Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas’ Cookie Power Sale-Athon Kicks Off Friday

Girl Scout Cookies*

Put the diets on hold because the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas are kicking off their annual cookie-thon. Starting Friday, January 12, the GSNETX Cookie Sale will have Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-Si-Does, Lemonades, Savannah Smiles, Thanks-A-Lot, Toffee-tastics, Trios and Girl Scouts S’Mores available online thanks to the Digital Cookie mobile app made possible by Dell.

Girl Scout cookie sales*

But if you’re a little hesitant about going online or just want to meet a hardworking scout, you can always rely on the good old cookie booth.

Where is the nearest cookie booth going to be? Just pop in your ZIP code and the info will be there.

Funds raised by the cookies will stay in North Texas and support G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) ™ programs that develop future leaders.

Since the cookie season ends February 25, the diets can get underway Monday, February 26.

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas

Dallas Arboretum Is Offering A “Thank You For 2017” Special In January

It’s so typical of North Texas. The temperatures slide up and down the thermometer. But in January because there’s a tendency to bundle up instead of tube topping, the Dallas Arboretum is offering a “Thank You For 2017” bargain. Here’s the scoop on the special price:

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

Instead of the usual $10-$15 admission, the fee is a measly $5 each day for the whole month! Why not take them up on the offer before the 12 Days of Christmas and the 100+ Nutcrackers in the DeGolyer House go on hiatus starting Sunday, January 7? BTW, many of the Nutcrackers are from the collection of the late Rosemary Thornton Brinegar, whose daughter Mary Brinegar is the Arboretum’s CEO/president.

The grounds are the perfect spot to start that brisk walking program that you promised yourself to shed the holiday pounds.

And what about checking out A Tasteful Place? There are indoor activities including daily tastings, classes and demonstration.

Caveat: The Rory Meyers Children Adventure Garden is closed for its annual maintenance. BTW, the $5 does not include parking.  

How About A Sweet Gift That Won’t Break The Bank

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the rear view mirror, some folks are still stumped for the perfect gift.

Bonton Farms just may have the answer.

What is Bonton? It’s a community in southeast Dallas that got underway in the early 1900s. Instead of flourishing as North Texas did over the decades, it fell into a whirlpool of poverty and crime. Since 63% of its resident lacked personal transportation, they had to rely on public transit resulting in a three-hour round-trip for grocery shopping. Bonton literally became the perfect example of an “food desert.”

Luckily, in recent years people have come together to change the situation. One of the most impressive steps was the creation of 40-acre Bonton Farms with vegetables, poultry and goats providing fresh food for locals and for sale. In addition to the Bonton residents, a Great Pyrenees named Moses oversaw the operations.

Bonton Farms’ goat*

Bonton honey (Not actual bottle)

And one of the products that might meet the idea of perfect gifting was Bonton honey. It’s locally produced thanks to the Bon Ton residential bees; it’s benefiting the Bonton efforts and it’s cheap ($8 for a bottle).

What an ideal stocking stuffer or hostess gift! Or, what about dressing it up with a toast holder and a fresh loaf of Empire Bakery bread? And why not get some of the honey for yourself? It’s perfect to sweeten up hot tea.

And if you’re holiday gift list is done, consider Bonton honey for future gifts. It’s a sweet deal.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

Dallas Zoo Residents Are Ready For A Herd Of Visitors For Thursday’s Dollar Day! Special

The Dallas Zoo folks snuck up on a lot of folks. Instead of waiting until August scorches the area, they’re holding the infamous Dollar Day! this Thursday. That’s a $14 saving for adults and a $11 saving for youths and seniors.

Not only is admission going to be a dollar, but the following will be available for a buck each:

  • selected snack items (canned drinks, water, hot dogs and chips)
  • nectar to feed the lorikeets
  • bird food at the Travis and Zach’s Birds Landing

Giraffe (File photo)

And if you want to splurge and look like a big spender, here are some other bargains for this one-day-only special:

  • $2 T-Rex Express mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings (and, yes, the giraffes do have long black tongues)

Since parking is going to be $8 and traffic is expected to be limited, try out the DART Red Line.

