DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Real Estate Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, Scrapbooking

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – THIRD WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER & AUTUMN IS DEFINATELY HERE

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration yesterday. While last weekend was fairly busy, there’s not a lot that will be interesting to you. However, we did try out a new restaurant on Thursday and on Friday I did have one thing worth mentioning.

Finally Four Winds

So, shortly after we moved to the Rockwall area, we started hearing about a steak restaurant called Four Winds in Wills Point. We also heard that to get a reservation there, you needed to book a month in advance and you’d still be lucky to get in. We’re fairly spontaneous about our dining out and steak is something we usually cook at home, so even though folks raved about the food, we had not made any serious attempt to go.

Still, we kept hearing about it, so we’d begun to look for a reason to make a reservation and go. That’s when one of those people who want to sell you annuities sent us an invitation for a free meal at Four Winds in exchange for listening to her presentation.

I’m warning all of you people who offer up time shares, vacation clubs and financial plans, Bill and I are very good at ‘no thank you’. We actually consider the presentations a sort of entertainment and feel no compunction at leaving without setting an appointment or buying any thing at all. Remember, you contacted us. We didn’t come looking for you.

A free dinner at one of the most popular restaurants in the area? That’s a no brainer. I won’t waste your time with the annuity bit, but I will tell you Four Winds made listening to the spiel worthwhile. Both of our steaks were noteworthy and the side dishes were good too. I’m sure we’ll find a reason to go back and we won’t even mind paying for it ourselves!

Wine, Women & Wealth

One of my dear friends, Susan Bennett-White is a financial consultant. She handles all kinds of things from a program to save you money on the things you buy every day, to being able to help you get your finances in order to buy that house you want or even what kind of life insurance you need. Once a month she has a program directed at educating women, which as a group are generally underserved in the financial arena. It’s called Wine, Women & Wealth.

Besides being a good educational vehicle for women concerning their personal finances, it’s also a great networking event – that’s why I’m there. The meal is free, the event is fun and while it’s obvious Susan would love to have your business, there is never any pressure to buy, from Susan or from the various businesses – one of which is spotlighted each month. Just so happens this month, my memory keeping business was the spotlight.

So, in the photo above you see me, begging people to turn their mess over to me and let me turn it into memories they can share with pride. We’re at Alfredo’s Steakhouse in Forney, TX. Since I go there once a week for FANG, Forney Area Networking Group (Networking you can sink your teeth into) once a week and then once a month for Wine, Women and Wealth, it just might be the restaurant I go to most frequently, but even though it’s a steak house, all I ever get is breakfast, a salad or a sandwich.

I’d love to connect you with Susan and her monthly free lunch and networking event, so just let me know if you’d like to be invited next month.

Wedding Bells and Sunday School

The only other place I went this past weekend was church and I went twice. One of the sweetest girls in my church married the love of her life there on Saturday. It was a very tender event. Then, of course, on Sunday morning I got up and went to church. I happened to be the greeter, which meant I froze my patookus off, there in the breezeway of Rockwall Bible Church.

Otherwise, I took care of a few real estate photography clients, designed and ordered my company Christmas cards, finished a digital photobook and ordered it, started another one and tried to deliver a pair of scrapbooks I had finished, but my client got caught up at the mall. Not very exciting, huh?

I actually was away from the house for less than half an hour, because my client caught me before I got too far, but when I got home all hell had broken loose. My husband had decided to build a few shelves in the attic, for which I am sincerely grateful, but many of my “treasures” (translated that means “free tote bags” were in danger, because he wanted to “organize” (translated that means “dispose of”) them.

And really, that’s it! Next up, learn about Las Vegas’ High Roller Ferris Wheel and then on Thursday, we’ll be talking about the digital side of my memory keeping business.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Real Estate Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Scrapbooking

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – FIRST WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER

Breadlosers at NorthPark

You know how it is when you’re visiting a restaurant you’ve enjoyed before and it ain’t what it used to be? That was my experience on Saturday morning at Breadloserswinners in NorthPark.

