Arts & Entertainment

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By Dr. Lori Verderame

I have been advising people about at yard sales for decades. Here are my top tips for those of you who love yard sales, both buyers and sellers.

Many of us have spent a weekend driving around your favorite neighborhoods to shop on other people’s lawns. Typically, you end up buying a few things that you really don’t need but you just can’t leave on a neighbor’s lawn like a watering can, vintage poster, and bunch of silk napkins. You spend $12 and call it a day.

As an expert appraiser, there are many things that people don’t know about yard sales. The first thing that most people don’t know about yard sales is that it is big business. You think it is just small time stuff with neighbors cleaning out the basement of old junk, but in reality, yard sales are the source of objects that command six figure price tags in other markets far from someone’s freshly mowed front yard.

That’s right, the elite auction houses and internet markets for art, antiques, and collectibles use yard sales as a major source for their inventory. And, many of the major auction houses and smaller estate auction houses regularly send people known as pickers or runners out to yard sales to get some of their auction inventory from yard sales.

These people are sent to neighborhoods where the homes have reached the 50-year old mark assuming that their original owners are ready to move on to assisted living facilities, in with family members, or on to smaller, downsized residences.

Most unknowing yard sale hosts just think that they are just selling their stuff to naive shoppers. Well, be warned if you are a yard sale seller or shopper. Yard sale buyers and sellers are competing with the pros out there. These big time buyers know what you’ve got, know what it is really worth, know where to sell it for top dollar, and they are not in the game to tell you that you just made a big mistake putting out that Eastlake table or vintage Guerlain perfume bottle on the front lawn for $25 dollars or 50 cents respectively.

And your asking price is all wrong too! These guys are going to get you down on the asking price and take away something very valuable that was once in your house as a treasured family heirloom.

Know what you’ve got before you schlep it out to the front lawn. At my mobile website, you can send a photo of an object from a yard sale and I will tell you its value before you buy it. This is how technology will help you cash in.

Celebrity appraiser, Dr. Lori Verderame is an internationally syndicated columnist, author, and award-winning TV personality who stars on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Discovery’s Auction Kings. With a Ph.D. from Penn State Univ., Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events to worldwide audiences. Visit or 888-431-1010.

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By Dr. Lori Verderame

To date, nearly 100 toys have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York. The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 and toy inductees include: soap bubbles, Rubik’s cube, rubber duck,  stick (yes, cuz every kid plays with sticks), the cardboard box, chess, Hot Wheels toy cars, little green army men, doll house, Star Wars action figures, dominoes among others. Anyone can nominate a toy into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of a panel of judges, made up of historians, educators, and others in the field of play.

This prompted me to consider how vintage toys are repurposed into new art forms. I found some pretty interesting collaborative efforts, mainly in the areas of fashion, art and jewelry design.

Crayola crayon and colored pencil necklaces are the result of a designer using a pre-fab necklace, rope or chain link to string through a group of pre-drilled crayons or pencils to make a colorful necklace. Colored pencils also can be chopped up and strung in the manner of small scale beads to make bracelets, necklaces, etc.

Another unusual toy- inspired work of art are the Lego toys that have been made into high fashion, ultra-expensive jewelry pieces. For instance, the Chanel clutch purse based on Lego designs ranges in price from $9,900 to $11,000 each. These purses are true works of art, hence the price tag. The purses come in bright colors just like original Lego building blocks and feature geometric shapes. Since their introduction, the Chanel Lego purse has been seen in the hands of some of today’s trendy celeb-fashionistas, Rihanna, Jennifer Biel, and Kim Kardashian West.

Purses are not the only Lego-inspired artwork out there. The Smithsonian Institution’s annual Craft2Wear event featured jewelry using Legos. Actual Lego blocks are strung together into necklaces, earrings, and bracelets by several designers the world over. Some are enhanced with sterling silver, set precious stones and gold leaf.

If you are a gamer, then consider a PlayStation wallet. Inspired by Sony’s best-selling video game console introduced in 1994, the PlayStation wallet is modeled after the look of the original PlayStation and like some of their games, the wallet is hand held.

