It all started Friday morning when the photos arrived from the editors. I don’t want to go back there, but suffice to say, it did not go well and Saturday morning I was still chasing various shots. Granted, this sort of thing very rarely happens and everyone is granted the opportunity to make a mistake, but we had several humans making several mistakes all on the same day. How lucky can you get?
And speaking of being human, I had planned to crock pot a meal on Friday, which did not happen, so while I was madly emailing and texting on Saturday morning to solve all the problems, I loaded up my crockpot. As a start, I added the orzo at the beginning, rather than holding it until the last 30 minutes. So what do you do at that point? It had already sucked up much of my liquids and I wasn’t going to waste food, so I just cranked it up.
Then it was back upstairs to do battle with the editors and when I came down a little later, the crockpot had decided it wasn’t in the mood to cook. Thankfully, with a little technological encouragement – unplug/plug, off/on, try another setting – it decided it would cook my meal.
And speaking of On and Off – Bill had expressed a desire to go to a nursery and start shopping for spring planting. Between Snowmaggedon and the recent Ice Storm, we barely have anything alive in our beds. So, I totally understood the need, but visiting the nursery when the temperature is hovering between the high 40’s and low 50’s didn’t sound like much fun. He agreed it was probably too chilly, so I touched base with my bestie and planned on connecting for lunch.
But then he decided he wanted to run some other errands, which sounded OK. Except that he lollygagged around so long that my bestie finished up her dance lesson. That was not such a big deal, because we all just met for lunch, at Ephesus Bistro & Grill in Rowlett.
My second visit by the way. Ephesus is a great little local place to get Mediterranean food. The hummus has great chunks of chickpea in it, so you know it’s fresh. Bill and I shared a Beef Kabob and she had Chicken Roulade. Both were great. The only thing I warn against is the falafel. When I got it, the inside of the ball was not as done as I like – but that’s me. I prefer the patties over the balls for that reason.
After a morning of dancing and a big lunch, Deb was ready to go home and take a nap. Bill and I headed out to do our errands, but somehow ended up at Covington’s Nursery. It wasn’t quite as chilly as I thought it was going to be, but chilly enough. I think it should be nice and warm when I hang out at the nursery.
We try to shop at Covington’s whenever we can afford to, but they are a little proud of their merchandise. They are without a doubt the most knowledgeable in the area, so we do buy a lot there and we always go to them first for advice.
Sunday was not much better. After I did my greeting job at church, I did get a few pages of scrapbooking done. We also went out and bought each other the Valentine’s Gifts of our choices. We hit another nursery – less expensive, but also less stock and not much in the advice department. After that we hit Red Lobster for dinner.
Yawn, yawn and yawn! Come back next week for more travel, more memory keeping and another weekend report!
The week linking January to February was lost to the weather. It was supposed to be one networking event after another, but it turned into a very productive buttocks-in-chair week, instead. Every day on my calendar has events marked off and the notation ‘weather.” It was great for catching up on a number of things I really don’t like to do, but by Friday I was so glad to have a Zoom call to get on. By the afternoon, the weather had broken and the big melt was on. I took advantage of the break and jumped into my car, running one errand after another.
East Hampton Sandwich Company
On Saturday, I had a lunch date with my friend, Lisa. Our friendship dates from 2006, when I returned to Dallas from the California sojourn. I met Lisa at Northwest Bible Church Women’s Ministry and we just clicked. She was a great support while Mr. Bill was in Iraq and she’s continued to be a good friend until this day, even though our lives have gone in different directions, we make the effort to meet for lunch every couple of months.
Lisa lives just a couple of blocks off Snider Plaza and I’m over here in Heath, so we sort of take turns wandering to one another’s neck of the woods or connect at NorthPark, which is one of my favorite places on earth. It was time to meet somewhere near her, so she suggested the Snider Plaza East Hampton Sandwich Company.
