March Madness

March Madness

Disclaimer: As you may have guessed from the picture, this post is not about college basketball. Though there is some basketball in it.

If you read my last post, you will know that the last month or so has not been that eventful for me. However, I was able to do a couple of things this month that were pretty amazing.

At the beginning of the month, my brother and I went to a Dallas Mavericks game. They were playing against the Memphis Grizzlies,  a.k.a. our second home. We already had amazing seats, but with the help of an old friend, we had the chance to view the last quarter of the game in a suite! We felt very exclusive. We also explored the Old No. 7 Club after the game as neither my brother nor I knew that they even had bars in the American Airlines Center. Actually, maybe we did, but we just didn’t know the general public actually went to them. It was a really fun night!
IMG_4762FullSizeRender (2)DSC03776FullSizeRender (3)Last weekend, I planned to attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade here in Dallas with my friend Ilse. Why it wasn’t yesterday instead of last weekend, I do not know. I am not Irish (as far as I know) and I never celebrate this holiday, but I figured why not? Anyway, I say “planned to attend” the parade because we never actually made it; we spent most of the parade time trying to round up other people so by the time the whole party arrived, the parade was nearly over. However, we still headed over to Greenville Avenue–where the parade was held–and caught up with the after party. It was incredibly crowded [as expected] with an unnecessary $10 entrance fee to simply walk on a street, but it was a lot of fun! Day drinking is always an interesting experience. I just hope next year I can actually catch the parade.
IMG_4770Finally, my friend Kalyn from school came to visit this past week from Oregon. She is from Dallas as well so we knew we had to meet up when she was in town. She and I decided to go to Topgolf as neither of us had been before. Aside from the fact that they charge you for a membership card that you then load money on for the games, I surprisingly enjoyed my time there! I won both games between the two of us, but that is not saying a lot. We agreed that we are definitely not golfers. I would say that it is more worth the price(s) to go with a group, but if you are going with one other person, paying for one hour ($20) is enough time. Like I said, we managed to play two games while also stopping to take pictures and record videos for Snapchat and Instagram. It was so nice to not only do something we both had never done before in our hometown, but to also catch up considering we haven’t seen each other since graduation last year. 🙂
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I may not be able to get out and about as much as I would like, but these have definitely been amazing highlights of the month. We still have a couple of weeks left though!

xx, AE

Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out

Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out

I cannot remember the last time I experienced a near-full week of warm weather in February in Texas.

I know I am a day late, but my weekend was pretty packed with activities so I was not able to post at my regular time yesterday. It was between 70 and 80 degrees this entire week so I definitely had to take advantage of it. On Saturday, I visited the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden–The Arboretum for short–for the second time in two weeks. Normally, The Arboretum is a $15 admission fee, but until February 24th, admission is only $5!
dsc03730dsc03763dsc03766Last week, I went there with my friend Ilse for an impromptu photoshoot (which will be featured on here soon), and this Saturday, I went with my friend Jane. Initially, the point of this trip was to have a joint photoshoot, but we actually spent most of our time relaxing in the gardens (trying to cool down). It was so peaceful though to sit around and soak in the sun. And we did end up getting some cute pictures!
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Yesterday was my dad’s birthday so my family and I started the day by going to the Meyerson Symphony Center to hear Pines of Rome played by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This was my first time sitting in the chorus and it was a much different experience. I actually prefer it because you can see the expressions of the conductor and, obviously, you are surrounded by the sounds. It was an amazing show!
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Following the show, we had a delicious dinner at Ruth’s Chris; my dad wanted to splurge a little bit for his 55th and there were no complaints coming from the rest of us. I had a petite filet with large shrimp and my brother and I shared the lobster mac and cheese.
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Overall, I had a really, really great day. I don’t know a lot of people my age who are not music majors that actually enjoy going to listen to an orchestra, so it is nice that I get to share this with my family. Not to mention, I will be dreaming of this meal until I have the grand opportunity to have it again. All in all, it was a solid weekend 🙂

xx, AE

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I thought the “title” for this post was fitting considering it will be about an art exhibit.