Hippopotamus (File photo)

BTW, prepare yourself for the Simmons Hippo Outpost. These two are more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

BTW, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and cameras.

JUST IN: 2nd Annual Penguin Days Starts Three-Month Run Thursday

While some folks may not cotton to the upcoming drop in temperatures, there are Dallas Zoo residents that are thrilled. Okay, so maybe the reptiles don’t really care. They’re staying comfy in their heated digs in the Herpetarium. But Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings just sent word that the African Penguins are beside themselves.

Penguins (File photo)

Dallas Zoo Penguins (File photo)

And as part of the wintry feel, the humans at the zoo have announced that starting tomorrow (aka Thursday, December 1) the second annual Penguin Days will commence.

What’s Penguin Days? No, it doesn’t mean that the staff dresses up in tuxedos and waddles around. Rather, it translates to bargains for Dallas Zoo guests. Until Tuesday, February 28, the price of admission will be dropped to $7 per person (kiddos age 2 and Dallas Zoo members will still be free).

Open daily except for Christmas Day, the 106-acre zoo’s hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

JUST IN: 14th Annual Celebration Of Reading Has New Ticket Pricing Levels And Sponsorship Perks Available Now

Despite Papa George H.W. Bush taking a tumble and in the hospital, Mama Barbara Bush isn’t letting this slow down her 14th annual Celebration of Reading on Monday, October 12.

The tickets just went on sale and this year there’s been some added levels of participation. And they range from less expensive to added perks for sponsorships.

For guests who want to attend the pre-event reception, the presentation of best-selling authors (Harlan Coben, Dana Perino, Jodi Picoult, Scott Simon and Markus Zusak) in the McDermott Concert Hall at the Meyerson plus have “a light dinner” afterwards, the tickets are $250 each.

Michelle Staubach Grimes (File photo)

Michelle Staubach Grimes (File photo)

But for those who just want to hear the authors and skip din-din, the price of a ticket is just $100. They’ll still get to attend the pre-event reception and have a reserved seat. Now, that’s a deal.

At the other end of the spectrum, for generous sponsors there will be the Celebration Luncheon with members of the Bush family and the authors as well as a VIP reception prior to the presentation! Of course, they’ll have reserved seats at the presentation and dinner.

Also, you can expect to see some of the Staubach clan in attendance since children’s author Michelle Staubach Grimes is now chairing the Dallas fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Suggestion: After you finish reading “Go Set A Watchman,” check out the Celebration of Reading authors’ handiwork.

Winspear, Amani, Marina, Kamau And Giants Of The Jurassic Are Ready For Thursday’s Dollar Day At The Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is becoming the Chuck E. Cheese for critters. Just this past Saturday Cheetah Winspear and his running buddy Amani the Labrador celebrated their second birthday with “meaty ice cakes.”

Marina before dipping in

Marina before dipping in*

Tuesday new-penguin-on-the-ice-block Marina made a splash for zoo guests and the media as she took her first dip in the Don Glendenning Penguin Cove. While there was a “lifeguard” in the pool just in case, Marina took to it like a duck penguin to water with her folks Tazo and Tulip looking on.

It was just back on Wednesday, April 15, that the little African black-footed penguin was hatched, weighing “a little more than a C battery.” Now three months later she’s a whopping five pounds.

The reason for the delay was she had to slough off her “fluffy gray downy feathers.”

Marina making a splash

Marina making a splash*

The timing couldn’t have been absolutely more perfect! Why? Because Thursday is Dollar Day at the Dallas Zoo and Marina, Winspear, Amani, hunky new lion king Kamau and the Giants of the Jurassic will all be out and about for the hundreds … uh, no … make that thousands of visitors.

What? Is that an exaggeration? When you realize the normal fee is $15 for adults and $12 for kids (ages 3-11) and seniors (age 65 and up), a buck is a very sweet deal. Last year Dollar Day attracted 33,000 visitors and they’re hoping to hit the 30,000 mark Thursday. Wouldn’t it be great if they topped the 2014 attendance?

