Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Snack Bars To Beat That 3pm Snack Attack

luna bar, thunderbird energetica, thinkthin bars, luna bars, luna bar protein
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I am one of those snack bar freaks, a connoisseur even.  If you find the right one, it can be a perfect midafternoon snack or a quality breakfast or lunch replacement in a pinch.

For a snack, look for something that is between 100-200 calories.  For a meal replacement, based on your personal caloric intake, try not to go above 350 calories.  Try to avoid bars that contain a ton of sugar or sugar alcohols, hydrogenated oils or saturated fats.  It's a good idea to find a bar that has a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Thunderbird Energetica - every flavor is delicious but I am particularly fond of the Cashew Fig variety.

thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber - a great afternoon snack that delivers 10 grams of protein and only 150 calories and five grams of sugar. Also like their Divine bars.

Luna Bar Protein - a lower glycemic bar, with 12 grams of protein that's under 200 calories.  More of candy bar consistency.

Luna Bar  - in general, these provide around eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber with around 13 grams of sugar. They're a better alternative than a cookie that my former fat self would eat. I especially love the Blueberry BlissChocolate Peppermint Stick or Iced Oatmeal Raisin flavors. They also come in 100-calorie mini form, which I love.

LARABAR - sort of a girlie bar but is 100% natural and made with real food like nuts, dates, apples, carrots and other products you recognize. The Carrot Cake flavor is great. Be careful, though. I have almost broken a tooth from a rogue pecan shell in LARABARS. These also come in 100-calorie minis. I also love their Coconut Macaroon Sweet & Salty Über bars. YUM!

Fiber One Protein Caramel Nut Chewy Bars - don't judge. These aren't 100% all natural but if I am craving chocolate or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, these hit the spot. They have 130 calories, seven grams of protein, seven grams of sugar and five grams of fiber. They're insanely good.

Make Your Own Snack Bar

You can also make your own bar. Nigella Lawson has a great snack bar recipe she calls a "breakfast bar" but you can adjust it to your own personal preference.  I alter it by using nonfat milk, almonds or walnuts instead of peanuts and nix the coconut. I always add flaxseeds for the omega 3 benefit.

I've made a goji berry walnut version and oatmeal raisin (tip: use liberal amounts of cinnamon)  These truly are "clean out the pantry" bars which are cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.

What am I missing? I'm always on the lookout for relatively good-for-you snack bars. Please share your favorites in the comments section.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

NBA Set to Lockout Its Players Tonight, Player Reaction Via Twitter

Here we go again.  All that feel-good Mavs mojo from the championship will come to a crashing thud later today when the NBA heads into its first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season.  On the bright side the Mavs could be the champs a little longer and those vet guys (I see you, J Kidd) will get some rest.

The NBA will lock out its players Thursday night when the current collective bargaining agreement expires at 11pm Dallas time.  Both sides have failed to reach any common ground on a new CBA.

NBA team owners, coaches, team executives and staff members are basically following a gag order and not commenting.  The Dallas Mavericks have made it clear they will not speak about the lockout.  Nothing from owner Mark Cuban, GM Donnie Nelson or head coach Rick Carlisle on the subject.

Cuban and Shawn Marion did seem to be focused on more positive issues like lunch and championship hardware.  Here are their tweets with the accompanying pictures from Thursday:

@matrix31 Fresh in my kitchen

@mcuban Who is under there Yoda, ET or Larry O ? My kitchen never looked so good

Cuban's counter & Yoda? I like the Tiffany blue
Here are a few more NBA player tweets for your lockout pleasure, with a triple latte bonus from Shane Battier (best NBA tweeter out there, imo):

@ShaneBattier Dear @NBA, lockout hasn't even started and I already miss your loving touch. Come back, baby. Cocktails and talk this out?

@ShaneBattier I think I have just decided to balance the national budget while I wait for the CBA to be signed. Wish me luck. Goodnight good people.

@ShaneBattier Barring a last minute miracle, looks like the lockout is on like kong. Anyone hiring/needing tall dark and handsome? Negotiable. Make offer

@andrewMbogut NBA Friends: Its July 1 in Australia, Lockout has started for me!! #unemployed #needwork #workingonresume #HOLYSHIT

@agentzeroshow So too all my NBA mates don't go overboard that's what they want us too stay out of trouble and good luck

@dwilkins3000 Guess it's official...we are LOCKED-OUT!! Sad day for the NBA and it's fans. Hopefully we will resolve this sooner than later about 1 hour ago

@JJ Redick47 Last day of camp for me. Probably won't be able to go tomorrow #lockout. For everyone who has asked me to plank- WON'T HAPPEN! #stupidity about 7 hours ago


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Your NBA WORLD CHAMPION Dallas Mavericks to Present Letterman Top 10!

How fun is this!!!!!!  (and look who is on the show with Carlisle)

The celebrations continue for the Mavs. This from the cut and paste department:


NEW YORK, June 14 – Members of the Dallas Mavericks, the 2011 NBA Champions, will present the Top Ten List on the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Wednesday, June 15 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Eight players from the team, including MVP Dirk Nowitzki, plus head coach Rick Carlisle and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, will present the Top Ten List via satellite from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. This will be the team’s first talk show appearance since their victory. The Mavericks clinched their first NBA Championship Sunday, June 12, beating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Also visiting the LATE SHOW Wednesday, June 15 are actor Jim Carrey, who stars in the new film “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”; and musician Todd Rundgren, who will sit in with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra.

The LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN is a production of Worldwide Pants Incorporated. Barbara Gaines, Matt Roberts, Jude Brennan, Maria Pope, Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel and Rob Burnett are the executive producers.

Mark Cuban, Dirk and Mavs sing "We are the Champions"

The best thing about winning an NBA championship is all the ridiculous, crazy, fabulous crap you get to do that you never thought you would EVER experience. From riding in parades, to popping an $80,000 bottle of champagne, to sharing moments with teammates, family and friends that are truly priceless; it's the best feeling in the world. Honestly. The absolute best.

