I Heart the Monjunis Italian Café on Louisiana Avenue

Monjunis

I Heart the Monjunis Italian Caf√© on Louisiana Avenue! This little jewel, tucked right on the outskirts of downtown Shreveport, has to be my favorite place to eat! Monjunis is like an extension of my families’ kitchen. I Heart the Monjunis Italian Caf√© on Louisiana Avenue because the food is sweet and delicious, their catering is a huge time saver, and they are a part of my family heritage!

My Mom and Grandma like their food sweet; very similar to the recipes used at Monjunis. The menu is typical Italian/American dishes one would expect: spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, fettucine alfredo, chicken parmesan, garlic bread, Italian salads, whole muffalettos, and tiramisu for dessert. All the same foods Mom and Grandma made all the time. Now looking back, I realize eating there was a true treat for them because they didn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. Not everyone is accustomed to such sweet sauce. Many years back Monjunis introduced a basil version of their famous sauce that is not as sweet. They were able to win-over many more fans with the new sauce! Whether you like your sauce sweet or savory, the food is fresh and delicious delighting their guests.

All the great Monjunis dishes are available for pick-up or catering! Pans of mouth-watering spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and Italian salad make for an easy catered meal. My sister, Cheryl, has worked to develop her skills in the kitchen. Her lasagna is almost as good as Grandma’s! She doesn’t have the time like Grandma did, so she occasionally relies on the fabulous Monjunis’ cooks to prepare pans of meatballs covered in their sweet sauce. She preps everything else herself. If you are short on time or lack our Sicilian cooking genes, let Monjunis cater your next gathering.

Monjunis on Louisiana has been a part of my family heritage since I was a little Monjuni (someone who loves to eat)! My dad and sister both worked downtown throughout their career. We would meet at Monjunis for lunch about once a month. I always looked forward to the visit. When I take friends there now, I reminisce of old family stories involving that famous little restaurant. The dark wood paneling on the walls, the plastic grapes and Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling remind me of Grandma’s house; she had the same paneling and bowls of plastic grapes from the 70’s on the table! Monjunis is part of my past and will be part of my future as well!

Restaurants have come and gone over the years. Monjunis has been here for a long time, and I want it to remain for a long time in the future, too. Call a friend for lunch or gather the family for supper. Make some memories of your own over a bowl of pasta today. I Heart the Monjunis Italian Café on Louisiana Avenue, and I know many others in our community who do as well! The food is sweet and delicious, their catering is a huge time saver, and they are a part of so many local families’ heritages making the Monjunis Italian Café on Louisiana Avenue a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:                           Monday through Saturday; 10:30 AM Р9 PM

Physical Address:                            1315 Louisiana Avenue, Shreveport, LA

Phone:                                                (318) 227-0847

Web Address:                                   https://www.monjunis.com/

Facebook:                                          https://www.facebook.com/MonjunisOnLouisianaAve/

I Heart the Holiday in Dixie Festival

Holiday in Dixie

I Heart the Holiday in Dixie Festival! Having the pleasure of growing up in Shreveport gave the opportunity of looking forward to special events that rolled around each year. This one definitely made the list, including, but not limited to, the Mud Bug Madness Festival, Revel and State Fair. I Heart the Holiday in Dixie Festival because it has great food and treats, games and rides, and the KTBS Hidden Treasure Hunt!

Of course I love an event that has great food and sweet treats. Being outside and smelling all the foods being prepared at the festival can make a full belly think its starving! Fresh squeezed lemon aid, corn dogs, French fries, elephant ears, and funnel cakes coated in powdered sugar are just some of the treats tempting festival goers. Just try to visit Holiday in Dixie without getting something good to eat; it would take someone with a really strong will, and that wouldn’t be me!

Just imagine a mini Louisiana State Fair with carnival rides and games with barkers, then you have a good idea of what to expect. Most of the rides are intended for small kids to teens. The entire plaza is filled with different rides, games and food vendors. Those with teenagers, like me, will have a more difficult time walking through the taunts of the game barkers. Most teenagers think they can accomplish the crazy games designed to challenge the steadiest of hands and skills. I know the games are extremely difficult to win, but Riley seems to enjoy attempting them. As a business person, I appreciate the game barker‚Äôs skills at luring contestants to the table. They are crafty and relentless at getting people to open their wallets. Some sales people could learn from their unwavering commitment to their jobs; they refuse to take ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ as answer. The games and rides are a great distraction and give the family something different to do for a change.

