Sophia Loren on love, aging and family

 Sophia Loren has been called a living goddess.  For decades, she has dazzled fans with her big-screen performances, her bold, graceful walk and her ethereal beauty. At 83, Loren is still an enigma, and questions about her choices, including marrying producer Carlo Ponti, 22 years her senior and 4 inches shorter, over the debonair actor Cary Grant, always come into play. She and Ponti, who died in 2007, were married for more than 40 years and had two sons.   More

Sophia Loren has been called a living goddess.

For decades, she has dazzled fans with her big-screen performances, her bold, graceful walk and her ethereal beauty. At 83, Loren is still an enigma, and questions about her choices, including marrying producer Carlo Ponti, 22 years her senior and 4 inches shorter, over the debonair actor Cary Grant, always come into play. She and Ponti, who died in 2007, were married for more than 40 years and had two sons.

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Going bold by going bald

 Jotina Buck just didn't wake up one day and shave off her hair.  It was a gradual process that, in a way, had been formulating since she was a little girl. The second-grade teacher at North Belt Elementary in Humble had always struggled with her hair, which was naturally "kinky" and deemed "bad," in certain societal constructs.  She had her first hair relaxer at age 5 and had been wearing hair extensions and weaves since the first grade.  "All I wanted was to go to school with straight hair, so as an adult investing in hair weaves and spending an absurd amount of money on hair was my validation," she said.   More

Jotina Buck just didn't wake up one day and shave off her hair.

It was a gradual process that, in a way, had been formulating since she was a little girl. The second-grade teacher at North Belt Elementary in Humble had always struggled with her hair, which was naturally "kinky" and deemed "bad," in certain societal constructs.

She had her first hair relaxer at age 5 and had been wearing hair extensions and weaves since the first grade.

"All I wanted was to go to school with straight hair, so as an adult investing in hair weaves and spending an absurd amount of money on hair was my validation," she said.

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Marianne Williamson asked white people to apologize.

 Marianne Williamson walked to the middle of the stage, paused for a second, then she asked all the black people to stand.  The New York Times best-selling author, internationally known spiritual teacher and native Houstonian was in town recently for her "Love America Tour" at Unity of Houston. She urged the 200 of us from our seats. She then instructed a white person to hold the hand of a black person standing.  A white woman and a teenage girl who looked to be mother and daughter in the row behind me took my hand and arm.  Williamson then told the white people to repeat after her. She began with, "I apologize ... ."  More

Marianne Williamson walked to the middle of the stage, paused for a second, then she asked all the black people to stand.

The New York Times best-selling author, internationally known spiritual teacher and native Houstonian was in town recently for her "Love America Tour" at Unity of Houston. She urged the 200 of us from our seats. She then instructed a white person to hold the hand of a black person standing.

A white woman and a teenage girl who looked to be mother and daughter in the row behind me took my hand and arm.

Williamson then told the white people to repeat after her. She began with, "I apologize ... ."

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#YearOfJoy party shows youth joys of skating

 The little boy held out five fingers as he tried to balance himself.  It was his first time on ice skates. He wobbled back and forth before finding a moment of steadiness.  "I'm 5. I never done this before," he blurted, then smiled widely at me, as if he had mastered a kindergarten life skill, like tying shoes.  "Thanks, lady. This is the best day of my life." Then he wobbled off in a hurry to take to the ice.  The boy was one of 60 area children who attended the #YearOfJoy Holiday Ice Skating Party at the ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy at Discovery Green last December.  My idea was to share the experience of ice skating, a sport I grew up competing in, with children who might never have the opportunity to try it. It also was my first effort to give back in a big way.   More

The little boy held out five fingers as he tried to balance himself.

It was his first time on ice skates. He wobbled back and forth before finding a moment of steadiness.

"I'm 5. I never done this before," he blurted, then smiled widely at me, as if he had mastered a kindergarten life skill, like tying shoes.

"Thanks, lady. This is the best day of my life." Then he wobbled off in a hurry to take to the ice.

The boy was one of 60 area children who attended the #YearOfJoy Holiday Ice Skating Party at the ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy at Discovery Green last December.

My idea was to share the experience of ice skating, a sport I grew up competing in, with children who might never have the opportunity to try it. It also was my first effort to give back in a big way.

