How Turkey Pardoning Became a Thing

Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys, in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. John F. Kennedy was the first president reported to spare the turkey given to him (he announced he didn’t plan to eat the bird), and Ronald Reagan was the first to grant the turkey a presidential pardon, which he jokingly presented to his 1987 turkey (a turkey that would indeed be spared and sent to a petting zoo).

There are legends that state that the “pardoning” tradition dates to the Harry Truman administration or even to an anecdote of Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son’s pet turkey (a Christmas turkey); both stories have been quoted in more recent presidential speeches, but neither has any evidence in the Presidential record. In more recent years, two turkeys have been pardoned, in case the original turkey becomes unavailable for presidential pardoning.

George H. W. Bush, who served as vice president under Reagan, made the turkey pardon a permanent annual tradition upon assuming the presidency in 1989, a tradition that has been carried on by every president each year since. The pardoned turkeys have typically ended up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. From 1989 to 2004 they were sent to a children’s farm called “Frying Pan Farm Park” in Herndon, Virginia. From 2009 to 2013 they were sent to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate near Alexandria, Virginia, and in 2014 they were sent to an estate in Leesburg, Virginia once owned by former state governor and turkey farmer Westmoreland Davis. However, from 2005 to 2009 they were sent to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. The turkeys rarely live to see the next Thanksgiving due to being bred for large size.

How Thanksgiving Came To Be

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2018 occurs on Thursday, November 22. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Thanksgiving at Plymouth

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.


Ready or Not Your Festive List of Things to Do

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18, 2018. 

Kick off the first weekend of Moody Gardens’ annual Festival Of Lights; explore the newly opened Imperial Sugar building while enjoying plenty of fashion, sweets, and entertainment; marvel at whirling dervishes during the Houston Turkish Festival; root for the Rockets when they take on the reigning champs; taste Southern Star Brewing’s newest craft beer and more.  

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         The Phantom of the Opera at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts | Daily – Take a seat for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece and one of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals, The Phantom of the Opera, when the touring cast performs a two-week stint at Hobby Center of the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $50. Showtimes vary.

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

·         Veterans Appreciation Week at National Museum of Funeral History | Daily In honor of Veterans Day, the National Museum of Funeral History is giving back to past and active military by offering free general admission to veterans and active military servicemen and women for an entire week. General admission for all other adults and children 12 and older is $10; $9 for seniors; $7 for children 6 to 11; free for children 5 and under. Times vary per day.

·         When We Take Flight at MATCH | Thursday to Saturday – Presented by MET Dance, When We Take Flight features stunning choreography by Kyle Abraham, Bridget L. Moore, Sean Carmon, and Joshua Manculich. $20. 7:30pm nightly.

·         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, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve at The French Farm’s Spring Open Warehouse Sale. 10am to 3pm both days.

·         Winter Holiday Art Market at Winter Street Studios | Friday to Sunday | No Cover  Fresh Arts presents its annual Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM) for one last time, with more than 65 artists and creators selling their work, complimentary drinks, local food vendor, and more. There is a ticketed Ugly Sweater Preview Party on Friday night starting at $15. No cover for the Saturday and Sunday market. Times vary.

·         Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Friday to Sunday – 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.

·         Chantal Warehouse Sale | Friday to Sunday | No Cover  Stock up on cookware and snag the perfect gift for the aspiring chef in your life with up to 75% off on discontinued, overstocked, and one-of-a-kind cookware at the Chantal Warehouse Sale. Times vary.

·         Theta Charity Antiques Show at George R. Brown Convention Center | Friday to Sunday – Shop for a cause at the 2018 Theta Charity Antiques Show, which offers a wide selection of fine furniture and décor from a range of time periods in various styles. The show also boasts a preview party, design panels, and lectures from renowned designers, including Ashley Woodson Bailey, James Farmer, Suzanne Kasler, Miles Redd, and Carolyne Roehm. Tickets start at $20. 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.

·         Midtown Live 4 Concert Experience at Rockefeller’s | Friday and Sunday – Prepare to be entertained at this concert-style multimedia production, which features a lineup of Houston-based singers and musicians who share their stories through musical and theatrical performances. Tickets range from $10 to $40. 8pm both nights.

·         Houston Greek Film Festival at MATCH | Friday to Sunday  Screen a selection of short and feature-length films featuring Greek filmmakers, producers, and actors in the first-ever Houston Greek Film Festival at MATCH. Tickets start at $15. Times vary.