Holiday in Dixie brings food, fun, and the possibility of $1,500 cash! I can remember being five or six and my family piling in the car after work to look for the KTBS Hidden Treasure. Memories of my sister looking at a big fold-up map, my mom reading the Times paper for the clues and my brother driving us around town till dark. This was back in the dark ages before cell phones or the Internet to aid in the search. We would occasionally stop and visit with other people we could tell were out treasure hunting. We came close a couple of years. I recall my sister and brother talking about it for months afterwards. I remember more about looking for the treasure than I do actually attending the festival! Probably because it was about family bonding time spent in the car for hours each night till the booty was claimed. Isn’t that what families today need – more quality bonding time? The KTBS Hidden Treasure Hunt always makes someone $1,500 richer each year, but I hope the act of looking for the treasure brings about priceless family memories!

Gather your family or invite a friend to attend Holiday in Dixie with you for a great time, April 15th through the 24th. Once you visit the festival once, you will be looking forward to going again next year! I Heart the Holiday in Dixie Festival and I know many others in our community who do as well! The festival has great food and treats, games and rides, and the KTBS Hidden Treasure Hunt which makes the Holiday in Dixie Festival a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:           April 15th through April 24th, 2016

Physical Address:            Festival Plaza Downtown Shreveport

Web Address:                   http://www.holidayindixie.com

Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/holidayindixie

I Heart the local Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce!

Blue Hawg

I Heart the local Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce! If you know me personally or read any of my previous blogs, you already know this Italian boy loves to eat! Monja, Monja! When it comes to BBQ sauce, my family is hooked on Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce. I Heart the local Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce because it has a story so many can relate to, is locally made, and tastes really good!

Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce is more than just a tasty meat condiment; it has a story in which people can relate. One of the two founders and I go way back to college; he went the Accounting track and I went the Finance/Real Estate track. This was when we used an abacus instead of calculators. Kidding, but not by much! David Guy’s family is originally from Mississippi. His culinary upbringing was regionally influenced. David was always an aspiring “Pit Master!” Whenever someone ate his BBQ, they would inevitably tell him he should bottle his sauce – so he did! I am inspired by his story in how he took his grilling passion for cooking for his family and friends into a commercial product that is now on the shelf at Krogers and sold online! I think many of us would like to make a living doing what we enjoy and pursuing our passion!

I enjoy celebrating and supporting locally based events, venues and products like Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce. Money spent in our community stays in our community and further improves our local economy for everyone. Yah Capitalism! As with any food product, the sauce has to be manufactured with the highest food safety standards. The product is made in a local co-packer, bottled, labeled and distributed from this area! A corporate venture of this size is not easy to handle on one’s own. David went into partnership with his friend, Dean Jagot. Together they have built the BBQ Empire to what it is today! Every bottle of Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce purchased at Kroger or online through their website guarantees employment for people in this community. Paychecks help me buy things I need to survive, like wine! Buying locally helps me support my family, friends and neighbors. I encourage us all to think and act locally by purchasing products made here in the Ark-La-Tex.

Only good tasty food is allowed in my home, which means I keep Blue Hawg on the shelf! This Sicilian boy lives to eat, instead of eating to live, like the health experts preach. My family can always find an excuse to cook a big meal to come together. We grill at least once a week in the summer. Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce has elevated my grilling to a new level. My Father goes on and on describing the flavor of the sauce. I get it – it’s good. The sauce is lower in sugar than typical BBQ sauce and higher is acidity through a stronger vinegar note. I want to convert everyone, like my father, so I will give you an opportunity to try it for yourself! Heart Gates Vineyard is partnering with Blue Hawg BBQ to offer pulled pork sandwiches during the Remington College Garage Sale tomorrow, Saturday, April 9th! Plates will be $10. If you like garage sales, this is an added bonus for you! You name it; it will probably be sold at the garage sale! Come by to sample Blue Hawg BBQ for yourself while supporting Shreveport’s newest Vineyard. Once you taste the awesome Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce, I know you will be hooked just like my family and friends.