Singing off key in one of Dallas' best watering holes is another one of them. Some Mavs players including Dirk Nowitzki, along with staff members, friends and owner Mark Cuban indulged at the Loon earlier this week. Moments like this are truly once-in-a-lifetime and the Mavs are taking every opportunity to take advantage of them.

*Tip of the hat for the heads up on the video to Brian Dameris.

O/T: If I shared with you some of the things I did after the Rockets won the title in 1995, you might never look at me the same. I was a 21 year old PR intern who rode in the Rockets victory parade.  I took a celebratory offseason trip to La Jolla with the team, all paid for by owner Les Alexander.  And I had many all-nighters at the Volcano and Los Andes (our watering holes that season) with Rudy T and the gang.  It was the best experience of my life.  I like to joke that it was all downhill from there. ;)
Sunday, June 12, 2011

Any Different Pre-Game Rituals for the Mavs Prior to Game 6?

In a word: no!

Mavericks players are doing the same thing they've done all postseason which for most includes a good pregame meal and an hour long nap.

"Today you just relax, do your normal routine," Mavs guard Jason Terry said Sunday morning at shootaround.

Having said that, he admittedly is the one superstitious exception.  His pregame routine is quite different from his teammates. 
"I'm very superstitious so all those superstitions will be intact and ready to roll," he added.

His biggest one: how he ties his shoes.  For him, getting the perfect tie is paramount.

What is the Mavericks Mindset Going Into Game 6?

Rick Carlisle's Sunday morning shootaround media session lasted an almost record-short one minute and 53 seconds.  Individual players' interviews weren't that much longer.  That's because eight hours prior to tip off of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, there's not much more these players and the Mavericks head coach can say about their Sunday night matchup with the Heat.

"This is Game 7," Jason Terry proclaimed on the American Airlines Arena floor.  "This is our approach tonight.  We're trying to get this thing done tonight."

If what the Mavericks have done previously this postseason is any indication, the odds are in their favor.  Dallas is 3-0 in closeout games this year.  Plainly put, they've ended playoff series when they've had the chance.   Whether it was the Blazers, Lakers or Thunder, Dallas got it done.

"It's been a killer instinct," center Tyson Chandler said when I asked him about the team's approach going into series-clinching games.  "Understand that you don't want it (the series) to go on, that you don't want to give the other team any hope, any chance.  You finish them while you can."

So what is the Mavericks mindset as they are just one win away from reaching that goal, winning the franchise's first-ever NBA title?  From what I've been able to glean, they're focused and relaxed while trying to maintain a bit of an edge.

"Same thing we been doing throughout the playoffs: we keep a certain amount of focus," Chandler said. "You don't change anything.  You don't try to get overhyped or animated, anything like that.  You just focus on the game, focus on execution, what you can do to succeed.

"This has been a very intense two week period," Rick Carlisle said during his 100-yard dash-like interview.  "It's an extended period yet it seems to go by quickly.  You just kinda roll with it.  I embrace the intensity of it and I know our guys do."
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why You Still Won't Be Hearing From Mavs Owner Mark Cuban Anytime Soon

You've heard all postseason long about Mark Cuban's silence.  You haven't heard him talk any trash about this postseason.  He hasn't made any postgame show appearances, given any lengthy interviews or made reference to dirty Riverwalk water.  Sure, he may have vented about a call or said a thing or two about the Dodgers but that's about it.

While he's been incredibly cordial and polite to all of us, even delivering a live postgame fist-pump to me on TXA21 outside the Mavs locker room in Portland after a Game 6 six win, he's politely declined ust about every substantial on the record interview request.

Don't expect that to change.

After the Mavs amazing comeback win in Game 4 Monday night in Oklahoma City he came out of the locker room following the game while the media throng was gathered in the hallway.  He had a relieved, half-smile on his face.  A number of media peeps asked him if he wanted to talk.  He broke into a bigger smile and shook his head no.

We joked with him, asking him if he's ever going to talk again, considering how well his team is playing with his lips somewhat sealed.  It was another broad smile with a head shake as he walked away.  He said something to the effect of "I'm not messing with what's working."

Much has been made about the genesis and inspiration of this silence.  I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a more coordinated effort.  Perhaps head coach Rick Carlisle has seen what a potential distraction Cuban's chatter has been in the past and maybe suggested that the owner stay quiet.

Just a thought.

Mavs Come From Behind to Beat Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conf...


Yes, that happened.

In my Michael Johnson-like pace to churn out a video blog before we hit the road to Dallas, I forgot to mention something.  Brendan Haywood told me that Rick Carlisle told his guys this was a character win.

Watching the Mavericks come from 15 points down with less than five minutes to go to beat OKC can understand why.  But what was so interesting was what Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd said after the game.

Both said that the Mavericks could have easily given up.  Think about it.  Down 15.  They had already gotten a win in Game 3.  A split in Oklahoma City (a tough place to play) would have been just fine by anyone's standards.  You would have taken that, wouldn't you?  But Dallas wasn't willing to settle for "just a split".  Both players admitted as much.  Obviously, if the Mavs don't win, we're having a different discussion.

That being said, I think "character win" is an appropriate description because Dallas showed a hell of a lot of it in Game 4.  It definitely wasn't anywhere close to a perfect game.  FAR from it.  I know most of you Mavs fans were cussing at the tv (and at me on twitter and facebook!).  But it's one they'll learn from, take and hope to build upon in Wednesday's Game 5.
Sunday, May 22, 2011

Are the Mavericks the Most Battle-Scarred Playoff Team in the NBA?

You could almost make the case for that.  And it might just be a reason why the Mavericks could be primed for one of their most successful seasons in franchise history. 