We camped out at one of their tables and caught up on all the news. I had a burger with sweet potato fries, which was delicious and she had the Green Goddess Gluten-Free Wrap. She brought me a housewarming gift to celebrate our new sunroom and bought my lunch, because she said she wouldn’t be in town for my birthday. (She spoils me rotten.) The atmosphere at East Hampton is very laid back and no one seemed to mind us becoming a fixture. So, I drug out my latest scrapbook for her to peruse. My albums don’t seem finished until Deb and Lisa see them!
Most of my Saturdays are spent with my bestie, but Deb had a dance lesson and had another errand or two to run, so we weren’t connecting until after lunch. When Deb texted, Lisa and I were still chatting, so Deb came and joined us.
East Hampton had been great for grabbing a sammie with a friend, but it had one serious fault – no adult beverages. Deb was starving after her dance lesson, but it was time to move on. So, we vacated the space we’d been filling at East Hampton and crossed the street to Penne Pomodoro.
I am very fortunate in my friends. Deb and Lisa are both fixtures in my life and very dear to me. We’ve been sharing lives for a long time. While they haven’t spent a lot of time around each other, they both know all about each other from me and they’ve both been there for me through some pretty serious times. We all just picked up like we’d just seen each other the weekend before.
Deb chose to be healthy and eat a salad, while we bonded over wine. Like East Hampton, Penne Pomodoro was laid back about us taking up their table on a Saturday afternoon, so Deb and I ordered a second round. What a blessing those girls are to me.
What’s a girls’ day without a little shopping therapy? Lisa led us through some of her favorite stores. First, stop was Logos, a great Christian book store that’s been around ever since I can remember. They’ve moved around the center a few times, it seems, but I know the spot they are in is new to them. Lisa is a regular and the owner greeted her by name. Lisa introduced us and I noticed when we left, she called Deb and me by name as she bid us farewell.
Logos does have books, lots of them, but it is also an extraordinary haven for gifts. I saw dozens of things I’d love to give or get. Since Valentine’s is coming soon, I picked up a card for my sweetheart and found something else for him I couldn’t resist, but I can’t tell you, because he does read my posts.
Across the way, we wandered into the Christy M Boutique and I made the mistake of admiring a necklace. It was a mistake, because Lisa was soon handing me a bag, saying Happy Birthday. I told you she spoils me!
Our final stop, before heading over to Lisa’s was Suzanne Roberts. Like Logos, it made me want to buy a little of everything. It’s gifts and home décor, featuring a lot of MacKensie Phillips merchandise. I somehow managed to get out without buying anything.
Then we walked over to Lisa’s. Deb had never seen her home and Lisa had a photo album she wanted to show me. She was a little concerned it might not be photo-safe, but her mother-in-law had been a good little Memory Keeper. The photos were in a Webway album. Webway was the company which became Creative Memories, so I knew her mother-in-law’s hard work would be safe for generations to come.
All good things must come to an end and it was time to head back to Heath. It had been a lovely day. Sunday was uneventful. I went to church, did some scrapbooking and read some. Come back next week. On Wednesday we’ll be in NYC. Thursday is Memory Keeping 101. And of course, Fridays have The Weekend Report.
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.
We don’t entertain much. We’re busy people and when we’re not busy, we relax. It’s a shame in some ways. Our home just begs for a big party and I’ve inherited pretty much every serving dish and implement known to man, including 36 place settings of Gorham Chantilly sterling flatware. Salad scissors anyone?
However, the completion of the sunroom was a milestone, so we decided to have at least a few neighbors in. Since the sunroom is a small space, we decided to do it in phases, inviting a pair of couples in at a time – this end of the cul de sac one night and the other end the next night.