Suggestion: Take DART to and from. It’s cheaper than the $8 parking fee in the zoo parking lot, less frustrating that competing for a parking space and you won’t have to hassle with traffic.

Also, don’t forget the sunscreen, a hat and comfy walking shoes.

The zoo opens at 9, but be smart and get there early. Marina, Winspear, Amani, Kamau and the rest of the zoo family will be waiting for you.

* Photo credit: Cathy Burkey/Dallas Zoo

Dallas Arboretum Has Special Deals Galore Starting Next Week

More than 125,000 folks have checked out “The 12 Days of Christmas” at the Dallas Arboretum, since it opened on Sunday, November 16. The $2M Christmas exhibit of huge gazebos has been eye candy and the perfect backdrop for photos.

The 12 Days of Christmas photo opportunity

The 12 Days of Christmas photo opportunity (File photo)

As a belated Christmas gift, the Arboretum is offering a 2-4-1. Starting Monday, you can buy one ticket and get a second one free.

Night time visits are available Monday through Sunday, except for Thursday. That’s New Year’s Day and the Arboretum is closed.

The 12 Days Of Christmas Piper

The 12 Days Of Christmas Piper (File photo)

Tickets are $20 for adults; $25 for seniors; $10 for children ages 3 to 12; and children under 3 are free. Parking is included with nighttime tickets.

“We know that it’s a busy time of year, and for all those who are still trying to come and see the popular exhibit, we want to give visitors an incentive to come see it a little later in the evening,” said Dallas Arboretum President Mary Bringer. “The 12 Days at Night is just magical with the lighting, music and movement, and guests of all ages will enjoy making this one a holiday tradition.”

But there’s still more bargain opps at the Arboretum. No sooner will the 12 Days disappear than a new pricing kicks off. From Monday, January 5, to Saturday, January 31, admission will be $5 at the gate for non-members to walk the grounds. Hey, what better way to get a healthy start by taking daily constitutions among the acreage?

Want a better bargain? Of course, you do after spending all that money on gifts. Join the Dallas Arboretum and admission is free all year round.

Rory Meyers Children's Garden entrance (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Garden entrance (File photo)

BTW, the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Gardens is going on hiatus starting Monday, January 5. It will be refreshed and reopened on Friday, February 27.

MySweetCharity Reminder: Time Warner’s August Dollar Days Come To An End Sunday At The Dallas Arboretum

McCasland Sunken Garden (File photo)

McCasland Sunken Garden (File photo)

This weekend is your last chance to check out the Dallas Arboretum for a buck and the Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden for another smacker. Starting Labor Day (aka Monday, September 1), it’s farewell to Time Warner-sponsored August Dollars Days and the prices return to reality fees.

Why not grab your munchkin and your camera and snap that perfect photo?

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)



Or check out the koi in the Genesis Garden of A Woman’s Garden?

A Woman's Garden's Genesis Garden (File photo)

A Woman’s Garden’s Genesis Garden (File photo)

BTW, discounted parking is available online.

Al Biernat’s Has Your Extra Special Cheesy Valentine’s Sweetheart Gift For You To Pick

Emily Hargrove (File photo)

Emily Hargrove (File photo)

If you’re in need of a last minute, “I wanted something special for you” Valentine’s Day gift, Al Biernat’s has it. He’s offering Equest Therapeutic Cheesecake until they sell out.

No, they don’t have hoof prints embedded on them, though they might just therapeutically massage your taste buds.

According to Equest Chairman of the Board Emily Hargrove, in addition to being “very naughty (calories-wise) but very nice (taste-wise),” they benefit Equest? As if you didn’t already guess the answer to that one.

Why not break with the chocolate and rose tradition and get cheesy? Bet Al, Brad or Audra will even give you a big V-Day hug when you pick it up. Score more than one cake and you just might get a bear hug from all three.