NorthPark itself is one of my very favorite places in the world. I go there to feel like a Dallasite. I parked in the Nordstrom’s parking lot and used their sleek Ladies Lounge. As I looked at the merchandise facing the aisles along my route, I felt like it was deja vu all over again! Didn’t I wear these very same fashions a few decades ago – eggplant colored mix and match ready-to-wear, cream colored crepe blouses with a high ruffled neck and prairie dresses. I guess shoulder pads and pleated trousers are next.

On my way to the restaurant I strolled along browsing the windows of a few stores. I always love the unusual clothing for sale at Free People and think I’ll stop in. Then I see the outfits they put together for display and am amazed they find ways to take these beautiful pieces and put them together in awful outfits I would never wear. Obviously, I am not their target audience. The next stop was Nā Hōkū, the Hawaiian jewelry store, and I always want everything in their windows.

Next I began to enjoy the aromas of NorthPark, like Lush with it’s hand made fragrances and pretzel’s in the oven at Auntie Anne’s. Being in my favorite mall excites all of my senses.

Entering the Main Court always feels like a special moment and I am flooded with memories of events, occasions and everyday visits to NorthPark. Riding down the elevator, I see Zara and am reminded of the very first time I saw one of their stores, in Vienna’s Stephenplatz. While I love NorthPark for being so Dallas, I also love that it also a touchstone for the rest of the world. Peeking in Zara, I saw emerald low-heeled pumps with a rhinestone buckle. Yes, the past is getting closer all the time.

I arrived at Breadwinners and the hostess is going through the is-your-entire-party-here routine with someone in front of me. I guess they have to do that, but I hate it. I’m not sure my friend, Lisa, has arrived, but I ask for a table for two without being quizzed about the rest of my party. Soon I’m being seated and almost immediately Lisa arrives with two kiddos in tow, but they are way too cool to be seated with us and wait for another table.

By the time I have been given a menu, I have been warned numerous times their fryer is broken and I can’t have any fried food. It wasn’t what I was there for, but other disappointments were awaiting me – like my drink order. Since being at NorthPark is always an occasion, I ordered a poinsettia, my own answer to mimosa, because I don’t like orange juice. I can’t decide if the poinsettia they delivered was made with flat champagne or white wine, but it was not what I had been anticipating.

For brunch I ordered their Basic Breakfast with grits and sausage. I LOVE grits and have had theirs before. Whatever they were offering up that day was not what I had in the past. There was either too much of something or something which wasn’t supposed to be there, but they were inedible. On to the biscuit! Well, they hadn’t kept that in the oven long enough to brown it and while it wasn’t necessarily undercooked, it also fell apart, so getting butter on it was a challenge. The consolation prizes were a couple of overcooked sausages and thank goodness a pair of properly prepared well-done fried eggs. If the rest of it had been any good, I probably wouldn’t have even eaten the eggs, because they are one of my least favorite foods, but with little else to feed me, I needed the protein.

I only see Lisa a few times a year, so it really doesn’t matter what we’re eating, I’m just glad to be soaking up her world. She’s a mommy in Highland Park and that’s so different than how I live, that I find it fascinating. Her daughter, who I’ve known since infancy, is now a pre-teen and talk about a different world!! She and her friend were dressed alike in neon colored shorts and gray tee’s. I know these are all the rage, but when I was her age you couldn’t have paid me enough money to go out dressed like that, much less to be twinsies with my friend.

As Lisa shared the recent dramas in her daughter’s lives I was struck with the similarities between the stories she was telling and a TV show I’d seen recently – Big Little Lies with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. I want you to know, the stories are real. Yes, it’s a fictional series, but the situations they portray are happening right now in Highland Park!! I’m not recommending Big Little Lies. It’s my husband who is watching it and I have only viewed a few episodes – enough to find it disturbing. However, as wacky as it is, it is apparently an accurate picture of life in affluent schools and neighborhoods in America.

The Rest of It

Friday, we visited the new Heritage Plaza Building in downtown Mesquite. We used the facility as a backdrop for a photo shoot photos, but I was impressed with the architecture and what Downtown Mesquite is up to.

Saturday night we went to a birthday party for my bestie at another friend’s house. It was great to celebrate Deb’s birthday and renew my acquaintances with some of her other friends. They put on a good spread and it was an enjoyable time.

