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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hidden Gems In and Around Dallas

If you are thinking of taking a trip to Texas, then Dallas is a typical spot for people to choose. But knowing some of the best places to go, that are a little off the tourist-track, is a really good idea. The city itself is huge, and there are plenty of spaces and places on the outskirts of the city that have some hidden gems to offer. Even Texans can forget to visit some of these places, so they really do work for everyone. Here are some hidden gems to add to your list.


Winspear Opera House

The Winspear Opera House is a really stunning architectural building in Dallas, and it is quite surprising just how modern the building is. There are some reflective pools outside of it that make for a great place to take a photo, so perfect for any Instagrammers. If you want to add it to your list then it is a good idea to drop by during the day, or even wait until the evening to catch a show at night.  

Fort Worth Water Gardens

If you are visiting when there will be some good weather (which can happen quite a lot of the time in Texas), then a trip to the Fort Worth Water Gardens is a must. It includes some stunning water structures that really are breathtaking. It is like a hidden oasis, which is a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of a city.

Oak Pointe Park

Another thing to do on the outskirts of Dallas, that will help your love of the outdoors, is going out on the lake at Oak Pointe Park in Plano, Texas. The reserve is over 800 acres, and things like canoeing is a must, as well as swimming, or running and biking on the trails. At the end of the day, heading out to one of the Mexican restaurants in Plano is a must, so that you can refuel after a busy day outdoors. Plano has some great shopping and leisure sites, so don’t forget about this suburb which is less than twenty miles from Dallas.

Prairie Creek Waterfalls

Another part of Plano, just outside of Dallas, that is a must is the Prairie Creek Waterfalls. They are quite hidden, so if you don’t know about them, then you wouldn’t know that they were there. The waterfalls are so stunning, though, and it is a great place to spend an afternoon, as well as take some great photographs. 

Fort Worth Modern Art Museum

If you love some modern art and modern architecture, then the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum is a must. If you are normally someone who isn’t that fussed about museums, then this one shouldn’t be classed as a ‘typical’ museum. While Dallas does have some pretty great museums, this one is unlike any of the others. There are beautiful views from the museum too, so it really is a hidden gem that you need to make the most of. 

Dallas is a great city with so much to offer, whether you have a few days or a few weeks. It's is the perfect budget-friendly winter travel destination. For more ideas on what to do and how to save while you're there, check out this post.

Have you ever visited Texas?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

More Packable Halloween Costumes

Depending on where you live or travel to, Halloween can be all kinds of weather. It's easy to figure out warm weather costumes that you can pack, but harder for costumes that can be worn in cooler or straight-up cold weather. One year we went to Disneyland and the weather was really hot and I needed to change up my costume at the last second. It turned out fine, but it was stressful for a minute.

Though it can be challenging, when traveling somewhere hot, to find a costume that doesn't give you heat stroke. It can be just as difficult to find a costume that isn't too bulky and will keep you warm when the temps drop. We went to Paris in October a few years ago and had tickets to attend Disneyland Paris's Halloween party. This trip to Paris was totally different from our last visit where it was unseasonably warm in November. This time, there was a crazy cold snap and early October saw temps in the 20s. Ouch. Let's look at costumes that can be worn anytime and also when it's super cold, but that are still easy to pack.

One Walt Disney trip, Eric and I dressed as a couple on safari. Easy, because you can do long or short sleeves, shorts or pants.

Mild Weather

If you're lucky, the weather can be cool, but not too cool to warrant a jacket. That's kind of my favorite weather for Halloween, because you have a wider selection of costumes to choose from.

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Be a Lumberjack
I always travel with layers, whether I'm traveling in the summer or the winter. A plaid shirt makes a great layer, so why not toss one in your bag with a pair of suspenders and a knit cap. Just like that, you can be a lumberjack!

Toga, Toga, Toga
There are tons of different toga and toga-like costumes for both men and women. Make your own or buy one to be Caesar, Aphrodite, a frat partier, Socrates and more. Add a laurel and your favorite sandals and you're done.

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Yer a Wizard! (Or witch)
You basically just need a black outfit, a cape and a hat for this one. If you're a Harry Potter freak like me, you possibly have a Hogwarts sweater in your closet that you can put on with a black skirt or slacks, slip your wand in your pocket and you can be a wizard- (or witch-) in-training.

