ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Museums, Music, Performing Arts, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Visit Dallas HolidayUpdate


For folks dripping in family, the holidays become a blur  of Christmas recitals and family dinners.  For those of us with slimmer pickings in the family department, the holidays can make us feel a little left out.  Well, if you live in or around Dallas, there is no need to feel left out.  Dallas can keep you busier than a month of Christmases.  In a recent email from Stefanie Faulk of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau  I found an amazing list of things to do.  Find something that suits your fancy and get out there:

Special Exhibitions and Christmas Displays

Dallas Art District and Downtown

  • Pollack Party 001 Dallas Museum of Art (Now through May 20) Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots – This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, only the third major U.S. museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist hailed as “the greatest painter this country has ever produced,” is the largest survey of Jackson Pollock’s black paintings ever assembled. Exclusively on view in Dallas, it includes works that have not been exhibited for more than 50 years from an understudied yet pivotal period in the artist’s career. ALSO International
    At the Entry of the Exhibition
    At the Entry of the Exhibition

    Pop  – Take a step back in time. Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein are just a few of the artists included in this historical survey that chronicles the global emergence of Pop art from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. ALSO Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

    Detail from DMA brochure
    Detail from DMA brochure

    – This unprecedented exhibition, which critics have called “stunning,” showcases more than 50 historically important masterworks from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, one of the world’s most significant and rarely exhibited private collections of Islamic art.

  • House of Alba BrochureMeadows Museum (Now – January 3) Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting –  For more than 500 years, the Alba family has formed part of the most important aristocratic lineages in Europe, amassing an unparalleled collection of art through the years. In this exhibit, the Meadows
    Museum presents some of the collection’s finest works, many of which have never been seen outside
    of the family’s private castles.
  •  03._Male_firefly_model_DF.3711 Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Now until February 21) Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence – Creatures of Light explores the magical world of “living light” – mesmerizing organisms with the ability to glow – from flickering fireflies and fluorescent mushrooms to sparkling deep-sea creatures.  From dinosaurs to DNA, unwrap your holiday curiosity at the Perot Museum.
  • GorlzkiCrow Collection of Asian Art (Now – March 20) Alexander Gorlizki: Variable Dimensions – This rich kaleidoscopic experience features works of art as diverse as embroidered handkerchiefs and plant-like hand-mirrors alongside exquisitely crafted paintings with obsessive floral and geometric patterns.
  • Holiday Cheer at Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck (Now – December 21) – Santa, his elves and furry friends from the Dallas Zoo will spread holiday cheer from 470 feet in the air. Catch special sky-high appearances at the GeO-Deck as you enjoy the view from Dallas’ most iconic structure. Experience breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views, high-definition zoom cameras, interactive touch screens, telescopes, photo ops and an indoor/outdoor observation deck that lets you see for miles in any direction.
  • Downtown Wanderland (All Season Long) – Downtown Dallas, Inc. invites visitors and locals to wander through bright and bustling Downtown Dallas and explore the city’s great retail, restaurants and bars. Enjoy season-long programming featuring holiday pop-up shops, happy hours, photos with Santa, movie screenings and more.

On the East Side

  • Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (Now until January 3) Holiday at the Arboretum
    And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
    And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

    – Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with the magnificent 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit – twelve 25-foot Victorian-style gazebos with charming costumed characters, music and more – and The Artistry of the Nativity at the historic DeGolyer House. And enjoy a stroll through the gardens on select evenings, aglow with half a million twinkling lights.

  • George W. Bush Presidential Center (Now – January 3) A Season of Stories: Christmas at the White House 2003 –  Great stories have a way of bringing families together. A Season of Stories will offer visitors a glimpse into the magical White House celebrations of 2003, including a full-size reproduction of the official White House Christmas tree and delightful décor featuring beloved storybook characters.
  • NorthPark Center (Now – January 3) The Trains at NorthPark – benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is the most elaborate miniature toy trains exhibit in Texas. More than 1,600 feet of track takes visitors on a journey across America, from New York City to the Golden Gate Bridge. Also Visits and Portraits with Santa – Capture memories of a lifetime with one-on-one visits and portraits with Santa Claus. Children feel right at home in Santa’s cozy living room, complete with a fireplace and holiday tree. Take photos with your own camera or purchase professional portraits by Marc Robins Photography!

