Merry Chris(TEA)mas at the Arboretum

Merry Christmas!

This year I spent a lot of my “gift” budget on experiences instead of things! It’s been pretty awesome; although I’ll admit I feel a little selfish getting the perks of doing something new when it’s supposed to be for the person I bought it for. All well!

My mom had been wanting to go to the Arboretum for a while, so when I found out they did a special Christmas tea, I knew it would be the perfect event for us! Our tea admission also got us admission to the grounds, which were doing their special 12 Days of Christmas installation.

I was worried it would be too cold, but mostly it was too wet. Of course, yet another rainy day where I’d planned something outdoors. We did a bit of a jog to get to the tearoom, located on the other side of the DeGolyer House. We weren’t completely soaked, but I was feeling a little blue that my plan wasn’t go perfectly. However, my mom is the true eternal optimist (if you were wondering where I got some of that from) and was “ooh-ing” and “ah-ing” over everything.

They had prepared three ‘courses’ for us, complete with three different teas to try. The room was a little too blue winterland for me (I was hoping for bright greens and reds), but the dishware and treat trays were so cute. I felt like a kid having a tea party except I was an adult having an actual tea party!

They had the typical cucumber finger sandwiches and fruit scones that you’d expect, but also a Christmas sugar cookie and gingerbread house you could take to go! Being fed little snacks and endless delicious tea is a way I always want to live, and I know my mom feels exactly the same way.

With my mom’s impeccable luck, as tea time was coming to an end, the rain had completely cleared up. What had gone from hard-to-see downpour, was now slightly cloudy golden hour lighting. We took a walk around the gardens first, enjoying the fountains and winter greenery. Then we headed into the fancy house, where my mom wanted a room-by-room tour of how the DeGolyer family lived, including seeing beautiful furniture and an amazing large library.

In this house were also lots of Christmas decorations! A specially decorated and color-themed tree in each room, as well as an extensive collection of nativity scenes from all over the world. It was cool looking at all of them and seeing how the virgin birth was depicted by several different cultures. Well, and a life-size camel statue was located in one room.

From there, we excited to walk the 12 Days exhibit, where little snowglobe-like structures were set up every so often. We started at “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” and walked all the way to “Twelve Drummers Drummer,” liking the way they sparkled and rotated. Definitely worth the visit, especially as a local who’d never experienced it! We loved it.

I hope everyone has a happy holiday and remembers time spent with loved ones is the true gift!

Dallas Ghost Tour

Since Halloween’s tomorrow, this is a special spooky blogpost! My mom and I loved the ghost tour we took on our trip to Jefferson, TX, so we decided to try out one in the Dallas area!

Her volunteer organization Altrusa had put together a bus tour with a guide to show us some of Dallas’s most famous haunted spots. However our guide, Janine, said we’d have to take everything with a grain of salt, I knew after she told us to download some free “ghost detector” apps that this would be a different kind of tour.

After one lady passed around “eyeball” Jell-O shots we were headed to our first destination, Flag Pole Hill at White Rock Lake. This area of the lake had reportings of rocks thrown at passing cars. We got off the bus and walked around the dark field with women saying, “I’ve found one!” on their apps.

It was pretty awful, to be honest. My mom and I loved our other ghost tour because of the history not because we were looking for actual ghosts (I say “actual” loosely with these free ghost detection apps). So from then on we knew we’d have to research our own history. Instead of using the app, we used the internet.

Even though I’m a frequent visitor and have never experienced anything, White Rock Lake has a lot of ghosts apparently. Besides the Flag Hill Pole, there’s also a classic Lady of the Lake and a Goat-Man. The lady is supposed to be wandering around in the rain, asking for a ride home, and then disappears from the back of your car once you take her there.

From there we headed to a notorious house in the Lake Highlands area on Blackbird Lane, that had a bunch of murders and suicides inside. We all trooped down to the end of the cul de sac and stared at the house down on the left, which wasn’t very exciting until one of the old neighbors came out to see what we were up to. They told us the house was definitely haunted, he’d lived there for years and the horses in the nearby stables never came near that side of the property.

The most exciting part for me was our next stop, the Aldophus Hotel in downtown. We weren’t exactly allowed to look inside, so our bus parked a bit away and then we went in pairs to go explore on our own. The nineteenth floor of this hotel is supposed to have all the activity. So my mom and I went on our own, admiring the gorgeous lobby and nearby hotel bar, and went into the mirrored elevator.

We got to the correct floor and researched that heavy footsteps and loud big band music was often reported by guests on this floor – which makes sense because this floor that now holds rooms used to hold a big ballroom. Two different people we asked to take our pictures said the camera was going dark while trying to take it (but I blame that on the dim lighting and amateur photographers). Weirdly, all the mirrors on this floor were super tarnished, so I don’t know if that was a stylistic choice or something more spooky.

We all got back to the bus safety and then it was time for a quick stop at a graveyard. We got to Pioneer Cemetery and me and mom decided to just stay in the bus. There was no history on this one except it holding some very old graves, and it was dark, making it look like an accident waiting to happen.

Overall, it wasn’t a great tour (based on planning and knowledge), but it was a great time. The ladies were really into it so it was fun hearing them say, “Did you see one – did you see one?” and even though I had to look up the stories and sightings, getting a look at the places was interesting. So I’m still on the hunt for a real ghost sighting; maybe one Halloween I’ll get my wish!

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!