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February Frenzy

Happy February!

Hope you all are sticking to your goals, manifesting your destinies, and living your best lives.

Some updates in my life:

I found out that our group trip this year is….. ICELAND! I’ve always wanted to go see The Northern Lights and The Blue Lagoon. We are going in September, which from my research, is one of the best months to go. It won’t be freezing cold, it’s apparently one of the best months to see the Lights, and you can still see the summer sights since the snow won’t be there yet.

I am heading to Florida in April for a wedding for one of my friends from college. It’s going to be great seeing all of my college friends since none of us live near each other anymore andddd two of them have a baby! It’ll be a nice little beach vacay right before my birthday so I’m pumped.

I’m still planning to hit up Ireland at the end of September for a wedding. I’m hoping to add some other destinations in Europe to that trip prior to the wedding, but I’m still ironing out the details.

I have doing great on Paleo. Tomorrow is the beginning of Week 6 and I can really see myself doing this longterm. I’ve been trying new foods, cooking more, and saving money. I haven’t been going out as much, drinking much less, and generally just feeling better.

I tried this online grocery store that you may have seen ads for called, Thrive Market. The items were great, their customer service not quite as great. I received an item that was damaged during shipping and naturally reached out for a replacement. Normal standard operating procedure. They gave me some grief, I gave some feedback, and I ended up with a new item and a $10 credit. Thank you very much

Places I’ve been dreaming about lately: 

  • Morocco
  • Scotland
  • Paris
  • Nice
  • Belgium
  • Montreal
  • Myanmar
  • Istanbul

Other than that I’ve just been working a lot and doing stuff around my house. I’ve been trying to go to yoga several times a week, but the days I work late it is difficult to get home in time for a class. I’m hoping that my schedule lightens up soon in the next few weeks and I can really get more into my practice. Doing yoga at home in my freezing townhouse is just not the same as getting to go to a real class.

That’s all for now

-Savvy

Travel

No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn

New York, NEW YORKKKK!

I have ALWAYS wanted to live in NYC even though I’ve only been a few times. When I was in college and working at the J. Crew call center I dreamed of working at 770 (the headquarters for J. Crew) and meeting Jenna Lyons and living a fabulous life. Life didn’t pan out that way (shocker) and instead I moved back to Dallas even though I applied for about 2500 jobs in NYC.

Fast forward, now I have a ton of friends from high school, college, and birthright that live in NYC so now I can just go visit them and experience all of the greatness that New York has to offer, without having to pay the taxes 😉 #winning

My sister and I were really wanting to go on a trip to NYC and it also happened to be one of our friend’s birthdays the weekend that we were interested in going. A college friend that lives close to the city also just had a baby and is moving out of the country so I wanted to see her before she moves away. There were just a lot of good reasons to go and I had the vacation time, so we decided to hit it upppp.

We left Dallas on a Friday afternoon and got in kinda late to a veryyyyy chilly New York. We dropped our stuff off at our AirBnB in LES (Lower East Side) and found a sushi place for a quick bite. The next day we went over to pick up my Cronut order (Julia gave me the insider tip to order ahead and not have to wait in line like a PEASANT). I had pre-ordered two cronuts two weeks in advance. The flavor for November was Banana Hazelnut, which to me didn’t sound suuuuper amazing, but lemme tell ya it was DELICIOUS. Believe the hype, get yourself a cronut from Dominique Ansel’s bakery next time you’re in town. You will not be disappointed!

After the cronuts we were in search of a warmer winter coat for Tara since homegirl only brought a light jacket to NYC when the temperature was going to be in the 40s…. We then made our way to get some knishes at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery. Several of them were vegan so Tara went to town and even got a bagel to-go as a snick snack for later. We walked all over the city just exploring and made our way to the Chelsea Market to meet my friend Patty and her husband, Michael. I hadn’t seen Patty since I was in college so it was really nice to catch up and we served as a great distraction since they were on their way to a surprise party for Michael. After hanging out with them we got MORE sushi before heading back to the AirBnB.

 

 

Saturday night was our friend Natalie’s birthday. We hadn’t seen her since the summer on birthright and one of our other birthright friends, Ben, was also in town so we were pumped for our mini-reunion. Before the party we pre-gamed at Ben’s parent’s apartment on the Upper East Side and met his sister Alex who came along with us to the party. We had such a good time catching up, drinking, and dancing the night away. Tara and I got a little turned around at the end of the night and instead of just walking across the street to our AirBnB from the last club we went to, we got a cab to it and the guy never told us it was LITERALLY right across the street. He drove us around the block AND then charged us $10!… We figured it out the next morning. #fail 

The next day we met our other college friend, Brently, for brunch at this suuuuper nice vegan place near Chealsea. We then walked the High Line and saw tons of cool buildings while chatting. He had some stuff to do so Tara and I decided to walk around Central Park. She REALLY wanted to climb a rock and got her opportunity. We enjoyed people watching for a good portion of the afternoon and looked forward to the next day.

Monday came and we had more food adventures to attend. First stop was Russ and Daughters for bagels, lox, and latkas. Then we trekked our way to Brooklyn for RAINBOW bagels from The Bagel Store and prime thrift store shopping. We took a mixture of cabs, Ubers, the subway, and our own two feet the entire trip. I was nervous about which subway stops to take, but my friend recommended using the Citymapper app to tell us EXACTLY which stops to take. It was awesome for subway stops, less awesome for walking directions, but we made it wherever we needed to go.

After Brooklyn we made our way back to Midtown to the Empire State Building! Our friend, Sahara, from high school works at a PR agency in the building and was able to get us the VIP tour past all of the lines FO FREEEEE! She really hooked it up and we were so happy to see her, even if for a short while.

After seeing the building and getting a drink with her, we headed to dinner with another college friend, Nathan! The three of us hung out a ton in college and it’s been several years since we have all been together at the same time. He filled us in on his life and job and his love for New York, all the while convincing me even more than it is my destiny to live there. He was battling a cold and had to work the next day so we didn’t stay out late, but I was really glad he took the time to see us.

The next day we were very sad as we prepared to leave and go back to our normal lives. We tried another vegan place down the street for breakfast and then found another donut place on our walk back. We headed out to the airport pretty early since we needed to vacate our AirBnB and just hung out in the American Airlines lounge for a few hours. They had a guacamole bar at this one and Tara was pretty pleased with the selection of vegan-friendly snacks. Our flight home was pretty chill and the next day we were back in the grind of normalcy. It was a short trip, but very fun and full of friends and food.

Here’s to hopefully visiting again in the near future!

-Savvy

Travel

Chicago for the Weekend

Chicago is a city with which I have an interesting past…. 

