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Flavors of Central Texas

Stroll into Blends Wine Bar in Belton and chances are you will hear soft jazz playing over the sound system. The intimate lounge is filled with comfortable chairs and small tables, just large enough to rest a glass of wine while listening to live music or conversing with friends, new and old.

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’ll find lots of options to savor in a new cookbook by James Beard Cookbook Award finalist Terry Thompson-Anderson. Her collaboration with photographer Sandy Wilson features the best breakfasts in Texas.

World travelers Bob and Linda Bilec took a step back in time to an era of elegance and sophistication on the high seas when they boarded the Queen Mary 2 last October.

“Discovering Westcave,” by S. Christopher Caran and Elaine Davenport, published by Texas A&M University Press 2016, is not your typical guidebook, one that merely points out the native flora and fauna of a particular place or region. But it’s not merely a coffee table book either; chock …

Kelly Harp was the guest speaker at the luncheon for the 2017 Temple Daily Telegram’s Day for Women Event at the Mayborn Convention Center in Temple. It was presented by Academy Sports+Outdoors and sponsored by Precious Memories, Smile Doctors and AFC Urgent Care.

I don’t have much time to garden, nor do I particularly have a green thumb, but if I did have the time or some semblance of a gardener’s touch, I’d be referring to the 2016 edition of Howard Garrett’s book, “Texas Gardening the Natural Way” (University of Texas Press).

The 23rd annual Caring Ball at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center in Temple raised funds for the Temple Community Clinic.

The Contemporaries recently held their annual Lone Star Nights fundraiser for the Temple Cultural Activities Center.

Today’s brides have options when it comes to getting ready for their nuptials. They can visit a salon to get their hair done then return home to apply their makeup before slipping into their gown; have a pampering party for their bridesmaids at a local spa, or on-site at the venue if it has …

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t excited about reading this book. I started with the synopsis on the cover — I like to know a little about what I’m devoting an afternoon to reading before I start — and it didn’t really pique my interest.

Don and Helen Rowland’s home in Temple is filled with mementos from a life well shared for 50 years. Asian art is juxtaposed with Southwest Native American imagery and wall hangings. But the most prominent of all their collections, except maybe Don’s golf clubs, is Helen’s collection of more…

Stillhouse Wine Room in Killeen offers its patrons a respite from noisy sports bars that dot the landscape of the city. There is no blaring music, just the soft sounds of jazz, or crooners, like Frank Sinatra, singing in the background, and there is no TV showing the latest news or sporting event.

When Wes’s Burger Shack & More burned in 2014, owner Wes Teeter didn’t blame anyone. He didn’t say, “Lord, why me?” Instead he said, “Lord, why not?”

Everyone experiences grief, loss, pain and trauma in their lives at one time or another. For Bev Desalvo, author of “Return to Joy,” a NavPress publication, the trauma was so profound that it kept her in an emotional place of hiding for most of her life.

Five months in the hospital. Six weeks in an intensive care unit. Allison Dickson spent the first half of 2014 fighting for her life. She suffered respiratory failure, went into shock, and her organs started shutting down. At age 34, she was put on life support three times. “I went downhill …

Santa Paws, a.k.a. Anita Baez, steps out of her car in the parking lot at the Senior Care of Western Hills nursing home in Temple surrounded by an assortment of critters decked out in their Christmas best.

The Four Tops provided entertainment for those gathered Nov. 3 for the 22nd annual Gold Star Gala at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. The fundraiser, which included dinner and an auction, benefited the Metroplex Health and Vascular Center.

On Oct. 27, the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum was the site of a murder-mystery theater performance at a fundraising dinner event for the Neema House, which was founded by Dorris and Michael Fortson, in Tanzania, Africa.

Tucked away in the heart of rural Belton is the home of Dr. Tom and Mrs. Carol Runyan. A country road meanders past rolling hills, working ranches with horses or cattle grazing placidly and leads to the entrance drive of their Southern-Greco style house that sits on several acres of land dot…

Vickie Silva is a foodie. As owner of Ma’s Place Restaurant in Harker Heights, her eatery is more like walking into mom’s kitchen and keeping her company while she cooks. Ma’s Place seats around 30 people, with some limited seating outdoors. She serves breakfast and lunch, and her community …

Meeting Vivian Kusak is like reuniting with an old friend you haven’t seen in years. She greets her guests at the door with a big smile and an enthusiasm to share her story of the art that she creates.

Nestled among the trees along the banks of Salado Creek is what some describe as a Central Texas hidden gem, Alexander’s Distillery. The upscale-casual restaurant and cocktail lounge is as rich in ambiance as it is in history. Alexander’s is located on the site of an old 19th century distillery, once owned by William R. Alexander. A flood washed the building away many years ago.

Most valuable

TOOL in her BAG

My notebook and pen are essential. I am a chronic list maker — groceries, meal plans, to-do lists — and I also use it to take meeting notes. I guess I’m pretty old-fashioned, because I’d much rather write it down with pen and paper than use my phone. There is something so satisfying about physically crossing an item off a to-do list.

Do you have a signature beauty product you are known for wearing or using?

Scarves. I love scarves, and wear them pretty much year-round. It’s fun to take a simple outfit and dress it up with a brightly colored scarf. They’re also functional; when the office is cold (as mine often is), they provide an extra layer of warmth.

Do you have a helpful hint to share with readers?

I try to keep healthy snacks on hand, in my purse or my car (fruit, almonds, protein bar). It’s much easier to make healthy food choices when I have them readily available.

From the opening passage, it’s clear mystery is at the heart of Beth Moore’s first novel, “The Undoing of Saint Silvanus.” It begins with a gunshot on Christmas Eve in 1921 in a church in New Orleans. Quickly jumping to the present day, that church is now a home of sorts — a collection of apartments and the holder of long-buried secrets waiting to surface.