Invitations sent and accepted, I woke up Friday morning, did the necessary tasks for our business and then Bill and I went errand running. Bill went because he’s always afraid I will overbuy when we entertain, and sometimes I do. I had a list ready of what we needed and a set of priorities, as well as reasons for my priorities. I had to take that list, tear it up and throw it away. Bill rearranged everything in the exact opposite order I had planned and threw in a trip to Costco for our Covid boosters, which hadn’t been on my list at all. Only wives will understand.
Aldi and Costco
Aldi is not my go-to grocery store. Heck, out here in Heath, I don’t have a go-to grocery store. I remember fondly the days in Dallas when I could get to one of virtually everything within five minutes – Central Market, Whole Foods, whatever, but Market Street was MY grocery store.
When I go on a normal grocery run, I want to go to someplace that will have everything on my list. My mom spent her life chasing bargains and would visit several grocery stores in a week. That is not my life and that’s the reason I am not a regular at Aldi, because they will not be able to fill my whole list. However, I’ve learned, when I entertain, Aldi has more of what I want, in the quantities I need, for amazing prices.
So, we went to Aldi and found what we needed. Three different exotic deli meats, sliced thin, all in one package. Two cheeses. One of those boxes of fancy crackers with several varieties in it. Some hummus and Bill picked up some flatbread thing he wanted. He’s a bigger shopper at Aldi than I am. He loves their chocolates and their kettle chips, so we got those, too, not for the party, but we were there, right?
Along with our Covid shots, we picked up wines at Costco. My next door neighbor loves Aldi’s Winking Owl wines, but for wine, Costco is the go-to for us (when we don’t have time to get all the way to Trader Joe’s). I picked up Prosecco, which is what everyone ended up wanting and Bill chose a few other things for those who might not.
Bill drops me at home, so I could get things and myself ready for our guests. One of the things I needed to get ready was my nails, so I ran off to the salon for a new set. By the way, my go to is Signature Nails, next to Kroger, here on the south side of town. That’s when I got a text which threw my party plans in the air. I’m trying to resolve them via text with the hubby, who is determined to wait until I get home.
When I got home, we did resolve the issues, probably to no one’s satisfaction, but the show for Friday night went on and who knows when we’ll get around to the rest of the street. In spite of the storm in my teacup, Friday night went well. It was one of the first times we’d connected socially with our neighbors since the pandemic. It felt like we’d redeemed one more chip of our lives.
So, Saturday was given over to work and making a trip to the discount fabric stores on Harry Hines. We’d borrowed a tasseled tieback from an upstairs room for out Friday night soiree, but needed to get one. If you’re decorating, I hope you know about the discount fabric stores. On Midway there’s Childress Fabrics and Cutting Corners. Over the years we’ve been successful at both, but for the sunroom, the drapery material came from Cutting Corners. However, we never buy any fabrics until we’ve been to the corner of Harry Hines and Perth. The names change, but the savings all along Perth Street stay the same. Need fabrics – go there.
Listing photos taken and tasseled tieback bought, it was time for a late lunch. We went to Republic Texas Tavern on Inwood Road near Forest. I’d been for a business meeting once and saw enough to think it was worth another visit. As we sat admiring the restaurant, my husband, (who I claim will try to tell God how to improve the streets of gold) asked, “Guess what I don’t like about this restaurant.” I confess, I rolled my eyes and asked what. “Nothing.” That’s high praise folks!
He had a beer and I had their version of a margarita, which is Texas Ranch Water. He loved his Pastrami Sandwich and I enjoyed their Truck Stop Burger. Every sip and bit was delightful. We’ll be finding reasons to go back, even though it is on the other side of town. You should go, too.
So, after church, Bestie and I wanted to grab some lunch. It was a late lunch, because Deb sings in the choir and it meets Sunday afternoon. My criteria were Tex-Mex and a patio. Deb sort of leaves the choices up to me, because she says I make more exciting selections.
After cataloging the usual possibilities in my mind, I remembered there was a new restaurant downtown. Anything called Casa Mama was probably Tex-Mex and I knew they had a patio, so that’s where we went.