Make a Facebook status update inviting all your friends to attend the Remington College Community Garage Sale with you tomorrow. Clean out your vehicle and pack the sunscreen because you’re going to load up on good deals, awesome BBQ and a great time, Saturday, April 9th. Once you have tried Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce, I know you will love it as much as my family and friends do. I Heart the local Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce and I know many others in our community who do as well! It has a story so many can relate to, is locally made, and tastes really good making Blue Hawg BBQ Sauce a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:       Anytime Kroger is open; Open 24/7 Online

Physical Address:        Local Kroger Grocery Stores or Online

Phone:                           (318) 218-8412

Web Address:               http://doubledsbbq.com/

Facebook:                      https://www.facebook.com/Double-Ds-BBQ-112864168786570/

I Heart the Remington College Shreveport Campus Community Garage Sale

007 - 2016 03 25 - Remington

I Heart the Remington College Shreveport Campus Community Garage Sale! My heart has been with Remington College for many years as a faculty member. I experienced my first Remington garage sale last fall. I didn’t realize how much fun the sale would be and made a lot of money selling pre-loved items too. My Mom came and helped me that day. Poor Momma got a sunburn on her ears. I will make sure to have a tent this spring! I Heart the Remington College Shreveport Campus Community Garage Sale because it provides great community outreach, it is a fun event with a parking lot full of deals!

Take a look at Remington Shreveport’s Facebook Page and you will see many examples of events that reach out to the local community.¬† The Garage Sale is a great example of one of their events that impacts the Southern Hills area. Remington College is a caring campus that also provides quality education programs such as Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Electronic Technology, Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology. Many of the students live in Shreveport and Bossier, but also has students who drive daily from as far as Mansfield, Louisiana and Waskom, Texas! The campus must be doing something right to have students willing to make the drive.¬† Remington College Shreveport provides great community outreach both to its internal customers, the students, and to the Ark-La-Tex as a whole.

Life is too short to not have fun! Anyone who has hosted a garage sale knows how much work is involved. The list includes gathering inventory, sorting, boxing, displaying, advertising and promoting. At least the promoting part for this sale is handled by Remington College’s Business Department Lead, Cindy Robertson! She advertises the event in the Shreveport Times, various websites and on Facebook. As a business professional, she knows how to bring out the customers! That part can be marked off the to-do list. The part I truly enjoy is talking to the customers who walk through the parking lot. Many of my friends or my Mom’s friends came to the sale in the fall last year. We had lots of good conversations which made the time fly by! The Remington Garage Sale is a fun event for the vendors and especially the attendees!

The Remington parking lot is fairly large and I’m excited to announce that every space has been reserved for the Spring Sale on Saturday, April 9th! Mark the date on your calendar. You don’t want to miss this event. I was in aww last fall how the parking lot was transformed into an outdoor Bazaar! Vehicles are not allowed on the parking lot that day. That provides tons of square footage for appliances, beds, chairs, decorations, electronics‚Ķ You name it; it will probably be sold that day! Heart Gates Vineyard is partnering with Blue Hawg BBQ to offer pulled pork sandwiches during the event. Eight Dollar Early Bird tickets are available for purchase on our website. Plates will be $10 the day of the event. Buy your tickets early! As I said, almost everything will be available that day – even Education! The Campus will be open for tours. ¬†This event is a must for anyone who enjoys garage sales or flea markets because so many vendors will be available in one place offering awesome deals!

Mark your calendar, invite a friend, clean out your vehicle and pack the sunscreen because you’re going to load up on good deals, awesome BBQ and a great time. I Heart the Remington College Shreveport Campus Community Garage Sale and I know many others in our community who do as well! The community outreach, fun experience, and a parking lot of deals makes the Remington College Shreveport Campus Community Garage Sale a true asset to our community!  Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:   Saturday, April 9, 2016 7 AM until 2 PM or so!

Physical Address:    Remington College, 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport, LA 71118

Phone:                        (318) 671-4000

Web Address:            http://www.remingtoncollege.edu/

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/RemingtonCollegeShreveport/?fref=ts

I Heart the Gumbo Gladiators Competition

Gumbo Gladiators

I Heart the Volunteers for Youth Justice Gumbo Gladiators Competition! Volunteering as a Diplomat for the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce has helped me meet lots of great people and learn about wonderful new businesses and events over the years. One such friend is Amie Baham with the Volunteers for Youth Justice. Amie promoted the very first Gumbo Gladiators competition to the Diplomats many years ago. The Foodie inside me couldn’t wait to go! That very first year was well organized and so much fun with lots of great Gumbo. The competition has only gotten better every year! I Heart the Volunteers for Youth Justice Gumbo Gladiators Competition because it has great food, cool vendor booths, and is a worthy cause!

