Mamma Mia Match & Tea Day

I want to say it started with the new movie Mamma Mia 2 coming out, but it probably started with the pants. A while ago, I was helping my mom shop at one of her favorite stores and couldn’t keep my eyes off a certain pair of fun, vibrant pants. After trying them on, I realized my mom had also spotted them. We both loved these pants.

Is it okay to buy the same pants as your mom? My mom has always been young at heart, but had my style officially aged a couple decades? Were we both going to buy and wear the same pants? Spoiler alert, yes! Not only that, hell, we were going to both wear them on a mother-daughter day outing. And what else is there to do but go see the new Mamma Mia sequel that’s all about these mom-daughter relationships! Why not, we’re both just crazy enough to do it.

So this isn’t a film review, but the movie is pretty great – better than I expected. My parents, both theater majors, raised me to love musicals. I don’t think you have to love musicals to like this movie – the cast is great, it’s all Abba songs, which are great, and it’s just a lot of fun!

After the movie, I took my mom to a tea shop in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, called Potpourri of Silk. I knew my mom would love it, and it was really nice! We shared a pot of hibiscus green tea and caught each other up on all the gossip in our lives.

Since we were in the area, we decided to walk around the area to explore all the shops. Bishop Arts seems to have something new every time I’m out there! They have a new adventure store, AJ Vagabonds that I fell in love with, as well as another new coffee stop, Serve.

Of course, with the Texas heat, we didn’t stay out too long but it was a great afternoon! We got a couple of looks in our matching outfits, but that kind of just made it better. As I grow older, I’m realizing I have no shame – thanks, mom!

Katie Jackson Park trail review

As most of you know by now, I love finding hidden nature trails in the city!

Living in Dallas, it’s not exactly easy finding nature escapes where I can’t actually hear the traffic. To be honest, most hiking trails in my area you can always see at least a building. But we have our big nature centers luckily – and we have some hidden gems in our suburbs!

I found out after the fact that the Katie Jackson Trail is prime for “off road” bicycling but this made for a pretty great hiking trail as well! This trail was great for its zero foot-traffic. I hiked on a Friday morning with my friend Lola and we spotted no one else our entire time on the trail.

This trail is split into North and South sections, but other than that uninformative guidance, I cannot tell you how it’s laid out. Lola and I even got lost for a good twenty minutes! We really could’ve used a bit more maps or even less left-or-right options. But I will say the trails were well-marked and there was no chance of wandering off the path.

Because this trail is mostly a biking trail, there are a lot of great dips and inclines scattered throughout which I enjoyed. It’s easy to find a flat walking surface and so much harder to find a trail with some variety!

We were nestled in the middle of a North Dallas suburb so there was definitely evidence of people. Quite a bit of trash and even in one area a very clear teenage hangout. Someone had built a wooden loft and brought out a couple of lawn chairs to have a little break mid-trail. Lola and I thought this was hilarious – but also probably very cool for the local kids to have their own secret hangout.

Of course, the last upside I’ll leave you with was the beautiful views! This trail meets a creek a couple of times, offering a nice view every now and then. Plus, there’s one section with a big field which offers lost of different wildlife and nature to explore.

I will definitely be checking this trail out again – it’s probably great in Spring!

Find the Biggest Swimming Area (at Joe Pool Lake)

As soon as it started hitting the 100s in Dallas, I knew it was time to find a pool of water. I have access to a small apartment pool, but that is just not the same as finding a big lake to swim in! After a bit of research for close swimmable lakes – I found out about Joe Pool Lake in Grapevine!

It was going to be my last Friday off before I switched to a Monday-Friday work schedule, so I was excited to make the most of a day at the lake. My friends Jenna and Lola would be coming with me, and we were all thrilled to have a new nature area to explore.

The original plan had been to find the one (supposed) hiking trail, but we got there around midday and it was already sweltering. Once we saw the big body of water at our beck and call, we put the hike on hold. The only thing we wanted to do at that moment was swim!

There is a nice “beach” area with a playground, but with all the kids and the “no dog” rule, we opted for a bit further down the shoreline for a quiet spot in the trees. When we got there no one else was there, so it was a really nice little getaway between the trees with very easy access to the lake.

I swam as far and long as I could – I love swimming! And it’s not often I’m able to do it with such open space. Joe Pool Lake was pretty great too – definitely not even close to the dirtiest lake I’ve been in. As a side note, I will say it started to get a little scary as the day went on and the lake got more crowded, because boats and jet skis were whipping by.

I went exploring for our hiking trail and think I found it, but wasn’t sure it was worth the effort when I was already pretty tired and getting hot again. I’d also heard there were kayaks and paddle boards for rent, but after scouring the area, I assumed they set up their booth on the weekend only.

Back with my friends lakeside, we set up our blanket for relaxation and a little snack. It was time to bring out the watermelon! Not many things are better than sharing a watermelon with friends on a hot summer day, post-swim. Our “slices” were big, but so so good! I ate like a monster.

After a bit more relaxation and our last swim, it was time to head home from our little day trip to the lake. It took only minutes to dry up in the car – that’s Texan summer heat for you – so we decided a quick pit stop for snow cones was in order. We piled out and checked out the many flavors – I got the watermelon (haha)! Such a fun summer day.

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.