We've focused all offseason on just how playoff-tested the Mavericks are.  Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovich each have at least 10 years of postseason experience.  The rest of the squad, save for Corey Brewer, Dominique Jones, Brian Cardinal, Rodrigue Beaubois and Ian Mahinmi, all have at least five years of playoff experience.  All this postseason experience and, let's be honest, disappointment each individual player and Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle have been through with other teams have shaped this 2011 Mavericks squad.

It's made the Mavericks a hungry, smart team that understands not to take a ride on that emotional roller coaster than can be an NBA postseason.

But no one put it better than Jason Terry on Sunday before the Mavs watched film of Game 3.

"You look at each individual, almost to a man, Peja Stojakovich: Sacramento vs LA, he didn't get it done. Myself and Dirk: in the Finals up 2-0, didn't get it done.  Coach Carlisle: two Eastern Conference Finals, never made it to the championship.  Jason Kidd: two Finals appearances, didn't hoist up trophy.  Someone told me the other day Shawn Marion's been to Western Conference Finals twice, hadn't got the Finals.  Those unique stories in itself (is) what drives us and motivates us to get it done this year."

We know getting it, a championship, is the goal this season.  Can this be the team that finally does it?  I think it's in better shape, both mentally and physically, than the team that made the Finals run in 2006. 
Friday, May 20, 2011

It's One Silly Little Loss, But Are the Mavs Taking the Thunder Too Lightly? Yes, Says 1 Mavs Player

I'm not a girl who likes to say I told you so, but......

The Western Conference Finals are tied at one after Dallas lost to the Thunder 106-100 on Thursday. It's only one loss to but I definitely feel the Mavericks Game 1 win masked a few areas of concern that enabled the Thunder to win Game 2, particularly on defense.  Remember the Thunder were within six with under three minutes to play in Game 1.  We pointed this out on Mavericks Game Night prior to Game 2 Thursday night. 

This series is still right on pace for what I predicted to be a win for the Mavericks in six (I had OKC winning Game 1).  But have the Mavericks lost their edge defensively?  OKC is averaging 109 points a game through the first two.  Dallas didn't given up more than 100 in the entire postseason prior to the Conference Finals.  At least one Mavericks player admitted that they're concentration is off, perhaps they're taking OKC too lightly and that, yes, they have lost some edge.

Dallas allowed OKC to shoot 58% percent in Game 2 and, for the first time in a while, was outplayed by an opposing team's reserve players.  The Thunder bench outscored the Mavs second unit 50-29, led by James Harden's 23 points.

Much more in the video blog.
Thursday, May 5, 2011

What We Learned in the Mavs Win Over the Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

You can look at the box scores and stats anywhere on-line. These are my impressions of how the Mavs are handling this success.

I think it's fair to say the Dallas Mavericks have shown us something we haven't seen in a while. They are a more mature, veteran team that seems poised to deal with the roller coaster the NBA postseason throws at them. I was impressed with the Mavs victory but even more impressed with the player's reaction afterwards.

It's also worthwhile to note that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is keeping a lower profile in these 2011 playoffs. He seems to be letting his players and coaches do the playing and talking. He came out of the locker room Wednesday night, with an expression of relief, elation and restrained calm that was refreshing.

"We got two games. We got two games. Gotta get two more," he said emphatically but with a calm, almost library-appropriate voice.

I think everyone involved with this entire team is showing us something and, eight postseason games in, it looks good.
Monday, April 18, 2011

How Do the Mavs Do Following a Playoff Win? Here's the Ugly Info.

The Mavericks are focused on not having a let down in Game 2 vs Portland on Tuesday night.  It's good that is a point of emphasis because in the recent past, they have struggled in the immediate game following a playoff victory.

Check this out from the Negative Nellie Department:
Since Game 2 of the NBA Finals in 2006, the Mavs are 2-8 in the postseason in the game following a win.  The ONLY games immediately following a playoff win in which the Mavericks did NOT lose were Games 3 & 4 of their first round series against San Antonio in 2009.  They beat the Spurs in Game 3 and followed that with a win in Games 4 & 5 before ultimately winning the series. 

Here's the history:
2005-06 Postseason
June 11, 2006   Mavs beat the Heat 99-85 in Game 2 of the Finals
June 13, 2006   Mavs lose to the Heat 98-96 in Game 3
♦ Mavs lose the series 4-2

2006-07 Postseason
April 25, 2007   Mavs beat the Warriors 112-99 in Game 2 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2007   Mavs lose to the Warriors 109-91 in Game 3
May 1, 2007      Mavs beat the Warriors 118-112 in Game 5
May 3, 2007      Mavs lose to the Warriors 111-86 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2007-08 Postseason
April 25, 2008   Mavs beat the Hornets 97-87 in Game 3 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2008   Mavs lose to the Hornets 97-84 in Game 4
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2008-09 Postseason
April 18, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 105-97 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 20, 2009   Mavs lose to the Spurs 105-84 in Game 2
April 23, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 88-67 in Game 3
April 25, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 90-80 in Game 4
April 28, 2009   Mavs beat Spurs 106-93 in Game 5
♦ Mavs win series 4-1

May 11, 2009   Mavs beat the Nuggets 119-117 in Game 4 of the 2nd round of the playoffs
May 13, 2009   Mavs lose to the Nuggest 124-110 in Game 5
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2009-10 Postseason
April 18, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 100-94 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 21, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 102-88 in Game 2
April 27, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 103-81 in Game 5
April 29, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 97-87 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2010-11 Postseason
April 16, 2011   Mavs beat the Blazers 89-81 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 19, 2011   ???????????

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nuggets/Mavs Preview: We're Getting Physical....Again

Could Wednesday's game against the Nuggets result in a win the Mavericks need to end their three-game losing streak?  Just at first glance, you could make the case for Dallas.  

The Nuggets are playing on the second night of a back to back, after losing to Oklahoma City in Denver on Tuesday.  It was actually Denver's first loss at home since February 7th.  They were 10-0 at the Pepsi Center since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  They had won six straight prior to the Thunder loss and are 15-5 since the trade. 