Beanie baby purses featuring stuffed animals still focus on the famous Ty tag and animals with clever names like Beary Bag (bear) and Hutch Clutch (rabbit).

Who knows, maybe we will see the introduction of Rubik’s cube bracelets, little green army men earrings, and soap bubble wand barrettes.

Celebrity appraiser, Dr. Lori Verderame is an internationally syndicated columnist, author, and award-winning TV personality who stars on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Discovery’s Auction Kings. With a Ph.D. from Penn State Univ., Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events to worldwide audiences. Visit  or 888-431-1010.

The Houston Symphony announced today that tickets for the 2017-18 season’s Fall concerts are now on sale to the general public at or by calling 713-224-7575.

During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras. The 2017-18 BBVA Compass POPS season features a diverse array of musical options from pop music, film scores like Psycho, and Broadway’s biggest showstoppers, under the leadership of Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke.

Psycho (1960)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Shown: Janet Leigh (as Marion Crane)

Highlights from the first half the season include an exciting world premiere by new Composer-in-Residence Jimmy López, Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes performing an all-Thanksgiving program, and a brand-new holiday extravaganza with multitalented actress and singer Megan Hilty. On Halloween weekend, audiences will be treated to Alfred Hitchcock’s supreme thriller, Psycho, as the Houston Symphony performs Bernard Herrmann’s bone-chilling, iconic score.

Making their debuts this first half of the season are vocalist Betsy Wolfe, violinist Leticia Moreno, countertenor Daniel Taylor, tenor Samuel Levine, baritone Nicholas Brownlee, and bass Alex Rosen. Returning vocalists include sopranos Yulia Van Doren and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Making their conducting debuts are Vassily Sinaisky and Paul Agnew.

Returning to Houston for a one-night only performance is NPR veteran Garrison Keillor after stepping down from hosting A Prairie Home Companion following an incredible 42-season run. With his trademark storytelling and candid, observational comedy, Keillor captivates audiences using his unique blend of humor, charisma and wisdom for this one-night event.

Classical performances are now more accessible than ever with new, lower prices for the same world-class artistic experiences audiences have come to love. Classical concerts start at just $23; for more information or to purchase, visit or call the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center at (713) 224-7575, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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Inspirational book guides to achieve ‘free pass’ to heaven

Gregory Armstrong debuts with ‘Heavenly Bound’

HUMBLE, Texas – Gregory Armstrong marks his publishing debut with the release of “Heavenly Bound” (published by Xlibris), an inspirational guidebook written by his mother to tell how important life is on earth and the beauty of life after death.

Written more than 30 years ago, the book explains how Armstrong’s mother experienced life as a Christian and prepared her life before going to heaven.

“My mother was very spiritual and believed in the Lord, and she wanted to share her experiences about preparing yourself before you pass away and meet the Lord.”

“Heavenly Bound” will be instrumental to those who know they are facing death and want to get right with the Lord and themselves before they die. Moreover, the book helps the family, friends and loved ones to ease themselves, knowing there is a place after life that is greater than what is on earth.

“It’s a book that explains the ‘Free Pass’ to heaven,” Armstrong shares. “I am hoping that each individual that reads this book gets the message that we all pray and hope for going through life, which is the security knowing that there is a Lord and Savior, and He did die for us, and those that believe in him will be at a better place one day.”

A snippet from the book reads:

Am I saved? If I died right now, do I know without any doubt in my mind that I would go immediately to heaven to be with my Lord, or do I just hope so?

“Heavenly Bound”

By Gregory Armstrong

Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 108 pages | ISBN 9781543428674

Softcover | 6 x 9in | 108 pages | ISBN 9781543428667

E-Book | 108 pages | ISBN 9781543428681

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Fifty-six-year-old author Gregory Armstrong is a retired Houston firefighter, third generation. The book “Heavenly Bound” is his mother’s dream.