I’ve attempted to explore it multiple times always with my plans being foiled. If you’re a long time reader then you probably remember when I got stuck there for three days a few years ago on my way to Ireland. There are a handful of other times where I happened to skirt the city, never staying more than a few hours and NEVER exploring anything. Adventure in Chicago needed to happen and Julia was just the one to make that happen.

Julia and I met the summer before eleventh grade in high school. She was new to the school that I had been attending almost my whole academic career at that point and we were fast friends. She is originally from the Chicago area and attended a college not too far from the city (even though I tried to get her to join me at LU). She goes back periodically to visit friends and family and it was going to be on her birthday weekend so she invited me to go along.

We left Dallas on a Friday night and got into Chicago a little later than expected due to at delayed flight. After getting our super sweet rental car we headed to a suburb of the city where her Aunt and Uncle live with two of their three children. Their house was so cute and they also had a basement! Coming from states that can’t have basements (Texas and California) I ALWAYS forget that this is basically a staple of east coast and midwestern homes. I really wish my house had this feature, so I was pumped to stay down there. Since we got in so late we basically just went right to bed.

The next day we got up and went to Julia’s favorite apple orchard with her aunt and one cousin. I LOVE apple orchards and this one did not disappoint! They had plenty of apples ripe for the picking (and taking cute IG pics). After apples we made sure to indulge in some cider AND cider donuts. I made my own little tasting tray of hot and cold cider. Conclusion: both delicious. 🙂

After apples we headed back home with a 40 pound basket as well as some other little treats from their cash-only store at the orchard. We packed up our stuff, said goodbye to her family, and headed into the city! We had unknowingly booked the weekend of the Chicago Marathon so when I was looking for hotels the cheapest one was actually The Ritz Carlton. Julia and I were splitting it and it was only one night so we said #TreatYoSelf2017 and made that reservation.

The Ritz Carlton Chicago did not disappoint. The lobby smelled amazing, the staff was friendly and attentive, and the room was immaculate. They had robes and slippers for us, a huge bathtub along with a separate shower, a huge bed, and Netflix on TV. We could see Navy Pier from our window too which was really cool.

We checked in, hung out in the room for a little bit, then headed down to the lobby to get a snack before dinner. We had basically only eaten a lot of sugar that day so we shared some meatballs at the hotel bar. Julia doesn’t drink so she got a Cherry Coke and the bartender made sure to give her extra cherries. I got a Moscow Mule and wasn’t disappointed. We stayed there actually for quite some time since it was pouring outside and we weren’t meeting her friend for awhile.

We eventually started making our way towards Giordano’s and put our name on the list. The wait was rather lengthy so you are also able to order your pizza before you get seated which is super efficient. Her friend showed up and we had a very nice time chatting and after dinner he and Julia continued to show me the city. We were still calling this #TreatYoSelf2017 so after deep dish pizza (and salads!) we walked down the street to get ice cream at Ghirardelli’s.

We wanted to attempt to burn off dinner and the rain had subsided so we walked along the river and looked at all of the skyscrapers. I found it humerus that Trump tower had so many empty stores underneath it since no one wants to be associated with him even though that is prime retail space. I am fairly certain that I had a stress fracture in my foot from my solo hike in Dublin. It flared up so I was dragging along for a good chunk of the walk, but I still had a good time.

Eventually her friend had to leave so Julia and I went back to the room thinking we were going to stay up and watch Parks and Rec (in honor of #TreatYoSelf2017). I think I made it through one episode while Julia was getting ready for bed before I was totally knocked out. In my defense, it had been a very eventful day and was already fairly late. I usually wake up pretty early though and managed to take a lengthy bubble bath in the morning as well as get fully ready before Julia awoke.

She got ready and we lamented the fact that we only stayed one night in this super nice hotel. We vowed to be back as well as visit other Ritz Carlton locations in the future to compare them. The hotel was nice enough to hold our luggage for us after we checked out while we continued our exploration of the city. Fortunately the rain was gone and the sun was out. Unfortunately… the weather turned from a slightly chilly autumn to a fairly toasty early fall. I was ill prepared for this, but we trekked on through the city!

We got breakfast/brunch at the Nutella Cafe and while there noticed that there was a Noodles and Co across the street! Unfortunately, Texas has not jumped on this midwestern treasure so Julia graciously said we could go there for a late lunch before heading to the airport. We got our breakfast and coffee then headed to The Bean for some pics and to see the Chicago location for Julia’s company. I also saw the Chicago location for mine in a fairly prime spot and gave relocating some consideration as well. 🙂

I love being in the city and while Dallas has been very good to me, I have been plagued with car problems for several years now and dream about living in a location with reliable public transportation.  Chicago is very clean, people still have that midwestern charm, there is tons to do, lots of great restaurants, and it’s not quite as expensive as New York. If I was to get transferred/find a new job in Chi town then I wouldn’t be too upset. #JustSaying

After The Bean we made our way to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris Wheel, get some souvineers, and see the water. I was very content to sit in the sunshine on these wooden lounge chairs near the water and just relax after walking so much, but alas, we were on a time schedule.

We made our way back to the car, picked up our luggage, and started heading to O’Hare. We returned the car, got through security fairly quickly, then made sure to pick up some Garrett’s Popcorn to bring back to our respective families. We got split up on the plane ride home and I got stuck in the front of coach so I didn’t have a tray table. FORTUNATLY I had my trusty neck pillow so I tried to check out for a little bit on that. When that failed I listened in on Julia’s conversation with her seat mate and read over the shoulder of the guy next to me on his iPad. He was not as fast as me and for whatever reason after EVERY page he would flip back like two or three pages then back to his previous spot before moving forward to the new page. It was driving me a little crazy, butttt I also was being a super creeper and co-reading a stranger’s book so obviously I can’t say anything like GET IT TOGETHER AND PAY ATTENTION!

We have an uneventful landing and just like that our weekend was over. I had taken that next day off in preparation for the Texas Star Fair, but it was also the day that all schools were scheduled to go so my mom and I made the trek to Waco for her first time at The Magnolia Silos. It was a nice day and nice way to end the weekend before having to go back to work and my continuing car issues.

Side note: if anyone wants to gift me a new car I would seriously be eternally grateful. My 2007 Rav 4 apparently hates me just about as much as I hate it and refuses to cooperate no matter how much money I throw at it. When your car has almost 200k miles on it and you don’t know how to fix anything it shows that you need to make a change in your life (and that doesn’t mean learning the fine art of auto mechanics).

Happy Reading!

-Savvy 

Travel

I Belize in a Thing Called Love: Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of my Belize adventure! For a Part 1 recap head here…..