I was recently reminded of a special exhibit taking place at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and I am so glad I was because it actually ended this weekend. It is called “KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS.” Now if you know me, you know that I generally do not like contemporary art. Modern art and contemporary art are not the same, but the point is, I struggle to “understand” most contemporary (post-1960s) art. I remember reading years ago that contemporary art is basically “I could do that. But I didn’t.” The KAWS exhibit, however, was everything that I do enjoy about this style.
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Exploring The Fort

Exploring The Fort

I have lived in Texas my whole life and yet, I still can’t believe that it was below freezing with ice on the ground this weekend when it was 80 degrees on Christmas.

Anyway, I decided to do something a little different this weekend and take a drive out west. When you live in Dallas, it’s pretty rare to head towards the other half of DFW unless you are going to TCU. I wanted to see what else Fort Worth, also known as The Fort, had to offer so my friend, Naomi, and I headed to Sundance Square for a few hours this weekend.
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What’s in My Carry-on?

First, I think it’s important to point out that WE ARE ONE WEEK FROM CHRISTMAS!

Anyway, seeing that it is peak travel time as said holiday is coming up, I thought I would share some of the things I usually pack in my carry-on. I have done a lot of traveling this year, especially on short weekend trips, so I feel that I have mastered the necessities of the carry-on.
My most recent trip was last month to L.A. for a weekend and as a personal challenge, I managed to achieve minimal packing. It was one of the most difficult things I have tried because I do not pack light. If you’re interested in a post about minimal packing, I can certainly do that, but for now, I will stick to how I pack my carry-on when I have a checked bag. Let’s get into it!

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1. Shoes

If you know me well, you know that shoes are my priority. I use my shoes as my base so my clothes don’t get bent out of shape. Aside from the pair of shoes that I wear to the airport, I always pack a pair of heels and a pair of transitional shoes, or shoes that can be worn casually and formally in the event you don’t get time to change before going somewhere. To kill two birds with one stone, one of those pairs usually doubles as my heaviest pair of shoes so I can save weight in my checked bag.
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2. Bottoms

So from my minimal packing challenge, I learned that more often than not, you don’t need more than two pairs of pants for a trip that is less than a week. Regardless of what climate I’m traveling to, I always pack a pair of black jeans without rips for the same reason I carry transitional shoes. Besides not wanting to be the person who prevents the group from getting into a nice place because I’m dressed too casually, black jeans also just go with everything.

3. Tops/Jackets

This one is a bit of a curve ball. If you’re like me, you usually wear the same shirts and jackets over and over, but convince yourself that while you’re on vacation you will need options for each day “just in case.” Even though I have yet to break out of this strange mindset, I always make sure that at least the top I pack in my carry-on is one I know I will wear. This allows me to have at least one complete outfit that I know I will be comfortable in. And if I happen to bring multiple jackets, like my shoes I pack the heaviest one in my carry-on, or I likely just wear it in the airport since I’m always cold anyway.
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4. Personal care products

I don’t need to get into general toiletries considering that should be second-nature to most people. When it comes to things like makeup, nail polish, etc., however, I always pack these in my carry-on. Why? Well, otherwise you’re at risk of having your stuff broken because checked luggage literally gets tossed around. I of course do a process of elimination from my collection because I don’t want to have to go through all of my liquids at security. In the last year and a half, I have yet to have my bag inspected. I also recently started carrying those single-pack face masks to rejuvenate my skin after a flight–re-circulated air is not cute!
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5. Tech

Okay, I usually carry my laptop and chargers in my tote-sized purse or backpack so technically it’s not my carry-on, but I thought I would throw this one in here. I like to keep my  various cords and my laptop in separate pockets if possible. If I do have to put things in the same pocket as my laptop, I make sure it’s something flat and skinny like a notebook so it won’t affect how my laptop fits in my bag. Even though there’s obviously no time limit on how quickly you need to repack your belongings post-security, the atmosphere and other potential factors make me feel rushed and I just like to be able to slide my laptop back where it was without having to readjust everything else in my bag.
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This concludes what’s in my carry on! I left out certain things (e.g. underwear, toiletries, small personal items) because they’re just those things that are generally understood and handled. I hope that y’all gained a tip or two about packing efficiently even if it’s not light packing. And for anyone who is traveling this holiday season, I hope that you have a safe journey!! ❤
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xx, AE

 

Just in the Old Saint Nick of Time

Just in the Old Saint Nick of Time

It is finally happening.