What's impressive is the way they've been playing. 

"Since trade they're best defensive team in the league, allowing 10 less points per game, which is staggering," Rick Carlisle claimed Tuesday at practice.  "They're doing it with great balance and are doing it with 10-11 man rotation."

In fact, prior to the Thunder game, Denver was allowing only 94.8 points per game in their previous 19 games, down from the 105.2 they were giving up before the trade.
Then Carlisle mentioned the "P" word which describes the Nuggets perfectly.  I'm channeling Olivia Newton-John. 

"They're physical and it's going to be a big test for us."

Oh Lord.  Another physical team (I still remember how the Mavs were pushed around in their 2009 playoff series against the Nuggets).  Another test.  How did Dallas do in its last test?   Need I remind you of last Thursday's game against the Lakers which has lit up the DFW airwaves and interwebs with "soft" talk? 

What's the focus for the trying-to-toughen-up Mavs tonight? 

"Transition defense is going to be big," Carlisle said.  "We have to compete for shots on offense because they stay into you." 

Denver has had a lot of success against the Mavericks lately, winning eight of the last 11 regular season meetings with Dallas and four of the last six at the AAC. 

I am personally stoked about this game, the first post-trade meeting between the two teams.  The Mavs said they worked on a number of things on Tuesday at practice: communication, defense and focusing on their flow game.  I'm anxious to see how they respond after playing poorly in those three straight losses and see how they react to Denver's aggressive, physical style of play which puts up a league best 107.2 points per game.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Mavericks Failure to Communicate

With apologies to any Cool Hand Luke fan and the late actor, Strother Martin, who portrayed Luke's prison warden so wonderfully, the Mavericks have a failure to communicate.

"It depends if you're talking on or off court," Mavericks center Tyson Chandler said with a big smile across his face.  "They gotta open their mouths on the court."

No doubt Jason Terry's recent "Charminator" comments come to mind as an excellent example of off the court chatter.  On the court, though, is a different story. 

Shawn Marion alluded to the issue last month and Chandler brought it up at Tuesday's practice.  I asked Chandler and head coach Rick Carlisle why a communication breakdown exists on a veteran team this late in the season and, frankly, their answers weren't so surprising.

"We got guys that just aren't big talkers," Chandler admitted.  "It's something we got to get used to. A lot of good teams talk, a lot of good teams communicate, whether it's something you do, whether it's something you're comfortable at, you got to make yourself comfortable at it."

The Mavericks are full of a bunch of nice, respectful, fabulous guys.  Most fathers would love it if their daughters brought any of these guys home.  In your face, inspiring leaders?  Perhaps not so much.

Chandler says he's trying.

"I feel like as a big guy, you see everything coming.  You're the last line of defense so, you know, I try to communicate to my guys when I'm out there," he said. 

Carlisle likes the fact they're talking about it.

"We spent time working on that today," he said.  We're a team of guys that have high basketball IQ but our personality isn't to be outgoing and talkative all the time.  That's a habit that we've worked on all year to develop and we've gotten better with it.  We can't allow there to be lapses."

This is where I paraphrase former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells who would say "you are what you are."  Is it too late for the Mavericks to try to become this communicative team when it's something they've struggled with this season?  The cynic in me says yes.

"Communication is so key, not only in keeping all the guys on the floor on the same page, but taking energy away from other guys on the floor, too," Carlisle added.
Sunday, April 3, 2011

Handing Out the NBA Postseason Hardware Plus a Finals Prediction

For Sunday night's Mavericks/Blazers pregame show, our young producer Cody Winstead assigned Bill Jones and I a task: pick our NBA MVP, Mavs MVP, 6th Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and our Finals prediction.

Bill and I didn't discuss our picks at all but they were almost identical, except for one.  So without further ado, here you go:

Bill: Derrick Rose
Gina: Derrick Rose

Mavs MVP
Bill: Dirk Nowitzki
Gina: Dirk Nowitzki

6th Man of the Year
Bill: Lamar Odom
Gina: Lamar Odom

Rookie of the Year
Bill: Blake Griffin
Gina: Blake Griffin
(this vote should be unanimous, league-wide, IMO)

Coach of the Year
Bill: Doug Collins
Gina: Tom Thibodeau

Bill liked the turnaround Collins has done with a 27-win team (currently 40 wins) that doesn't have real superstar players.  I liked what Thibodeau has done with a young 41-win team (currently 56 wins) that dealt with injuries well and is playing good defense.

Finals Prediction
Bill: Lakers over Bulls in 6
Gina: Lakers over Bulls in 5

Bill just couldn't pick the Heat.  I kind of agree with him.

What do you think?  Agree/disagree?  Who's getting your postseason hardware?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

University of Houston Basketball: Longing for the Days of Phi Slama Jama

Any time my alma mater, the University of Houston, actually gets some press outside the Houston area, I'm interested.  With this weekend's Final Four being held in the Bayou City's Reliant Stadium and with U of H hosting the festivities, it brings back memories of Phi Slama Jama.

The New York Times asks what the heck has happened to the once storied basketball program.  Quality players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Michael Young avoid U of H like the plague.  Partly because the school abandoned recruiting Houston area athletes.

Author Brett McMurphy notes that "some of the city’s top players who went elsewhere included T. J. Ford and Daniel Gibson (to Texas) and Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet (to Connecticut)."  He goes on to note that "although Hakeem Olajuwon, of Nigeria, was a key part of Houston’s Final Four runs, 14 of the 25 players from those three seasons were from Houston high schools, including Drexler, Michael Young and Larry Micheaux."