Deb loved it. She raved over the choices on the menu and thought the brisket enchiladas with spinach were delicious. I was a little more picky. The patio is right on the main road, which even on a quiet Sunday afternoon meant it felt like we were eating in the street. My cheese enchiladas were good, but not the ridiculously gooey mess I love at El Fenix or El Chico. (Yes, I like El Fenix and El Chio – that’s real Tex-Mex with lots of Dallas tradition on top.) The interior cheese on my Casa Mama enchilada was melted but not runny, gooey. Some people might consider this an improvement, but give me the goo.
Their margarita made up for any lack of gooey cheese and yes, I will be happy to go back. I will not sit on the patio and I will not have the cheese enchiladas, but I will go back and you should visit, too.
So, this is the Weekend Report. This one’s a little longer than most of them will be, because it was a busier weekend than most are. I have challenged myself to do this every week as a counterpoint to my Travel There series on Wednesdays, but I can’t promise I will always make it, nor which day I will post it, but keep an eye out! I have also challenged myself to start posting scrapbooking tidbits, but that’s not ready to roll out.
So, the next post I can promise is on Wednesday and we’ll be in Las Vegas!
So, I admit I love shopping, but what I love best is buying bargain clothes and shoes. My favorite price is $9.99. It’s like a game with me to find gorgeous things that the stores want to give away at ridiculous prices. There are only a few people I buy for when I am traveling and while I enjoy that, I don’t usually hang out in retail establishments.
Bill is a lot more likely to shop on vacation. He loves consignment stores and will wander around a shopping mall just to see the architecture. Since we’re not going to buy anything, I sort of see it as a waste of time, but I accommodate his desires.
When we are in Sedona that all changes. We both love Tlaquepaque with a passion. We can’t afford most of it, but we want all of it. Come along with us.
What’s Not to Love?
So, to begin with, Tlaquepaque is in Sedona. We pretty much love everything in Sedona. Even when we have a pizza and think the crust was way too thin, we enjoy it and look back on it fondly. Maybe there is something to that whole vortex thing.
Next up, Tlaquepaque is visually appealing. You do not have to enter a single store to enjoy it. Wandering among the archways and courtyards, listening to the splashing fountains, smelling the delicious food cooking, people watching…it’s all good. The architecture is part Spanish colonial, part southwest – tile roofs, black rod iron ornamentation, brick walkways, desert foliage…all the stuff we like – all gorgeous.
But what’s more, the shopping in fun. It is perfectly OK to wander around for hours, stopping into shops, some multiple times and not buy a single thing. Maybe they’re lonely. Maybe they’re just nice. Whatever it is, everyone is thrilled to see you. They greet you and chat you up. They do not hover over you as if you are about to steal the whole store or try to sell you everything you linger at. They want your opinion on the goods they are unpacking or will ask you if a particular wall is a good place to hang something. They will let you try on every ring in the case without huffing or puffing and won’t be the merchandise monitor limiting you to one item at a time. Here – try them both on, go show your husband, step out in the courtyard to see it in the light.
Some of the stores are also studios, so you can watch someone do whatever they do. Or there’s a partially finished something that allows you to see how they arrive at finished products. You smell clay and leather and paints. You’re just as likely to smell magnolia blossom essential oil, patchouli perfume or burning incense.
How It Went This Time
Bill made friend in one of the first shops we entered. He didn’t so much love the merchandise as he discovered the proprietor goes to Egypt every year – so Bill being Egyptian, they had a lot to talk about. So much so that I had time to discover the bargain of the day – a pair of blue topaz earrings set in silver – but it was that blue topaz that is visually interchangeable with aquamarines, which are my birthstone. They were quite a bit more than my $9.99 price, but a steam nonetheless. So much so, that Bill bought them for me!
Then we wandered – for hours. We barely scratched the surface. We strolled without any particular pattern. We had a marvelous time enjoying all the things I just described to you above. About halfway through, I found a cute shop with unique hand-blown wine stoppers – not cheap, but reasonable. I’d found the gifts I wanted to buy.
