Monday, August 5, 2019

Dior : From Paris to the World at the Dallas Museum of Art

I love art museums and am always excited when I get the chance to visit one. I've wanted to visit the Dallas Museum of Art since moving last year but just never got around to it until now. My younger sister used some free flight vouchers to come visit for a long weekend and I thought it was the perfect time to play tourist in my own town! The highlight of our weekend was a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art for their special Dior exhibit - Dior: From Paris to the World


Admission to the museum as a whole is complimentary, but you do have to purchase a ticket to visit the Dior exhibit. These tickets are timed to ensure there are never too many people in at once and cost $25ish depending on when you visit. We arrived about 20 minutes before our scheduled time and easily parked in the attached garage. We toured a smaller exhibit first and then got in line for the main  attraction!


To say this exhibit is stunning is no exaggeration; it is literally stunning! Even if you don't know much about fashion you can appreciate that these looks are works of art. The first part of the exhibit is set up so you can see the differences between the different heads of the fashion house.  It was so interesting to see how each era was different and influenced by the culture of the times.


The true star of the exhibit is a central room with looks along both sides from floor to ceiling. You walk in a line along the outside of the room so you get a chance to see them all from up close. At the end of the room is the celebrity wall which houses some of the dresses celebrities have worn, including the dress Jenifer Lawrence wore when she won the Oscar and tripped.


The other part of the exhibit displays looks by colors and themes. The final room's theme were famous paintings where the dresses were displayed with works from Monet and O'Keefe. The dresses were so beautiful you almost missed these other works of art on the wall!


If you haven't seen it yet, get to the DMA ASAP because this exhibit is only around until September 1!

Friday, August 2, 2019

5 tips for traveling for work

I'm very fortunate to get the opportunity to travel for work on occasion. I'm a meeting planner for an association, and because our membership is spread throughout the country (world really!) we hold most of our conferences in different locations. This year we had two conferences that traveled and are adding two more in 2020! When you combine these trips with the pre-planning trips it's safe to say the majority of my travel in the last year has been for work.

I was actually on one of these work trips last week which gave me the idea for this post! Not many people travel for work and it certainly wasn't something they covered in any of my college classes. Here are 5 tips for traveling for work that I've learned in the last year!




1. Have a clear understanding of what expenses are covered - Your transportation and hotel will obviously be covered, but do you need to make your own arrangements or will someone else make those? Are you restricted to a certain airline or able to fly the one of your choice? Will you be reimbursed for checked baggage and parking at the airport or do you need to carryon and plan to Uber? What meals are covered and do you have a daily or meal by meal budget? It's also important to know what documentation you need to provide to be reimbursed and how soon you need to turn in your expense report.


2. Know your responsibilities - Before any new work project you probably ask "what is expected of me and what do I need to be successful in attaining that goal" a work trip should be the same way! Having clear expectations of your responsibilities will ensure you're an asset on the trip and allowed to keep traveling!


3. Ask about your wardrobe early - My office is t-shirt and yoga pants casual dress code, but obviously this wouldn't be okay to wear while representing the association. Do you need to dress the same you would in the office? Can you dress more casual for the travel day? Should you plan casual clothes for after hours dinners? These are all things you need to consider before packing you bag. Be sure to ask early enough that you can do some shopping if you don't already have what you need!


4. Prepare an "out of office" response - Just because you're not physically at your desk doesn't mean  work stops. Take the time to set an "out of office" reply to include an emergency backup and when you'll be returning to the office. Don't forget to add a temporary message to your voicemail too!


5. Give yourself time to recover - Traveling for work is exciting, but it's also tiring. Between possible time differences, travel delays, and long work days it all takes a toll on your body and it's important to take time to recover when you're home. If you have to return to work the next day ask if you can come in a little later to sleep in or leave a little early. If you have the weekend to refresh before returning to work, make sure you take time to refresh for a new week. And no matter how much time you have to prepare these tips for returning from vacation can also be applied to traveling for work!

What are your tips for traveling for work?




Monday, July 15, 2019

Currently

Popping in today to share a few things currently going on in my life



Watching.... I just finished season two of Outlander on Netflix and am trying to figure out how to watch the other seasons. Anyone have a suggestion? In the meantime we're rewatching Gilmore Girls and That 70s Show


Listening.... I discovered an old Dixie Chicks CD in my car and have had it on repeat since. Who else is excited they're making new music!?


Reading....A random library book. I shared that I'm way behind on my reading goal for the year, but I'm hoping to turn that around soon. Last time I went to the library I went in without a plan and ended up with some pretty random reads. Hopefully one of these better catches my interest.