On the West Side

  • Christmas at the Anatole (Now – December 23) This holiday season the legendary Hilton Anatole Hotel will transform in to a winter wonderland complete with dazzling décor and festive programming. Featuring
    breakfast with Santa, face painting, Christmas-themed scavenger hunts and more, the Hilton Anatole is your home for the holidays.
Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

NorthPark Fashion Show News

Ensemble by Mulberry
Ensemble by Mulberry


Last week I started sharing my experiences at NorthPark’s 50th Birthday celebration.  Now it’s time to share the fashions.  Along with the Nordstrom Beauty Trends show, I saw runway shows for Mulberry, Nordstrom, CUSP by Neiman Marcus and Elie Tahari.  Here’s the highlights.


Mulberry is an English company which started out making leather handbags, so it’s not surprising most of the outfits were paired with delicious looking examples of their leather craft.  Being English the ensembles looked a tad warm for the Dallas climate, but I can imagine working individual pieces in around some lighter choices.

The thing which stood out to me most was the great big clunky shoes worn with each outfit.  I’m just not ready for that, especially not a very short dress with dark socks and over-sized loafers.  I imagine my feet would look like I’d taken to wearing cement blocks if I wore some of those sturdy shoes or short boots.  There were also a number of outfits with crop pants, another of my least favorite looks.

However, I think their target audience is significantly younger than I am, so bully for them.  The colors and fabrics were delicious.   I was able to grab a video of the finale with a quick peek at many of their selections. What do you think?

Nordstrom Fashion Show
Nordstrom Fashion Show

Nordstrom Collectors Department

My husband attended this show with me and took over the photography.  To me, theses clothes were prettier than the Mulberry fashions, but I didn’t embrace all of them.  One look that stood out to me was the Herve Leger Bandage Dresses, but it looked more like Bondage.  Bill loved one of the Bandage dresses in Aqua and it was pretty, but I’ve seen one too many bridesmaid dresses in that shade for me to love it.  Missioni offered up several print dresses which looked to me as if they’d been drawn upon by kindergartners.  The gorgeous white dress with red roses is a Dolce & Gabbana.   I’d wear that in a minute.  Which dress do you love?

LOVE it Neiman's!
LOVE it Neiman’s!

CUSP by Neiman Marcus

I love Neiman Marcus, but with a few notable exceptions, I was disappointed by their offerings.  In the Mulberry and Norstrom shows I wasn’t in love with everything I saw, but I felt as if I was looking at new, fresh and different.  The CUSP show seemed like a repetition of what I’ve been looking at for several years.

I did like the patterned hose, which I’d first noticed in the Nordstrom show. I absolutely loved that RED is back, which is great, since BOLD LIPS are making a comeback too.  Creamy dreamy winter white was there too, which I love.

I also saw some interesting outerwear choices, but like Mulberry I feared they were way too warm for most of our winter days.  Neiman’s was also the only store to include men in their show, so that was interesting.

Even though photography was challenging, I got lucky and was able to capture part of the finale on video.  Excuse the two heads in the way.  That’s what I had been trying to photograph around all through the show.

Elie Tahari

Great Blues Elie Tahari!
Great Blues Elie Tahari!

I was pretty much in love with everything in the Tahari line-up, especially when it was in blue.  They called the blue Oasis, but the shade seemed too intense for its name.  And speaking of names, the collection was called Urban Forest and the commentator pointed out the natural fabrics.

I was able to capture this finale on video also.  Doesn’t it make you want to go out and buy something?