It's been slim pickings for the basketball program since the great Guy V. Lewis strolled the Hofheinz Pavillion rotunda.  "In the 25 seasons since Lewis, the Cougars have had six coaches and no N.C.A.A. tournament victories. Pat Foster reached three N.C.A.A. tournaments before resigning in 1993. Next, Alvin Brooks, Drexler and Ray McCallum combined for nine losing seasons in 11 years."

I can personally attest that U of H isn't attractive to top young recruits, at least when I was there.  It is primarily a commuter school.  As a true freshman, I was in the minority.  I remember reading a statistic that only 22% of students at the school were "traditional students".  Most students, quite frankly, were going back to school for a second time, had flunked out of their previous university or had some life situation that affected them and then required them to postpone a secondary education.

U of H is in Houston's ghetto Third Ward.  It's hard for the school to compete with schools in phenomenal college towns like Austin, Knoxville, even College Station.  There's no "college atmosphere" on campus.  In turn, the alumni community and that sense of giving back that many strong alumni associations have is absent.  I haven't met one U of H alum who has the passion of Texas Ex, A&M graduate or Tennessee Rocky Top freak.

Who knows if this will ever change.  Unfortunately for those few Cougar High alums who would love to see as much, I think they and the athletic department are the only ones who really care.

*Side note: Guy V. Lewis' wife had a tradition of giving Hakeem Olajuwon peppermint candies after games.  Any time they would visit Rockets games, she would gingerly stroll over and hand Olajuwon a piece of candy.  He would graciously accept with a smile on his face that seemed as if he was receiving a valuable gemstone.  It was a rare, sweet moment that few people saw.
Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Reebok RunTones Review

The market for "toning shoes" is as hot as black asphalt in the Texas summer heat.  On a recent trip to Designer Shoe Warehouse, I found an entire half-aisle devoted to all types of toners: Skechers, Reebok, New Balance, etc.

Toning shoes at DSW
Do these shoes really do that much?  I blogged about my first experience with Reebok EasyTones last March.  In short, I like them but I don't think they're going to give you that hot, Kim Kardsashian or Cameron Diaz booty overnight.  I don't believe you'll get cut calves and quads simply by wearing them.

Reebok RunTone
I'm on my second pair of Reebok "toning" shoes, this time the RunTone vs the EasyTone.  I love them but not for the reasons you might think.

Plainly put, I like the cushion that the balance ball pods provide.  I use these shoes for running errands, cardio on machines, lifting weights and taking classes at the gym. The balance pods just feel good on my feet and for the average daily workout I do, they are my new favorite shoe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Want to Take Weight Off & Keep it Off? Start Logging.

You know you should do it but, let's be honest, it's a little tedious and sometimes time-consuming.  IT is logging your daily food intake.  Study after study shows that individuals who log their daily caloric intake are more successful at losing weight and subsequently maintaining it.  A study by the National Weight Control Registry indicated that people who are successful at keeping weight off for an extended period of time, an average of 66 pounds for five years, monitored their weight and food intake by keeping track of it.

I can personally attest to its effectiveness.  After a tour of small-market tv duty in Guam, followed by working ridiculous hours in Knoxville, I added more than 50 pounds to my once-slender frame.  Logging my daily caloric intake helped me drop 55 pounds in the late 90's and early Naughties and I've kept it off ever since.  (Any of you remember some of my early Cowboys TV days?)

There are a hundred ways to log your food intake.  I've done it off and on for years.  During my size 2 college years, I would write down my food and corresponding calorie intake in my DayRunner.   Currently, I log my daily workouts on my laptop and log my caloric intake online or via an app on my Ipad.

The Wall Street Journal tackles the monotonous task of doing just that and examines four calorie counting websites, 3 paid, 1 free.  It does a good job of looking into the variables of portion sizes and the thoroughness of each site's database.

My Fit Foods Atlantic Salmon: 430 cals
I haven't used any of the sites they recommend but I do have a personal favorite.  I use, which has been swallowed up by the network.  I prefer the Daily Plate because it has an excellent database of foods, ranging from prepared food and fast foods to simple, homemade recipes.  I eat a lot of meals from My Fit Foods and it has a ton of those meals in there.  The cool thing is that if a recipe is not in its database, you can add it by building the ingredients list.

The Daily Plate also offers values for individual food products from apples and kale to Clif Bars and smoothies.  It has a "frequently used" meal function that allows you to add meals or foods that you eat a lot without searching for them.  Sometimes you simply have to estimate what you're eating, say the spice cake a colleague brings to work, but there are generally equivalents of anything you might eat.
Monday, March 14, 2011

My New Fave Breakfast Drink....And It's Not Green Juice!

Those of you (and there were many) who cringed at my green juice drinking self will love this purple recipe  It's the best smoothie I've made.  EVER.  And, candidly, I like to think of myself as a smoothie connoisseur.

It's a berry banana smoothie with a twist and the key to its fabulocity is something that Stars center Brad Richards turned me onto drinking:  almond milk.  He told me about almond milk while we were shooting a story on his near-perfect nutrition habits.  I had always seen it in the aisle, as I had been a soy milk girl for a while.  I picked up a carton of it and have been hooked ever since.

I have always made smoothies using orange juice as my liquid base, enjoying the citrus flavor and bit of bite it provides.  The vanilla flavored almond milk by Almond Breeze that I use adds a wonderful, light creaminess and vanilla-y flavor without being too milky or shake-like, something I personally don't enjoy.

