Six Tips for Planning a (Boho) Bachelorette

Planning my first Bachelorette Party for Amanda, I learned a lot about how to budget and make it fun for everyone. I had help to plan that one, and it was a whole weekend getaway in the Oklahoma woods, but I gained a lot of valuable insight.

When it was time to plan Tracy’s Bachelorette, I went in like a pro. I was nervous to do this one alone, but I also was grateful it was one organized night and I could make my own budget. Luckily for me, Tracy is a fellow boho spirit, so I had a lot already on hand that would save me money.

I went in with a small budget – only $120 – hoping I could DIY most of what I needed or shop smart. I have a big craft supply always at hand and I had the experience I needed to go in with the six most important things to plan a successful bachelorette!

1. Theme

I know most people think the theme is that it’s the bride’s “last night of freedom” but setting an actual theme makes the party so much more cohesive and feels more special. I chose boho for Tracy because she’s very hippyish but also because I had a lot of flowers/floral crafts already at my disposal. Let’s just say, I already had 72ft of fake ivy hanging around my house.

Pinterest is your friend when checking out themes. You can get a feel for setting up a space and also good ideas for incorporating party favors and prizes. Our main space would be at a table (originally planned for outdoors but the weather wasn’t kind) so I knew I wanted most of my decor there. Then I did up the Snack and Drink table, knowing it would be the second most visited space.

2. Libations Make a Party

The same golden rule of every party is still true here: never run out of drinks (or snacks secondarily). The cheapest way to ensure this is make one big crowd pleaser drink that would be a feat to empty. I made a tried and true “Gypsy Sangria” recipe that’s never gotten complaints and honestly looked great on the table.

It’s hard asking more of wedding guests because the whole process can get expensive, but making a party potluck style can help you save some money and make sure every guest will like at least one thing at the party. I also texted people on tight budgets cheap party food ideas so no one would feel pressured to commit even more money.

3. Play a Little Dress Up

This can be as simple as just having all the guests wear black, but try and go that extra mile. Everyone wants an excuse to be a little “extra” and get in the spirit of the night! Flower crowns were the obvious choice, but also gave me the opportunity to create an activity to kick things off. At the end, people have a personalized headpiece and have been drinking without that start-of-party awkwardness.

4. Balancing Activities and GirlTalk

There’s nothing worse than going to a party and playing dumb game after dumb game. At the opposite end of the spectrum, just trying to socialize your way through an entire night of unorganized activity is horrific. I made up my mind to have only two games and only two activities. Starting with an easygoing activity is a great idea so people can arrive and get started. Then I waited a bit for the drinks to kick in before starting the first game.

I found bra pong online, which I was nervous about seeming tacky but was such a hit! It allowed me to gift the bride some bras but also revamped a classic drinking game. Next we did tie-dye because we used to always do that growing up at Tracy’s House. It was a nice throwback memento. Lastly we played a game of Fishbowl because I wanted everyone back around the table to end the night.

Throughout all games and activities, I made sure people weren’t rushed through one thing to the next, letting the night flow easily. When the conversation started a natural lull, I knew it was time for the next item on the itinerary. Honestly, drinking also helps – ha!

5. Know When to Penis

Very important to mention: the thing about Bachelorette’s specifically is that they can get gross fast. I think two penis “items” are perfect. You know your bride, so you should be able to determine if you can get away with one more or you might need to take away one. It can be fun because this might be the one party where you have an excuse to make cookies with sugar penis sprinkles. You want it to feel like a bachelorette without going overboard.

6. Gotta Have a Photo Op

Pictures have always been great, but sometimes at parties we can forget to take any. Taking candids at Bachelorette parties can get you into trouble, so create a specific photo space that’s on theme. By doing this, everyone can take good pictures and have something to remember the night. Of course, it also gives the bride another chance to use that hashtag she worked so hard to create!

The Deep Ellum Wine Walk is the Best Cardio

In celebration of the Deep Ellum Wine Walk this evening, it’s time to share my love of this event. I’m always looking for local Dallas happenings, so I was excited to find out about a Deep Ellum one seeing as that’s about five minutes from my house. That it involves drinking wine is even better!

The idea of the wine walk is that you pay ten dollars for a local artist-designed glass and then you head out to certain shops along Main Street that fill your glass with wine while you browse their store. The theory is to get out and explore the locally owned shops of your neighborhood, all with the incentive of wine.

