Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Freckled Frog

Get Great Arkansas-made Crafts 
                                 at The Freckled Frog 

     The Freckled Frog, which sells handcrafted items made exclusively by Arkansans, has enlarged its space downtown and is chock-full of exciting and modestly priced gifts for the holidays.
      Sadie Nuffer, who co-owns the charming shop with Erika Robbins, said the shop has lots of new handicrafts perfect for gift giving this season.
     “We have some cool old-fashioned wooden toys,” Mrs. Nuffer said. “And, Kate Walters , a junior at Central High School, is designing and printing her own tee shirts.”
     The shop is also now selling hand-blown glass from Plaid Grasshopper of Hot Springs.
      “We have goat milk soap, lotions and lip balm from Tammy Sue’s Critters.”
     Tammy Sue Pope raises her own goats on a farm in the Cato community on the border of Pulaski and Faulkner counties.  The goats share the farm with horses, chickens, dogs, cats and a llama.  Her products are made from fresh goats’ milk, oils and herbs, many of which she grows herself. All of her soaps are made in small batches in her kitchen.  Each bar is hand cut and trimmed, wrapped in fabric and beribboned. 

    Another new product is local honey from K-Bee Apiaries in Sherwood, which is owned by Larry Kichler, 2nd vice president of the Arkansas Beekeepers Association.
    Gary Higgins of  Alexander has brought in some coin rings made from French coins, shillings and coins from the Republic of Kenya.
     “We have all the Nativ stuff,” Sadie said.  “And we have tee shirts and tea towels and things from Tiffany O’Brien’s Eccentric Dose. They are all Razorback themed.
     “We have amazing soy candles. They are being made just for us now, and they come in many amazing flavors. These are the best soy candles you can find - the best ones we’ve ever come across.  They are clean burning.  It’s the only (candle line) we sell.”
    Other great stuff The Freckled Frog carries includes jewelry starting at just $3, infant clothing, scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, patchwork skirts and Arkansas quartz crystal jewelry.
      The shop specializes in custom-made jewelry.  Sadie said they will be making custom jewelry up until the week before Christmas. You may bring in beads, jewelry pieces or other things from home to be incorporated into custom pieces. The shop also has a large collection of beads and things with which to make your own unique jewelry. 

     The Freckled Frog has been doing well in its location at 419 President Clinton Avenue adjacent to Cache Restaurant. The shop has expanded into space once shared with the herb store Dandelion, which closed earlier this year.
       “We are doing good. It’s really fun meeting all the tourists from all over the world and showing off the Arkansas we love. We’ve meet a lot of really cool people,” Sadie said.
    The shop offers free gift wrap.  For information, call 514-2060.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pinot's Palette Painting Studio in Pleasant Ridge Town Center

’Tis the Season for Fun;  Start at Pinot’s Palette

     Party with friends, loved ones and coworkers this December at Pinot’s Palette, and have a great painting at the end to remember the occasion.  
    The studio in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center in west Little Rock has a great wine bar (with good beers too), a comfortable lounging area and a buffet where you can put out your snacks or catered goodies.
     Art sessions in December include Vintage Christmas, Moonlit River, Evergreen Dream, Noel’s Twilight, Winter Railroad, A Snowy Night, Rustic Snowman and Peace Love Joy.  The paintings can be viewed at the studio’s website,  It has class schedules, images of the paintings and prices.  
     There are three holiday paintings that incorporate real lights: Jolly Christmas Lights, Snowman’s Bliss, and Baby It’s Cold Outside. And there will be a wooden door ornament art session.
     Gift certificates are available. For information, call owner Lisa Montgomery at 588-1661.



Let Scallions Cater Your Event
    Or Be Your Own Caterer with Bulk Takeout 

     For almost three decades Scallions in the Heights has been providing fresh-made, delicious food to Little Rock.
     Let the restaurant be your caterer for your holiday events, and give your guests the gift of delicious soups, sandwich trays, hot entrees and mouth-watering desserts.
     Scallions has the best soups in Little Rock.  If you have never tasted its cheese soup, you have done a real disservice to your tastebuds. Scallions chicken salad is legendary.  The quiche is to die for.
     The restaurant will cater your events, or prepare a tray for you to take to parties for work. It provides business lunch delivery and has lunch gift certificates that make great stocking stuffers.
     If you want to do your own catering, Scallions’ wonderful menu items are available to go in bulk. Did someone say poppyseed muffins?  

     Scallions is  located at 5110 Kavanaugh Blvd. For information, call 666-6468.

Events in Little Rock December 2015

The Tree 
     First Baptist Little Rock, 62 Pleasant Valley Drive, will present The Tree again this year.
     It was scheduled for December 11, 12 and 13, but another performance has been added on December 10 because of the great ticket sales.
     The Tree will have a cast of more than 250 people and a 40-foot living Christmas tree. There will be 150 singers, a 35 piece orchestra, dancing, dramatic presentations and more. 
    Performance times are 7 p.m. December 10, 11 and 12, and 3 p.m. December 12 and 13. Tickets are $5 for reserved seating. Visit to order your tickets.   

Holiday Crafts Open House 
    The Plantation Agriculture Museum will open its grounds and buildings to the public for its fifth annual Holiday Crafts Open House 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. December 19. 
   You can enjoy making crafts while sipping hot cocoa and nibbling on family favorite treats.  Crafts that can be taken home include: felted soap, gilded walnut Christmas ornaments, cotton boll angels, holiday cotton potholders and more.  The museum’s annual Christmas graham-cracker house contest will be conducted while crafts and activities are presented to visitors. The museum’s gift shop will have storewide 20% discounts.  
    Admission to the museum and Christmas treats are free. Participation in the craft making is $2 per craft or $20 for the entire family. The Museum is 20 minutes from Little Rock at the junction of U.S. Hwy. 165 and Arkansas Hwy. 161. For information, call Linda Leatherwood at 961-1409. 

     Historic Arkansas Museum has one of the most fun holiday events each year with its Nog-off.
     The Museum’s 11th Nog-off, a culinary celebration of this favorite Christmas drink and a friendly competition for the best eggnog in town, will be held 5 - 8 p.m. December 11.
     It is free and open to the public.  The Museum is located at 202 East Third St. Free parking is available.  

