THE 10 PERCENT SOLUTION

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

AUSTIN – We are here to check on The University of Texas at Austin. Why? Because the U.S. Supreme Court is doing the same thing. Again. For 20 years the Forty Acres has been in a contest with the courts over its admissions policies, i.e., can race be part of the mix in determining who is allowed to enroll here and spend four years, at least, drinking beer, attending football games and lording it over lesser beings.

Just when we thought it had all been settled and we could stop paying lawyers, along comes Abigail Fisher, an applicant denied admission in 2008 who said she was discriminated against because of her race — she’s white. She charged that some minorities with worse grades got in.

As we all know, UT has a plan whereby any Texas student who finishes in the top 10 percent of his or her graduating high school class is automatically admitted. This opens the door for minorities who have mediocre SATs because they attended mediocre schools. Good, but it is also blatantly unfair to all sorts of brilliant, beautiful and fun-loving high school grads who finish in the bottom 10 percent, like me.

These goodie two-shoes have pretty well taken over the 50,000-plus enrollment, making up an astounding three-quarters of the in-state students. To select the remaining quarter, which the U.S. Supreme Court will consider, the school uses a “holistic review” including test scores, essays, activities, socioeconomic status, cultural background — and race and ethnicity.

As a result of all this mixing of stats and opinions (does the activity of curling count as much as stalking?), this year’s freshman class of 7,000 students is 46 percent white, 23 percent Hispanic, 20 percent Asian and 6 percent black with 5 percent “other.” This is no more a true reflection of Texas youth than the Longhorns’ Young Republicans or their basketball team. These figures are further skewered by UT’s policy allowing illegal immigrants, under certain conditions, to pay in-state tuition. Every seat in every classroom they fill means that the legal child of some Texan couldn’t get in.

It was Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice who once observed, “Texas is divided into two kinds of people – those who went to UT and those who wish they had.” A main reason so many Texas high school grads want to go to UT is not the distinguished profs (who are unknown because they never teach) and/or fellow students. It’s the UT panache, the reputation, the parties on East Sixth Street. College Magazine named UT the nation’s Number One school for sex. But the school dropped from first (2010) to fifth place (2011) as the best party school in America, as judged by Playboy. No doubt parents found this exhilarating as they sold their left kidneys to pay tuition.

Another attraction is that Longhorn High is a Tier 1 university which means whatever someone wants it to mean. For example, the University of Houston desperately wants to join UT, A&M and Rice as a Tier 1 school, and recently the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching said UH had been categorized as a research university with “very high research activity,” which the Cougars claim is the equivalent of Tier 1 status. No other ranking agency has followed, but UH is telling everyone it’s now with the big boys.

We have lots of state schools. They just don’t have the attraction of UT. So at each one we build a 106,000-seat stadium, pay the head football coach $6 million a year, land a presidential library or two and by all means add an East Sixth Street. Then UT-Brownsville or Texas A&M-Commerce has the same attraction as the Forty Acres, and the our high school grads will be fighting to get into those schools.

For the youngsters who still want to go to Austin to school, but can’t get in, I present the Wyoming Syndrome: pandering to the school’s hell-bent rush to be “diversified.” That is the buzz word in academe these days. They never use code terms like “quotas,” “level playing field” and “making up for past sins.” No, the secret password is “diversity.” Every school likes to say it has a diverse student body. “We have students from all 254 Texas counties, all 50 states, 187 countries and Mars, and 49 ethnic groups,” they say in their brochures which contain photos of diverse faces that look like the U.N. Security Council.

There is always one photograph of a concerned full professor giving one‑on‑one attention to a freshman. Notice that it is the same professor in every single brochure -‑ he’s an inflatable figure with a clip‑on beard and is about as close as a freshman will ever get to a concerned full professor.

When applying to UT, put down that you are from Wyoming, the state with the smallest population and no doubt the fewest students going out of state. If that seems a stretch, make your hometown Mentone in Loving County, Texas. It is the least populated county in the nation (82), and the chance of any student making it to Austin is minimal. You are a Serbian-Taiwanese with a Tibetan grandmother and speak Navaho. In one fell swoop you plug in several vacancies the Dean of Admissions has been seeking.