And finally, here’s the rest of the pictures.  As I mentioned last week, they aren’t great examples of photography, but perhaps you’ll get some ideas for your winter wardrobe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

More Fashionable NorthPark

NorthPark ready to celebrate
NorthPark ready to celebrate


NorthPark threw itself such an exciting birthday party that this is my third post about it.  Tuesday we looked at beauty trends, now let’s talk about the runway shows!  NorthPark did a great job of making the event something I won’t forget.  I felt lucky to be there.

The Fashion Show Drill

As I said on Monday, NorthPark e-mailed invitations to the faithful so we could RSVP spots at the fashion shows.  I figured the free events would create mayhem, but the morning shows were only slightly madcap.  For the Nordstrom Beauty Trend presentation I was able to get right up on the front row and the audience was sparse, so those were some of the the best pictures I got all day.

Did I mention there was chocolate?
Did I mention there was chocolate?

For the second show, I was also given a front row seat, but the crowd was building so my picture taking efforts had to fit into a smaller space.  The rest of the day I was lucky to have a seat at all and the quality of my photos shows it, so forgive me for the blurriness and odd angles.  I was shooting with my phone and often from several rows back, but I wanted to share the fun with you.

At least I had a seat.  There was no tent to hide the shows, so onlookers gawked at the spectacle.  As the day progressed the gawkers planted themselves around the perimeter of the show and all around the second level looking down.  It created a fishbowl effect and the audience was as much on exhibit as the fashions.  On a solemn note, I noticed there was a definite police presence.  I also noticed they were oblivious to the fashion show, but were constantly scanning the crowds, looking for anything suspicious.  I have to admit that I am grateful they were there and taking my safety so seriously.

Ready for Fashion
Ready for Fashion

The procedure for seating was very regimented.  You showed your ticket and would be given a seat assignment.  Each chair would have a swag bag on it.  Some shows the bag would be full of magazines and coupons.  Sometimes there would be samples and/or coupons.  Sometimes it was a paper shopping bag and sometimes it was a cool tote bag.  Even though there was a lot of repetition in the goodies, I hoarded every item offered and then shared the swag between several of my buddies.  This meant I made several trips to the car to unload my treasures, but my friends were ever so grateful.

At the beginning of the day, it was mostly women in the audience.  A few husbands sheepishly sat next to their wives/girlfriends looking as if they wished to disappear into the uncomfortable plastic chairs.  As the crowds grew (and the paying customers started enjoying their champagne) there were more men and they seemed a lot happier than that those first comers.  Later I figured out what they were happy about.

Art meets Fashion Exhibit
Art Meets Fashion Exhibit

Bill joined me for one of the shows and when I asked him what he thought about it, he went on and on about the models.  When I asked him about the clothes, he said,”Oh I liked some and some I didn’t,” then he went back to critiquing the models.  That proved an opinion to me.  Girls, we’re dressing for each other.  The guys don’t care.

After the show was over you couldn’t just stay and wait for the next show.  You had to leave so they could set up the swag bags.  Of course, they encouraged you to hurry down and try on the fashions you’d just seen, but I resisted that suggestion.  There were many outfits I truly loved, but I knew the price tags would be far beyond my budget.  I found other ways to entertain myself, like the Art Meets Fashion exhibition and Auntie Annie’s pretzels – well that and hustling to the car with my swag bags.

That’s the overview.  Keep coming back, because over the next week or so, I’ll post articles about the various fashions in between my regular features.  You’re going to love these fashions!



Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Fashionable NorthPark Turns 50

learning Beauty Trends from Nordstrom
Beauty Trends from Nordstrom


NorthPark is celebrating her 50th birthday and I helped.  During a day long feast of fashion shows I discovered what was on the forecast for fall and winter.  The day began with beauty trends from Nordstrom.  Here’s my picks for a fashionable face.

The Bold Mouth

The biggest news was the bold mouth – especially in shades of red.  That was good news for me.  I never figured out how to create the smoky eye look, but bold mouth?  That’s me – and I’m not talking about the volume of my words or their tartness.  I talking RED LIPSTICK.  It’s a look I love.