When Amie first told me about the gumbo competition, I was excited because it involves great food. My son Riley was nine at the time; he was skeptical. Young kids are not always too hip to try new things. The festival arrived and I was so excited. We made it to Festival Plaza to behold all the booths of gumbo. We bought our tickets and picked our first sample of gumbo. Riley was hooked! His eyes got wide and he exclaimed, ‚ÄúDad, we are coming back next year! This is great gumbo!‚ÄĚ We continue to go back to sample the scrumptious gumbo each year. Selecting who we are going to vote for becomes increasingly difficult each year as more and more teams enter the competition; especially since I have several friends in teams now. I encourage you to visit the competition this year with your family and friends. You owe it to yourself to try some great food and help a worthy cause in the process!

As if eating gumbo is not enough to get us to the competition, we now have vendor booths to visit while we eat! Another source of funds for the fundraiser is the recent addition of vendor booths. Attendees will find crafts, candles & clothes, oh my! This year Heart Gates Vineyard will have a booth as well so please visit our booth to say hello. Registration for a vendor booth is easy. Click on the Gumbo Gladiator website below to find out more information. The cost of having a booth is minimal and well worth the exposure. Gumbo Lovers would make great customers for your products or services so request a vendor booth today!

I have a Love/Hate relationship with the Volunteers for Youth Justice. I Love the fact that we have a wonderful organization such as this in our community made up of talented, caring employees and generous volunteers who care about the needs of precious children. I hate the fact that their services are needed in the first place. Unfortunately, the need is so great, the organization can’t fully meet the demand. The organization is always looking for dedicated volunteers and funds. If you feel compelled to help, call (318) 425-4413 and let them know you want to make a difference in the lives of our community’s children. Another way you can help is by spreading the word about the Gumbo Gladiators competition on Saturday, March 19th, 11 AM till 5 PM. Visit the festival, buy lots of sample tickets and visit the vendor booths. Thank the contestants and vendors for participating in this very worthy cause!

Visiting the Gumbo Gladiators Competition is always fun to me. I enjoy inviting friends and introducing them to the festival each year. The next year they go back and take their family and friends. The competition grows each year. I’m excited to be a part of it this year. Please visit the competition this year. You will like it so much, you will want to go back next year; either as an attendee, gumbo competitor or a vendor. I Heart the Volunteers for Youth Justice Gumbo Gladiators Competition and I know many others in our community who do as well! The great food, vendor booths, and supporting a worthy cause makes the Volunteers for Youth Justice Gumbo Gladiators Competition a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:            Saturday, March 19, 2016, 11 AM to 5 PM

Physical Address:             Festival Plaza, 101 Crockett St, Downtown Shreveport

Phone:                                (318) 425-4413

Web Address:                    https://gumbogladiators.com

Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/GumboGladiators

I Heart Bella Nonnas Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar

Bella Nonna

I Heart the Bella Nonnas Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar! My family and friends know I am passionate about great food and wine. Several ingredients are considered staples in my pantry. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are two that I always have to keep on the shelf! Last year I was fortunate to be the Emcee for the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting for Bella Nonnas on 70th Street. Let’s just say I fell in love with their products that day. I have made several trips back to the store to purchase bottles for myself and as client gifts. I Heart the Bella Nonnas Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar because of the vast olive oil & balsamic vinegar selection, tons of recipes on their website, and cooking classes for foodies like me!

Walking into Bella Nonnas and seeing the walls lined with huge stainless steel canisters of different olive oils and vinegars is always exciting to me. The store carries a variety of products from all over the world. Olive oil and vinegar is influenced by the terroir and environmental conditions of the growing region, the same as wine. A discerning palate can detect the differences. The store provides samples and knowledgeable associates who are passionate about the products they carry. I learn something new every time I visit. The large selections of different olive oils and vinegars have improved my pantry and unique gifts I give and will do the same for yours!

The Bella Nonna website is well designed with beautiful pictures of their products and full of delicious recipes you should check out. This Sicilian boy loves to eat, and I also love to cook because I find it relaxing. My Mom took me to cooking school when I was thirteen. She told me, “You are not always going to have your Momma to cook for you and you need to know how.” I am glad that she did! I still enjoy looking for new recipes and preparing dinner parties to impress my guests. This resource of recipes has given me lots of great new ideas. The recipes on their website prepare delicious meals that complement their product selection beautifully.