The weather was a little gray and a little nippy, so it didn’t beg us to linger outside or take photos. Sorry about that. Bill did fall in love with these pieces in one of the galleries, but they didn’t come home with us.
We could have gone on for hours more, but we had a plane to catch. El Rincon Restaurante Mexicano was wafting amazing aromas into the courtyards. We followed our noses and had an amazing meal before heading out to the airport.
The drive back to Phoenix was without incident. We returned our rental car with ease and the shuttle bus delivered us to our terminal without a hassle. The Southwest plane was on time and the flight was fine. Our car was right where we left it and we got home with no trouble. See we can go on a trip without a single hassle.
What’s next? Right this minute I don’t know. It’s July as I blog about this February trip and our lives are dominated by the pandemic. I tried to plan another trip out west during December, but there are so many unknowns right now that I finally gave up. Stay tuned, though. You know I won’t be able to stay home!!
TRAVEL THERE: WHO KNEW SCOTTSDALE HAD A WATERFRONT?
Across the street from Fashion Square was a mixed use complex project. My husband the real estate photographer wanted to go take a look. Once across the street we saw signs pointing the way to the Waterfront Wine and Art Festival. I was thrilled. It had been on my wish list, but I didn’t have a clue where there was a waterfront was in Scottsdale or Phoenix. Having happened upon it without a commitment to be anywhere at any particular time, we decided to check our the art festival.
Admission With and Without Wine
Following the signs we wandered around until we found the Waterfront. It cost only $3 a person to get in, if you didn’t want wine. Bill didn’t want wine. Had this been a girl’s trip, Deb and I would have ponied up the extra $10 for wine tasting, but I was happy enough to enjoy the art sans the tasting. What an entertainment bargain it proved to be!
This was a completely different show than the Celebration of Fine Art we attended a few days before. Like the Celebration, this was a juried show, but the jury for the Celebration was a lot tougher. Instead of a studio setting, this was more of a retail opportunity with lots of hopeful artisans lurking at the edge of their awning. In spite of the lurking artists, we enjoyed the visit.
Worth the Time
Most of the wine was on one side of the canal and most of the art was on the other. Shortly after we arrived we made our way to the artsy side. I will confess, while most of the pieces on display were interesting, they didn’t pass the I’d-hang-it-on-my-wall test. We don’t collect art. We can’t afford to. But often we stand in a gallery or at a festival longing to take something off the wall and carry it home with us. That happened a lot at the Celebration of Fine Art. Not so much at the Waterfront Wine and Art Festival.
Periodically, there would be musical acts or various things to eat or drink. We were still very full from our late morning breakfast buffet, so we weren’t interested in the comestibles, but the entertainment was appreciated. This violinist was among our favorites. Bill took many pictures trying to capture her pure enjoyment of her own music. This is as close as he got.
After a sojourn at the festival, it was time to satisfy another of Bill’s requests. Yes, we made a potty stop at McDonald’s and enjoyed a little hydration break, but that doesn’t count.
Bill wanted to see some desert scenery. There had been plenty at the golf course the day before, but he’d been otherwise occupied. I’d hoped to go to the Desert Botanical Garden, but by the time we were ready to see it, there wasn’t much of the day left, so we doubted we’d get our $15.00 worth. We opted for the McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve. Come back next week and enjoy it with us!
Our extraordinary bargain came with a caveat. We had to give them a couple of hours for a vacation club introduction. It was the first time for a “vacation club.” Other similar experiences were offered as a time share. We’ve been through some elbow twisting in our travel adventures and we hoped we weren’t in for another.
Starting at Mickey D’s
To fuel up before the sales pitch ordeal, we opted for McDonald’s. It was just around the corner and we grabbed several meals/snacks from there.