Xlibris Publishing, an Author Solutions, LLC imprint, is a self-publishing services provider created in 1997 by authors, for authors. By focusing on the needs of creative writers and artists and adopting the latest print-on-demand publishing technology and strategies, we provide expert publishing services with direct and personal access to quality publication in hardcover, trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full-color formats. To date, Xlibris has helped to publish more than 60,000 titles. For more information, visit or call 1-888-795-4274 to receive a free publishing guide. Follow us @XlibrisPub on Twitter for the latest news.

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New book aims to help people deal with themselves, shares stories of overcoming adversity

Charles Thomas Jr. announces publication of ‘Breakthrough’

HERNDON, Va. – Wanting to help individuals effectively deal with themselves, Charles Thomas Jr. wrote “Breakthrough: Stories of Resilience, Tragedy, and Triumph” (published by WestBow Press), which captures the lived experiences and collective wisdom of individuals from varied walks of life and shares stories of overcoming adversity.

Thomas explains, “This book offers insights and alternative perspectives that illustrate that we do not have to walk alone. We do not have to suffer in silence. We do not have to be isolated individuals.”

“Breakthrough” addresses the necessity for full engagement and active participation in the life journey. Themes of hard work, failure, resilience, collaboration and leadership under fire are prevalent throughout.

“I want readers to know that the journey is more important than the destination. … Breakthrough moments are within reach as long as we actively engage in life, maintain belief, and connect with the community,” Thomas says.


By Charles Thomas Jr.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 164 pages | ISBN 9781512783537

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 164 pages | ISBN 9781512783520

E-Book | 164 pages | ISBN 9781512783513

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Charles Thomas Jr. is a husband, father, son, brother, friend, educator, writer, philanthropist, radio personality, multi-award-winning social entrepreneur and concerned citizen. He strives to live according to the renaissance ideal of broad learning and full engagement in life as a demonstration of human potential. He was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and children. Thomas is also the author of “Scars, Exile, and Vindication: My Life As An Experiment.”

WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Author Solutions, LLC — the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.  For more information, visit or call (866)-928-1240. For WestBow Press news, click “Like” at and follow @westbowpress on Twitter.

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Pastor Paul Howie & Dixie the Cowdog teach readers how to ‘see God everywhere’

Author announces release of new short story collection, ‘A Lick of Sense – The Book’

EASTLAND, Texas – With many families living in cities, far away from the food source, one may argue it isn’t hard to understand why people forget what it is that makes them human. “A Lick of Sense – The Book: Cowboy devotionals” (published by iUniverse) by Pastor Paul Howie & Dixie the Cowdog addresses the very issue, featuring a collection of short stories concerning making sense of life and understanding God through life on their ranch.

“I was frequently learning lessons about God from my dog,” says Howie of Dixie. Howie draws from the insights he gathered from observing Dixie, his horse Tater and their daily adventures on the ranch.

Howie refers to his short story collection as “cowboy wisdom.” The book in many ways highlights the benefits of leading a life close to nature. Like the cows need grass and water, Howie argues, people are in need of nourishment. He hopes the inspirational stories will encourage readers to restore their humanity and enhance their relationship with God.

He adds, “I want my readers to learn to see God everywhere.”

“A Lick of Sense – The Book”

By Pastor Paul Howie & Dixie the Cowdog

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 196 pages | ISBN 9781532003202

E-Book | 196 pages | ISBN 9781532003400

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Paul Howie lives in Eastland, Texas, with his wife. Together, they have three children and a grandson. Howie is pastor of the Leon River Cowboy Church in Eastland. He enjoys roping and is seen often at the arena with his roping horse, Tater. He is never seen without his faithful sidekick, Dixie.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, LLC, self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center expands beyond the limits of your imagination during Sci-Fi Summer

Select “Freak Out Friday” character appearances!