The next day we packed up and started heading back to the capital to turn in our rental cars and so some people could get in some scuba diving before going home. Three people couldn’t stay the whole trip and about half the group was really into scuba diving so they broke off to go do that, but since we took care of the car situation we got to head to our next place early and get the first pick of the rooms. I had to pretend to be Danielle to turn in the rental cars since they were under her name, but she was off scuba diving. Thanks to my extensive theatre background it went off without a hitch 😉

The car rental people were nice enough to take us to the water taxi station where we got a QUICK breakfast and then headed to our next destination: Caye Caulker. The water taxi was about 45 minutes and very efficient. We got to the island and Blair let our new host know we were there. Caye Caulker is one island, but has two parts. There was a hurricane a long time ago that split off a little bit of the end which is where our house was located. Our new host, Cody, was coming to get us with a small boat to take us to our own dock. The boat was only big enough for two people and the luggage so Carly and Blair took the first ride while the rest of us headed to the bar.

We had some drinks and they gave us free shots before we had to make our way for our own boat ride. The new house was super awesome and the air conditioning worked very well. We had like a sea of hammocks on the first floor of the house. The second level had some rooms and the living room with the kitchen. The third floor had the rest of the rooms and bathrooms. The fourth floor was just a sun deck with some chairs, a hammock, and the best view of the whole island. Carly and I immediately made use of this for an impromptu photo shoot before the rest of the group joined us. 😉

We immediately change into our swim suits and head to the nearest beach: Koko Key. It’s a future site of a new resort so they’ve already fixed up the Beach section with inflatable water toys, an awesome bar, and an infinity pool. We spend essentially the entire afternoon here drinking, eating, and having a wonderful time.

After probably four or five hours, we notice the infinity pool and want to get in to take a picture. We gather all of the girls and get Hector to take our picture. We aren’t even in the pool two minutes before a member of staff comes rushing over YELLING at us to get out. Apparently this is a VIP section and you need a $35 wristband to enter. We hadn’t seen the signs (honestly) and immediately got out with our apologizes. The staff continues to yell and Hector interjects on our behalf. Blair is also super upset that someone yelled at us and tries to reason with the manager about the misunderstanding. The manager doesn’t care and charges us each $35 for the wrist bands that we never even use… We close out our tab and vow to not return. On our way back to the house we run into the rest of our group back from scuba diving. They are hungry so some still head to Koko Key despite our protests. The rest of us get Chinese food and hang out back at the house the rest of the night.

 

The next day most of the scuba crew goes back out for another day of diving. The rest of us head over to the main part of the island for breakfast and to explore. We decide to take up residence at The Lazy Lizard which is right on the split between the main part of the island and where our house is. There is this cool little section where you can wade and snorkel as well as sit on bar stools in the water. The few that have to leave early hang with me for the morning so they can get a little more beach time in before having to go back to reality.

Becca and I decide to explore a little bit and I find a little stand on the beach that has massages. Obviously a massage on the beach is a dream so I indulge and it’s amazing as I hoped. I head back to group and get some snacks at the bar. We meet some interesting people and have a great time watching other bar goers jump off this tall platform into the ocean. I jumped in earlier and it was super fun, but you basically are jumping into open water and my fear of sharks takes over so I only do that a few times before I’ve thoroughly freaked myself out and can no longer continue.

 

Eventually the scuba people catch up with us and share what they have seen that day. I hear about more sharks and feel very confident in my decision to avoid scuba diving for the rest of my life. We consider snorkeling for another day and continue to enjoy the afternoon. We have lunch at this amazing place with like every seafood option you can imagine. Drinks included it ended up being like $15 a person… crazy right?? So delicious.

Becca and I spotted an ice cream place earlier so we grab Ben and indulge before meeting back up with the group. We stay at The Lazy Lizard the rest of the day and then head back to the house. We have this app on the tv called Kodi that basically can stream any movie ever so we pick something, play Cards Against Humanity, and eat dinner. Now that three of our people are gone I get a whole room to myself for the rest of the trip! We turn in and look forward to another day in paradise.

The next day is more of the same. Becca and I discover this amazing iced coffee place and we get Fry Jack from another vendor. Both are delicious, per usual. Today is snorkel day and I am told that we might spot manatees! Unfortunately it is manatee mating season so we try, but no luck. I do get to see a few little baby sea horses and these huge fish that scare me.

We get to the first snorkel site and it’s really cool to see the coral and fish. There also happen to be two sharks in a little coral cave so as soon as I discover this is swim as fast as my little fins will let me to safety.

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The next stop is specifically for sharks and sting rays. I choose to sit this one out and observe from above the water. The boat guide keeps trying to get me into the water, but I will not be swayed by peer pressure. Everyone I think also gets a little freaked out by the sheer amount of sharks and we don’t stay at this stop very long (to my relief). The next stop is just more coral and fish which is nice and calming. A few people have brought their Go-Pro cameras we got tons of good videos and pictures from the day. We also saw an Eel swimming around which was exciting since I’ve only ever seen one just chilling in a cave.

We head back to shore and grab some lunch at the cafe where Becca and I have been getting our iced coffees. After lunch we head back to hang out at the house and get ready for the night. We go to a seafood place for dinner and the ocean nearly takes my phone as captive. Fortunately I have the iPhone 7 Plus which is waterprooffffff. Saved my life!! We continue to dinner and the rest of our evening. Dinner is delicious and I got octopus! We then head out to the bars for some drinks and karaoke. We get there before karaoke is in full swing so my song is quickly picked and I get Hector to help me sing “I Love Rock and Roll” a la Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Becca puts her song in, but it doesn’t get picked until we are about to leave. I help her sing the Shaggy classic “It Wasn’t Me”.

 

The next bar is playing a really good mix of top 40 hits and I am having a great time dancing with my friends. We go outside to catch our breath and then Cody suggests we go to this other bar. We follow the DJ to the other bar and stay there max 20 minutes before we start to see the storms rolling in. We quickly head back to the boat and make it home in time before he rain hits.

The next day the wind has changed so the bugs are out in full force. We try to avoid them at The Lazy Lizard and then after a great day there we head home to hang at the house. The house also has a saltwater pool that we get in to avoid the bugs. Most of the group decides to make our own music videos while the rest of the group cooks this amazing seafood feast for us. It’s a great night and a perfect end to our trip.

The next day rudely comes in the form of a monsoon where I even question our ability to get off of the island. We manage to get everyone to the dock for the water taxi on time and we say our goodbyes to Cody. After our water taxi ride we get breakfast at the station and then head towards the airport.

Several people are flying to other places or on different airlines so we say our goodbyes and make our respective pilgrimages. We get through security at Houston fairly quickly mainly because most of us have Global Entry (again this is amazing and if you travel internationally semi regularly it’s a great investment).

We make another Bucc-ee’s stop on our way back up to Dallas and arrive without an issue. I end up having some car problems shortly after coming back to Dallas thus prompting me to consider just staying on vacation permanently.

Conclusion: Belize is an awesome tropical destination that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. The people are great, the food is tasty, the alcohol flows freely. Get yourself there and don’t look back!

Happy Reading!

