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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.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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.

As the marketing director for the Temple Cultural Activities Center, Jane Boone wears many hats. If she is not coordinating the new adult and children’s classes for the upcoming season, she is selecting...

Lisa Miller is known as Momma Miller at her family’s restaurant, Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton. She keeps the sweet tooth satisfied with her homemade desserts that complement the barbecue entrees. Miller took some time out of a busy day to answer some questions for Tex Appeal Magazine.

Rows of rooftops from new subdivisions are popping up around Killeen and Harker Heights, supplanting the farms and ranches that once marked this area. From country rustic and modern, to sleek and contemporary, there is a home style to fit every budget and fulfill a homebuyer’s wish list.

One hundred forty years after the last cattle, cowboys and chuck wagons meandered down the Chisholm Trail through Central Texas you can still find purebred longhorns grazing along the historic route. Longhorn rancher Judy Hundley is helping to preserve that legacy.

Beyond the grand foyer in the stately, inviting home of Temple resident Beverly Custer, one would never imagine there lurked an area, just down the hall, that she once considered a menacing black hole — her master bedroom closet. But those days are gone, thanks to Lita Daniel, professional o…

Ashley Dietze, president of the Junior League of Bell County, is passionate about the health of children. She is on a mission to teach kids about healthy eating and snacking through Kids in the Kitchen, an association-wide initiative of the Association of Junior Leagues International.

Classical music plays in the background inside a large ballroom, where dozens of barely-teenagers stand awkwardly in groups and talk quietly to each other. As the music swells, the boys in the room know they must break away from their friends and ask one of the girls to dance. Although they …

Imagine a gourmet restaurant with white tablecloths, beautiful china, sparkling glasses and a rotating menu that offers diverse cuisine, such as Mediterranean Cornish hen with feta cheese, tomatoes and olives, grilled lamb or fresh Italian cannelloni made from homemade pasta.

Monica Sobotka is surrounded by Phantom Warrior Powerlifting Team members Janelle Duncan, left, Ana Zigler, and Jennifer Escobar.

Paula Crutsinger finds home

in the extended homelands of her ancestors, the Great Comanche Nation.

Children file into the cafeteria, clamoring for a spot closest to the front of the lunch line. The aroma of pasta and meatballs wafts out of the open kitchen door, permeating the room with the promise of a hearty meal. As squeaky shoes and hurried footsteps make their way toward the steaming…

Some people with dogs have signs on their doors or windows saying “Beware of Dog,” maybe with the image of an intimidating canine staring you down. Not Edith Rodriguez, founder, owner and baker of Three Bandits Dog Barkery.

Publisher and Western author Francis Louis Guy Smith of Belton loves Texas, Western and Native American history, God and helping others realize their literary dreams.

What happens when a professional life coach gets involved with a team of young athletes? They start winning — not just games but in life.

Keith Wallace, aka “Hot Rod,” is one fellow who truly wears many hats. A rocking musician who dons a colorful and unique wardrobe of wigs, sunglasses and even sequined jackets, Hot Rod knows how to rev up a crowd with an outrageous stage performance.

When Nan Ray, founder of the Texas Western Swing Heritage Association of Bell County, hears Western Swing a tidal wave of things rush to mind. However, first and foremost is always love, and her late husband of 57 years, Durwood “Mitz” Ray.

Ranch life is hard work and even lonely, as it usually means living far out in the country in isolated locations, miles from the nearest neighbor or town.

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