Page 1

dec 2010

Celebrating Our 100th Issue With 100 Tips From Beauty + Health To Entertaining + Wine, Plus Much More

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· Fibromyalgia · PCOS (women) · Difficult Periods (women) · Fibrocystic Breasts (women) · Hysterectomy (women) · Decreased Energy & Stamina

· Decreased Drive & Ambition · Decreased Mental Sharpness · Prostate Problems (men) · High Cholesterol · Thinning Hair · Depression

CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION: 512.402.8495 Individualized Programs for Biodentical Hormone Therapy & Weight Loss | | 211 RR 620 South, Suite 120 Austin, TX

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V e i n A u s t i n . c o m

december 2010 | vol. IX No. 4

Co-Founder and Publisher Melinda Maine Garvey

Co-Founder Samantha Stevens

Executive Editor Mary Anne Connolly

Special Features Editor Julie Tereshchuk

Contributors Wendi Aarons, Claudia Alarcón, Margaret Barry, Jessica Billeaud, Nicole Carbon, Vera Carp, Deborah Carter, Andrea Claire, Susie Davis Ashley Erickson, Fabrizio, Glenda Facemire, Susan V. Farago, Melinda Garvey, Gwen Gibson, Marcy Goodfleish, Deborah Hamilton-Lynne, Suzie Humphreys, Shara Kashani, Laura Koffler, Katy McIntosh, Marilyn McCray, Camille Styles Moore, Julia Nickerson, Annie Ray, CJ Romberger, Kira Taniguchi, Julie Tereshchuk, Darline Turner-Lee

Art Director Ketan Patel

aDvertising Designer adrienne rosales

Account Executives Emily Codding, Cynthia Guajardo Katie Lesnick 512.328.2421

marketing + Events manager katy mcintosh

office manager kevin ashbeck

Design Interns Jessica Billeaud, Laura Durand, Lindsey Massey, Jannifer Williams,

photography Intern shara kashani

Editorial Interns Destiny Bennett, jessica billeaud, Breona Horne, Casie Latimer, Kira Taniguchi

marketing Intern lauren pfeiffer

Favorite spot out of copies? 512.328.2421 • 1213 W. 49th St., Austin, TX 78756 austinwoman magazine is a free monthly publication of AW Publishing Inc. and is available at over 800 locations across Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. For submission requirements, go to our website under “editorial” or contact No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. For copies of articles, call 512.328.2421. w w w. austinwomanmaga 7




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5 1 2 . 2 6 3 . 8 2 8 4 • w w w. A u s t i n H e a l t h y D e n t i s t . c o m

o n t h e c ov e r

62 vera carp & aunt pearl of A Tuna Christmas

Vera Carp (L) seen here disapproving as Aunt Pearl Burras (r) sneaks a quick bloody mary at The Legendary Driskill Bar Pull b ack t h e c u r t a i n s a n d t a ke a n e xc lu s i ve b a c ks t a g e p e e k w i t h u s a t the hil arious Tuna Christmas s t a rs , Aunt Pe a r l Bu r ra s a n d Ve ra C a r p, to g e th e r

Sto ry

Julie Tereshchuk P h oto g ra p h y

with the show ’s o r igina l Bro a dwa y c a s t , J o e S e a rs a n d J a s to n Wi lli a m s . Th e

a n n i e r ay

m aster satiris t s revea l t he s ecret t o Tuna’s i c o n i c su c c e s s . S h a re i n th e l e s -

lo cat i o n

s ons l earned fro m t he dea t h o f a chil d, t he s tr u g gl e to a d o p t a s a s i n gl e p a rent , and the s t reng t h brought by fa it h w he n fa c i n g a d ve rs i t y.

t h e d r i s k i l l h ot e l d éc o r

breed & co.

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contents 12.10

12 From the publisher Melinda Garvey

16 Top 10 lists 20 Inspiration

Secrets of holiday sanity

22 Gift Guide 24 Gifts for him 26 Seasonal sips 28 lifestyle

The holiday hostess handbook

32 family

Deck the halls but leave mine alone

36 pets

taking care of santa’s best friend

40 green

green tech

44 gadget girl

the sights, sounds, storage solutions and smells of the holidays

50 legal smarts how to gift

54 sustenance

holidays made easy

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58 spirits

grape finds + spirited recipes

72 sweets

she’s got her eye on the ball


76 glow

christmas belles

82 give

the armadillo christmas bazaar - a family affair

86 awtw


aw talks with ... ed burns

90 health

sex is good

96 profile

riding in style

100 light years

coping with a know-it-all computer


104 uncorked

alive and sipping well into your 100s

109 Reader Rewards 110 AW Happenings 112 Calendar 114 Horoscope


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Not an actual patient

❦ Skin

Wow! 100. Such a meaningful number in so many different ways – a 100th birthday of your favorite grandparent, the milestone when your child can count all the way up to 100, 100 degrees for 100 days in Texas and, yes, 100 issues of Austin’s favorite magazine for women. I am humbled and grateful to be celebrating with you, our readers, at this very special time in AW’s history. December is the perfect month to celebrate 100, with all the glitter, sparkles, joy and laughter the holiday season brings. I hope this magazine has been as much of a gift to you over the past eight years as it has been to me. What excites me the most about the 100th issue of AW is not about the last 99, but rather the next 100! AW is getting bigger and better and reaching more Austin women than ever. I am anxious to see where the next 100 issues will take us! I hope you enjoy this inspirational holiday edition of AW. Inside, you’ll be inspired by Top 10 Tips from 10 of our writers, giving you 100 things to eat, drink and be merry about this season. Plus, we break new ground editorially, featuring first-time cover ‘ladies’ Vera Carp and Aunt Pearl of the legendary A Tuna Christmas, as well as an in-depth story on the Austin-based actors who created these unforgettable characters and many more – Joe Sears and Jaston Williams; as well as tips for holiday parties, beauty, hair, gifts, gadgets, goodies and green, as well as the inspiration and humor to help you keep your sanity in this busy season. Again, a very special thanks to all of you, most especially my dedicated staff and my supportive family. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and the brightest New Year! Warmly,

Melinda Garvey Publisher

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   13

dec 2010

exclusive web features



Radio City Spectacular Brings Austin Rockette Home by Katy McIntosh


Makeup, Music + Measuring Cups

Behind the Scenes of the ACL Cookbook, Music in the Kitchen

by Nicole Carbon *see web for exclusive recipe for Glenda Facemire’s Belgian Holiday Dressing

JUST PASSING THROUGH Motivational Speaker + Humorist Suzie Humphreys by Margaret Barry


Ed Burns’ New Film Nice Guy Johnny

by Deborah Hamilton-Lynne

additional web content cover story exclusives





Visit All Texas Box Office Outlets

Call 512-477-6060

Call for Group Sales (15+) 877-275-3804


watch a short clip from Tuna does vegas

find exclusive scrapbook photos from Joe sears + Jaston williams

Logon today!

For more information visit RADIOCITYCHRISTMAS.COM.

Due to the nature of live entertainment dates, times, prices, shows, actors, venues and sales are subject to change without notice. All tickets subject to convenience charges. ©2010 Madison Square Garden, L.P. All rights reserved. Radio City, Radio City Music Hall, Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Rockettes are trademarks of Radio City Trademarks, LLC.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   15 1/2 page vert. (4.109” x 9.406”) Austin RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS Ad for Austin Woman Magazine - Run Date: December


We asked 10 contributors to provide us with their Top 10 lists for our 100th issue.

Vera Carp’s Top 10:

What Every Austin Woman Should Know A s T o l d t o J u l i e T e r e s h c h u k b y V e r a C a r p

(see cover story pg. 62) 1. Burnt orange doesn’t accessorize well with anything more upscale than a beer cooler. Stick with the white. 2. Big hair is popular in Texas for a reason. You can conceal a firearm in it and not bulk-up your purse. 3. Younger women should skip the tattoos, or accept the fact that your grandchildren will someday ask, “Moomah, why do you look like wallpaper?” 4. Never wear white gloves to a paintball fight. 5. Only answer important cell phone calls in the middle of an opera. Otherwise just let it ring through. 6. When in Guatemala, skip the Chinese food. 7. Don’t waste your expensive perfume for an away game in Waco. A squirt of Black Flag* behind the ears and you’ll fit right in. [*Black Flag is a type of insecticide. It will kill anything!] 8. Never cook eggs in a pressure cooker. 9. If the shoe fits, buy it. 10. Never serve untrimmed artichokes to a hemophiliac … Well, they will draw blood…

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TOP 10 LISTS FOR OUR 100TH ISSUE Top 10 Beauty Tips B y A n d r e a C l a i r e

(see GLOW pg. 76)

1. Drink water! [A cliché but necessary for great skin!] 2. Use eye creams BEFORE you see the signs of needing them. 3. Keep your hands off your face! Don’t pick, it will scar.

4. Always look at your makeup in natural lighting to check new colors and/or application. 5. Less is more when it comes to eyebrow tweezing.

6. Keep face powder to a minimum – too much powder will age you as it will settle into your fine lines exaggerating them. Use blot films instead which are great for oily skin touch-ups. 7. Choose either lips or eyes for dramatic focus, not both as it can look garish in various lighting situations.

8. Do not wash your hair everyday – it will dry out your hair and for oily scalps, overwashing gets the oil glands working overtime producing more oil. Instead, consult your stylist for a shampoo geared to your hair AND scalp type. 9. Curl your lashes prior to mascara! It opens your eyes and if you have issues with bleeding mascaras, simply curling them can prevent this.

10. Sunscreen! Slather yourself in it! There are hair products with sunscreen too, which protect your chemically-treated hair, as well as general protection from the harsh UV rays.

0 0 Top 10 green ideas BY MARCY GOOD F LEISH

(see green pg. 40)

Top 10 Active Lifestyle Activities in Austin BY A s h l e y E r i c k s o n

1. Single-stream recycling

6. Low-flush toilets

2. Energy Star ratings

7. Xeriscaping

3. Hybrid cars

8. Ozone Action Days

2. Volunteering for/participating in the Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge.

4. Solar energy panels

9. Instant-on hot water heaters

3. SUP and kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.

5. Florescent light bulbs

10. Biodegradable anything

4. Day trips to Hamilton Pool, Enchanted Rock and the Longhorn Caverns.

1. Saturday lunches at the Whole Foods Headquarters after a long run on Town Lake.

5. Post-race massages at Viva Day Spa.

6. Training programs with Rogue Running.

Top 10 Legal Smarts BY J u l i a N i c k e r s o n

(see legal smarts pg. 50)

1. Set your business up properly by creating a separate entity such as a LLC or corporation.

7. Participating in the Austin Marathon – whether running or cheering the runners on! 8. Grabbing dinner at Zoe’s Kitchen in the Arboretum. 9. Swimming in (chilly!) Barton Springs Pool. 10. Making new friends on the trails!

2. Maintain your corporate protection by keeping your business legal records current. 3. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to protect your corporate identity.

4. Have an emergency legal plan for your family. Legal Directives are important. 5. Keep your family legal plan current (Beneficiary Designations, Guardianship, Wills).

6. Don’t unintentionally disinherit your children because of a blended family or second marriage.

7. Document your passwords, logins, assets for emergencies if you are unavailable.

8. Ensure your children receive their inheritance in a smart way by setting up trusts. 9. If you gift too much, you are required to pay gift tax. Gift, but do it in a smart way.

10. Develop a relationship with an attorney, CPA, personal banker and financial planner so you don’t panic when you need help.

Top 10 Foods I Crave in Austin … Today. BY: S u s i e D a v i s

(see inspiration pg. 20)

1. Chicken Chop Salad at Cover 3.

2. One Egg (over medium), Bacon, Grits and Coffee at The Frisco. 3. Enchiladas Suizas at Fonda San Miguel. 4. Grilled Fish Tacos at Cuarto.

5. Garlic Knots & Marinara with a Pear Gorgonzola Salad at Home Slice Pizza. 6. Fried Pickles at Chez Zee.

7. Jr. Cheeseburger at Mighty Fine.

8. Greek Salad and Bruschetta at 360 Uno.

9. Chicken Salad Tartine at Blue Dahlia Bistro. 10. Beef Tacos at Amaya’s Taco Village.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   17

Top 10 Austin Drinks BY: N i c o l e C a r b o n

1. Guero’s Taco Bar’s Traditional Handshaken Margarita 2. Ranch 616’s The Brushfire 3. Ranch 616’s Ranch Water 4. Hotel San Jose’s Champassion 5. Paggi House’s Red Bud 6. El Chile Café y Cantina’s Michelada 7. Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar’s Daily Frozen Cocktail 8. Lambert’s Sanchez 9. Bess Bistro’s Ambrosia Margarita 10. Uchiko’s Larkin

Fitness Top 10 BY: S u s a n V. Fa r a g o

1. Invest in yourself. You are responsible for your health. 2. Make some new friends. Active people hang out with active people. 3. Give it 21. It takes 21 days to condition yourself to perform a simple, repetitive task, (e.g., new exercising habits.) 4. Keep it real. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. You only need 30 of them for physical activity that gets your heart rate up. 5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Quality exercise takes effort but the reward is so worth it. 6. Wear spandex in public. Active people dress the part, so sport Spandex, Lycra and Coolmax with confidence! 7. Pick 3. Want to change eating habits? Swap your top 3 worst foods for 3 healthy foods. 8. Get out of your own way. Set a time-based goal and then do it (e.g., I will take the stairs at lunch). 9. Fitness should be fun. Pick challenging but enjoyable activities and mix it up with classes on a variety of topics. 10. It ain't about your waistline. Someone with ripped abs may also have high cholesterol.

0 0 Top 10 Dishes from Music in the Kitchen by Glenda Facemire BY: N i c o l e C a r b o n

(see web exclusive online)

1. Willie Nelson’s Willie’s Tequila-Mango Salsa 2. Joan Baez’s Sweet Potato Dip

3. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Real Margaritas

4. Thievery Corporation’s Live Forever Shake 5. Manhattan Transfer’s Kone’s Cioppino

6. Dixie Chicks’ Acorn Squash-Sweet Potato Puree 7. Joss Stone’s Veggie Lasagna

8. My Morning Jacket’s Quinoa Eggs with Cheese, Please! 9. Ryan Bingham’s South Texas Taters

10. B.B. King’s Classic German Chocolate Cake

Suzie Humphreys’ Top 10 Tips for Staying up in Down Times

AS TOLD TO Mar g ar e t Bar ry by Suzie Humphr e ys

(see web exclusive online)

1. The best things in my life have always come disguised as a devastation. 2. My motto (when applying for a job) is volunteer for it. You’ll learn it later.

3. When you’re feeling down, that’s a sure sign you’re getting ready to grow. 4. If all else fails, laugh!

5. It’s not the problem that’s the problem; it’s your attitude about the problem that’s the problem. 6. It’s not life that gets you; it’s your reaction to it.

7. If you don’t like where you are, the only thing that is holding you there is your own fear. 8. You are exactly where you put yourself.

9. It’s the words that you speak and the thoughts that you think that will determine what kind of day you will have. 10. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

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Holiday section

20 Inspiration

Secrets of holiday sanity

22 Gift Guide 24 Gifts for him 26 Seasonal sips 28 lifestyle

The holiday hostess handbook

32 family

Deck the halls but leave mine alone

36 pets

taking care of santa’s best friend

40 green

green tech

44 gadget girl

the sights, sounds, storage solutions and smells of the holidays

50 legal smarts how to gift

54 sustenance

holidays made easy

58 spirits

grape finds + spirited recipes

72 sweets

she’s got her eye on the ball

76 glow

christmas belles

82 give

the armadillo christmas bazaar - a family affair

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   19


Secrets of Holiday Sanity Sometimes getting the season right, means allowing a few things to go wrong. BY S u s i e D av i s


he holidays are here. And very soon, the Davises will haul home a little, misshapen tree just like Charlie Brown. It’s something we do every year. We put off getting out to the fancy outlets in search of the perfect tree and instead settle for heading over to Home Depot about a week before Christmas to look at the leftovers. Once there, it usually takes no more than five minutes to spot the needy little thing, and it’s always Sara, our youngest, that makes the plea to bring it home, “Let’s buy that one – poor thing. It needs us.” I always quickly glance around looking for something more beautiful only to realize that there is no such tree on the lot. And in just minutes, the tree is bagged and tied to the top of our car, happily making the journey to its new home. I wonder about our choice to spend $65 on a mediocre tree, which will last just a week-and-a-half at most until I realize that it’s one of those

fabulous Davis traditions. And as silly as it sounds, it’s keeps me from stressing out. I have lots of little secrets to keep from freaking out over the holidays – and picking up a notso-perfect tree is just one of

For example, when the tree gets home, we only string lights on it. It’s because we have a cat, Madeleine, who thinks the tree is a humongous toy. The first year we had Madeleine, I spent untold hours scolding her. It annoyed me tremendously, because I am the woman who previously enjoyed a ‘White Christmas’ with all sorts of delicate, expensive china ornaments. Until Madeleine came along. Now I just string lights and watch her claw her way to the top where she sits like a princess upon her throne. Strangely, there’s a freedom there that makes me relax.


I try to enjoy the holidays – and not let them rush by in a total frantic. Like breathing in the scent

Susie Davis

is an author, speaker, and radio personality.