Tim Ernst Photography
    Experience the stunning nature photography of Tim Ernst ”A Rare Quality of Light- 40 Years of Wilderness Photography,” which will be exhibited 1 - 4 p.m. December 13 at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center downtown. It is free and open to the public. 

     Mr. Ernst is a nationally recognized photographer, and his images will inspire you to explore the natural beauty of our state. The center is located at 602 President Clinton Avenue. 

The Gingerbread Man’s Excellent Christmas Adventure
  “The Gingerbread Man’s Excellent Christmas Adventure” will be presented at the Arkansas Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre December 4 - 20.
      Tickets are $12.50 or $10 for Arts Center members and groups of 10 or more.  Children under the age of 2 will be admitted free.
  Enjoy this wacky holiday adventure with your kids.

Holiday Pops 
     The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s most popular and longest running tradition brings holiday cheer to music lovers of all ages.  
   Performances will be 7:30 p.m. December 18 and 19 and 3 p.m. December 20 at the Connor Performing Arts Center, 12701 Hinson Road in west Little Rock. 
     Adult tickets range from $19 to $58. Student and active military tickets will be $10.  Kids will be admitted free. For more information, visit  

The Circus
     Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will be at Verizon Arena December 23, 26 and 27.  Show times are: 7 p.m. December 23; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. December 26; and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. December 27.
     Tickets start at $10 for kids and $20 for adults.  975-9131. 

     The Arkansas Chamber Singers will present The Peace of Christmas December 11-13 at the Old State House Museum.  This concert is free and open to the public.
     It will be held 7 p.m. December 11 and 12 and 3 p.m. December 13.  It will feature traditional music for the season.

Santa at the Capital Hotel
     Inside the Capital Hotel’s festively decorated lobby, Santa will meet with kids to hear their Christmas wishes.  Bring your children to meet Santa 1 - 3 p.m. December 6, 13 and 20. This event is free and open to the public. 
     In addition, there will be two opportunities to hear stories read by Santa around the Capital Hotel Christmas tree:  6 - 8 p.m. December 21 and 22.  The cost is $10.
Christmas Cookies 
     The Capital Hotel pastry chef will give a lesson in cookie decorating 10 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. December 19.  
    The cost is $55 for one adult and one child. Decorate cookies and take them home. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Rabbi Ira Sanders and Clarence Darrow Debate Explored

Reenactment of 1930 Debate 
   On November 3, 1930, the nationally-known religious skeptic Clarence Darrow debated immortality with Rabbi Ira Sanders at Little Rock High School in an auditorium packed with more than 2,000 people. This event will be explored anew as the Central Arkansas Library System's 2015 Sanders Distinguished Lecture 6:30 p.m. December 3 at Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue. The event is free and open to the public, and will include a reception. The reenactment is in conjunction with Temple B'nai Israel's sesquicentennial anniversary.
    Jason Thompson (Rabbi Sanders) spent ten years acting, writing, and directing for Red Octopus and was in several  Arkansas Repertory Theatre  productions. Mark Johnson (Clarence Darrow) has appeared in many Rep plays and is an artist whose paintings are shown at Stephano's Gallery.

    The Sanders Distinguished Lecture was established in 2000 to commemorate Rabbi Sanders’ forty years of service on the Boards of Trustees of Little Rock Public Library and CALS. Reservations are requested, but not required. RSVP online via Eventjoy or call 918-3000.

Monday, November 2, 2015

 For more than 30 years, Diane's Gourmet Luxuries has been the place to shop for delicious food for the holidays, and this year you can also select lots of fun items to spruce up your table - and pick up some great gifts to boot. 

     Catering from Diane's 

 Owner Diane Knight has stocked a fun selection of gifts and table decor.  Check out the holiday napkins, placemats, cool trays and whimsical cups.

Entrees from Diane's 

  Diane's does the best baskets. They are carefully prepared and include hand-written messages, as well as delivery or mailing if you wish.


 Thanksgiving food must be ordered by November 20.  Diane's Gourmet Luxuries is in The Market Place shopping center, 11121 North Rodney Parham.  224-2639. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Opera Star Kristin Lewis

Opera Star Kristin Lewis Will Perform 
November 22 at Wildwood Park 
  International opera star Kristin Lewis will perform 4 p.m. November 22 at Wildwood Park for the Arts to benefit her scholarship fund for emerging Arkansas vocalists.
    Ms. Lewis is a former resident of Little Rock and was graduated from the University of Central Arkansas. She has been much lauded for her interpretations of Verdi heroines. 
   Ms. Lewis was formerly a section leader in the choir at Second Presbyterian Church, and she began her vocal studies at the University of Central Arkansas under the guidance of Dr. Martha Antolik. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she continued with her Master of Music studies at the University of Tennessee. She now resides in Vienna, Austria, where she regularly appears on some of the world’s greatest opera stages in performances of Aida, Il Trovatore, I due Foscari, Turandot, Don Giovanni, and more.
  At the November benefit concert, Ms. Lewis will perform arias from works by Verdi and Gounod, a suite from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and the second act of Puccini’s La Boheme. Internationally renowned American bass-baritone Kevin Short will appear as a guest artist on the program. Korean collaborative pianist and University of Arkansas at Little Rock music professor Kyung-Eun Na will also perform. Bevan Keating, artistic director for the Little Rock performing arts organization Praeclara, will conduct.
   Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 821-7275. General admission is $50, and student tickets are $15. VIP seating and parking are available for $100 per ticket. A percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Kristin Lewis Foundation Vocal Scholarship, which benefits singers between the ages of 18 and 23 who are pursuing a degree in vocal performance or music education or a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in voice. The scholarship funds tuition expenses, master class participation, and opportunities for national or international exposure for singers studying both inside and outside the state of Arkansas. Applications for the 2016 awards will be due next spring. 
    Ms. Lewis wants to help music students pursue their dreams. “The purpose of my foundation is to encourage Arkansas music students at all levels to pursue their education and enable them to receive the inspiration and guidance they need to achieve their dreams,” she said.