Religion is another source for entry. Universities like to boast of every possible religion to show the school isn’t prejudiced. On the other hand, Notre Dame quarterbacks still call their signals in Latin to draw Protestants offside. Oh, that reminds me. Forget all these tips if you can dribble or punt. If only Abigail Fisher could have performed a decent slam dunk we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Finally, “The” is part of the school’s name, but there is no sane reason to add “Austin.” Everyone knows where it is. But UT is best known as The University, and justifiably so. Only now we can call it The Diversity of Texas at Cheyenne.

 

Ashby hooks ‘em at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

Roatan

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Off the radar, this Honduran island is home to hidden beaches, superb diving and one of the most pristine reefs in the world.

United Airlines offers direct flights and the dollar still buys a lot in these parts. The primary tourism area, the West End, has a host of restaurants, hotels and shops.  Aquarium-clear waters, dolphin encounters, world-class diving and glass bottom boats make this Honduran gem a must see.

5th Annual Run for The Roses Kentucky Derby Party honoring Holly Harwood Skolkin and benefitting the Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation

April 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs

www.roseribbon.org

Mo’s …A Place for Steaks and Momentum Volvo present the 5th Annual “Run for The Roses” Kentucky Derby Party honoring Holly Harwood Skolkin and benefitting the Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation

On Saturday, May 5th, 2012 restaurant owner, Johnny Vasallo, owner of Mo’s…A Place for Steaks, located in Houston, TX will host the 5th Annual Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby Party honoring Holly Harwood Skolkin and Benefitting The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation.

The Kentucky Derby themed event, chaired by Chyra Blackaller and Lori Lemon-Geshay is poised to be the largest event to date for Mo’s, with such noteworthy sponsors as Momentum Volvo, Lexis Florist and Festari for Men.  The afternoon event is destined to be the most fashionable, for both men and women.  So grab your seersucker, linen suits and your grandest hat as this “Greatest 2 Minutes in Sports” event will feature complimentary mint julep’s, derby-tini’s (pink martini), Mo’s quesadillas, Carolyn Farb guacamole with wonton chips, and assorted sushi, along with betting, a hat contest, and a silent auction of items ranging from diamond rings, sports memorabilia, clothing, spa services, weekend getaways and so much more!  Ticket Information:   Advance Ticket Purchases: $40.00 each | Day of the Event: $50.00 each.  To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, please visit www.roseribbon.org or contact Autumn Ayers at (713) 622-3610.

Since its inception in Houston, Texas, in 2005, the Rose Ribbon Foundation, in collaboration with Cindi Rose, Dr. Franklin Rose and Tony Rotondo, CEO of the First Street Surgical Center, has helped breast cancer survivors, including women, men and children receive free reconstructive surgery. Its mission is to improve the emotional health of those with critical illness by providing free reconstruction, to both uninsured and under-insured individuals, of all ages and both sexes. Yearly, twelve to fifteen people receive free breast reconstruction from the Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation. All the money donated goes directly to the patients, including their total hospital cost, all nurses, medicines and other doctors. Recently, the foundation has included non- human hair wigs, comfortable robes, pillows, permanent eyebrows and psychological support to those with critical sickness.
##

 

 

 

Glen Ellen

April 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Just north of San Francisco, in the heart of Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon, the sleepy town of Glen Ellen is the perfect wine country escape.

Many wineries are close by, including Cline Cellars whose stunning grounds are the perfect place to get lost for an afternoon.  For dinner, the Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar serves California-fusion food in a romantic setting.  After a day of tasting, you’ll be familiar with many of the names on the extensive wine list.  Glen Ellen is what Napa and Sonoma used to be before the word got out: peaceful and undiscovered.

