December Babies Have Four to Choose From!

Those who were born in December have the amazing choice of choosing between 3 different minerals to make their birthstones. The birthstones for December are Tanzanite, Zircon, Blue Topaz and Turquoise. What these stones seem to have in common is the fact that they all share the same color but in different shades: blue. It is probably 3 of the most precious stones to sprout from the earth’s core and it is no doubt that babies born in December were meant to adorn them. As the end of the year draws to a close, these stones should grant you serenity for the year to come.

Tanzanite Birthstone

Tanzanite was only discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania and it remains an exclusive area for this stone to be found. It is said that this stone is mostly found near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The color of a Tanzanite is usually a deep and rich velvety blue with undertones of violet, but it can also be bought in shades of purple. It has become very popular over time because of the different ways it can be cut, its variety of sizes and shapes, and because of its affordability in comparison with other birth stones.

Zircon Birthstone

The name ‘zircon’ was given to the stone following the Arabic words ‘zar’ (gold) and ‘gun’ (color). The most popular color for zircon is blue, but it comes in a rainbow of different colors like yellow, orange, red, and even colorless which was very popular in previous years. Zircon is generally found in areas such as Thailand, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam. It is said that zircon grants its wearers the power to relieve pain, increase appetites, and to protect travelers from injury and disease. It also ensures a warm welcome to visitors and allows for a peaceful night’s sleep without bad dreams.

Blue Topaz

While topaz can be found in a spectrum of colors, blue is the only kind associated with December. The word topaz comes from the Sanskrit word for fire, a name inspired by the brilliant intensity of the gem. Topaz is cherished by a number of cultures, including the Hindus, who consider the topaz extremely sacred. Topaz is known to represent creativity and thought to have the power to enhance one’s imaginative thinking and artistic ability. An overall sense of well-being and good health are also thought to be brought about by topaz. Additionally, topaz is thought to balance emotions and calm fears and anxieties.

Turquoise Birthstone

Originating in the 13th century, turquoise is one of the oldest stones in the world and its name is based off of a French expression meaning ‘Turkish stone’. Its primary color is blue, but it ranges in shades and transparency – from translucent to opaque. It is very popular in the southwestern regions of the United States and is usually worn as part of the Native American’s traditional attire. It is said that the turquoise stone contains special healing powers and it promotes wealth and good fortune in the person who wears it. It is also said to fend off evil and bring good luck.

The Passing of President George H. W. Bush

Unless you were up very late last night, most of us woke this morning to the news that former 41st President George H. W. Bush had passed away late Friday night at his home. This comes just over 7 months after the death of his wife, Barbara. As the news spread, so did the wave of compassion and sympathies to the Bush family. Bush’s family announced the former president’s death Friday in a statement released by his son, former President George W. Bush. The cause of death has not been released. He was 94 years old.

The late President George H.W. Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda early next week, congressional leaders announced today. 
Leaders of the House and Senate said that a bicameral arrival ceremony will be held Monday evening. The public will be able to pay their respects until Wednesday morning.

President Trump has declared a National Day of Mourning for Wednesday to honor Bush and has ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff for 30 days. Trump also issued an executive order closing federal agencies and departments on Wednesday. Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to attend Bush’s funeral services at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.. Details on the funeral service have not yet been released.

“He was a wonderful man,” Trump said of the late president while speaking to reporters on Saturday during a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the Group of 20 summit. Trump said he spoke with Bush’s sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, by phone earlier in the day.

“He was a very fine man. I met him on a number of occasions,” Trump said. “He was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. He lived a full life and an exemplary life.”

Parts attributed to Washington Post

Get Your Ugly Sweaters Out List of Things to Do This Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday November 30 to Sunday, December 2, 2018. 

Rock out to all your favorite ’80s songs at an award-winning musical; snag unique gifts from one of several holiday markets around town; celebrate Indonesian culture at a two-day fest; wear a tacky sweater for a holiday bar crawl through Midtown; race through a mud-filled obstacle course and more.  

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         Chanukah Events Around Houston | Daily – Celebrate Chanukah with friends, family, and loved ones with a variety of festivals, menorah lightings and more happening around Houston this weekend. Prices, times, and locations vary.

·         Christmas Events Around Houston | Daily – Get in the Christmas spirit with our list of the Top 25 parties, festivals, concerts, markets and other festive events happening in and around Houston. Times vary.

·         The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily – Follow along as three quick-witted church members are forced to perform an impromptu Christmas pageant after none of their scheduled acts arrive. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.

·         Panto Star Force at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily – Crack up at this hilarious spoof of the original Star Wars trilogy, which follows Jed, a farm boy from the planet Cypress, who joins forces with a zany band of space rebels to take on the powerful Emperor Snorkelfish and Dark Tater. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.

·         Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Daily – Catch a performance of the classic, seasonal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s famously visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $37. Showtimes vary.