-Savannah 

Travel

You’d Better Belize It! Part 1

Where to even begin??

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Let me just say that when the group first told me that we had picked Belize as our yearly travel destination I was VERY unsure. I hadn’t heard too many things about it and my desire to go to Central/South America over Asia or Europe was low. However I decided to “lean in” and book my ticket moments after seeing the flight deal information. $300 round trip the day that United has a major debacle?? Awesome. 🙂

We booked the trip in early April, but didn’t actually go until the end of September (narrowly missing rainy season). Months of excitement from the group worked its way to me to pump me up for this new adventure. I had ample time to research everything about this little known (to me) country.

Some quick stats about Belize: 

  • Most people speak English, Spanish, or an Indian dialect.
  • They use the American Dollar as well as the Belizean Dollar interchangeably. The American dollar is worth two Belizean.
  • Most places prefer cash to cards
  • There are A LOT of bugs in the jungle as well as near the ocean
  • People are super friendly!!
  • The food is incredibly tasty!!!!!!!!

We all met early one Saturday morning to caravan down to the Houston International airport to fly out. I got to ride with Travis, Danielle, and her boyfriend Blake. We of course had to make a Buc-ee’s stop because what Texas road trip is complete without one?

We get to the airport, get through security, and then Ben and I try to get into the United Lounge with everyone else but our attempt is foiled. We instead head down the way to another restaurant where we had some drinks and food to pass the time. I updated Ben’s online dating profile and he watched the A&M game with another diner who was rooting for the rival team.

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We made our way to the plane and friends just in time to board the plane. A very short two hours later we land in Belize City and meet up with the rest of our group. We get our rental cars situated and head out to our first location. I love Air Bnb so when Blair announced we were doing Belize I came across this super awesome nature resort and sent him the info. He agreed that it not only was cool, but it was a super great deal too and booked it for all of us. We spent the first half of our trip being so chill, listening to monkey noises, and eating the most delicious food I’ve ever had. We were the only ones staying at this nature resort save for this one other guy and his wife for part of our stay. The resort only recently had listen themselves on Air Bnb so we had really gotten there at a great time.

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The first night we really just got there, figured out the room situation, and ate dinner. My roommate for our little cabin was Rachel since we were the only single girls in the group. Couldn’t have asked for a better roommate! We cranked our air conditioning, read our books, and had a very chill time. Each cabin had a hammock so we would all jump around to other cabins to hang out, swing, and chat. There were some dogs and horses on the property too that we hung out with and named.

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The next day we awoke for THE BEST COFFEE and breakfast before heading out to go Zip Lining and Cave Tubing in the jungle! That was Carly’s one request when we booked the trip and it was such a fun suggestion. I had never done zip lining for more than one run at my childhood summer camp so this was awesome to be able to just zip through the forest so high off of the ground. Some had fears, but we worked through them and had a great time. After the zip lining we traded our cables for tubes and made our way to the water. Our guides were awesome and hilarious as they led us through the river and into the caves. We had little head lamps that also would blink like you were at a rave. The tubing was so soothing and I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep on the tour.

After the tour we climbed back into the van and picked up some snacks since it was still going to be awhile before dinner. After getting back to the cabins we all just took a very long nap and then had another delicious meal prepared by our new favorite person, Marcilena. Originally we were only going to eat like two meals at the resort and find food elsewhere. After scoping out our options we asked if instead she could just cook for us the rest of the time and fortunately she agreed. It was consistently amazing and we were a very happy group.

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The next day we got coffee, but before breakfast we went on a short nature walk through the jungle that was across the street from the resort. Our guide showed us how you can use different plants from the jungle to heal a variety of medical conditions or illnesses. We got to finally see a few monkeys and I even got to feed one!

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After the monkeys we went back to the resort for breakfast and to get ready for our trek out to the Mayan Ruins. Hector almost got left at the resort, but fortunately Rachel remembered him and we all made it there without a hitch. I got to sit shotgun in the car so I asked our guide a million different questions and also tried to get him to let me drive. #nodice.

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The Mayan ruins were much cooler than I thought they were going to be. There were hardly any other tourists there so we basically had the place to ourselves. I also got to hold three baby crocodiles that some random guys were showing tourists. I also saw part of a tarantula which was freaky! I wouldn’t say that I’m scared of spiders, but I totally would never want one crawling all over me especially one that huge.

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After the ruins we got to visit a “winery“. Belize grows currants as well as cashews so the locals have started making wine out of them. It was super cheap so I bought a little bottle of each, but I wouldn’t say that I am a fan. I don’t like cashews anyway so it just tastes exactly how you think cashew wine would sound.

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We headed back to the resort to hang out, have dinner, then hang out and drink. We watched Ben and Travis dance to throwback rap and we tried to make Melissa twerk. Some ants crashed the party and we were momentarily distracted by treating our bites but it was still a great night.

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That wraps up Part 1 of the adventure. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Happy Reading!

Savvy

Dallas Personal

Summer 2017!

Now that I have finallyyyy finished the Ireland posts (again, apologies for the delay) I can focus on the rest of my amazing summer!

Here are some highlights and pictures to tide you over until my next post: ISRAEL!

Celebrated my birthday (again!) with my Texas friends in Uptown (while jet-lagged). We went to dinner in Dallas at The Social House. I got my dress for free from Rent the Runway (you know I love them) #notanadvertisement and I got to wear my new Loubs! I missed my friends so much while I was gone and wish they all could have visited me. Having Melissa and Brian, even for a week, really saved my spirit. Having friends is one of the best things about life and I wouldn’t trade mine for the world. They all mean so much to me and it was really amazing that they all came out to help me celebrate my special day (belated as it was). 

Took my mom out for Mother’s Day to brunch in Denton at Barley and Board. We then went blackberry picking at this super cute farm, which didn’t have very many blackberries, but had AMAZING blackberry cobbler! If I can get the recipe I’ll post it on here. It was seriously soooo good! 

Got in a small fender bender on the way to work 🙁 I was literally totally fine driving for THREE MONTHS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, but I am home less than a week and run into the back of another, smaller car. #angst 

Had an afternoon of wine tasting at the Shops at Legacy with Melissa, Becca, and Scott. The Cru Wine Bar is now one of my favorite places to have a chill, but upscale afternoon. We tried so many different kinds of wine and snacked on two charcuterie boards. We of course had to also make a stop at Oil and Vinegar. I bought some amazing roasted garlic olive oil that I still need to pull out for a well-planned dinner. They always have great samples and the staff is very knowledgable about all of the products; how to pair them and how to use them creatively. If you’re ever near one of their outposts I highly recommend going in even if just for a small sample. 🙂 They also can do private parties and my friends have been talking about having one someday so maybe I’ll just have to make that happen this year!

