THE HOTDOGS OF SUMMER

Hotdogs. They’re the cocky, bold showoffs of summer-and they’re ready to strut their stuff.

A FISH CALLED HAN



No more windblown beach towels. These four sharks chomp down on the edge of the towel while the stake end stays anchored in the ground. $5.95 at Crate & Barrel. NorthPark. 696-8010.



VIVE DE SOLEIL

We like this cozy combo of beach towel and outdoor boxer short. Designed in France to commemorate Bastille Day, July 14, the set is a splashy mix of red, white, blue, and gold. $75 for the towel and $35 for the shorts at Boutiques Descamps in Highland Park Village. 522-2171.

GIVE PIZ A CHANCE And give the cocoa butter a rest. Piz Buin sunblock and sunscreen lotion moisturizes and blocks out harmful sun rays. This one has a high-30-plus-sun protection factor. $8.09 at Tom Thumb.

MAN-MADE VEGGIES

Remember the famous 1015 onion of last year-you know, the one that didn’t make you cry and was so sweet you could eat it like an apple? The Texas A&M horticulturists have whipped up two more hybrid veggies to look for at the Fanner’s Market: seedless watermelons and bicolor corn, with extra-sweet yellow and white kernels.

SUMMER SPICES A seasonal harvest of up to twelve herbs (rosemary, lemon thyme, and parsley, to name a few) is carefully woven in with statice to spice up a meal while serving as colorful kitchen decor. $35 from Roberta Fortune’s Almanac. 1-800-331-2300.



BATHING BEAUTY If the heat has gotten a little too hot, we suggest sliding into an aroma hydrotherapy bath, pronto. They add a special blend of dried plants and herbs to the water to create a cool, sudsy escape. And the water’s as cool as you want (they’ll even throw in some ice cubes). Top it off by having a frigid drink or dessert delivered bathside. $15 for the thirty-minute escape at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort, 4150 North MacArthur. Reservations required. 717-2401.



POATABLE PO

For poolless sunbathers, now there’s the Solar Tub. The raft-like recliner is deep enough to fill with water, long enough to keep you wet from shoulder to toe, and big enough for two. $49.99 at Oshman’s Sporting Goods, 5828 Abrams Road. 692-6400.

THE GRILL OF MY DREAMS

1. Steak and poultry buttons lake the guesswork out of grilling. The skewers sink into what’s cooking to indicate its state ofdoneness: rare, medium, andwell done- $15 at allBrookstone locations.

2. Just getting the fire started is probably the biggest chore. Try the Charcoal Chimney by Christen to reduce time spent hovering over the grill. Stick newspaper in this steel tube, ignite with a match, and voila! It’s all-natural, since no lighter fluid is needed.

$14.99 at Grill Doctor, 200 Spring Creek Village, Belt Line and Coit. 890-4443. 3. Spot: the famous barbecuing dog provides the needed utensils. The brush, fork, and spatula art $12.50 each at Karen Freeman Gifts, ) 2802-D Greenville.827-3183.

4. Austin-based Jardine’s Texas Foods brings to the table Margarita Bar-B-Que sauce with all the ingredients you’d expect: fresh lime and Jose Cuervo tequila, spices, tomatoes, onions, New Mexican green chilies, and garlic. $2.69 at Simon David.

FOR KIDS WITH A CASE OF THE NOTHING-TO-DO BLUES



1. Magic 8 balls are back-need we say more? $4.49 at alt Toys ’R’ Us locatiots.

2. Shuttle Ball is an outdoor gameplayed like Ping-Pong but withbigger paddles, a bigger ball, andno table. The aim of the game isto keep the ball in the air. $15.99at Herman’s Sporting Goods,Valley View Mall. 387-3963.

3. Let the little urchins wanderthrough Ripley’s Believe It or Not!opening this month. Galleries are filled with oddities like a log cabin made out of Lincoln pennies, a shrunken human head, the world’s largest chain made of wood, plus exact replicas of the “lost temple of

the primitives” and the lost city of Atlantis. Open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., it’s $5.95 for adults and $4.95 Jot kids. 601 East Safari Parkway, Grand Prairie. 263-2391.

4. They’ll think it’s fun when youput them to work pickingstrawberries and blueberries atFincastle Farms, a HendersonCounty you-pick-em farm. Pickdaily Wednesday-Saturday 8a.m.-6p.m. and Sunday 12p.m.-6 p.m. during June andJuly. The farm is located twelvemiles southeast of Athens on U.S.Highway 175. (214) 675-4022.

5. Built in 1931, Burger’s Lakeis a real spring-fed swimminghole, one of only a handful stillaround. It’s got two sandybeaches, a water slide, a trapeze, and jive diving boards plus lifeguards on duty to monitor the action. $5 (kids jive and under are free). Open 8:30a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week through Labor Day. 1200 Meandering Road, Fort Worth. (817) 737-3414. 6. If all else fails, fill them with candy. At Surprises, kids can actually make the sweet stuff. First they select a candy mold (they have more than 200 to choose from), then they melt the chocolate, pour it into the mold, and stick it into the freezer for three to jive minutes. A myriad of decorations is also at their disposal. $2.29 for the molds; the custom chocolates range from $1.95 to $9.25 per pound. 4335 Lovers Lane. 522-5970.

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