The Bella Nonna cooking classes are a great way to learn new techniques while having fun and meeting new people. If you have never experienced a cooking class before, I encourage you to give it a try! Bella Nonna is providing great quality products and demonstrating how to use the products in a fun and social environment. Check their Facebook Page for upcoming cooking classes to schedule your next fun foodie experience!

Visiting the store is always a treat and purchases inspire a desire to share with family and friends. I Heart the Bella Nonnas Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar and I know many others in our community who do as well! The immense Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar selection, tons of recipes on their website, and cooking classes for avid foodies make the Bella Nonnas Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:    Monday thru Saturday Р10 AM to 6 PM, Closed Sunday

Physical Address:     1409 East 70th Street, Suite 107, Shreveport, LA 71105

Phone:                          (318) 798-6602

Web Address:             http://bellanonnasoils.com/

Facebook:                    https://www.facebook.com/bellanonnasoil

I Heart the Market 104 Restaurant and Bar

Market 401

I Heart the Market 104 Restaurant and Bar! My life is full of projects, work deadlines and stress – no different than anyone else providing a good life for themselves and their family. My life is also full of friends, smiles and empty wine bottles! I’m fortunate to have kept in touch over the years with a dear friend from elementary school, Tracy Young. She handles Corporate and Association Group Sales for the Downtown Shreveport Hilton. We occasionally meet at the Hilton‚Äôs Market 104 Restaurant and Bar. I’m thankful Tracy has introduced me to this great restaurant. I Heart the Market 104 Restaurant and Bar because the restaurant is beautiful and great for entertaining, the food is awesome, and they have a wonderful Valentine’s Day Dinner special this weekend!

Shreveport is blessed with many different and unique restaurants, but few are as beautiful as the Market 104! I remember going to the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Ribbon cutting at the restaurant many years ago. The dining facility was just as impressive as the adjoining Hilton Hotel. Whenever I walk into the Market 104, my eyes are drawn up to the ceiling by decorative wood supports in the middle of the restaurant. The walls of glass allow the sun to flood the space. As a Realtor, we talk about the importance of natural light to enhance the look of a room. Well they got it right! The floor plan at the Market 104 is open and very inviting. My clients and guests are always impressed with this choice. The restaurant is also able to accommodate catering groups from 25 to 75 guests. I am thankful that we have a beautiful restaurant downtown to dine and entertain clients and guests.

What can I say, this Italian loves to eat; my friends agree that the food at the Market 104 is awesome! I only have one complaint about the menu options, I can’t ever decide what to get! Typically I order the special of the day. My guests and I haven’t been disappointed yet. The staff are friendly and patient. They are always willing to make modifications to menu items to meet the requests of dinners. The menu items consist of Natchitoches Meat Pies, lagniappe salad, duck flatbread sandwiches, crabcakes with remoulade, jambalaya pasta, steaks and fried fish on Friday. Hungry yet? The chef adds a Cajun flare to the dishes to give hotel guests a sample of the glorious Cajun spice we take for granted. Before heading out to your next downtown meeting or night out on the town, I encourage you to stop in to savor the delicious food at the Market 104.

I think there is something special happening this weekend, oh yeah, Valentine’s! If you haven’t purchased a Heart Gates Vineyard Wine Tote for your sweetie, I suggest taking advantage of the Valentine’s Day Dinner special happening Saturday night. The Market 104 is hosting a Valentine’s Day Menu Saturday evening. Your mouth will water as you read this list: mixed greens salad or seared scallops salad, filet with a red wine reduction or pan-seared halibut, chocolate covered strawberries or a cake tart. The $130 per couple price also includes your choice of a bottle of red wine, white wine, or Prosecco. Yummmmm! Which just happens to be the name of their website – named that right! You may be too full to leave after that meal so they are throwing in a nights stay at the Hilton too. Talk about scoring major “Brownie Points!” Call to schedule your Valentine’s Day Dinner now. Then call Grandma because you‚Äôre going out! Remember to pick up flowers and a card for her too as a thank you!