Finally visited Magnolia Market in Waco with Julia! Unfortunately, we did not see Chip and Joanna, but I plan to return on a less busy day and hopefully catch a glimpse! #couplegoals 

We also got to see some of the other landmarks around Waco that are regularly featured on the show such as the store and workshop for Harp Design Company, some of the renovated houses, and the coffeeshop, Common Grounds. There are also some copy-cat design stores that are near the Silos, which are way less crowded and have similar items. Obviously, I had to check those out as well. Julia and I got lunch at this awesome Greek place called Alpha Omega. I highly recommend it if you are looking to get lunch near Downtown Waco and don’t feel like dealing with the lines at the Silos. There is also the last remaining Ninfa’s restaurant next to The Spice Market (another really cool shopping destination). I didn’t get to try this location, but if it is like any of the other Ninfa’s then I am sure it is awesome. I wish the one in Lewisville was still there. I have such fond memories of visiting there for dinner after elementary school so long ago. Next time I go to Waco, Ninfa’s it is!

Got a belated birthday present from my sister: a puppy carrier for Karma! It is seriously the cutest thing ever and I love dancing around the house with her in tow. She likes it sometimes, but other times struggle to break free from my loving embrace. I wish she could understand just how much I need to be holding her at any given time. She is too precious for words. 

I restarted Paleo and fell in love with it all over again. I kept it up for the entire time leading up to my trip to Israel. I have been falling off of the band wagon since returning, but this weekend I am going to do some SERIOUS meal planning to get back on track. I felt amazing and could immediately tell a difference in the way I felt. I’ve been on a new medication that makes me nauseous and fatigued so I’m praying that paleo can once again come to the rescue and save me from these side effects. I cannot keep falling asleep at work… #notgood 

I also managed to sell my house and find a new house right before I left for Israel. Let me tell you, house stuff is always: #1 more expensive and #2. stressful than you originally think. It had been a few years since my last experience and this time I was doing this without my dad’s help so I felt the full weight of responsibility. It’s totally do-able and hopefully you pick awesome people to work with, but it can be overwhelming at times. Just being honest.

I ended up with an awesome, new (to me) house in a much better area with a shorter commute to work, closer to friends, and closer to Dallas! I am still in the middle of fixing it up/organizing (it’s been almost two months at this point… don’t judge!), but once I get everything situated then I’ll take a home tour and give you guys some more details! I am 95% finished painting and my floors are being delivered on Saturday. My mom is getting my little, back patio fixed up so that may or may not make it into the house post. We will see how well everything progresses and if it’s not ready then we will just do another house post later 🙂 Karma is loving it so far, but she has quickly ruined the carpet, hence the new hardwood floors that are on their way. In all fairness, I was already planning to get the floors even before she had her many accidents, but this just makes it more necessary to get it sooner rather than later.

I’ve managed to pack a lot into a very short amount of time. This summer is one for the books and I am so excited to tell you allllll about my wonderful, life-changing trip to Israel!

Happy Reading!

-Savannah 

Ireland Travel

April Recap

 

This is me being a diligent blogger for once in my life and actually starting on a post on time! You can thank the fact that I needed to deep condition my hair, which means I actually am very productive around the house for those few hours a month. Settle in because this is going to be a long one and it’s not even covering the full month 🙂

I wanted April to be different than March or February. I was going to proactively do things around Ireland even if it meant doing them alone. First step: get a piercing. Right after that I think the surrounding pedestrians noticed my realized confidence and someone asked me for directions #localstatus

My high school friend, Ruthie, was coming to visit so I had that to look forward to, but when I went to pick her up from the airport she surprised me and brought along our other friend from high school, Alicia – FROM ALASKA! I was very surprised (it was also 6AM on a Sunday) so I’m not really sure what my reaction looked like other than confused lol. I don’t get surprised like that very often and I was only half-awake so I think I just hugged everyone and then got back into the car. We immediately left Dublin for the Cliffs of Moher.

I had already been (if you’ve been reading since the origination of my blog then you already know this), but this was the first time in Ireland for both Ruthie and Alicia and that is one of the #1 sites to see so off we went. Because we had such an early start we managed to beat most of the tour busses/tourists to the Cliffs. It was a GORGEOUS day as you will be able to tell from the pictures below. They have updated the visitor center since the last time I went and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. I will probably end up doing another photo post at the end of the trip with updated pictures since everyone else took a bunch and haven’t uploaded them yet.

After the Cliffs, we went to Galway for a bit for some lunch. The drive between the Cliffs and Galway is so beautiful and green. It was staying a nice day, which was awesome since I had to drive on some very tiny roads! We hung out in Galway for a few hours and then made our way to Limerick for the night.

I had the next day off of work so we visited King John’s Castle before heading back to Dublin. I showed them a little bit of Dublin and found out their plans for the week. Ruthie had originally just given me some basic plans because she didn’t want to let on that Alicia was also coming. Alicia also is super handy and helped me air up my tires because I’m basically helpless with car issues.

 

Alicia’s dad is originally from Ireland and was adopted as a young child. The rest of the family is very interested in learning more about his heritage, but since most of the records from that time were only recently released, you generally have to actually come to Ireland to learn anything. The girls spent two days doing some of that research and were actually able to come away with a lot more information than I thought that they would. They also went to the Book of Kells at Trinity College, did a walking tour of North Dublin, and had high tea at a hotel. It was a short visit, but they made the most of their time.

On their last night we went to Murray’s over on O’Connell Street where they have Traditional (Trad) music and Irish dancing. They pulled Alicia up on stage to dance and she was presented with a certificate that we made the bartender sign. He also shared with me that you can add Black Currant juice to Guinness and now I can finally finish a whole pint. #proudmoment  

In between the guests I needed to attend to my roots. At home I generally go see Sydney, my hairdresser, every 6-10 weeks (depending upon upcoming events). Three months without at least one touch up was not going to cut it for me. It took us a long time to get my hair to where we are and I was really nervous about anyone else touching it. Fortunately I found a salon really close to my apartment that uses Olaplex (if you don’t know what it is SEE the magic) and seemed to really know their way around blonde hair so I felt like I was in good hands. Five hours later I am pleased to say that my hair is still a gloriously silver blonde through and through. If you are ever in Dublin and need a salon I can now highly recommend Angels and Cowboys in City Centre.

(not a sponsored post)

The next day was still lovely so I finally made the trip out to Howth. I was supposed to go multiple times on different occasions, but plans always fell apart. You need nice weather when you go too and you never know when that is going to be so make the most of it! #carpediem.

I really enjoyed seeing a part of Dublin that I hadn’t visited yet and am now totally contemplating getting a vacation home in Howth when I am rich and famous. Howth is a small, seaside town with a Marina and hiking trails. I visited Howth Castle then made my way down the road to the coast. I indulged in some fresh seafood, walked around the town and the little market, then took a hike on Howth Head. I managed to get out of there before it started raining again, but I am hoping to go back once more before leaving.

