Sparrow Conference 2018

Do you remember last year when I posted about going to a Christian women’s conference? It was so good that I bought my tickets for the next year (aka this year) in advance. Well, the 2018 Sparrow Conference was a few weekends ago and just like last year, it was SO GOOD! I went with two friends and we just had a great time together. The speakers this year (quite a few of them were also speakers last year) were amazing and I filled up my little notebook with so many good little nuggets of biblical truth.

This year it was held at the Music Hall at Fair Park so that more people could attend. The lobby was decorated so well, there were lots of opportunities to purchase books and candles and earrings and things like that, and there was even a super fun photo area!!

All of the (again, incredible!!) speakers led us through the book of 1 John, and I got so many great things out of it- SO MANY- and I wanted to share a few of the things I learned/took away from the weekend! (Just remember that this is all coming from going over 1 John, for context.)

The goal is to experience fellowship with God so we can have fellowship with others.

God made something good. We messed it up. Jesus made it right. One day God will make all things new.

Abiding is a choice. It’s loving Jesus beyond anything else so that is the place we want to be.

If we abide in Christ and not in the world, we will love as God loves. But you can’t abide in both places at the same time- you can’t be bitter, withholding, and unkind AND be nestled in Jesus.

If we abide in Christ, our life patterns will change. We cannot keep in a pattern of sin and also keep in a pattern of loving Christ.

You repeat the actions that matter most to you. God isn’t calling us to be perfect followers of Christ, but to be practicing followers of Christ.

When you’re living a life abiding with God, He will give you the desires of your heart because your desires begin to be His desires for you.

God hears you. He is not a distracted father. He is present and interested and we can have a fellowship with Him.

God’s commands are not burdensome- they are an extension of his good character. Sin IS burdensome, oppressive, and worrisome.

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Ultimate Guide to Downtown Dallas: What to See, Do, and Eat

I seriously feel so lucky to get to work in Downtown Dallas. I feel like I talk about it all the time, but that’s simply because I just love it so much! I still get a little giddy when seeing the skyline from a glance (best skyline ever, in my opinion). Even through the clouds and the fog, I love that I can see the skyline from all the way up by my apartment. I love riding the train between all of the buildings with other commuters. I love instinctively knowing which streets are one-way so I can cross the street faster (don’t worry mom, I still look both ways, anyway). I love all the food choices. I love all the free activities and all the little parks I love it all!

One of the Blogtober prompts I came up with was to revisit an older popular post, and this is definitely a series that I couldn’t wait to revisit! There is so much to do, see, and eat downtown, and all that goodness deserves to be shared again!!

WHAT TO SEE

  1. Dealey Plaza – If you were paying attention in 10th grade history class, you will remember this as the place where President Kennedy was shot while in his car. Here you can see the grassy knoll and there is even a classy X spray painted on the road where the shot happened.
  2. Old Red Courthouse – There is technically a museum in this building, but I haven’t been inside yet. I just love the look of it! It’s so old! And red!
  3. Kennedy Memorial – This is here in Dallas for obvious reasons. I recommend a little moment of silence when you come to this one. Read the plaques and learn a little, too, while you’re there.
  4. Pioneer Plaza – This was so much better than I expected it would be!! It’s just a bunch of sculptures, but it’s so fun to walk around and take selfies with the bulls!
  5. Giant Eyeball – Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. A 30-foot eyeball sculpture on a patch of astroturf in the middle of downtown. It’s pretty weird and pretty awesome!
  6. Main Street Garden – There isn’t anything super special here, it’s just a cute little park in the middle of the city. There’s a splash pad and you can play games, too!
  7. Fountain Place – There is this cute little courtyard here and it’s the perfect place to enjoy some shade and the sound of fountains in the background. There’s also a little fountain splash pad here, too! (This is actually still under construction, but I left it on the list because it will still be great once that’s finished!)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Reunion Tower – Don’t do this if you’re afraid of heights! Here you go to the top of the tower, inside the giant sphere where you get 360 degree views of Dallas! There are binoculars so you can look all around and inside the globe there are lots of fun facts about Dallas and the surrounding areas!
  2. Sixth Floor Museum – This is the museum dedicated to the death of JFK, and y’all it is GOOD. It’s located IN the textbook depository building where the shots were fired, which makes the whole experience even more meaningful. The museum tour took me about 3 hours to get through (lots of reading and listening to an audio guide) and it was totally worth the price of admission. Everyone should do this at least once. Seriously.
  3. Glass-front pool at the Joule Hotel – I haven’t experienced this yet, but this pool looks so cool! It juts out BEYOND the building and has a glass front, so it looks like you’re swimming out into the air! I hope to try this soon!
  4. Neiman Marcus – This is the original one!! Get some shopping done in a historical building (and go to one of the yummy cafes inside!)
  5. Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Quite a fun museum! There was a lot to learn and interact with, and definitely worth checking out (even though it isn’t free and I’m used to all museums being super free thanks to St. Louis. #spoiled).
  6. Dallas Museum of Art – I really enjoyed this art museum. It had a lot of great pieces to look at and it took me a few hours to get through – this would be a fun date spot!
  7. Nasher Sculpture Center – This is definitely one to do when it’s not TOO hot outside. Or too cold. Just a spot for a nice afternoon spent looking at art. They sometimes have events there, too, which look pretty fun!
  8. Klyde Warren Park – This small park has it all! Food trucks (which I mentioned a few days ago), a little play area for kids, a splash pad, a Southwest Porch, free games to play like Foosball, and they have free fitness classes throughout the week (like yoga, Zumba, and tai chi!) You could seriously spend most of the day here!