Ingredients for my latest smoothie obsession
This smoothie is also the easiest thing in the world to make.  Simply pour eight ounces of Almond Breeze (the brand I personally use) vanilla into a blender.  Add a big handful of frozen mixed berries (I buy a big ole bag from Costco) and 1 medium banana chopped up.  You can frozen bananas or fresh berries, it really doesn't matter.  I typically use a mix of frozen and fresh because I like the consistency of the smoothie when it's frozen.  Some mornings, I get frisky and add chia seeds or some whey protein.
Costco berries
This smoothie has a huge nutritional bang for the buck with all the wonderful antioxidants from the berries and potassium from the banana.  The almost cooler thing is that it doesn't have a ton of calories while being wonderfully satiating.  The almond milk has only 40 calories (w/ no sugar!), the berries contains 70 calories per cup and a medium banana about 100-120.  That's between 210-230 calories!  The chia seeds add 70, the whey protein about 110.  Still a bargain!
Almond Breeze nutrition info
Thursday, March 10, 2011

NFL Player? Don't Buy Bling For Your Ho's, Bro's or the Wife Right Now

This is one of the most amusing stories I've seen in a long time.  While it certainly falls under the "prudent" category, it's just plain funny that the NFL Players Association has to tell its players to "leave the club with your wallet and budget intact."

Here's the skinny:

The story came out a few days ago, but it's worth repeating.  USA Today profiles how the NFLPA has given players a 64-page lockout handbook providing them players with suggestions on how to handle their finances in the event of a lockout.  Many of the tips are ones that some of us recession-affected plebians have already adopted.
  • Cook instead of eat out
  • Save 25% of your annual pay
  • Turn down the heat in your house
Easy stuff.  Simple, common sense advice that all of us can practice.

Then there's the "these guys seriously need to be told to do this?????" tips:
  • Hold off on buying motorized toys and jewelry
  • Reduce the size of your entourage (I once knew a non-NFL player who had a guy named Peanut who was his errand boy but his primary job was to turn on his car, adjust the vehicle to the appropriate temperature and get ho's for hm at the clubs)
  • Say "no" or "not now" to money requests from friends and family
I'm sorry, this is all just makes me giggle.  You have to ask if Dez Bryant will be hosting many more $55,000 dinners during the potential lockout?
Friday, February 18, 2011

Rangers Pitcher Tommy Hunter Hunting for a Job and a Healthy Spring Training

There are few people in the Rangers clubhouse who will make you laugh harder than pitcher Tommy Hunter.  I'm not even going to try to quote him in that regard.  I wouldn't do it justice.  Just trust me.  The man has a career in comedy or tv once he's done with baseball. 

But what's impressive is that he's serious when it comes to his job.  He realized that despite starting 2010 8-0 and posting a 2.31 ERA he was inconsistent.  He went 5-4 in his last 12 starts with an ERA of more than 5.  Then there was the postseason.  Three starts.  0-2 record, 5.56 ERA.   He understands that's not good enough, even bringing it up himself in a conversation Friday morning before the Rangers workout.

"I wouldn't mind going back to the World Series, changing some perspectives about, I guess, myself and the post season," he said.  "I would love to have another chance to do that.  It didn't end on a note I wanted to, personally or as a team."

Hunter is also cool with competing for a spot in the starting rotation, despite having a job in the rotation last season.  In fact, he welcomes the chance to compete, which Rangers manager Ron Washington has said he will have to do. 

"You can't be complacent with what you did last year you," he says, doing his best self-help guru impression.   "You can't be satisfied.  That's life, do better than what you did the year before."

Another big goal is to simply leave Surprise, AZ healthy.  He was injured coming out of Spring Training the last two years.

"Being there opening day is going to be a goal of mine.  The last two years, I wasn't able to get out.  I had a groin (in 2009) and then my oblique last year, so staying healthy and having a job, those are the goals right now."
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mavs Get Roddy B Back Tonight, What Should You Expect

Plus who is your All-Star break MVP?
Monday, February 7, 2011

Has This Media Game Changed or What? How I Watched SB45 Commercials

I feel like I'm late to this party, but this morning was as big a light bulb moment as I've had in a long time and it's all because I watched some of more interesting Super Bowl XLV commercials.

I didn't get the chance to watch much of the game because I was working on a story on the people who paid $200 to watch SB45 on the Party Plazas at Cowboys Stadium. They were stuck outside, in the cold rain and had to use portable, unisex toilets. EEEWWWWW. Some people even paid more than the $200 face value for the tickets, buying them on Ebay or from scalpers. Here is a link to my video blog about the experience.

So, this morning, still a little pre-coffee groggy but wanting to see what's going on in the world, I fire up the Ipad while still in bed. I go to my new favorite app, Flipboard. From the Huffington Post feed, I read a story about the 10 best Super Bowl commercials which provides YouTube links to each.

Maybe this is how you consume your visual media but this was a moment for me. I have gone from being upset I missed the ads, to recording them on a VCR, to the DVR to now watching them on an IPad screen at my leisure at any time of day I want.

That's the future. And it's kind of exciting.

Ironically, my favorite Super Bowl commercial was the most nostalgic: The NFL's Best Fans Ever commercial that used clips from some of our favorite sitcoms. Anything that incorporates Happy Days, The Sopranos, Seinfeld and Family Guy in one spot is a hit.   I didn't even mind all the product placement.

You can actually view and vote for your favorite ad here.

Here's mine:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ain't No Party Like a Super Bowl the White House

Parties galore kick-off in full-wing across Dallas Thursday night in advance of Super Bowl XLV.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family are hosting a bash for NFL owners at Cowboys Stadium.  Jamie Foxx is reportedly performing.

My mother is actually sponsoring one benefiting the Ron Springs and Everson Walls Gift for Life Foundation at the Fashion Industry Gallery.

How surreal is that? At least I'm assured of getting into that one. I hope.

None of those compare to the ultimate party invite. President Obama is hosting one at the White House. The guest list includes Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony as well as elected officials from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

A White House spokesman says about 100 people are expected to attend including Attorney General Eric Holder, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey and Roberty Casey Jr. and Wisconsin congressman Reid Ribble.

So, is that the ultimate Super Bowl party invite? (I would kill to attend) Regardless of your political affiliation would you go?

Mike Tomlin isn't Concerned About Big Ben's Fort Worth Night Out "One Iota"

And neither should we.