Daily Blog | Twitter @susiedavis Facebook The Good News Girl – Susie Davis Check out Susie’s holiday collection of family favorite recipes (including pies!) this month on her blog at

of that odd-shaped pine tree sitting content in the corner of my living room. Or appreciating and savoring the sometimes balmy, 80-degree ‘winter’ weather in Austin. Every season, I re-read The Story of the Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke. Makes me cry every time. I take notice while driving our neighborhood at night and enjoy all the twinkling lights. And I delight in the process of planning and cooking our favorite family recipes. Yep, that’s right. I take pleasure in the planning and prep … cause when else does a girl get to make that many pies guilt-free? I love the feeling I get when listening to Handel’s Messiah. Like my soul is pulling toward heaven. And nothing makes me smile like running errands and singing along with Willie Nelson on his Christmas CD. And even though I no longer have a child that needs the story read aloud, I savor flipping through the beauty of A Christmas Carol illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger. It’s simply gorgeous... But perhaps most of all, it’s seeing my whole family together. One more holiday to enjoy with our nearly-grown kids. One more with my parents – and his. One more December with the people we love most. Because there is no greater secret than truly loving the people you love. Especially in the holidays.

20  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

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December Training Don'T miss ouT!

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let us take the guesswork out of this season’s shopping

Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gifts

22  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

AVANT GIFT CARDS Downtown - 512.472.6357 | Gateway - 512.502.8268 Southpark - 512.291.5000 • avantsalon.Com

With the holidays bearing down yet again, why not make your life and list easier? Nothing could be merrier this season than a gift card from Avant Salon and Spa. Specializing in the best salon and spa services this side of the North Pole, you may just find you don’t even need the mistletoe this year. With three locations in Austin, Avant Salon and Spa gift cards are the perfect way to spread a little holiday cheer.

bARK ‘N PURR PET CENTER 512.452.3883 • Barknpurr.Com 4604 Burnet Rd. • 78756 M-Sa. 8am–7pm Su. 11am–6pm

PET GIFTS! Toys, Treats, Raw Bones, Catnip, Sweaters, Jackets, Bowls, Beds, Nutritious Pet Food and Quality Pet Supplies.

Cedar Park Jewelry 512.259.9430 • 601 E. Whitestone Blvd • Cedar Park TX 78613

Find the perfect gift and experience the difference at Cedar Park Jewelry.

Gatherings 512.930.2600 1009 South Austin Ave., Georgetown, TX 78626 TU-SA: 10:30AM - 5:30PM, SU: 12PM - 4PM

Adorable shop with vintage gifts for the shabby chic soul. Now carrying Flax clothing.

KEITH KRISTOFER SALON AND SPA 512.233.1910 • 2785 Bee Cave road One block West of Mopac across from Panera Bread

Keith Kristofer gift cards come packaged in an attractive black gift box, have no expiration date and can be redeemed for any service or product. Purchase in person, by phone or online.




Spec’s for the holidays means custom and pre-made gift baskets, Texas’ largest wine and spirits selection and a stress-free holiday for you. ENTERTAIN WITH CONFIDENCE.


(512) 280-7400 ·

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   23

Join Our Nightly Celebration of Food, Wine & Memorable Times


Gifts For

Publication(s) : DP Contact Info :


b y J es s i c a Billeaud shopping for the men in your life can be stressful. so, here are a few surefire ideas to help ease your holiday season.

Austin Gen Ad

Chris Kaye. 310-482-4455

Job # :


Finished Size :

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For the cook Instant Meat Marinator


Tenderize and marinate your meats (and veggies) instantly with this dish, which uses a vacuum system to penetrate food for a richer flavor..



For the snorer Sona Anti- Snore Pillow

320 East Second Street, Austin Downtown 512-457-1500 24  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0



A necessity for men who travel frequently, this dopp kit's real Milano leather will be able to withstand all those business trips.

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For the Traveller Personalized Leather Travel Case



For the sommelier Oak-Topped Wine Carafe

While this gift may be just as much for yourself as for your man, this pillow has been cleared by the FDA for treatment of mild sleep apnea and to help stop snoring.

provides just enough surface area for your wines to aerate properly. Rustic yet clean, it’s perfect for the wine-enthusiast.



For the techy Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote the Harmony One can control up to 15 of the most up-to-date components. it comes with a full-color touch screen and an Intuitive button layout. finally you can keep that coffee table clear.



For the golfer Golfer ’s BBQ Set

Let him combine his two favorite loves in one afternoon with these golf-club inspired BBQ tools.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   25

Seasonal Sips be sure to serve up only the best cocktails this season

St. Germain & Sparkling Cocktail 1 1/2 oz St. Germain Liqueur 3 oz Dry Champagne such as Prosecco or Cava (ex: Segura Viudas Cava)

Pour into a champagne flute and garnish with a berry. Or, pour into a tall cocktail glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with a twist. Either way, this luxurious cocktail will be a hit! Courtesy of Twin Liquors, Over 60 Central Texas Locations!

AW pick:

the grinch 2 oz. Midori .5 oz. lemon juice tsp. sugar syrup

Mix all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with sugar. Optional Garnish: Red Cherry in Glass

Pomegranate Martini 1 oz V5 vodka .5 oz Cointreau orange liqueur 3 oz pomegranate juice chopped ice Fresh lime + lime peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except ice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice so that the shaker is about a third full (ice plus ingredients). Shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a couple of drops from the lime into the glass, then garnish the side of the cocktail glass with the lime peel. Courtesy of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods, Now with 7 Austin Area Locations!

26  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

publisher’s pick: crantini

1.5 oz. vodka 2 oz. cranberry juice Rose’s lime juice

Mix vodka, cranberry juice and a splash of Rose’s lime juice cordial over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with lime. Optional Garnish: Fresh cranberries in the glass

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   27


The Holiday Hostess book

Admit it: We’ve all fantasized about being the perfect holiday hostess. You know,

the one who sets a perfect table, whips up piecrust from scratch and gracefully welcomes guests at the door with a candy cane cosmo? It may sound impossible, but the

savviest hostesses have a few tricks up their sleeves that make it possible to entertain in style without breaking a sweat. Follow these entertaining rules-to-live-by, and you’ll be hosting like a pro and spending quality time with family and friends.

d n a H

b y C a m i l l e S t y l es M o o r e

After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?



Get organized This step is key in creating a stress-free

accomplished, a cost sheet, so I always know

event where no detail is forgotten. I always

the state of my budget, and a shopping list that

keep several lists that I continually update

ensures I won’t forget any necessary supplies.

through the planning process: a master to-do

Then, I conquer each task as far in advance as

list, where I highlight every task that must be

it can be done.

You’ve Got Mail Although online invitations are perfectly

tons of online stationery companies offering

acceptable for some occasions, there’s nothing

chic, well-designed styles, (visit notes.camill-

quite like a mailed invitation to set the tone of for a list of my favorite sources) or

a party and build anticipation for the fun in

try making your own! I love to handwrite de-

store. Be sure to include the “who, what, when,

tails on a simple, high-quality notecard, then

and where” ... and a suggestion on attire is usu-

tie a shiny red ribbon around it for a holiday

ally much appreciated by guests. There are


Mix Masters Embrace the idea of a self-serve bar. For an

tray of champagne and sparkling water

tray with a crystal decanter, two or three kinds

near the door so they can grab some

of liquor and a few festive mixers, and let

bubbly and start mingling.

guests be their own mixologists. Welcome

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guests with a drink upon arrival, by placing a

easy and elegant touch, set a gorgeous silver

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Recipe for Success Cook up the comforting flavors of the holi-

favorite holiday dishes lightens the load and

days by planning a menu based on seasonal

brings a meaningful sense of tradition to a

ingredients. Winter squash, savory nuts and

meal. Choose dishes that can be prepared in

tart cranberries are at their peak during win-

advance, leaving only one or two dishes that

ter months, so think of ways to incorporate

need last-minute attention. Guests are there

these types of produce in each area of the

to spend time with you, and nothing sets a

menu from appetizers to desserts. And no

more upbeat tone than a hostess who is hav-

need to cook everything yourself! Inviting

ing a blast at her own party.

family members to contribute one of their

Serving in Style Use a clean palette of all-white serving

caterer: use a Post-It to label each serving

pieces that lets the colors and textures of the

piece in advance with what item will be

food take center stage. Add a few pops of color

served on it. This ensures that each dish has a

with inexpensive and festive appetizer plates.

place and the buffet is perfectly arranged.

An invaluable tip learned from my days as a

Pick a Palette Sure, red and green are always classic col-

party space with rich tones like rose gold and

ors at this time of year, but don’t be afraid to

chocolate brown, or have a blue Christmas by

bring in other shades that provide an unex-

incorporating icy shades of silver and Tiffany

pected touch to holiday decor. Warm up a


Deck the Halls Now it’s time to transform your space into

and vegetables that represent the season;

a magical holiday setting. Use strategic light-

scatter orange persimmons, scarlet pome-

ing to set a party-ready tone: dim overhead

granates and blushing pears among low floral

bulbs and use loads of candles to complement

arrangements for an unexpected accent to

the warm glow radiating from holiday lights.

the table centerpiece.

Bring the natural world indoors by using fruits

Ready, Set, Fête! And now, a few, chic, day-of tips to make

napkins near the sink and lighting a fragrant

party zen a reality. Set the table first thing in

candle. Most importantly, give yourself plenty

the morning; completing that task goes a long

of time to get ready before guests’ arrival. Don

way in being party-ready. Beautify the bath-

an outfit that makes you feel gorgeous, add

room by removing all personal belongings

some festive accessories and be prepared to

from the counter, placing a gorgeous bottle of

revel in the glow of an unforgettable party!

soap and a basket full of high-quality, paper

30  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Chic Tips That Special Something

The holidays are a perfect time to focus on the little flourishes that make an occasion unforgettable. Garnish mugs of hot chocolate with a peppermint stick; place a sprig of holly berries at each place setting, or send guests home with a tin of your family’s “famous” cookie recipe. No matter how small, these gestures are sure to make each guest feel cherished.

Rules of Order

A perfectly-set table needn’t be difficult or arcane; feel free to adapt the traditional rules by giving them a modern twist! The key is to place everything in order of use and within easy reach. Glasses should be arranged in order of descending height and placed at the top right of the dinner plate. Dinner forks are set to the left of the plate, salad forks are set to the outside of dinner forks, and knives are to the right with the blade facing in. Spoons are set to the outside of the knife when a soup course is served. The bread plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife handle on the right side and placed diagonally across the edge of the plate.

Jingle Bell Rock

These are a few of my favorite holiday tunes to put a special spin on cocktail hour: Baby it's Cold Outside, Dean Martin All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt Little Saint Nick , The Beach Boys It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams Santa Claus is Coming to Town , Jackson 5 Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, Ella Fitzgerald Winter Wonderland, Jason Mraz

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   31


by wendi a arons



e L t u (B

have a confession to make. A confession that’s borderline treason here in the great state of Texas, so when I tell you, you have to promise me that you won’t call the Sheriff and demand that he runs me off to Florida. (Or, for that matter, any state that doesn’t serve good Tex-Mex and/or margaritas made with jalapenos.) Okay, here it is. Here’s my not-so-secret shame: I don’t do holiday decorations. Ever. Giant candy canes, lighted Yule trees, nativity scenes that include an animatronic dancing baby Jesus and big herds of glowing reindeer loitering on the lawn like they’re waiting for a 5 o’clock bus – you won’t see any of that in my front yard. Actually, come mid-December, you won’t see my front yard at all. That’s because compared to the rest of the flashing, blinking, twinkling houses brightening up our neighborhood, our house looks like the one casino on the strip that forgot to pay their light bill. The Caesar’s Palace of deadbeats. It’s not that I dislike Christmas. Or Santa. Or electricity. I just don’t feel the need to combine them. Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend my

32  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

e) n o l A e n i M e v a

December weekends curled up on the couch reading a good book than perched atop a 10-foot ladder stringing bubble lights over the garage. (As would my husband who immediately runs off to hide in a closet whenever the words “extension cord” are uttered.) Of course, most people claim they decorate for the sake of their children, but I’m sure my kids aren’t suffering any. At least not as much as they would be if we had to cash in their entire collection of savings bonds to pay the utility company for the use of 50,000 kilowatts. Besides, if the boys want to see a thousand strings of light, all they have to do is put on dark glasses, douse themselves in SPF 80 sunscreen and go stand in front of our neighbor Gary’s house. That damn thing’s so covered with holiday cheer, I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing on the planet visible from space besides the Great Wall of China. (Plus, it blinks!) There’s another reason I’m not decorating my house this holiday season and that’s the disturbing and sad fact that our street was hit by a rather nasty crime wave last year.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   33

Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend my December weekends curled up on the couch reading a good book than perched atop a 10-foot ladder stringing bubble lights over the garage. After one terrible night – a night that will forever be known in our subdivision as “Frosty’s Last Hurrah” – neighbor after neighbor awoke in the morning only to find their front yards littered with the lifeless bodies of poor, innocent casualties. Yes, there, motionless on the lawn like hapless victims from CSI: North Pole were sprawled, stabbed, inflatable snowmen, decapitated Santas and, perhaps the worst offense of all, wire reindeer that sometime during the night, were reposed into acts and positions I’m pretty sure are still illegal in Texas. (They definitely gave new meaning to the phrase “On Dasher!” anyway.) It was a holiday tragedy. So you see, with that potential danger looming again this year, what’s the point of


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for the front porch. Or hang up a wreath. But really, isn’t the holiday spirit that’s found inside of us what counts? Isn’t the way we treat other people what really spreads the message of the season? Isn’t it better to give $100 to a family that’s in dire need, instead of blowing it all on red and green disco lights that spell out “Ho, Ho, Ho, Y’all!”? Or at least that’s what I’ll be telling myself come January. You know, when I’m curled up on the couch with a good book while my neighbors stand atop 10-foot ladders taking down the bubble lights from above their garage. And that to me, is the greatest holiday gift of all.

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me decorating? Even if I did suck it up and drop $200 in the seasonal aisle of Target, even if I did spend four hours putting up an inflatable snow globe filled with ice-skating penguins and hockey playing-polar bears, it’d all be for nothing, right? Well, unless I then surrounded the perimeter of my yard with inflatable Rottweilers, inflatable security guards and an inflatable home security alarm system and honestly, who wants the hassle of that? I get winded blowing up a balloon. This December, I’m not going to succumb to the neighborhood decorating pressure and instead, I’m just going to just relax. Take it easy. Maybe if I get caught up in the season, I’ll go crazy and buy a couple of poinsettias


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Taking Care of Santa’s Best Friend T

Another Reason to Paws and Give Thanks

b y L a u r a K o ff l e r

his year’s holiday season is upon us and, hopefully, we'll have many reasons to celebrate. Among the perennial blessings of family, friends, health and good fortune,

surely we can’t overlook our precious pet friends. Those tailwagging companions are as much a part of the family as anybody else these days. And, as chief guardians and contributors to our everyday happiness, we’d be crazy to exclude them from our usual Yuletide festivities. For goodness sake, just imagine

The Nutcracker without The Rat King! Or the Christmas carriage without the sleigh bell-laden horses! Or Santa without Rudolph! Would Christmas be the same without them? Statistics tell us much about the popularity of sharing the giving experience with our pets. In fact, 63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners in the United States grace their pets with well-deserved, holiday gifts. If you’re part of this special group of givers, then you’re living (and giving) in the right place. Our beloved Austin is a city where one can find plenty of high-quality, very original and affordable, local choices for everything animalrelated. Before I get into how best to spoil your pet, let’s remember that in true holiday spirit, “ ‘tis better to give than to receive.” And we might say, “ ‘tis a civic duty to share our blessings with other, lessthan-fortunate animals this holiday season.” To this end, I’ve assembled a list of local nonprofits that help animals in need. There are many more, of course, and you can take your pick. And remember, it's not only the cash that they need. You can help in a variety of ways such as volunteering and sharing your energy, knowledge and wisdom. So drink up that egg nog (easy now) and get out there to help. You’ll feel great knowing you made a real difference.

36  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Birthplace of Complex Care for Central Texas

Sara, Caroline and Penelope

Sara’s pregnancy was doubly blessed — with twins. However, the placenta was interfering with proper nutrition and, as a result, one of her babies was experiencing restricted growth. At 32 weeks, Sara was admitted to help manage a pre-existing blood clotting disorder (antithrombin deficiency), but on the following day doctors realized the underdeveloped fetus was experiencing some distress and immediately scheduled a C-section. Thanks to the highly skilled, award-winning maternity team at Seton Medical Center Austin, Sara’s experience has a happy ending. Read her full story, or find an Ob/Gyn on our medical staff, at

For more than a century, families in Central Texas have turned to Seton Medical Center Austin when experiencing the miracle of birth. Here, we strive to offer the highest-level and continuum of care for mom and baby, offering:

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• Recently expanded unit with new patient rooms and modern amenities for comfort and healing • Expert teams of Ob/Gyns and specialists on medical staff, and a nursing team recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellence in care • Nationally renowned transformational practices for safer labor and delivery Seton Austin’s Level III NICU, the highest level of neonatal intensive care available in the area, is also supported by access to world-renowned pediatric subspecialists at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, another member of the Seton Family of Hospitals. 1201 West 38th Street • Austin, TX 78705 • (512) 324-1000

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In fact, 63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners in the United States grace their pets with well- deserved, holiday gifts .


Austin Pets Alive!


It’s terrible to see homeless animals at

In addition to cold cash, there’s noth-

With five different, luxurious lines, Wet-

any time of year. But it’s especially sad to

ing more valuable than offering your time

noz in Round Rock integrates function and

encounter them during the cold, wet winter.

and talent. Austin Pets Alive! could use

modern design. The stainless steel bowls

Emancipet, an organization very near and

any of the above. So, if you’re tight on

and high-grade, ABS plastic, non-skid bases

dear to my heart, provides low cost and free

cash, then put your awesome self to good

come in different sizes and in several colors.

sterilization surgeries for dogs and cats, and

use. Lend a hand or several at their new

These dishes are of the absolute highest

helps attack the homeless pet population

building. From adoptions to event coordi-

quality, which guarantee a long life and will

problem to end the cycle of suffering. Your

nation or fostering animals while they

look beautiful in your home.

donations will go a long way. A $25 gift will

find their forever home, your assistance

provide pain medication for three pets fol-

can go a long way.

