Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Dallas Chronicles - Part Deux or "Did He Just Call Me A Terrorist?"

Oh, what fun Dallas had in store (no pun intended) for us on Day #2. We woke up in our lovely hotel room to NO hot water. Or at least I had no hot water. I called the front desk & said, "I must be doing something wrong. It seems we have no hot water." The front desk replied, "Oh, no. You don't have any. They'll have it back on in about 20 minutes." Megan waited patiently for me to curse myself by deciding to just skip the shower & get ready so, of course, when I reached the "no turning back" stage, the hot water came on full blast for her. Nice.

We headed north to take on the shoe sale at Nordstrom Rack. That place is heaven, not only for shoes but clothing. I spent a bit more than I should have I'm sure, but dang, that place was filled with deals! Most notably, these. (I got them cheaper. Don't judge. MUCH cheaper, if Chuck should ask.) It started a chain of black-shoe buying that lasted much of the day. Including these in black, and deviating from the black theme for a little variety, these in brown. And some adorable dresses at rock-bottom prices. And maybe a couple more pair of shoes. I LONG to return. :-)

By this time, hunger had hit us and we headed for Chipotle, which, in addition to Nordstrom RACK, was something else Megan introduced me to on the trip. Barbacoa bowl? YUM! I hear we're getting one soon in Little Rock & I cannot wait to take Chuck. Fast, efficient & GOOD. Just what two women on a shopping mission needed. For the record, "fast, efficient & good" referred to Chipotle, not Chuck.
By this time we needed to head even further north to Frisco, TX and IKEA, mecca of ultra-cheap, yet hip decor. We were met at IKEA by Adam & Sam, Megan's future husband & his brother. My last trip to the place was a complete nightmare since I forgot that the cheap prices mean absolutely no help at all loading your heavy particle-board furniture onto the cart & into your "already-stuffed-with-shoes" Suburban. It was such a pleasure to go grab what I needed & have two guys at my beckon call to do the hard work. We then headed to the Corner Bakery for lunch, which was fun & then said goodbye to the boys & headed back south.

Off then to North Park Center, possibly the only truly cool mall left in North America. It's home to lots of my favorite stores, but sadly, no longer Lilly Pulitzer. We did however hit anthropologie, Kate Spade (there we only lusted after things & were inspired by the decor), Barneys (again, only lust), Nordstrom, LOFT, Carolina Herrera (again major lust, after the spectacular dresses & Argentinian salesboy - he was a GOD, I tell you), Urban Outfitters, etc. North Park is a dream. Right down to their landscaping & original works of art. A.MA.ZING.

Looking up in entryway of Barney's New York - Love how they integrated modern sculpture into the store's design!
ALMOST makes me pine for my uterus. But not quite.
Somewhere in here we also hit West Elm, where I was able to complete our new "prison bedding ensemble" (Chuck's words) with the grey/white sheets that match our duvet, & Megan purchased an ultra-cool garden gnome who died an untimely death on her apartment stairs. Luckily, Adam found a clone for her in Austin. From here we headed to the Galleria, where we hit another Nordstrom shoe dept. & had a great dinner at Mi Cocina. Now we're full, but worn out? NEVER. We head back to our hotel, unpack our loot & hit the sidewalks for some night photography downtown. We had so much fun.
We discovered we have a shared love of retro signs...

Gazed in the windows of the original flagship Neiman-Marcus...

Watched a couple exit their wedding reception in style...
We wandered, uninvited, into this awesome boutique hotel called The Joule, that has a freaking rooftop pool that hangs over the street and a wine cellar to end all wine cellars, at least as far as being funkily lit...
Exterior of The Joule
Two giant, slowly revolving gears at the check-in desk...& below, the wine shop.
Found other quirky stuff to photograph...
Doors on a ultra-hip club we bypassed...

And lastly, I was accused of terrorism on homeland soil...I mean, you people didn't think I would go away for three days and not get in trouble for something, did you? (At least it didn't involve the Argentinian salesboy. Begrudge me that.) Megan & I are walking along, minding our own business & shooting photos in the dark Dallas night. I mean, it was not unbelievable that someone could have been lurking, waiting to shoot J.R. as he worked late. We happen to walk by the Comerica Bank building, rather BORING in and of itself, but they have saved light fixtures from an era waaaay back that I think are very cool & those are adorning their lobby. There are also two gorgeous light fixtures on either side of the entry. I love preservation of the old. And so I sought to CAPTURE that old stuff on my camera. By shooting UPWARD. On the SAME side of the street the building sits on. I am nothing if not a rebel, people. That is now, according to the dickhead, non-uniformed, security guard, ILLEGAL in the United States. So don't go claiming you didn't know that. I repeat, "You are not allowed to photograph a tall building in the United States while standing on the same side of the street the building sits on, looking up at it." But you CAN, however, cross the street and shoot up at the VERY SAME BUILDING. How many people are rotting in our jail system for this very offense? One would wonder. We were caught off-guard and didn't think of any witty comebacks until we got back to our room. In all honesty, he didn't look like he would jump on the witty bandwagon so it was likely just as well. I avoided arrest by the forces of Homeland Security & here are the two controversial photos that I am NOW, MR. SECURITY GUARD, releasing to the entire WORLD via the internet. Do with them what you will. Just don't say you got them here. And for the record, in Texas, it's pronounced, "tare-ist", said really fast.

