Category: Living Well

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice

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(Courtesy Kate Weiser Chocolate)

With few vices left in my life, I can say with near certainty that you would have to forcibly pull that deep, dark chocolate from my fingers before I voluntarily give the stuff up. As vices go, it’s not the worst, so let’s take a few moments to celebrate this sweet confection.

If you aren’t an aficionado, you may not know that chocolate is serious business. Like coffee, it is cultivated, regional, and taken very, very seriously in certain circles.

I’ve had the chance to attend a few media events for the Dallas Chocolate Festival over the years and have learned a lot. The chocolate scene has its own vocabulary, evaluation procedures, and ratings system. In addition to the obvious qualities of taste and texture, there is origin, color, aroma, and presentation to consider.


August Re-entry

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In a psychological study, 99 percent of people who were shown an abstract shape, which looked like a figure eight that didn’t close in the middle with an oblong neck on one end, said it resembled a guitar. But 1 percent saw something else.

One young boy said it resembled a horse. He added that from an airplane, it would sort of look like a fat old horse with its head bent down nibbling grass. Whoa. Now there’s some imagination.

Bored? Got the summer blahs? It is, after all, the dog days of summer. (Factoid: Dog days refers to ancient beliefs that the brightest star in the constellation of the Dog, Sirius, rose and set with the sun during July in the Northern Hemisphere, which must have added heat to the sun. There, so now you know.) Try a new perspective.


Chill Out and Hit the Refresh Button

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As summer moves into its unofficial final month, the thrill of carefree days and a less structured schedule can start to wear a bit thin when the outdoor thermometer promises a long stretch of hot days ahead.

Set tables in cool pastels and blue and whites for a refreshing look. (Courtesy Christy Rost)

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of hot Texas summers. My family moved every few years while I was growing up, but the one constant in our lives was a modest, gray shingled house with white trim and forest-green wood shutters, perched on a hillside overlooking Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod. The summer weather was moderate there, and my three sisters and I spent nearly every sunny, mild summer day on the beach with our mom. When it rained, we shopped in the nearby quaint town of Falmouth, or stopped by the Cape Cod Candle Shop to sniff each candle and select a week’s supply of striped candy sticks.


Enjoy Summertime Sun Poolside Safely, Beautifully

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Supergoop’s City Sunscreen Serum.

It’s summertime! Doesn’t summer always make you feel like a kid, regardless of your age? It’s a nostalgic, romantic, an easy time, and the best place to enjoy it is by the water.

Whether you are vacationing close to the equator in Brazil or the Maldives, or you’re at a beach closer to home, at the lake, or spending long days at the pool, the most important thing you can take with you is sunscreen.

How do you keep your face looking flawless without makeup and protected without feeling weighted? Start with Supergoop’s City Sunscreen Serum with SPF 30. Follow that with Nars Smooth & Protect Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen.


Old and New Tips for Enjoying Summer

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“That fresh-picked, barely-traveled produce just can't be beat.”Hello, friends! Summer has rolled in, as it does. I’ve been writing this column for several years and thought it would be fun to look back at what I’d written about in past summers.

There is some good stuff there, so here is a roundup of summer tips, old and new, to inspire a happy, healthy time during our warmest and most plentiful (in terms of both veggies and mosquitos) months.


Island Magic – Caribbean Inspiration

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(Courtesy photo)

Each time I travel, I return home inspired by the people, food, drink, sights, sounds, and history of the region I just visited.

I’m passionate about sharing my travels with friends and fans through new recipes, table décor, and gatherings that reflect favorite aspects of a trip, so I was particularly excited about the chance to visit Puerto Rico for six days this spring. I discovered that this U.S. territory has much to offer visitors, and it’s an easy flight from Dallas.

My husband, Randy, and I were invited to Puerto Rico to experience Saborea, an annual four-day culinary extravaganza celebrating the flavors and chefs of Puerto Rico. First, however, we set out to explore. We saw lovely beaches, sugar cane fields, dense mountain vegetation, rushing rivers, and the picturesque town of Ponce on the southern coast. Once a significant producer of sugar cane, Puerto Rico’s central region is now dotted with coffee plantations, and we tasted some amazing locally grown coffee.


Shout Out to The Men in My Life

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“Fathers, I hope you impart beauty secrets to your daughters and sons.”I remember watching my daddy buff and file his nails and telling me, when I was a little girl, “Make sure your hands always look kept, men notice things like that.” That always stuck with me. He taught me that pride in appearance spills over to pride in oneself.

I’m pretty adamant about having polish on my fingers and toes. I blame him. I’m not sure the men in my life ever really noticed. Maybe they did and didn’t say, but it’s been important to me regardless, and I notice it on others. While I thoroughly enjoy a professional manicure, I’m fairly picky; chipped nails bug me, so I tend to redo them immediately – yes, possibly OCD. I blame him.

Since having them always polished is mandatory, and I would rather spend money on fabulous shoes than a weekly manicure, I frequently find a new nail polish color, lip gloss, or other fun products on my vanity left by my sweet fiancé. As he says, “I like the color and I’m not going to wear it, but at least you can.”


Summer Lovin’

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Click "Read More" to view all the items included in our gift guide! (Photo: Tanner Garza. Design: Imani Chet Lytle)

It’s time for some outdoor entertaining! Here’s a few fun ideas to add some punch (or margaritas) to your party!


Fire Up The Grill All Summer Long

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Go all red, white, and blue for July 4th entertaining. (Photo: Christy Rost)

Summer is here, and there’s no better way to celebrate all season long than by firing up the grill. For casual backyard meals, block parties, dinner with friends, Father’s Day, or Fourth of July celebrations, meals from the grill offer lip-smacking flavors and built-in entertainment.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as the grillmaster takes his or her position in front of a gas or charcoal grill, everyone joins them? Guests will leave a table of hors d’oeuvres and drift over to the grill area with drinks in hand to witness the action, because grilling is culinary theater. Folks are generally fascinated with every aspect of outdoor cooking, and because it’s so popular there are many experts willing to share the information they’ve gleaned through personal experience, research, and flavor preferences. Sauces, marinades, rubs, direct and indirect cooking, cuts of meat, tips for grilling seafood, vegetables, and fruit — the realm of outdoor grilling provides endless possibilities.