·         26th Houston Turkish Festival at Jones Plaza | Saturday and Sunday – Discover the rich culture of Turkey with two full days of live music and traditional dance performances, henna, art vendors, kids activities, a grand bazaar, as well as delicious foods like baklava, dolmas, kebabs, and Turkish coffee. Tickets start at $8. 11am to 9pm both days.

·         Junior League Holiday Market at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center | Saturday and Sunday – Get an early start on holiday shopping at the sixteenth annual Junior League Holiday Market, which offers everything from flower arrangements and gourmet food to Christmas ornaments and personalized gifts. $15. Times vary.

·         Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens | Saturday and Sunday – Brighten up your holiday season at the Festival of Lights in Moody Gardens, which features a mile-long trail of more than one million lights and illuminated scenes with gorgeous views of Galveston Bay. The family-friendly mainstay also offers an outdoor skating rink, vendors serving hot chocolate and festive food, and live entertainment. Tickets start at $16. 10am to 6pm daily.

·         Houston Via Colori in Downtown | Saturday and Sunday – Stroll through the streets of downtown as they’re transformed into a colorful artspace by more than 200 artists at the annual Via Colori festival. Benefitting the Center for Hearing and Speech, Via Colori will also offer live music, activities, a family zone, food, and drinks. Tickets start at $7. Times vary.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

·         Elevate Your Entertaining with Chef Aaron Sanchez at Central Market – Spice up your holiday cooking repertoire as Chef Aaron Sanchez guides you through a cooking class designed to incorporate Latin ingredients into the typical festive feast. You’ll leave class with new, delicious recipes like ancho-braised short ribs and grilled lobster tail with Yucatan-style recado and hearts of palm salad. $70. 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

·         Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center  Cheer loud for the Rockets when they hit the court to play the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, at Toyota Center. Tickets start at $80 and are likely to sell out. 7pm.

·         University of Houston Cougars vs. Tulane University at TDECU Stadium – Watch as the Cougars take the field to play Tulane University at TDECU. Tickets start at $20. 7pm.

·         The Sweet Side of Fashion at Imperial Sugar Building – Explore the newly opened Imperial Sugar Building while enjoying complimentary drinks, fashion designers, tunes by DJ Goldline, a light show, aerialist performers, food trucks, and cotton candy machines at The Sweet Side of Fashion event, presented by When Worlds Collide. $45. 7:30pm to 11:30pm.

·         Ben Rector in Concert at Revention Music Center – Head to Revention Music Center for a live show by American singer-songwriter Ben Rector, as he brings “Magic: The Tour” to Houston in support of his latest album. The Band Camino opens the concert. Tickets start at $30. 7pm.

·         CSz presents The EaDo Comedy Show – For this improv show, ComedySportz Houston will draw from the vibe of the East Downtown neighborhood and call on audience members to participate. Full price tickets are $10. 8pm.

Friday, November 16, 2018

·         Art Is An Outdoor Market at Greenway Plaza | No Cover – Shop local artwork and unique finds at this European-style outdoor market in Greenway Plaza, where you can also enjoy live music and food truck eats. 11am.

·         WHAM 2018: Ugly Sweater Preview Party at Winter Street Studios – Get an early bird peek at Fresh Arts’ final Winter Holiday Art Market at a preview party with free food, drinks, entertainment, and holiday fun. Tacky Christmas and holiday sweaters are highly encouraged. $15; $25 at the door; free for Fresh Arts members; $50 VIP packages include two tickets and a swag bag. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Frostival at Discovery Green | No Cover – Discovery Green’s winter season kicks off with Frostival, a fun-filled night celebrating the opening of The ICE, the park’s outdoor ice skating rink. Enjoy live music, live ice battles with Reverend Butter, interactive ice sculptures, tunes from DJ Caps and more. Free to attend. Prices for ice skating varies. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Team Coco Presents Conan & Friends at Revention Music Center  Catch the giggles when Conan O’Brien takes the stage for the first time since 2010 in his touring comedy show, Conan & Friends: An Evening of Stand-Up and Investment Tips, at Revention Music Center. Joining the talk show host is a rotating group of handpicked comics, including Rory Scovel, Deon Cole, Ron Funches, and Laurie Kilmartin. Tickets start at $49. 8pm.

·         Concert & Conversation: Women in the Arts at MATCH  Discuss and celebrate the importance of diversity in the arts as ROCO hosts a Concert & Conversation at MATCH. The evening will begin with a production comprised of works by all women, followed by a thoughtful dialogue about the role that diverse, female voices play in the arts and culture industry. $25. 8pm.