By now you might have seen the TMZ video of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger singing Billy Joel's "Piano Man" at downtown Fort Worth's Pete's Dueling Piano Bar Tuesday night.  Big Ben reportedly bought a round of drinks for the bar, rang up an $800 tab and took care of the servers, tipping $200.

THEN there's this about Hines Ward, Ike Taylor and "a number of other pro athletes" enjoying a Dallas strip club Monday night.  Ward skirted the issue.

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin says that his players being spotted out and about is a non-issue.

"I am not concerned about that one iota," Tomlin said at Thursday's media session at Daniel Meyer Coliseum. "It's normal for guys to eat dinner, believe it or not, every now and then during the course of a week leading up to a game. So this week is no different from any other."

Tomlin wants his team to treat Super Bowl week just like any other game week.

"I understand things may be viewed and reported differently but that's not our concern," he added.

Apparently it's been a tradition for Roethlisberger to take his teammates out to eat during Tuesday nights during the week.  They enjoyed bar-b-que before their trip to Pete's.

Lots of media types have been on the record criticizing the Steelers for their after-work activities this week.  "Why can't they just stay at the hotel and watch movies?"  is one refrain.  I get it that Roethlisberger's situation is marred by a number of incidents, having been accused of rape twice but never brought up on charges.  His appearance anywhere in cell-phone video world will raise eyebrows, especially during Super Bowl week.  But I also think that too many people have unreal expectations on athletes.  They're no different from any of us, just paid better.

"Believe it or not - guys live lives," Tomlin said this morning.

Trust me. You don't want to know what Cowboys players were doing when they won those three Super Bowls in the 90's

Issue?  Non-issue?  What are your thoughts?
Monday, January 31, 2011

Wizards Source: Josh Howard has been Great

Josh Howard is back in Dallas tonight as his Wizards are still looking for their first road win of the entire season against the Mavericks.  He will miss the game while he's still bothered by a surgically repaired knee (Howard tore his ACL last February).

Dallas represents many things to Howard: the place where he started his NBA career and became an All-Star.  It's also the place where he starting making bizarre decisions and, in turn, even more bizarre statements before ultimately being traded to the Wizards last season.

Howard has only played eight games this season because of the knee issue but he has been a "great player" according to one Wizards source.  I asked him specifically about Howard and he said that the 30-year old has been just about perfect: doing what's been asked, supporting the team and having a good attitude about all of it.

Does that surprise you?  It surprised my Washington friend.  He did point out that Howard is not making nearly the kind of money he was in Dallas and doesn't have a long-term deal.  Howard signed a one-year contract with Washington this offseason.

Do you care?  When Howard went down that path, many Mavs fans were crushed.

So now, almost a year removed from the Howard trade, are you over it?  Or do you still wonder what could have been?

Super Bowl XLV Parties, Already Half Off

It was like a late Christmas this morning when I logged on to my computer and found my email inbox sprinkled with offers from Groupon and Seize the Deal touting half off the Dallas SuperBash 2011, hosted by Pamela Anderson, and the Aces & Angels bash, hosted by Gene Simmons and wife Shannon Tweed.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Dallas Stars Sale Update/Non-Update from the 2011 NHL All-Star Game

The sale of the Dallas Stars is moving along just fine, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

While speaking to reporters during the Saturday night festivities at the NHL All-Star weekend, Bettman was asked about the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes and noted that the sale is progressing.

Bettman then addressed the Stars situation, saying that the NHL is not in control of the team, unlike the Coyotes.  He then added that there are "about half a dozen interested parties" looking to purchase the Stars.  He described the sale, as a normal "orderly sales process."

Who would you like to see own the Stars?  Do you care?  Does the Stars sale give you tired-head?
Monday, January 24, 2011

YES! You Can Get Super Bowl XLV Tickets AND Help Two Worthy Causes

The days leading up to Super Bowl XLV will feature parties galore, celebrities arriving in droves and opportunities to do things you might have never before imagined.

What have been tough to come by are tickets but here are few chances to score some with options at two price points.  One will only cost you a Benjamin while the other is quite a bit more but offers a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl XLV experience.

The Nancy Lieberman Foundation is raffling off two suite tickets to the game.  Raffle tickets only cost $100 and must be purchased by February 1st.  A portion of the proceeds from the raffle benefit the foundation.  Click here for details.  Considering the astronomical numbers I've heard people are willing to pay for nosebleed tickets, this is the best bargain out there.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is auctioning what it calls the Ultimate Gameday Package.  It's a simple auction that benefits the research hospital and its mission to erase pediatric cancer. While the high bid is currently $60,000, the prize package is pretty impressive.  Hurry, though, bidding closes Wednesday, January 26 at 3:30pm Central time.

If you are the winning bidder, you get the following:
  • Four Super Bowl XLV tickets in a luxury suite at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • One private Cessna CJ3 jet available round-trip to and from Dallas/Fort Worth for four passengers
  • Five-night luxury accommodations in downtown/uptown Dallas from Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011
  • Chauffeured car service Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011, including the Super Bowl on February 6
  • Luxury automobile from Park Place Dealerships for personal use during length of stay
  • Four seats to the Legends for Charity dinner presenting The Pat Summerall Award to the NFL on FOX broadcast team including Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Buck, Jay Glazer, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Curt Menefee, Pam Oliver and Michael Strahan on Thursday, February 3
  • Four seats to the Off the Field Players' Wives Association Fashion Show on Friday, February 4 joining current and past NFL players while enjoying fashions by designer Abi Ferrin
  • Four seats to one of the largest private events: The NFL-sanctioned 2011 Super Bowl Breakfast on February 5, featuring the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award
  • Full day of spa treatments for four at the Halcyon Days Salon & Spa at Neiman Marcus NorthPark
  • Dining for four at Al Biernat's, Sevy's Grill and Rugerri's Restaurant
Good Luck!!!!
Friday, January 14, 2011

Spurs Guard Tony Parker: Mavs Miss Dirk

I know you're saying "Duh!"  but he actually said as much Friday morning at Spurs shootaround.  It's late in games, however, that the Mavericks struggle without Nowitzki on the floor according the former Mr. Longoria.