After making a habit of this three times, I can definitely say I’m a fan. Sure the wine and the buzz alone might be a good enough reason for walking around downtown, but the truth is it’s such a great experience. You meet people, talk to the faces behind the businesses, and find yourself on a journey with other adventurous types.

The usual stops along the wine route include an art gallery, handmade jewelry shop, home goods store, realtor, burlesque school, sex shop, and an old fashioned soda pop shop. Some I like looking at the accessories, some I get a little out of my comfort zone, and some I get drunk at and buy twenty dollars worth of candy. All around, a good time.

I could go on and on about how great the wine walk is – but this time I’m just going to leave you with some pictures. And maybe if you happen to make it for one you’ll see me around!

Tulip Fields with Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day being yesterday, I wanted to share a trip I took recently out to Pilot Point, TX. My wonderful mom and I were already headed out near the area to see my brother’s fiancé’s wedding venue. A quick little detour west and we’d have a chance to check out the “Texas Tulips” that local Dallasites had been raving about.

It ended up being such a nice day! We’d been having a long winter, but the sun came out especially for us to explore all the different types of tulips. After a bit of navigating, we were parking in a big open field with a bunch of other people.

The first thing we had to learn walking in was how to pick a tulip. It’s a bulb flower, so there were a few signs with instruction that the key was to pull the stem as close to the ground as possible. This would let the full stem come up and would be easier than trying to snap it off.

While I do love flowers, I mostly wanted my mom to have this bouquet because I knew she’d think it was so special. My mom is always thinking of everyone else, so it was a nice treat to be thought of herself. I wanted her to have a nice colorful arrangement, so the first step was encouraging her to look at more than the red ones.

I had no idea there were so many colors of tulips! There were pinks and yellows and oranges and violets. They also had some with frilly edges, some that had very few petals, and some that grew completely open.

Walking the fields judging flower quality with my mom was honestly such a great time. I’d underestimated how different yet similar my mother’s and my taste was. I learned to let her pick the style and then offer up which one I thought was the best quality of that style.

Having gathered enough for a cute bouquet (and also realizing we might be a tiny bit late to the venue meeting) we headed to the arrangers who would cut and wrap our selection. Everyone was so friendly and excited for us, even though they must do this all day long.

Overall, such a great little adventure with mom! And of course, every time I talked to her for weeks, she mentioned her flowers, how they were doing, and how much she loved the whole experience.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

I was very excited about this local hike. I’d seen one of my friends frequent it and it looked a bit woodsy and very spacious. It was a bit further north of Dallas in the city of Plano, so I invited my friend Lola for a morning hike since she was on the way.

After a quick coffee stop (of course) we headed out there. When we first got there it seemed everything was paved and well done – quite a fancy park. We didn’t see too helpful of a map, so we just decided to pick one of the cement paths and see what we could find.

Very quickly, we found an offshoot dirt path. I don’t mind nice parks, but I was very glad to see dirt trails and what seemed like a lot of mileage. Afterward, I discovered there is equally three miles of paved trails and three miles of unpaved trails.

The two of us were a bit chatty this morning, but I was glad to find only a couple of other people were out on the trails because of the cooler weather and the weekday. Lola and I weren’t sure where we were headed because we essentially had no map so we just decided to pick directions randomly. (This is normally so unsafe but I knew it was all one big loop so there’d be no real way to get lost if we stuck to the trail – we just might end up hiking more miles than we’d planned.)

The trails were mostly pretty flat, so very easy, but interspersed with a lot of interesting trail additions like ledges and bridges. The nature aspect was also pretty great. At times there were woods, fields, creeks, and even a lake!

We passed a very nice, big pavilion, found the restrooms, and knew we were close to the car. Around this area, we finally discovered a big map, but having not kept track it was too hard to know where we’d gone exactly.

At this point, me and Lola were pretty cold so we decided since we’d stumbled upon the parking lot, it was time to head out. On our way out on the last little trail, we spotted a few cardinals playing in the trees. It was so great!

I know I will definitely be back because of all the rural trails I’ve yet to explore. I’m especially excited to check it out again now that it’s getting warmer. Warmer weather means more enjoyable hikes – and also more wildlife!

Yoga but with Goats

As you know, I’ve been trying to experience new things in Dallas – so when I heard that there was something called “goat yoga” I knew I had to check it out!

They had a special weekday yoga session for Valentine’s Day, so I booked two spots for me and my friend Jenna since it was also her birthday.

