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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16 Lessons from 2016

As the year [finally] comes to a close this weekend, I thought I’d share 16 lessons I learned from 2016:

  1. Adversity comes in many forms.
  2. You can’t please everyone, so follow your own path.
  3. Success is subjective, but not relative.
  4. Support those who support you.
  5. Give without expecting to receive.
  6. Communication is still key even in confrontation.
  7. Show your friends and family you appreciate them.
  8. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
  9. Embrace vulnerability.
  10. Continue to be kind, but don’t let others take advantage of your kindness.
  11. Life hardly goes according to plan and that’s okay.
  12. Letting go, in every way, is healthy and necessary.
  13. Relationships change because people change, but change is good.
  14. Personal growth is a cycle, so soak in the sunshine and weather the storms.
  15. Say yes more.
  16. The longest relationship you’ll ever be in is with yourself–cater to it.

I hope everyone had a happy holiday and please be safe this New Year’s Eve.


xx, AE

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!! ❤

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! .
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.
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.
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


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

xx, AE

To be continued…

I promise.

So, I have been away for a while. I know I have made a couple of posts previously about new ideas I have for my blog and returning soon, and this is still true. However, the main reason I have not posted is because I have run out of media storage. In order to continue posting the pictures I know most of my readers enjoy, I would have to delete older blog posts. I already have gone back and deleted quite a few, the rest are ones that I feel should stay because they are important highlights of my life in the last two years.
I am going to hopefully upgrade to a premium subscription soon, but unfortunately I am still unemployed so I do not have the income to pay for it (no, this is definitely not a segue into asking for money–I’m okay, guys, haha). I miss posting on here so much, but from what I gathered from past stats, more people tuned in when my posts were in exciting places with many pictures. I want to continue providing that same level of entertainment so we will sadly have to wait [but hopefully not for long].
In the meantime, I will continue exploring DFW so I will have content ready to go once the upgrade happens. There may not be any exciting travels for a while, but I hope to pick up where I left off in the spring when I was exploring fun things to do in my hometown. Thank you to everyone who has inquired about my blog while I have disappeared [yet again]–it really means a lot that people actually enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Anyway, I just wanted to give y’all an update. Fingers crossed on this seemingly never-ending job hunt! 🙂

xx, AE

Articles Abroad

For those wondering where they can see what articles I wrote and collaborated on for The Handbook when I was abroad, here you go:

What To Do This Weekend 22nd-24th July
Alfresco Cinema at Bluebird
Morning Glory Brunch at 100 Wardour St.
An Alternative Night Out with Hemsley and Hemsley
What To Do This Weekend 29th-31st July
Top Celebrity Hangouts
Summer Hits South West London
Gin Tasting at The Punch Room
Olives Restaurant at The Bailey’s Hotel London – What We Thought
Balans Soho Society Café Review – What We Thought
Casa Havana Brings a Taste of Cuba to London
Breakfast at Albion Clerkenwell Review – What We Thought

Hope you guys enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them!

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.

This was roughly 30 seconds before that dark cloud came our way and started a complete downpour!

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