GRANDSTANDING

April 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Houston has a pro soccer team, the Dynamo, which has a new stadium, and, no matter where you live in Texas, it may be costing you money. The new Dynamo owners are paying $60 million of the $100 million total. Texas Southern University, which will use the stadium for football, is contributing an estimated $1-2 million. The rest is being paid by the city and county.

This sports facility comes after Houston built stadiums for the NFL Texans and the Astros, plus an arena for the Rockets and Aeros (hockey). It’s hard to get a grasp on the actual cost of these playpens for the billionaire owners. There is the infrastructure such as city streets, curbs, waters and waste, taxes diverted, bonds sold, and on and on. In addition, the Astrodome cost $35 million in 1965 or $244 million in 2012 dollars. But it still carries as much as $32 million in debt for improvements — nearly as much as the original cost of construction – to keep the Oilers from leaving. Hahah.

The Dallas Cowboys built a stadium in Irving with a unique design: a giant doughnut. The fans were covered but the field was open so, as the story goes, God could watch his team. It speaks volumes to know that the design was never copied by any other city anywhere. So owner Jerry Jones wanted a new stadium and got it: Originally estimated to cost $650 million, the stadium cost $1.15 billion,[ making it one of the most expensive sports venues ever built.

To aid Jones in paying the construction costs of the new stadium, Arlington voters approved an increase of the city’s sales tax by 0.5 percent, the hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent, and car rental tax by 5 percent. The City of Arlington provided over $325 million (including interest) in bonds as funding, and Jones covered any cost overruns. Also, the NFL provided the Cowboys with an additional $150 million loan, as per their policy for helping the financing for the construction of new stadiums. Then there is San Antonio, which built that ghastly Alamodome in hopes of landing an NFL franchise. No luck. On the other hand, look at Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, with no NFL team because its priorities are not pro sports. LA seems to be doing just fine.

All these facilities were sold to the taxpayers as an investment in future earnings with sales taxes, hotels, etc. But that is unsportsmanlike conduct, according to scholarly studies. For example, Dennis Coates, PhD. economics, University of Maryland-Baltimore County and president of the North American Association of Sports Economists Impact, determined, “the presence of franchises in multiple sports, the arrival or departure of teams, and stadium construction — in a given area reduced per capita personal income by about $10. In other words, every man, woman, and child in the metropolitan area was poorer by $10 as a result of the sports environment.” Sports facilities now typically cost – COST — the host city more than $10 million a year.

Professional sports teams are very small businesses, comparable to large department or grocery stores. One study found that the overall economic addition an NFL team injects into a city is about the same as a Wal-Mart store. What’s more, the entertainment dollar is only so big. Money spent on the Cowboys or Rockets is money not spent on movies, restaurants, roller rinks. Think of it more like a pizza pie. When one slice is cut larger, all the other slices get smaller. The pie doesn’t grow.

Here’s something else to consider: Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist’s study, “Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums,” found: “Most professional athletes do not live where they play, so their income is not spent locally. Moreover, players make inflated salaries for only a few years, so they have high savings, which they invest in national firms. Though a new stadium increases attendance, ticket revenues are shared in both baseball and football, so that part of the revenue gain goes to other cities. Similarly, most tax collections inside a stadium are substitutes: as other entertainment businesses decline, tax collections from them fall. On balance, these factors are largely offsetting, leaving little or no net local export gain to a community.” This includes state taxes not paid.

Why would a strapped community put scarce public funds into an essentially private company which reaps the benefits? Because there is a hard-driving owner who threatens to take his franchise elsewhere. Indeed, by their very nature, owners of pro sports franchises are rich egomaniacs. In “North Dallas Forty, or maybe “Semi-Tough,” the owner of a Dallas football team shows an organizational tree of his various companies – oil, cattle, computers. “But this,” he says, pointing to the icon of his pro football team, “got me on the cover of Time.”

It’s the same with colleges. Before an Oklahoma State football game, T. Boone  Pickens is being interviewed by a reporter on the field. “Mr. Pickens, why didn’t you give forty million to the English Department instead?” Said Pickens without missing a beat, “Because you wouldn’t be interviewing me now if I’d given forty million to the English Department.”

