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Eat, Play, Shop, Live, Visit, Work. Your daily stop for the latest on all things Arkansas, including your comments. Send blog tips and feedback to Associate Editor Lauren James here.
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Arkansas Engagement Announcement: Megan Morris of Sheridan & Elijah Knudsen of Russellville

Image by Liz Chrisman Photography

Megan Morris of Sheridan and Elijah Knudsen of Russellville are engaged! The couple plans to wed on October 30, 2011 at An Enchanting Evening in Roland.

Their engagement photos were taken by Liz Chrisman Photography.

Click here for more photos of Megan and Elijah!

Best wishes to the happy couple!

Little Rock Zoo Admission is $1 Saturday - Free Parking Too

This dollar day is a good opportunity to see the new penguins!

Saturday (July 2) is Coleman Dairy Dollar Day at the Little Rock Zoo.

Admission is $1 (it's normally $10 for adults, $8 for kids 12 and under), parking is free (normally $2), and the first 50 familiesi who enter will get a coupon for a free half-gallon of Coleman milk.

Zoo hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (last admission is at 4 p.m.) For more information click here

Yarnell's Premium Ice Cream Is Closing -- Share Your Memories Here

Yarnell's, which announced today it is closing, recently released a new Lemon Ice Box Pie ice cream.

Yarnell's Premium Ice Cream of Searcy, one of the largest privately held ice cream companies in the United States, confirmed Thursday that it has ceased operations, affecting 200 employees.

To read the full story in click here. To read more about the closing in click here. 

Do you have a favorite story about your experiences with Yarnell's ice cream? Maybe a treasured flavor, a funny experience with your family or friends, or different ways to enjoy the sweet treats? Share it in the Comments below this post.

Vote for Dreamland Ballroom and See The Blues Brothers at Dreamland Drive-In

Dan Aykroyd (left) and John Belushi star in The Blues Brothers. 

Friends of Dreamland Ballroom invite you to a screening of The Blues Brothers at sundown today (around 8:30 p.m.) in the parking lot behind Taborian Hall (Arkansas Flag and Banner building) at 800 W. Ninth St., Little Rock.

And while you're thinking about Dreamland Ballroom, you've got until 4 p.m. today to vote for this downtown nonprofit to receive federal dollars through a contest promoted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Only one vote per person is allowed. If you've already voted, you can help by posting the voting link below on Facebook and Twitter or by e-mailing it to your contacts.

Dreamland Ballroom, which is now in second place, could win $5,000-$25,000 depending on their placement. To vote click here. 

OK, back to The Blues Brothers: The 1980 comedy concerns Jake (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd), who take on "a mission from God" to save from foreclosure the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker, who performed at Dreamland.

The screening will be projected on the back of the historic Arkansas Flag and Banner building, also known as Taborian Hall, with the audio broadcast through your car radio. 

Hot dogs, soft drinks, bottled water, ice cream and Diamond Bear Brewery beer will be on sale.

During its heyday, the ballroom at Taborian Hall played host to Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and his orchestra, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Arkansas natives Al Hibbler and Louis Jordan, Nat King Cole and his trio, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzie Gillespie.

Admission is free. Donations are accepted for both cars and walkups (bring lawn chairs). Proceeds from the movie series go toward restoration of the ballroom. For more information click here.  

This is the final film in the summer series. For more information call (501) 255-5700. Cooks For Independence Day: Turkey Burgers With Gouda

A combination of light and dark meat makes these grilled turkey burgers tender and flavorful.

Thanks to Whole Foods Market for this fast, easy recipe for grilled turkey burgers -- made with a comination of dark and light meat turkey so they don't taste blah like my turkey burgers often do -- topped with the nutty flavor of sliced Gouda cheese. They'd be terrific at a Fourth of July cookout.

To see more grilling recipes from Whole Foods click here

Grilled Turkey Burgers With Gouda (serves 6)


  •  2 pounds ground turkey (preferably 1 pound thigh and 1 pound breast)
  • 1/2 cup dried whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces Gouda cheese, sliced

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-heat cooking. In a large bowl, combine turkey, bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using your hands or a large spoon, gently mix the ingredients together (do not overmix or the burgers will be tough). Divide the mixture into six equal portions. Flatten into patties about five inches in diameter and no more than 3/4-inch thick (patties will shrink and thicken as they cook).

Skewer the onion slices on metal skewers, putting about two slices on each skewer. Brush slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Grill burgers and onion slices until browned on one side, about four minutes. Turn burgers and onions and grill on the other side, about two minutes. Top burgers evenly with Gouda slices, cover grill, and continue cooking until the onions are browned, the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about two minutes more.