  For more information, contact the Kristin Lewis Foundation at

Events in Little Rock November 2015

Way of the Warrior 

     "Way of the Warrior" will be presented 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. November 18 at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 503 East Ninth St. 
     The documentary examines the visceral nature of war and the bravery of Native-American veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War–and came to grips with the difficult post-war personal and societal conditions.  It is free and open to the public. 
     The program honors the endurance and sacrifice of individuals such as Mitchell Red Cloud (Ho-Chunk), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Ira Hayes (Pima), one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima.  Their stories are examined through what it means to be “ogichidaa,” one who protects and follows the way of the warrior.  Popcorn and beverages will be provided. 
      For information, call Rachel Miller at 376-4602.

American Indians and Alaska Natives in America’s Wars
     The Sequoyah National Research Center and the Arkansas History Commission will be hosting a free symposium from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. November 14 at Stabler Hall, Room 107, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 
     The symposium’s theme, American Indians and Alaska Natives in America’s Wars, will feature speakers Mary Jane Warde, Erin Fehr, Dr. Bob Sanderson, Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield, Jane Wilkerson, and Karen Russ. Topics include The Destroying Hand of War, Alaska Natives and Their World War II Service in the Alaska Territorial Guard, Vietnam Warriors, and Resources for Studying Native Americans in America’s Wars. The symposium is free and a light lunch will be provided. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours through attendance. Registration is limited. The deadline for registration is November 9., 
      For more information about the symposium, please call Tatyana Oyinloye at 682-6900 or email 

 Our America:  
The Latino Presence in American Art 
   Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, an exhibition of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will be on display through January 17 at the Arkansas Arts Center.
   The exhibition presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. 
    Our America presents works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists. The exhibition includes works by artists who participated in all the various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art, as well as classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life. 
    The civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s galvanized Latino artists across the United States. They created new images of their communities and examined bicultural experiences. Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our America showcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country. 

Social Conscience Gathering 
    The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site will host a three-day Social Conscience Gathering November 20 - 22 at Embassy Suites, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway. 
    In commemoration of the end of the American Civil War, the establishment of the National Park Service, the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site calls for global citizens to explore the human realities of oppression and participate in conscience engagement to begin a journey from awareness to action. The Gathering will bring together academics, activists, artists, clergy and policy makers to discuss the far reaching impact of civil war to civil rights, as it relates to history of oppression at home and abroad, identify barriers to social change, cultivate empathy for other people and cultures, and forge new paths toward global equality. Topics of discussion will include the legacy of the American Civil War and Reconstruction, the impact of the civil rights movement, the history of structural oppression and inequality, the state of American and global historical education, community activism, American health policy, drug policy, gender inequality, principles of nonviolence and dialogue and reconciliation across religious divides.
   The cost is $100 for the full event and $50 per day.  For more information, cal 374-1957.

God’s Man in Texas
      God’s Man in Texas by David Rambo will be performed November 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at The Weekend Theater, 1001 West Seventh St.  
      In this story, faith and egos collide in the age of mass-market religion at Houston’s Rock Baptist Church. A search committee has been secretly formed to find a successor to Rock’s legendary pastor, and a young up-and-comer is asked to audition for the job. The biblical struggle climaxes during the church’s spectacular Christmas parade. The play will be directed by Allison Pace.
      The cost is $16 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. It will be shown 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. The box office and the theater open one hour prior to curtain. For more information, call James Norris at 374-3761.

Nadeau - Furniture With a Soul
     Nadeau - Furniture with a Soul has opened a new store in Pleasant Ridge Town Center.  It will celebrate the opening 1 - 4 p.m. November 15. Enjoy refreshments and see its collection of quite reasonably priced hand-crafted furniture. For information, call Tresa Rabchuk at 904-2243.

Celtic Food & Whiskey
        Join Chef Suzanne Campbell 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. December 1 for an evening of the history of Celtic foods plus their pairing with whiskey, or if you prefer, whisky.  Ms. Campbell is the resident English chef at the Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, 13000 Interstate 30.  She will prepare Scottish and Irish Christmas dishes with a whisky tasting. 
       Pre-registration is required by November 27.  The cost of the class is $90. 
    For more information, call Emily Martin at 907-6670 or write

CARTI's 2015 Festival of Trees
     CARTI’s 2015 Festival of Trees will be held November 18 - 21 at the Statehouse Convention Center, 101 East Markham St.
     The Sugar Plum Ball will start off the event 6 - 8:30 p.m. November 18.  Tickets are $40, and sales are limited.  Festival After Dark will be held 7 p.m. November 18.  Tickets are $50.
The Festival of Fashion will be held 5 - 7:30 p.m. November 20.  Tickets are $50.  Stroll Through the Forest will be held 1:30 - 4 p.m. November 20.  
     Tux ‘n Trees, CARTI's signature black tie event, will be held starting at 6 p.m. November 21.  Tickets are $200.  For tickets, visit

 The Cate Brothers Band
   The Cate Brothers Band will give a special performance 7 p.m. November 20 at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue.  The cost is $20.
   Music legends Earl and Ernie Cate, twin brothers from Fayetteville, have performed blue-eyed soul and rock music since the 1960s at clubs throughout the South. Both are singers, with Earl on guitar and Ernie on piano. At this show, they will perform their best songs, including the hit “Union Man."

Brooklyn Rider
  The string quartet Brooklyn Rider will perform chamber music 7:30 p.m. November 19 at Wildwood Park for the Arts. The group has drawn rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. The Los Angeles Times dubs it  "one of the wonders of contemporary music.” The Chamber Music  Society of Little Rock partnered with Wildwood to bring the quartet to Little Rock.

Merry Pranks
  Merry Pranks by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be presented 7 - 9 p.m. November 17 at the Clinton Presidential Library.       