This yoga was at a house in Richardson, a suburb just north of Dallas. Being at someone’s home made it feel really relaxing and fun. It didn’t feel super commercialized and I could tell the owners treated the goats just like their family pets, which I really liked.

We went in through the backyard gate, signed in and checked out the table of goodies to grab. Of course, there were complimentary yoga mats and towels (required for the mud-playing goats). They also offered bottled water and glow sticks since the sun would be setting by the end of the hour. Best and most importantly, there were cups and cups of goat feed!

After gathering our stuff, it was time to head to the yard and make some new furry friends. Immediately, they were all over us and we could barely get them out of the way to lay our mats. We were absolutely delighted!

Quickly realizing we would need to grab a second helping each of goat feed, we stocked up just before the teacher started class. She explained that while she hoped we would enjoy the yoga portion, the goats were obviously the stars of this show. Her instruction was to follow along when you could, but no one would mind if you stopped warrior pose to play with a goat.

The other great thing about this mentality meant that they encouraged interaction with the goats by actually putting some of the feed on your back and shoulders so you might get a goat to hop up on you for some tandem yoga poses. Everyone was having such a great time. I’ll admit they were heavy and I gained a couple bruises – but the laughter was definitely worth it.

Mad Dash Through the City

After our previous day of nature adventures, I slept good and hard. Now it was time to actual explore the city of Portland. Our flight home was at 3:40pm, so that gave us about six hours to try and tackle the must-sees on our Portland list.

We grabbed coffee next door to our Airbnb at Bushel & Peck (I’m a fan of any city that has a bunch of great independent coffee shops). Our first stop was at Mills End Park, otherwise known as the “World’s Smallest Park.” I sipped my coffee while looking at this little patch of grass – oddly enough placed right in the middle of a median – and was a little underwhelmed. I wasn’t sure why I’d been so excited to see this originally; I guess I’d imagined it fully and well landscaped since it was small, but it was kind of just some twigs with trash adorning it.

We walked a few blocks leisurely through downtown just to get a chance to see some of the everyday culture. It was still pretty early so not too many people were out, but I love walking a city and just watching all the mundane stuff there is to see. We made it to Powell’s Books, aka Heaven.

Spoiler alert: Powell’s was my favorite part of Portland. I know, I know, it’s just a bookstore. But it’s massive and has so much to see. It’s got new and used. Merchandise and gifts for book lovers (and gifts for nerds ha). They’ve got great recommendation tags all over and even have themed book lists. I wanted to buy everything, or just move in. Sadly, I didn’t. Instead, we headed around the corner from Powell’s to the Ace Hotel, where one of the oldest photobooths was still in use!

We took a few and it actually exposed and developed our film strips. I had to carefully pick it up as the sheet was still drying. I love that they kept such care of it and that it still works!

From Ace, it was time to head to a Portland classic: VooDoo Donuts. Of course it was very busy. There was so many bright colors and the display case turned and they were trying to efficiently move the line, I got a bit overwhelmed. When Jenna decided to get the original voodoo doll donut, I went for the same but in vegan version just to taste test. Now, it’s funny that there’s red jelly inside (pretend blood), but being not a fan of jelly donuts, it was a very unpleasant surprise after my first bite. Got to admit, not really a fan overall of VooDoo Donuts.

Right across the street was the iconic Keep Portland Weird sign, so as tourists we snapped that picture, and then headed to the outdoor Saturday Market. We arrived, saw no booths of food or crafts from local artisans in sight and were very confused. Of course, my research isn’t failproof (which we all know by now) and the outdoor market wouldn’t kick up again for at least another month. Bummer.

I’d done a lot of research on thrifting in Portland. I could tell a lot of the local fashion was thanks to thrifting and I knew from “Best of” lists that Portland had a lot of great vintage shops. I knew we wouldn’t have time to hit them all, but the one that kept coming up as cheapest and most quantity was the same one, locally nicknamed the Bins. It was a Goodwill outlet, where you bought based on weight. Basically, I got three tops for a dollar and some change – crazy!

All day we’d had little bites to eat here and there, but we saved it all for the outdoor food truck area. We were starving and there were so many options. I got a plate of hummus from one and a mountain of fries from the cutest food truck, Potato Champion. Seriously, the food in Portland is so so good!