Skillful Paws

Lofty Dog

humans and cars? Why not try massage out

lowing surgery. $50 affords a safe surgical sterilization for one animal and $100 will

Who says great bodywork only applies to

purchase enough suture material to sterilize

Okay, having arrived at a clear con-

for your pet? It’s a great way to help them re-

20 animals. Please consider this great cause

science, let’s go shopping. Whoo-hoo! For

lax and work out the knots from many weeks

for your holiday present list.

starters, it will be pretty much impossible

of hard work and hard play. Check out Skillful

to beat 2nd Street’s Lofty Dog for every-

Paws canine and equine massage and acu-

thing from stocking stuffers to large-scale

pressure. Maybe you can even arrange for a

gifts. You can find fun dog and cat toys and

massage on the table next to your pet.

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs You might recall the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs organization that I wrote about

high quality, nutritional treats and anything in between.

in November. They help humans and animals at the same time, by providing service

Dirty Dog Cleanliness. Godliness. Petliness. Yes,


you, too can get your pet cleaned up, or even

dogs to people with limited mobility or hear-

Don' t let t he n a me fool you, Doga -

wash your pet by yourself. What could be

ing disabilities. Since it can cost more than

d i l lo h a s a s m a ny good s for cat s a s it

better than spending an hour or two treating

$18,000 to train just one pup, your donation

does for dogs. My favor it e i s t he “Keep

yourself to the temporary gift of a dirt-free

would be much appreciated by both the ani-

Au s t i n Pet s Wei rd” t - sh i r t . A nd you

pet? Call it team-building at its finest. Visit

mals and their recipients.

ca n f i nd you r ow n faves when you

any Dirty Dog location around town. And

v i s it t he s tore.

may you have a happy Petmastime.

animal Trustees of Austin

Bark n' Purr

Animal Trustees of Austin provides afford-

I know this football season has not been

able wellness care and sterilization for dogs

one to brag about for our UT team. That

and cats and advocates for animal protection

means, more than ever, they need our sup-

through education and legislation. It’s a worthy

port next season. You’ll find sweatshirts,

cause that has helped thousands of animals in

leashes and collars with the Longhorn

need over the years. Read more on their web-

logo. Get yours at Bark n' Purr. And keep

site and take a peek at their wish list.

the faith.

38  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

RESOURCES austinpetsalive .org wetnoz .com


Did Someone Say Presents?


Don't leave your best friend out during the Holidays.

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Green Tech b y M a r c y G o o d f l e i s c h

If Santa is bringing a new computer, cell phone or other gadget, ask for the green version, please!


he Christmas tree doesn’t have to be the only green thing in your house this holiday season – there are plenty of ways to make certain a new computer, cell phone, television or other gift make a smaller carbon footprint than in the past. In fact, in some cases, Santa is making a list and checking it twice to see who’s naughty and nice about the environment. If you’re in the market for a new electronics device of any sort, start checking the label and do some research to see how diligent the manufacturer is about saving energy and reducing the impact on landfills. Since 2006, Greenpeace’s Toxic Tech campaign has issued annual rankings of 18 major electronics manufacturers based on the amount of hazardous substances in the products, the company’s willingness to accept and recycle products that have become obsolete and the impact on the environment or climate from operating devices. When you consider the many millions of cell phones, televisions, game consoles and other devices purchased each year by Americans (even during the recent downturn in the economy), the potential impact on the environment from toxic materials going in the landfills or the hours a device is plugged into a charger is huge. It’s easy to see how important even small changes can be, if they’re multiplied times the millions of consumers who are plugged-in each day. For 2010, Nokia (again) ranks as the most environmentally friendly manufacturer, with a score of 7.5 on a scale of 10 for reducing the

40  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

amount of toxic chemicals in its products (PVCfree since 2005), the energy savings features it has adopted, and a reasonably good performance on e-waste issues. Sony Ericsson (at 6.9) ranks second, and Phillips (with 5.5) comes in third. As with Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Phillips are credited with reducing the amount of toxic chemicals in their products. At the opposite end of the scale are Toshiba (with 2.3 points), Microsoft (1.9 points) and Nintendo (with only 1.8 points). Most companies in the Greenpeace listing have made some degree of progress in reducing or eliminating harmful materials used to manufacture products. Some companies are given lower points for their failure to support legislation that would reduce the carbon footprints left by electronics manufacturing. Although Greenpeace evaluated energy usage and the impact to the climate of operating various devices manufactured by the 18 firms, the rankings on its website ( do not give detailed information about energy consumption. However, when shopping for electronics, several factors can be considered to help you decide whether a new game console or mobile phone will deplete the environment at the same time it runs up your electric bill. For devices that use disposable batteries, look for products that will accept rechargeable batteries, which helps reduce toxic waste in landfills. Rather than tossing out piles of AA batteries after the toys, camera flash attachments, wireless computer mice and other goodies

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When you do need to get rid of a product that ’s outdated, check with the manufacturer or local organizations to see if there’s a recycling program to take the device.

run low on power, you can reuse batteries many times and charge them at home. If a device has to be plugged in for each charge, check for its energy consumption while plugged in and in the ‘stand-by’ mode. Companies are paying attention to the needless drain caused by energy vampires such as cell phone chargers, vacuum cleaner chargers and other products that get their juice from outlets in our homes. Chargers found in older products are not smart enough to sense when a battery is fully juiced, and the device, if left in the outlet, continues to siphon energy, even though it is already charged. Newer technology (slowly but surely) is creating chargers that go green by automatically reducing power consumption when it is no longer needed. To get an idea of the overall problem, take a quick walk around your house and see how many devices are plugged in and showing a small LED light of some sort to tell you they’re ready and waiting. Multiply that times the millions of cordless phones, cell phones, DVD players, vacuum cleaners and other devices in each home across our country, and you’ll see why it’s become a national problem.

If you’re in the market for a new toy this year, you can help reduce the energy drain by looking for green features in devices that need to be charged. By the way, it may not be the ‘greenest’ choice to go out and buy something just for that feature. Don’t forget that it takes energy to manufacture new products, and getting rid of the old stuff can create e-waste. When you do need to get rid of a product that’s outdated, check with the manufacturer or local organizations to see if there’s a recycling program to take the device. The variations on this are too numerous to mention in a short article, but recycling can include anything from giving cell phones to women’s shelters or troops overseas to breaking down the product and recycling materials that are still usable, while properly disposing of chemicals or materials that are harmful to the environment. If a big-screen TV is in your future (or already taking a place of honor in your den), pay attention to the number of devices you have connected to it and decide whether you can save energy by using a dedicated power strip to turn off anything not in use. It

may make sense to leave some items connected at all times, such as those with timers or clocks (or those that require tricky booting strategies). But if you only use your DVD player once a month, perhaps you can plug it into a separate power strip rather than keeping the “I’m waiting for you” light on at all times. When buying new PCs or printers, look for information about power usage during the sleep mode. Many newer models take less time to ‘power up,’ and you won’t hear the lengthy ‘hum’ after usage (such as in older-model printers) that tells you it’s draining power for no reason. Power strips for computers and printers can be major money-savers as well. Green power strips will help you manage the amount of energy being used in the sleep mode, which will reduce your electric bill as well as your carbon footprint.

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cocktails. dinner. dancing.

Saturday, 01.29.11

Austin Convention Center Grand Ballroom

Chaired by: Beth and Marshall Durrett

To purchase tickets or for more information 512.324.0170

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gadget girl

The Sights, Sounds, Storage Solutions and Smells of the Holidays Holiday Greetings from a grinning Gadget Girl! This holiday season, enjoy the sights, sounds (storage solutions) and smells from the gadgets I’ve found. I’ve selected eight gadgets that will satisfy many budget ranges and most senses. b y C J R o m b e r g e r

SIGHTS Digital Key Chain How about a key chain that holds up to 99

gift for kiddos to give Grammy, especially if it’s

photos? My favorite is the Tao. It holds up to 99

pre-loaded with pictures of themselves. You’ll

pictures and looks easy to use. I’ve got one on

have fun choosing the pictures, and Grammy will

order now.

enjoy showing off her beautiful grandchildren.

This is a great gift for friends, relatives and

Tao Digital Photo Key Chain – avail-

even office mates. And I can’t think of a better

able at for $9.99

Digital Camcorder The Kodak PLAYSPORT HD Digital Camcorder appeals to the same people that

connect directly with both HDMI and audio/ video out connectors.

waterproof, too. It has a 2” screen and 1920x1080

The Kodak PLAYSPORT HD Digital Camcorder – available from Amazon

video resolution. It has a memory card and can

for $90.

a Flip Video camera would, but this camera is

Projector Next up on the sight list is a 3M


It works great for work presentations, and I’d

LCOS Projector for displaying those images

take it home to show Netflix movies, YouTube

in a bigger format than that new keychain. This

videos and family pictures and videos, too.

6.4 oz. projector has built-in support for most software packages. You can connect it to several different devices, too.

Plus, it’s portable, so you could take it on vacation and turn your laptop into a little 50” movie theater.

3M MPro150 LCOS Projector – available from for $250.

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Have a

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SOUNDS Cordless MP3 Player Listening to music, podcasts or audible books while working out is a must for me. However, I don’t like having cords dangling from my ears, and I don’t like fastening a player or phone to my arm or waist, especially when it’s got cords dangling from it to my ears. So I found this Sony 2GB Digital Music Player and it’s got the top spot on my personal holiday wish list. (Honey, are

The Sony 2GB Digital Music Player is available from places like Ama-

you reading this article?) The player and the

zon for around $50- $60. Make sure you get

headphones are combined into one, so there

the one that’s waterproof, as there are a few

aren’t any cords to get tangled, and my ears

variations. The reviewers say it can handle

will hold onto the player for me. The reviews

a decent amount of sweat. It also comes

I’ve read have given a thumbs-up to the

with a few extra ear inserts in case the de-

sound quality, too.

fault size doesn’t work.

Digital MP3 Player Another



And if you’re okay opening either of

gift idea, if you need

these packages, you could preload them

another iSomething,

with some music like Sarah McLachlan’s

iPod Nano 2010. It has a

Wintersong. Connect the iPod to your stereo

touch screen,

where, and you’ll be setting a great mood for



the rest of the holiday gift-giving fest. Or put

is the

No doubt about it, efficient natural gas appliances help you save money and energy. Plus, when you purchase a

with an MP3 cable from just about any-

become a favorite feature for someone like

a nice workout playlist on the Sony Walk-

tankless or super-high-efficiency gas water heater, you’ll

me who can’t figure out why devices still

man, and it can begin motivating its new

receive a $300 rebate* from the Texas Gas Service

have keys and buttons. Plus, if you exercise,

owner right after the holiday feast.

Conservation Program.

the integrated pedometer, stopwatch and


iPod Nano

(6th Generation) is

Nike+ support will make your goals easier

available at places like Amazon, Target and

For details and more money-saving rebates for your

and more fun to accomplish.

the Apple Store for $150 - $180.

home or business, visit,

Headphones with Built-In Hands-Free Mic

e-mail or call us at (512) 370-8243.

I’ve got an iPhone, and I’ll admit, I’m not

hands-free headset for your iPhone, I’d ap-

a big fan of the headphones that come with

preciate an email at cj@wildwoodinterac-

it. So I’m looking for another pair. They’ve so I can check them out.

got to have great sound and a built-in re-

MEElectronics M11P+ SoundIsolation In-Ear Headphones are available from places

mote mic so I can talk without holding the phone in my hand. I’m interested in the

MEElectronics M11P+ Sound-Isolation In-Ear Headphones. They’re extremely compact, and the reviewers say there’s plenty of bass in the sound coming through them. They are getting some mixed reviews on quality, so if you’re using another

* Qualified customers within the Austin, Sunset Valley, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills, Kyle and Cedar Park city limits can receive this incentive for both new installations and replacements in either new or existing homes.

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like for around $55.

Help raise $5,000 to benefit

Watch Dancing with the Stars Austin on Central Texas On Demand Channel 1400 Available December 15

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STORAGE SOLUTIONs Portable Hard Drive Before we go on to the smell section of this article, my guess is that you’re going to

250,000 – 312,000 songs! The reason I chose the Sea-

need a place to store all these images, videos

gate over the others was be-

and music.

cause of the connection

I recently switched computers and found

flexibility. I can connect

the experience to be excruciating, because

through USB2.0, USB3.0 or

all my data was stored ON the computer. No

Firewire. Firewire bench-

more. I’ll be keeping my data on a portable

marks at nearly two times

hard drive from now on instead. (Make sure

the speed of USB2.0. The hard drive

you back this hard drive up, as they are much

speed is also 7200RPM, which is significant-

from places

more suspect to loss and damage than a

ly faster than the normal 5400, which is what

like Amazon for around $120 -

regular computer.)

most external hard drives have. This means

$130 for 1TB. You’ll pay around $15 - $30 for

it finds and opens your data faster.

another cable if you want something other

After researching portable data solutions

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex UltraPortable External Hard Drive. for probably too long, I chose a

The hard drive I bought holds up to 1TB of data. Seagate offers different storage levels. One TB is equivalent to approximately

Besides giving you portability, using an

than USB 2.0.

external hard drive speeds up your comput-

Also, you should note that if you want to

er in the long run, too, because it doesn’t get

use it on both a Windows and a Mac, you’ll

all filled-up with your data.

need to install a special driver so it’s compat-

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro UltraPortable Drive is available

ible with both. The installation instructions did a good job of helping with this.

SMELLS The Cuisinart Brew Central Coffee Maker DCC-1200 is a 12-cup coffee-

new iPod Nano. Then, watch while everyone

maker that has it all. It has a 24-hour timer so

enjoys the aroma and taste of fresh coffee,

your coffee can be ready for you when you

while listening to holiday music and unwrap-

wake up. It has an option for 1-4 cups, and

ping gifts.

also 5-10 cups. There’s a variable temperature

Make sure you take plenty of pictures for

heating plate, and it even lets you know when

the keychain and don’t forget to take videos

it needs to be decalcified. It makes a nice ad-

with that new camcorder. Then, you’ll have

dition to your kitchen with its attractive black

something to share using your new projec-

and stainless steel exterior, too.

tor, when your (unsuspecting) friends come

Get the Cuisinart Brew Central Coffee Maker (DCC-1200) at places

over to visit.

like Amazon for $62. Want to be a big hit? Give this gift first, with some fresh coffee from Whole Foods Market or Coffee Dog.

48  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Get the music going next on someone’s

Happy Holidays from your geeked-out, grinning Gadget Girl!

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spring 2011


How to Gift

Some Smart Legal Tips

BY J u l i a N i c k e r s o n


hhh, December ... it’s the time of year when we celebrate giving. Whether it’s to a local or national charity we care deeply about, or to our family, most of us give gifts in the month of December. But, if we gift to people and charities we love in December, what will the consequences of our tax returns be in April? This December, let’s give, but do it in a smart way. Here are some smart planning tips to frequent gifting concerns to keep in mind when you are giving, not only this December, but next year and throughout your life. Gifting Concern #1: Will I have to pay a gift tax on my gift to my

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children or grandchildren? Maybe!! If you gift too much, then you as the gifting party are required to file a special gift tax return and pay a tax. How much? Each person can gift up to $13,000 per year per person without paying any gift tax. That can add up! A mother and father (or a grandmother and a grandfather) can gift up to $26,000 per child (or per child and grandchild) before paying any gift tax. Remember, if you gift over the limit, you as the gifting party (and not the recipient of the gift) are required to report and pay the gift tax. There are sophisticated ways to gift more than $13,000 per person per year using a lack of marketability and lack of control

discount or installment sales; however, it is advised that you consult your family’s attorney or CPA if you are interested in creating this type of gifting plan. Many people create a gifting plan in order to reduce their estate for estate tax purposes and pass assets to the next generation. Gifting





$13,000 Annual Exclusion Amount Changing in 2011? The “Bush Tax Cuts”

have been getting a lot of press lately. In 2011, many of the tax laws, which went into place under President George W. Bush will change; however, unless Congress makes a new law, in 2011, the annual gift tax exclusion amount under IRC Section 2503(b) will stay at $13,000 per year, adjusted for inflation. Remember, the tax laws are always changing, so make sure you verify the amount with your attorney or CPA before making an extensive gift. Gifting Concern #3: If I pay for

my child’s education or medical bills, does that amount count towards my annual $13,000 gifting limit? NO! As long as you do it prop-

erly. Treasury Regulation 25.2503-6(a) allows anyone to make a gift for the benefit of anyone else for medical or educational purposes. This rule can be a bit confusing, so let’s make sure you

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Think of us as your

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understand it correctly. Anyone (usually parents and grandparents) may pay for both tuition and medical expenses for someone else (usually the child or grandchild) directly to the organization. This ‘gift’ does not reduce the parent or grandparent’s annual exclusion amount! But, the funds cannot be first gifted to the child’s checking account (or IRC 529 account) and then paid to the institution. And, only tuition qualifies – no exclusion is permitted for amounts paid for books, supplies, dormitory fees, board or similar expenses that do not constitute direct tuition costs. Gifting Concern #4: How much can I gift to a charity without having to pay any tax? Any amount!