On this particular morning I had the obstacle of 10K runners and the policemen directing traffic had no sympathy for an out-of-towner. While I’m trying to negotiate the runners, police, roads and parking lots, I had Bill frantically texting me to be sure I got pepper to go with his order. I may have cussed a couple of times.
Checking Things Out
After breakfast we had a little time before our vacation club appointment. We headed over to the pool and entertainment areas to see what they offered. We’re not really resort people. Flying across the world to hang out by a pool, play golf and enjoy the spa is really not our kind of vacation. We understand why people with kids would do it, because Lord knows they need a break, but we go to an area to see it and one resort looks pretty much like another. Besides, while a lot is included, it’s not all-inclusive. A golf game here, a spa appointment there and a few drinks by the pool and you can be spending some serious dough.
As resorts go, the Westin is a nice one. We checked out all the pools, the golf course and various entertainment venues where games and classes are offered. When we reported for our appointment, we were anxious to get it behind us. In fact, we were early. They sent us to some lounge area with a fireplace to wait our turn. Anxiety was building.
The Dreaded Appointment
All in all, it wasn’t so bad. They introduced us to our guy and took us to his office. He chatted us up a bit to get our measure and then took us to view the available floor plans. They have something they call the Two-Bedroom Lockoff Villa, which is really two One-Bedroom Villas, which can be used separately or in tandem. Our room for the stay was a One-Bedroom Villa with a kitchenette, about 530 square feet. Were we to actually invest in the property, we would want the One-Bedroom Premium Villa with a full kitchen and about 870 square feet.
Then there was the pitch, which we softly but firmly tossed back. We explained I was a devoted cruiser and that the timing wasn’t right for us to invest (not that it would ever be the right time), even if we were interested. Our guy happily turned us over to the closer. She was ready to wheel and deal, but Bill said if we were to buy-in, it would be with cash, not financing. That took the wind out of her sails and her sales. They wanted to sell it to us like a car – so many dollars a month for the rest of our lives.
Then we were released. We’d lived through yet another timeshare vacation club sales pitch without signing on the dotted line. I must say this. Were we actually good candidates for this product, a two career family with four kids, three dogs, two cats and some extended family, I would think this was a deal. They showed us some magic we could pull off with my Marriott credit cards points, but we don’t do points, we go for the 2% rebate on another card. They knew as well as we did that we weren’t going to buy, so they saved us and them a lot of effort.
Oh look! It’s time to go golf. We ran to a Chipotle for lunch and then drove to the golf course. Come back next week for a round of golf at Dave Valley Ranch.
Still going with the flow, I was ready to sacrifice the Phoenix Friday Art Walk (#phxfridays) for the sake of harmony, but Bill proved he was up for it. We changed into something more casual and headed for downtown Phoenix. By the time we arrived, things were going strong. The Phoenix Museum of Art seemed to be the epicenter of activity, but parking there was an impossibility, so we began to look for something else. We did find an office building that allowed us to park and it really wasn’t far from the museum, but we were like the only people parking there. Worse case scenario, it was a rent car and none of our belongings were in it, so if they stole it, fine!
Joining the Hordes
We discovered we were about a block from the museum, which meant we were soon part of the insanity of Art Walk. We noted most of the participants were decades younger than us, but we did not let that deter us from our opportunity for adventure. The museum, which has free admission on Fridays and was the focus of my attention, had ridiculous lines, so with little in the way of info, we hopped aboard one of the very full free trolleys and we were off into another world.
Both sides of the street were filled with revelers and the noise level was wild. Bill pulled me off the trolley and we tried to get our bearings, but it was sort of what I think an acid trip might be similar to. We were sharing the crowded sidewalk with people who didn’t look like us. Hair was in every shape and color, except what we might consider normal. Everyone was tattooed and pierced. They wore clothes I’d probably throw away if I found them in my closet. There was pushing and shoving in every direction, but there was no clear indication of which way one should head.
