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!

Why I Hike (Anywhere I Can)

This Saturday is National Trails Day! I’ll be busy with a friend’s wedding, so I’m hoping to get in my hiking before the weekend arrives. Hiking has become very important to me, so I wanted to share my most personal hiking thoughts.

1. My body got me here.

As most of us probably have at some point, I’ve struggled a lot with what my body can and can’t do. Regardless of whatever insecurities I may feel, I always have a moment of being so proud of what my body can do. The elevation I can climb, the miles I can push through, and the weather I can survive. All thanks to my body!

2. Does (blank) really matter?

Hiking is extremely meditative for me. It’s where I tend to start working through a lot of the problems I deal with. I’ve never been able to sit and work toward a solution. It’s only when my body takes over that I can get to a place where my mind is free to work on all that deep stuff going on subconsciously.

3. I can work on that connection.

Similarly to personal problems I work on, I also find me thinking a lot about the relationships in my life. Hiking always makes me optimistic so I begin to think of what I can do to better a friendship, a connection, etc. The solitude of nature has a way of making you appreciate the connections I’ve made and all the wonderful people who surround me in life. I’m thankful for the opportunities to work on showing my loved ones what they mean to me.

4. A perfect check mark for my list.

I find myself almost constantly needing to be productive. A lot of times I can stretch myself too thin or take too many stressors on my plate. Hiking is one of the only things in my life that feels completely for me and yet doesn’t give me the guilt of not “getting stuff done.” It’s good for me mentally and physically so it’s almost like having a few check marks rolled into one (especially when the thinking time helps me solve a problem).

5. Life has beauty to it.

The main thing about getting outdoors – anywhere that may be – is there’s always something visually beautiful to offer. Even in the winter, even in a small park, even on populated paved trails, there’s always something interesting to discover. I’ve always been a naturally curious sort, but being in nature reminds me how wonderful life can be. Things completely unrelated to you are growing, are struggling, and existing.

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!

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!