  Tickets are $23 and $10 for students and active military. 
  For information, visit

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fashion Exchange Celebrates 6th Anniversary

Fashion Exchange 

     Trecia Francois’ upscale ladies’ consignment boutique in west Little Rock, Fashion Exchange, is having its sixth anniversary this month.
     Since Mrs. Francois opened her resale shop in October 2009, she has greatly expanded it, moving to a larger location at 400 North Bowman and expanding that location in 2013 into space next door, making her chic shop a whopping 4,000 square feet.  The interior is a bright, attractive space that artfully displays stylish clothing, handbags, footwear and jewelry.
     Trecia has enjoyed creating this special space where women and good clothing at a reasonable price come together.
     “I love clothes myself, and I love offering women an affordable way to restock their closets each season with the latest trends. I also feel like our store makes high-end labels available to 'regular women' like myself with families and budgets, and that makes me feel good. It's also really fun to see all the new stuff coming in each week. It's like Christmas for me and the other girls working for us. You only get that surprise in resale. You never know whats going to come in!”
     Fashion Exchange sells brand name clothing in junior, misses and plus sizes.  You will find designer clothing too, as well as vintage jewelry, designer handbags, boots, jeans, coats and some formal wear.  Brand names include Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Brahmin, True Religion, Miss Me, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Fossil, Vera Bradley, BCBG, Chico’s, Talbot’s, The Loft and Anne Taylor.     
     Trecia’s philosophy about resale is one that she often uses as a tag line in her advertising:  “Why pay the difference when you can’t tell the difference?” 
     “I can buy an authentic high-end bag at my store for a third of what they cost in the department stores. I don't have to compromise on quality and we get stuff in excellent condition, often times with tags still on! I don't see a need to pay more for the same thing.”
     When Shoppe Talk was at the shop in September, there were lots of beautiful boots on display and a bunch of Razorback items.
    “We have more great game day looks than ever. We asked our customers and consignors to bring us some fabulous hogs’ gear and they totally came through.  We got a boatload of really cute Razorback-logo tees, tops, and accessories, as well as just a lot of great red dresses, tops, jewelry, etc., that would work for tailgating and game days.”
     Other fall and winter items are arriving daily.  “Lots of great trendy cardigans and sweaters are coming in as well as some very cute leather and pleather jackets and vests and flannel shirts, which are big this fall.”
     Trecia has four employees right now, including her daughter, Danielle, who has been working at the shop for two years.  “This season she is taking on more in terms of our marketing and also overseeing our day-to-day more. She is taking on a management role and will be here four days a week now.”
     Fashion Exchange has a website:  “Our website is a great place to get information about our store, see photos of the type of merchandise we carry, learn everything about how our consignment works, and see a copy of our consignment contract. I also recommend following us on Instagram and Facebook to see our new inventory in real time and learn about specials and sales.”
    Trecia will be having an anniversary celebration October 1.   “Besides the date I don't have details yet, but our Facebook and Instagram will be great places to watch for more information on that event. We have our Girls' Night Out shopping parties after hours about every six weeks, and it’s always a great turn out and just a fun time, and this one will be a big one since it's also our ‘Birthday Party.’  Speaking of our Girls' Night Out events - they are open to the public, there's always a special deal of some sort, and we always announce them on our Facebook and Instagram. And we send emails reminding everyone on our email list.
    “Another special perk we offer is our rewards program. You can earn rewards by signing up with us in store. We will track all your purchases and once you have spent $300 in our store, you earn $10 off regular-priced merchandise. With this program you will also receive a birthday card from us every year with a special coupon. There's no card or papers to keep up with. Once you are signed up all we need is your name when you check out, and the computer will keep up with your rewards and tell us when to give you your discount. This is also how you receive emails with exclusive information about our sales, new arrivals, and Girls' Night Out events. We have lots of regulars who love this program.”
     Fashion Exchange is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may reach Trecia at 227-7776.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Water Buffalo

The Water Buffalo 

         The Water Buffalo has everything you need to effortlessly make beer or wine, grow your own organic veggies, make homemade cheese, pickle stuff, or grow a year's worth of mushrooms for a fraction of the grocery store price.
    All the supplies can be found in the shop, 106 South Rodney Parham. If you want a bit more encouragement, The Water Buffalo offers free classes in all of those activities.
     "I do like what I do.  It's a lot of fun," Nolen Buffalo said.  "This is a science shop.  If you've got just a little bit of geek or a little bit of nerd, you'll find something you want to do."

     The Water Buffalo is a family business owned by Mr. Buffalo, his wife, Sarah, and his parents, Doug and Sue Buffalo.  
     It is the result of "a string of hobbies gone amok," Nolen said. 
     "I recognized there was an extremely limited local supply of things I needed to do my hobbies."  So he made a business plan, and with the help of his family and a local bank, he opened the business last November.  "Bank of the Ozarks made it all happen, so I have nothing but good things to say about those guys."
     One of Nolen's earliest hobbies began 17 years ago when he made his first batch of beer.
     His shop carries a wide variety of beer and wine making supplies.
     "We have probably the best selection of grains in 300 miles in any direction.  We have lots of malted barley. We have a variety of hops in stock, yeasts."
     Slang for some of his beer making kits is "Duncan Hines," because "they are about as easy as making a cake," he said.
     There are lots of different beer-making kits he has put together at the shop, crushing the grains and using proven recipes.  Kits are a good place to begin learning about making beer and wine.
     "It takes the nervous energy out of people getting started."
    Nolen considers wine making actually easier than beer making, because there is no cooking involved, but you have to have a bit of patience and wait for the wine to age a bit.
      "With wine making, you are not cooking.  It's like a cold soup.  You assemble the wine, and then you have to wait for it.
     "We have 22 different (pre-packaged) beer recipes and an infinite number of variables.  We have maybe 50 different wine kits in stock ready to go."
     The ingredient kits for beer range from $30 to $55, and for wine, $30 to $230.  "The more expensive kits typically have more ingredients or ingredients of a significantly higher caliber," he said.
   The shop offers a wide variety of utensils, pots, sanitizers and other items needed in beer and wine making. 
      It carries some pickling supplies, including "Pickl-it" jars, which are kind of like small "flip-top Mason jars with holes to allow CO2 to escape during the fermentation process."
     The Water Buffalo stocks four types of kits for mak-ing cheese that range from $20 to $30.  
     Homemade cheese "is cheaper and it's better," Nolen said.  "It's just so fresh, and it's so easy."
      Some kinds of cheese can be made in as little as 45 minutes, he said, adding that cooks who use such quick batch cheeses, such as ricotta, should learn how to make them at home.  "Mozzarella is the same way.  It's easy and so good."
      The shop sells molds, presses, cheese cultures and rennet.
      More and more folks are wanting to grow their own veggies at home.
      "It gets addictive, being able to provide for yourself is a pretty good feeling.
     "Gardening is the fastest growing section of the store, for sure.  We can talk about growing organically.  We have the nutrients and the soil."
    Nolen said hydroponic gardening, growing in water without soil, is becoming more popular.  
  "The fastest growing technique in the world is aquaponics.  Aquaponics is growing fish, feeding them food and allowing their waste to feed the plants."
     It's a symbiotic arrangement that is very natural.  After the plants are nourished by the water from the fish, the plants clean the water, which is pumped back to the fish.  When the fish are big enough, out comes the frying pan. 
      Nolen sells an aquaponics system that consists of a 55 gallon food grade blue drum and a 2 x 4 foot tray in which the plants are grown.   It includes a pump, a timer and a little gravity-assisted draining.  It may be used indoors or out.

