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!

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!

Holiday Reason

Christmas time always reminds me of my childhood, as I’m sure it does for most people. I loved the house smelling like cinnamon and pine, I loved wishing for snow (and usually never getting it in Dallas), and having lots of time off to spend time with family.

It’s much harder to have as much free time in the winter as I did as a kid. There’s also a whole lot more than I ever realized to do. When you’re a kid you might set out to decorate the tree, make gingerbread houses, and watch the stop motion holiday classics. Now as an adult, my priorities and traditions are much different.

Ice Skating

I love ice skating in general, but something about doing it around a 40 foot tree makes it all the more magical. Living in Dallas, it’s hard to find “winter” to celebrate the holiday. But going ice skating at the Galleria is pretty close. It’s cold, it’s festive, and usually for beginners or experts.

That’s why it’s one of my favorite activities to invite a bunch of friends to! This year I went with two coworkers I’ve grown very close to over the year – Jenna and Gian. We usually have a coffee shop night together, so getting out and working our muscles instead of our brains was really great.

Jingle Ball Concert

Ah, my one accidental (and amazingly lucky) tradition for Christmas! Three years ago when I was a bartender, I was checking out local cheap things to do in December when I learned about the KissFM Jingle Ball concert. It was the following night, tickets were dirt cheap at twenty-five bucks each with a pretty good lineup, and me and my friend Sarah had the night off. Fourteen hours before it started, I grabbed two tickets.

Obviously, we had a blast! Since then the lineup has gotten more and more insane, the venue upgraded, and thanks to Sarah’s insane luck she’s won tickets every year since! It’s our night to wear Christmas-themed dresses, put lights in our hair, and remind myself how much liquor we can handle. Once we’re cute and toasted, we sing the night away.

Tea for Two

My mom had been talking about some fancy mother daughter tea for months. When I say months, I’m not exaggerating. She kept reminding me of our reservations and making sure I had it in my calendar so I didn’t leave town. Then the week of arrived and she asked if I would be wearing a dress. I said, “If you want me to… I have a red velvet one I can wear that’s Christmas-y.” Next thing I know she’s showing up in a red velvet pantsuit and we’re on our way to a Historic Dallas mansion (the Alexander) to have festive holiday tea.

Everything was so adorable! The tea was a special lavender earl grey with cinnamon, which tasted like Christmas. There were little snacks perfect for having a fancy tea. It was all really tasty. Afterward, we all went upstairs to check out some holiday-themed boutiques. It was such a cute mother daughter day to celebrate the season.

The Nutcracker

Two quick things about me: I love ballet and I love Tchaikovsky. It only makes sense that The Nutcracker is an obvious way to celebrate the holiday season. This year I decided we would do something a little different and not go to the local production. I got my family tickets to the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth to see the Texas Ballet Theater’s version.

It was really great! The dancers seemed more specialized to the specific characters and the scenery was really well done. They also used wires for flying objects and dancers which made it pretty magical since we were up on the Mezzanine level. My brother’s fiancé had never been to a ballet either, so it was really great showing my love for The Nutcracker to someone new to it all.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I really love this movie. I love it so much I force my entire family to watch it Christmas Eve night. It is the one tradition I force on my family and I have zero shame about. This movie, besides having the great Jimmy Stewart starring in it, is everything I love about trying to life a fulfilled life. And mainly how it’s the connections you make and the people you love (and those who love you) that make life worth it.

All this to say, I hope everyone has a great holiday. Spend it with loved ones, spend it trying new things, and spend it enjoying your passions. Bring a bottle of booze to your closest friends, bundle up to keep enjoying the outdoors, try and keep your patience with those trying family members, and allow yourself a little relaxation.

Merry Christmas!