Now through Labor Day

Sponsored by Baird


 The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center’s “Sci-Fi Summer” will take you to infinity and beyond!  Happening now through Labor Day weekend, you’re invited to take off on an out-of-this world adventure where imagination and reality collide. Come and explore the endless possibilities of time, space and mind-boggling discoveries where there are no limits to where you’re going, even if it means doing it all over again.  The future is what you make of it now!  Teleport to your own “Sci-Fi Summer” adventure and imagine what you’ll know tomorrow!  It’s a “Sci-Fi Summer” at the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center – A Very Special Project of the Children’s Museum of Houston!


  • Be in for a shock as you steer robots in the Robotics Lab at Mercedes-Benz Precision Center.
  • Go in search of E.O. (extraordinary) characters with Sci-Fi character meet-and-greets.
  • Get stoked during select “Freak Out Friday” character appearances.



Stop by to see some of your favorite Sci-Fi characters on select Fridays all summer long!



Friday, June 23, from 1 to 4 p.m.

You’re invited to go bananas during an epic meet-and-greet of despicable fun and indecipherable nonsense.  Head to the Discovery Center for a one-in-a-Minion chance to meet your favorite goggle-wearing henchmen, Lucy and the not-so-evil Gru from “Despicable Me” during a fan celebration.



Friday, July 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sail across the “open ocean” on an action-packed voyage, encountering extraordinary characters and impossible odds!  Make waves while you meet Moana and immerse yourself in island life and culture during a fan celebration.



Friday, July 28, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Our spidey senses are tingling! The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center will get tangled in a web of excitement during a Spider-Man Day fan celebration.  Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will spin into gear for a special appearance with Black Widow.  Plus, rising artist and illustrator Christian Navarrete will show you how to illustrate popular characters from the Spider-Man universe, including Spider-Man, Venom, Green Goblin, Doctor Octavius, Vulture, and more! (Workshop signup onsite)



Friday, Aug. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Calling all Star Trek and Star Wars fans!  It’s highly illogical but the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center is boldly going where no man has gone before.  Galaxies will collide when Star Trek and Star Wars fans face off at the ultimate throw down.  You’re invited to dress up, team up with your favorite side and become part of this intergalactic saga during a fan celebration.  Resistance is futile.  Live long and prosper and may the force be with you!  Plus, rising artist and illustrator Christian Navarrete will show you how to illustrate popular characters from Star Trek or Star Wars.  (Workshop signup onsite)



Friday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Ever had a bad hair day?  It’s time to own it and let the good times roll.  The Trolls are on a roll in on their quest to show you that happiness comes within yourself.  You’re invited to sing, dance and hug all day long.  Caution and optimism do go hand in hand.  Hang out with the Trolls and don’t forget to bring your camera during this fan celebration.





Now through June 22

Have you ever wanted to have super powers? Explore how you can develop mutant super powers by transforming into a Sci-Fi mutant or join the amazon fight for truth and justice.  Create the illusion of movement in a one-of-a-kind dynamic drawing at Art Academy or explore the probability involved in genetic inheritance as you create Sci-Fi organisms with super-powers at Science Station. 



June 23 through July 6

All of our favorite Sci-Fi superheroes occasionally have to battle the bad guys to test their strength and ability to overcome conflicts.  Join the battle of The Dark Side with an artsy project inspired by the Nōtan art of Japan at Art Academy or design your own Dalek, the villainous droids from Dr. Who at Junktion. 



July 7 to 20

Come join us as we take on a whirlwind adventure through different galaxies, realities, and timelines.  Hold on tight as you prepare yourself to be Twisting Time with an out of this world tie-dye art at Art Academy. Decorate a paper armband “time travelling watch” to help you travel back in time and make your own Sonic Screwdriver just like in “Doctor Who” at Junktion.




July 20 through Aug. 2

Ever wondered what was behind some of the best special effects in film and television?  Explore the real science of how technology can be used to alter reality.  Experiment with surrealism in a collage that is sure to feel like it’s from another planet at Art Academy. Become an out of this world alien and design

your own galaxy-inspired amagraph to learn about optical illusions at Junktion.