 

A few days later Melissa and Brian came to visit. They have frequently been featured in the blog and always have a couch for me to crash on at home so now I get to return the favor. They were staying for a whole week and I took a day off of work so we shoved as much into those days as humanly possible.

They also took advantage of this service I had discovered on my last trip: Flytographer. Basically, the idea is that pictures are one of your best mementos from a trip, but either you’re traveling alone and relying on the compassion of other travelers to capture that moment for you or you are a couple and can never be in the same picture together. Flytographer has photographers based in cities all over the world who are there to capture that trip for you in a photo session. Melissa’s birthday happened while she was here and it was also their 10 year dating anniversary (they have been married for three). The day after they got here they had a photo session with Vanessa and absolutely loved it. By the time they left their pictures were ready so I was able to see them and account for their awesomeness. I am now super jealous that I didn’t also book a session for myself, but there will hopefully be more trips in the year to come. #fingerscrossed 

After their photography session, we went for Melissa’s birthday dinner at the hotel where I stayed last time, The Shelbourne, at The Saddle Room. It was delicious, but because we were not guests of the hotel and it was Good Friday, we were not allowed to drink. Randomly, Ireland takes Good Friday VERY seriously and no pubs or restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol (so a lot of places are closed). Hotels can, but only to their residents. Curiously though, on actual Easter you are allowed to drink and most business are open. I had prepared by buying some wine before they arrived so we partook once back at the apartment and there was rejoicing in the land!

The next day we went to Kilkenny and Waterford. We left Dublin super early in the morning on the train (which was a new experience for me in Ireland). We stopped first in Kilkenny, which is apparently a big party town that I will need to re-vist next time I come. The town had a huge castle that we toured and had tons of cute, little shops and very friendly people. We discovered that Brian had an inner-photographer in him that had been lying dormant until this moment. Once they upload all of their pictures I’ll nab some for my photo recap post once my trip is over.

After Kilkenny, we hopped back on the train and headed to Waterford for some lunch (shoutout to Brian for overcoming his salmon allergy before eating ALL the seafood chowder in Ireland) and then we visited the Waterford Crystal Factory. I don’t know why, but I have been obsessed with seeing the factory ever since I found out it was in Ireland. It was honestly really cool, but it was totally different in my mind (as was Waterford). I wanted to buy everything, per usual, but settled on a package of 4 wine goblets that are currently being shipped back to my house. I’ve got my eye on a peacock carved crystal bowl though (also available at Macy’s) in case anyone wanted to get me a birthday present (on the 25th!).

 

 

We were supposed to take the train from Waterford all the way back to Dublin, but something was going on with the line we had to use so we took the train as far as we could go then they put us on a bus for an hour to get back to Dublin. While at the train station in Waterford, Melissa discovered that she had lost her phone… which was also holding her credit card and driver’s license.

Fortunately it was safely in the cab we had just left that was still nearby and we were able to avoid disaster once retrieved! The rest of the group we were with consistently asked her at each of the next stops if she had her phone as did Brian and I the rest of the trip. She will never live that down 😉

The next day was another early one as we set off for Blarney and Cork. On the way to Blarney we stopped at the Rock of Cashel. I had never heard of it, but honestly it was really beautiful and I would love to do a photoshoot here. Melissa and I just kept marveling over how Dublin always seems to have the best lighting for pictures (i.e. overcast). The Rock of Cashel is an ancient church in ruins complete with a graveyard. I was really impressed with this seemingly commonplace ruin (there are just so many of them).

After that little stop we hopped back on the bus and were soon in Blarney to visit the very famous Blarney Stone. Our tour guide warned us that if that was our major goal for the day then we needed to hop to it before the rest of the tourists did. I didn’t think we were that excited initially by it, but Melissa and Brian took off RUNNING for it so I followed. We did manage to beat most people to the stone and as I am always competitive that did give me a sense of accomplishment. We got our pictures with the stone (I fake kissed it since I heard rumor that drunk teenagers sneak up there to pee on it) and headed back down to enjoy the grounds.

Clearly, I had not done enough research because I totally didn’t realize that there was an actual castle and grounds in Blarney. We spent several hours wandering through the forest, taking about a billion pictures (Brian), and enjoying the beautiful day. We finished the site with some Irish coffees to-go and headed back to the bus to visit Cork.

 

We were in Cork just long enough to finish a pint before heading back to the bus to get back to Dublin. The wonderful thing about tours is that even though most things are several hours away YOU don’t have to drive! You are free to nap, read, write, daydream, eat some snick-snacks, do whatever you please. I have generally had great experiences with using tour guide services and still continue to recommend them. They are generally incredibly knowledgeable about the locations and sometimes even have their own funny stories.

As we were leaving Dublin that morning our bus driver/tour guide drove us by this huge open field that Braveheart had used when filming. Apparently back in the day, when they were filming it cause a lot of traffic issues for the people living in the area. To alleviate some of the grievances the movie crew told the village that they could all be extras in the movie and would even get paid. If you have seen the movie (which I have not…. yet) then you may remember a scene where several men lift up their kilts and moon some people. My bus driver was proudly one of the mooners and remembers that time fondly. #culture

I had that next day off so we slept in a bit and then tried to go see Bram Stoker’s grave at Christchurch Cathedral right by my apartment. It was like 6 euro to go in and we didn’t really feel like it at the time so we skipped out and bought some carrots to feed the deer. We drove over the park and fortunately found a small group of the deer fairly quickly. They LOVED the carrots and let us pet them before the park ranger came over to break up the party. We then walked closer to the front of the park to see this huge statue then left to go visit the Tullamore Dew Distillery.

Brian’s #1 request for the trip was to visit the distillery. This is a fairly small one and no tours leave from Dublin to see it. Fortunately, I have a car this time so I was able to accommodate this request fairly easily. What I didn’t realize was that to get here you have to get on the M50 Motorway and pay a toll, but not at the tollbooth. For whatever reason you have to remember to call or visit a website to pay you toll by 8pm the next day…. guess who forgot and paid it a few days later. I’ll have to update you when my rental car gets turned in about the outcome of that delay.

The distillery is actually really cool. It was recently updated in 2014 after being out of commission for a long period of time and all of the floors are original. We got there pretty early so we ate lunch in their restaurant and started peeking at the gift shop. The legal limit in Ireland is .01 as opposed to America’s .08 so I was not going to be imbibing. They gave me a little take home bottle as compensation for my abstinence. I was also REALLY tired so I found a comfy seat and promptly slept through the entire tasting session so it turned out to be a win-win. We bought way too much at the gift stop (I’m an enabler – what can I say?) then headed back to Dublin for a Skype session with some of our friends in Africa.