I Heart the Market 104 Restaurant and Bar and I know many others in our community who do as well! The restaurant is beautiful and great for entertaining small intimate dinners up to 75 guests, the food is remarkable, and the Valentine’s Day Dinner special provides easy romance making the Market 104 Restaurant and Bar a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:        Any day of the week! Breakfast through Dinner. Check website for times

Physical Address:          104 Market Street, Shreveport, LA 71101

Phone:                              (318) 698-0501 for Reservations

Web Address:                  http://www.yummmmm.com/

 

 

I Heart the American Heart Association

American Heart Association

I Heart the American Heart Association! My family’s heart health hasn’t always been the greatest. I have good intentions of eating healthier and working out more, but usually miss the mark. Thankfully we have an organization in our community that wants to help us all have greater health aspirations and actually meet those goals. I Heart the American Heart Association because we have a national non-profit with local ties improving the quality of our heart health, providing quality health education material, and National Wear Red Day!

Shreveport / Bossier is lucky to have a representative here locally for the national American Heart Association. My former Sunday school teacher, Eric, says that, “Shreveport is the largest small town you will ever live in. Everyone knows everyone!” Regional Director, Sarah Baker, lives here and she knows almost everyone!¬† Having a local representative gives our community a voice in the national organization. She can also better communicate the benefits and education of the American Heart Association. We may be a small town, but we still have big town representation from this great national non-profit organization.

Education is a big deal to me because I taught college for many years, so I seek out information like the quality health material provided by the Heart Association. My Sicilian family is all about the food. We don’t eat to live; we live to eat! The food is always scrumptious, but not always the healthiest. My brother and I sit in the kitchen and watch mom cook. We have been surprised at some of the not-so-healthy ingredients that make her food so outstandingly good. However, as I’ve developed my culinary skills, I strive to cook more healthfully. The American Heart Association website has plenty of recipes to help give tips on how to improve the overall health of my family recipes. The recipes have beautiful pictures and easy to follow instructions almost anyone can follow. The website and Facebook page also have tons of articles on how to prevent heart disease. They also have a news feed showing current heart issues appearing in the news media. I have read articles on how to recognize a heart attack or stroke, understanding cholesterol levels, physical activity and weight management tips, and a biggie for most of us – stress management! The organization has invested in providing quality health education material online that will help us reach our heart health potential.

My favorite color is red so of course I am a fan of National Wear Red Day! My logo, representing the Vineyard, has three hearts. Hearts are a big deal and I want to take care of mine and those I love. Many people think that heart disease is predominately a male health issue. Not true! The American Heart Association website states that 500,000 American women lost their lives to heart disease in 2003. That sad fact lead to the creation of National Wear Red Day to bring attention to the issue of heart disease being the number one killer of women. National Wear Red Day is scheduled for next Friday, February 5, 2016. I encourage you to wear your Red Heart Gates Vineyard shirt next Friday and share the American Heart Association web address with someone you love so they can learn how to better take care of their heart! The Northwest Louisiana Go Red Luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the Shreveport Convention Center. Information about the event is listed on their website. You can send Sarah an email for ticket information to: sarah.baker@heart.org. National Wear Red Day is an easy way to bring awareness to an issue that affects so many people here in the Ark-La-Tex.

My goal is to be around a long time for my son Riley. Taking care of my heart is an important factor in that goal. Heart disease is an issue for my family and we talk about it often. From the statistics, it is probably an issue for your family too. I encourage you to use the resources of the American Heart Association to improve your heart and overall health. I Heart the American Heart Association and I know many others in our community who do as well! We are fortunate to have a national non-profit with local ties improving the quality of our heart health, providing quality health education material, and National Wear Red Day make the American Heart Association a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:        Check website for educational material & Special Events

Physical Address:         745 Olive Street, #111, Shreveport, LA

Phone:                              (318) 347-3122

Web Address:                 http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

Facebook:                        https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeart/

I Heart the Robinson Film Center

Robinson Film CenterI Heart the Robinson Film Center! Riley and I both enjoy visiting the Robinson Downtown. Notice, I didn’t say going to the movies at the Robinson. They have plenty of other things to do as well. I Heart the Robinson Film Center because the amenities of the theater, Abby Singer‚Äôs Bistro, and the movies of course!