·         Pepe Aguilar presents Jaripeo sin Fronteras at Toyota Center – For the first time in more than two decades, Pepe Aguilar will saddle up and ride horseback in his family’s traditional mariachi musical and equestrian show at Toyota Center. Tickets start at $61, before ticketing fees. 8pm.

·         Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles in Concert at The Heights Theater – Tap your toes to an intoxicating blend of blues, soul, R&B, Afrobeat, gospel, and jazz at a concert by Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles at The Heights Theater. Tickets start at $22. 8pm.

·         I Am King: The Michael Jackson Experience at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – All hail the King of Pop during a special performance by several Michael Jackson tribute artists at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Expect dynamic vocals, electric energy, and of course, plenty of moon-walking. 8:30pm.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

·         Giving Thanks 5K/10K at Sugar Land Memorial Park – Lace up your running shoes for a 5 or 10K race that benefits Bel Inizio, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged women develop self-confidence and life skills through fitness and nutrition. Tickets start at $15. 8am.

·         Great Inflatable Race at Sam Houston Race Park – Have a blast as your run, climb, dive, and bounce your way through an obstacle course of custom-designed inflatables during this fun run at Sam Houston Race Park. Tickets start at $24.99. 9am.

·         Farmers Market at Baldwin Park | No Cover – Shop a curated selection of fresh produce and prepared foods from local farmers, bakers, and chefs at this farmers market in Baldwin Park. 10am.

·         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.

·         Connect with Art Saturday at the Silos at Sawyer Yards | FREE – View a selection of original artwork in a variety of mediums during Connect with Art Saturday, where artists from the Houston Art Connective will open their studios for visitors to tour their unique spaces at Sawyer Yards. Noon to 5pm.

·         Glisten Holiday Lighting at CityCentre | FREE – Pose for pictures with Santa and frolic in the snow at the Glisten Holiday Lighting in CityCentre. The festive event will feature a five-foot snow slide, ice-carving demonstration, snow box, complimentary hot chocolate and apple cider, a DJ, and the big reveal of CityCentre’s holiday lights. Noon to 9pm.

·         Black Crack 2018 Release Party at Southern Star Brewing – Celebrate the release of Southern Star Brewing’s bourbon barrel aged stout, Black Crack 2018 with food trucks, souvenir glasses, and plenty of beer. $25. Noon to 10pm.

·         Tigres UANL vs. UNAM Pumas at BBVA Compass Stadium – Cheer from the stands of BBVA Compass Stadium as two Mexican-based soccer teams, Tigres UANL and UNAM Pumas, go head to head in a game. Tickets start at $56.50. 2pm.

·         Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival at NRG Park – Jam out to a live show by Houston rapper Travis Scott as he hosts the first-ever Astroworld Festival, suitably located across the street from what once was the famed amusement park at NRG. Celebrating the rich culture of Houston, the festival will also feature a slew of performers that have yet to be announced. Tickets start at $129. Noon.

·         36th Annual Lighting of the Doves Festival at Town Green Park | FREE –Welcome the start of the holiday season with a long-standing tradition in The Woodlands, the Lighting of the Doves. Now in its thirty-sixth year, the festival offers cultural performances, snow play areas, shopping, kids activities, a Santa Claus appearance, a fireworks show, and the ceremonial lighting of the doves. 3pm to 9pm.

·         ROCO In Concert: Queen of Hearts at The Church of St. John the Divine – ROCO’s all-female-composer program continues with Queen of Hearts, which features the world premiere of “Solitaire,” featuring violinist Heather Schmidt and concertmaster Scott St. John, followed by Anna Clyne’s “Within Her Arms,” Ruth Gipps’s “Seascape,” and Louise Farrenc’s “Symphony No. 3.” $35. 5pm.

·         Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Warriors at Toyota Center – Cheer loud for the Rockets when they hit the court to play the Kings at Toyota Center. Tickets start at $21. 7pm.

·         Legends of Soul in Concert at Smart Financial Centre – Get down to bluesy music at the Legends of Soul concert with performances by Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly, The Whispers, Freddie Jackson, and Howard Hewett. Tickets start at $49.50. 7:30pm.

·         Open Mike Eagle in Concert at House of Blues – Jam out to beats by Chicago-based hip-hop artist, comedian, and podcaster Open Mike Eagle, who most recently released his 2017 album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream. Tickets are $17. 7:30pm.

·         The Divine Miss Bette at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – Delight in a dynamic and hilarious performance by Bette Midler impersonator Catherine Alcorn when she takes her sell-out tour to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. 8pm.