Red lipstick I didn’t need but I hurried down to Nordstrom’s after the show to pick up a couple of items.  One was from Hourglass and it’s called No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil.  Ladies of a certain age start getting little puckers around their puckerer and if you put this on your mouth and around your lips as you sleep, things should plump up, making those little lines go away.  We’ll see about that.

The other must-have for this little old lady was Guerlain’s Kiss Kiss Lip Lift.  Hourglass wanted me to use No.28 as my primer also, but Guerlain said all the right things about Kiss Kiss and I had to have some.  Between sleeping with No. 28 and priming with Kiss Kiss, I should look mahvahlus dahlink!


Contouring, a la the Kardashians, is oh so yesterday.  Of course, one must still contour but now we must also strobe.  Strobing is creating a highlight wherever light would naturally hit your face.  So cheekbones, forehead, nose and chin should be zapped with something like Hourglass’ Ambient Light Edit which will “give you the complete Ambient® Lighting wardrobe” including  handmade powders, blushes, bronzers and the all important strober.  Here’s what you have to know: shimmer is completely out.  These powders are scientifically designed with photo luminescence.  You go around with glitter in your blusher Girl and the fashion police will be after you.

Beyond the Brow 

At the show I was informed that Anastascia of Beverly Hills “put brows on the map.”  I’m not sure which map, but I’m still fascinated by the perfectly trimmed man that came out to tell me all about it.  I swear I have never seen anyone in my life with more precisely trimmed eyebrows, mustache and hair.  He was all about contouring on this particular day and instructed us  to trot down to Nordstrom and get our Contour Kit, because it was the “best contouring palette” in the world.  He also called it Spanx for the face – use it and you immediately look five pounds thinner.

Magic Cream

Now all this boldness, strobing and contouring are for naught if your skin looks tired, but they had an answer for that too.  Charlotte Tilbury has finally released her Magic Cream.  According to their video, Charlotte has been whipping up this elixir in her kitchen for top celebrities for years, but has finally made it available to mere peons like you and I.  It comes in a jar and holds a little over 1.5 ounces, but for a C note it better be magic.  I guess I’m going to have to depend on plenty of sleep and healthy eating.

And For Your Hair

No use having a gorgeous face if it’s not a good hair day.  Two products from Aveda will help perfect your look.  First, Invanti Scalp Revitilizer.  This product is supposed to be a miraculous thickening tonic, and I’m sure it’s wonderful but the one I want first is Shampure.  Since I’ve been wearing my hair longer there are just these days when I really need to wash my hair, but since it’s such a force of nature I’m not always up for the battle.  Enter Shampure, the non-aerosol dry shampoo with “25 pure flower and plant essences.”  This stuff not only revives your hair, it instantly revives your senses while it’s at it.  Now that sounds pretty good to me.

So that’s the beauty line up from Nordstrom.  Armed with all this good advice for getting your face made up, you must now be ready to get dressed, but let’s put that off until another day.  For now, enjoy the pictures and then rush to Nordstrom.  You’re probably dying to get some Magic Cream and Kiss Kiss right now!



ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

50 years of NorthPark


NorthPark is one of my favorite places in the world.  Sure, I like to shop, but that’s only a fraction of the attraction.  I just like to be there.  When I visit NorthPark I feel cooler, sleeker and more hip than I do anywhere else.  They are celebrating their fiftieth birthday with several weekends of fun.  Let me tell you about it.

Love in My Inbox

The first thing I do every morning is check my Gmail inbox.  Most of what’s there is deleted before I even look at it.  I really hate how many companies think they need to contact me daily.  NorthPark sends me a love note about once a week but I never delete their emails.  Instead, I pore over their communication carefully, looking for a reason – any reason- to visit my favorite place.