***Activities, events, and times subject to change. 



Ranked as one of the “Top 10 Things to Do in Sugar Land” on TripAdvisor, The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center is a Playground for Your Mind™.  It is dedicated to transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a vision to spark a passion for lifelong learning in all children.  Located at 198 Kempner St., Sugar Land, TX 77498 in the Historic Imperial Market, the Discovery Center offers a multitude of innovative exhibits and bilingual learning programs for kids ages birth to 12 years.  Admission is $12 per person and $11 for seniors 65 years and older and for members of the military.  HOURS are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, please visit or call (832) 742-2800.  Also, “like” the Museum on Facebook,   Can your mind come out to play?™



Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has more than 3,400 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has $171 billion in client assets. Committed to being a great place to work, Baird ranked No. 4 on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017 – its 14th consecutive year on the list. Baird is the marketing name of Baird Financial Group. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at



Raymond Carl Hizon shares ‘The Good Child’s Way’

Raymond Carl Hizon marks his publishing debut with the release of “The Good Child’s Way: A Book for Children” (published by Partridge Singapore). Interactive, educational and fun, this guidebook is offered to young boys and girls who want to be good children.

“In any society, our children’s education is key for their development. Education, however, should not merely focus on helping students gain new knowledge and skills but also help them build a good moral character,” Hizon highlights.

“The Good Child’s Way” is a book that contains seven poems dealing with different aspects of a child’s life, touching on their relationship with the world around them. The book teaches good manners, proper treatment of others in one’s environment and a child’s relationship with God. Coupled with engaging illustrations, it is a book calling on children to be champions of goodness in this world.

“I would like the young readers to be inspired and guided to be good children. I would like them to realize the joys of being good. Lastly, I want them to know that there is a loving God who can give their lives so much meaning and hope. I want my readers to live fulfilling lives as good people,” the author adds.

“The Good Child’s Way”

By Raymond Carl Hizon

Softcover | 8.5 x 8.5in | 24 pages | ISBN 9781543741117

E-Book | 24 pages | ISBN 9781543741124

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Raymond Carl Hizon was born in the Philippines and grew up in Hong Kong. He has worked as an English teacher for over eight years before publishing his first children’s book, “The Good Child’s Way.”

Partridge Singapore, an imprint in partnership with Penguin Random House Singapore, aims to help writers in Singapore, Malaysia, and the rest of Southeast Asia become published authors. Partridge Singapore gives authors in the region direct access to a comprehensive range of expert publishing services that meet industry standards but are more accessible to the market. For more information or to publish a book, visit or call 800 101 2657 (Singapore) or 1 800 81 7340 (Malaysia). For the latest, follow @PartridgeSG on Twitter.


“A great place to hang out with family and friends. Premium gourmet food, coffee, lattes, craft beer, wines, free Wi-Fi, sofas to relax. Leave different!”
I took that line from their Facebook page. After seeing the pictures and reading the reviews – I’m ready.
This new restaurant located at 1856 Barker Cypress opened after the first of the year. If you are looking for something different, this just might be it.
It is the Laikh House Gourmet Café. They serve everything from “lite Bites” to World Class Burgers (USDA certified “never-ever” beef). They even have Parmesan and spicy fries to go with your burger. They can serve you a glass of cold, crafted beer or wine to go with your dinner selection or better yet, an avocado mango milkshake!
To start your morning, how about Black bread (Rye) and bacon, grilled tomatoes, shredded cheese, avocado, fried egg, arugula and aioli for breakfast. To go with that they have a great selection of gourmet coffees and teas.
This is a family oriented restaurant, so bring the kids. They have a private room for your meetings or even a “ladies’ day out”.
You can check them out on Yelp and Facebook. Read the reviews. You will find people had all good things to say about the Laikh House Gourmet Café. See you there.

The Northwest Cycling Club invites cyclists to participate in 32, 42, 55, 62, and 100-mile routes on Sunday, July 16 beginning at 6:45 a.m. at Tompkins High School located at 4400 Falcon Landing Blvd.

Lunch will be provided in the OTHS cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Radios and headphones prohibited. Register at