·         Daley: Spectrum Unplugged at The Heights Theater – Known for his unique sound and dynamic voice, British vocalist Daley presents an acoustic version of his second studio album, The Spectrum, in concert at The Heights Theater. Tickets start at $24.8pm.

·         Burly Q Lounge at Warehouse Live – Warehouse Live transforms into a naughty speakeasy with a performance that is classy, sexy, dirty, and funny. The show will feature hours of sexy comedy, with local and touring burlesque beauties, stand-up comics, musicians, showgirls, games, circus tricks, and more. Tickets are $25. 8pm.

·         Sunday, November 18, 2018

·         Chilaquiles & Cafe: Pop Up Brunch at Campesino Coffee House | No Cover – Dive into a plate of delicious chilaquiles paired with piping hot coffee during this pop-up brunch event at Campesino Coffee House. 10am.

·         Botox & Bubbles Happy Hour at Foye MD & Spa | FREE with RSVP – Sip on Champagne, sample light bites, and enjoy discounted Botox treatments and dermal fillers at a special midday Sunday funday happy hours. RSVP required. Noon to 2pm.

·         The Gr8 Taco Challenge at 8th Wonder Brewery – Spectate a tasty challenge that pits more than 20 of Houston’s top eateries against one another to battle it out for the title of “Best Taco,” when 8th Wonder Brewery presents The Gr8 Taco Challenge. Guests can enjoy taco samples, live music, a michelada bar, and an assortment of fruited Haterade available on tap. $40. Noon to 3pm.

·         Friendsgiving Market at Karbach Brewing Co. | No Cover – Snag unique finds fromlocal artists and vintage curators while listening to live music and sipping craft beer during this Friendsgiving-themed art market at Karbach Brewing Co. Noon to 5pm.

·         Southwestern Circuit USPA/PTF Seniors Tournament at Houston Polo Club Cheer from the stands as two polo teams compete in the Southwestern Circuit USPA/PTF Seniors at the Houston Polo Club. Tickets start at $15. 2pm.

·         Galveston Symphony Orchestra at The Grand 1894 Opera House – Hear the Galveston Symphony Orchestra play an enchanting selection of classics, including Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Piano Concerto No.3, as well as Mozart’s Symphony No.41. $35. 4pm.

Letting Go

After many years of watching my children turn into young adults, praying that they’ll turn out to be great humans, contribute to society, I realize that I’m in their way. As much as I want to support their endeavors, I also realize that letting them go to freely go out into the world to make their own choices isn’t about me; but rather about them. I’ve believed that allowing them their space to make mistakes, but also allowing them to easily return was a good thing, but I now realize that may not be the best way for them to truly be independent. Afterall, we’re not promised tomorrow.

They worry about me being alone and what I’ll do when they’re gone. What I think that they don’t realize is that’s how is was before they blessed my life. My son and increasingly more my daughter believe that I should remarry so that I’m not alone. What amazes me is that they look at marriage as a final solution and not as a temporary landing place. That warms my heart!

I only married once and it was supposed to be the final solution only to end officially 20 years later after years of separation prior to that. A broken heart was what remained and as it healed, it hardened: steel-like. If I gave love another shot, would I actually find it? Would I even know what it was? I was so awfully wrong the first time. Who knows! All I know is that I’m ok with being alone, right now. My impatience deters me from seeking out love or romance. A tough thing to overcome when you’re a sappy romantic and would love nothing more to find my prince charming and snuggle buddy, but should I really want to overcome it? Who knows, but what I do know is that I’m not going out there looking for or chasing after it.

Do you think my kids are right and that I should open my heart again?

The Winston Pink Legacy Diamond

An exceptionally rare pink diamond of nearly 19 carats fetched 50.3 million Swiss francs ($50 million, 44 million euros) at auction in Geneva Tuesday, Christie’s said, setting a new per-carat record for a stone of its kind.

The Pink Legacy, which once belonged to the Oppenheimer family who for decades ran the De Beers diamond-mining company, was snapped up by American luxury brand Harry Winston, part of the Swiss Swatch group. “$2.6 million per carat. That is a world record per carat for a pink diamond,” said Francois Curiel, head of Christie’s in Europe, of the price that included all fees and commissions. “This stone is for me the Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds.”

The 18.96-carat diamond was discovered in a South African mine around a century ago, Christie’s said. It was probably cut in the 1920s and has not been altered since. The stone was immediately rechristened the “Winston Pink Legacy” by its buyers. Christie’s international head of jewelry, Rahul Kadakia, described it as “one of the world’s greatest diamonds”.
The rectangular-cut stone has been graded “fancy vivid” the highest possible grade of color intensity, as it has no trace of another hue like purple, orange or brown.
Most pink diamonds weigh less than one carat and those in the top color category with more than 10 carats are virtually unheard of at auction houses.