Wanting.....Nothing from the Nordstrom sale. Is it just me or is the sale just not that great this year? It also doesn't seem like other bloggers are pushing it as hard this year which probably helps with the FOMO. I did just buy this super cute Amazon sundress though that I highly recommend if you're itching to make a purchase.


Anticipating....My birthday in two weeks! I also have a big work trip later this week, so lots to look forward to before the end of July.

What's currently going on in your life?

Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 Goals Check In

With June quickly coming to a close I thought it was the perfect time for a 2019 goals checkin! To be 100% honest and transparent I just had to go back and look at my original goals post to see what my goals for 2019 even are. Needless to say the goals aren't going great.


1. Save $3600 - This is the only goal I vaguely remembered and that's probably because I knew I wasn't doing well with it. In my defense the big picture for this goal was to be able to buy a house next year, but since we did that this year it's not really such a priority anymore. I do need to be better about saving and I plan to make it more of a priority this last half of 2019. The house is pretty much furnished so hopefully there aren't any more large purchases in the near future.

2. Read 12 books - If you remember this is one goal I set in 2018 that I successfully completed, unfortunately it's not going as well this year. Life has been crazy this year and by the time my head hits the pillow I'm exhausted and ready to pass out, so reading before bed hasn't been happening as much as it should. I usually get home before the fiancé so I've started reading for at least 30 minutes right after I get home, if I keep it up all year I should have no problem getting back on track for this goal. I really love reading and I think doing it more will help relax me.

3. Feel confident in photos - This goal was about losing weight and getting healthy. I really thought my wedding would inspire me to drop some weight, but sadly that hasn't happened. I do however think this goal has been somewhat successful though. I came to the realization that if the thought of being in a wedding dress couldn't inspire me to get skinny than probably nothing could and that's okay. I do still want to lose the weight I gained since moving to Dallas, but because I know I'll feel healthier, not because I'll look better. I recently bought an under desk exercise bike after hearing how many calories a coworker burns with his, so I'm excited to see if I can get the same results. We're also trying to eat out less and cook healthier foods at home.

4. Get involved in Dallas - I've sorta done this, but not all the way. I did join my local sorority alumni group, but I haven't been super active. Most of the events were on Thursday evenings which was the same night I had a church commitment that took priority. The group doesn't really have events during the summer, but I plan on trying to be more involved once they start back in the fall and I no longer have that Thursday night commitment.


Did you make 2019 goals? How are you doing with them?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday Wednesday - The most important thing I learned in Marriage Prep Class

Back in February the fiancé and I spent a Saturday participating in the marriage prep class at our church. They do them twice a year and you have to attend one if you plan to get married at the church. Admittedly I was hesitant about going because I just didn't know what I could learn that I didn't already know. But when it was over I was so glad we attended and so glad we didn't put it off until the summer class.

The day was broken into different topics with two couples switching off to lead the discussions. We talked about money, sex, and family values, and all the important things you need to be on the same page about before saying "I do." While all the topics were informative and important my favorite activity was about love languages.


If you don't know, love languages are essentially how we process the emotion of love. Everyone is different so why would we all express such an important emotion the same way. I've heard about love languages for a while, but honestly didn't know too much about them. The 5 love languages are:
1. Acts of Service
2. Gifts
3. Words of Affirmation
4. Touch
5. Quality Time

We each took a quick quiz to determine our love language and I wasn't surprised that I scored close to perfect in Acts of Service. If you've spent any time around me you'll know this is 100% me; I absolutely believe that actions speak louder than any words. But I was surprised to discover my fiancé's love language is Words of Affirmation. I really thought he was going to Gifts because he always wants to buy me nice things. They explained that you can actually have two love languages, one for receiving and one for giving, but that specific test was designed for receiving.

Since taking this class and learning each other's love languages I feel like our relationship has been even stronger. I've made a point of verbalizing my love and appreciation for him and he's made a point of doing little things to make life easier. This knowledge about each other is such an important tool to help our relationship always be strong. I don't know any stats on it, but I feel like the majority of relationships that don't work are because someone doesn't feel loved, but that's probably because both partners don't have the same love language and are expressing love differently.

If you're in a relationship I highly suggest you take the quiz to learn your own love language!


Monday, June 17, 2019

a weekend in San Antonio

Last winter the fiancé and I took a long weekend trip down to San Antonio, so needless to say this post was a long time coming. I'm not a "things" person so I suggested the idea of a weekend trip instead of large Christmas gifts, and because he loves me more than presents he agreed! San Antonio is about a 4 hour drive south of Dallas; it's kinda long but overall pretty easy.