A couple of weeks ago the love note invited me to come celebrate NorthPark’s Fiftieth Anniversary.  My head was immediately filled with happy images:

  • BLT sandwiches at the Woolworth lunch counter with my mom
  • the baby blue pantsuit with a pirate blouse from JC Penney’s that might still be the favorite outfit I’ve ever owned
  • working part-time at Lord & Taylor where I met my very best friend
  • the sound of the wooden floor inside The Carriage Shop
  • Jambon Moutarde Crepes at the Magic Pan

That’s just a sample from a very long list of pleasant memories I associate with NorthPark.  You won’t find any of those things at Northpark any longer, but they live on inside my head.  When it first opened, NorthPark only had 3 anchor stores, the movie theater was separate from the mall and food courts were unheard of.  It’s evolved over time, but I loved it from my first visit back in 1966.  We’d just moved to Texas and the mall, one of the nation’s first enclosed malls, had been open for about a year.

Ready for Fashion
Ready for Fashion

Focus on Fashion

My email love note informed me the first weekend of NorthPark’s celebration would be all about fashion.  The North Court would be turned into a venue for two days of fashion shows, one right after the other.  Well, this was just too exciting!  What was even more exciting was free admission.  Well, you could pay, which would guarantee a prime seat and a split of champagne, but I’m very into free.  I started reserving my seats immediately.

I’m fortunate to have a wonderful stable of friends.  They help me enjoy most of my adventures, but last weekend was a busy one and everyone had something going on.  I considered blowing off the whole thing and doing something like attending to my ever lengthening to-do list, but only for a moment.  NorthPark was celebrating her 50th birthday and I was going to celebrate with her.

Put this on your calendar!
Put this on your calendar!

The Celebration Isn’t Over 

I’ll tell you all about the fashion shows soon, but first I want you to know they were just the beginning of the celebration.  The fun is going to continue this weekend.  On Saturday there will be a free concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Ryan Anthony and Dallas Black Dance Theatre.  It’s a picnic on the grounds kind of thing and you bring your own blanket and picnic.  Then Sunday will be Artrocks, an art festival focused on hands-on activities for kids, featuring a concert by Gravity Feed and a return of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.  How much fun is that?

While you’re there, check out Art Meets Fashion on Level One, between Neiman’s and Nordstrum’s.  The exhibit has gorgeous examples of fashion which connect the art world with the world of fashion.  There’s everything from the iconic Campbell-soup-can paper dress to splendid evening dresses covered in bling.  That blue pantsuit with the taupe lace is my favorite.  They can just wrap it up and send it to me.  Then all I’d need would be an event to wear it to.  It’s a little more than I’d need when I’m headed to the grocery store.

I’ve got lots more fun to share, so keep coming back!  Soon I’ll fill you in on all the fashion tips and trends I picked up at the fashion shows.

I'll take two!
I’ll take two!



Architecture, ART, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

NorthPark Reigns

NorthPark Center, Dallas TX
Just another day at my mall

Amazing NorthPark
It’s no secret.  I love NorthPark. It opened in 1965, about a year before I started calling Dallas home. In those days it only boasted three anchors: Titche-Goettinger, Neiman Marcus and JC Penney’s.  It’s come a long way, baby!

The So-Called Competition

Since 1966 a lot of malls have been built in Dallas.  Most of them aren’t even here anymore.  Take Prestonwood for instance.  Even with my extreme love for NorthPark, visits to Prestonwood took precedence for a few years.  Now the enclosed mall is gone and a sprawl of shopping strips loosely tied together has taken it’s place.  And Valley View?  Don’t blink or you’ll miss it’s passing.

The White Arches

Hubby needed to replenish his sock supply and one of our Christmas presents was a Macy’s gift card.  Last night, we were near the intersection of Central and The George on house-furnishing business, so Collin Creek Mall was a natural destination.  My how the mighty have fallen.