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In order to encourage gifting, there is no tax applied when we give to a charitable organization. Rather, you can take an income tax deduction by itemizing on your income tax return. Remember to keep good records of what you do give and to check the IRS website ( or your CPA to ensure what you have given qualifies for the deduction. Gifting Concern #5: What is the

often set up in conjunction with a life insurance policy which allows the insurance to pass estate-tax-free to the family members and the qualified plan tax free to the charity. This is a sophisticated and powerful gifting plan. If you are considering it, you should consult with your CPA, financial advisor and attorney. As you gift this season, remember to do it in a smart way ... and, keep accurate records! Julia Nickerson is an estate-planning attorney in Austin who counsels families regarding the protection of assets, the transfer of wealth and the preservation of family values. Visit her on the web at or email her at The information in this article is for general information purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice, including legal advice for Internal Revenue Code purposes as described in IRS Circular 230. Tax law changes frequently, so please consult your attorney specifically regarding your own individual situation.

Best Asset to Gift? If you are charita-

bly inclined, then consider talking to a professional about giving your retirement account to your favorite charity upon your death. Qualified retirement plans and IRAs were created by Congress to encourage savings for retirement but not to pass on to our heirs after our death. Assets in a retirement account count towards the valuation for calculation of the estate tax and income tax is due on any distributions! Upon death, up to 85% of a retirement account could be paid out in taxes before any is distributed to an heir. Depending upon your particular situation, a charity could be a great beneficiary of your 401(k), IRA and other qualified retirement plans. No income taxes or estate taxes are paid when the qualified retirement plan benefits are paid to a charity after the death of the owner. This type of charitable gift is

3 Tips for Gifting by Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Advisor Becca Siegel

1. Tell your family your kids have plent y of Fisher Price toys and that their holiday gifts should be checks for college .  2. If your child is beyond Fisher Price age , recommend your family members pay for tuition directly  to the institution. 3. Avoid capital gains tax by gifting your low basis stock to your favorite charitable organization. They'll be thrilled with the gift and you'll avoid paying tax on the gains.

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HolidaysEasy b y C l a u d i a Alarcón

Okay, it’s true. Not everybody can

be like Martha Stewart when it comes

to holiday entertaining. Whether you are too busy or you just plain don’t like to cook, it doesn’t mean you and your family can’t have a beautiful and

Fête Accompli Hors D’Oeuvres p h oto g r a p h y by Fa b r i z i o


couple of years ago we got a frantic call at 8 a.m. from my mother-inlaw on Thanksgiving Day. She had put the turkey in the oven at 5 a.m. as usual, then had gone back to bed for a couple more hours. When she got up to check on it, she discovered in horror that the oven was broken and the turkey was just sitting in it, uncooked and likely spoiled. “Where can we get a turkey NOW?” she asked, almost in panic. “No worries, I got it,” I said, “and should I bring some baked ham also, for a change of pace?” When we brought both, she was relieved and thankful and everyone was pleased with dinner. She still talks about “the year Claudia and Will saved Thanksgiving.” So now I am sure you want to know my secret weapon ... Threadgill’s . For the last 20 years or so, the famous, Southern food mecca has been saving the day in emergency situations like our family’s, as well as helping folks who don’t want to cook, providing traditional holiday fare to take home ready to reheat and eat. For $129.95 plus tax, you get a complete Southern feast for eight with your choice of an

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e d a M

successful holiday party or special dinner. We have done the legwork for you, so you can start relaxing now.

eight-to-ten pound roast turkey or six-toeight pound spiral ham; two quarts each cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, candied yams and green bean casserole; one quart turkey gravy; a pint of cranberry or Jezebel sauce (a spicy-sweet, pineapplehorseradish sauce); two dozen rolls, and a pecan or pumpkin pie. The feasts must be preordered and pre-paid, and picked up at either Threadgill’s location. Extra side dishes, pies and meats by the pound are also available, if you are feeding more than eight, your family members are big eaters, or you have a last minute turkey emergency like ours. A new option this year is Annie’s Café & Bar , offering the convenience of homecooked holiday meals for the first time since the 30-year-old establishment moved into its new Congress Avenue location. Customers can order holiday dinners, available for pick-up or delivery throughout the holiday season. The dinners include appetizers, turkey, giblet gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes or sweet potato gratin, haricot verts with shallots, cranberry chutney and pain au lait rolls. Of course, there will be

plenty of pies, pumpkin cheesecake, and Annie’s famous holiday rum cake, a recipe passed down to co-owner Love Nance from her mother-in-law. Each rum cake is individually soaked in a warm praline butterrum sauce, then wrapped and placed in a decorative tin for shipping or purchase. Annie’s plans to bake an astonishing 1,200 pounds of rum cake to meet demand during the holiday season.

A n n i e ’ s CA f é r u m c a k e

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Fête Accompli Hors D’Oeuvres p h oto g r a p h y by Fa b r i z i o

If you are more inclined to host a holiday cocktail party rather than a sit-down dinner, check out Fête Accompli , a catering company by acclaimed Chef Quincy Adams Erickson, specializing in elegant small bites for any occasion. Their holiday menu is full of seasonal offerings, prepared with farm fresh ingredients and local artisanal products. Expect savory showstoppers like duck pate with fresh pear brunoise and sherry vinegar gastrique, and sinful sweets like chocolate truffle beignets. Everything is made from scratch, and menus can be tailored to your specific party theme or dietary needs, whether you are serving 20 or 200 guests. “We recently catered a vegan and gluten-free cocktail party very successfully,” says Erickson, who enjoys the challenges of custom menus and creative cooking. Chef Erickson is an expert at wine pairing

as well, so she’ll be glad to advise you on what to serve with your menu choices. Her expert staff will set up, serve and clean up, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself while your guests are wowed. For large parties, give them at least two weeks’ notice, but for a smaller affair, four or five days should suffice. If you want to be the envy of your friends when it comes to holiday table decorations, you must talk to Monique Capanelli at Articulture Designs . The trendsetting botanical designer grew up in a family of restaurateurs in Sonoma and is quite a foodie herself, so it’s only natural that she would incorporate edibles into her stunning table decorations and centerpieces. Tucking fresh artichokes, pomegranates, persimmons, fresh herbs and other fruits and veggies into her arrangements, Capanelli adds



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The talented chefs have created special dishes and






Take a Break This Holiday Season

please even the pickiest eater.

textural and visual interest, as well as a seasonal touch to her creations. If you already have an idea, she will gladly work with you to bring it to life, or of you prefer, she will use her creative energy to design a unique holiday centerpiece that will be the talk of your guests. Either way, give her a call with as much notice as possible. Lastly, if you prefer to let someone else cook, serve and wash the dishes this holiday season, that is an option. Both Threadgill’s locations are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, featuring their classic, down-home fare. For a more upscale alternative on holiday dining outside your home, you can’t go wrong with TRIO at the Four Seasons. The

talented chefs have created special dishes and elegant buffet menus guaranteed to please even the pickiest eater. Their Christmas Eve Dinner will feature the regular à la carte menu with special holiday items, and the legendary Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Buffet will feature brunch classics like madeto-order omelette and pancake stations, and entrees like herb-roasted lamb rack and pistachio-crusted lemon sole. TRIO is also hosting a New Year's Eve Dinner Celebration on Friday, December 31, with seating from 5 to 11 p.m., featuring a prix fixe menu for $95 per person. Due to the popularity of these special events, reservations are strongly recommended.

Contact these local businesses to make your holidays a breeze!


301 W Riverside Dr. | 512.472.9304 6416 N Lamar Blvd. | 512.451.5440

Annie’s Café & Bar

319 Congress Ave. | 512.472.1884

Fête Accompli

917 West 12th St. 512.480.8787 or 512.785.7563

Articulture Designs

2304 Southern Oaks Dr. 512.762.5228 |

TRIO at the Four Seasons 98 San Jacinto Blvd. | 512.685.8300

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Grape Finds + Spirited Recipes The holidays are a time for sharing things we love with those we love, so putting a little effort into sharing something special – like a unique bottle of wine or a handcrafted cocktail – is well worth it.

Over the last few months, I have been attending tastings, keeping notes and shopping around to put together a list of holiday wine suggestions that run from bargain finds to super-special treats to fit everyone’s specific budget. Tear out this page and take it with you as you stock up on your holiday grape finds. Be aware that prices may vary among retailers, and if you don’t find what you are looking for, ask your favorite wine shop or store!

Wine Bargains Under $15 Excelsior Chardonnay 2009, Robertson Valley, South Africa. $8.99 Zesty citrus flavors, balanced minerality, and just a hint of oak make this a perfect, everyday-drinking Chardonnay, either paired with food or as a refreshing aperitif. Don’t tell them how much you paid, it tastes way more expensive!

St. Hallet “Poacher’s Blend” and “Gamekeeper’s Reserve” 2009, Barossa, Australia. $10 These white and red blends are the entry-level offerings from Stuart Blackwell, one of Barossa’s most acclaimed winemakers. “Poacher’s” combines Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc with just a tad of Eden Valley Riesling for a crisp wine with citrusy palate, plenty of body, and nice minerality. “Gamekeeper’s” is a typical Barossa blend of Shiraz and Grenache, with a little secret ingredient: Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese grape that adds a floral, spicy finish.

Fess Parker Riesling 2009, Santa Barbara, California. $11 - $12. Bone dry, with peach, honeydew, citrus and honey in the palate, and bright, crisp acidity that is perfectly matched to a whole array of holiday foods.

Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhone 2008. $14 Côtes du Rhone is a no brainer for the holidays, as the blend lends itself to pairing with a variety of dishes from roast fowl to red meats and smoked ham. Bright, with ripe berries and balanced earthiness, this family-owned wine will not disappoint.

Gruet Sparkling Wines, Albuquerque, New Mexico. $13 - 15. Excellent quality sparkling wines at a price anyone can afford. They are made in the traditional method, yielding fine bubbles, toasty flavors and incredible value.

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Hi-tecH dentistry in a Home-like setting.

White Dreaming of a

Mid-Priced Beauties $15 - $30


Sabntome Prosecco, Treviso, Veneto, Italy. $15 A lush and delicious sparkler with flavors of green apple and white flowers, with distinct lemony acidity. Well-balanced with a dry finish, it’s ideal by itself or mixed into festive cocktails. A fabulous match to any seafood dish.      

Burgess Merlot 2006, Napa, California. $25 This iconic family winery in Yountville is famous for their Cabernets, but this single vineyard, "Cab-lover's Merlot”

Photo courtesy of Mindy Ravines Photography

is a terrific offering with mouthfuls of

A Gift From Us To You!

blueberries and black cherries, with a hint of mint and a chocolaty finish. Its balanced acid structure makes it ideal for holiday food pairing.

1/2 OFF


Paul Dolan Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mendocino, California. $25 A certified organic and biodynamic wine of extremely good quality. It shows vibrant ripe black fruit, balanced tannins and an easy-going but expressive character. Juicy and delicious, perfect with anything roasted.

Our mission is to provide you, our patients, with comprehensive, state-of-the-art dental care in a home-like setting where you will be treated like part of our family. | 512.506.9430 8430 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759 w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   59





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John X Merriman 2007, Stellenbosch, South Africa. $25 - 30. An amazing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, consistently rated 90+ points by Steven Tanzer. Medium-bodied, with palate of red fruits, tobacco, pepper, minerals and smoke. Serve it with your roast beast!

Elk Cove Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2008, Oregon. $30 2008 was a landmark vintage for Willamette, and this is perhaps the best yet from winemaker Adam Campbell. Juicy dark fruit, cherry and cranberry mingle with fresh herbs for a superb companion to

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any holiday meal. A Best Buy from International Wine Cellar, July 2010. Look also for their Pinot Noir

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Rosé ($17), a full-bodied rosé that begs to be paired with turkey.


w w w. A u s t i n P e r m a n e n t M a k e u p . c o m

Rock Star Choices, $35 and Up Jermann Vintage Tunina 2007, Venezia Giulia, Italy. $60 Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the wines from Jermann, one of Italy’s most revered and award-winning winemakers. This flagship blend of Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia and Picolit is full-bodied and rich, with intense fruit and mineral qualities characteristic of the region. Share this with someone you really, really love.

Guarachi Pinot Noir 2008, Sonoma Coast, California. $50 A stunning find, this wine is brand new to the Austin market and rated 94 points by Wine Spectator. Stewed cherries, wild berry and raspberry fruit in the

Give yourself the gift of time! The holidays can be hectic. Shopping, parties, visits from out-of-town guests…Finding safe, reliable childcare during the holiday season can be an additional stress. Treat yourself and your children to help from a College Nanny.

College Nannies Hourly Childcare Service allows you: • Time to shop without children in tow • Time to attend all your holiday events • Time to get away from it all

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palate, rich and full-bodied with a long, persistent finish and incredible depth and complexity. Impressive!

Champagne. Real Champagne. $50+ Step outside of the box this season and look for small production, grower Champagnes instead of the familiar brands and labels. There are many to choose from in varying price ranges. Ask your favorite retailer for a recommendation. Personally, I like the selection at Austin Wine Merchant and Travis Heights Beverage World.

I have also asked some of our favorite bartenders and mixologists to share a few recipes for cocktails you can make at home this season or enjoy at their respective bars and restaurants. Cheers! From Jeff Boley @ Paggi House:

Baker's Mark 1.5 oz Maker’s Mark 1 oz Unfiltered Apple Juice Dash of Lemon Juice 2 dashes of BarCode "Baked Apple" bitters Combine all ingredients in mixing glass and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with cinnamon stick.

From Tacy Rowland @ Urban – An American Grill:

Party Thyme 1 oz Pomegranate Thyme Simple Syrup* 1 1/4 oz 1519 Tequila Blanco 3/4 oz St. Germaine Liqueur Chilled Prosecco Shake and strain into champagne flute, fill with Prosecco and garnish with a squeeze of orange and an orange twist. * Pomegranate Thyme Simple Syrup (enough for 8 drinks) - 5 oz pomegranate concentrate - 1 sprig fresh thyme - 5 oz water - 2 Tbs sugar Simmer over low heat and allow it to bubble softly for 3 minutes or until aromatic and slightly condensed.

photo by shara k ashani

From Eddie V's:

Red Nose Reindeer 1.5 oz Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel 1.5 oz Housemade Sweet & Sour (freshsqueezed lemon & lime juice & simple syrup) 1 oz Sour Cherry Puree Measure all ingredients and pour into shaker over ice. Shake well (10 times, do not over shake). Strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with cherry.

From Josh Loving @FINO:

Sloe Ryed  1 oz Russell's Reserve Rye   1 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin   1 oz Punt e Mes Vermouth  Pedro Ximenez Sherry Rinse  Rinse a cocktail glass with sherry, add rest of ingredients and stir. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry (preferably from Luxardo.)

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   61

Aunt Pearl Burras (L) + Vera Carp (r) seen here at The Legendary Driskill Bar 62  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Photography by annie ray

Location courtesy of the driskill hotel decor provided by breed & co.


be told, this is a story over 30 years in the making, which wouldn’t have happened without Shakespeare. Really.

It’s the story of how two larger-than-life women and their outrageous neighbors

from a teeny town in West Texas hijacked the acting careers of two young men, and how together they’ve grown into critically acclaimed figures in the world of satirical theatre, with a loyal fan following that stretches far beyond Texas.

In 1973, Joe Sears auditioned for a par t in A M i d s u m m e r N i g h t ’s D re a m . S e a r s h a d a l r e a d y enjoyed some success since leaving the plains o f O k l a h o m a f o r N e w Yo r k , b u t t h e b u d d i n g character actor knew that he needed to hone h i s s k i l l a w ay f r o m t h e c i t y ’s s t a r- s t u d d e d t a l ent pool, where his youth and lack of experience couldn’ t compete – despite his trade c r a f t – w i t h o l d e r, e s t a b l i s h e d a c t o r s . S o , f o l lowing in the tradition of the great British thes p i a n s t h a t t o t h i s d ay a r e h i s h e r o e s , S e a r s l e f t the East Coast and headed out into the far less glamorous world of regional theatre. First stop: San Antonio, T X .

S ears not only g ot the par t , he als o made a friend for life in J as ton Williams , who was b ounc ing around his native Texas , building his own ac ting c are er. B y 19 8 0, the t wo were in the com e dy clubs of Aus tin’s S ix th S tre et , planning on launching their own satirical production, together with dire ctor Ed H oward . When the women c as t in the role s didn’ t s how up, it was the acting tra ditions of S hake s p eare’s day that convince d S ears he could c arr y of f Williams ’ sug g e s tion that they play all the par ts . And with that , S ears and Williams to ok the firs t s tep on their j ourney to b e coming the acting par tners hip b ehind the Tuna pro ductions .

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   63

Today, the Greater Tuna series (Greater Tuna, A

Tuna TittleTattle About Sears + Williams: Vera Carp: “They both cast a little more shade than 30 years ago … We do all the work, and they get all the money. ALL the money. Every bit of it. Everything I’ve done for them, and they’re still out there being liberal.”

Tuna Christmas and Red, White and Tuna) has become the most successful stage trilogy of all time, with Tuna Does Vegas the fourth in the series. Added to that, Sears and Williams make up the longest running original cast in American theatre history. Yes, despite the myriad characters of both genders, Sears and Williams play all roles. In A

Tuna Christmas alone there are 24 citizens of the West Texas town of Tuna where the action takes place. The shows are fast-paced, needing deft co-

Pearl Burras: “Joe Sears whines too much, and Jaston Williams needs to stay home more.”

medic timing and split-second costume changes. “I enjoy the changes,” says Sears of their rapid-fire metamorphoses from teens to grandmothers, from

Bertha Bumiller, Famous for Her Polyester Pantsuits: “Joe Sears should give some of his money away, not invest it in real estate. Give it to me!”

flirty waitresses to rambling radio hosts, from gun

Didi Snavely, Proprietor of the Local Used Weapons Store: “They’re very dangerous with guns. The only reason for gun control to become law is so Jaston Williams can’t have one.”

comes down to “a memory of detail,” explains

Ken Stein, Executive Director, Paramount Theatre: “Talented doesn’t even begin to describe Jaston and Joe. I am truly amazed at how different the characters are from the real people. They are professionals who strive for perfection … Behind the dozens of characters that populate Tuna are two decent, honest men that would do anything to help a friend or support a worthy cause. I consider myself lucky to know both of them and I can only hope my work at the Paramount honors their legacy.”