     If you grow indoors, the shop sells a variety of lights that vary in intensity, depending upon the crop.
    One thing you can grow indoors without additional lighting is mushrooms.
     "They are real simple, and you can grow them on the kitchen counter." 
   For types of mushrooms - elm oyster, blue oyster, shitake and lion's mane - in nutrients or on wood range from $22 to $25.
   "It's going to grow until it runs out of nutrients. … Potentially, that's a year's worth of mushrooms." 
    All of the classes at The Water Buffalo are free.
     "We teach you how to do everything we do in here." Nolen said. He teaches all of the classes except the pickling classes, which are taught by Christel Combs. 
  The shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.  For more information, call 725-5296 or email  Visit for a schedule of upcoming classes. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Freckled Frog

The Freckled Frog 

   The Freckled Frog has been voted Best Gift Shop Finalist for two years in a row by Arkansas Times Readers Choice awards.
    Handcrafted items, made exclusively by Arkansans, are all The Freckled Frog sells.  The downtown shop offers gifts starting at $3 and $5, including a selection of hundreds of rings, earrings, bracelets and soy candles.
   The shop features work from some of the most talented artisans and crafters from across the state. 
   Erika Robbins and Sadie Nuffer own the popular shop at 419 Presidential Clinton Avenue next to Cache restaurant. 
   It offers ornaments and magnets from Annette Costa at Fire Fragments.  
   Tiffany O'Brien of Electric Dose has buttons and prints, onesies, long-sleeved t-shirts, short-sleeved t-shirts, hoodies, sweat shirts, tea towels and t-shirts for dogs for sale there.
   The shop offers long-sleeved and regular  t-shirts by Erin Lang of Arkie Style, all for $25 and it carries  Hillcrest Waterbugs shirts and hoodies.
  Screen-printed t-shirts and tanks that are Little Rock-themed are made by Kate Walters’ Scribbles. 
    The shop carries really cute onesies by Virgeen Healey at Posh Designs, fingerless gloves by Lauren Hoover, and all the latest Nativ gear.
     "We have more than 100 $5 wire rings, over 100 $5 earrings, $5 hemp bracelets and $3 wish necklaces,“ Erika said. "Sadie has  been working on crystal bullets. They are spent rounds with crystal points we gathered at Jessieville coming out of the ends. She does wire-wrapped crystal pendents and earrings and leather rings.” 

     The Freckled Frog offers free gift wrap.  Shop hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.  514-2060 or 351-5245. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

New Christmas Fabrics and Projects at The Stitchin' Post in Little Rock

Christmas in July at The Stitchin' Post

     The Stitchin' Post will hold Christmas in July starting Saturday, July 25 at 1501 Macon Drive in west Little Rock. The annual event, which features the latest holiday fabrics and projects, will continue through Saturday, August 1.
   There will be refreshments on that first Saturday, and staff will bring in their favorite holiday cookie recipes, Jane Bell said.  Linda Bowlby and Jane own the shop, a Little Rock institution that has offered heirloom quality fabrics and classes in sewing, smocking and embroidery for 41 years.
    "There will be a recipe swap, and we will be showcasing new Christmas projects.  And there will be special pricing on our new Christmas fabrics," Jane said.
  "Christmas projects include quilts, table runners, a really really really cute Christmas stocking and mug rugs."
    Mug rugs are extra large coasters or smaller versions of placemats that hold a cup of tea or coffee with room for a pastry or treat. 
     The Stitchin' Post is also participating in the Row by Row Experience, Jane said.
"It is a program that started four years ago in New York in a quilt shop.  There are now 2,500 quilt shops participating." 
     Lots of quilters travel across the country visiting the shops where they receive a free pattern for a row of a quilt.
      The Stitchin' Post's original quilt design follows this year's theme of water.  "We have designed our row featuring The Old Mill in North Little Rock," Jane said.  

The Old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is popular with visitors to Arkansas in part because it was featured in the opening scenes of "Gone with the Wind." 
     "We are kind of excited about it. (Visitors) can get the free pattern, and they can purchase a kit if they like."  The event ends September 8. 
     The Stitchin' Post is a great place to learn how to sew, quilt or embroider.
   The 7,000-square-foot space is filled with well-made and beautifully displayed clothing from heirloom fabrics, smocked dresses and whimsical sewn items.  The heirloom fabrics are made of natural, finely woven, often imported materials.  Clothing made from them is typically handed down through generations.
     "Jane teaches heirloom and embroidery," Linda said.  "Carolyn Hartstein teaches our smocking class.
    "We have teachers for quilting and for kids.  That's my favorite part, that we teach children.  I think it's really important.  In our Mom and Me classes, kids can start at (age) 8.  We have classes for high schoolers.  Jane has taught embroidery for children."
      To check out the latest classes, visit the shop's website
    If you see one you like, you'd better sign up right away.  "They fill up pretty fast," Linda said.
   The shop has two rooms for classes and design walls in place, which allow women to take pieces of fabrics and lay out quilt blocks.  They can see how they want to position colors and move them around.
      The Stitchin' Post sells quality Husqvarna Viking sewing machines, from basic models that cost about $200 to the most deluxe models for almost $10,000.

      It has an extensive selection of threads and an entire notions wall.  
     There's a Cafe Room where folks can nosh and a sitting area in the entry where women are welcome to come in a bring a handwork project and sit, relax and work.
      Linda said the camaraderie of women learning and working together helps make for the pleasant atmosphere of the shop.
    "Everybody is real happy here.  It's a fun place to be, a fun place to work."
    Customers say it's a great place to socialize with friends and to meet new ones.
     The shop offers batiste, voile, linen, cotton, Swiss flannel and some silks.

     "We have 100 percent cotton fabrics," Linda said.  "You can tell the difference in good quality cotton. It's the tightness of the weave.  Heirloom cottons are going to last.  It's the same with quilting fabrics.  They expect them to last for generations.  People here appreciate nice fabrics."