The Pink Legacy is classed as Type IIa, meaning it is extremely chemically pure, a category only two percent of diamonds fall into.
“These are stones that have little if any trace of nitrogen,” said Kadakia, adding that this often gives Type IIa diamonds “exceptional transparency and brilliance”.

“Imagine a domino that you have cut the corners off of,” Jean-Marc Lunel, an international jewelry specialist at Christie’s, describing the stone’s unusual shape.
He pointed out that the diamond has a “classical so-called emerald cut” standing out from the typical cuts used today, which are more rounded and multi-faceted.
The classic rectangular cut is traditionally used for white stones, but is rare for pink diamonds.

Christie’s said the Pink Legacy is “the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ever offered at auction by the company”, calling the stone “incomparable”.
“It is probably the most beautiful (specimen) ever presented at public auction,” Lunel said.

Christie’s said only four vivid pink diamonds of over 10 carats have ever been offered at auction. One of them, the nearly 15-carat Pink Promise, was sold last November at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong for $32.5 million. That amounts to $2.176 million per carat, which was previously the world auction record price per carat for any pink diamond.

The Pink Legacy’s record-smashing price accounted for nearly half the takings at Tuesday’s auction, which saw total sales of more than $110 million, according to Christie’s spokeswoman Alexandra Kindermann.

While 86 percent of the lots found a buyer, a big heart-shaped white diamond of 53 carats, expected to fetch around $3 to 5 million, went unsold. Another Geneva auction is set cause a buzz on Wednesday when Marie Antoinette’s diamonds and pearls go under the hammer at Sotheby’s. The dazzling treasures, which have not been seen in public for two centuries, are part of a 100-piece collection held by the Italian royal House of Bourbon-Parma.



The Many Coined Names of Topaz

Topaz of all different colors are used in jewelry, in rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets. The blue, orange, and pink colors are most often cut as gemstones, and colorless Topaz is becoming increasingly popular as an inexpensive Diamond simulant. Gigantic gems and faceted spheres are cut from huge flawless crystals, and these make exquisite and exclusive collectors items. Topaz is rarely cut into cabochons.

Topaz is the traditional birthstone for November.

With the exception of Imperial Topaz, all the variety names below are trade names that were coined by dealers in the jewelry trade. These names have become widely used despite them being names made up by jewelers in modern times. There are also several additional made-up variety names sometimes given to different forms and colors of Topaz. The list below only describes those names that have become terms used extensively in the jewelry market.

Azotic Topaz – Orange-pink Topaz with a rainbow-like color effect. Its color is synthetically colored by film deposition of an extremely thin metallic layer over the top of the gemstone. Azotic Topaz is named by the company that introduced this, Azotic®.
Imperial Topaz – Lustrous golden orange-yellow, orange-brown, or orange-pink variety of Topaz and is its most valuable gem form.
London Blue Topaz – Topaz with a deep sky-blue color. It is darker in tone than Swiss Blue Topaz.

Mystic Topaz – Multicolored Topaz with a rainbow-like color effect. Its color is synthetically colored by film deposition of an extremely thin metallic layer over the top of the gemstone.
Rutilated Topaz – Topaz with yellow needle-like inclusions of the mineral Limonite. Rutile Topaz is very similar in appearance to Rutilated Quartz, hence the name Rutile Topaz. However, the name is a misnomer, since unlike Rutilated Quartz which has inclusions of the mineral Rutile, the inclusions of Rutile Topaz are not Rutile but rather Limonite.

Sherry Topaz – Topaz with a light orange-brown to brownish-pink color.

Silver Topaz – Colorless form of Topaz. Synonym of White Topaz.

Swiss Blue Topaz – Topaz with a sky-blue color. It is lighter in tone than London Blue Topaz.

White Topaz – Colorless form of Topaz.

November’s Other Birthstone: Topaz

Topaz makes an ideal gem. A good hardness and desirable colors, combined with a relative abundance and availability makes it one the most popular gemstones. The most valuable colors of Topaz are the golden orange-yellow type, called Imperial Topaz, and the dark pinkish-red and orange-red colors. Value increases with a deepness of color in orange and reddish hues. The most commonly used colors of Topaz in jewelry are the blue types. It was not until this past century that blue Topaz became widespread on the gem market, since virtually all blue gem Topaz is irradiated and heat treated.