·         Celebrate! Holiday Art Stroll at Sawyer Yards | Friday and Saturday | No Cover – Take care of holiday shopping at this two-day art stroll through Sawyer Yards’ six studio buildings. Night one is located in the North Yard, through Spring Street and Sabine Street Studios, while night two is at the Main Yard, which includes Silver Street Studios, The Silos at Sawyer Yards, and Winter Street Studios. Both nights, you can browse a variety of unique finds, including jewelry, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass, mosaic, photography, mixed media and more. 5pm to 9pm both days.

·         The French Farm’s Annual Holiday Open Warehouse Sale | Friday and Saturday | No Cover – Stock your kitchen for all of your holiday season get-togethers at The French Farm’s Spring Open Warehouse Sale. You’ll find discounted prices on everything from jams, mustards, and oils to cutlery and serving ware. 10am to 3pm both days.

·         45th Annual Dickens on the Strand in Galveston | Friday to Sunday – Travel back in time as Galveston’s historic Strand is transformed into Charles Dickens’ Victorian London for this annual, family-friendly event. Gear up for parades, live entertainment on six stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers, and a visit from the characters of Dickens’ books. Tickets start at $13. Times vary.

·         Comedian Craig Robinson at Houston Improv | Friday to Sunday – Crack up at a comedy show by actor and comedian Craig Robinson at Houston Improv. Known for his many memorable roles in The Office, Knocked Up, and Hot Tub Time Machine, Robinson now takes the stage for solo acts, as well as full-band sets, that blend his lyrical comedy with piano skills. Tickets start at $32. Showtimes vary.

·         Love & Makes Candle-Making Workshop in Rice Village | Friday to Sunday – Design and create a personalized wax candle with help from the team at Love & Makes in Rice Village. The BYOB workshop also features handmade goods from local artisans to shop while your candles set. $45. Times vary.
Back to the ’80s at Music Box Theatre | Friday to Sunday – Feel the music at Back to the ‘80s, a throwback show featuring hits from Queen, Journey, Michael Jackson, Linda Ronstadt, George Michael, Neil Diamond, Cyndi Lauper, and Air Supply. Ticketsstart at $31. Showtimes vary.

·         Rock of Ages in Concert at Smart Financial Centre | Friday to Sunday – The five-time Tony-nominated musical, Rock of Ages, heads to Houston’s Smart Financial Centre with back-to-back hits from ‘80s rockers like Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister, and Whitesnake. Tickets start at $45. 8pm.

·         Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the Wortham Theater Center | Saturday and Sunday – The Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and all of her magical toys return for the beloved Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, presented by the Houston Ballet at the Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $40. Showtimes vary.

·         COFFA December 2018 Exhibition at Palette Art Gallery | Saturday and Sunday | FREE – Admire a variety of fine photography when Circle of Friends for Arts (COFFA) reveals its December 2018 Exhibition at Palette Art Gallery. 10am to 6pm both days.

·         Indonesian Festival Houston at Jones Plaza and The Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia | Saturday and Sunday – Immerse yourself in Indonesian culture at this two-day festival of authentic food, fashion, coffee-tasting, batik-making, music, dance, and entertainment. Day one of the festival will be held at Jones Plaza, while the second day is at The Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia. $7. 10am both days.

Friday, November 30, 2018

·         World Aids Day 2018 Luncheon at The Ballroom at Bayou Place  Raise awareness of HIV and contribute to the ongoing efforts of The Aids Foundation as they host the annual World Aids Day Luncheon at The Ballroom at Bayou Place. Tickets start at $100. Noon.

·         City of Sugar Land’s Christmas Tree Lighting | FREE – Watch in amazement as a towering, 40-foot tree covered in Christmas lights is illuminated for the first time this holiday season at the sixteenth annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Sugar Land Town Square. Following the ceremony will be live entertainment, holiday refreshments, and an appearance by Santa. 5pm to 8pm.

·         99th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting at City Hall | FREE – Join Mayor Sylvester Turner at City Hall for Houston’s annual holiday extravaganza, which features live entertainment, fireworks, a tree lighting, and family-friendly activities. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Salvation Army and receive a festive Santa hat. 6pm to 8pm.

·         The Polar Express Movie Screening at Levy Park | FREE – Bundle up in holiday sweaters and head to Levy Park for a free screening of the seasonal favorite, The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks6:30pm.

·         Critical Mass Bike Ride at Guadalupe Plaza Park | FREE – Bike through Downtown Houston during this monthly community ride with Critical Mass. 7pm.

·         Gary Clark, Jr. in Concert at Revention Music Center – Jam out to a unique blend of blues, rock, and soul music with elements of hip-hop at a concert by Austin-based Gary Clark, Jr. Tickets range from $45 to $65. 7pm.

·         Ozuna in Concert at NRG Arena  Check out a concert from the Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trap star, Ozuna, when he makes his way to Houston’s NRG Arena. You’ll hear hit songs like  “Si No Te Quiere,” “No Quiere Enamorarse,” and “Dile Que Tu Me Quieres.” Tickets start at $150. 8pm.