I was struck with nostalgia as we approached Macy’s.  Surrounding the exterior are white arches framing a painted mosaic.  I wished with all my heart we were visiting Sanger Harris.  That’s who the white arches were built for.  My mom worked at the competition, Titche’s (which became Joske’s, which became Dillard’s), but we loved Sanger Harris (which became Foley’s, which became Macy’s).  I’m here to tell you, Macy’s ain’t no Sanger Harris.  For that matter, Dillard’s isn’t Titche’s either.

I Remember Collin Creek Mall

Collin Creek opened in the 80’s as a shopping wonderland.  A man-made creek replete with fountains flowed through it’s two stories.  A wing of the mall was a “village” of small boutiques.  One of the anchors was Lord and Taylor’s, a favorite retailer of my mom.   Collin Creek used to have my favorite Godiva boutique, so an errand to buy a gift often turned into a shopping spree.  That’s not the case any longer.

Mediocre Macy’s 

Near the entrance was a moat of dirt covered with cigarette butts.  I’m assuming the mall employees pop out there to grab a smoke, keep the grass from growing and denude the shrubbery.  That must also be where they throw out their gum, because black dots covered the sidewalk in front of the glass doors.

Once inside we were surrounded with the elegance of designer names and exorbitant price tags, but this was Macy’s so the price tags are all smoke and mirrors.  You get this much off for this and that much off for that.  Who knows what the final amount will be?  The employees seem as confused as the customers.  I saw a frustrated customer shove a stack of coupons at a clerk, demanding some assistance with the maze of supposed savings.  I don’t think that’s what the retail geniuses imagined when they created this maze of moving price points.

The only thing I hate worse than their crazy pricing is their shop-keeping.  Back in the day, Sanger Harris kept their stores pristine.  Not just the facilities, but the merchandise.  It was neatly hung or folded and in perfect size order.  It doesn’t matter which of Macy’s stores I walk into, I always feel as if a tornado must have just passed through before I got there.  I’m assuming the displays of sweaters, shirts and socks must have at one time had some semblance of order to them, but that was a long time ago.  The holidays might be considered a good excuse – if it were only a one time thing, but casual sloppiness seems to be the store’s trademark.  Come to Macy’s where you can’t find anything and you’ll never know how much you’ll pay.

And don’t look down!  When Sanger Harris built their Collin Creek Mall it was an oasis of luxury.  They’ve remodeled restof the glory out of the store, but they kept the original marble floors.  The only problem is that they haven’t maintained the original marble floors, so the marble’s cracked and stained and out of level.  I’m telling you it broke my heart.

It Got Worse

Come to find out, we’d forgotten the gift card, so I didn’t have to support a store as sad as Collin Creek Macy’s.  My nostalgic vein transferred to my husband, so we went out to visit what was left of the mall.  The fountains are gone.  The “village” of small shops became a food court a long time ago and now only offers second tier choices.  Even Starbuck’s, who has locations inside grocery and discount stores, has shunned them.

Most of the spaces are vacant and those which aren’t house Jose Blow’s Discount This and Ching Chung Doe’s That, testaments to the enterprising nature of America’s immigrant population.  An oriental merchant chased me down a corridor trying to give me a free massage sample.  One of the saddest sights for me was the empty Godiva store.  Fans would recognize the architecture, but no chocolate.

Back to NorthPark

Thankfully, NorthPark has a Macy’s.  The store is still messy and plays the mystery price point game, but at least it’s at NorthPark.  I can enjoy a little retail therapy with my errand running – and they do have a Starbuck’s, though I’d probably opt for the Mermaid Bar at Neiman’s.

The remarkable thing about NorthPark isn’t just it’s staying power.  It’s not merely a viable enterprise, it’s still the pulsating heart of Dallas shopping five decades after it opened.  It’s gone through a lot of changes.  I miss things like The Carriage Shop, Lord and Taylor’s, The Magic Pan, the food counter at Woolworth’s, the El Fenix outside JC Penney’s and JC Penney’s for that matter.  I don’t remember the name of it, but my favorite shoe store used to just a few doors down from Joske’s, on the  left side, when you were headed to Neiman’s.