Vera Carp (by Williams). Although Sears did have

About Vera Carp:

suspend belief, and to fully engage in Tuna’s fan-

toter to handbag wielder – the list goes on. Successfully creating the female characters

Didi Snavely: “You’ve never seen her barefoot have you? She’s got webbed feet. Put her in Barton Springs, she goes like a duck. Saddest thing I’ve ever seen.” Pearl Burras: “Vera Carp’s the meanest woman that God ever gave breath.”

About Pearl Burras: Bertha Bumiller: “I adore and worship my Aunt. She helped raise me when my mother Jewel ran away to Dallas to be a book banner.”

Sears. “You study how women walk, how they hold their hands.” The lead roles in the Tuna productions are Aunt Pearl Burras (played by Sears) and a Great Aunt Pearl, the story and the character of Tuna’s Aunt Pearl are not taken directly from his relative. Rather, as with the other Tuna characters, the stage Pearl is a mélange of observed mannerisms, stored memories and the workings of nonstop creative minds with a bend to mischief. The secret to getting audiences across the country to tasy world, is to be good storytellers, says Sears. “All storytellers are contriving things – we’re just more believable.” They also picked characters the audience would enjoy watching on stage – despite their eccentricities. Those eccentricities have earned both Sears and Williams a Texas-size slew of awards in their 30-plus-year partnership. Among the highlights are Sears, in his 1995 debut on Broadway, with A

Tuna Christmas, receiving a Tony award nomination for Best Actor in a Play, while Williams has received the Texas Governors Award for Outstand-

Vera Carp: “She’s fun to have around with the children because you can get out a Magic Marker and play ‘Connect the Age Spots.’”

ing Contribution to the Arts by a Native Texan. The two have even appeared – as themselves – in British Vogue. Command performances at the

Didi Snavely: “I like Pearl, she’s good with a gun. Pearl gave me my first gun when I was just a toddler. It was just a toy gun, something to teethe on.”

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Sears and Williams make up the longest running original cast in American theatre history.

White House count among Sears’

inflection of a word. He would love

favorite reprisals of the Tuna char-

to launch a new Tuna show (Hal-

acters – “It was such an honor,” he

loween Tuna would get his vote)

says. Another favorite performance:

and, together with Williams, he’s

playing Carnegie Hall.

working on a two-man non-Tuna

How have the two maintained a

show that “is going to be just as fun

friendship despite working togeth-

and crazy.” Sears just doesn’t want

er for over three decades? “I think it

to spend a lot of time touring. It’s an

is a lot of mutual respect,” says

exhausting life – and those legs

Sears. Watching the two together

made famous by Inita Goodwin’s

during a recent photo shoot con-


firms this continued mutual admi-

waitress uniforms are not getting

ration, as they giggle at the sassy

any younger. He’s keeping his fin-

quips their characters direct at

gers crossed for a part-time teach-

passersby, playing as much off

ing position in the drama depart-

each other’s thruway lines as off

ment of his alma mater, Oklahoma’s

the unexpected delight of surprised

Northeastern State University. That

fans. Williams adds the two were

would allow him to continue with

“very good friends before we were

the Tuna shows while giving back

successful as the Tuna guys. I

to the school whose scholarship

think that is the reason we’ve sur-

got his acting career started.




But it’s more than aching joints

When it comes to surviving the

that makes Sears say, “I don’t want

challenges of life, Sears – the more

to tour 30 weeks of the year.” It’s

reticent of the pair – admits to lean-

what – or rather, who – Sears calls,

ing on his lifelong faith in God for

“my greatest achievement, my

his main support. “I’ve never not

Becky Pearl.” At 15, Sears’ grand-

known God,” he says. “I haven’t had

daughter is now in high school in

that many hard times, because of

Austin – “talented, smart and beau-

my faith. And when I did have to go

tiful,” says her grandfather. Rebec-

through something, it was a lot

ca’s been raised by her adoring

easier having God there.” He be-

grandfather and her father, Sears’

lieves in tithing, and counts among

adopted son, James. Sears is cour-

that not just gifts to the church but

teous yet tight-lipped about his rea-

to a long list of other causes, “Wher-

sons for adopting a son. Never mar-

ever it is needed, it is a tithe to God,”

ried, and earning his living in an

he says. How would Pearl say it?

itinerant profession, the adoption

“God’s got a lot of chores to do, and

raises a bevy of questions, chief

you might as well get up and help

among them, ‘Why?’ “It’s been over

Him do them,” he replies without

25 years, but I don’t want to ex-

missing a beat.

pound on it further,” says Sears

At 61, Sears has lost none of his character actor savvy – the talent

when asked. “I’ve always kept it very private.”

that allows him to become a char-

In contrast, Jaston Williams

acter simply with the raise of an

speaks freely about his adoption of

eyebrow, the roll of an eye, or the

a son from China five years ago.

Aunt Pearl Burras (L) + Vera Carp (r) seen here at The Driskill Grill w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   65

Single and openly gay, Williams faced an uphill struggle to convince bureaucrats of his steadfast commitment to becoming a single father. Life has taught Williams to learn from adversity, and it is in his nature – and a key contributor to his mastery of stagecraft – to reflect, analyze and absorb

Deep Tuna

the often-confounding twists and turns of human nature. And so, he’s able to simply say, “Adopting allowed me to get rid of the word ‘difficult’ and replace it with ‘challenging.’”

What I Learned From the Death of My Son by Jaston Williams

And why adopt? “I could not get beyond the fact that there were older children out there considered unadoptable. I thought I could tailor my life to somehow make it work for them, rather than them living in an orphanage.” Now 13, Song is “just amazing,” says Williams, despite his son’s special needs, which include being born with a cleft palate and being language delayed. “I count myself so lucky every day with this kid,” says Williams, his voice rich with emotion. In a plot twist worthy of Shakespeare, just as the adoption process began, Williams met Kevin Mooney, “the love of my life.” The men both went on to adopt Song, and today the three make their home in Lockhart. As director of graduate studies in music at Texas State University, Mooney is out of the house early every morning. That leaves Williams free to write at home in the mornings – he is excited to be working on a novel, in addition to being the chief playwright of Tuna – and

Williams’ first son was killed in an automobile accident. In 2005, Williams adopted a son from China, now age 13. “The most important thing I learned was to try to not take it personally. There are some people who l say that to, and they look at me almost angrily. But start asking ‘why’, or ‘what if,’ and you are only maiming yourself ... It is not a question that can be asked. The reality is – and what I had to keep reminding myself of – this is life. Everywhere in the world right now, someone has just lost a child and is suffering with that. I just had to look at it as part of a larger pain. For whatever reason, that pain had been visited on me – I was not alone, so I had to accept my place in it. So, allow yourself to grieve appropriately and go on. To me grieving forever, and allowing the grief to send me into some cave for the rest of my life, is hardly a fitting memorial to that child and all the amazing things he brought to our lives.”

then devote his time to Song after his school day

What I Tell My Granddaughter

is over.

by Joe Sears

Williams says he “came to grips with his sexuality fairly early on,” and “finding a place of true comfort” has been very important for this 59-yearold, raised in smalltown Texas. He clearly takes

Now 15, Rebecca “Becky” Pearl Gonzales is “my greatest achievement,” says her grandfather Joe Sears, who has raised Becky together with his son James.

great pleasure, for example, in saying, “My exwife is my best friend.” In interviews, in his own writings and in two autobiographical plays (I’m

Manners Matter: I always tell her that I will only spoil her if she has good manners.

Not Lying and Cowboy Noises) Williams has told his story, sharing with audiences his own personal search for understanding and context. Yet, when it comes to facing the biggest challenge of his life – the death of his first son in an automobile accident – Williams’ has learned to set the search

Be Appreciative: She’s always basically gotten everything she’s ever wanted or needed. But she’s been raised to know that she should be grateful for that because other people may never receive those things, and if she gets them, then she’s obligated to treat them with care.

for understanding and context aside; to set aside

Save Your Allowance: She may have a Coach purse but she’s saved up her allowance for it. 66  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

When the women cast in the roles didn’t show up, it was the acting traditions of Shakespeare’s day that convinced Sears he could carry off Williams’ suggestion that they play all the parts.

the search for an answer to the haunting, ever-recurring “Why?” question. “The most important thing I learned was not to take it personally.” [Editor’s note: read more in the How I Coped sidebar.] Ongoing, he says the experience “allows you to acquaint with the difference between tragedy and disappointment.” The best known Greater Tuna character in Williams’ repertoire is Vera Carp and he inhabits her character when in costume – from her mincing gait and her take-no-prisoners, shortsighted, head-on stare to her disapproval as her finger runs along an imaginary line of dust on a chair rail. Carp is loosely based on Williams’ mother Vivian – who herself lost two children, another beacon of hope for Williams in coping with his own grief. However, Vivian Williams, unlike Vera, was “very open-minded and a pretty liberal person, who despised racism. She taught us to be kind and respectful to all people.” Yet Vivian exhibited Vera-like tenacity, teaching school until she was 82. “She was the most independent person I’ve ever known,” recalls Williams. At 87 and legally blind, she finally relinquished her car keys. That evening she called her youngest son. “She told me, ‘If I can’t drive my car, I would rather die.’ And two weeks later she was dead.” What started out so casually has gone on to become a classic for audiences across the country, from Texas to New York, from San Francisco to Edinburgh, Scotland. The Tuna productions are also staged under license across the country – delighting even more audiences. Yet, there is something quintessential about the Tuna experience at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre, itself an iconic Austin landmark. And while the city has changed irrevocably in the decades since Jaston Williams and Joe Sears introduced Vera and Pearl to us, their popularity and our affection for them remain the same. “There’s a reason that their stars are on the sidewalk in front of the theatre,” says Ken Stein, executive director of the Paramount. The stars represent not only the immeasurable contribution to Austin’s history made by Sears and Williams, but also the legacy of the many characters they’ve given breath to over the years, including the two brightest stars – icons in their own right – Pearl Burras and Vera Carp.

joe sears (top) + jaston williams (bottom) seen here at The Legendary Driskill Bar w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   67

Fast Facts About Vera Carp:

The Ladies of Tuna

Tuna's richest citizen is unwavering in her devotion to the Baptist faith, despite constant aggravations by her domestic help named Lupe. She attended TCU because purple goes with everything.

AW: As the richest woman in Tuna, you are a community leader and a celebrity. How do you handle the responsibility? Vera Carp: Well, my life is not for poor people. Poor people eat Twinkies and I go to Marie Callender’s. And we have an oil well – we don’t actually have any oil, but it pumps out in the back yard, and people can see it, so it keeps the riffraff away.

AW: You live a very fulfilled life, but are there things you regret or still want to do? VC: I wish I’d whipped my children more when they were little. We lived in California for about a year, went there for business. And you can’t spank your kids in California. I had to drive to Arizona to take part in corporal punishment. It got to the point where I could just play By the Time I Get to Phoenix … And if I could do anything different, I’d make more money. A lot more. You can’t have too much.

AW: Many people would regard you as a role model. Who are your heroes and role models? VC: Eva Perón. Her armpits were unbelievable. That took some work, holding those hands up like that. And that was before sunscreen. It took a tough woman. I loved Eva Perón ... And they tell me that Stalin’s second wife was a scream. Now I’m not sure, but they tell me she was great at parties.

Vera Carp (L) + Aunt Pearl Burras (r) seen here in The Victorian Room at The Driskill Hotel

Jaston Williams plays:

Helen Bedd, Jody Bumiller, Charlene Bumiller, Stanley Bumiller, Farley Burkhalter, Vera Carp, Dixie Deberry, Petey Fisk, Garland Poteet, Didi Snavely, Arles Struvie. 68  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Reveal All

Fast Facts About Aunt Pearl Burras: Tuna’s matriarch of mischief is famed for her prize-winning potato salad. She is probably the only Democrat in Tuna.

AW: Have you lived in Tuna all your life? Pearl Burras: Yes. And I’ve been married four or five times. I don’t know why I can’t keep a husband. I shot one – by accident. But he was a sleepwalker and he never told me about it. One was a mayor of another town… Back then I did not like any trees in the town, because criminals can hide behind them. I was for having all the trees removed from Tuna. It’s a safe way to live. AW: How old are you? PB: Older than water.

AW: Tell us about your life growing up. PB: I made bread every day for the family. Well, one day I left the door open and the goat got in and ate all the rising dinner rolls. Next morning, sure enough they found that goat dead and bloated. It had just risen and burst!

AW: You are famous for your cooking … PB: Yes, I give cooking classes down there at Central Market. It’s comfort food, and all the classes are sold out. I did a cookbook, and we gave all the proceeds to Liz Taylor, for AIDS research. It’s out of print now, though.

AW: What is the secret to your potato salad recipe? PB: Running out of it.

AW: Can you tell us about meeting Elvis in Vegas? PB: I saw him in the A&P buying half-and-half. He had a little peanut butter and banana in the corner of his mouth. I knew he wasn’t dead.

AW: Do you still have things you want to do with your life?

Joe Sears plays:

Bertha Bumiller, Phoebe Burkhalter, Pearl Burras, Leonard Childers, Sheriff Givens, Inita Goodwin, Joe Bob Lipsey, R.R. Snavely, Ike Thompson, Elmer Watkins, Thurston Wheelis.

PB: I want to go take care of kids in Calcutta.

AW: Who are your role models? PB: Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan. w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   69

Tuna For All with Ken Stein, Executive Director of the Paramount Theatre Austin’s Home for the Tuna Productions

AW: Why is Tuna so universally popular? Ken Stein: No matter how over the top and outlandish the characters, most of us have someone in our family “just like that.” There is just enough politics in the shows to hit a nerve, but the humor is just as appealing to the Texas Yellow Dog Democrats as it is to the dyed-inthe-wool Republicans. I guess we can all laugh at ourselves and not take it all so seriously.

AW: What role has Tuna played in helping the Paramount survive and become the landmark it is today? KS: A Tuna show always came around at exactly the moment when the Paramount needed a hit and for that reason, Jaston and Joe will always be on the short list of people who have saved the Paramount.

AW: Do you have a favorite Tuna character? KS: Didi Snavely. She makes me want to smoke and curse every time I see the show. I just love her.

70  austinwoman d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 0

Aunt Pearl's Potato Salad* 5 lb. bag of brown Idaho potatoes 1 dozen eggs Salt and pepper ½-can evaporated milk ¼-cup sweet pickle juice 1 ½-cup chopped sweet pickles 1 cup celery, diced small 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion 2 cups or more of Miracle Whip or mayonnaise 2 Tbsp. mustard Boil potatoes in their skins until tender. Drain water and let potatoes cool down to room temperature. Peel off skins and let whole potatoes sit in refrigerator. (They cut better cold and don't crumble.) Boil eggs, drain and let cool to room temperature. Separate white and yellow. Chop 2 cups of white and mash all the yolk with a fork. Mix the eggs with 1/4 tsp. black pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix evaporated milk with the eggs. Mix in sweet pickle juice. Stir in celery, sweet pickles and onions. Mix in mayonnaise and mustard. This mixture should now be a thick, cake-like batter texture and may need more mayo. Let this mixture cool and marinate in icebox for 1 hour. Slice the cold potatoes into pieces the size of playing dice. Season potatoes with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. (Salt is very important in this recipe and if you don't have enough, the flavor of the salad is flat.) Pour mixture over potatoes and stir with large forks. Large utensils used to stir can sometimes inhibit getting all the potatoes covered with dressing. You may need to add more mayo to cover all pieces with a thick creamy coating. Refrigerate salad until serving time. *Courtesy Joe Sears from Aunt Pearl’s Cookbook: A Man’s Cooking by Joe Sears.