"It's been tough for them," Parker admitted.  "They play well most of the game and then down the stretch, Dirk usually makes the big shot, the big play."

"They don't have that guy anymore so it's been tough on them."

Does Parker have any advice for the Mavericks?
"Everybody has to be more aggresive when you have one of your main guys who average 25, 26 points."

Insighful, isn't it?

For the record, the Mavericks are putting up just under eight points per game less in the eight games without Nowitzki.  In the 29 games he started, Dallas averaged 99.4 points a game.  In the eight he's missed, it's been 91.8 a game, a number inflated a bit by the 107 the Mavs scored in a 10-point loss to Orlando.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium Facelift Progress Report

Clearing debris on west side
Those Frogs move fast.

The day they received their invitation to the Rose Bowl, TCU imploded the north and west sides of Amon G. Carter stadium.  That was December 5th and just a little more than a month later, structural elements of the new additions are already in place.  (here's a link to the plans)

The entire project is expected to be complete and ready for the 2012 season.  This means that construction will continue during the 2011 season.  Can you imagine the challenge this could present?  Construction will stop for the six gamedays next season and then resume as soon as possible once a game is complete.

What's the biggest concern with this entire $125 million renovation?  "The weather," according to TCU athletic director Chris del Conte.  Understandably.  Lengthy weather delays could be a nightmare.

During 2011, seating capacity for games will be limited to low to mid-30,000 range.  Once the renovation is complete, the school anticipates capacity to be a little more than 40,000.  The new stadium will also feature 25 luxury suites.

The pièce de résistance for anyone who has ever covered a TCU game is the proposed new press box.  The old one featured an old, creaky elevator that you literally had to pray to whatever God you worship on the ride up because you didn't know if you were going to make it.  The accordion-style gate and oh-so-popular handle that got passengers to the top will be on display in the new stadium.  Sweet, sweet memories.

Enough babble.

Here's a look at the progress, as off January 11, 2011:

Debris on the west side of stadium next to lower level which will remain for 2011 season

View to the north of Amon G. Carter stadium

Beams in place on the north side of the stadium for structural support for a future second level. 

Everything still coming up roses on-campus
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Roddy B Free. Sorta

He's jumping!  And shooting.

Rodrigue Beaubois has been cleared to begin taking jump shots and showed off at Mavericks practice this morning.  His three-point shot was good enough to beat Dominique Jones and DeShawen Stevenson in a little competition.

Beaubois told me on a Mavericks pre-game show in November that he had hoped to be back around the first of the year but now admits it's going to be a while longer.

"I don't know," he said "I still need more time."

How important was being able to jump, finally?

"It's big because I've been on the floor so long. Now I can go up. It's a first step. Now the conditioning part is going to be hard because I can feel that I am getting tired very quickly."

Beaubois was scheduled to see a team doctor today to track his progress.
Monday, January 3, 2011

Super Bowl 45: Be Ready to Pay to Play

Few things Super Bowl related are a bargain.  And if you want to experience Super Bowl 45 to its fullest, be ready to hand over some cash (or high-interest rate plastic).  Email offering Super Bowl 45 "packages" is filling my inbox and it continues to amaze me how many people are buyers. is a site that bills itself as "a private online community that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world's greatest vacations."  I've bought one or two hotel stays on the site as it offers relatively decent bargains at good properties. 

Jetsetter is offering five Super Bowl 45 packages ranging in price from $8300 to more than $23,000.  Each package offers game tickets, a three-night stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison, a bus ride to the game from the hotel and two tickets to the open-bar ESPN Game Day Super Party VIP Lounge.

The price for the Premium Package starts at $12,000 and offers two 100-200 level tickets in a corner and two tickets to the Pepsi Musica Super Bowl Fiesta at Nokia Live on February 4th.  There is a $14,000 Player Package that offers 100-300 level tickets between the end zone and 15 yard line and also comes with passes to the Leather & Laces party at Hotel Zaza (which I've also heard a certain musically-gifted celebrity couple is renting ....more on that later).

If you really want to break the bank, go for the MVP Package.  It features 100-200 Club level game tickets between the 15 and 25 yard lines, two VIP passes to the MAXIM Super Bowl Party, airport transfers, and an upgrade to a 750 square foot executive suite at the Intercontinental Hotel. 

How much will all this fabulocity set you back? $23,000.  Yeah.

Are you interested?

How much cash would you drop for a "Super Bowl Experience"?

Mavs Fan Therapy: Time for a Hug and a Question

You're not making this up.  It's not some self-hatred you manifest.  The Wall Street Journal notes today that it really is tough to be a Mavericks fan.

"The Mavericks have had the best-ever 10-year stretch in the NBA without winning a championship. Through Saturday, they had gone 534-236 (.694) in the regular season since 2001-02. During that stretch, they earned a top-four seed in the Western Conference playoffs six times and won at least 60 games three times, but they reached the finals just once—losing to Miami in 2006. They have fallen in the first round in three of the past four seasons."

The article goes on to compare the Mavericks to the Utah Jazz of the 90's, those John Stockton/Karl Malone led teams that won 50 or more games in all but two seasons during the 90's but made the playoffs every year.  They won 64 games in the 96-97 season, 62 in 97-98 only to lose to the Bulls in the Finals twice.

The Mavericks have had regular season success.  They are a playoff fixture, making the postseason 10 straight years, second only to the Spurs who have 13 consecutive playoff appearances. From every email, tweet and Facebook post I get from you, I get the impression you're a little tired of it. 

Soooooooooooooo, would you give up some of that regular season success for just one championship, one parade and one year of bragging rights?  Would you take an NBA title if, say, like the big, bad Heat you won just 15 games a two years later?