was at Austin City Limits Moody Theater in the Live Music Capital Of The World, Dayton Duncan, lead producer and writer of Country Music, made sure the cuts we saw were the Texas musicians included in the series. Ohh, I wish I could remember the one liners the likes of Willie, Waylon and the boys popped out during the interviews. The highs and lows of the entertainers were so interesting and made you realize what was going on in their personal lives and the changing music scene—on and off the stage. For instance, I didn’t know a thing about Bob Wills who was not only a musician, but crowd pleasing entertainer. Very much like today’s Mick Jagger. Nor did I realize how many country artist were born in Texas or got there as soon as they could. Did you know Kris Kristofferson’s father was a general in the army? Most of the Texas singers, who we saw in the clips, decided to remain artists and true to their craft—not franchises and marketing projects. Anyway, back to the night. It started off with a Nashville band called Sarah Gayle Meech, then the sneak peek clips, and then the real treat was listening to a panel of uber talented and connected country music aficionados. Dayton Duncan, Julie Dunfey, Ray Benson, and Bill Malone. I was fascinated. Not only because I’m a Texan, as in fifth generation and Texas Rangers in the family, but growing up and hearing tales of when great grand parents, who were West Texas ranchers, would invite all the neighboring ranching families over on Saturday nights and push the furniture to the wall, roll up the rug and dance to a fiddle till all hours in the night. My Mother would tell us of the memory of her Mother cooking dinner at the old stove when my Grandfather would come in from working all day on the ranch, grab her and take a spin around the kitchen, humming an old classic country song. In fact, one of my last memories of my Mother was dancing with her, to an old Ernest Tubb song, Waltz Across Texas. If music is a tonic, then Austin is an elixir—on steroids. What a treasure to have Austin City Limits at my back door. Promise me, on a stack of Willie Nelson albums, you will watch the upcoming Ken Burns special, Country Music. It should be required viewing for all Texans…….right up there with Giant. And, it would be great tutorial for you foreigners who want to learn more about our great state. So, here’s what you do, fry up a good chicken fried steak with real cream gravy, get a good cold beer, prop your feet up and listen to the best music God ever whispered into a songwriter’s ear. Austin City Limits producer, Terry Lickona, with Bill Malone, Julie Dunfey, Ray Benson, and Dayton Duncan. BTW, you foreigners click here for a true taste of Texas and listen to Asleep At The Wheel Forever WillieAustin’s finest, Officer Russell The...

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LOLLIPOP, LOLLIPOP, OH LOLLI LOLLI POP

Posted by on Jun 27, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

LOLLIPOP, LOLLIPOP, OH LOLLI LOLLI POP

    It’s my new favorite store in downtown Marble Falls and you’ve got to go.  Just look for the most colorful storefront on Main Street—you can’t miss MS LOLLIPOP PARTIES FUN & GIFTS.  I could go on and on about the memories you’ll get when you see the vintage candies—-just like the ones you used to buy at the Sugar Shack in grade school.  And, be sure to look at all the old time gag gifts—does it get any better than the old auto exhaust whistle?  Or, the money snatcher………..that’s when it was worth your effort to bend down and grab that dollar bill on the ground, only to have it jerked away on an invisible string by some knucklehead at the end of it……….Ahhhhhhh, those were the days.  Happy days.  Ms Lollipop also has costumes for rent and tons of other fun stuff.  If you time it right, you just might see the owner, Cheryl Westerman, in her Lollipop clown get-up.  BTW, Ms Lollipop will also come entertain the kiddies at the memorable birthday party you’re gonna give.  Or, get her to come for the summer get together when all the grandchildren are at Camp Mimi’s.  And, I bet she could send the cutest camp care package that’s ever arrived at summer camp.  In the mean time, you’ve just got to go, you don’t even need to wait for kids or grand kids to come visit.  MS LOLLIPOP PARTIES FUN & GIFTS will bring out the kid in you.  Just look at these fun pictures while you listen to the fifties classic song…………..     Come on…..they’re still funny as...

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PROST, YA’LL!

Posted by on Mar 10, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

PROST, YA’LL!