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She’s Got Her Eye

on the




hen you walk into Austin Cake Ball’s store and look into the display case, you are immediately transformed to a Parisian patisserie. Rows of carefully aligned and labeled cake balls are displayed in a lit pastry case. What is a cake ball? Glad you asked. Think petit four and a truffle have a baby. A delicious sheet cake is crumbled and mixed with a bit of icing to add moisture, it is rolled into a bite sized ball, dipped in chocolate and impeccably decorated to create an irresistible dessert that is simple, modern and elegant. It is not quite as rich as a truffle and while petit fours are definitely pretty, they tend to be dry. A cake ball is a nice balance between the two without sacrificing elegance. Stacey Bridges did not set out to become a baker; she blames that on her significant other and co-owner Ben May. Tired and mentally exhausted from her day job as a costume technician, Bridges would come home from work and watch The Food Network to unwind and was drawn to the shows that featured cakes. Being creative, she started to experiment with baking and described her joy of cake making to that of her love of costume making, but instead of

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working with fabric and leather, her media were flour and sugar. A little known fact is that Bridges doesn’t even care for cake all that much and prefers savory to sweet. It was the creative outlet and her keen eye and knowledge of design that led to this favorite pastime. May suggested she take a cake baking and decorating class and he volunteered to go with her to give them something to do together as a couple. A recipe for success was rising. They say “opposites attract,” and that was this couple’s recipe for success. Bridges is a creative and has been practicing as a costume technician for over nine years. May has a technical background building websites for a living. His mathematical mind is well suited for the concise measurements required in baking. For the most part, he formulates the recipes and Bridges adds the attractive finishes, combining both Bridges’ and May’s energies into a snowballing development. In the beginning, the couple would take what they learned in class and experiment at home, taking the finished product into work for their coworkers to enjoy. Soon, the requests for special orders started coming in. Just as Bridges was offered her dream


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May suggested she take a cake baking and decorating class and he volunteered to go with her to give them something to do together as a couple. A recipe for success was rising. job in the theater department at The University of Texas, Austin Cake Ball’s success started to snowball through word of mouth and an artfully designed website by May. Bridges had to decide if she should move into the unknown with this newfound skill or take the bait and follow a secure career path. Good thing she took a risk, as it was at the 2009 Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival that created a turning point for Austin Cake Ball. The line at their tent snaked around the corner, blocking other venders. Bridges said they couldn’t cut samples fast enough. It was there that culinary consultant, Cathy Cochran-Lewis, who was then affiliated with Whole Foods Market, suggested Bridges contact Whole Foods Market’s bakery department to get Austin Cake Ball in the store. Bridges did just that and now Austin Cake Ball can be found in 17 Southwest Regional stores including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Currently they are moving into Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as well. In order to fill their first order, the couple was up for almost three days straight. They have since hired bakers and other help. Lucky for us Austinites, the store is located North central and orders can also be placed online, making it convenient to ship to friends and loved ones out of state. They also offer an around-the-town delivery service. While the most popular flavor is Red Velvet, Austin Cake Ball created a local flavor to help “Keep Austin Weird.” They put

their spin on the popular classic and called it Burnt Orange Velvet. Other classic bestsellers are Italian Cream and Chocolate. They kept things fresh with seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice, decorated in rustic oranges, reds and browns for Thanksgiving. Winter Holiday flavors include Chocolate Mint, Gingerbread and Peppermint adorned in ornamental decorations of snowflakes, Christmas trees and lights. Up next are savory infusions such as Honey Walnut Brie, Peach Thyme and Strawberry Basil. When I asked Bridges how she dealt with the growing pains of starting up a business, she said she attributes some of the success to a supportive family whom she refers to as her “three mothers,” i.e., her mom, grandmother and aunt. Little-known fact, she’s an introvert, so networking and marketing are not her forté, proving that the power of word of mouth travels far. Another surprise is that Bridges isn’t tempted by her creations. Her love of baking is the decorating phase, which is apparent in the artful presentation. She says, “People eat with their eyes.” When she has to choose between sweet or savory items, you’ll find Bridges leaning towards the savory. Her favorite foods are Vietnamese Pho and big, healthy salads. How does Bridges restore balance since her hobby has become her work? Bridges has recently enrolled in Bikram yoga to clear her mind. What’s up next for Austin Cake Ball? Bridges would like to garner national exposure. The ball is definitely rolling in that direction! M OR E I N F OR M AT ION AUSTIN CA K E BA L L 79 5 0 ANDERSON S Q UARE 5 1 2 . 8 2 6 .4 8 24 AUSTINCA K EBA L L .COM

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b y A n d r e a Cl a i r e

Christmas This holiday season, be the talk of the party with stunning hair and makeup, and clothes that fit in all the right places.

s e l l e B

Running from soirée to holiday pageant to office shindig? You may have

your trusty LBD (Little Black Dress), but what about the finishing touches?

How do you give your holiday look the extra polish and sparkle? Andrea Claire has the answers. She has scoured the counters and has your beauty wish list and tips to get you party-ready.

Pretty Powerful Palettes

Stila Eye for Color Eye Shad-

Urban Decay Book of Shadows (3)

Every December, cosmetic companies

ow Palette (1) features 13 new, ultra-

includes two pencils, which can double as a

launch limited collections. They are always a

wearable, eye shadow shades for endless,

great base for eye shadow! The creamy consis-

good deal, with a kaleidoscope of colors for ev-

easy to-create looks. This compact ver-

tency of the Urban Decay eyeliners makes the

eryone from the beginner to the beauty-addict-

sion is perfect for the on-the-go Stila girl

application tug-free on the delicate eye area.

ed. Keep in mind that just because your palette

and is an amazing steal! Stila



Too Faced Enchanted GlamourShadow

land (4) is a perfect palette to begin your

12. In fact, please don’t. Eye makeup should

Palette (2) makes any newbie look

fairytale evening! Included are 15 high-pigment

never exceed five colors or three for the novice.

like a pro! Included are 37 eye shadow

shadows, an anti-crease shadow primer and

has 12 colors doesn’t mean you need to wear all

Tip: Draw inspiration from that celeb ev-

shades, two double- ended eye shadow

beautiful shades of gloss, blush and bronzer to

eryone says you look like. Be it a red carpet

brushes, a mirror and a 16 -page look

create a range of versatile looks fit for a fairy

look, or casual makeup, if you look like Ange-

book with photos of models in the nu-

princess. Plus, three “Get the Look” instruction

lina Jolie (lucky duck), replicate her makeup.

merous Color Wheel looks. Shades in the

cards are included!

Tape a magazine page to your mirror as you

palette include purples, blues, greens,

Overwhelmed with the plethora of

are applying the look – this will keep your

browns and grays circled around a jet

color before you? Decide on your color

eye on the beauty prize!

black shadow.

theme before you dive in brush first!

1 3 2

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Sephora Color Play 5-in-1 Holiday Palette (5) is for the makeup maven or an aspiring beauty queen! Each of the five palettes is packaged within the color range that complements each other, so no color confusion here! MAC Cosmetics’ Tartan Collection has you lookin’ gorgeous for your clan. Shown here are A Fabulous Fantasy Lip Kit (6) and 6 Beauties Play It Cool Eyeshadow Palette (7). Evie Evan Hopeless Romantic (8) is a beautifully-paired Mineral Shadow Quad all-in-one compact that allows you the freedom to shade, contour and highlight eyes without taking up too much room in your makeup bag. This product is hypoallergenic and contains Vitamins A and E, which conditions and protects eyelids. Brush on dry for a sheer, subtle look or glide on wet for color so in-


tense it can double as a liner.

*Don’t be a hot mess, apply eye makeup using Shadow Shields; they


are like panty liners for your eye makeup application, they catch all the flakes!



Looking for the perfect lip to pair with your eye? Rochelle Rae of Rae Cosmetics suggests red lips, which are always a classic for the holiday season. What could be more glamorous then red lips paired with a simple black cat eye? It is the perfect Old Hollywood look for your next party.

Rochelle’s Tip: It can be difficult to wear red lipstick without it bleeding and smearing. Try lining your entire lip with a red liner first and then apply the lipstick on top. Lightly blot with a tissue, then apply a bit of gloss to the just the center of the lips. With a small brush, lightly apply powder to the outside edge of lip line. This will help prevent the lip color from bleeding. Try Rae Cosmetics Mistletoe Emergency Kit, Bombshell Lip Lust Lipstick, Naughty Lucky Lips Lipgloss and Red Liner (9).

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Party-worthy hair can be anything from a blowout to an updo. With so many events, you may choose the same go-to style, such as an elegant twist, or you may want to break outta that box, Ivana and try something new. Re-crown your glory with these tips from

Try this “Hairdo Calendar” to get the most out of your party hair: Day One: Blowout and Down Day Two: Hot Rollers and Tousle (hair sets better one day ‘dirty’) Day Three: Updo Day Four: See Day One!

Dolce Salon, LLC 2300 Lake Austin Blvd.,

Tip: For volumized updos, use a crimper!

Austin, TX 78703 or 512.474.1174 dolcesa-

You can crimp the inside of your ponytail so

you can’t see the crimping, brush it out and

“Since the summer is over and we have

twist it into a bun. Crimping at the roots will

the winter ahead, the first thing I want to

give you volume, and if don’t want to see the

talk about is hair rehabilitation. If your hair

crimp, crimp sections you can’t see to the

feels dry and dull from all the highlights and

naked eye.

harsh sun exposure, turn your hair back to health with shampoos and conditioners

Pretty Perfection

without parabens, sulfates and propolyene

Is a ‘Little Bulge in your Dress’

glycol such as Suddz FX. This will eliminate

giving an unwanted shape to your

static that those ingredients can create in

LBD? Whether help is desired post-baby,

maximum impact.

your hair and leave you with soft-conditioned

post-Thanksgiving or simply for comfort,

Packed with more pigment for maximum impact.

hair for the holidays! Once you make it

there are a variety of undergarments to help


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healthier with the right products, you’ll

smooth out your Fête Fashions. Spanx

spend less time and money. If you need ex-

Original or Haute Contour lines are

tra conditioning, try Marakesh Oil. This

available to help soothe and smooth your

product has all natural ingredients with Ar-

tummy, back or even your thighs.

gan Oil and Hemp Seed Oil, which will en-

Wearing white? Remember nude un-

sure that you have more moisture in your

dergarments will vanish but white on white

hair to protect it from the blow dryer and the

will reveal your secrets! No one needs to be

winter static. Call us today for a free hair

the wiser on that white thong, girl!

evaluation to see what condition your hair is in!”



The Sophisticated Pony, a no-fail,

stay covered; double-sided tape can be your

up-market version of the classic tail: Start by

savior this season. Hollywood Tape, will

setting hair on ceramic rollers for 20 min-

keep you from a wardrobe malfunction fast-

utes, or until hair has cooled in the roller,

er than you can say “Janet Jackson!”

brush hair into a ponytail just below your crown. Cover the elastic by wrapping a sec-

AW is wishing you a happy and safe holiday season; remember, drinking and driving

around the elastic and secure by crossing to

is never pretty. Call a taxi or designate a

two pins at the end. Want a little volume?

driver. And for more beauty tips from Andrea

Back-brush the roots and use your fingers to

Claire, go to www.andreaclaire.onsugar.

com. © 2010 Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios have been independently owned and operated since 1931. tighter ponytail lifts up your face too! WWW.MERLENORMAN.COM

pull up your hair. If you are feeling tired, a

I Z I N G A N D C U S TO M I Z I N G I N S T R U C T I O N S ar zone of 1/2 the height of the logo must be maintained as shown below.

ext or graphic elements can appear in this clear zone. Logo and tagline may be stretched or manipulated in any way.

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Low-cut can be tasteful as long as the girls

© 2010 Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. Merle Norman Cosmetic Studiostion have of been independently ownedtoand operated since 1931. hair that is equal your index finger

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The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar – A Family Affair 2010 is the 35th Anniversary of this annual, iconic holiday event b y M a r i ly n M c C r ay Bruce Willenzik, who founded the Bazaar, is now grooming four young women to assume leadership roles with one of Austin’s most revered Christmas traditions. They are all part of the Armadillo family (see right)


he Armadillo Christmas Bazaar started with a suggestion from singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Concerned about the artists who sold their work on the Drag, Williams suggested to Bruce Willenzik that the Armadillo World Headquarters would be the perfect place to get the artists off the street, out of the weather, to sell their work during the holiday season. Willenzik, who ran the kitchen for the AWH, saw an opportunity to provide a much-needed infusion of cash and the first event was held in 1976, in the 14,400 square feet of that hallowed ground. It became the magical union of art and live music that would define the holidays, Austin-style. “I bought the rights to the Christmas Bazaar in 1981, when the AWH was closing,” said Willenzik. After 35 years of producing the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Willenzik began to look toward the future. “I began to think about what would happen to the event. I could run it until I die. Another option would be to sell it. The Bazaar is way more

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Meet the new A team: Top Row: Melissa Stewart, Bruce Willenzik, Anne Kelley Front: Amanda Barnett and Elia Albarran

than one person can handle, (said by a person who has done it all this time),” reflected Willenzik with a chuckle. Willenzik and Associate Producer Annie Harding came up with another option for the Bazaar. “We discussed creating a team that would be interested enough and involved to keep it going. All four of the young women we considered had a connection with the Bazaar. They would become the new Armadillo Team. So we invited them over for dinner to discuss the idea.” The members of the new A Team meet regularly with Willenzik and Harding to discuss everything from the selection of a new logo, to which artists to invite. They have different skills and levels of involvement. Most had only worked together for two weeks a year. But now they are focused on what the Bazaar will be in 10 or 20 years. Melissa Stewart moved to Austin with her family from Louisiana in 1987. She hung out at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar with her mom Annie Harding, who had managed the headquarters for Asleep at the

Wheel at the time. During high school, Stewart looked forward to working at the Armadillo, answering phones and assisting with the load-in and load-out process at the Back Desk. She returned to Austin in March, and to the Back Desk duties. She also helps Willenzik with operations. When not preparing for the Bazaar, she is an educational specialist. At 36, Melissa is the only one of the four who was born before the Christmas Bazaar began. “The Armadillo definitely has sentimental connections. We’re all together until the show closes at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” said Stewart. “Over the years, we’ve all become an extended family. If I had to pick sisters, Amanda, Anne and Elia would be the perfect ones.” Amanda Barnett’s parents both worked at the Armadillo World Headquarters and the Christmas Bazaar in the early years. She was born a few years later, becoming one of the Bazaar’s original stroller kids. Barnett joined the staff in 2003, serving in several capacities.

Save the Date RISE Week 2011 March 7-11


w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   83

“Bruce watched us grow up and I feel privileged to be part of the legacy. It’s exciting to look for creative ways to increase the buzz and grow the Bazaar,” Barnett said. She is responsible for decorating for the upcoming event, including a new mural for the stage. She also collaborates in the process of interviewing the artists. Her son Parker is a third generation ‘Dillo kid, complete with his very own ID badge. Barnett teaches first grade and takes pride in representing the Bazaar at organizations like the Downtown Council. As a little girl, Anne Kelley used to deliver the Bazaar’s leaflets in a Radio Flyer wagon with her mom Cynthia who had worked for the Armadillo for years. “Who could say ‘no’ to a cute little kid?” Kelley remembers. Her dad became associated with the show in 1981. “I knew her as Baby Anne and she called me Uncle Bruce,” Willenzik recalled. Officially, she began working at the Bazaar at 15, taking tickets. Kelley joined the A Team after completing a degree in communications from Texas State. She has worked on the marketing and promotion of the event. Her editing skills have helped hone the online lighting tutorial, created to provide assistance to exhibiting artists. “My dad gets me a heart-shaped stone from the same artist every year,” said Kelley. Most of the A Team members have similar Armadillo gift memories. “I hope that more people will start a gift-giving tradition at the Armadillo.” Kelley’s family has the remarkable distinction of having four generations present on Christmas Eve 2009. Elia Albarran inherited her participation in the Armadillo. Her father, a second-generation jewelry artist, exhibited in the Armadillo. “I’ve known Elia since she was a toddler,” said Willenzik. She grew up at the Bazaar and came to work

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the show in 2006. At the Back Desk, she handled the load-in that had been complicated by the construction resulting from street closures around the Austin Music Hall. She worked the phones and oversaw the system to make sure that the artists and their work got in and out a timely manner. After working a number of positions, she was asked to join the management team in 2008. “Coming from a family of artists, I have a special understanding of what it takes to make a living as an artist,” Albarran said. She spent time traveling with her mother, a longtime face painter at Renaissance festivals. Albarran continues face painting at several regional festivals. She and her partner also make and exhibit jewelry and handmade bags at the Armadillo. The family tradition is not just limited to artists. Another member of the Armadillo family, Sarah Smith of Wimberley, who just released her first CD, will kick off the live music this year. She worked in her dad’s booth at the Bazaar as she grew up. “I am delighted that my labor of love gets to move forward for generations to come with the A Team. The new team members are looking at things we never had time to do and ideas we haven’t considered. It is the best validation for my efforts in the community since ’72,” Willenzik sighed and smiled.

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I have spent 15 years making personal films, character-driven films, and I thought, “Why should I abandon that dream now just to make more money?”

AW Talks with ...

Ed Burns Revolutionary Ideas for Independent Filmmakers

b y D e b o r a h H a m i lto n - Ly n n e


uch like his character Johnny Rizzo, Ed Burns is a genuinely nice guy. Fifteen years ago, Burns starred in, wrote, produced and directed a classic film, The Broth-

ers McMullen, with a meager $25,000 budget. The film debuted at

Sundance and went on to mainstream distribution and financial success, making Burns the darling of independent filmmaking. Burns has continued to produce, write, direct and act, with films including She’s the One and Sidewalks of New York. His commitment to writing and directing his own films led to Nice Guy John-

ny and a revolutionary plan for distribution, which may stimulate independent film production worldwide. That plan included an appearance at the Austin Film Festival in October. I got the inside scoop from Burns prior to the screening.