I did mention the noise, right? It was Bill who pointed out, that in the immediate area where we were standing, five different bands were vying for the crowd’s attention. While we were standing next to five bands, if we looked in any directions, we could see, not far down the sidewalk, crowds flowed around even more bands. The result, cacophony.
Just about that time, we both needed to visit restroom facilities and by some odd piece of luck we got into a nearby restaurant with minimal hassle. I think the doorman took pity on the senior citizens lost among the millennials. We took care of business and made our way out to the street, heading away from the five bands. We found a sort of alley with various booths set up along the way. The mob seemed less frenetic here and the noise of the various bands was tolerable. We began to stroll along.
Abandoning the Hordes
Though spread more thinly, the denizens of this art vendor alley were of the dread-locked, tattooed and pierced variety of the five band locale. While they looked scary to us, they did seem to be minding their own business, so we entertained ourselves by looking in on the booths. There were some artists selling their wares – nothing we’d hang on our walls, but interesting. The most readily available merchandise seemed to be CBD oil, plus everything and anything made out of hemp. Bill was sure he could smell “hemp”smoke wafting above the crowd.
After about a block, we ran out of booths and it began to look like an area senior citizens would not be welcome or safe, so we made a U-turn and visited the booths on the other side of the alley. When we returned to the sidewalk, a band made of pre-teenagers and their parents, had begun to play headbanger/punk rock (?) at a remarkable volume. Bill wondered what the best way back to the car was. I pointed to a landmark on the skyline and we decided to walk back, instead of trying to find another trolley.
We crossed the street and discovered,what had been an alley on the other side, turned into more of a street. On the street, vendors only took up one side, but they seemed to have pretty much the same merchandise as the previous guys. On the other side of the street was a series of restaurants with outdoor seating – only all patrons looked as if they belonged to biker gangs, so we weren’t at all tempted to sit down for a respite, even though sitting down for a drink sounded like the perfect thing to do.
We kept our eye on the red neon sign we’d recognized earlier and when the street made an abrupt left, we headed right through what seemed to be a park. The art you see on this page was displayed throughout the area and it is huge. After the park was the library. We could no longer see our landmark, but I had my bearings and continued that way.
Suddenly, we were back at the art museum and the lines had disappeared. Our visit was delayed, but I was going to get to take advantage of the free admission. Come back next week and enjoy the museum with us.
The next morning gave us the chance to try yet another breakfast place recommended by the Phoenix New Times: Snooze, an AM Eatery. We visited the location at the Kierland Commons. We totally endorse the New Times choice. There are multiple locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix so don’t miss it.
The Quarter imagines itself to be superior to its “Commons” cousin across the street. The Commons is upscale. The Quarter endeavors one ups-manship.
Though the Quarter is just across the street from the Commons, it’s a busy thoroughfare that separates them, so we moved our rental Jeep to a closer position.
One of the anchor stores is a huge, monolithic gray block. Upon exploration, we discovered it was a Restoration Hardware showroom. You don’t buy anything there and load it up in your car. You lounge around on ginormous furniture and let gracious salesladies talk you into letting go of enormous amounts of money.
We confess, we’re not your basic Restoration Hardware customers, so we didn’t realize they had transitioned into this showroom format over the stores we’d visited in the past. However, we had a lovely time hanging out there. The restrooms were spectacular!
One of those gracious salesladies chatted us up about their transition to showroom and said some of their showrooms actually included a sort of restaurant, where they hosted dinners. One imagines exactly how much money you’d have to invest in Restoration Hardware goods to be hosted in their dining room. For all we know, common people like us might be able to go in there and pay for our meals, but we got the idea that wasn’t the point.
She also said they had a surprise coming to Dallas. I don’t know how much of a surprise it is, since a June 2019 edition of The Dallas Morning News announces the location with a restaurant is coming. However, a quick look at their website doesn’t mention the potential restaurant, so one wonders if it is a victim of Covid.