Friday, July 3, 2015

Jonda White's Spaology Expands

Larger Space, More Services 
 At Spaology in Hillcrest 

     Jonda White has doubled the space of her Spaology Nail Spa and More in Hillcrest.
     Mrs. White has expanded Spaology into the space next door to her shop at 3000 Kavanaugh Boulevard.
    The new area includes salon space and a makeup corner.
     "I will be doing makeup, and Chauna Anderson, our esthetician, will be doing makeup.  And she will be doing facials and waxing also.  We will be making our own scrubs.  Her facial products will be all natural and organic."
    The original space is getting a makeover itself, with four new pedicure chairs and four new manicure tables.
    "And we are setting ourselves apart from other salons by using disposable pumice stones, files and buffers, as well as disposable bags for pedicure chairs. We're doing this for sanitary reasons, as well as helping people feel more comfortable." 
     The shop will also be offering body waxing and eyelash extensions.
     Jonda has been in business for 20 years in Little Rock, and many of her customers have followed her from place to place during those moves.
     Her clients include some of the most influential women in the state.  They have said that in their travels to some of the finest resorts where they have paid top dollar they have never gotten better manicures and pedicures than they receive from Jonda  at Spalogy. 
    And it's not just her talent that they admire.
    Barbara Pryor, former First Lady of Arkansas and wife of former U.S. Senator David Pryor, said in a 2012 interview, "She is not only a great nailologist, … she is such a good person.  I love her and think of her as a good friend."
     Mrs. Pryor said she'd been with Jonda through some trials over the years, including breast cancer.
    "She is a breast cancer survivor.  All through everything, she just keeps working.  She is a hard worker.  I admire her so.  She is one of the most deserving people I know.  She deserves every success, every happiness,"
Barbara said. 
     Others in the that March 2012 Shoppe Talk story talked about her calming spirit, strong 
work ethic, determined nature, upbeat manner and attention to detail.  
    "Jonda is not a complainer.  Things are right in her world, not wrong.  And what is wrong, she confronts with equanimity. …  She is just a really neat lady," said Dr. Roslyn L. Knutson, professor emerita in the Department of English a the University of Arkansas.
     "I am so excited, and I am proud of myself," Jonda said in June.  "Over the years, clients and family members have bragged on me, but I didn't know.  Now I can say finally I am here.  I am thoroughly where I wanted to be 13 years ago."


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pinot's Palette

At the end of the evening, 
you will have a finished canvas  
    Pinot's Palette in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center has lots of fun art sessions lined up for July and August. 
      Bring your favorite snacks and enjoy a bottle of wine with friends, family and colleagues at the studio while your create your own work of art.
     Art sessions during July include Pray, Yellow Umbrellas, Whimsical Tree, Shore Days, Hot Hog, Japanese Moon Garden, Opposites Attract, City That Never Sleeps and Balcon a Paris.
    The studio's website,, has the class schedule, images of the paintings, class times and prices.
  Whether it's date night, girls' night out, a birthday party or a corporate shindig, owner Lisa Montgomery just wants you to have fun and be happy.
    At the end of the evening, you will have a finished canvas. No painting experience is required - none at all, Ms. Montgomery said.
    Wine and beer are available for purchase at the wine bar at quite reasonable prices. Or you can bring your own bottle and pay a $5 corkage fee.  There is a granite counter serving area for your food or catering needs.
      The Pleasant Ridge Town Center is located at 11525 Cantrell Road. You may call Lisa at 588-1661 and then: "Paint. Drink. Have fun." 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Arkansas Glassworks

Arkansas Glassworks 

     Jay King, owner of Arkansas Glassworks in Little Rock, has been building and repairing stained glass windows for 43 years, or more than two-thirds of his life.

     “I graduated from high school in June of 1972 and started working for my uncle the day after the 4th of July,” Mr. King said.

     It was an inauspicious beginning.

     “He said, ‘This is a glass cutter. This is how it cuts glass. This is a pile of broken stained glass windows. Get to work.’”

     That daunting start for a teenager who’d grown up in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, and the Jersey Shore grew into a love and knowledge of the art that’s left King’s mark on churches in Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

     In 1972 the place was Chicago, and his uncle, John Yaskot, owned Hawk and Handsaw, which specialized in gleaning stained glass and other antique architectural elements from the city’s old Victorian buildings just before the wrecking ball hit.

     “Hawk and Handsaw is from Shakespeare when Hamlet says, ‘When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw,” a proverb that means I know one thing from another. As for stained glass repair work my uncle John really didn’t know a hawk from a handsaw. But my older brother, Bill, worked there too, and we all kind of learned together. My uncle did know the value of stained glass. Chicago had a lot of it. The city was built up after the great fire in 1871.”

     Jay said the massive rebuilding came at a time when Victorian architecture was popular. Stained glass was in vogue too, and many European-trained stained glass artists opened studios in Chicago. Starting in the 1950s, many of the Victorian homes and arts-and-crafts bungalows with this beautiful old stained glass were being razed. Later this dovetailed nicely with a demand for stained glass in San Francisco.

     “The 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco came at the end of the Victorian Age,” he said. Victorian architecture was still the rage when that city was rebuilt. The two disasters that “book ended” one another provided stained glass from Chicago for renewal projects popular in San Francisco during the 1970s.

     “A lot of my uncle’s customers came from San Francisco. I remember one who would pull up in front of the shop with a semi truck and buy just about everything in the shop. It would all go straight to San Francisco. My uncle got into it when buildings were wrecked in the ‘50s. He’d slip them $20 to let him take out the glass before they wrecked it. First he just took the glass, but after a few years he saved mantles, moldings, and other architectural elements, anything they could get before the wrecking ball hit. Later he was edged out by antique dealers who made deals with property owners long before the wrecking crews got on the scene.”

     After a year and a half in Chicago, Jay moved to Austin, Texas, where for his first eight years, he worked at Renaissance Glass.

     “When I moved to Austin, there were only two people besides myself working at Renaissance. They didn’t know much about repairing stained glass, and I didn’t know about building stained glass."

     During his eight years there, Jay repaired stained glass, learned how to build windows, and watched the staff grow to 21 employees. Renaissance was one of the larger studios, but stained glass was a booming business in Austin, and there was plenty of work for the many glass studios that mushroomed in the city.