Don’t forget our high schools: “’Look, football has always been a big deal here. This is Texas.’ – Steve ‘Bubba’ Williams, athletic director at Allen High School, overlooking his new $60-million football stadium. But seating 18,000 with double-decked press boxes and huge video screen, Allen’s facility will still be only the fifth largest high school football stadium in Texas.” – The New York Times

Finally, in 1950 when Rice Stadium was being built by Brown & Root, there were rumors that construction was behind schedule. A reporter went out to the site and found CEO George Brown himself shoveling dirt. The reporter inquired, “Mr. Brown, do you really think this place is going to be ready on time?”

Said George Brown, without looking up, “It’s a night game.”

 

Ashby is subsidized at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waikiki

April 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

From surf lessons to haute cuisine, you and your sweetie will have a ball unwinding in Waikiki.

 

Overlooking both Diamond Head and Koko Head craters, the Kahala Hotel and Resort was a favorite of Conrad Hilton when it opened in 1964.  The secluded sandy beaches and spacious rooms are famous with the Hollywood set.  Photos of Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and many more adorn the walls.  When H Texas Weddings visited, we spotted James Gandolfini from “ The Sopranos” and Deborah Lin saying “I Do.”

Naturalist Explorers: Snakes Alive!

April 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Saturday, May 19 9 – 11 a.m. OR 1 – 3 p.m.

Ages 5 to 8
Naturalist Explorers introduces children ages 5 to 8 to the natural world in a fun atmosphere. This month, learn about some of the Arboretum’s favorite critters – snakes! These creatures aren’t slimy and creepy – they’re smooth and cool. Come discover the truth about snakes with hands on activities and the opportunities to meet some snakes face to face.
Cost is $18 for members; $33 for non-members.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Home School Classes: Entomology

April 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Wednesdays, May 2, 9, 16
1–3 pm each day

Designed especially for home schoolers, these classes focus on a different study unit with three weekly classes each month.  In May, students will learn about the amazing world of insects. From butterflies to walking sticks, students will have the opportunity to sweep the meadow and dip in the pond to find and study the invertebrates that inhabit these ecosystems.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Tyke Hike

April 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Mondays, May 7, 14, 21
10 – 11 a.m. each day

Encourage your little one’s curiosity with nature and the outdoors. Children 18 months to 3 years with their adult companions can join naturalist Naletta Galbraith for a nature story reading and stroller-friendly hike on the Arboretum trails. Different nature theme each week.
Cost is $2 per child, pay at the door.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Edible Wild Plants

April 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Sunday, May 20 1–5 p.m.

From acorns to wild violets, the Texas landscape is filled with an abundance of wild edibles. Come learn where to find, how to identify, and proper preparation of the fruits, shoots, roots and salad greens growing all around you. Topics will include: hands on plant identification, responsible harvesting techniques, preparation, dangerous mimics and poisonous plants, and edible landscaping. Bring comfortable walking shoes, water, sack lunch, and bug repellant. A pen/pencil and camera are also recommended. A plant guidesheet will be supplied. The instructor for this course is Mark Vorderbruggen, a research chemist and one of the Houston area’s most intrepid explorers.
Cost is $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

SO SIOUX ME

April 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

We must now consider North Dakota University – and why we should care. The school, way up there on the tundra, for many years has fielded athletic teams called the Fighting Sioux. But in this era of political correctness, the name is deemed insulting and demeaning to fighters. No, actually, insulting to Sioux. The NCAA ruled several years ago the university must change its name to something more suitable for delicate minds or NDU cannot host or participate in NCAA postseason games as the Fighting Sioux. What’s more, other schools are refusing to play in Grand Forks and NDU’s attempt to join a bigger and better athletic conference may be in peril.

Well, them’s Fighting (Sioux) words. Besides, the campus is covered with Sioux stuff. The lobby of the school’s Ralph Engelstad Arena has a huge Indian head logo in the marble floor. The gift shop is – what else? — the Sioux Shop where more than 90 percent of the merchandise features the logo or the nickname. The head of an Indian warrior wearing feathers is everywhere in the stadium — on team jerseys, etched on the aisles, on walls, in locker rooms.