·         The Band Perry in Concert at House of Blues  See the Grammy Award-winning sibling trio, The Band Perry, in concert at Downtown’s House of Blues. Expect to hear hits like “Live Forever,” “If I Die Young,” and “You Lie.” Tickets start at $29.50. 8pm.

·         Pancakes & Booze Art Show at Warehouse Live  Feed your love of breakfast and beer, while enjoying the works of local artists when the Pancakes & Booze Art Show returns to Warehouse Live. Musical performances and body paint will also be available. $10. 8pm.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

·         Trafigura Run for the House at Sam Houston Race Park – Race through Sam Houston Race Park and contribute to a great cause at the annual Trafigura Run for the House, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Houston. Stick around for games and food trucks at the post-race after party. Tickets start at $35. 8am.

·         Jingle All The 5K, 10K, 1K at Addicks Park and Ride– Slip on your running shoes, as well as your Christmas stockings, for this holiday-themed 5K, 10K, and children’s 1K race at Addicks Park and Ride. The race benefits Memorial Assistance Ministries and offers participants a T-shirt, finishers medal, Santa hat with a jingle bell, and post-race festivities. Tickets start at $19. 8:30am.

·         Christmas in the Park at George Ranch Historical Park – Travel back in time to Christmas pasts to explore the historic decor and customs practiced between 1830 and 1930. You can snag a festive treat at the 1830 Prairie Home or visit Santa’s temporary workshop on the grounds of George Ranch Historical Park. Tickets start at $10. 9am to 5pm.

·         NCC Mud Run in Humble – Charge through a multi-obstacle course race through tons of gooey mud at New Covenant Church in Humble. With a 5k, 2.5k, and 1k race, the mud run welcomes participants of every skill level. Registration starts at $40. 9am.

·         9th Annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival in Historic Downtown Katy | FREE – Browse a holiday market offering produce, arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and handmade goodies at the ninth annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival. While you shop, expect roaming carolers, food trucks, entertainment, a beer garden, pictures with Santa, and 50,000 pounds of snow to keep the kiddos entertained. 10am to 5pm.

·         Holiday in the Park with Pop Shop America at Market Square Park | FREE – Hit up the hot chocolate bar or sip a mimosa while shopping from local vendors offering handmade goods at Holiday in the Park. Presented by Pop Shop America, the market will also feature live music, a photo booth, and holiday crafting stations. 10am to 5pm.

·         Love & Make’s Bath Bomb Making Workshop in Rice Village – Create your own luxurious, scented bath bomb at this DIY workshop, hosted by Love & Make in Rice Village. The family-friendly activity allows crafters to incorporate essential oils and experiment with fun colors. $45. 11am.

·         First Saturday Arts Market in The Heights | No Cover – Browse artwork and enjoy delicious bites and live music at the First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights. 11am to 6pm.

·         Craftidote Holiday Market at Antidote | No Cover  Shop from more than 40 local vendors at the tenth annual Craftidote Holiday Market, held in the parking lot of the Antidote coffee house in the Heights. Along with food, coffee, and a kids area, you can also enjoy live jazz music on the patio. Noon to 5pm.

·         Home For The Holidays Market at Pasadena Fairgrounds | No Cover – Cross off holiday shopping from your to-do list after stopping by the Home For The Holidays Market at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. Browse a variety of artisans, direct sellers, boutiques, holiday vendors, antiques, vintage goods and more. Noon to 5pm.

·         Jingle Bell Bark and Brew at Kirby Ice House | No Cover – Bring your pup to Kirby Ice House for an afternoon of pet-friendly fun at the Jingle Bell Bark and Brew. The adults-only event boasts a silent auction, raffle, and pet photos with Santa. 1pm.

·         Holiday Brews on the Bayou at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – Sample beers from breweries like No Label, 8th Wonder, Rahr, and Celis, while listening to live jazz music and admiring the gardens at Bayou Bend during Holiday Brews on the Bayou. $35. 2pm.

·         Houston Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl in Midtown – Whip out your tackiest Christmas sweater and head to Midtown for this holiday-themed bar crawl, which offers drink specials and discounts at The Dogwood, Little Woodrow’s, Mongoose versus Cobra, Saint Danes, and Belle Station. Tickets are $15. 3pm to 7pm.

·         3rd Annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl in Downtown  Enjoy $3 beers, drinks, and shots, and get an ugly sweater-style “Be Someone” t-shirt while visiting 10 Downtown bars. Start out at Dean’s Downtown and make stops at venues like The Cottonmouth Club, Etro, and Henke & Pillot. $19.993pm to 9pm.

·         Houston Masterworks Chorus presents Christmas Brass & Harp at South Main Baptist Church – Get in the holiday spirit at this musical program presented by South Main Baptist Church, featuring songs such as “Gloria” by John Rutter, “Christmas Cantata” by Daniel Pinkham, and “Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten. Tickets start at $15. 4pm.