I recently purchased a premium account for my blog and I feel like I’m in a whole new world. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because I already have experience using WordPress premium, but I am extremely excited about the excess storage and access to CSS. So to move things forward, I decided that my first post should be fitting with my blog’s theme of travel/attractions and incorporate the holiday season. Today, I am sharing my thoughts on an increasingly popular annual attraction here in Dallas called ICE! .
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I visited the ICE! exhibition the week before Thanksgiving because I scored an online discount code for half off ($15). For those who don’t know, ICE! is a Christmas-themed exhibition of large-scale ice sculptures, and this year’s theme is “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town.” I didn’t know what to expect except that it was going to be “freezing” and “pretty short,” (according to my sources) so my friend Ilse and I made the trek over to the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel.dsc03584dsc03586dsc03587dsc03588
After going through the labyrinth that is this hotel, we finally arrived at the exhibition and I can honestly say my expectations were met. I won’t lie to you, I spent the whole time getting pictures on my phone (before it froze to death) and camera which meant I had no idea what the storyline actually was. In spite of this, I think it was a great one-time experience.
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It makes sense why the exhibition is short (about 15-20 min) because, well, the environment has to sustain the ice sculptures and you could get hypothermia if you stay longer than intended. But overall I don’t think it is worth the full price of $30. Don’t get me wrong–I am still in disbelief that there are artists out there who can not only sculpt everything out of ice like this, but also bring it to life with color and such intricate details. I was clearly thoroughly impressed which is why I couldn’t stop taking pictures. However, when you pile on travel time, mandatory cost of parking (additional $15), and insufficient resources (e.g. the coats they provide), I believe you’re really just paying for the novelty. Still, these are just my opinions.
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If you are planning to see ICE!, here are three things I would advise:

  1. Wear layers (insulated jacket, gloves, and maybe a scarf)
  2. If you are going to be late for your reserved time, you can arrive later without prior notice on a value day (weekday), but should call ahead on weekends to reschedule your slot
  3. Periodically tuck your phone in warm parts of your body so it doesn’t freeze up and die like mine did

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I hope y’all enjoyed my first post back! You can now expect weekly posts again every Sunday 🙂

xx, AE

M-Town Turnaround

M-Town Turnaround

We may as well give a name to these short visits in Memphis.

As of today, I have been back in the states for a week. It feels like more time has passed, but I also feel like that stills gives me an acceptable window of time to relax and recuperate. It was all of four days before I had to pack another bag for this short weekend trip. It’s amazing really how these trips keep getting shorter, but the drive keeps getting longer. There’s not much to report since I spent the entire time visiting with family–especially, my grandma–but I managed to get a couple of shots from when we were out and about.
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This was roughly 30 seconds before that dark cloud came our way and started a complete downpour!

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Much like Dallas, I haven’t really explored Memphis because I’m always with family. As I’ve gotten older and had some traveling experience, I was interested to see what attracts people to Memphis. Obviously Beale Street is the place to go, but you can also explore many historic museums such as: the National Civil Rights Museum, the Stax Museum, Graceland, Rock ‘n Soul Museum, and, of course, the Blues Hall of Fame. There is also the new Bass Pro shop/lodge in the infamous pyramid by the Hernando de Soto bridge. It sounds weird, but it’s actually really cool inside and they have an observation deck where you can view downtown or the bridges on the Mississippi. Memphis is a pretty cool place to visit if you’re looking for a short weekend trip in the south!

xx, AE