The Quarter Beyond RH
The RH was lovely and I’m guessing we spent an hour enjoying their store. It was a lazy sort of morning – a filler before what was to come next. I was happy as a lark, because later in the day, we had reservations for Afternoon Tea at the Phoenician Resort. In the meantime, I was perfectly content to wander around the Quarter.
Though the Quarter presented itself as an upgrade to the Commons, I noticed they had more in the way of empty retail spaces than their cousin. The RH showroom is the only store we actually wandered into, but we did stroll throughout the complex, noting a number of restaurants we’d love to try out.
This is sort of where we started talking about our next trip to AZ and saying things to suggest that while we wouldn’t have time for everything on this particular visit, we’d be back to the Greater Phoenix Area sooner rather than later.
Enjoy the pictures below of the Quarter. It was a lovely development and I hope it thrives through Covid and will actually be there next time we go to the area. After taking the pictures, we had to get back to the resort and get all dressed up for the afternoon activity. Come back next week for tea.
TRAVEL THERE: AN UNCOMMON EVENING AT KIERLAND COMMONS
So, we’ve had an amazing day. Early morning travel, fun shopping, spectacular art show and an itsy tiny set-back that was quickly resolved. The Westin provided us with a brochure called “Local Restaurants” and using what we discovered there, we headed our for round two.
It’s hard for a leopard to change it’s spots, but not impossible. I’d vowed to be easy-going on this vacation and not let the schedule dominate my thoughts, but I had done my homework. I knew it was Thursday and so Scottsdale Artwalk was happening in Old Town. I had plotted out the trolley route on my handy dandy map and was ready ready with information to make it a good time.
However, I also knew we’d spent the best part of the day in the endless studios of the Celebration of Fine Art. Mr. Bill was ready to eat and trying to coordinate him with the trolley schedule to view more artists’ studios did not seem like a wise thing – even if Artwalk was happening. I recommend it to you every Thursday evening, but we didn’t make it.
Heading to the Commons
So, instead we headed to the Kierland Commons, a nearby playground full of restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities. Parking was a challenge akin to parking at NorthPark on the Saturday before Christmas, but the travel gods were with us, so we did find something.
Next we strolled around to take in the atmosphere and check out the dining options we’d seen in the brochure. After a little strolling, North, the restaurant chosen most likely to succeed back at the hotel, did win out as our choice. However, something was definitely happening across the street, so we went there first.
The Anticus Gallery Re-Opening Party
Describing Anticus challenges traditional categories. Yes, it’s an art gallery and studio. Yes, it’s a book store. Yes, it’s a jewelry store. Yes, it’s also a gift store. It’s most similar to a really good gift shop in a great museum, but instead of the museum you’ve got a studio AND they have a bar.
When we got there, Anticus had outgrown a space two doors down and was hosting their grand re-opening. We didn’t realize it was a by-invitation-only kind of thing, but the host soon found us and let us know it was cool for us to be there. I think it should be noted that Anticus has moved again and they are now down in Old Town (where Artwalk was happening), but please put them on your list and tell them I sent you! Spreading the word about them is the least I can do after they showed us such a good time.
Though we were serendipitous guests, we thoroughly enjoyed the party. Bill was feeling very artsy after his afternoon at the Celebration of Fine Art. He chatted up anyone who’d stay still long enough to start a conversation. We drank a couple of glasses of cheap wine and handled a good portion of the delicious merchandise. I doubt the folks at Artwalk had anything on us.
Closing time rolled around and even though no one was exactly running us off, I felt we’d more than worn out our non-existent invitation. Besides, we’d headed out to get dinner and hadn’t ticked that off our list, yet. With some resistance on his part, I dragged Bill out of the shop. I was afraid he was going to head back to the bar for his third glass!
North waited for us across the street. Come back next week for that delicious conclusion to an uncommon evening at the Commons.