Now that our highs this week are in the sevenies, I can confidently say fall has arrived in Texas and I’m ready to bask in all it’s golden glory!  For the most part, our seasons are warm, hot, really effing hot, not as hot, chilly, and cold.  Some years it’s felt like summer turned into winter without warning.  Since Thanksgiving is nearly two weeks away, I’m reminding myself to slow down my pace and appreciate the little things in life, like going for a run on a beautiful day.  Here are some scenes from my neck of the woods taken from my lunchtime jaunt.

Happy fall y’all!

For a Southern city, Dallas has decent public transportation.  It’s not nearly as expansive as the systems of Chicago, San Francisco, or New York City, but it’s slowly growing (since its most recent expansion, we have seventy-two miles of light rail service) and it’s better than nothing!  As a resident who would like to see more of it, I should do more to support our Dallas Area Rapid Transit, aka “The DART”.

This weekend I stepped up my game and participated in my friend’s second annual DART Rail Pub Crawl.  Atendees purchased a $4 day pass and could join the fun at any one of the nine stops along the way.  I posted our agenda below in case any of my DFW-are friends want to recreate this epic pub crawl while supporting our public transportation infastructure.  (I like to consider it “crawling for a cause”!)  DARTing is a nice break from driving and the hassles that come with it (I’m talking about you, parallel parking!). 

My posse and I joined the group downtown at City Tavern.

Our fearless leader and event coordinator leads the crowd with a flag.

Here we are at the One Eyed Penguin.  The group continues to grow!

Waiting on the train.  Folks are starting to get silly and it looks like we lost a few!

We made it to the finish line!  What a day!

I hope this inspires you to take advantage of your city’s transportation options if it’s feasible, or make it into a challenge or fun event.  Major kuddos to my friend Meniza for planning this tradition!  My personal goal is to use the DART at least two more times before next year’s pub crawl.  Scavenger hunt, anyone? 

DART PUB CRAWL
Saturday, November 3, 2012ANYTIME —— DART GREEN LINE —– MOCKINGBIRD STATION TO DOWNTOWN CARROLLTON STATION

(Since the crawl ends at Mockingbird Station, you may want to park your vehicle at Mockingbird Station if you are a designated driver. Then jump on the DART and meet us at wherever we’re at based on the itinerary below.)  

11:15am – 12:15pm : Lunch at Sid’s Rainbow
Sid’s Rainbow
1107 South Broadway
Carrollton, TX 75006

12:34PM —– DART GREEN LINE —– DOWNTOWN CARROLLTON STATION TO BACHMAN STATION

12:50pm – 2:00pm : Club Schmitz
9661 Denton Drive,
Dallas, TX 75220

2:10PM —– DART GREEN LINE —– BACHMAN STATION TO WEST END STATION

2:29pm – 3:40pm : West End Pub
1801 N Lamar, #100
Dallas, TX 75202

3:49PM —– DART GREEN LINE —– WEST END STATION TO AKARD STATION

3:51pm – 5:10pm : City Tavern
1402 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75205

5:10pm – 6:25pm : One Eyed Penguin
1404 ½ Main Street
Dallas, TX 752026:38PM —– DART GREEN LINE —– AKARD STATION TO BAYLOR UNIVERSITY STATION

6:46pm – 8:30pm : Anvil Pub
2638 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75226

8:46PM —– DART GREEN LINE —— BAYLOR UNIVERSITY STATION TO FAIR PARK STATION8:50pm – 9:45pm : Amsterdam Bar
831 Exposition Avenue
Dallas, TX 75226

9:50pm – 11:00pm : The Meridian Room
3611 Parry Avenue
Dallas, TX 75226

11:11PM —– DART GREEN LINE —– FAIR PARK STATION TO PEARL STATION

11:23PM —– DART BLUE LINE —– PEARL STATION TO MOCKINGBIRD STATION

11:30pm to whenever: Trinity Hall Pub
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75206

Pub crawl ends at Mockingbird Station.  Have your designated driver pick you up or cab it home!  Stay safe!

When I visited Barcelona, I squeezed in a quick trip to Mallorca, which is the largest of the Balearic Islands just south of continental Spain.

My friend and I flew into Palma and rented a car to tour the island.  Mallorca is famous for its beaches.  I was there too late in the season to enjoy them, but fortunately the mountain areas proved equally beautiful.

Mallorca is much more rural than Barcelona, so it was a nice relaxing break from the city!  I’d love to explore more parts of Spain someday!

On my first night in Johannesburg, I had dinner with my boyfriend and his co-worker, who lives in the US but travels to a different country almost weekly.  We were enthralled by his stories of world travel, and curiously we asked him what was his all-time favorite place.  With no hesitation he answered, “Barcelona.”  Spain.  Boom.  I could not agree more.  Although my view of the world is comparitavely limited, it’s my favorite as well, and since this conversation I’ve been reminiscing about my trip there in 2006. 

The photo above is the best way to describe my visit.  Pure joy.  I love Barca for the culture, food, people, location (beaches!), architecture, history…

There are so many beautiful and inspiring things to see.  Park Guell was my favorite, a failed early-1900s attempt at a Dr.-Seuss-like housing development with sweeping views of the city, designed by the infamous architect Antoni Gaudi. 

Another note-worthy monument designed by Gaudi- the Sagrada Familia.  Construction on this Roman Catholic church began in the early 1880s and is yet to be completed, although the target date is now 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s passing. 

