Playing Tourist in Dallas

A couple of weekends ago, one of my very best friends, Annie, came to visit in Dallas and we had such a good time! It was the perfect mix of busy lets go do all the things and chill lets stay on the couch and snack and talk for hours. I always love when people come to visit because that means I get to show them some of my favorite things about Dallas, but we can also explore new things together!

One of the “favorite” things I do when people visit is give them a tour of downtown. And if I do say so myself, I give an EXCELLENT tour of Downtown Dallas! It is filled with lots of interesting sights, lots of fun facts and trivia, and a good mix of walking and stopping to rest when needed. The full tour takes around an hour (YES I AM VERY THOROUGH) but we found some extra fun things to stop and see while walking around, like some see-saws that were randomly set up in a park and new “art” inside the Joule hotel!

The Kelly downtown tour always hits the same things: JFK assassination site, JFK memorial, giant eyeball sculpture, Thanksgiving chapel (for the spiral stained glass), and Klyde Warren Park. All good places, if I do say so myself!

One of the new-to-me things that we did while together was visit the teddy bear park in Highland Park! I’d seen pictures of this place online before and I’m glad that we decided to go and find it! It was SO WEIRD but that made it so much fun to see in person! I mean, these teddy bears are just HUGE!

It was located by this gorgeous little park that had a good little walking trail and was surrounded but the most gorgeous multi-million dollar homes! We took our time driving around and staring at all the houses, picking a new favorite on each street that we went down! The weather was perfect that day, too, and I’m glad because there were a few wedding parties that showed up to the park to take some pictures!

We just had the best weekend and I’m so glad I got to play tourist in Dallas for a few days! I’m already planning more fun and new-to-me things to check out when my next visitor comes to Dallas in a few weeks!!

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Sweet Tooth Hotel

Do you ever see things that people have done on Facebook or Instagram and you think to yourself “Man, I can’t believe people paid money to do that…” Well, I just did one of those things, and it was 100% fun and 100% worth it!

There was an art pop-up near downtown Dallas called the Sweet Tooth Hotel that was 1,200 sq. feet of neon, candy-themed rooms and it was crazy and super random and so awesome! If I’m being honest, there was really no point to going except for seeing something fun and getting fun pictures for Instagram. Which I definitely did. And the pictures don’t even do it justice!

My favorite room was the first one, with tons of mirrors, neon cacti, and ringpop-inspired lights. It was so trippy to see 18 of you at once in all the mirrors (and it was hard to find an angle for a picture where my friend and I weren’t seen!)

The next room was a crazy candy bathroom, complete with a donut mirror, glittery foam in the sink, and candy at the bottom of the bathtub!

Next on the tour was a neon and candy bedroom (this is *technically* a hotel, after all!) The bed was made out of recycled Nike shoe soles, which they wanted to make sure everybody knew, and there were macaron-shaped bedstands and lights that I fell in love with!

The last official room in the Sweet Tooth Hotel was a little kitchen, which made it feel more like a Sweet Tooth Apartment, but whatever it’s fine let’s just go with it. There were so many props you could pose with, a fun phone that didn’t work, and lots of surprises inside the cabinets!

That must be it, right? WRONG! There is a secret room that you get to by going THROUGH THE FRIDGE!!!

This was the CRAZIEST room of all! All neon, all stuffed animals, all crazy! Like, who thought of this?!?!?

While those were all of the rooms at the Sweet Tooth Hotel, there was plenty to see in the hallways, too! There was a neon sign that said something that might have been “sweet dreams” (I don’t remember!!), there were more props to pose with, a cotton candy-esque rainbow wall, and a cloud that glowed brighter and brighter the louder you spoke!

What a fun, random place, right?!?! I still kind of can’t believe that I paid money to go see this for 45 minutes (they say you get an hour time slot for your ticket, but it was really 45 minutes…) but at the same time, it was fun and I had fun with my friend, and so that makes it worth it in my mind.

Summer 2018 Dallas Bucket List

I’m so happy that summer is almost *officially* here (even though it has felt like summer for a while now in Dallas)! It always goes by SO fast, with working and traveling and more traveling – it always seems like the summer is over and I realize that I didn’t do nearly as many fun things as I had set out to at the beginning of the season. I really want to make a conscious effort to make more fun memories in Dallas this year, so this is going to be my attempt to do so! (I’m all about planned fun, haha, and maybe this will remind me to go do fun things instead of watching Parenthood again on Netflix because yes that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week.)

Summer 2018 Dallas Bucket List

Try a new fitness class. There are so many great ones to try and I want to find a fun one and give it a go! There are so many “fitness events” around Dallas where you try a class at a cool location and there’s snacks after, so I’ll be on the lookout for one of those. I keep being out of town for all the ones I’ve previously wanted to go to!

Explore flea markets. Not that I really need anything, but I do enjoy looking around a good flea market! I haven’t been to that many in Dallas, so this is the perfect opportunity to find some and see what treasures they have inside!

Visit a new museum. I’ve done a pretty good job over the last 3 years of visiting a lot of the “touristy” spots and museums, but there are still a few that I need to check out. I love fun facts and trivia and this is a great way to learn more.

Try some fun desserts. It seems like there are fun new desserts places popping up ALL THE TIME in Dallas, and I haven’t tried ANY of them! I need to get on that!

See the murals around town. There are so many great murals around town and I have seen like, none of them up close!

Hear live music. Nothing says summer like sitting outside on a patio with a cool drink while listening to some live music. I’m thinking this will need to happen at Truck Yard or the Rustic. Yes.

Try a new brunch spot. There are so many that keep opening up and I’m falling behind!!

Find a “go-to” coffee shop. And not Starbucks. I want to find a place I can go do some work and have a delicious drink at the same time. Not too loud, not too quiet… just right.

Walk the trails close to me. There are so many nature trails up in north Dallas and I want to try them! But not at night. And not alone. And not in the middle of the hot summer days. So… this one will be tricky, but I can do it!

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.

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.)