WHERE TO EAT

  1. Hoffbrau Steaks – This is a great place for comfort food. They have amazing lunch specials and you get warm bread as soon as you sit down, which is honestly 80% of why I keep going back here. (That and the food is really good!!!) My recommendation: get anything that comes with mashed potatoes and gravy- they are great!
  2. Fluellen Cupcakes – This place has DELICIOUS cupcakes, as I’m sure you guessed from the name. They’re a bit expensive, but perfect to share. My recommendation: the cookies n cream cupcake. (Oreo cookie buttercream frosting? Yes, please!)
  3. Chop House Burger – Best burger downtown. No contest. They have some fun recipes to choose from, and their milkshakes are the bomb. The burgers are pretty big, so I usually try and split one and get my own side of fries. My recommendation: the Wine Country Burger.
  4. Cafe Strada – This is the little stand I go to when I want delicious gelato. They have ice cream cone chairs (!!!!!!!) and you can sit and look at the giant eye ball sculpture on the lawn nextdoor. My recommendation: literally any flavor of gelato. Or all of them. 🙂
  5. Press Box Grill – A good go-to for very casual eating and atmosphere. I came here by default once when the actual restaurant we wanted to go to was busy, and it ended up being pretty good! My recommendation: an order of the southwest egg rolls.
  6. Wild Salsa – This place has good chips and salsa, y’all. The food is pretty decent, too. I got here often with my little lunch group, and I usually get the same thing (and it’s always so good!!) My recommendation: Chicken Tinga quesadilla and a frozen ‘rita de casa.
  7. The Hospitality Sweet – This might actually be my favorite place downtown. It’s just SO ADORABLE! And smells so great (I mean, can you beat that cake smell? Nope!) I’ve had lunch here and I’ve just come to get macarons. Really you can’t go wrong. My recommendation: get the creamy chicken salad sandwich with a Texas scone for dessert (it’s like a churro cheesecake brownie bar and I’m pretty sure it’s the official dessert of Heaven.)
  8. Carmine’s Pizzeria – It might not be the best or the healthiest option, but MAN their pizza is huge and delicious!! It’s New York style, so one slice is more than enough to fill me up! My recommendation: a slice of their spinach alfredo pizza.
  9. Food trucks in Klyde Warren Park – There are usually 7 or 8 food trucks that pull up to the park every day, and there is a wide variety of foods to eat! My recommendation: If Ruthie’s is there, get The Boss (grilled cheese with bbq brisket and sharp cheddar on sourdough. Yum.)

My Favorite Dallas Blogs

Reading blogs is kind of like a way of life these days. Especially with people who write blogs, yes (it’s a great way to connect, make blog friends, and get inspired for your own content), but even most people who don’t have their own are reading blogs on a regular basis. It’s just a fun way to learn about new topics, figure out your fashion preferences, and maybe read a funny story or two.

One of my favorite things I get out of blogs is recommendations for fun things to do, places to go, and foods to try at fun restaurants. In order to have this content be relevant to me, I try to follow and read as many local blogs as I can.

Thankfully, Dallas has NO shortage of blogs to choose from. Seriously. Dallas is like blogger mecca – they are EVERYWHERE! I’ve been around town a few times and seen a blogger that I like taking outfit pics for their site and their Instagram – I internally fangirled, let me tell you! It was like a mini celebrity sighting, even though most people don’t actually know who that person is and most wouldn’t care. I still thought it was cool… 🙂

If you’re not already following bloggers in your city, I highly recommend you start! Here are some of MY favorites from my city – Dallas!

Helene in Between

Ok, so Helene doesn’t technicallyBrit + Co class live in Dallas anymore… but she got her start here so that still counts in my book. She and her husband moved to Europe last year and her blog gives tons of travel envy, city guides, and TONS of blogging resources. She even has her own – how cool is that?!?

The Cake by Hannah

I actually found Hannah on Instagram first, and then quickly started following her blog, too. She is just an adorable lady who LOVES cake (same, girl… same) and she shares about her life and her favorite things and I love reading along. And she sells cake-themed clothing items and they are SO cute.

The Miller Affect

This blogger, Amanda, mostly focuses on fashion, and while I don’t love all of the outfits she posts, most of them are super cute and super trendy! She shares about her life, too (hello, destination wedding goals) and she just seems really sweet.

Brighton the Day

Brighton’s blog is THE BEST!!! Her hair is ALSO the best! Her blog is probably my favorite one from Dallas, if I’m being brutally honest, and definitely in my top 5 favorite blogs in general. This girl is real, she is so honest and I love that she shares triumphs AND struggles. (Her snapchat and instagram stories are the perfect mixture of fun and random ramblings, which are still fun, tbh.) She shares her travels, her Dallas favorites, and lots of fashion.

Venus Trapped in Mars

Sarah’s blog is super fun! She’s also the lady behind Dallas Love List (which you should go follow immediately if you’re in Dallas and not already) and she has bright pictures that will make you immediately want to eat/drink/do everything she shares. She got engaged recently-ish and it’s fun to follow along as she shares her wedding planning insights!

Molly on the Move

This girl loves bright colors as much as I do, which is why I love looking at her blog so much! She gives great travel tips and city guides, recommendations on places to eat around town, and she gives great running advice, too (she just did a marathon, so yeah… I trust what she says…) She’s just adorable and I think you’ll like her as much as I do.

 

State Fair of Texas – Year 3!

This is my third October living in Dallas, which means that this is the third year I’ve gone to the State Fair of Texas and it still has yet to disappoint!!! Some people don’t think it’s that special or that great… and I think that THOSE people aren’t special or great… Ok, obviously I’m kidding, but I just don’t understand how people aren’t fascinated and wowed by the fair! A coworker went the other day to check it out for the first time, and he was not impressed. At all. “Ummm it was fine, but Big Tex was a lot smaller than I expected.” So sad for him. Big Tex is amazing.

I’ve been to the fair TWICE this week! I took Monday off work and took my parents and I think they loved it!! It was SO HOT (96 degrees…) but there was a great breeze. We rode the Texas Star Ferris wheel, I got my FAVORITE frozen sweet tea, we walked all over, saw a lot of the shopping pavilions (they were fascinated by all of the mattress for sale EVERYWHERE), and we tried some delicious food. The big winner and dish to try this year is a bacon queso burger with funnel cakes for the buns. We split it between the 3 of us and it was actually kind of good! The flavors melded together really well and it was totally worth trying! We also split dessert, and we tried the fried Texas sheet cake, and whoa that was REALLY good. Highly recommend.

The most recent trip to the fair was Friday after work. I went with friends from work and it is so convenient that we could just leave the office and take the train to the fair. It’s so much different going at night! Everything is lit up so bright and the mood definitely changes. This time around I had a Fletcher’s corny dog, I tried a little bit of fried chicken noodle on a stick, and split another fried Texas sheet cake with a few friends! We just walked around together, ate food, saw Big Tex, and looked at all the cars in the air-conditioned auto show rooms. 

I plan on going back a few more times this season (joys of getting the season pass) and I already can’t wait to go back! A few friends and I will go for lunch next week and I’m already planning out what food I want to try… I’m hoping to find the fried bacon wrapped mozzarella because that sounds like exactly the sort of thing you should have for lunch on a Thursday…. haha.

Dallas Spotlight: Yolk

One of my biggest complaints about Dallas when I first moved here was that I could NOT find a solid place to get brunch! I had tried quite a few (I even went on Yelp and looked at the top ones listed) and I was just disappointed every time. They were either too fancy (aka expensive) or too “unique” like they were trying too hard (aka expensive) or the food was just plain not good. Also, another thing that was weird was I kept finding restaurants that would offer weekend brunch but probably shouldn’t… Like, a Mexican restaurant with a not Mexican weekend brunch buffet. Just, no.

I think I got spoiled in St. Louis, where I had multiple GREAT brunch options ridiculously close to my apartment. (Seriously, they were all so good…) But after a rough 2 years of searching, I have finally started to find a few places that I would actually go back to. One of them, Yolk, I just tried for the first time on Sunday and y’all – it was SO GOOD!

It’s a restaurant that originally came from Chicago, but there are 2 locations here in Dallas. The menu is HUGE! It was actually a little overwhelming just how many options there are – my friend and I took a long time to decide on what we actually wanted. (I ended up getting the Yolk All-Star Combo shown on the menu above – two eggs, sausage, bacon, AND french toast? For $11?!?! Yes, please!)

I will admit, the rest of the menu was pretty pricey (one of the reasons I did pick the meal I did was because it was one of the less expensive options…) but, also, I don’t think it was more expensive than your typical brunch place.

I’m definitely going to go back again, probably soon! They have cinnamon roll french toast on their menu, and I’m definitely going to need to try that… ASAP.