I can’t mention Barelona and leave out the food.  Tapas, sangria, paella, seafood, and cordials for dessert, all while dining al fresco.  It’s the perfect place to indulge.

Hasta luego, Barcelona!  Until we meet again!

Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa!  It took almost two days, but I’m finally here and enjoying their winter weather in August.  On the way, I had a long layover in Frankfurt.  I’ve never been to Germany before, so I was excited to explore!  (Travel tip: If you’re traveling with carry-on bags and you don’t want to haul them around during a layover, some airports- like Frankfurt- offer bag drop service for a nominal fee.)

Frankfurt has an excellent public transportation system which I would have used if I was staying longer.  You can get on the S-Bahn at the airport and it will take you to the city center in minutes.  I hailed a taxi at the airport because I didn’t want to waste time potentailly getting lost.  My driver was very helpful and told me about the best ways to get around and what to see. 

 

My first stop was Romerberg square, one of the oldest sections of Frankfurt.  The plaza is lined with Roman bath ruins and gabled, gothic row houses. This historic square is home to the Frankfurt City Hall complex referred to as the Romer, which has historically been the site of the coronation of Holy Roman Emperors.

I continued my walking tour of Frankfurt through a couple of public parks, past the Alte Oper (the historic opera house), and down the street Ziel, however it was Sunday and almost all of the shops were closed.  I grabbed a quick bite and crossed the river Main to a neighborhood called Sachsenhausen, which is famous for its museums and old cider bars.

Most museums ask for a donation for entry.  I visited the the Museum fur Kommunikation and the Schirn Kunsthalle, the main art museum.  Afterwards I relaxed on the bank at the river Main, which was filled with people enjoying the lovely weather.

Before I knew it, I had to return to the airport.  I heartily enjoyed my day trip to Frankfurt!  Hopefully I’ll return with more than a few hours to spend!

“The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.” -Jack Maguire, historian 

Bluebonnets are the Stetson hats of the flower world.  They are distinctly Texan.  The arrival of bluebonnets announces the coming of spring here, which came a little early this year.  Fine by me!

Yesterday I dragged my bf to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival.   It’s a short drive (about 45 miles) outside of Dallas.  Ennis has been deemed the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas” and boasts over 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails surrounding the city.  These trails are the oldest in the state and attract tens of thousands of visitors each year.

It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed spending a little time out of the city.  Like the other tourists, we pulled over on the side of the road on the Bluebonnet Trails several times to take pictures.  Alas, they are an unjust representation of the full sensory experience.  Looking around, you feel engulfed in a sea of blue.  The sweet smell of bluebonnets infiltrates the wind.  I imagined myself in the lavender fields of Provence rather than in Central Texas.  That sounds nice, doesn’t it?

We were told by locals that we missed the peak of the bluebonnets.  I can only imagine what the “peak” was like!  I’ll be back next year to check it out, albeit with a girlfriend or two.  My bf has done his time. 😉

Spring arrived early here in Texas, so I’m anticipating the heat to follow soon.  Last summer was the hottest I’ve ever experienced.  Fortunately, I got a little respite from the sweltering Texas heat last August when I visited my brother in International Falls, Minnesota.  It’s the northern-most town in the United States. Canada is literally in its backyard.

Lake view

I-Falls (as the locals call it) is not easy to get to.  You have to have determination and a pioneer spirit.  And a car.  Definitely rent a car.  I was traveling with my parents and my boyfriend.  We flew into Minneapolis Saint Paul Internationa Airport, picked up a rental car, and drove about five hours due North.  Minnesota is gorgeous, so the time flew by.  The clear blue lakes and towerring pine trees were a welcome change of scenery from our part of the country that had turned brown from being scorched by the heat. 

Sha Sha Bar and Grill. Image via turbofan on Flickr.

We stayed in a little cabin on Rainy Lake at a resort area called Sha Sha.  The location was perfect, as our cabin was steps away from Sha Sha Bar and Grill, which was the epicenter of the area’s night life happenings (and one of the few places to find decent grub).

Enjoying sunset on the dock.

The purpose of our trip was to visit my brother who was working at Camp Kooch-i-Ching, a wilderness adventure camp for boys.  He spent the summer overseeing a cabin full of teenagers, taking kids on canoe trips, and doing various manly outdoorsy things.  It was so much fun to see him in his element.  The camp is on an island and can only be accessed by boat.  It’s an incredible place for a young man to spend a summer.

Camp Kooch-i-Ching teaches campers about Native American traditions.

I-Falls is a great place to visit if you want to escape summer heat or fast-paced city life.  We had a peaceful, relaxing stay.  This summer my brother will be working at an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I’m sure he’ll expect another visit from us, so I’m already planning a trip to the mountains. 🙂

Happy Easter y’all!  I spent this weekend hanging out with family in Oklahoma.  It’s pretty low key up here, which is nice for a change!  I hit up a couple of thrift stores near my parents’ home and found some great items!  I love buying second-hand.  It keeps old threads out of the landfill and allows me to get creative.  When thrifting, you have to know what you want since there are no advertisements or displays in the store to control guide you.

I found a very large yellow, linen skirt that I was able to alter into a little peplum number.  That paired with a Shelli Segal top from 1995 made a cute Easter outfit!

Before

After

Trying on the finished product

I also picked up a black leater skirt, beige lace cami, sheer white collared shirt, and a black faux ostrich evening bag.  I used Rit dye to add some pink (ombre style) to the shirt.

I’m off to brunch with the family!  I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday!