Stuff I Like: Old 97’s, Western boots, ‘Twin Peaks,’ homemade Greek yogurt

Old 97’s lead singer Rhett Miller and me after one of his solo shows in St. Louis a few years ago.
Old 97’s lead singer Rhett Miller and me after one of his solo shows in St. Louis a few years ago.

Here’s what House+Home editor Cindy Billhartz Gregorian is into right now:

The Old 97’s

Confession: I’m a groupie when it comes to this Dallas band — a 51-year-old, moon-eyed, lyric-screaming groupie. Their songs are alt-country, with pop and punk thrown in. I have all their studio albums, know all their songs by heart and have seen them in concert more than a dozen times. Lead singer/songwriter Rhett Miller let me touch his hair three times after a show several years ago. Sigh.

“Graveyard Whistling,” their 11th studio album, came out in February, and my fandom was stoked again. Every CD is chock-full of Rhett’s lyrical gems, such as this tidbit from the new song “Jesus Loves You”: “Well, you can talk to Him all night/But I’m right here/He makes wine from water/But I just bought you a beer.” I’m forcing my very wary 18-year-old nephew to see them with me in St. Louis in May, even though I’ll probably embarrass him.

Western boots

I have six pairs, ranging from ankle-grazing booties to over-the-knee clodhoppers that I wear with dresses, rompers and shorts on days that are not too warm and not too cold (and anytime I see the Old 97’s). So this is the perfect time of year for them.

My favorites are a pair of black square-toe Ropers with silver inlayed designs. Without asking, my friend’s 3-year-old daughter — I call her Baby JJ — picked them out from among hundreds of other pairs in a San Antonio, Texas, boot emporium and said, “Here, Aunt Cindy.” They were exactly my size and style. Unbelievable.


“Twin Peaks”

This David Lynch series from the early 1990s, now available on Netflix, switches from campy soap opera to quirky supernatural mystery and features a dancing midget, macabre giant and the best use ever of red velvet drapes and a herringbone-pattern floor. I love the offbeat humor, archetypical characters and Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack, which moves seamlessly from maudlin riffs to smoky jazz.

It also has an incredibly beautiful cast: Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Dana Ashbrook, Eric DaRe. Then there’s the suave yet boyish Kyle McLaughlin in his tailored FBI suits, perfectly nailing the eccentricities of FBI agent Dale Cooper. Makes me want to binge on good black coffee and doughnuts. Looking forward to the long-awaited Season 3 starting May 21 on Showtime.

Argan Oil

When I was a kid, my sisters always had shiny hair that would swing down by their hips. Mine never really made it past my shoulders. It was thin and fragile. It didn’t help when I began having it highlighted several years ago. Split ends, breakage and all-around dryness were the bane of my existence.

Then, about a year ago, I discovered OGX’s Argan Oil of Morocco. Every day, after blow-drying my hair, I rub several drops of it into the ends of my hair and comb it through. Now, I’m not saying I look like Jennifer Aniston or anything, but my hair is noticeably thicker and smoother, and I have to search hard to find a split end. I can’t imagine life without it.


Greek yogurt

My mother-in-law, who gave birth to my husband in Beirut, Lebanon, taught me how to make my own Greek yogurt 20 years ago: Cradle a colander over a smaller bowl, line the colander with a clean cloth, pour plain yogurt into it and place in the refrigerator overnight. The whey drains into the bowl, leaving the yogurt tangy and as thick as soft cream cheese.

I eat it for breakfast with granola, berries and a drizzle of maple syrup on top. You can also use it to make the Lebanese spread called labneh by mixing in salt, spreading it on a plate and topping it with spices, herbs and olive oil. Delicious.

Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian: 816-234-4780, @CindyBGregorian