I just hope NorthPark continues to thrive for as long as I’m here to visit it.  What’s your favorite mall and what do you love about it?

Architecture, ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Museums, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Enjoying the Metroplex Part Duex


Here’s the rest of the stuff I did when I was too busy to blog about it.

Kimball Art Museum, Ft Worth TX

The Kimbell Art Museum (Faces of Impressionism) – I mentioned the Musee d’Orsay while describing the DMA’s current exhibit, but the portraits over at the Kimbell right now are actually from that famous depository of Impressionism.

Confession, portraits are not my favorite thing.  I like paintings with people in them, but I prefer almost every other subject matter over portraiture.  Confession number two: I had no idea what special exhibition the Kimball had going on.  I’d just been meaning to get over there and see the new Piano Pavilion ever since it opened last fall.  (Even more proof of how overwhelmed I’ve been lately!)

So, when my little sister suggested a play date, this was at the top of my list.  I also hadn’t had a Joe T. Garcia’s Tex-Mex fix since my birthday in March, so I added lunch to our itinerary.  The ever-amiable Susan was agreeable.

Confession number three.  I loved this exhibit.  I loved it so much that I bought the catalog – and believe me,  I’m not exactly hurting for art books.  Perhaps the reason I loved it so much was the fact that when it came to portraiture, the Impressionists shook the art world up with it, as much as they did with everything else they painted.  This show will be there through January 25th.  You need to get over there and see it.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Piano Pavilion, also.  The Kimbell has an amazing collection of art, but at any given time, most of it was under wraps to make way for the spectacular special exhibitions they have hosted.  With the Piano Pavilion, they’ve created a wonderful place for special shows and made more room for their own extraordinary collection.

All in all, it was a great day in Ft. Worth, in spite of the fact that my little sister balked at sitting out on the Fiesta Patio.  So what if it was a chilly November day.  I sat inside munching on my family style dinner looking through the window at the patio wishing I was there.  It was almost perfect.

DAB Autumn11292014Dallas Arboretum ( Autumn at the Arboretum) – When we finally got to this year’s Autumn at the Arboretum it was in it’s last days.  You could tell, because workers were already assembling the holiday exhibits.  Still there were plenty of beautiful flowers and about a zillion pumpkins of every imaginable shape, size and color.  As you can see from this photo borrowed from the front of the DABS fall program, the garden is beautiful whatever the season.

I was glad to see that the water features of the Magnolia Glade were finally flowing.  They’d proven to be a sticky wicket for a while, but none of the previous frustrations are apparent nowadays.  One of my favorite parts of the garden is currently under renovation.  It used to be the Lay Ornamental Garden and it is being transformed into the Lay Family Garden.  I’m excited to see what they’ll do, but I did miss seeing it.

The Dallas Arboretum is always treat – whatever time of year it is and regardless of whether there is currently any special event going on.  right now, it’s all decked out for the holidays, so do plan on seeing it.  However, you should see it often, so you don’t miss a thing.

Arhaus NP11292014NorthPark Center (Arhaus Grand Opening Party Nov 14) –  How could I leave NorthPark out of this cavalcade of my favorite places – the ones I go to even when I don’t really have time to go anywhere?  I am on NorthPark’s weekly email list.  That doesn’t mean I’m any cooler than someone who’s not, except that I did take time to go on their website and click the button.

As a part of this list, I get frequent updates as to what’s happening at this mall which I consider to be the center of the universe.  Seriously!  When we first discussed building the house in Heath, one of my first considerations was how long it would take me to get to NorthPark from there.

Anyway, some weeks all they tell me about are sales or the latest addition to the food court, but I also get some awesome invitations.   That’s what happened on the week in question.  In fact, that NorthPark Noteworthy was chockful of good stuff.  They were inaugurating something called Watch Week and I was invited to the Arhaus Grand Opening.