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Any Superhero
Always wanted to be Superman or Batman or Cat Woman? Now's your chance. When the weather is mild, you can go full-out or a little skimpy and not be uncomfortable. Of course, you can always be a superhero in disguise by wearing a part of your costume underneath your shirt, like Superman does. This is creative and also easier to pack.

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Burglar & Police Officer
It was so cold in France that I literally had on four layers of clothes, so I was basically wearing all black and you couldn't even tell I was dressed as a burglar. It was also raining, which didn't help matters. I rimmed my eyes with some serious black eyeliner and carried around a money bag. The effect was a bit ruined when I also had to bundle up in my coat and wear a scarf, but it was an easy outfit otherwise. Get your significant other to dress similarly or wear dark blue or black pants and a blue/black button-down shirt with a badge to be a cop.

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This isn't done nearly enough and can be really simple. All you need is a lab coat and some semi-dressy clothes underneath. Make a name badge for yourself (ex: Dr. Bob, Nurse Barb) and add a cheap stethoscope, so you can do your job, and voila! Change this up into a mad scientist outfit by adding crazy hair and some safety goggles.

Prom King/Queen
We always bring some dress-up clothes with us on vacation. At least, we usually do, because we tend to do a couple things where we need to look a bit nice. Even an LBD can work for this. Pair it with a Prom King or Queen and a crown and you're ready to party. You can bring a paper crown you've made, pick up a cheap one at a party store or, my personal favorite, stash this inflatable crown in your bag. They'll take up little room and if they get wrinkled, you can just blow them up.

Cold Weather

It's going to happen. You find that you're going somewhere that the weather is too cold to wear the traditional costume, but that leaves you free to be more creative with your choices.
Snow Bunny
Put that puffy coat and those furry boots you're wearing to good use. Adding an adorable hat and some ski goggles will really sell your outfit, especially if you've got a cup of hot chocolate in-hand.

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Mountain Climber
You can kind of wear everything for this costume, because you're climbing a mountain and it's freezing! This is when you'll want to break out that backpack again and put on a head lamp (you probably have one of these at home). Make yourself a cute little flag to make the peak and go conquer that mountain...and the cold weather.

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Polar Bear
So simple, it's ridiculous. White pants and a white coat, then add a pair of ears and paint your nose or wear this fun hat/scarf combo and run around going "Rawr!" The bulkier you are, the better, so don't be afraid if you have to put on some long johns underneath your clothes. 

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This one works well with a bunch of layers as well, because you're just going to cover up with layers of white fabric. I'd suggest white underlayers and a set of thermals under that, since a coat would ruin the effect. You can use toilet paper for this, but if you don't want to unravel or walk around with toilet paper on your shoe, think sheets that you've ripped into strips works really well. Just make sure you can get your pants off to use the restroom, or else you might hate this really quickly.
There's not much warmer than leather/pleather, so why not dig out your pants and jacket, a black sweater, some comfy boots and wrap a bandana around your head and go as a biker. You might be taking most of that on your trip anyway, so put it all together and get tough. This works for everybody and you can add more layers as needed, like a vest.

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Sherlock Holmes
If you've got a trench coat, you've got a costume. Sherlock Holmes is easily recognizable, especially with his trademark deer hunter cap and pipe. This works for men and women, you just have to wear some decently nice clothes underneath. Your significant other can wear a suit jacket and driving cap and be Watson.

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Get your camouflage on. You can most easily create the hunter look with a camouflage jumpsuit, but you can also do this by wearing dark colored clothing with a camouflage jacket and cap. Get all Duck Dynasty with a big beard and you'll also keep your face warm if it's that cold out. You could also go in a Harry Potter direction and be Dumbledore or Hagrid if you like the idea of a beard and many layers.

Are you traveling somewhere for Halloween? If so, do you plan on dressing up?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Where to Spend Halloween

Do you like to be scared or to visit disturbing places, especially during the Halloween season? There are so many awesome destinations to check out. I'm partial to theme parks, ghost walks, and cemeteries, because I don't really want to get scared or depressed, but I also like a good medical museum (think Mutter Museum in Philly, the Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans, or the Old Operating Theater Museum in London). Here are some non-traditional October destinations:

Where will you be visiting over Halloween?
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