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.

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 …

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.

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.

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.