The facilities are a big part of the positive experience in visiting the Robinson. The revitalized downtown structure is contemporary with a beautiful character provided by the old building. The staff does a great job at cleaning the entire Center. Chairs in the theater were replaced within the last year. Routine maintenance is also a priority of the Robinson. The chairs in the theater seem to be larger and more comfortable than other venues. They even replaced the seats last year. I know this because my buddy bought one of the replaced chairs for his apartment. The Robinson is a jewel in the crown that the Downtown Development Authority can be proud to show as an example of Downtown’s true potential.

The facilities make for a pleasant experience, but Abby Singer’s Bistro on the second floor makes my Italian belly sing praises of Joy! The Chef has created a menu that is as fun and creative as the Robinson itself. Choosing from soup, salads, and gumbo to burgers, sandwiches, and cheesesteak, to Shrimp Remoulade and Shrimp & Grits, may prove difficult to choose just one. Convince your partner to order something different so ya’ll can share. You can never go wrong with The Royale with cheese! I really enjoy dinning on the outside balcony watching the hustle and bustle of Texas Street below. The Bistro is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The Bistro has weekly off-menu food specials, seasonal beer, and wine specials. I know it‚Äôs not wine, but my favorite is the Pomegranate Martini! The full-service bistro and bar located on the second floor of The Robinson Film Center is a welcome addition to the downtown eateries.

Ah, last, but definitely not least – the movies! Riley and I are both big movie buffs. We typically have a movie playing on the TV at home. Going to the Robinson to watch a movie is an altogether immersive experience. The theater has a unique selection of movies that are not always available in the movie chains in our area. They occasionally play movie classics from my childhood which gives me an opportunity to share those with my son. Last summer we watched ET. The staff played trivia games and contests before and after the movie. I remember that one of the prizes were Reese Pieces, cute tie-in to the movie. We really enjoyed ourselves. The Robinson also has film festivals throughout the year that feature cast, and directors of the films. Always fun to interact with those involved in the making of the movie. The staff of the Robinson work hard to bring quality movies to our area that are entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking.

My son Riley and I have many fond memories that have been created at the Robinson, and we have many more joyous moments to come as well. I encourage you and your family to support the Robinson by stopping by for a quick lunch, entertaining movie, or drink the night away with friends. I Heart the Robinson Film Center and I know many others in our community who do as well! The amenities of the theater, Abby Singer’s Bistro, and the movies make the Robinson Film Center a true asset to our community! Check back in two weeks for my next trip around town to see if your favorite place is featured. Until then, Salute!

Best Time to Visit:                Check website for Showtimes & Special Events

Physical Address:                 617 Texas Street, Shreveport, LA 71101

Phone:                                     (318) 459-4122

Web Address:                       http://www.robinsonfilmcenter.org/

Facebook:                               https://www.facebook.com/robinsonfilmcenter

I Heart the Shreveport & Bossier Area

Caddo Bossier Parish

I Heart the Shreveport & Bossier area because I was born here many, many bottles ago! Being raised in a business oriented family has given me a unique perspective to our community. In college at LSUS, I studied economics, finance, and real estate. Working as a real estate professional at Diamond Realty has given me an opportunity to use my education and experience to analyze the area so that I may be a resource to my clients. This analysis has helped me develop a deeper appreciation for all we have.

This region has grown considerably in my lifetime. As a Diplomat with the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, I have witnessed hundreds of Ribbon Cuttings celebrating the birth of many new and exciting businesses. We are growing more attractions that will draw guests to visit, play, work & even move here!

I am proud of our community and the wonderful accomplishments of our home-town heroes. The past couple of years we have seen the growth of several successful Breweries, the new Heart Gates Vineyard & even Whole Foods. We must be doing something right!

The birth of this blog is to celebrate the places and events I love about our home here in Northwest Louisiana. A new post will be published every two weeks by Heart Gates Vineyard. The spotlight will focus on a place or event happening in Caddo or Bossier Parish. My goal is to celebrate the many positive facets of our home.

Please join the conversation on our Facebook Page! Share the blog with your Facebook Friends. Help us celebrate the accomplishments of our community. We have a list of over 100 places and events we will feature. Like our Facebook Page to see your favorite place featured. Tell us your favorite places and we will make sure they are added to our list. We are open to suggestions!

Best Time to Visit:           Anytime!

Physical Address:            Caddo & Bossier Parish

Web Address:                   http://www.shreveportla.gov/

Facebook Page:                https://www.facebook.com/City-of-Shreveport-Mayors-Office-566014633501587/