Topaz is a fairly common and inexpensive gemstone. It can be found in huge and flawless crystals, which can be faceted into giant gemstones which can weigh thousands of carats. Some of the largest gemstone pieces ever cut were of Topaz.

Topaz is a hard and durable gemstone, and will not dissolve in most chemical solvents. However, it does have perfect cleavage which can make it prone to chipping or forming flaws if banged hard. Topaz is also a pleochroic gemstone and can have varied color intensity when viewed at different angles. Due to its good cleavage and pleocroic nature, care must be exercised when faceting Topaz gemstones.

The Meditative Properties of Citrine

It is said that citrine properties are linked to the creative process. Whether natural or heated, citrine is said to activate the imagination via the second, third and sixth chakras. It enhances mental clarity and allows for the flow of ideas and visualizing. Especially when used in meditation, this citrine property is very effective in strengthening mental output and establishing goals. Stones to use in addition to citrine to amplify creativity are zincite, orange calcite and carnelian. 

Citrine is associated with the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras. By connecting with the sacral chakra, the citrine healing properties are most effective in stimulating an increase in sexual and creative fertility. The conception of both ideas and life can be plentiful under citrine’s power to motivate. It also links to the root chakra to bring the physical energy up to the emotional, and raise all energy to a higher plane. As this chakra is an area where people often suffer energy blocks, citrine can be crucial to clear that block. The solar plexus is the central energy distributer, so citrine’s connection to this chakra will elevate energy levels and general circulation.

Citrine meaning can lead to a few different decorative choices. It can be placed in the bedroom, to bring light and abundance into the intimacy space. Citrine stone can also be implemented into the office or workspace for added prosperity and creativity. Or, it can bring a sense of security and golden Light Force into children’s bedrooms.

Meditation with citrine brings warmth, clarity and inspiration. A good mantra to use with citrine crystal meditation is: I am Light, I spread Light. This emanates vibrancy, and will assist in you in bringing energy flow to soul, mind and creativity. To use a citrine point in manifestation rituals, just write your intentions on a piece of paper and place them underneath the point. Combine with different stones to amplify the specific goal of the manifestation.