Our time was escaping fast and we each had one more last wish list item. We grabbed coffee at Heart for Jenna and then made a mad dash for ice cream at Salt & Straw. I was flabbergasted at how busy it was – the line was completely out the door! I was so stressed on time, we should already have left for the airport, but it was one of the only things on my list and I was bound and determined. Luckily, it all worked out! And it was so worth it!

Finally settled in at the airport, no longer rushing for the first time that day, only waiting, I relaxed and thought back on our mad dash around Portland. It felt like we’d done nothing because of how many things we’d had to give up on our list. Compared to our leisurely nature day, our city dash had mostly been frantic. (Apparently more leisurely in the morning where I snapped the following pic for some reason.)

When I think back to rearranging the schedule or substituting, there’s nothing I would hang though. I had a full Portland experience, I just didn’t have the chance to fully experience Portland (if that makes sense. I’ll just have to go again!

Bad Luck Fixed by a Drive to the Coast

My only “real” knowledge of Portland, Oregon before this trip was the tv series Portlandia, which seems not too far off in retrospect. This trip was mainly for my travel buddy Jenna, who’s birthday was the following Wednesday. Her Oregon wishlist included lots of nature highlights, so that would be our main goal the first day.

However, we had to fly in Thursday night and I got to admit, our trip didn’t get off to a great start. Our flight had been delayed by three hours and so when we finally made it to check into our Airbnb around one in the morning, we discovered we’d been given the wrong code and our host was unreachable. We were tired and cold and on the phone with Airbnb support for quite a while. Not the greatest introduction to Portland.

They ended up giving us an old code that luckily worked, and we were more than ready to shake off our bad luck the next morning. However, the bus we’d planned was nowhere to be found. I took out my perfect schedule, and knew we would have to rearrange some things. When your transportation plan is derailed when traveling, it’s time to be flexible.

Originally, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (which is actually in Washington) was a “if we have time” item, but now it was within ten minutes of the car we would be renting. We lyfted there, and I was secretly glad to be crossing off a new National Park stamp and be checking off a whole new state. We arrived as soon as it opened and it looked very much like the little town John Smith establishes in Pocahontas. They even had a volunteer blacksmith that we spent some time chatting with!

We enjoyed the tall trees and open field, and I was reminded of the Park ranger, who pretty much said she was glad we were visiting but as a true Oregonite, wanted only visitors. Next we got our car, headed back over the state line, and checked out one of the top Portland tourist destinations: Multnomah Falls.

We walked up as close as we could get, and it was still pretty amazing since I’d never seen such a high waterfall (especially not on the side of a small mountain), but our bad luck would strike again. The Falls were cut off from the main entry because of mudslides, so we were only allowed a far off look. While still impressive, I couldn’t help but be bummed we wouldn’t be able to get closer.

On the way to lunch, we changed up our plan again to stop at The Grotto. We wanted to get rid of the last of our bad juju, so we headed to this Christian alcove which was full of pretty trails and one of the tallest, rickety elevators you’ve never seen on the side of a hill. There were lots of famous saint statues and a beautiful meditation building with a great view of Portland.

It was starting to drizzle when we headed to Bye Bye, a vegan restaurant in the heart of Portland. Optimistic about the nature left to see, I chowed down on a vegan grilled cheese and guacamole. Let me pause to say, I loved all the food in Portland! I could probably write a whole post on just the stuff I ate – and I just might!

We were headed to the coast in our rental car from a new app Turo, and I was really enjoying the drive. Oregon had equal parts farming and woods, so the mini roadtrip was pretty great. I love a good drive, and even though it was a bit rainy, that just added to the enchantment of seeing new things. I entered the winding roads of Ecola Park, and couldn’t imagine that we would soon pop out through the woods and be on the coast. But we did.

There was only thick forest, until suddenly the sky appeared and I parked at the top of a cliff overlooking a magnificent site. It felt like I was in a different country, one where tales of dragons and magic had been based in. It’s hard to describe the beauty. And even though I have amazing pictures, it still doesn’t really do it justice.

From Ecola, we headed south a bit, driving through the adorable coastal village, making our way to Haystack Rock. We enjoyed the beach, the massive rocks, the scenery, the ocean, everything was magic.

I fell into the water right near the end, but was having such a great time, I didn’t even mind. It was cold, but driving back I only felt happy. It had been such a great day by the end.

I know based on previous travels that things are bound to go wrong. When you leave your safe, predictable home, you invite something different into your life. It’s sometimes good and sometimes bad, but overall I’ve found the journey worth it.