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w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   87

web exclusive Nice Guy Johnny review by Deborah Hamilton-Lynne only at

Uncle Terry (Ed Burns) explains the facts of life to his Nice Guy Johnny nephew (Matt Bush) AW: Tell me about the premise for Nice

AW: Talk to me about casting relative-

can make a film for $25,000, I don’t have to

Guy Johnny. Does it reflect you pursuing

ly unknown actors – Matt Bush and Kerry

deal with financiers. I don’t have studio peo-

your vision for making films rather than


ple looking over my shoulder telling me what

directing other people’s films for a high

EB: There is a great benefit to casting

to shoot or to hurry-up and finish, changing

fresh faces. Often in filmmaking you find a

the title, changing the film in the editing

ED BURNS: That is exactly how the idea

great young actor that you want to cast, only

room, approving the music. I was fortunate

was born. My agent wanted me to direct a

to be told that it won’t work because they

to learn this early on. I made a movie when I

mainstream, big budget, romantic comedy

don’t have a big enough name to draw. I

was a kid for $25,000 and I had no idea what

for the studio and when they told me how

wanted to use this as an opportunity to

I was doing. It was my most financially suc-

much I could potentially make, I thought it

break some of the great talent that is avail-

cessful film and I always knew that I could

might be time to explore the option. In the

able in New York. Kerry and Matt showed up

make another one for $25,000. We shot this

end, I decided not to do it. It is not my love

so excited to be in this film. They love acting

one in 10 days with a three-man crew. Every-

and not what I aspired to do. When I was in

in a way you rarely see on a studio film any-

one did their own hair and makeup and wore

film school, I did not want to become a direc-

more. They re-energized me as an actor. My

their own clothes. We shot at my mother’s

tor. I was always a writer. I was passionate

first scene with Matt we had to reshoot be-

house again, so the location was free. Hon-

about telling my stories. I have spent 15

cause I was ill prepared. He came in so deter-

estly, 25K today is better spent than 15 years

years making personal films, character-driv-

mined and did such a great job. With Matt

ago. The digital cameras are cheaper to use

en films, and I thought, “Why should I aban-

and Kerry I knew that I had another special

and more sophisticated. The film looks bet-

don that dream now just to make more mon-

find in the casting.

ter. You can edit on a Mac.

dollar salary?

ey?” This is a script that explores the idea of

AW: The typical budget for making a

AW: So even if you can produce a film

chasing the dream and how pursuing a

film is well into the millions. How is it

for $25,000, the next hurdle is getting it

dream can disappoint other people and what

possible to make a viable film for

out there – the nightmare maze of distri-

you personally have to sacrifice. Johnny is a


bution and promotion.

nice guy who wants to honor a promise, but

EB: The process of trying to get an inde-

EB: Yeah. The big challenge has been

he self-sacrifices to a point that his dream

pendent film made is so painful. I don’t think

what has happened to the market for inde-

will be crushed and he will ruin his life. As I

that I will ever go back to the old model. Step

pendent film in the last five years. Warner

wrote the script, I thought about who I was

one – get a name actor. Then the process be-

Independent, PictureHouse, Miramax, Para-

at 25 when I was writing Brothers McMullen

gins with the foreign rights and raising the

mount Vantage – all out of business. The

and everyone thought I was crazy. I can

initial capital and you have to deal with all

problem is that is costs so much to market

speak very directly to how important it is to

sorts of interesting characters that you

films – the average cost to market any film

keep your dreams alive.

would never sit down with otherwise. If I

released theatrically is $38 million and most

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studios spend more than that, so the little

all filmmakers love – the thrill of being in the

McMullen. I knew I wanted to tell a story

guy with an indie may spend $1 million and

theater with an enthusiastic audience with-

about three brothers and the women in their

still not make an impression. So how do you

out the expense of a theatrical release.

lives. It was going to take place in Manhattan,

fight that? We decided not to put ourselves

AW: Do you have any advice for any-

but the only location I could get access to for

several million dollars in the hole before you

one who wants to go out and make their

free was my parents’ house and so I changed

make any money. We decided to take a page

own film?

the location to Long Island and changed the

from the musicians – release directly to the

EB: After 15 years and 9 films, I know all of

story to satisfy the budget. It was one of the

fans and eliminate the middleman. We

the tricks to the trade, if you have no money

things that made the movie work. Do not be

watched [Steven] Soderbergh release films

and you want to tell your stories in film, so

afraid to adapt. These things can work to

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SEX IS GOOD S e x provi d es a m y r iad o f b e n e fits to wo m e n ’ s h e alth . I f a wo man fi n ds h e rs e lf u n i nte r este d o r u nab le to e n g ag e i n s e x as s h e wo u ld li k e , th e r e i s h e lp. b y D a r l i n e T u r n e r - L e e


ex is a good thing. Having sex is an even better thing. Having good sex is one of the best things ever! Research has shown that sex is good for you. Having sex at least once a week relieves stress and depression, boosts immunity, reduces pain, burns calories, (helping to maintain ideal body weight), lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your pelvic floor and helps you sleep better. For women, there are even more benefits. Women who engage in sexual intercourse at least once a week increase their estrogen levels lowering their risk of osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The estrogen boost gives them more regular menstrual cycles while reducing menstrual cramps. Ladies who have weekly intercourse also reduce their risk of developing endometriosis. But wait, there’s more! Women who have sex at least once a week lower their risk of developing breast cancer, improve their bladder control, increase their fertility and once they are pregnant, if they continue to have sex while they are pregnant, have speedier births and often require less pain medication. Finally, regular sex slows the aging process. Women who have regular sex actually look younger!

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When it comes to a lack of desire, we have to determine if a women doesn’t want to have sex with her current partner or if she doesn’t want to have sex with anyone,” says Mistry. “These are two very different issues. The first involves healing a relationship, while the second one may have many layers that need to be sorted out and addressed. So why is sex so often seen as “taboo” in our culture? Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most natural acts in all of nature. All living creatures have sex, and for the most part, from what researchers are able to discern, they enjoy it. So why do we humans have such difficulties with expressing and acting on our sexuality? “Sex problems don’t exist in isolation,” says Sandeep Mistry, MD, MPH and the Medical Director of Mi – The Austin Center for Women’s Sexual Health. “When women are unable to engage in or enjoy sex, we must identify all potential problems and treat them.” Mistry says that there are many reasons women don’t engage in sexual activity. Some women lack the desire to have sex. Other women have had traumatic sexual experiences in the past. For other women, sex is painful. Whatever the cause, Mistry and his staff work to identify the problems and to help their patients achieve the level of sexual activity they desire. “When it comes to a lack of desire, we have to determine if a women doesn’t want to have sex with her current partner or if she doesn’t want to have sex with anyone,” says Mistry. “These are two very different issues. The first involves healing a relationship, while the second one may have many layers that need to be sorted out and addressed. We have to look at mitigating factors such as oral contraceptive use, which can

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decrease libido. Is she a new mom and breastfeeding? These situations also lead to decreased libido.” “Has she ever had an orgasm? Many women who have never had an orgasm, who have never experienced adequate genital stimulation (clitoral and labial engorgement and vaginal moisture), or who have never experienced the adrenalin rush and subsequent release that comes with orgasm, often become disenchanted and shun intercourse of any kind. However, this inability to become aroused leads to feelings of inferiority and brokenness and lowered self esteem because women tend to feel very broken if they are unable to fulfill not only their sexual needs but those of their partner.” “By far one of the most common reasons women have decreased libido is because sex is painful,” says Mistry. “Who wants to do something that causes pain?” When a patient’s problem is pain and/ or anorgasmia (the inability to achieve orgasm) they often start with physical therapy. Angela Treadway, PT, MS, DPT is a pelvic physical therapist with the Mistry Center. “The most important part of my job is motivating my patients to be active partners in their treatment,” says Treadway. “I tell my patients, “This is about getting you what you want.” There has to be a firm commitment from the patient to do the work.”

When addressing issues of painful intercourse, Treadway not only evaluates the pelvis but also the surrounding areas. “I always have to consider what is directly adjacent,” says Treadway. “Yes, I evaluate the pelvic muscles for strength and tone, and the surrounding tissue for scars, but I also get a detailed surgical history. If a woman has a history of abdominal surgery, referred abdominal pain may be inhibiting her ability to have sex. A woman who has had hip replacement may not be able to fully open her legs. If she’s had back surgery, there may be some neurological damage. All of these factors play a major role in a women’s ability to have a complete sexual response and impact her sexual desire.” Treadway also works with women to learn how to stimulate themselves and to know what it feels like when their genitals are aroused. Because many women are initially unable to even locate their pelvic floor muscles, Treadway works with them to not only locate them but to learn to voluntarily contract and release them. This is particularly beneficial in women who have vaginismus (involuntary, uncontrolled spasming of the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening making it nearly impossible for penile penetration). Some patients benefit from “outercourse” therapy.

See the new line of designer windows. Resources Sandeep Mistry, MD, MPH, Medical Director Angela Treadway, PT, MS, DPT, Pelvic Physical Therapist Tiffany Garrett, MA, NCC LPC, Sex Psychotherapist Mi – The Austin Center for Women’s Sexual Health 970 Hesters Crossing Road, Ste. 101 Round Rock, TX 78681 512.617.8801 | Shelley L. Imholte, LMSW, psychotherapist EdD. Candidate-Human Sexuality – Widener University

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...there is a lot of misperception about what good sex is and about what is “sexy.” “Outercourse is part of a process used with women who experience pain with vaginal-penile intercourse or have a chronic illness that limits vaginal-penile intercourse,” says Shelley Imholte, LMSW, EdD Candidate-Human Sexuality-Widener University, psychotherapist. “Over time, the body becomes conditioned to pain and has a default response.  Using outercourse helps to retrain the body and work with anxiety and/or fear.  Not everyone is open to trying it but those who do get a sense of the entire body as erotic instead of the genitals only,” says Imholte. While pain is a significant barrier to good sex, psychological issues pose significant problems as well. Tiffany Garrett, MA, NCC, LPC is the lead psychotherapist at the Mi Center as well a therapist in private practice. “There is a lot of confusion about sex,” says Garrett. “At puberty, sexuality kicks in, yet we are told not to have sex, explore our sexuality or to even think about sex. So we often shut down. It’s amazing how our brains block things out in order for us to cope, but it’s really hard to ‘unblock things’ to restore function.” Garrett notes that there is a lot of misperception about what good sex is and about what is “sexy.” “The media gives an ‘oversexed’ perception of our culture. Many people come to me thinking that something is wrong with them because they don’t perceive or enjoy sex as portrayed in the media.”

Garrett works with people to remove the barriers they’ve erected around having sex, often restoring a more realistic perception of sex. She advises clients to talk about their issues and concerns. “If a woman has pain with intercourse, her partner may develop erectile dysfunction because he is concerned he’ll hurt her. Eventually, they not only stop having sex, but also they stop even talking about sex or being intimate. Eliminating the pain associated with sex often restores a couple’s ability to regain sexual intimacy.” Mistry has seen it happen numerous times in practice. “If we have a woman with decreased libido and are able to restore her libido, we often cure her partner’s erectile dysfunction. If we are able to treat a man’s erectile dysfunction, his partner’s libido usually improves. So often couples come in saying, ‘We have a great relationship,’ yet because of sexual dysfunction, their habits of relating to each other have changed. They actually stop being intimate. These are the subconscious behavioral patterns that have to be addressed and resolved.” Sex is good and sex is really good for women. While sex is a natural act, it’s not automatic. A woman’s sexual response can be quite complex, but with the right tools, treatments and support, any woman can achieve sexual satisfaction.

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he slogan for Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine reads, “Small town friendly, big city style.” I don’t know how true most slogans are, but this one sums up the heart of the company and its leader. Cynthia Karkoska, founder and president, is as passionate and savvy as any CEO, with the charming sincerity of a girl from Taylor, TX. Karkoska’s limousine company is in its th 12 year and stronger than ever. But this is not her first entrepreneurial success, and she never dreamed limousines would become her calling. When she was 19, Karkoska dropped out of college, opened the Neighborhood Cafe restaurant and bought a house. “I’m not a student,” she said. “I didn’t have enough patience.” She ran her restaurant in Taylor for a little over 10 years. “I eventually got very burned-out,” she said. “The restaurant business is difficult and it was time for a change.” During the last year or so of her restaurant, Karkoska and her mother purchased a limousine. On her few nights off, she wanted a car that could hold all of her friends for a safe night out. “I wanted to be safe,” Karkoska said. “I didn’t want to drink and drive.” When it was not in use for fun nights out, the limo would sit in her family’s front yard on a busy street in Taylor.

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“Everyone knew my family and they would see the limo in the yard,” Karkoska said. “People started to ask if they could rent it.” She drove at first, but her limo was in such demand that she hired a driver. “I started with that one car, working only on weekends,” she said. “Quickly I realized that I was answering more phone calls for the limo than for the restaurant. I enjoyed it more and it was more lucrative. The light came on to go in that direction.” Now, 12 years later, Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine is a full-service transportation

company, and also the only woman-owned limo business in Austin. She currently has five cars in her fleet: three stretches and two town cars. “I can do anything in the transportation business,” she said. “We can get the customer buses, SUVs, anything they need.” Karkoska, 43, lives in Round Rock. In her free time, (if she had any), she loves to mountain bike and hike. One of her other great passions in life is good food. She loves to go try new restaurants for herself, but, because she is always thinking business, also for her clients.

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You always have to be ready,” said Cynthia. “When I was first doing this business, I was cutting Mom’s grass and got a call for a pick-up. Next thing she knew I had sprinted in the house, taken a shower, thrown on my suit and was headed for the car. Mom looked at me and said, ‘Wow, you’re like a fireman!’ Karkoska plays the role of CEO, president, dispatcher, chauffeur … and concierge. “I try to keep up with restaurants and bars so I know what to recommend,” she said and laughs. “I help a lot of guys out with anniversaries.” Her role as dispatcher means staying connected to her phone at all times. The only time she lets someone else answer the phone is when she is on a flight. “I will answer the phone any and all the time,” she said. She sounds genuinely annoyed and adds, “I do have a problem in the morning, because my belt clip doesn’t hang on my pajamas.” She says that all of her family and friends are used to her phone being attached to her. “My phone rings and it’s like the music stopped in musical chairs,” she said. “Everyone freezes.” Most of her clients are scheduled, but she does have drivers on call, including herself. “You always have to be ready,” she said. “When I was first doing this business, I was cutting Mom’s grass and got a call for a pickup. Next thing she knew I had sprinted in the house, taken a shower, thrown on my suit and was headed for the car. Mom looked at me and said, ‘Wow, you’re like a fireman!’” Besides being ready to go at all times, what are Karkoska’s secrets to success? She will tell you that it is through her employees, her organization and her attitude. “I have a lot of passion for what I do,” she said. “My goal is to get better each time, which is

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why this job doesn’t get monotonous. Every drive should be like your first time.” Karkoska also likes to keep the business personal. She still does the first run when she gets a new client. She puts on her uniform (a black suit) and picks them up. “I want to meet them personally and let them know that they can reach me anytime,” she said. Karkoska selects drivers carefully and trains them well. “I tell my drivers to treat the client as if you were the one paying for this service,” she said. “I know how important the event is to clients. I do everything I can to make it special and I tell my drivers to be polite, timely and well-dressed.” She not only trains her drivers well, but she also provides a warm, encouraging work environment. “My drivers are like my family,” she said. “We’re friends and we respect each other.” Karkoska wants to reward her drivers. She throws them dinner parties and gets them gifts. “I love to do nice things for them to let them know that they are appreciated,” she said. She also focuses on her business and not on other companies. “If I focus on my drivers and my cars, I don’t worry about the competition,” she said. “I want to keep the cars in perfect condition, and make sure my drivers are the best.” When you drive celebrities like Beyoncé, Jessica Simpson, Adam Sandler, Kate Winslet and Owen Wilson, it helps to have that mindset. After 12 years of driving and dispatching, Karkoska is still able to get excited about

her job. “My clients keep me going,” she said. “I’ve had some of the same clients for 10-12 years. People will call me and say, ‘You did my prom, can you do my wedding?’ It’s the biggest compliment I could receive, it lets me know I’m doing something right.” What does the future hold for Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine? Well, hopefully for Karkoska, a little rest. “I see myself growing my company to a point that I have the ability to acquire a partner or full time person to be ‘me,’” Karkosa said. “It’s really difficult to take vacation and truly enjoy the time away. My clients are a big part of my success and I want to assure them that they will always receive the best service from Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine, Inc.” The future could also hold the winning numbers. “I have always had this dream in my head that I would love to win the Lotto,” Karkoska said. “I then could use my limos to donate to charity, silent auctions, and sick children or people who may have had dreams of spending some time in a limo. My goal is to be able to wake up everyday and figure out who I can help today.”



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reaking in a new state-of-the-art computer is not for the faint of heart. You need tact, patience and genuine respect for the psychological well being of both the computer and yourself. I realized this shortly after bringing home a new, blue velvet Gateway laptop, with a Windows 7 operating system, from Best Buy. The geeks there told me that guidebooks are no longer available because computer technology is improving so rapidly; guidebooks are outdated by the time they’re written. Most people teach themselves today by trial and error, they said. What they didn’t tell me was that you need the right touch and the right mental attitude in order to work in harmony with today’s sensitive computers. This has been difficult for me. My new computer – which I named “Hubert” – is light years ahead of the old, slow laptop I replaced. Chockfull of new programs, icons, formatting suggestions, text effects and highlighting and headline styles, it is so eager to please, it’s hard to rein in. Once turned on, it is raring to go, like a puppy that sees you with its leash in your hand. Unless I start writing immediately, Hubert will either go ballistic with ideas and pop-up suggestions (Do you want to enter this date? Did you mean to hyphenate uptodate?) or it will sulk and go to sleep after a few idle minutes – and erase the few words I’ve written. I learned early on that Hubert can be anxious, obstinate and opinionated. What else would you expect from a computer that has been programmed heuristically to find its own solutions to problems?

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I’m not new to computers. An old-time journalist, I have used these electronic contraptions since they first made my old faithful IBM Selectric typewriter obsolete. And I can operate these sophisticated machines, all right; I just can’t discipline them. When I sit down to write a story, using Microsoft Office 2010, I want the simplest format possible, just a quiet, blank screen before me that I can sit and stare at until the muse strikes. Instead, my know-it-all computer offers me a plethora of choices that I don’t want to make concerning fonts, type size, spacing, bullets, numbering, strikethroughs, subscripts and superscripts. Logging on to the internet is even more challenging. Here, in cyberspace, I’m offered an array of diversionary activities that are hard to resist. I can “Chat” and “Mobile Text” with friends, find out who has been searching for me or see who is “Linked In” with whom. I can also check my credit score or my IQ or listen to dress ads in Spanish or opt for some audio or video diversions. Several times I’ve pressed the video icon accidentally and wound up staring into my own frustrated face. The upshot is that I spend 20 minutes in these activities before I even log on to my e-mail or, heaven help us, the heady intoxication of the social networks. I named my computer Hubert because it reminds me of Hubert Humphrey, the long time U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Lyndon Johnson’s vice president. For those of you too young to remember, Humphrey was a likeable, compulsive talker who was eager to please albeit sometimes for the wrong reason.