·         Skate with Santa at Discovery Green – Bring the kids to skate alongside Santa Claus at this themed skate night at The ICE at Discovery Green. $11. 5pm to 6pm.

·         Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls at Toyota Center – Cheer loud for the Rockets when they hit the court to play the Bulls at Toyota Center. Tickets start at $30. 7pm.

·         Seven Lions’ The Journey 2 Tour at Revention Music Center – Get the party started at an EDM concert with headliner Seven Lions, along with Jason Ross and Au5 in The Journey 2 Tour. Tickets are $30. 8pm.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

·         Bayou Bikers Ride at Market Square Park | FREE – Join Bayou Bikers for a 25 to 40-mile ride along the bayous. Meet at Market Square Park. 8am.

·         Girl Crush Holiday Market at The Studio HTX | No Cover – Support local, female-owned businesses at The Girl Crush Holiday market, which features 13 female vendors selling everything from vintage to artisan goods at The Studio HTX. 11am to 4pm.

·         Houston Texans vs Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium – Watch the Houston Texans play Cleveland on their home turf at NRG. Tickets start at $35. Noon.

·         Opera in the Heights presents Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena at Lambert Hall – Opera in the Heights presents the bilingual children’s opera, Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena, a retelling of the Mexican folktale about the poinsettia at Lambert Hall. Tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for children. 2pm.

·         Bellaire Chanukah Festival at Bellaire Town Square | FREE – Feast on a delicious buffet and enjoy a show by magician and comedian John O’Bryant, kids activities, a menorah lighting, inflatables, carnival and craft booths and more at the annual Bellaire Chanukah Festival. 4pm to 6:30pm.

·         Cigna Sunday Streets: Main Street Holiday Edition in Downtown | FREE – Stroll down Main Street admiring views of 30-foot holiday trees, sparkling decor, over-the-street traverses, thousands of twinkle lights, and an oversized Noel during the Main Street Holiday Edition of Cigna Sunday Streets. 4pm to 8:30pm.

·         Celtic Thunder X at Revention Music Center – Explore the world of contemporary Celtic music at this dynamic show, which features both solo and ensemble performances by the Irish singing group, Celtic Thunder.  Tickets start at $29. 6:30pm.

·         98 Degrees in Concert at House of Blues – Transport back to the peak era of boy bands at a concert by 98 Degrees, fronted by Nick Lachey, at House of Blues. Tickets start at $39.50. 7pm.

How The Ugly Sweater Tradition Began

The ugly Christmas sweater has become a ubiquitous feature of the holiday season, on par with grumbling about Black Friday or wrestling with the Christmas lights.  These tacky garments are now being re-appropriated from their perpetual spot in the wardrobe of great-aunt Edna or your third-grade social studies teacher.  Telltale signs of the ugly sweater are liberal use of red and green, comically large depictions of snowmen, reindeer, and Christmas trees, and any sort of pom-pom or felt applique.

Though the sweater as a garment has existed in the U.S. since the late 19th century, hideous holiday versions only began to sprout up in the last several decades.  Bill Cosby was a modern-day pioneer of the trend and is revered as an ugly sweater icon.  As Cliff Huxtable on his eponymous ‘80s sitcom, the family man’s uniform of choice was a wooly pullover with questionable color mixing and patterns.  Thanks to Cosby, as well as Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, these sweaters experienced a resurgence until their popularity faded as the ‘90s began.

But in the past decade, the trend has picked up steam once more.  According to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On, there was a noticeable uptick in ugly sweater parties around 2001, and the tradition snowballed from there.  Now the tops are bigger than ever, but in a very hipstery, oh-so-ironic way.  Vintage stores, the Salvation Army, and Goodwill are reaping the benefits of this craze, but the trend has reached as far as fast-fashion shops like H&M and high-end retailers such as Nordstrom.

Those who unwittingly started the trend are now back in on the action, as people of all ages are feeling the ugly-sweater fever.  With the rise of sweater-themed parties, guests young and old are rushing to top each other with the most frills, bows, and gauche decorations yet.  Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon has created a segment called “The 12 Days of Christmas Sweaters.”  There is a parody of MTV’s teen documentary series entitled True Life: I Love Ugly Christmas Sweaters.  How long until President Obama dons one to go along with his dad jeans?

Outside of pop culture, the sweaters’ current popularity can also be linked to trends on the runway.  Fair Isle knits have been popular this season, as well as tribal prints; both feature bold graphic patterns in the same vein as some of the holiday pullovers – those on the tamer side, at least.

And the enthusiasm is not limited to U.S. borders.  Christmas jumpers — that’s sweaters to non-Anglophiles — are simultaneously beloved and reviled in the U.K. as well.  In an infamous scene from Bridget Jones’ Diary, Colin Firth wears a cringe-inducing Christmas sweater that his mother gave him to a holiday party, which puts a (slight) damper on the otherwise dashing character.