There was a North Dakota state law requiring the university to keep the nickname, but it was repealed. Then the repeal was repealed. The battle has dragged on for seven long years, even involving the North Dakota Supreme Court. The last round was a referendum: Organizers presented more than 17,000 signatures on a petition calling for a statewide vote, which will be held in June. Keeps them busy. If you’ve seen the movie “Fargo” you know that, aside from tossing people into wood chippers, not a lot happens in North Dakota. But to make the change again won’t be cheap: $750,000 was spent on the original transition.

This fight is only the latest chapter in the Politically Correct, or PC, movement to do away with traditions. UT-Arlington used to be the Rebels. Indeed, a lot of Southern schools once called themselves Rebels. Not any more. As far as I know, there is no groundswell to change the New York Yankees to the Emancipators. The Stanford Indians became the Cardinal. Marquette University changed its team name from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles.

Somehow the Florida State Seminoles have avoided the change. Some say it’s because the actual Seminoles in Florida like the name. Others note Florida State wins national titles and generates big bucks for everyone, including the NCAA, unlike North Dakota. That’s cynical, and probably true. The University of Utah still calls itself the Utes, which beats their first choice: the Multi-Married Mormons.

Here’s a good one: The University of Oklahoma once had an Indian mascot, Little Red, who at OU football games would dress in red and white war paint and feathered bonnet (school colors). When OU would score a touchdown the band’s drummers would beat a tom-tom rhythm and Little Red would dance around, waving his tomahawk and yelling war chants. This was eventually deemed in poor taste and humiliating to our noble savages, so the job was abolished. Unfortunately, the slot was reserved for full-bloodied Indians, and included a total scholarship at OU. “Don’t do me any more favors, round eyes, as long as the rivers shall run and the buffalo shall roam.” It’s a good story, but I can’t confirm it.

The Florida State situation highlights some confusion in this policy. Since the NCAA says schools can keep their names if it’s OK with the Indians, and the Seminoles like the idea, why can’t NDU? Because the Spirit Lake Tribe voted to allow the use of the Fighting Sioux, but the Standing Rock Sioux tribal council opposes the nickname. Incidentally, the pros don’t seem to be changing at all: the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.

It seems most Indian activists oppose the use of Indian names, but the rank and file don’t care. According to a Sports Illustrated survey in 2002, “There is a near total disconnect between Indian activists and the Native American population on this issue.” Indeed, there is even a fight over what to call whom. The title “Indian” is being replaced by “Native American” among activists. But the federal agency which oversees the Native American affairs is called the Bureau of Indian – yes, Indian – Affairs, and is headed by Larry EchoHawk. Go figure.

According to the American Indian Cultural Support, as of 2006, at least 2,498 kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools used Indian mascots, so there is a lot of work to be done with school names. But the facelift doesn’t end on campus. The word “squaw” has disappeared from the names of all public places in Maine – about six of them. The erasure came 11 years after a state law required the change, but it took till now for the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to approve the move. Most Indians in Maine say “squaw” is offensive and translates to prostitute. The law doesn’t cover the privately owned Big Squaw Mountain Resort, and the owner said he is not changing the name. Of course, Squaw Valley, Calif., was the scene of the 1960 Winter Olympics and no one seemed to mind, not even India.

Here in Texas, there was a road just west of Port Arthur called Jap Road because years ago a Japanese rice farmer lived nearby. I think they changed the name because no Toyota dealership would set up shop there. As for the battle of the North Dakota teams’ title, note the name in dispute is the Fighting Sioux, not the Fightin’, a spelling which is so popular among college organizations. I’m going to buy the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band a “g.” Also, is the disturbing part of the name Fighting or Sioux? Maybe the Mincing Sioux or the Fighting Sue would past muster. Finally, we must expect at future North Dakota games, ticket scalpers will be called “entry adjusters.”