Your Veteran’s Day 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 9 to Sunday, November 11, 2018.
Pay tribute to our nation’s veterans at a free, outdoor concert; race through Memorial Square Park alongside the Houston Rockets; hear from literary, cultural, and theatrical mavens at the annual Jewish Book and Arts Festival; dine al fresco with a picnic in the park; jam out to live music at the Bonfire Music Festival and more.
Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, November 9 to Sunday, November 11, 2018.
Things to Do All Weekend
• Houston Cinema Arts Festival at Venues Around Houston | Daily – Enjoy five days of film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, and multimedia performances as the Houston Cinema Arts Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary at various venues around Houston. Tickets start at $10. Times and locations vary.
• International Quilt Festival at George R. Brown Convention Center | Daily – Join more than 55,000 quilting enthusiasts for a full week of classes, exhibits, networking, shopping, guest speakers and more at the International Quilt Festival in George R. Brown Convention Center. Tickets start at $9. Times vary.
• Nutcracker Market at NRG Center | Daily – Shop ‘till you drop at Houston’s highly-anticipated holiday shopping event, the annual Nutcracker Market at NRG Center. The Houston Ballet’s four-day market features more than 280 booths, offering unique gifts, home decor, gourmet foods, apparel, accessories and more. $20. Times vary.
• 46th Annual Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival at Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center | Daily – Experience the best of Jewish literary, cultural, and performing arts throughout the forty-sixth annual Jewish Book & Arts Festival at Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. The festival will feature book readings, discussions, film screenings, theatrical performances, concerts, and the Oliver Lapin Family Day. Prices vary. Times vary.
• Disney on Ice: Frozen at NRG Stadium | Daily – Watch Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf sing and dance across their frozen stage as Disney on Ice heads to NRG Stadium. Tickets start at $20. Showtimes vary.
• 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, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve at The French Farm’s Spring Open Warehouse Sale. 10am to 3pm both days.
• 65th Annual Gem, Jewelry, Mineral, & Fossil Show at Humble Civic Center | Friday to Sunday – Browse more than 50 exhibits featuring fossils, minerals, gemstones, and unique jewelry from around the world at the sixty-fifth annual Gem, Jewelry, Mineral, & Fossil Show in Humble Civic Center. Aspiring experts can brush up on their gem and jewelry knowledge via educational exhibitions, demonstrations, and classes offered at the three-day event. $8. Times vary.
• Chantal Warehouse Sale | Friday to Sunday | No Cover – Stock up on cookware and snag the perfect gift for an aspiring chef in your life with up to 75% off on discontinued, overstocked, and one-of-a-kind cookware at the Chantal Warehouse Sale. Times vary.
• Houston Grand Opera presents La bohème at the Wortham Theater Center | Saturday and Sunday – Transport to the heart of Paris during the bohemian revolution as the Houston Grand Opera presents Puccini’s La bohème at the Wortham Theater Center. One of the most famous operas of all time, La boheme explores the rollercoaster that is true love through a soundtrack of spellbinding musical works. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.
• 23rd Annual Children’s Festival at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion | Saturday and Sunday – Entertain the kids with face painting, arts and crafts, a rock wall, live music, a PJ Masks meet-and-greet, and a performance from Sesame Street Live during the twenty-third annual Children’s Festival at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. $10. Times vary.
Friday, November 9, 2018
• Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon at NRG Center – Scope out the latest styles, enjoy a delicious meal, and stick around for holiday shopping when the Houston Ballet presents the annual Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon, a featured event at the Nutcracker Market. Tickets start at $135. 10:15am to 12:30pm.
• Casino Royale Charity Classic at The Houston Club – Ante up at a casino-themed charity gala that includes fine dining, cocktails, dancing, a silent auction, and of course, casino games, hosted by The Houston Club. The Casino Royale Charity Classic benefits the Nehemiah Center. Tickets start at $100. 6pm.
• Jungle Book Gala at The Revaire – The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation hosts its fourth annual Jungle Book Gala at The Revaire. Guests can enjoy dinner, drinks, live entertainment, and a silent auction with upscale items like a Rolex watch, exotic vacation packages, and limited-edition Astros apparel. Tickets start at $150. 6pm.
• Meet the Parents Movie Screening at Market Square Park | FREE – Crack up at the Ben Stiller classic, Meet the Parents, during a free screening of the comedy film at Market Square Park. 7pm to 9pm.
• Big Bad Blues Tour: Billy F. Gibbons in Concert at Revention Music Center – Catch a concert by former ZZ Top frontman and Houston native Billy F. Gibbons when he performs in support of his second solo album, Big Bad Blues, along with Matt Sorum and Austin Hanks at Revention Music Center Tickets start at $35. 7pm.
• Animaniacs in Concert at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – Relive your cartoon-filled childhood at a free concert by the Animaniacs characters at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The show will star original cast members with music composed by Emmy winner Randy Rogel. 7:30pm.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
• 17th Annual Rockets Run at Toyota Center – Get active with the Houston Rockets basketball team at the seventeenth annual Rockets Run, presented by Children’s Memorial Hermann. After running or walking through Memorial Square Park, participants will cross the finish line at center court to receive a commemorative T-shirt and access to the post-race party. Tickets start at $40. 6:30am.
• 15th Annual Run in the Park at Hermann Park – Make your way through a scenic course surrounded by historic live oak trees at Hermann Park’s fifteenth annual Run in the Park. Participants can enter a 5K run, 3K walk or 1K kids’ run, then head to the post-race party for food, drinks, and music. $30. 8am.