In case you don’t have Al’s number on your speed dial, it’s 214.219.2201.

Café Pacific’s Jack Knox Celebrates 33 Year Of “Knowing Nothing About The Restaurant Business”

Jack Knox (File photo)

Jack Knox (File photo)

Tuesday was a long day for the Café Pacific staff. But it was a long time coming. Back in 1980, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton’s buddy Mel Harris convinced businessman/lawyer Jack Knox to partner with him on a restaurant. There was an empty space in Highland Park Village just across the street from the S&S Tearoom. It would be called Café Pacific. But the partnership soured after 18 months, when Mel “handed over” the front-door keys to Jack saying that Knox knew “nothing about running a restaurant.”

Today Jack is the first to admit that Mel was right.

But Tuesday night, the man who knew nothing about restaurants was celebrating 33 years of CP’s being the go-to-place for boldface names to celebrate holidays, hold tête-à-têtes, and enjoy pristine service that makes “Gosford Park” seem like a Dairy Queen drive-thru.

The celebration started with a Monday night email in which Jack sent word to loyal CP friends that, on Tuesday, he was turning the clock and the menu back to opening day, August 27, 1980, complete with 1980 prices. Bouillabaisse under $11; Caesar salad for $2.95, etc. By 8 p.m. they had run out of CP’s signature Baked Artichoke.

As the scent of garlic and the sound of convivial chatter wafted through the place last evening, the white-tablecloth restaurant was filled with the likes of Chris Turner, Lynn and Allan McBee and Doris and Jack Jacobs with Lee Bailey. General Manager David Knouse and Dining Room Manager Vincent McGrath showed no sign of weariness, despite the day of non-stop greeting guests like beloved relatives and apologizing for not having their favorite table available Johnny-on-the-spot.

Jack himself was also at the front welcoming guests, visiting tables to make sure everything was going smoothly, and settling back on a stool in the bar surrounded by friends. Looking around the café’s elegant surroundings, with its brass rails and polished hardwood walls, he recalled a time in the late 1950’s when the restaurant space had been Everts Jewelers, with counters where tables now line the area along the windows. He had bought a necklace from Everts, whisper thin and costing him what seemed like a fortune, for his college sweetheart.

Last night he was once again making a sweetheart deal. It seems Monday night a friend suggested that Jack donate 50 cents for each of Tuesday’s orders to a nonprofit group. Without hesitation, Jack upped the ante, like a fraternity chum on a winning streak in a poker game. He would donate all of Tuesday’s sales to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.

So typical of Jack, the man who knew nothing about running a restaurant in 1980. But for 33 years he’s been Dallas’ prince of hospitality, generosity and class.

November’s MySweetDeal Ad Auction Ends Monday

Just a reminder that the auction for November’s MySweetCharity ads ends Monday at 6 p.m.

At this point, bids range from $10 to $500. It’s simple to bid.

Let’s try to make MSC accountant happy.

SweetDeal Ad Auction For October Ends Tomorrow

Have we been surprised by the folks bidding for space on MySweetCharity in October. But all good things come to an end and the October auction for ad spaces on MySweetCharity ends Saturday at 6 p.m. As of this morning, the current bids are

  • Banner ad — $500
  • Tower ad — $250
  • Badge ad #1 — $40
  • Badge ad #2 — $75

We’ll be covering Cattle Baron’s Ball, the Komen Race for the Cure, the Equest Luncheon, National Philanthropy Day, TACA Silver Cup announcement, The Real Estate Giving Gala and so many others in October.

If you want to top any of these bids, just send your offer to [email protected]


MSC SweetDeal: Question #5

MySweetCharity was recently asked if a person or persons could bid on an ad space to thank a group or to congratulate an organization/person for a job well done.

The answer is “Heck, yes!” We love being the online Hallmark card.

If you need details on the auction process, just go here.

The auction for October ads ends this Saturday at 6 p.m.  So, just send your questions and bids to [email protected]

BTW, there are some bargains still available much to the chagrin of Mr. MSC Accountant.