Serve burgers topped with onions as they are or in buns with your choice of condiments.

Honor Military Heroes at Patriotic Spectacular in Jacksonville

Image by Mark Wagner
Fireworks will conclude the festivities at Patriotic Spectacular in Jacksonville Friday.

The Patriotic Spectacular, happening Friday (July 1) at Jan Crow Stadium, Jacksonville High School, 2400 Linda Lane, is an evening of family entertainment and fireworks.

Admission is free.  

Festivities include a Kids Fun Area where Radio Disney will provide music, dancing, face painting and inflatables from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. there will be a patriotic presentation of Community Hero and I Have a Dream awards, along with a salute to the Armed Forces by the Patriot Singers and the Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Riders.

Country/pop musician Candy Coburn, who recently released a new CD titled Lucky, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Breast cancer survivors and their families will be recognized during her show.  

The Gloryland Pastors Choir, led by Pastor Cedric Hayes, will also perform. 

The night ends with the fireworks finale at 9 p.m.

Bring lawn chairs and blankets for lawn seating. Concessions will be available. For more information call (501) 944-4820.


How to Get What You Really Want in an Engagement Ring

Gallery by Romance Diamond Co. of Fayetteville

Laura with Romance Diamond Co. of Fayetteville has your jewelry cheat sheet right here! Many brides know what rings they like but can't articulate the design elements to their boyfriends or jewelers. That's where Laura's expertise comes in. She's going to teach us the lingo ... the jewelry industry terms we need to know from start to finish. Beginning with the engagement ring, of course! This is part one of her three part series that'll help you communicate and find the jewels your really want, start to finish. Make sure to take notes... ;) 

After you've found the man you want to spend your life with, the shopping begins for the ring you really want to spend the rest of your life with. We all hurdle obstacles in our search for the perfect man, and the same goes for our search for the perfect engagement ring. 

First, you need to find a jeweler who understands what it is that you want. But before you can do that, you need to learn the jewelry terms you'll be introduced to, because when discussing what you like, you want to make sure you are getting across the design features of a ring you like - or one you dislike. For that, you’ll need to master some of the jewelry terms from the industry. Halo, split shank, micro pave, and shared prong, are just a few of the words you will hear that describe different mountings for engagement rings.

Peruse the photos above as we accessorize your everyday vocabulary with a few simple jewelry terms, so that when you begin to shop for the style of engagement ring you like, you’ll be sure to get what you really want! 

(Example Photo #1) Ring by Armadani. This ring has what is referred to as a “halo” around the round center stone. This design enhances the center stone by dressing it up and gives the center stone a larger appearance.

Now let’s build onto your knowledge by introducing the term “split shank” (see Example Photo #2). Although it is somewhat self explanatory, it’s a little difficult to visualize. This J.B. Star ring (shown from three different angles) has both a halo and a split shank. It also has a feature known as “micro pave” set diamonds. Notice how there are many small stones that begin around the halo and flow down the mounting. The design feature is a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process of setting each diamond by hand using a microscope. This greatly increases the value of a mounting.

Another option to think about when looking for exactly what you want is to explore the look of a “shared prong” mounting (see Example Photo #3). Below you see our mounting by Gonshor. Each diamond is held in place by a prong on either side allowing you to see each diamond individually.

There are many terms in the industry to describe different design features, but now that you’ve learned about halos, split shanks, micro pave and shared prongs, you will have a head start in understanding what you like and communicating it to your fiancé and jeweler. And you know what that means?! You’re on the way to getting what you really want, from start to finish!

If you have any questions feel free to call us at Romance Diamond Co. at (479) 443-9289.

Five Arkansas Properties Added to National Register of Historic Places

Saline Cemetery (Drew County)

Five Arkansas properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties. They are:

  • Saline Cemetery near Wilmar in Drew County, with burials dating to 1878
  • Bethel Cemetery near Denton in Lawrence County, featuring interments dating to 1835
  • Keo Commercial Historic District at Keo in Lonoke County, containing commercial and agricultural buildings dating to 1900
  • William P. and Rosa Lee Martin Farm near Marshall in Searcy County, a ca. 1922 ensemble of agricultural buildings centered around a wood-frame residence
  • Greenwood Gymnasium at Greenwood in Sebastian County, a stone structure built 1938-39 through the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era federal relief program.

For more information on the National Register of Historic Places program, write the AHPP at 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center St., Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880, send e-mail to or click here. 

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About The Author
What’s new in shopping, the arts, music, travel, fun parties and delicious food in Arkansas? Let Lauren James of be your guide. An avid shopper, traveler and lover of everything-arts-related, she will show you the best of what Arkansas has to offer. Make your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
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