Destination: DIFFA Dallas

This week, I’d like to invite you to join me for a journey to Dallas, Texas, where I spent this weekend supporting a wonderful cause at House of DIFFA Masquerade 2014. At its annual fundraising gala, the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS’ (DIFFA) Dallas chapter raised over a million dollars to fight HIV/AIDS. I am fortunate to know several people on the board of this charity that annually pour their hearts and souls into making this event fabulous, and fabulous it was.

From the glamorous masquerade theme to a high-octane runway show, House of DIFFA 2014 was a night of spectacle, excitement, couture, and luxury. While this event is not necessarily in the travelogue sphere, it’s certainly worth writing about and showcasing a wonderful organization to support. And who knows…perhaps you’ll be inspired to travel to Dallas next year to experience DIFFA’s next over-the-top soiree. I know I’m hoping to be there.

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Public Art: A Cow Love Story

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This gallery contains 20 photos.

My love affair began in 2000 when I looked into the flame-retardant fiberglass eyes of a cow. Since then, I have run into the Cow Parade (and similar tours of public art) in cities from Copenhagen to Chicago and Prague … Continue reading

The Great American City

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

In honor of the upcoming quintessential American holiday–the 4th of July–I decided to blog about my favorite US cities. This week’s theme is not rooftop bars, but it could be. Join me on a tour of some of my favorite urban … Continue reading

A Weekend in Dallas

I am heading to a glamorous destination this weekend: it’s urban and magnificent…it’s Dallas. I’ve lived in the nation’s 9th largest city for over a decade now and have greatly enjoyed exploring all of the wonderful things to do in my adopted hometown.

I always say that Dallas is not a tourist-y place to visit, but it is a fantastic place to live. With the incredible retail options at Northpark or Highland Park Village, or sampling delish cuisine from D Magazine‘s 100 Best Restaurants in Dallas, we have world-class options for shopping and dining.

The weather in Big D this weekend is forecast as perfect pre-summer temperatures (before it gets too hot), and here are some of my recommendations on what to do on a gorgeous June day:

  • Patio (verb): to sit with friends on an outdoor terrace, while imbibing on a glorious cool beverage. I plan to do just that at the Place at Perry’s, although I love the Katy Trail Ice House, Chuy’s, or Sangria.
  • Brunch (also a verb): a Saturday or Sunday tradition, where lovely restaurants have a special mid-day menu. The best are complete with bottomless mimosa or bellini specials. My go-to options are Taverna, Villa-O, or the Libertine. (July 2013 addition: Boulevardier, which is certainly worth a trek to the Bishop Arts District!)
  • Be Outdoors: I live very close to the Katy Trail. Once a railroad track, it is now a hike and bike trail that attracts people that are working on their fitness. I can walk to the aforementioned Katy Trail Ice House in less than 30 minutes from my house. Nearby is also Turtle Creek, which has some grassy areas perfect for a picnic.
  • Park It: Dallas’ version of Central Park, Klyde Warren Park, opened last fall, and it is the perfect urban escape between Uptown and Downtown. On the weekends, it is food-truck-o-rama, and one can find culture there with live music and occasional free admission to nearby museums, such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Garden.
  • Touristic: if you must be a tourist, may I recommend a walking tour of Downtown? You can view the conspiracy theories at the Grassy Knoll and tour the Book Depository building. There are few places to eat/drink/be merry downtown, but I’d recommend staying at the Magnolia and walking to Stephen Pyles’ Samar for dinner, followed by drinks at Prohibition (which used to be the Chesterfield.)
  • Photogs: I sometimes explore through the lens of my camera, and one could pop over to Deep Ellum to see the whimsical sculptures. I also love taking visitors over to Las Colinas to snap photos of the mustang sculptures or to find the “BIG Things Happen in Dallas” letters in which to pose.

If you are looking for more to do this weekend, Central Track always has a great list of things to do. Wherever you are in the world, happy weekend!

What Not to Do in Costa Rica

In the spring of 2007, a friend of mine and I used the American Airlines miles we had accumulated to buy a vacation package via AA Vacations. We picked an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica, and excitedly, we planned our trip to Paradisus Playa Conchal.

The time for vacay had arrived. We arrived at the Dallas Fort Worth International airport for our Saturday afternoon departure, our suitcases crammed full with swimsuits, suntan lotion, and more beach reading materials than humanly possible to read poolside at our destination. Both business travelers, we were thrilled to be at the airport for a holiday destination. What may come next will surprise you, and six years later, I can finally share about our excursion…

Eventually, I took this photo in Costa Rica.

Eventually, I took this photo in Costa Rica.

…that never came to be. We both received an email sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning from the airline that our itinerary had changed. Our departure was now scheduled for Saturday morning. So, imagine our absolute shock and disappointment that not only had we missed our rescheduled flight earlier that morning, but we had forfeited our entire holiday, as that was the only flight that day to Guanacaste!

(Dear reader, we eventually talked a nice person at AA Vacations to move our itinerary to another available weekend for a minimal fee, and that night, we went to Chuy’s–an “exotic” culinary experience in our own Dallas, Texas. All ended well, and we made it to Playa Conchal to zip-line, bathe in the sun, and luxuriate in nothingness eventually.) And most importantly, my travel-savvy friend and I learned the most crucial lesson of checking the airline website up-until-the-last-minute for changes. It was embarrassing; however, it’s a great story of flexibility, preparedness, and last-minute plan B margarita sipping.