The Texas Wine Trail isn’t just about wine.  You can mix it up with whiskey, rum, and now, beer.  And, what a beer stop the Altstadt Brewery is!  For your foreigners, it’s between Wildseed Farms (gotta do a blog on that) and Fredericksburg on Hwy 290.  You can’t miss it—-it’s the huge chalet looking building—–reeelly huge.  We met friends there to enjoy Thomas Michael Riley perform.  How fun to listen to Texas Americana Music in a Bavarian setting—as in huge beer hall, people dancing, eating delicious food, and of course, drinking mucho cold beer while laughing with friends and sitting on long tables with long benches.  Think Oktoerfest in Germany except this beer hall has huge crystal chandeliers and gorgeous Texas size fireplaces.  The cavernous hall is one of several settings at Allstadt Brewery.  There’s a seated dining area inside, an outdoor dining area in the middle of the U shaped building and a bar downstairs that’s dark and cozy with a pub feel.  Not to mention, the beautiful outdoor area in the very back where you can watch a beautiful Texas sunset.  And, they’re adding another pavilion for any special occasion you have coming up according to Brian Petricka, the Assistant Restaurant General Manager..  We decided to enjoy the wonderful spring evening and eat outside under the stars.  Our food was delicious and, of course, the beer was flowing. (For those who prefer wine, they do offer excellent wine choices.)  It was a perfect hill country night……………You must go.  Take the kids, take Grandma, or just you and your sweetie.  It really is a must stop when you’re in the Texas Hill Country.  I can’t wait to go back and have a larger.  By the way, if you can’t get to the brewery, try the Altstadt beer from you grocer’s beer case.  It’s brewed the old world way and will be perfect for the upcoming hot weather. Muy Prost!                                ...

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GET YOUR BUNS TO BLANCO

Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

GET YOUR BUNS TO BLANCO

There used to be a Kinky Friedman song called “Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed” (I kid you not).  Obviously, that’s when people still had a sense of humor.  Now, I’m telling you to get your buns to Blanco to The Bean and Biscuit on the square.  I discovered it on the way back from Corpus when I wanted to pick up the lavender cocktail syrup they sell at Leather and Lavender-you know it’s the stuff they make Lavender Lizzies during the Blanco Lavender Festival every year-which has to be on your Texas Hill Country bucket list.  Anyway, I saw the Bean and Biscuit sign and decided to dash in and grab something to eat.   What a find!  First of all, the pastries are dazzling and the menu of fresh items is extensive.  I ordered pot pies and tomato soup to go and it was a tuff choice—I wanted everything.  While I was waiting for my order, I decided I had to do a taste test on the cherry turnover.  Deelicious.  I can’t wait to go back with girl friends and enjoy lunch then putz around Blanco.  Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite and stir your curiosity.                                                                             ...

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SAVOR—PART DEUX

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

SAVOR—PART DEUX

I am soooo sorry.  I apologize.  I forgot to alert you the 2nd annual SAVOR THE HILL COUNTRY was happening at the Science Mill in Johnson City.  Unfortunately, for you it was last Sunday, as in, you missed it.  But, fortunately, for me-it was just another fantastic evening in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  Where else can you sample the best offerings of local area restaurants, wineries, distilleries………..and see an exhibit of an aquaponics garden?  All the while listening to muy cool music?  Like I said, I’m really sorry you couldn’t make it.  I’ll try and remember next year to remind you.  But just in case, sign up for the Science Mill’s blog.  You’ll also find out about other upcoming exhibits.  In the mean time, here are some snapshots of the night……..Did I mention how much fun it was????       Click the highlights for more info!   And, of course, add your name to the...

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HYE, Y’ALL!!!

Posted by on Jan 27, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

HYE, Y’ALL!!!

Yes, I finally stopped at the Hye Market.  Like you, I had driven by it for years—-and I mean years, as in since the seventies on my way to Kerrville.  To me, it was always a place that caused you to step off the gas pedal and slow down for a couple of miles, then kick it up as soon as you cleared the spot in the road.  But, that store facade has always been picturesque.  If I was a painter, I’d put it on a bucket list to paint.  But, back to pulling over……….for some reason on that particular day, I pulled the car over, saw the sign that said no parking and inched up to a place I thought would be safe.  I got out, went in the post office and walked into a big room with tables where I did a quick looksie.  I walked out and for a moment thought that’s all there is to the place.  I sat down in one of the rockers and looked to the left towards Fredericksburg, then back to the right towards Johnson City.  It reminded me of the Bob Seger song which he says, “I could go east, I could go west, it was all up to me to decide.”  As I was walking back to the car, I happened to look inside another door.  Thank goodness, because that’s where the heart of the store is.  I ventured in and was greeted by Zach Church who billed himself as the bartender.  Zach is the perfect front man, you immediately like the guy.  He tells me all about the place-how his brother, Matt, is the chef and what the new owner, Jason Cook, plans to do.  I treat myself to an apple tart from the vintage case, which blended with the rest of the room.  It’s a room which decorators for new restaurants try to copy, but, never do.  Only time can put that patina on the floor, walls, and furniture.   I’m sorry I couldn’t sit down and enjoy a beer, soak it all in and visit with Zach who grew up in the area.  In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “All beeee bach“.  I hope they’ll let me know when they have fun things coming up.  I’ll be sure to let you know!                                             You know to click on the highlights!  ...

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