Whether or not it constitutes a fashion faux pas, the ugly Christmas sweater rouses an undeniably warm and fuzzy feeling as it conjures up memories of home and childhood.  It’s also quite cozy and practical in chilly winter weather.  After all, holidays are often fraught with anxiety about the financial drain of gift-giving and the copious amounts of family interaction.  What better way to de-stress than to throw on an obnoxious sweater and have a laugh?

H/T Time

The Carolina Reaper Challenge

With all of the talk about these “pepper challenges” my boss decided that today was the day to challenge the entire company to do the Carolina Reaper Challenge. Since I’m closest, I went first. My first impression of the pepper was ewe, it’s kinda waxy. I hate weird consistencies. It had a slight sweet flavor, too. Maybe I got a dud! Now, for the record, I love hot stuff. When I make salsa for friends and family, I have to be considerate that they just can’t hang. With that said, it was a hot pepper, but not the “OMG I’m dying, crying, snotting pepper”. I swear, I think I burned out my taste buds through all of the years of torturing them. Now, I was filmed doing this silliness and while, yes, they were hot and a delayed reaction, I got through it, no problem and didn’t even need milk. Just a swig of my iced tea after about 6 minutes (yes there was a timer). My face may have gotten a little flush, my eyes a little watery and I did remove my sweater (I’m always cold). The heat of the pepper was different than others. It was more acute. Considering that I chewed this silly pepper, I expected it to be mouth wide, but it really wasn’t. I will say, that I think that this little pepper is going to be a new addition to my salsa recipe. I like the flavor of it.
Challenge accepted and the pepper lost!
Gina: 1
Pepper: 0

The History of Squash Blossom Jewelry

The squash blossom has developed slowly and has roots deep in non-native culture and history. The principle part of the necklace is the crescent-shaped “Naja” pendant, which the Southwestern Indians first saw as iron ornaments on the horse bridles of the Spanish Conquistadors in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Captured or traded, these ornaments soon graced the necks of the local Native populace.

The acquisition of a “Naja” was a matter of pride and the ornament, reproduced in the various metals, was proudly displayed during ceremonies. These pendants, originally brought from Spain, reflected the influence of earlier Moorish conquests and the occupation of Spain.

Once silver beads came into fashion around 1880, Navajos found a way to display these “Najas” on necklaces. The squash blossom beads were fashioned after the pomegranate-shaped buttons on the pants worn by the Spanish. These beads were possibly misnamed long ago by a trader who thought they looked like squash blossoms. The squash blossom necklace today stands as a fusion of cultures and has become synonymous with Southwest American Indian jewelry.

Will Palladium Prices Surpass Gold?

Recent record-high palladium prices won’t necessarily mean increased supply since the bulk of the metal is mined alongside other metals, meaning limited reaction to its own price picture, says Metals Focus.
The consultancy said Tuesday that it looks for global palladium production to decline by 2% to 6.7 million ounces next year.
There is an old commodity market adage saying that nothing cures high prices like high prices (or conversely nothing cures low prices like low prices). This is because when commodity prices soar, producers – whether they are in soybeans or cattle – tend to increase output in an attempt to up their profits. This often means an eventual oversupply, especially as consumers cut back at the same time due to the higher cost.
But for the supply side, this scenario may not play out in palladium, Metals Focus explained. Analysts pointed out that palladium prices have nearly tripled since the start of the decade, yet supply is only up by roughly 10% since 2010.
“It is important to note that palladium is mined in polymetallic ore bodies, with the metal forming only a portion of total mine revenues,” Metals Focus explained. “As such, mining operations’ economics are limited in their exposure to the rise in palladium price.”
In fact, for the world’s largest palladium producer, Nornickel, palladium represents only 36% of total metal sales revenue, Metals Focus pointed out. The company this week reiterated an expectation for a flat production profile out to 2020.
Further, Metals Focus sees a limited supply response to the high prices for palladium production in South Africa. This country and Russia are the world’s two largest producers. However, South Africa is an even bigger player in the output of sister metal platinum, for which prices have been weak. As a result of weak platinum prices, some platinum group metals mines in South Africa are scheduled for closure.
“Platinum forms a larger share of these operations’ revenue and thus the fall in platinum price has mitigated the benefit of rising palladium revenues,” Metals Focus said.
Palladium historically was cheaper than platinum, but has been more expensive for more than a year now, recently recording a record premium.
Meanwhile, an additional 250,000 ounces of palladium output expected in North America in 2021 may be partially offset by losses from Vale, which produces palladium as a by-product of nickel mining, Metals Focus said.
“This highlights why it is necessary to view palladium production in the context of the PGM basket price,” Metals Focus said. “For most operations, the decline in the platinum price has mitigated the rise in palladium.”
H/T Kitco News

Why Do You Love Football?

What’s the attraction to football? Each year, every week, a game can be found just about anywhere. While I can understand the game, I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic. If my team happens to do well, great, if not I don’t really care. Now some may say that I’m not a true fan because of my attitude towards it and they may be right. I don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports so I guess I’m not that big of a fan.