Thank GOD, I didn't try to stalk "W" at his new residence in the Big D or I would have made the evening news. (Because I love him, people. Tone down the hate. Co-EXIST.) Always have to leave something for next trip.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dallas Chronicles - Part One

Several months (or maybe even a year or so???) ago, I met a girl on Twitter. She responded to a tweet about one of my kids & their love of bacon & we then continued to exchange tweets, became Facebook friends (of course) & well, the rest is history. A few lunches here & there were enough for us to find out we share a mutual love of author Jen Lancaster, of "Bitter Is The New Black" & "Such A Pretty Fat" fame. When Megan found out she was coming to Dallas to promote her new book, "If You Were Here", we were all OVER that. Would I want to take a trip to Dallas the weekend of May 6th and meet Jen? Hell, yeah. Would Megan like to stay another night & take in some fabulous Dallas shopping? Hell, yeah. It was a go. I didn't look at the calendar to see that it was Mother's Day weekend at the time, but would it have changed anything? No. These precious little darlings can celebrate having me for a mutha ANY day of the week. Jen only comes along so often. And so begins my first interstate adventure with the girl Chuck refers to as my "internet girlfriend."

I drove. Which, if Megan has a vote next time, will likely not happen. For a short while, as we were pulling into the Dallas suburbs, I mistook the shoulder for an extra traffic lane. And drove in it for quite some time. I tried to play it cool hoping she didn't notice but she's a sharp one, that Megan. In our hotel room she said, "Did you realize you drove on the shoulder for a while?" Uh, I totally MEANT to do that? No, I just said, "Damn, I was soooo hoping you were not taking that in." She was. And trying to keep from laughing. Swear to anything, we did NOT have our first drink until much later that evening. I have no explanation. Except that my horoscope says I'm "aloof".

The hotel. Awesome. I usually Priceline my trips to Dallas but Megan had heard about Hotel Indigo & I looked it up online, finding not only reasonable rates but that Chuck, domestic traveler extraordinaire, is a Priority Club member with InterContinental Group. Sweet. They don't have a room with two beds but if we get there early they can probably upgrade us. I ask Megan if she wants to take a chance on having to share a bed and without hesitancy, she says "Let's just go for it." We figure, if nothing else, we can charm the desk clerk. We arrive & immediately fall in love. With the accommodations. Not each other. Very beachy-themed hotel, which is a tad odd for Dallas but sooooo cool. And we got a suite with a sleeper sofa for me. Yea!

After soaking up the accommodations & figuring out where we need to go, we head out for the North Park area since that's where the Barnes & Noble where Jen is signing her book is located. I had called Thursday morning to reserve books, as well as tickets, for us & luckily, since I called right when the tickets were released to the public we got Group "A" tickets! Which meant we were in a group of about 50 who got to be seated for her talk AND got our books signed first. Let me just say, it was awesome to meet her. She's as hilarious & candid & down-to-earth as she seems in her books and on her blog We were hoping for an invitation to go out for cocktails but there was a huge crowd and we bombed in that category. Thankfully, so also did the suck-ups that brought her LOTION & PLAID-WRAPPED GIFTS. Plus, we rest easy knowing that we didn't look like brown-nosers. And, I'll say it again, she thought we were sisters & liked my skirt (which isn't a skirt). All in all a fun evening, not only being entertained by Jen but the odd misfits that being famous brings out in droves. Surely we are NOT in that category. Don't you dare go there.

Since we were lacking an invitation for cocktails, we hopped across the street & had dinner at Maggiano's in North Park, probably one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. As we headed to our booth, one of those semi-circular, corner, romantic booths, I slip on the wood floor and slide dramatically into the booth, causing the people seated across from us to practically spit out their veal cutlets & stare at me throughout the entire dinner as if I was going to offer an encore performance. Nice. But the dinner was great. The meals were HUGE and the Appletini's hit the spot.
We went back to the hotel that night, stuffed & exhausted but ready to start Jen's new book, "If You Were Here". We talked until we fell asleep, & had sweet dreams of Nordstrom RACK, which we planned to take on the next day........

Part 2 coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Should Have Married Martha.....

Chuck decides last night at the stroke of midnight to start the following conversation. Actually it was 11:53 but that doesn't sound as dramatic.

C: I was reading an article in SW Airlines Spirit magazine & I think we should raise some chickens.
ME: Aren't we? Two of them finally quit clucking an hour ago.
C: Real chickens.
ME: Here? On Waverly Drive? In the middle of Little Rock?
C: Yes. You can build a chicken coop for around $100 dollars.
ME: You can do a lot of things for around $100 but that doesn't mean I want you to. No chickens. Why in the hell do we need chickens?
C: So we can have eggs.
ME: We have eggs. Perfectly good eggs.
C: But they aren't OURS.
ME: I paid for them at Kroger. They are most certainly ours.
C: But wouldn't it be nice to just go out and get them in the backyard? We could just gather them and bring them in and they would be all nice and not even cracked.
ME: No. No, it would not. That's why styrofoam was invented. If I were a betting woman & someone had me put $30 on the chances of an egg in a styrofoam carton making it to Little Rock via I-40, in a semi, from a dairy in Knoxville, completely unscathed OR the chances of you carrying a basket of eggs up our deck stairs without tripping, I'm gonna go with the Tennessee trucker every time.
C: It would be fun. The kids could help.
ME: Really? The kids could help? Ryder's gonna clean out the chicken coop? Wyatt's your only hope. And that's a stretch. Remember Apollo? How good they are to help with him?
C: Night.
ME: Night.