First allow me to rave about Arhaus.  If you are interested in furniture and furnishings, it’s in there.  They have gorgeous stuff and they have lots of it.  You shouldn’t have to be bribed to visit with free champagne.  However, it certainly was nice to see all their beautiful merchandise while munching exquisite goodies and quaffing cold champagne.  (In real flutes I might add.  No plastic or paper cups for this crowd.)  Make your way to Arhaus!  It’s worth a special trip.

As the Arhaus party wound down, we wandered back into the mall and happened onto a place called Pirch.  We seriously couldn’t figure out what it was.  Was it a coffee shop?  Were they selling plumbing fixtures?  Was it an appliance showroom?  Believe it or not, the answer to all three questions in YES!!

Unfortunately, I was a little late in requesting an invitation to the Watch Week events.  We did go back to the mall on Saturday and visit several of the watch and jewelry boutiques, but all we heard over and over and over was that we SHOULD have been there Thursday night.  See if I ever wait to ask Bill whether he’s interested or not.  I’ll just request the invitation and then figure out who will go with me!

So, we had a great time at NorthPark and now you have three assignments.  Visit Arhaus.  Visit Pirch.  It’s right next door to Arhaus.  Sign up for the NorthPark Noteworthy email list.  Then I’ll be seeing you at some of their fabulous events.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Maggiano’s – A Little Better Than I Remembered


When you live in Dallas, you never ever have to go back to anyplace that you don’t like.  I’d been to Maggiano’s a couple of times and hadn’t felt like there was any reason to return. Then one of the companies we invest with invited us to lunch.  Now, this wasn’t one of those invitations.  You know what I’m talking about.  Somebody you’ve never heard of inviting you to a free meal so they can twist your arm into investing with them.  This was a company that already had our money – so maybe they owed us  lunch.


My first visit had been lunch at Northpark and that was ages ago.  The second had also been lunch, but I went to Willow Bend.  This time, I was back at Northpark, but not down in the main dining room with the peons.  No, I was directed up the carpeted stairs to the second floor.  First, I was amazed by the number of dining rooms up there.  (Note to self, great special occasion location.)  Next, I was impressed with the opulence.  We’re talking two huge crystal chandeliers, white linens and uniformed waitstaff.  I felt like I was someplace nice.  The price of admission was listening to an hour or so of investment talk.  Not my favorite type of entertainment, but it does float Mr. Bill’s boat, so there we sat.

Then the food started.  First course was two different salads with stuffed mushrooms.  One salad was a Caesar salad which I passed on, but the other one was full of AVOCADOS.  Yummy.  I’m thinking it must have been their Maggiano’s salad, because Italian salads usually have olives.  Anyway, it was good. The bread was pretty good. And the mushrooms?  So so.

Second course was more food than anyone ever needs.  It’s served family style, but it would have had to be a heck of a family to eat all that food.  I was grieved to see so much go to waste, but they weren’t offering up to-go boxes, so I just prayed the food wasn’t all going in the dumpster.

The dishes were a Bowtie Pasta, Mom’s Lasagna and Chicken Piccata.  I’m going to be honest with you, the pastas were so so.  Nothing wrong with them, but I like Macaroni Grill’s better.  OK, so I even like Olive Garden’s better.  But the chicken.  It was really good.  So kudos on the salad and the chicken.

Then came dessert.  There was a huge chunk of chocolate, which I assume was their Chocolate Zuccotto Cake.  There was also something with strawberries that was to die for.  I’m usually all about chocolate, so for me to say I preferred the strawberry thing is really something.  Problem is, I don’t know what the strawberry thing was.  There was a crispy crust, some custard, some strawberries and some whipped creme.  Whatever it was, if they ever offer it to you, say yes.

So, all in all, I’m glad I was invited for lunch at Maggiano’s.  I had three wonderful things that I loved and there was nothing in the world wrong with anything else they fed me.  I also loved the opulence of the upstairs rooms.  I’d say that Macaroni will remain my go-to Italian place, but if I got hungry near a Maggiano’s, there would be no reason to keep on driving.