What interests you about football or any sport for that manner? I can say this, I do love baseball, tennis and golf. I do keep up with some of it, but I still don’t go as far as I see some people with painting their vehicles in their favorite team’s logo. They’re always in team colors (always). They have tattoos celebrating their teams. I mean, I have seen them even carve out their favorite team logo or mascot creating garden topiary.

I may own a couple of t-shirts, but that’s about the extent of what I’ll do for a team. I will say this, I am a Mets fan. They break my heart all the time so I don’t pay as much attention to them. In 2015, I debated flying up north to watch them play in the World Series. Glad I didn’t spend the $2,000 for tickets not to mention the airfare and lodging since they did what they normally do; let me down. Now, I don’t think that you could say tht I’m not a Mets fan. Heck saying that out loud and admitting that is a big deal to a Mets fan. We choke all of the time!

Now returning to you and the question at hand, what is it about football that makes you do such things?

Support Your Small Business List Of Things To Do This Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Thanksgiving Weekend Guide for Thursday, November 22 to Sunday, November 25, 2018.
Indulge in a decadent Thanksgiving feast without all the cleanup; check out local artwork inspired by all your favorite comic characters; see the season debut of the Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker; celebrate Small Business Saturday at a local boutique; escape the Black Friday crowds with brunch and brews and more.

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this Thanksgiving weekend, from Thursday, November 22 to Sunday, November 25, 2018.

Things to Do All Thanksgiving Weekend
• Thanksgiving Events Around Houston | Daily – Whether you’re looking to work up an appetite in a turkey trot or chow down at an indulgent feast, you can give thanks for friends, family, and all of the delicious food at Thanksgiving events happening all over Houston.
• Panto Star Force at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily – Crack up at this hilarious spoof of the original Star Wars trilogy, which follows Jed, a farm boy from the planet Cypress, who joins forces with a zany band of space rebels to take on the powerful Emperor Snorkelfish and Dark Tater. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.
• The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) at Stages Repertory Theatre | Daily –Follow along as three quick-witted church members are forced to perform an impromptu Christmas pageant after none of their scheduled acts arrive. Tickets start at $25, but limited discounted $17.50 tickets are available for select shows. Showtimes vary.
• Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Daily – Catch a performance of the classic, seasonal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s famously visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $37. Times vary.
• 59th Annual AutoRama at George R. Brown Convention Center | Thursday to Sunday – Scope out some of the country’s best hot rods, customs, trucks, and motorcycles when the 59th Annual AutoRama car show stops in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Expect celebrity appearances from WWE star AJ Styles, Designer Dave Kindig, Nascar’s Tony Stewart, and John Schneider from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” $19. Times vary.
• Flea at Silver Street: Holiday Flea at Silver Street Studios | Friday to Sunday –Silver Street Studios’ holiday flea market returns with one-of-a-kind collectibles, jewelry, vintage finds, artwork, mid-century modern furniture, and original designs. Visitors can also hit up the full bar and local food trucks, as well as onsite pet adoptions. Tickets are $5 and kids under 12 get in free. 10am to 5pm each day.
• Back to the ’80s at Music Box Theatre | Friday to Sunday – Feel the music at Back to the ‘80s, a throwback show featuring hits from Queen, Journey, Michael Jackson, Linda Ronstadt, George Michael, Neil Diamond, Cyndi Lauper, and Air Supply. Ticketsstart at $31.
• Festival of Trees at Cane Island in Katy | Friday to Sunday – Welcome the holidays with shopping, entertainment, Santa appearances and more at the annual Festival of Trees event in Katy’s first master-planned community, Cane Island. Tickets start at $7. Times vary.
• Miss Bennet – Christmas at Pemberley at Main Street Theater | Friday to Sunday – Take a seat for Main Street Theater’s presentation of Miss Bennett—Christmas at Pemberley. The delightful sequel to Pride & Prejudice switches the focus toward Mary, the awkward middle sister on a quest for independence and love. Tickets start at $36. Showtimes vary.
• The Nutcracker at the Wortham Theater Center | Friday to Sunday – The Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and all of her magical toys return for the beloved Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, presented by the Houston Ballet at the Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $30. Showtimes vary.
• DC vs Marvel Art Show at Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | Friday to Sunday | FREE – Super Happy Incredible Toys joins War’hous to present the first-ever DC vs Marvel art show at Saint Arnold Brewery. The show will feature artwork from local artists, an eclectic vendor market, and cosplay contests throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Times vary.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2018
• YMCA Turkey Dash 2018 at Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch – Before indulging in a decadent Thanksgiving feast, work up a sweat at the YMCA Turkey Dash in Cinco Ranch, which features a 10K, 5K, and 1-mile event for children and walking, as well as prizes for costumed runners. Registration starts at $20. 6:45am.
• Houston Turkey Trot 2018 at Uptown Galleria – Lace up your running shoes for the annual Houston Turkey Trot in Uptown Galleria, presented by the largest community development organization in Texas, BakerRipley. Tickets start at $20. 7:30am.
• Thanksgiving Day Parade in Downtown | FREE – Kick off your holiday in Downtown, where a stunning showcase of floats, balloons, marching bands and more will entertain audiences in the 69th Annual Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade. 9am.
• Turkey Trot in Woodforest – Start Thanksgiving on the right foot at Woodforest’s second annual Turkey Trot family fun run. All runners receive a long sleeve technical shirt and a finisher medal. Tickets start at $25. 9am.
• Thanksgiving Buffet at Downtown Aquarium – Feast on a delicious, kid-friendly buffet of traditional favorites, seafood specials, and fun additions like a waffle and crepe station at Downtown Aquarium’s annual Thanksgiving Buffet. Tickets start at $19.99. 10am to 1:30pm.
• Thanksgiving Day Feast at B&B Butchers – B&B Butchers opens its doors this Thanksgiving to offer guests a festive prix fixe menu of tasty dishes like roasted turkey with cornbread and sausage stuffing, oven-baked yams, and decadent pumpkin pie. On your way out, grab a complimentary “leftover” turkey sandwich from the Butcher Shop, made with roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a side of gravy. Free hot apple cider, Thanksgiving-themed cookies, and pumpkin cheesecake balls are also available. $59. 11am to 8pm.
• H-Town Thanksgiving Day Concert at White Oak Music Hall – Spend Thanksgiving jamming out to live music from some of Houston’s top hip-hop artists, including Z-Ro, Slim Thug, Lil Keke, Lil Flip, Paul Wall, and Martez, when the rappers perform at White Oak Music Hall. Tickets start at $50. 7pm.
• The EaDo Comedy Show at CSz Arena – For this improv show, ComedySportz Houston will draw from the vibe of the East Downtown neighborhood and call on audience members to participate. $10; limited comped and discounted $5 tickets available. 8pm.