We got dinner at Boxty and it was delicious per usual and Melissa even got some of the Boxty mix to bring back home. I may have to pick some up as well before I leave. We did some souvenir shopping and then got one last drink for the night at a pub just outside of Temple Bar.

I had to go back to work, but Melissa and Brian ended up going to Giant’s Causeway and The Cliffs of Moher the next two days so I would meet them back in Dublin at night for dinner to hear about their adventures. We also visited the oldest bar in Dublin – The Brazen Head. It was a good way to end their trip and I was really sad to see them go. I always have a great time with them and am very fortunate to call them friends. 🙂

Side story: My friend Blair is super into finding flight deals and had made plans for our friend group to take an adventure in September. He was going to look in May for something and we would knowingly only have a small window of oppotunity to say yes before the deal closed. I happened to get a text from him in April the day of the United Airlines catastrophe about a deal at the end of September for Belize. I’ve never been to South America and I trust his trip-planning skills so I whipped out my credit card and confirmed my excitement for yet another adventure! I’ve only heard good things from several other Irish people who’ve gone and I am looking forward to a beach vacation SO BAD. I also discovered that there are sharks there so I’ll be diligent about my water activities since I think that a shark attack is probably one of the worst ways to die/have to live the rest of your life remembering. Even if the sharks don’t get me I’ll be on the lookout since I’m flying United now 😉

April isn’t over, but this post is getting ridiculously long and we haven’t even hit my birthday yet so I’ll just make the next post at least for the end of April or potentially combine it with part of May. Stay tuned and see what happens 🙂

Happy Reading

-Savvy

Ireland Personal Travel

February + March Recap

Remember that time that I really thought I had updated this more than I actually had?

Yeah…. sorry about that (again).

Since we last spoke two months have FLOWN by and I am literally one month away from leaving Ireland. I have a funny feeling I’ll be back at some point in the future, but plans can change as we all know. I really should have kept up with this more because I know I am going to be missing some things so let’s just go by the highlights of February and March:

February:

  • Landed in Dublin without any issues with my flights or luggage #praise
  • Settled into my apartment: cannot be more grateful for my location/accommodation/situation
  • Got my car and a driving lesson: obviously asked for an automatic. Only minor mishaps have occurred thus far *knocks on wood*
  • Working lots (but it’s what I’m here to do so obviously)
  • Work night out with the girls and lads
  • Hanging out with friends from past visits
  • Joined an Expat Networking Group that I should probably interact with more…

 

March:

  • Pancake Tuesday: instead of Fat Tuesday they have Pancake Tuesday and they eat pancakes and crepes all day! It’s wonderful and I think this should happen on a monthly basis 🙂

  • St. Patrick’s Day: I sadly had to work that day so by the time I got home all of the parades were over and most people had already been day drinking enough to pass out so that night was actually pretty quiet. Totally did see piles of vomit everywhere #typicalIrishday

  • Nights out with the girls

 

  • Got my first Thai massage: very different than the normal Swedish massage of which I am accustomed. Instead of the normal rubbing movement in circles they just like push the area in one direction. It was less relaxing during the actual massage, but the after affects were better than my normal Swedish one. Also – you can’t beat 40 euro for an hour.

  • Ate ALL the Indian food: My apartment happens to be right around the corner from one of my favorite Indian places from my previous visits: Diwali. UGH SO GOOD. I seriously went 3x one week…. twice. Please refrain from judgement.
  • Hung out with friends
  • Went shopping: Hello, VAT Tax 😉
  • Hiked on Dublin Mountain the first good weather day I had (somehow subsequently got lost while still following the trail)

  • Hurt my foot out dancing (or potentially from the hike)
  • Saw Beauty and the Beast, 50 Shades Darker, and Logan.

April will be a little more coherent because all of those events happened not too long ago so I can still remember them.

These past two months have been amazing and I relish getting out of my comfort zone, but at the same time that is not without growing pains. I am an extrovert and I love being around people (not to say that I don’t enjoy alone time, but I digress). It is very difficult for me to try to be a tourist without also having someone here for activities. I probably would have utilized my weekends better in the beginning had I realized that was going to be such a big challenge for me. I am starting to accept it and force myself to still try new things even though I am alone. In April I did have some friends come see me and I easily packed more into those weeks that the rest of the time exponentially. There have been many #solobrunching experiences and lots of lonely walks around Dublin. When I am at home in Texas I am also usually alone, but I don’t really need to explore things there so I generally don’t think about the loneliness. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t travel well alone. You would think that I should know this by now, but it is still a weekly challenge for me during this period of time. Now that the weather is finally nice on weekends I am really trying to get it together to go do the rest of the activities on my list.

 

Side note: I think all of my family have been lying about our non-Irish heritage this whole time.

Look at the names on these pubs! BOTH SIDES REPRESENTED

 

I promise the April update won’t take as long to reach you as this post has 🙂

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Ireland Travel

Dublin for 3 MONTHS!

Yes, you read that correctly.

My dream of living in another country (if only for a short while) has finally come true! I get to be in Dublin, Ireland for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! This time I have an apartment and a car like a real city dweller. I am incredibly nervous to drive! I got my car today, but my driving lesson got moved to tomorrow. I had to drive the car around the block to park it in my garage and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. The driver’s side is on the opposite side AND they drive on the left hand side of the road instead of the right. #firstworldproblems

 

This time I flew to London before getting on a short flight to Dublin. I made some nice friends in the DFW airport in the American Airlines lounge and one at the MAC makeup counter. Everyone was so nice and chatty that day! Since I left on Valentine’s Day there really weren’t that many people at the airport, which made getting through TSA a breeze. There are still no direct flights to Dublin directly from Dallas, but I think I prefer to fly to NYC and then to Dublin rather than London first. If I go to London first then I have to do customs there AND in Dublin. The Heathrow airport is HUGE too, so if you are ever using it for a connecting flight make sure that you allow plenty of time for your layover. I had three hours, which may have been a tad generous, but I could see where on a busier day (it was the 15th by then) where you would need all 3 hours. Also, remind me to not look like a total slob if I ever fly into London again. You should have seen the drastic difference from everyone in the lounge vs me after an 8 hour flight. I was frightening.

After I landed in Dublin I was greeted by Brian from the relocation company who was to collect me from the airport and help me get adjusted. He normally collects people who have never been here before, but I was super easy since I’ve already been here twice. If you’ve never had someone holding a sign for you at an airport, it’s fairly exciting. I’m sure you all know by now how much I like to feel like I’m famous so that only helped my ego, which is totally unnecessary according to some. Brian was super great and didn’t even act phased when I totally tried to get into the driver’s side because I forgot that it wasn’t the passenger side in my jet-lagged haze; not the first time I’ve done that and it probably won’t be the last. Brian had picked up some groceries for me prior to the collection and helped me take them up to my new apartment along with my luggage. He did question my need for 4 suitcases for a 3 month stay… and after unpacking I also have questioned my decisions. I asked for more hangers… I will still need more. #sorrynotsorry

Brian took me on a drive to the office since I generally don’t really pay attention when my cab drives me there at 6:30am. Coffee might have to start becoming part of my daily routine again… I normally don’t have to be at work until 8, but here they start at 7 since traffic can get so bad. We drove all around just getting acquainted with the route and then we walked around city centre getting used to this new location. His son works at Lush, which happens to be one of my major stops every time I’m in town. It’s way cheaper here than in the States and the dollar is almost flat with the Euro (aka I need to shop more). My skin is going to look ah-maze-ing after all of this salmon and skincare.