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KHOU anchor feels right at home working out

 Mia Gradney blasts DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" and breaks into a "that's-my-jam" dance.  She places a weighted bar on her shoulders and bends her knees to lunge forward. Her head bounces to the beat.  In a world filled with man caves and she sheds, Gradney and her husband, Troy, have found refuge in a multi-car garage in their Fort Bend County home that's been transformed into a gym and fitness studio.  It was a do-it-yourself project, started in 2015, from the painted-on-concrete floor to the metal plate installed on the wall for Gradney's headstands. The floor-to-ceiling mirrors are the only feature professionally installed.   MORE

Mia Gradney blasts DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" and breaks into a "that's-my-jam" dance.

She places a weighted bar on her shoulders and bends her knees to lunge forward. Her head bounces to the beat.

In a world filled with man caves and she sheds, Gradney and her husband, Troy, have found refuge in a multi-car garage in their Fort Bend County home that's been transformed into a gym and fitness studio.

It was a do-it-yourself project, started in 2015, from the painted-on-concrete floor to the metal plate installed on the wall for Gradney's headstands. The floor-to-ceiling mirrors are the only feature professionally installed.

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Youth poet laureate wins with powerful Harvey entry

 Rukmini Kalamangalam seemed to summon the moody, gray sky into position as she spoke the first few words of her winning poem, "After Harvey."  Standing on the rooftop garden of her Carnegie Vanguard High School, the 16-year-old senior proved why she's the city's newest youth poet laureate.  Her words told the story of the city's collective headache and fear about the endless rain that fell in the days after Hurricane Harvey.  "We held our breath. Tried not to imagine what it would feel like to be drowning again," she spoke with a powerful melody.   MORE

Rukmini Kalamangalam seemed to summon the moody, gray sky into position as she spoke the first few words of her winning poem, "After Harvey."

Standing on the rooftop garden of her Carnegie Vanguard High School, the 16-year-old senior proved why she's the city's newest youth poet laureate.

Her words told the story of the city's collective headache and fear about the endless rain that fell in the days after Hurricane Harvey.

"We held our breath. Tried not to imagine what it would feel like to be drowning again," she spoke with a powerful melody.

MORE

She's a master of body language and style

 Jan Hargrave opens the door to her Galleria townhome looking like she walked off the pages of a French fashion magazine.  She's clad in a simple Alaïa black top and slim pants, a pair of black Alexandre Birman booties, a multistrand pearl necklace and her signature pink eyeglasses. Her hair is a perfect pixie.  Hargrave laughs as if to say, "this old thing?" about her outfit. Visitors should expect nothing less from the Louisiana native with French Cajun roots.  In her pink-accented office, Chanel table books are stacked on the coffee table, Chanel accessories abound, and a mannequin Hargrave calls "CoCo," after the famed designer, stands guard.  Hargrave is one of a kind when it comes to her style. She's also one of a dozen acclaimed body-language experts in the nation.   More

Jan Hargrave opens the door to her Galleria townhome looking like she walked off the pages of a French fashion magazine.

She's clad in a simple Alaïa black top and slim pants, a pair of black Alexandre Birman booties, a multistrand pearl necklace and her signature pink eyeglasses. Her hair is a perfect pixie.

Hargrave laughs as if to say, "this old thing?" about her outfit. Visitors should expect nothing less from the Louisiana native with French Cajun roots.

In her pink-accented office, Chanel table books are stacked on the coffee table, Chanel accessories abound, and a mannequin Hargrave calls "CoCo," after the famed designer, stands guard.

Hargrave is one of a kind when it comes to her style. She's also one of a dozen acclaimed body-language experts in the nation.

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Jason Dirden says it's good to be bad on 'Greenleaf'

 Jason Dirden knows what it's like to be hated.  For much of his career, the actor and Houston native has played basically good, hardworking and often complex guys trying to find their way. But on OWN's hit drama "Greenleaf," Dirden plays Pastor Basie Skanks, an unscrupulous man of the cloth who is set on doing what he can to unleash a wrath of revenge.  He's the character fans love to hate.   More    

Jason Dirden knows what it's like to be hated.

For much of his career, the actor and Houston native has played basically good, hardworking and often complex guys trying to find their way. But on OWN's hit drama "Greenleaf," Dirden plays Pastor Basie Skanks, an unscrupulous man of the cloth who is set on doing what he can to unleash a wrath of revenge.

He's the character fans love to hate.

More