Friday, November 23, 2018
• Brunch & Barleywine Black Friday at City Acre Brewing Co. | No Cover – Fuel up for—or take a break from—Black Friday shopping with an all-day brunch and beer launch at City Acre Brewing Co. While sipping the brewery’s brand new Celebraish barleywine, you can dig in to buttery french toast with house-made bread, fried chicken with crispy waffles, pulled pork biscuits and more. 11am to 11pm.
• Flea at Silver Street: Holiday Flea at Silver Street Studios – Silver Street Studios’ holiday flea market returns with one-of-a-kind collectibles, jewelry, vintage finds, artwork, mid-century modern furniture, and original designs. Visitors can hit up the full bar and local food trucks, as well as onsite pet adoptions. $5. 5pm.
• Grand Illumination Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Woodlands Resort | FREE – Spread holiday cheer at The Woodlands Resort’s Grand Illumination Tree Lighting Ceremony, which includes carolers, hot chocolate and apple cider, gingerbread house-decorating, photo booths, pictures with Santa, and the lighting of a 20-foot Christmas tree. 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
• So You Think You Can Dance Live at Revention Music Center – Watch the stars of the Emmy-winning TV competition, So You Think You Can Dance, light up the stage when the touring crew heads to Revention Music Center. Tickets start at $35. 8pm.
• Ashanti and Ja Rule in Concert at Arena Theatre Houston – Jam out to your favorite hits from the early 2000s at a concert by dynamic hip-hop stars Ja Rule and Ashanti. Expect to hear songs like “What’s Luv” and “Always Be On Time.” Tickets start at $59.50. 8:30pm.