    After eight years building and repairing stained glass windows, Jay felt like he needed a “break,” and he got it in more ways than one.

    “The first thing I did was take a break from stained glass. I started doing store front glass. I was building it and also breaking out the old windows. I started experimenting with the way glass breaks.”

     That was the beginning of a number of art glass pieces and his entry into Austin galleries where he showed his work and helped hang the work of other glass artists. After his obsession with glass cracks, he began photographing the cracks the sidewalks around the city. Looking at one absolutely gorgeous work of art in his Little Rock studio, one would never guess that it’s based on the way concrete cracks and erodes in an Austin sidewalk. 

   While all this was great fun, he had to make a living, so Jay returned to stained glass, but not to one studio.  “I was a hired gun. Wherever the big stained glass jobs were, I went there, and I did a little stained glass on my own. It was pretty much a gypsy life. But I did work on one church for all of 1987. That was a revelation. It was real satisfying, to build all the windows in a church. I really liked that.

     “That was the time of the energy crunch in Texas. Austin was totally overbuilt. Few million dollar homes were being built. By 1988, there was no work.”

     After five months with nary a job in sight, he decided it was time to move.

“I came to Little Rock with my tail between my legs."

     During those first years in Little Rock, Jay built stained glass windows at home in his house in North Little Rock, did glazing work, ran a metal shop building storefronts for American Wholesale Glass, and later drove a glass truck for the North Little Rock company when it closed the metal shop.

     Jay started Arkansas Glassworks in 1993. Why? “I wanted to get back into stained glass full time, make more money, be my own boss, and not have to wake up at 4 in the morning to be at work at 5. 

     The first couple of years were pretty lean, but it all worked out for the best. Now his work may be seen in homes in Pleasant Valley, the Heights, the Quapaw Quarter and other neighborhoods all over Little Rock.

     His windows for churches are typically traditional in nature, including symmetrical designs, arches, and centered medallions. But one of his favorite Arkansas churches is Faith Baptist in McCrory, which has a more contemporary design with various hues of blue, purple and green blending into one another.

     Another is Salem Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, which one congregant said is a favorite local church for weddings because the rose hues from the windows make the brides look so beautiful. Many of the churches order pre-made painted medallions, but Jay designed 12 original medallions for that Pine Bluff church. He has also designed and built stained glass windows for churches in Stuttgart, Carlisle, Little Rock, Greenbrier, Jacksonville, Bald Knob, North Little Rock, Arkadelphia, Sparkman, and McGhee, and has done restoration work on existing stained glass windows all over the state.

     “The main thing I like to do is to provide affordable windows to churches who often believe they really can’t afford stained glass. I like to work with small churches in small towns. I prefer the smaller congregations.

     “It’s always fun toward the end of the job when I’m installing the windows. It’s an event. People in the congregation often come by. They ooh and ah. Sometimes I go to dedication ceremonies. When people come up to me and say thank you, it makes me feel good. You work so long in a church, there’s a real sense of accomplishment when it’s done.

     “I worked on a mosaic that took almost an entire year. It’s a lot more work than stained glass. It represents a year of my life, and I wanted it to look good. A lot of times the windows I do are memorial windows. You are building them not just for the congregation, but for the remembrance of family members. When you get a positive response, it goes a long way.  I did a window for a church in Greenbrier, and a lady who was a member of the congregation said she’ll look at that window and it is her focal point when she comes to church services and she feels a sense of awe. It made me feel good to know my work is affecting people’s worship in a special way.

     “In the smaller churches, people tend to know one another well, and it seems like they pull together to get things done. Whether it’s agreeing on the design and colors for windows or larger issues. In 2005 I was in Dumas working on windows at First Baptist, and all the churches came together to provide shelter for people trying to get away from Katrina. All the motels were full, but one member of the congregation told me to come down anyway. He invited me into his home for the night and fed me a great breakfast." 

    Most of the glass Jay uses for his churches is made in the United States from three companies that sell quality glass and provide hundreds of different colors and textures from which to choose.

     Opalescent glass, which is used a great deal in church work, has a base of white, he said, and can have different colors within the base. Cathedral glass has a base of clear, so that even if a glass is dark, a dark blue, for example, it’s color is pure and jewel-like. Wispy glasses are sort of half opalescent and half cathedral.

     “You can mix the different types of glass for great effect in windows. Often churches are trying to attain an inward direction. You don’t want your eyes to wander outside the church windows, and consequently, we use a lot of opalescents.”

     Most of his residential work utilizes clear bevels. “Most studios use only one or two bevel manufacturers, but I wanted to get as much variety in my bevels as possible, so they come from many sources.  When I first went into business, I assembled a great many bevels from different manufacturers. With residential glass, I build windows around bevel clusters, a group of bevels that comprise a central design."

     Customers browse the bevel books and select the ones they want, often helping to design their own windows, sidelights, or front doors.

    Jay also sells glass for kitchen cabinets. “German simulated hand-blown glass gives a unique touch to china cabinets or kitchen cabinets. It has a beautiful reflection to it.”

    His stained glass windows start at $100 a square foot for very simple designs. The average price runs $110 to $130 a square foot. Beveled windows typically run about $10 more per square foot.

   Jay has had art shown in juried exhibitions in Arkansas, and has taught stained glass in American quilt patterns at the Ozark Folk School. His shop is located at 900 S. Rodney Parham. Call him at 993-0012 for more information or visit

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Acupuncture and herbal medicine

