Sweet Tooth Hotel

There’s a new trend in pop art that promotes interaction and temporary installations – that will then last forever through social media. These pop-ups are appearing allover. The main purpose? Get people to take pictures in the art and then post it to their followers.

Dallas is following this trend by opening the “Sweet Tooth Hotel,” an art installation that will only be up and running a few months – so get get your pictures while you still can! This “hotel” features six rooms inspired by candy (ringpops, macroons, etc) and created by local Dallas artists (Built by Bender, Shamsy, etc).

After a brief introduction about what you could touch – everything pretty much – they encourage you to explore. Mainly, you’re encouraged to take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. It’s basically a creative space filled with bright color imagery and fun props to serve as the perfect setting for a sweet photo shoot. It’s kind of genius in an age where social media is an engine for self-promotion.

My own experience visiting this art installation was a lot of fun. You pay for an hour of time to snap as many photos as you can in all the rooms, getting as creative as you can – and for me, trying not to feel awkward as other guests wait for their own turn. You’re climbing in a bathtub, lounging on the bed, stepping out from a fridge, spinning next to neon signs, and trying to make sure no one’s in your mirror shot.

The time went quick, but it was kind of exhilarating. There’s something about a timed “museum” that makes you capture as many photos and poses as you possibly can. You don’t know what you’ll end up using, but the need to hold on to the temporary imagery is important. This art won’t last forever – except for those pictures you keep.

What you post then becomes part of the art too. Even me writing this blog and sharing it to Instagram – it’s all become art in a completely new way. Modern art is becoming more and more interactive. I hope it’s still making people think. Then again, maybe I’m thinking too much about it. Ha!

All in all, me and my friend Jenna had lot of fun seeing the candy-inspired art and getting a few great profile pics!

Do you suppose she’s a Wildflower (Festival)?

A suburb directly north of Dallas, Richardson has some pretty cool events now and again. The Wildflower Festival is definitely one of them. I grew up going to the festival almost every year, but it’s only now in adulthood that I really appreciate it.

Wildflower is an Arts & Music Festival, celebrating local artisans and inviting major musicians to their stages. For old times’ sake, me and my best friends from high school decided to hit up the event as legal drinking aged citizens.

Right away there was an adorable little netted tent full of butterflies. Giselle and I tried to get as many as possible to land on us, so of course we had trouble attracting even one.

Next up there was face painting (unfortunately only for kids) and a fun, colorful photo op stop. They had insect wings, fun sunglasses, and best of all pop guitars available. Painted guitars are a major thing at Wildflower, seeing as it perfectly blends art and instrument. They even have a whole selection of painted electric guitars up for auction to support local charities.

Some of my friends headed to the big stage where classic bands like Starship and Kool & the Gang were playing, but I wanted to check out the aisles of shopping booths they had. Each booth was from local boutiques or craftsmen where you could purchase stuff like handmade jewelry or cool wall art made from threads. I bought a pair of cute beagle socks!

Then it was time for festival food! Being a vegetarian, I can’t always chow down at events like these, but luckily for me they have something called the Tornado Potato. Basically that is just a fresh cut and cooked potato that’s been fried. We lost a lot of great fries that day – the tower was way too big – but still it was fun to eat and very delicious!

Full on fries (and honestly, booze) it was time to head to the main stage to check out one of my favorite bands while I was in high school – Spoon! By that time it was fully dark, so they put on a great outdoor show with their lighting effects and booming sound.

I can’t always make it every year, seeing as it’s only one weekend, but I was glad to make it this year. It’s basically tradition with my friends!

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.

Different in the Day, View from the Top

Having grown up around Dallas, I’ve done almost all of the “touristy” things when I was little, but now that I’m older I want to make sure I fully experience the city I call home. The main goal of the day was to be at the Reunion Tower (the “big ball”) around sunset.

Before that though, I was excited to check out a place I’d never really been to in the day: Deep Ellum (Elm). I’ve spent a lot of nights on Elm, bar hopping and checking out concerts, but there was a whole other side to the District I’d never explored.

After a coffee jumpstart (of course) at Murray Street Coffee, we just started walking. Deep Ellum is mainly two streets – Elm and Main – that house bars, venues, restaurants, and a collection of the most random shops you’ve never been to. There’s a few places (such as Murray) that close by six, which was the main draw of our Deep Ellum day walking.

I love this District because it’s close to my home, but also because of all the artistic folks that seem to flock to it. There’s graffiti all over, always new, always interesting. And the second highlight of this adventure: Deep Vellum Books.

I love independent bookshops. This shop also houses their small publishing company, responsible for publishing fresh voices and cavalier ideas. The shop is small, but full of treasures, and I spent a long time reading the backs of covers and even starting a handful of stories. They were all great, so I was ready to buy one of each. (I controlled myself and bought only one.)

They also had this incredible coin machine, where for fifty cents and a twist of the rest wrist, out popped a short story complete with matching cover art. It was pretty cool! I used all the quarters in my purse and took home original stories from local writers. We checked out a few more shops, had a good time in the sun enjoying ice cream at Wild About Harry’s.

Finally it was time to head to Reunion Tower! I have a vague memory of going there with my dad when I was a little girl. I just remember it being really dark and not too many people. At that time (unless my memory is worse than I think), there was just a chainlink fence from floor to ceiling around the outdoor viewing. My dad picked me up and put my feet standing on the single waist-high bar and I leaned against the thin, cold fence to look out at the city. I remember being excited and scared and dazzled.

There was no chainlink fence on this reunion visit (sorry, couldn’t resist). There were much sturdier iron bars and while I wasn’t afraid for me, I was comically terrified I would drop my phone. Every picture where I got even close to the edge, I had two hands tightly gripped to my phone. It was so weird! I just imagined it would slip any moment and be lost to the sky.

The weather was only a little chilly and the 360* view was amazing. I spent a long time looking at every edge of my city and watching its’ inhabitants movements. As the sky deck cleared out and the sun started to descend, I felt happy. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, making it a point to discover new places, but it’s always a delight when I can find new things to love about my own hometown.