Saturday, November 24, 2018
• Holiday Artisan Market at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church of Houston | FREE – Shop for holiday gifts, order bites from local food trucks, and listen to live music at the 2018 Holiday Artisan Market, which benefits Animal Justice League. 9am to 4pm.
• Midtown in Motion at Bagby Park | FREE – Get moving as instructor Roz Jones leads you through a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class, followed by a Yoga Flow class at Bagby Park. All fitness levels welcome. 9:30am.
• Holiday Latin Jazz Fest at Jones Plaza – Listen to live jazz music from Grammy-winner Poncho Sanchez, as well as Francisco Torres, Jose Valentino, Raquel Cepeda, and Houston’s own Jose Antonio Diaz at the Holiday Latin Jazz Fest in Jones Plaza. The fest also offers dance entertainment, Latin food, and drinks. Tickets start at $5. 11am.
• Rice Owls vs. Old Dominion at Rice Stadium –Cheer for the Rice University football team as they take on Old Dominion at home. Tickets start at $10. Noon.
• Goat Yoga Houston at NettBar – Challenge your strength and stability during a 45-minute session of goat yoga at NettBar Houston. As the name suggests, yogis will practice with assistance from adorable baby goats, followed by 15 minutes of play time. Tickets start at $35. 11:15am.
• Small Business Saturday Holiday Market at ModChic Couture Boutique | FREE –Support small businesses this Saturday when local boutique ModChic Couture hosts a holiday market with works by local designers, including bold, handmade jewelry by Stephanie BIJOUX, handbags by KisaKisa, and brightly colored headwraps by ChiChi L’amour. Shoppers can also take advantage of complimentary drinks, light bites, music, giveaways, and gift bags. 1pm to 6pm.
• Winter Flea by Night at Discovery Green | FREE – Shop for everything from art to furniture and collectibles from a variety of vendors while enjoying live music and food trucks during Discovery Green’s Flea by Night. 6pm to 10pm.
• Blue Field Market | FREE – Shop ‘till you drop, then relax with a cocktail when Blue Field Market opens every Saturday night this November. The market offers local vendors, live bands, drink specials, sunset yoga, sand volleyball, and both sports and movie screenings on the big screen. 6pm to 10pm.
• Blue October in Concert at Revention Music Center – The San Marcos-based rock group, Blue October, heads to Houston’s Revention Music Center to perform a show in support of their latest album release, Home. Tickets start at $38. 8pm.
• Cannibal Corpse in Concert at Warehouse Live – Death metal fans can flock to Warehouse Live for a night of pounding rhythms and harsh lyrics when seasoned rock group Cannibal Corpse takes the stage. Tickets start at $25. 8pm.
• Be Someone Artist Showcase at Last Concert Cafe – Support local talent while helping to fight homelessness in Houston during the Be Someone Artist Showcase at Last Concert Cafe. The showcase will feature art vendors, performers, DJs, electronic music producers, and a laser light display, with proceeds benefiting The Pink Giraffe House non-profit. $15. 8pm.

Sunday, November 25, 2018
• Photos with Santa at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Snap a photo for your family Christmas card when Mr. and Mrs. Claus make an appearance in Sugar Land Town Square. And in the spirit of giving, bring along a new stuffed animal to donate to the Fort Bend Rainbow Room’s Christmas Project. 1pm to 5pm.
• Unplugged at Discovery Green | FREE – Pack up your lawn chairs and head to Discovery Green for a free concert, where five different bands must recreate popular songs using all acoustic instruments. This week’s performers include Los Dientes, Sara Van Buskirk, Now We Fly, Metanoia, and Soul Creatures. 5:30pm to 9pm.
• The Long Island Boys at Prohibition Supperclub & Bar – Head to Prohibition Supper Club for The Long Island Boys, Houston’s only “boy-lesque” show, presented every month in partnership with Terrible Enfants Theatre Company. As you dine, allow the international cast to dazzle and charm you with daring acrobatics, aerial, and dance performances. Tickets are $25. 6pm.
• Willie Nelson & Family in Concert at Smart Financial Centre – Catch a concert by the native Texan and iconic singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist, Willie Nelson, when he and his band perform at Smart Financial Centre. Tickets start at $64. 7:30pm.
• P.O.D. in Concert at Warehouse Live – Rock out to songs like “Youth of the Nation”, “Boom,” and “Goodbye For Now” as Warehouse lives welcomes P.O.D., Nonpoint, and Islander for a show. Tickets start at $24.50. 7:30pm.

Why I’m Truly Thankful

What are you thankful for? Why are you thankful? It’s such a loaded question for some and as easy as a breeze for others to answer. This question requires some serious thought because it’s easy to answer the simple generic “I’m thankful for family, friends, health and food among other things” but you should always be thankful for those things, without fail. We tend to go through life without true appreciation of all that we have and all that we are able to do and that’s what makes us such a cynical species.

A conversation was had between a group of three people and it ended abruptly with many emotions left raw, no resolution to be had and fingers pointing towards each other without recognizing the faults in themselves. It left all concerned mad, sad, attacked and slighted, but it also left them all without any reason for why they felt that way. I was present, but not engaged in the conversation and that, to me, was a good thing. I would have been the moderator which is not what my intentions were when you’re talking about 3 adults. When everything dissipated, one was crying and the other two left without even acknowledging that I was even there (it was supposed to be a getting to know you event).

Now, this is not about me at all. From the outside looking in, I can see that everyone was at fault on this. No one handled the situation well, at all. I was hoping that the following day, cooler heads would prevail. They did, somewhat, but the emotions were still very raw. My simple question was, for each of them, why? Why did you feel the way you did in those moments? What could you have done to handle the situation better? What did you learn from the experience? How would you improve your approach to the situation?

It’s easy to cut everything or everyone out, it really is, but learning from it is hard work. It requires admitting your faults, humbling yourself, accepting your flaws and shortcomings and committing yourself to do better. It takes focus and the desire to actually want to make adjustments and change they way you approach and look at people and the situations that you’re in. Just about everything has a resolution and you may not like what it is, but as children of God, it’s imperative that we love our fellow brothers and sisters and encourage each other to do better.

So, what am I thankful for? I am truly thankful for the ability that God has given to me to see others as they are, not as they want me to see them. I am truly grateful for all the many gifts that he’s given me. I’m especially thankful for each day that I’m given so that I can celebrate life and God.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!