Evergreen Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

      Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been proven to be safe and effective treatments for dozens of ailments, but only if administered by folks with the proper training, said Martin Eisele, who has had thousands of hours in training in both.
     For example, if you read in a news story that a study has shown a particular herb is good for
a particular ailment, don't run to the drug store and buy that supplement.  One, it might be the
wrong strength or type of that particular herb.  Two, it might interact with medicines your doctor
has prescribed.  Finally, some supplements do not even contain the herbs they claim to have.
     As for acupuncture, the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health recognizes it is as safe and effective for treatment of 20 to 30 different health problems.
     But the public should be aware that there are a number of people in Arkansas who have had very little training who are performing acupuncture, Mr.  Eisele, owner of Evergreen Acupuncture in Little Rock, said.  He is a licensed acupuncturist.
     "All Arkansas licensed acupuncturists, L.Acs., are required to have four years training
at a nationally certified school.  That amounts to 4,000 hours of training.  And we have to take two national certification tests in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine."
     "As opposed to that, chiropractors only have to have 100 hours of training in acupuncture.  Physical therapists are now doing acupuncture, calling it 'dry needling,' and they take a minimum 16-hour course."
     So, that is 16 hours of education or 100 hours of education versus 4,000 hours of education.
     "And (licensed) acupuncturists are required to have continuing education," Martin said.
     When performed correctly, acupuncture is safe and has a low rate of minor adverse effects. In fact, a National Institutes of Health review states that "one of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures for the same conditions."  
     However, when acupuncture is performed by untrained people there can be serious adverse outcomes.
     Martin said that "every acupuncture point has directions." Licensed acupuncturists have studied these directions, including where to insert the acupuncture needle and the proper depth.
     But before treatment of any kind, a proper diagnosis must be made.  That is an important part of the four years of study in certified schools. 

                                                                     Martin Eisele 

   Traditional Chinese medicine seeks the causes that inhibit healing and works to treat these underlying causes so that the body can heal itself. 
   It is a system of medicine that has evolved over thousands of years of practice.  It is rooted in the concept that "Qi" (pronounced "chee), or vital energy, needs to be in balance for good health.
  "There have been very specific studies - about headaches, nausea, backaches … .  In the more modern studies, they are doing things like studying the brain with EEGs" to show which acupuncture points light up different parts of the brain. "Or they measure chemical reactions in the brain."
   NIH literature states that high quality clinical trials have shown that acupuncture is good for a number of ailments from stroke rehabilitation to tennis elbow.
    "A lot of people seek out acupuncture because they are tired of taking pain medication or do not want to take pain medication. On the flip side, even if someone is taking medication, acupuncture can, in a lot of cases, get them through their illness. For instance, I treat a lot of people who are going through treatment for cancer.  Acupuncture can be beneficial to help them be stronger, help with nausea, fatigue and the emotional trauma of being diagnosed with cancer.
    "I never tell people to change their medicines unless it is a pain medication when they are not in pain.  Any other medication, I tell them to go back and talk with their doctor."
    Martin is certainly not opposed to Western medicine.
   "My dad was a doctor.  My grandfather was a pharmacist. My great-grandfather was a pharmacist. I prefer to work with (patients') doctors to get them better. And I do have a number of doctors who refer to me, including some OB/GYNs who are seeing women who have fertility problems."
   No matter what problem a patient presents with, Martin also treats them for stress.  
   "I treat everybody for stress," he said.  Acupuncture is known for treating stress."
    It is increasingly used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in military hospitals.  
    There is a drawback to acupuncture that ought to be discussed - fear of needles.
  "People are really freaked out about the needles," Martin said. "Some are needle phobic and some, needle sensitive."
    Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and flexible and do no bear any resemblance to needles that are used for injections or to draw blood.
   "It is really relaxing if it is done right," Martin said. 
   And, then there are some problems that can be treated with "ear seeds," little pieces of seeds or metal taped to certain points on the ear to exert pressure there.  If ear seeds are used, they can be just as effective as acupuncture, he said.
    Martin is, of course, trained in herbal medicine, which is also a root of traditional Chinese medicine.
     But he does not like to buy herbs from China.
   "I source them from several different companies, mostly American companies that follow the growth of drugs. They are followed from the ground into the bottle - in all aspects and they are controlled.
    "One of the companies I use, they started with the same acupuncture teachers I studied with.  Actually the company was started by a Western medical doctor. There are Chinese companies you have to be wary of."
    Martin caters each remedy to the diagnosis at the time a patients comes into his office.
   "Each stage might represent something different in Chinese medicine."
    Even in something as simple as a cold, certain herbs may be used in the beginning of treatment and different herbs as, for example, the color of phlegm changes over time.
    Herbal medicine is used to treat a wide range of maladies, including musculoskeletal pain, digestive disorders, stress and anxiety.
    Part of the diagnosis concerns whether problems arise "from the inside of you or the outside of you."  
     Qi is always in flux.  "Yin" and "yang" are terms used to describe qualities that need to be in harmony for the body to function properly. When the yin and yang aspects of Qi are in harmony with one another, it leads to health.
    This may sound arcane, but Shoppe Talk deems that it is grounded in good sense - the kind you might get from your Southern grandmother.  
    Your body might be deficient in something, causing an imbalance, or you might be assaulted by pollution or toxic chemicals that are detrimental to health.  You may eat too much or drink too much or eat trashy food with empty calories.
     As well as observation, Martin asks a number of questions before coming to a diagnosis.
     "We are looking at the full scope of someone's life.  The questions we try to ask are what are you eating, how is your digestion, how is your sleep, how is your energy, how is your stress.   We look at elimination.  We look at the big picture. I talk to almost everyone about their diet."
    Some people are reluctant to take Chinese herbs, but those same folk might buy over-the-counter supplements.
   "Buying at a store or over the internet, it's not safe to do. They are medicine, and they can be misused.  You have to have the right diagnosis.  You have to know the background, what kind of medication they are taking.  Some people take cinnamon to improve blood pressure or cholesterol, but it  might not be the right thing for them. Some people take ginseng.  Chinese ginseng is fairly hot and warms the body.  American ginseng is cooler and is used in a different way.  You have to know  which ginseng you are using for which situation.  And then combining herbs is more complex."
     Although herbal medicine and acupuncture are great tools for treating a number of ailments, sometimes Martin turns folks away at the door. 
   "I sometimes tell people 'don't waste your money.'  We know when to refer out. I refer to physical therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, OB/GYNs and to the emergency room.
     "If someone has a blood pressure of over 200, I send them to the ER.  I tell them, you don't need to be here."  

     Martin received his training in Oriental Medicine at Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado.  He interned with Dr. Jeffrey Dann, an internationally known expert in Japanese Meridian Acupuncture.  After completing a four-year program of study, he graduated with a master's degree in Science and Oriental Medicine in 2001. He continued his education in Shanghai, China, at Shu Guang Hospital and at the Shanghai Acupuncture and Meridian Research Institute.  He is licensed by the state and nationally certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.  Evergreen Acupuncture is located at 2 Van Circle near the intersection of North University and Evergreen Drive. 663-3461.