Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where to Go in Vietnam

This week we were joined by our very own, Rosemarie Visconti, Children's Librarian, and Jill Vu, Reference Assistant, who took us on a tour of Vietnam with beautiful pictures, fascinating stories, and delicious treats. Rosemarie recounted her recent trip to Vietnam, with stops in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and Hanoi, where she painted the picture of a beautiful country filled with welcoming people, bustling cities, serene countrysides, and vivid colors. Photos of palaces, pagodas, state buildings and markets gave us a feel for the architecture and allowed us to see the Chinese and French influences throughout the country. Jill made our experience even richer with samples of food and coffee from Vietnam. Thank you to our wonderful tour guides!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Military Records for Genealogy

Looking for new ways to research the histories of your family members and ancestors? Library Director Mick Stafford showed us the wealth of genealogical information available through U.S. military records. If you have a family member who served in the military, you can request their service records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA has over 55 million military records, some of which date back to the Spanish-American War. The documents available include separation records, which contain information on rank, discharge, military occupation specialty, and medals, and pension applications which can even include letters and pictures. Mick also demonstrated several other online resources for locating military records including Fold3, Heritage Quest, and Ancestry. Find links and access information below.

Also, many thanks to LIFE attendee and author, Gordon Rottman, who shared some of his expertise in searching military records!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Apps with Abraham

We were joined by CyFair's very own Reference Librarian, Abraham Korah, to show us some of the best apps for iPhones, iPads and Android devices. With so many out there to choose from, Abraham narrowed them down to the most functional apps to make life easier and more exciting. The apps introduced today are listed below. All are free, though some also have paid upgraded versions.

  • Paper
  • Google Translate
  • Tripomatic
  • AirBnB
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Field Trip
  • Dinner Spinner
  • Your Kitchen Inspiration
  • HealthTap
  • Touch Surgery
  • Duolingo
  • NASA App
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Flesky
  • Google Now
  • Chrome

See the list with a description and which devices they are available for here:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Feng Shui for Wealth

Our programs are following a "healthy, wealthy and wise" trend lately. Katherine Ashby of Feng Shui Houston joined us for the wealthy segment to demonstrate how we can encourage abundance in all areas of our life with principles of Feng Shui. Today's discussion was based in the ideas of Western Feng Shui, which doesn't rely on a compass, but rather on the layout and location of the front door of a building. Katherine showed us how to apply the Three Door Ba-Gua to our home by lining up the front of the grid with the same wall that contains the front door. Once you've located it, you can activate it and improve your luck in the wealth area by adding purple paint or other elements, as well as symbols of abundance, such as plants, water,or coins. It's also important to eliminate clutter in order to allow chi, or life force energy to flow freely throughout your home.

To learn more about Feng Shui, visit Katherine's website: and check out some of the books that the library has on the subject.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Path of Tea

Today we had the opportunity to explore the many variations and health benefits of tea with Chris McKann of Houston's organic tea shop, The Path of Tea. Did you know that each "true tea" comes from the same type of tea leaf? The difference comes from the way the leaves are processed.

Things to keep in mind to enjoy the perfect cup of tea:
*To get the full health benefits, it is recommended to drink 3-5 cups per day.
*Adding dairy products to tea negates any health benefits. Consider using almond, soy, or coconut milk instead.
*Use the best quality water possible--Chris recommends filtered, alkaline water.

Green Tea
White Tea
  • When processing, low heat is added to create green tea leaves
  • Has been found to have cancer-fighting benefits
  • Helpful in preventing or slowing Alzheimer's disease
  • Removes cortisol (caused by stress) from the blood stream
  • Helps to balance blood sugar and kick-start metabolism
  • This tea is the least processed and has a low amount of caffeine
  • Has the most antioxidants of any tea, so it's great for building up the immune system
  • White tea is also especially good for skin health
Black Tea
  • More heat is added when processing tea leaves
  • Especially good for heart health--people who drink 1-3 cups of black tea per day are less likely to have heart attacks
Oolong Tea
  • Tea leaves come from high altitudes--conditions in Taiwan are perfect for Oolong
  • The tea leaves are bruised during processing, which adds a smooth quality to the tea
  • Particularly good for liver health
  • Has been found to help weight loss, as well as recovering from hangovers
  • Oolong is a known mood-elevator!
Rooibos Tea
  • Does not come from a true tea leaf, but from an herb in South Africa
  • Particularly good for respiratory health
  • South African parents commonly use Rooibos tea to treat colic in babies
  • Caffeine-free

Thanks to our presenter for an enlightening and aromatic presentation! To learn more about The Path of Tea, check out their website:

LIFErs enjoy tea samples and delicious organic cookies.