My computer is like that. But I resolved my differences with it by falling back on some writing aids used long ago by many world-famous authors – i.e., a plain writing tablet and a ballpoint pen. (I know what you’re thinking but, no, I don’t use a quill pen.) James Joyce, I told myself, certainly didn’t use a computer when writing Ulysses. Ernest Hemingway may have used a typewriter occasionally but he never coped with a computer. Truman Capote often wrote with pencil while lying down, his coffee and cigarettes nearby (the martinis came late in the day). Okay. I’m not in that league. But thinking in this vein gave me the will to leave my office and start writing in longhand at my dining room table, which affords a quiet view of the live oak trees just outside my condo. I’ve been drafting stories here by hand ever since. The first time I entered a pre-drafted story on my computer I was typing away at a respectable pace when Hubert inserted a smiley in my copy. No, I didn’t imagine this; Hubert was clearly saying, “Way to go!” The next day I took my computer to the big Best Buy outlet in northwest Austin where the geeks have graciously helped me to learn the finer points of computer compatibility. They were not surprised when I told them about Hubert’s smile. “But wait until you start using the next generation of computers,” one geek said. “They will not only smile at you, they will be able to read your mind.” I thanked him for this information while silently vowing to lay in a lifetime supply of writing pads and ballpoint pens.


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n one of my routine trips to Whole Foods Market, I was chatting it up with the ever infor-

mative Joan McKern of the wine department and she was telling me about an island off of Italy where the people live to be over 100 years of age. This island is Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea southwest of Italy. The Sardinians have one of the highest rates of centenarians in the world. Sardinia is what National Geographic refers to as a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are regions where people live past 100 years of age. There are five Blue Zones in the world with Sardinia being at the top followed closely by the islands of Okinawa in Japan. Having Italian roots and wanting to know the secret to a long, healthful life, I was immediately intrigued by this Italian Island and needed to find out what was in their water. Turns out, its not what’s in their water, but what’s in their wine! The grape that wine is made from in this area is called the Cannonau grape, which is a relative to a Grenache from Spain. The Cannonau grape has the highest antioxidant levels of all grapes; in fact, it has 5-to-10% higher levels than all other red wine grapes. Antioxidants are so important because they protect our cells from free radicals. Free

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cuisine found seaside, I expected a much lighter, more delicate wine. Meant to be enjoyed with food like the Italians do, the boldness of this wine make it an exceptional choice for food pairing because it holds up to flavors of the grill and strong earthy cheeses and well as peppery olive oil that is poured generously over dishes there. Speaking of food, the Sardinian’s secret to longevity can also be lent to their Mediterranean diet. It has been proven that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oils, vegetables, legumes and seafood with little emphasis on meats, leads to health. The Mediterranean area is also concentrated in the dairy sheep industry. Dairy sheep’s

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radicals are produced by outside environmental factors such as cigarette smoke and radiation. When our bodies are exposed to this damage, it is a breeding ground for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. The Cannonau grape is grown in a warm-weather climate in a rich soil lending to a flavor profile full of plums, blackberries and figs with a finish of bitter dark chocolate. Its dark color is rich ruby, almost black, and the Italians refer to it as nero vino, meaning black wine. When I first tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised by its richness and complexity. Being from such a warm-weathered climate and with the abundance of light

milk is far superior to cow’s milk in nutrition. Compared to cow’s milk, it is richer in vitamins A, B and E as well as in calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. It also has a higher proportion of short chain fatty acids. These fatty acids have little effect on cholesterol and make it easier to digest than cow’s milk. Another added bonus is that sheep’s milk also has more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which in layman’s terms, lends to cancer fighting and is a fatreducing fat, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true. There is little emphasis on meat consumption in this area. Seafood is eaten, but the Sardinians main source of protein is found from their consumption of

sheep’s milk cheese. Here the people eat a pecorino, which has a salty, peppery, nutty flavor that is complimented by the flavor profile of the wine. The Sardinians enjoy their pecorino with a drizzle of olive oil as an afternoon snack with a glass of that nero vino. Along with great wine and food, the Sardinian lifestyle can also be accredited to longevity. Socializing is key as the people here make their community and family priority. Moderate activity is incorporated into their daily lives. The work they do to make a living is an active one. They are known to work in the fields and pastures as opposed to sitting sedentarily for hours at a desk. I think the fresh, sea air has something to do with it too and the way they can relax in the middle of the day with a snack, a glass of wine and good company.

The wines from this region are not too common as they are produced in small batches. I have only spotted them on one restaurant menu recently and there is one found at Whole Foods Market called Argiolas Cannonau di Sardegna Costera , which retails for about

$17. This is the same gem found on the menu at Il Sogno, an Italian restaurant by Chef Andrew Weissman in San Antonio. I am sure you will be able to find a few more bottles of Sardinian wines available in our area, if you ask around. So there you have it, the secret to longevity unfolds in drinking good wine, enjoying the company of good friends and family and eating a healthful diet of delicious foods. That’s a prescription to longevity that I can drink to, chin chin!

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The Arc of the Capital Area presents “Mix-Up the Holidays with Bacardi” 6 to 8 p.m. Arc of the Arts Studio and Gallery 6717 Burnet Road


Coats for Cubs Give your furs back to the animals. Bring real fur apparel, to any Buffalo Exchange Started Nov. 13 - April 22 ZACH Theatre presents The 2010 Edition of David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries Nov. 26, 2010 - Jan. 2, 2011 Wed. - Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets available online at or ZACH’s box office at 512.476.0541, ext. 1 Whisenhunt Stage 1510 Toomey Road


Becker Vineyards presents Port & Stilton/Holiday Wine Trail Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 htm Mexic-Arte Museum Presents Downtown Holiday Stroll Featuring Lisa Orr’s Documentary Film about Trees of Life 6 to 9 p.m. 419 Congress Avenue 512.480.9373

Austin Under 40 Awards Announces Opening of Nominations For the 13th Annual Austin Under 40 Awards Now through Jan. 24 To nominate someone visit


kidsActing Center Stage Texas presents The Hobbit Dec. 3 - 19 $11 Center Stage Texas 2826 Real Street, Austin, TX 78722 For performance times, locations and tickets: 512.391.1800

2010 Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll Downtown Austin Alliance and KUT 90.5 4 - 6 p.m.; Carols start at 6 p.m.; Countdown to Light the Capitol Tree begins at 7 p.m. Free Congress Avenue Ballet Austin presents The Nutcracker Dec. 4 - 23 | The Long Center

Women and Their Work presents Lupita Murillo Tinnen “Panel Talk – American DREAM” Free Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. Noon to 5 p.m. 1710 Lavaca, Austin TX 78701

Harry Ransom Center presents “Winston Churchill’s Public Library” 7 p.m. | Free The University of Texas at Austin 21st + Guadalupe Streets


Mexic-Arte Museum presents Opening of Mix’n’Mash Exhibit & Art Sale and Trees of Life Exhibition 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 419 Congress Avenue 512.480.9373

Harry Ransom Center presents Poetry on the Plaza: Harmonica Bob: The Poetry of Bob Dylan Noon Free The University of Texas at Austin 21st + Guadalupe streets


Community Christmas Parade in Fredericksburg 6:30 p.m. Galleries remain open until 8 p.m. Free Main Street, Fredericksburg

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Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance Debuts 500 Years, The FirstEver Tri-Lingual Musical in English, Spanish and Taino 3 p.m. Adult tickets, $10 in advance; $12 at the door; Children ages 3 - 12 $5; Children 2 and under are free Davis Auditorium @the Texas School For the Deaf, 1102 S. Congress, Austin, TX 78704



Wells Branch Community Library presents Ornament Making Workshop Make and decorate ornaments for the holidays. Tickets $2 1 + 2:30 p.m. Tickets available starting Nov. 28

Conspirare presents “Christmas at the Carillon” at the Long Center (with Patrice Pike) 8 p.m. | Tickets $50 - $40 - $30 - $20 Long Center for the Performing Arts 701 W. Riverside Dr. Call for student and group prices. 512.476.5775 | Tiara Tuesday 6–8 p.m. Kendra Scott Boutique 1400 South Congress Ave., A-170 Austin, Texas 78704 tuesday.html Home for the Holidays – Surviving Family Dynamics $30, includes lunch

Wally Workman Gallery presents Will Klemm’s “Time & Place” Show Dec. 4 - 24; Reception Dec. 4, 6 to 8 p.m. 1202 West 6th Street 512.472.7428


Center Stage Texas Presents Give A Voice Theater Interactive Theater and Musical Programming for Individuals With Disabilities in a Workshop Setting Sundays 1 to 2:30 p.m. | Free Center Stage Texas: 2826 Real Street, Austin TX 78722 512.391.1800


Holiday Tour of Homes in Fredericksburg 1 to 5 p.m.


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Harry Ransom Center presents Curator’s Tour of “Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection” 7 p.m. | Free The University of Texas at Austin 21st + Guadalupe Streets


Bettysport’s Holiday Party 5 - 9 p.m. Secret savings, Silpada and Gold Canyon Candles and The Austin Bodyworker will give out free massages! Plus complimentary wine and cheese. | 512.473.0040 The Ageless Beauty Event, Inside & Out Presented by Balanced Hormones & Health December 9 | 12pm-8pm BH2 Clinic 1010 West 9th more info call 512.634.8230

What Women Need to Know About Divorce Second Saturday of each month. This workshop is designed as a resource to help women take the next step, no matter where they are in the process of untying the knot. December 11 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. 512.732.1244

Evie Evan Exclusive Holiday Shopping Event Come browse our holiday gift bundles, stocking stuffers, and makeup and skin care products! Champagne and refreshments will be provided. Date: Mon., Dec. 13th Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Location: Evie Evan Store 504 N. Congress Avenue Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Dec. 15 - 24 Daily from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Palmer Events Center

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Dec. 17 - 31 Bass Concert Hall 2350 Robert Dedman Drive Austin, TX 78713 radiocity The Links, Incorporated Austin Chapter 50th Anniversary Presents Harlem Nights Stompin’ at the Savoy 7 p.m. Tickets: $85 Renaissance Austin Hotel 9721 Arboretum Blvd. City Theatre presents Steel Magnolias Runs Nov. 18 - Dec. 19 Thurs. - Sat. – 8 p.m.; Sun. – 5:30 p.m.; Tickets $15 - $20. Guaranteed Front/2nd Row Reserved $25. Students $12; Thursday all seats $10. The City Theatre. 3823 Airport Blvd.


Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery presents Christmas in the Vineyard December 24 + 26 11a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Ricci Neer Managing Director 262.757.8277 Next Event: Wednesday, January 12, 2010 Time: 10:30am – 1:00pm Place: Westwood Country Club 3808 W. 35th Austin, TX 78703 Speaker: Jana Owen Topic: Discovering Your Memory Power.

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horoscope december 2010 b y D e b o r a h C a r t e r


• Mar.21-apr.20 Your career pulls you, claws at you like a huge, hungry beast. It devours your energy and time; forcing you to become the workaholic you’ve accused others of being. Even your friends tug at you, but they seem to benefit you. A meteor shower the week of the 13th – 19th accelerates communications with lightning speed, so get your laptops out and get ready. Website up-to-speed? Online bill pay in place? The full lunar eclipse on the 21st could amplify the stress between your home life and your career demands. Career wins this month, and next month, and the month after that ...


• Apr.21-May.21 Hopefully every Taurus has started to write a book, because beginning in January, your need to work alone becomes acute, though right now you can’t imagine life without your entourage. Your stars are aligning for travel, education, publishing and deals. Partnerships can benefit you and may arise from chance encounters or brief connections, especially if they are educated and/ or foreign. The full moon on the 21st brings insights and inspiration to all your communications, but especially the written word, which includes emails and blogs. Maybe it will dawn on you that you already have your first chapters.


• May.22-June.20 Gemini’s sparkling energy has been likened to a shooting star. So, how apt that from Dec. 13th through 19th the radiant point for what some call “the best meteor shower in the heavens” is in Gemini. The Geminids can splash as many as 120 meteors an hour visible from dark-sky locations the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th (considered peak viewing hours). The moon sets early, so look to the East after midnight. What does this have to do with you? You can’t be ignored, and you light up December nights with a splash. Watch for unusual money issues around the 21st.

Expect fireworks – you won’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve. Just find a telescope and look to the sky. This month you’ll be witness to an amazing meteor shower and a full lunar eclipse. Our December moon is obvious and demanding. She wants you to pay attention to deep emotion, brilliant intuition and heartfelt family gratitude. Be sure everything you do is authentic and homey. Try to downscale spending and partying and make small, intimate, inexpensive but meaningful contributions to the well-being of those you really care about. Let the rest go.


• June.21-July.22 The moon rules Cancers even more so this month, so get yourself a moon phase chart and put it on your fridge. Let your friends and family in on your emotional moods and rhythms, and circle the 21st with a red pencil. It’s a full-on complete and total lunar eclipse in the sign of Cancer on the same day as the winter solstice. This doesn’t need to signal a meltdown but a word to the wise will suffice. Day-to-day activities take on a mystical, surreal quality and this may be the month you vow to get healthier, physically and fiscally.


• July.23-Aug.23 In the ‘80s movie Moonstruck, Cher’s character’s aunt and uncle own a small Italian deli together. They went to work together every day, bickered, laughed and took turns making deposits. Their business and their relationship thrived because they worked together toward a common goal, and also because they were completely in sync with each other. They never had to leave the store unattended, because one of them was always there. Your month is a little like that. You must work a lot, but your work and partnerships are linked, so working together on a common goal in December is the perfect solution.


• Aug.24-Sept.22 Congratulations, you’re the sign that has the best month. The meteor shower after the 13th only elevates your career trajectory into the stratosphere. All the holiday parties are at your house this month, and friends fill your house with laughter, food and activity. Lots of passionate communications happen this month, so don’t hold back. The only dark spot on your bright December will be on the 21st, when the total lunar eclipse may bring up old subconscious fears and dark thoughts. Balance those thoughts with altruistic deeds and you’ll move right through it.



• Dec.22-Jan.20 While everyone else is throwing huge, lavish parties, you’re cocooning with a small guest list of close friends and family. Think private, intimate and late. The dichotomy is, your need for solitude and the request you made (spoken or unspoken) for privacy will not prevent your-gloom-anddoom-relationship-mood from settling in during the lunar eclipse on the 21st. Remember, you are changing and growing. The person you are becoming bears little resemblance to the old you, and a slight depression over the change is understandable and maybe inevitable. Good friends and good communication will see you through.

• Sept.23-Oct.22 In the second Twilight movie New Moon, Bella makes a life-changing trip to save her love from himself. She flies to Italy, steals a fancy Porsche (she doesn’t actually do it, but she ends up in it) and speeds to a lovely walled city where she discovers a portion of her powers and wins back her love. She brings him back home and changes home for both of them. You need a trip. You need to travel, feel free, do the right thing for the right reasons and surprise everyone. The money you need, along with your travel vehicle, will miraculously manifest.



• Jan.21-Feb.19 Work privately, party publicly. This is your motto for December. It’s a good month for you to get some real, inspirational creativity flowing, especially after the 13th, and a work glitch around the eclipse on the 21st. This shouldn’t be a glitch in your finances, although they have really felt glitchy this year. Rather, it’s more like a brain freeze, or a block between your creative ideas and your ability to do the boring, important but mundane, daily details so necessary in our society to advance our careers. Don’t worry, though: You have a stadium full of friends cheering your success. I call it a fan base, and yours can be called on at will.

• Oct.23-Nov.21 Getting a handle on those infamous Scorpio emotions is a lifelong quest. Sometimes, like this month, you feel like you’re winning the quest and the Holy Grail at the end is control and moderation. But, sometimes, like on the 21st lunar eclipse, you question everything you worked so hard to control. You are particularly charming, and you can’t make a bad decision at work. It’s that pesky inner battle, and it’s like the winner gets to take possession of your soul. Beware the 2 a.m. texts and the strong emails. Don’t put anything negative in writing – it may come back to haunt you.



• Feb.20-Mar.20 If you’re in a job you don’t love, or don’t believe in, plan a break soon. But, if you’re in a job you don’t love, or don’t believe in, and you resist changing it; early next year you won’t have a choice. The glimmer of a new life possibility you saw around the 5th of June is back full force at the end of January. So, try as you might, staying static is impossible. Isn’t it better to plan your escape now, having a “Plan B” handy, rather than scramble to find something new to do?

• Nov. 22-Dec. 21 Happy Birthday Sagittarius! This would be a great month to pile some friends into a van and hit the road to Marfa. Just mention it and willing buddies swarm to you like mosquitoes to warm skin. Make a plan to visit Fort Davis’s McDonald Observatory and look through that big telescope to see the meteor shower sometime from the 13th to the 19th, but try to be back by the 21st, when you may have to repair some surprise damage to finances and resources held jointly with someone else. (And, if you want to keep a secret, keep it first yourself.)

Deborah can be contacted at: • Pink West, 28515 Ranch Road 12, Dripping Springs, TX • 512.447.2888 or

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austinwoman Magazine December 2010  

the december 2010 issue of austinwoman magazine.