 

Ashby is PC at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FASHION GETS FUN

April 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

First Ever lia sophia Mobile Jewelry Tour Rolls Into Houston April 13-14

WHO:  lia sophia, the world’s leading direct sales jewelry company and creator of Social Fashion™.

WHAT: The first ever mobile jewelry party hosted by lia sophia rolls into Houston offering women a chance  to gather in Social Fashion™ and talk style, accessories and more. Just in time for Spring, lia sophia Advisors will be on-hand to discuss the hottest trends this season while dishing on what the stars are wearing and providing personalized styling tips. DJ Quality // Control  will be keeping guests entertained as the party continues with complementary mini manicures and makeup touch-ups by NYX Cosmetics. It will be a day full of fun, fashion, music and more.

WHERE:   The Village Arcade Shopping Center
2507 Times Boulevard
Houston, TX 77005
*At the fountain in between Victoria’s Secret and Banana Republic

WHEN:  Friday, April 13; Noon – 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 14; 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

American Heart Association HOSTS FREE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CONFERENCE FOR LATINA WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES

April 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Vestido Rojo takes place on Saturday, April 28 at Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center

WHAT: The American Heart Association will host Vestido Rojo, a health and wellness conference designed for Latina women, on Saturday, April 28 at Denver Harbor Multi Service Center.  The FREE conference focuses on teaching the basics of good cardiovascular health.  Women will enjoy an interactive cooking demonstration sponsored by HEB, a heart pounding Zumba fitness activity, informative health education session as well as blood pressure, BMI and glucose screenings.  The conference will begin at 7 a.m. with screenings and classes beginning at 9:15 a.m.  Lunch and door prizes will commence at noon.

Each participant will receive a goodie bag filled with items from partners and sponsors to encourage a healthier lifestyle.  Due to space limitations, registration is required to attend by calling 713.610.5008.

WHEN:  7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2012

WHERE:    Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center
6402 Market Street
Houston, TX 77020

WHY:  Vestido Rojo is a component of the American Heart Association’s Go Red Por Tu Corazón campaign which is part of the Go Red for Women campaign. These are nationwide initiatives aimed at raising awareness about women’s #1 health threat, cardiovascular disease.

In fact, Latina women are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.  Research also shows that Latina women have a significant influence over the health of their families.  By delivering health messages in a culturally relevant way, we are impacting the health of the community one family member at a time.

HOW: To make a reservation to attend, please contact 713.610.5008.

Florida’s Forgotten Coast

April 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

White sand dunes and blue tinted water abound on the interior gulf coast of Florida.  The WaterColor Inn sits right on the beach and has beautiful panoramic views, large balconies and ocean views from the shower. Head up the coast to Apalachicola for a glimpse of Florida’s historic and preserved past. This forgotten coast is being rediscovered.

image complements Sweet Tea Journal

Register now for Summer Camp!

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

June 4 – August 10, 2012 Full day 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., or half day 9-noon
Ages 5 – 12

The Arboretum’s summer camps for kids are a great way to experience nature firsthand in our 155-acre nature sanctuary. Naturalist teachers lead students in educational adventures both indoors and outside during these week-long camps. Themes include: Bugology (June 4-8 or July 9-13); Eat or Be Eaten (June 11-15 or July 16-20); Water Planet (June 18-22 or July 23-27); Magnificent Mammals (July 2-6 or August 6-10).
Cost for full day camp: (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) is $265 for Arboretum members; $325 for non-members; Cost for half day camp (9 a.m. – 12 p.m.) is $140 for Arboretum members; $180 for non-members.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Tai Chi

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Wednesdays, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 at 5:45-6:45 p.m. OR
Saturdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26 at 1 – 2 p.m.

Beginning Tai Chi

Tai Chi Beginners focus on the fundamentals of Tai Chi Chuan, including qigong (Qigong or Chi Kung is “breath work” that focuses on breathing and subtle movements that help focus energy and build strength based on Chinese Taoist medicine theory). Instructor Greg Illich will show you smooth, flowing exercises to increase your energy and vitality and reduce stress.
Cost is $15 per session or $45 per month.

Saturdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26
2-3 p.m.
Intermediate/Advanced Tai Chi

Intermediate/advanced Tai Chi focuses on Secret Yang long form, Traditional Yang Style 64 movement, Long Sword form, applications, pushing hands, and qigong. Instructor Greg Illich will show you smooth, flowing exercises to increase your energy and vitality and reduce stress.
Cost is $15 per session or $45 per month.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Yoga on the Way Home

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
5:45–6:45 p.m.

Why fight the traffic? Slow down and relax in the peaceful beauty of the Arboretum during a one-hour yoga session in the Arboretum’s classroom overlooking the forest.
Cost is $15 per session or $12 per session when registering for a month.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Plant a Butterfly Feeder Hanging Basket

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Sunday, May 13 1-3 p.m. or 3-5 p.m.

Most Houstonians can easily recognize the Monarch butterfly, but did you know that over 100 butterfly species live in Southeast Texas? With the recent extremes of winter freezes, prolonged droughts, and large rainstorms, many of the flowering plants that our butterflies use as nectar sources no longer exist. In this hands-on workshop, you will be introduced to over two dozen different native plants whose flowers provide nectar for butterflies, including the Monarch. Plants profiled by your instructor will include several species appropriate for a hanging basket, and every participant will prepare and take home a butterfly feeder hanging basket. This “make and take” workshop is family friends – one child age 10 and up welcome with each paid adult.
Cost is $45 for members; $55 for non-members.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Build Your Own Composting Barrel

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Sunday, May 6
Build Your Own Composting Barrel
2 – 5 p.m.

Join Instructor and Arboretum Conservation Director Joe Blanton to learn how to compost your own nutrient-rich kitchen waste and yard debris in this hands-on workshop. Each participant will build their own 55-gallon composting barrel and will be able to create rich, dark brown compost in as little as 3 weeks! All tools and equipment will be provided. Cost of workshop includes both barrel and frame kit to make one 55-gallon composting barrel.
Cost is $85 for members; $95 for non-members.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a lush 155-acre nature preserve, is one of the city’s greatest natural treasures. Located in Memorial Park, at 4501 Woodway Drive, the Arboretum is home to more than 75 varieties of native trees, 160 species of birds, 16 species of turtles, 10 species of frogs and 33 kinds of butterflies. Visitors can explore and enjoy five miles of walking trails to experience nature in exquisite detail. The Arboretum grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

The Nature Center building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Discovery Room is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides fun, hands-on activities and exhibits to explore nature up close. Admission is free, but donations to support this nonprofit organization are appreciated.

A bustling schedule of year-round activities and courses are available for adults, children and families to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. For more information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonarboretum.org

Cinco de Mayo at Miller: Eugenia León in Concert

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

May 5, 8-10 p.m.

Miller Outdoor Theatre

Miller Outdoor Theatre welcomes Mexican icon Eugenia León to the stage in a concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. With a repertoire that pairs contemporary composers with the creators of the traditional music of Latin America and Mexico, Ms. León is not locked in to any one genre. Audiences know that Eugenia León’s musical style transcends the trendy ups and downs of the world of commercial music, and she regularly packs the top venues of the nation, meeting demands of fans expectant of quality songs passionately delivered.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Houston

This performance is proudly sponsored in part by AeroMexico, Mexico’s Global Airline

There’s something for everyone on stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of music, dance, theatre and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value. Admission is FREE!
For a complete schedule, visit www.milleroutdoortheatre.com.

Free tickets are available on a first-come first-serve basis (four per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m.―1 p.m. for assigned seating under the canopy. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Under normal circumstances, all unoccupied/unclaimed seats are released five minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. We encourage all patrons to be in their assigned seats at least 10 minutes before showtime to insure that their seat is not released. Again, there is NO charge for tickets. Tickets may not be reserved by phone. Only four (4) tickets per person. At managements’ discretion, all unoccupied seats may be released at any time for any reason.

Next Page »