There was church on Sunday morning and that afternoon I did one of my favorite things. I delivered a completed custom scrapbook to a client. It’s hard to believe you can actually get paid for doing what you love to do best and there’s always the pay off of pure joy when they see the album for the first time.

Attractions, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Real Estate Photography, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

The Pandemic Blues

TRAVEL THERE: 2020 – A TRAVEL YEAR GONE AWRY

A Day at the Dallas Arboretum with timed entry and social distancing

When I got home from our great trip in Arizona, I actually had a year full of travel planned. In May I would travel to New York with my best friend and watch her son accept a diploma for his MFA from Pratt at Radio City Music Hall. I have another friend there I wanted to catch up with and we had lots of museums we hoped to see. Bestie and I were also planning to go to Ohio in August for her 50th High School Reunion. We were hoping to make it a road trip and squeeze in a few sights we hadn’t been able to see the last time we headed that way. Bill and I had plans to visit California to visit family and friends there, because we’d been offered one of those deals that you can’t resist. It didn’t happen.

What Did Happen

My husband and I have been very fortunate during this pandemic. Our health has been excellent and while we have mourned with many friends over their losses, no one in our inner circle of closest friends and family were lost or even suffered greatly from Covid. Sometimes they were inconvenienced by quarantine. Some because of exposure with no diagnosis, some with a positive test but no symptoms and a few who did experience mild symptoms.

Bill was more conscientious about following the protocols than I was. During the first days of the pandemic, I was locked down. He wouldn’t let me out of the house unless he was with me to be sure I followed every suggestion he gleaned from his intensive research. The real estate community was in a panic, so he was out every day, shooting listing photos, videos and drone shots, but he took elaborate measure with himself and our equipment. I wasn’t even allowed to help him unload the car, because everything, including him, had to be sanitized.

On another Arboretum visit Bestie Deborah visits with a faux gardener, another timed, masked and social distanced event.

My bestie kept me sane. We’d take walks, watch TV together or just do some scrapbooking, anything to give me a feeling of normalcy, while Bill monitored our plans to be sure we weren’t participating in any restricted activities, like shopping or eating out. Our first “normal” activity was church, but there wasn’t anything normal about it – no hugs and our seating had been rearranged so that we were properly social distanced, but it was better than watching it on TV.

Like everyone else, we watched the waves of infection. Some people used the downtime for travel, but Bill was having none of that. In our house, he felt as if he could maintain some kind of control over our circumstances. He had no hope of that in a plane or on the road. For awhile, I maintained hope that we might be able to take the trip out to California. I even planned out a road trip itinerary. Unfortunately, I ran into roadblocks. The Navajo nation closed themselves down, which took out most of my road trip plans. It also became apparent that if we were going to travel, California was the worst place to go, because they were virtually shut down. I planned that trip two different ways and didn’t get to use either itinerary.

Our day trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards via the Grapevine Railrooad

Then things got worse in almost every way possible. The whole election mess was a real downer and as Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around, so did a greater number of Covid cases. I entertained myself with planning a holiday road trip, even made all the reservations, but that didn’t work out either. So I settled for a staycation, complete with local museums, a carriage ride through a well-decorated neighborhood and a day trip train excursion. More about that later.

What’s Coming Up!

I did enjoy a few short excursions during the year, so I will share a few of those with you before moving on to 2021. Then I’ll tell you about an idea I dreamed up on vacation and executed in the early days of 2021, which has little to do with travel, but a lot to do with scrapbooking, my other passion.

Being a senior citizen, I’ve gotten my first vaccination and have the second one scheduled next week, but that’s not going to make the pandemic restrictions go away immediately. So, there’s a trip I’ve never shared here – it happened before I started blogging – and I am going to pass it along here. However, it’s a bit of a departure from my usual blog. It’s a play I wrote based on a very difficult trip Bill and I took in the early days of our marriage, inspired in part by Greater Tuna. I’ll share it with you serial style and you should get a big kick form it. The travel frustrations I’ve shared here before can’t hold a candle to that trip. So stay tuned. Even though I haven’t traveled anywhere since February 2020, I have adventures to share.