• 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.
• Texas Taco Music Fest at Midtown Park – Sample tasty tacos from some of Houston’s favorite restaurants while taking in live music, live art creation, craft booths, and more. $15 in advance; $20 at the gate. Noon to 9pm.
• Wing-A-Rama Houston Chicken Wing Festival at POST Houston – Roll up your sleeves and chow down on chicken wings from more than 20 of Houston’s top chefs and restaurants at the first-ever Wing-A-Rama Houston Chicken Wing Festival at POST Houston. Attendees can vote for the winner of “Best Chicken Wings” and “Best Chicken Wing Inspired Dish,” compete in a flaming hot chicken wing-eating contest, or upgrade to the VIP section with appearances from the Houston Astros and Houston Dynamo. Tickets start at $35. 1pm to 5pm.
• Da Camera Young Artists at MFAH – Browse MFAH’s latest exhibition, Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits from Holbein to Warhol, while listening to orchestral music from Da Camera Young Artists during this pop-up concert. Free with admission to the exhibition. 2pm and 3pm.
• Picasso’s by Paws Painting Party & Fundraiser at Urban Tails – Allow your pups to play in safe, water-based paint and create their own masterpiece at the unique fundraising event, Picasso’s by Paws Painting Party & Fundraiser, presented by Urban Tails, SNAP, and PetTalk. Suggested donation of $10 to $20. 2pm to 4:30pm.
• 2018 Tequila, Taco, & Cerveza Fest at AirHogs Stadium – Get your fill of tacos, tequila, and beer at this food- and drink-focused festival in AirHogs Stadium. Expect food trucks and more than 40 types of tequila, as well as live mariachi music, and a Lucha Libre performance. Tickets start at $30. 2pm to 6pm.
• The Bonfire Texas 2018 at BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch – Jam out to live music while enjoying a dog show, shopping, an auction, pet adoptions, and autumnal activities at the second annual Bonfire Texas music festival, held on the ranch at Blisswood Bed & Breakfast. Tickets start at $10. 2pm to 9pm.
• Día de los Muertos in The Heights | FREE – Celebrate the cultural holiday of Día de los Muertos with interactive exhibits and live entertainment at Montie Beach Park in The Heights. 2pm to 10pm.
• University of Houston Cougars vs. Temple at TDECU Stadium – Watch as the Cougars take the field to play Temple at TDECU. Tickets start at $10. Time is TBA.
• The Star Movie Screening at Sugar Land Town Square | FREE – Gather your friends and family, as well as a few lawn chairs, and head to Sugar Land Town Square for a free screening of Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star. 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
• Bayou City Music Series: Houston Blues, Jazz and Soul with Diunna Greenleaf and James Francies in Concert at Discovery Green | FREE – Get down to bluesy music by singer Diunna Greenleaf with Houston-based pianist and composer James Francies when the two team up for a featured concert in this season’s Bayou City Music Series. 7pm to 9:30pm.
• A Musical Salute to Veterans at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – Honor America’s veterans at a free concert presented by the Medical Musical Group of Washington DC and Houston’s Texas Medical Center Orchestra at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Primarily featuring doctors, med school students, and volunteers, the two award-winning organizations will partner with Camp Hope to reach out to veterans to attend the concert. 7pm.
• Home Concerts presents Dillon Biggs, with the Fossil Lickers & Zydeco Dots in Concert at a Private Home in Bacliff – Take in an intimate acoustic concert in a private home, as singer-songwriter Dillon Biggs, folk trio The Fossil Lickers, and zydeco legends Zydeco Dots perform and mingle. BYOB. Location will be revealed with ticket purchase. $20. 7pm to 11:30pm.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
• Love & Make’s DIY Jewelry Making Workshop in Rice Village – Create your own macrame earrings in this DIY workshop at Love & Make in Rice Village. Jewelry designer Tanya Bagashka will walk participants through an ancient Arabic knotting technique that will be used to create the personalized piece. $55. 11am.
• Eado Vintage Fest: 2nd Sundays | No Cover – Browse vintage clothing, antique furniture, decor, and handmade goods at this monthly festival in Eado. Noon to 6pm.
• USPA U.S. Open Women’s Championship Tournament at Houston Polo Club – Cheer from the stands as two polo teams compete in the U.S. Women’s Championship at the Houston Polo Club. You can also expect a halftime divot stomp and a showing of the latest Range Rovers. Tickets start at $15. 2pm.
• Bayou City Jazz Series: Jazz Fusion All-Stars in Concert at House of Blues – Hear talented jazz artists like Eric Marienthal, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, and Chieli Minucci at the Jazz Fusion All-Stars concert, as part of the Bayou City Jazz Series. Tickets start at $60. 5pm.
• Sunday Supper at The Grove – Close out the weekend with an elegant meal in a communal atmosphere at The Grove’s Sunday Supper event. Limited to 50 seats, the dinner features curated wine pairings and a chef-driven menu of osso buco with tomato ragu and fig and walnut conserve with ricotta and honey. $100. 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
• Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers at Toyota Center – Cheer loud for the Rockets when they hit the court to play the Pacers at Toyota Center. Tickets start at $19. 6pm.

The Meaning of Citrine

Due to citrine’s natural autumn hues, it makes sense that it would be the birth stone of November. There are many believed citrine meanings. Known as The Merchant’s Stone or The Success Stone, the citrine properties of wealth and abundance are some of its most well-known. If seeking abundance in financial or business ventures, this is the stone to aid in the manifestation. Because this stone works in synergy with other crystals, it can be beneficial to combine citrine with heliodor, golden labradorite or imperial topaz if an increase in personal will is desired. All success in business or life is the result of hard work, but sometimes that hard work is difficult to muster up the fortitude for. Manifesting the personal will to persevere and see something through to success is helpful in bolstering the grit and effort that is being expended.