Every time I visit this city I learn new things. I will be here during several major holidays to include Easter. Back in the states we have Fat Tuesday before Lent, but here they have Pancake Tuesday! All day they eat pancakes! People have tried to pull jokes on me with things like this before (like feeding Leprechauns) so I totally didn’t believe my coworker when she told me about this wonderful day. It is in fact a thing and work is bringing a Crepe truck for lunch that day! (Also, they pronounce them creps, not like grapes with a c instead of a g)

I have just spent the past few days getting used to the time change, arranging my apartment, and getting back into the swing of the city. I still get American holidays so I don’t have to work on Monday for President’s Day, but obviously that’s not a normal holiday here in Ireland. I also have cable TV here, which is a very nice treat since I only use Amazon Prime or Netflix at home.

I do miss little Karma and my friends. I am hoping that people come to visit since I managed to bring a queen sized air mattress with me. Brian and Melissa are coming in mid-April and I am so thrilled to have them! Tara potentially will come for her Spring Break, but has lost her passport… so she’s got to straighten that out. I haven’t planned any weekend trips here yet, but my friends are all very exited to do some little road trips. I am fortunate that I’ve made friends in previous visits who are excited to hang out while I’m in town. Last night I went out with Marie and one of her friends. Last time I was here Marie posted a picture with me and all of her friends were like “Who is your new friend? Why don’t we know her?” which sounds to me like a slew of new friends to be made 🙂

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventures!

-Savvy

Dallas Denton Personal

New Year – New Post

I realize that this is now officially a month late, but trust me life has been HECTIC, which equals more blog content. Christmas and New Year’s went fairly well. Some sad family issues had occurred around those times so that did put a damper on some of the festivities, but life goes on, as you all know.

In early December I had the honor of being in the house party for my friends, Becca and Kent’s wedding. I got to show people where to sit and then dance my face off. It was a little past Fort Worth so my friends and I decided to stay at the Omni Fort Worth since we don’t live super close to the wedding location. You should know by now that crazy things just seem to happen to me. My car’s key fob is broken, but it would sometimes still lock my car. I usually don’t lock it and whenever I give it to valets they apparently don’t either. I think nothing of this and get my car valeted at the Omni. When I made the room reservation and signed up for the rewards program I SWORE that it said that valet was included. I told the front desk this and they immediately comped my parking (which was a ridiculous $32 a night).  My other friends did the self-parking, which was down the street and still $28 a night. Ridiculous. Anyway, we get ready to go to the rehearsal dinner and I text the code to the valet to bring up my car. We head down and they tell us it’s going to be a minute…. 30 minutes later they tell me they can’t find my car. They then realize they know where it is, but they’ve manually locked it and now cannot get it unlocked. However, they feel really bad about this so they offer to comp the parking again, send a cheese plate to the room, and drive me and my friends around in the hotel’s super nice Lincoln Navigator. #designateddriver 

The next day I head down to the valet stand early before we head to the wedding to see if I can get the car unlocked. For whatever reason my actual key cannot unlock the car either so they have to use their unlock kit to get my car open. We go to the wedding, it was beautiful, we did a mannequin challenge, and danced so much. When I get back to the hotel that night I talk to my valet and say “Are you the one parking my car?” He tells me yes and I say “DO NOT LOCK IT”. He says that he has to and I say “NOOOO I’m that girl that has been causing the problems. DO NOT LOCK IT!”. Homeboy totally locks it which I find out the next day at checkout… Guess who made sure to fill out that survey!

For NYE my friends and I went to Beats and Bubbly at the Perot Museum in Dallas.

I got my dress from Rent the Runway and LOVED it! It was long, sparkly, and totally worthy of a fancy New Year’s Eve. If you’ve never heard of Rent the Runway let me break it down: basically, you have some event that you need to attend whether it be a bridal shower, Christmas party, wedding, birthday… anything where you would normally need to go buy a dress. Instead of spending potentially hundreds of dollars for these events to have dresses you might only wear once or twice, instead you can rent an even nicer dress for a fraction of the cost! The dress I rented was designer and normally retailed for $750; I rented it for under $100! You get 20% off of your first order and if you use the code in my link above then I also get a $30 credit 🙂 #treatyoself

This was actually my second order from RTR. For my company Christmas party a few weeks prior I also ordered a similar, but shorter dress and had an awesome experience. Everyone complimented me all night and now I think I should buy that dress lol. However, it also retails for several hundred dollars so I will just rent it whenever I really need it. Some other great perks: not only do you get your size, BUT you can also have a backup size for free in case the original size doesn’t work out , if you join Pro then you get a free birthday rental (plus some other perks), there are tons of reviews on all of the dresses so you can make a really informed decision on fit and how to style the dress.

Honestly, I wish I would have started using this sooner:

  • You don’t have to get the dress dry-cleaned since it’s included in the price.
  • They send it to you in this cool, zip-up garment bag with a pre-paid return slip.
  • You can get the dress for either 4 or 8 days.
  • Just drop it all off at a UPS store by the designated date.
  • If you have any issues just message the company and they will make it right 🙂

For my dad’s Christmas present I got him a cooking class from Sur La Table in Southlake. We learned how to make several different types of dumplings: pirogies, gnocchi, and su mai (not sure how that is spelled). It was a really nice day and the only other people in our class were another father/daughter duo where she had also given him the class as his Christmas present! Our instructor was super nice and was able to accommodate us since apparently I had not actually completed the class sign up online (oops!). However, there was more than enough food and plenty to keep us all busy. Always a good experience!

 

Life started to get a little bit crazier after that (if you can believe it):

  • My tax return was apparently also filed by someone else pretending to be me.
  • The IRS told me I wouldn’t get my refund until APRIL (spoiler: just got it yesterday).
  • I reported my doctor to the Medical Board of Texas and will potentially be suing them.
  • I got stuck in an elevator at work for an hour… alone.
  • My phone broke two days before I was supposed to leave the country for three months.

So that’s been my past two weeks… Fortunately everything else is working out really well now (knock on wood) and I have just started my newest Ireland journey! I will be staying in Dublin for the next three months for work and am looking forward to this next adventure 🙂

Stay tuned!

-Savvy