Before we made it to San Antonio we had to stop at the famous Czech Stop in West, Texas for some kolachies! I had never heard of kolachies until I moved to Dallas and let me tell you that is a darn shame! The meat kind are essentially pigs in a blanket and the fruit ones pastries, but they're better than what those descriptions imply. After loading up a bag of our treats we hit the road again!


We stayed at the Courtyard San Antonio Riverwalk which was the perfect "home" for our weekend. It's right on the famous Riverwalk, but tucked around a quiet corner so you're out of the loud crowds but still right in the action. We were able to take a back door out of the lobby and be right on the Riverwalk allowing us to walk to all the fun! The room was basic, but perfect for what we needed. We booked a package that included valet parking, which I highly suggest if you have a car because parking alone is not cheap.

The first evening we went to Mass across the street at St. Mary, which is a beautiful church. When I picture a Catholic church this is exactly what I picture; high ceilings, stained glass windows and beautiful art. It was fun to go to a beautiful church like this because my fiancé had never been inside one like this.


The next day we visited the Alamo! This was the main thing we wanted to see, but honestly I was a little nervous because I've heard mixed reviews from people who've visited. This was seriously so fun and entertaining and something I'd 100% recommend to everyone! To just visit the Alamo is free or you can pay a small fee for an audio ($7) or guided ($15) tour. We opted for the guided tour and honestly that is a must if you visit. Our tour guide had a degree in history and you could tell she was not only knowledgable about the Alamo but really passionate about it. We essentially walked in a wide rectangle in front of the Alamo and learned all about the history of not only the battle of the Alamo, but the whole of San Antonio. Then we entered the Alamo and learned more about the history of the actual building. This is where our guided tour ended, but there are also a few museum type exhibits with artifacts to view. The whole thing was extremely educational, especially for a new Texan!

That evening we enjoyed one of the river cruises to take in the River Walk. We decided to do it at night because the River Walk was decked out in Christmas lights so we thought it'd be more romantic, which it was, but it was also a little chilly; I'd suggest bringing an extra jacket if you do it at night. This tour guide had the usual corny jokes, but also had some fun facts to share and places to point out. Did you know they shot scene from Miss Congeniality on the River Walk!?


This was the perfect weekend getaway! If we go again I'd like to explore the Briscoe Museum and visit some of the other Missions. Other long weekend trips I hope to make include Austin, Waco, and Oklahoma City! We're doing a lot of travel this year so I don't know we'll get to do anymore of these long weekend trips, but now that we're in Dallas for good I have no doubt we'll eventually get to them all.



Monday, April 29, 2019

Life Update : we bought a house!

Surprise! I'm now a homeowner, or a half homeowner, or half a mortgage holder technically. April 10th the fiancé and I closed on our first house and we've been living in it for the last week and a half.


To put things simply we had terrible neighbors at our apartment and were just never able to get the full warm fuzzies for our building because of them. At the beginning of year we started talking about what we wanted to do once our lease was up and both agreed we didn't want to resign to stay for a year. We started looking at other apartments and didn't find anything we loved so we thought we'd look for a condo or townhome to rent. After talking to a realtor and mortgage broker we realized it really just made more sense to buy since mortgage rates were lower than they'd been in the last year and we could get a jump on it before the market got super competitive in the summer.

So we started searching zillow and realtor.com for our dream place. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted; two bedroom 1.5 bath; 950+sq ft and in two specific locations in Dallas. We thought  these areas would have the best resale value once we started a family and needed something larger while still fitting in our price range. After a long afternoon of looking at about 8 condos we thought we'd found a great fit, but with one problem. This condo had been on the market off and on for almost 2 years (major red flag!) and had an insanely high HOA fee. We then decided to expand our search to single family homes where we wouldn't have an HOA fee and would essentially have the same monthly payment. This meant essentially starting the search over again with a whole new set of parameters.

We really thought the second house we went in was the "one." It had a fabulous screened in sunroom addition plus a large family room, and was much closer to both our jobs. I could picture our future in there and how we'd update it short term and long term. After talking to their agent and looking at a prior inspection report we decided there were just too many problems that we didn't want to fix as first time buyers. So back to the drawing board we went. In the middle of this I had a super crazy work/life schedule where I had 3 trips in less than a month. We took a mini break from looking while I was out of town for a week and decided to go look at three houses the day after I got back into town. At that point I was honestly a little over looking. Even though we hadn't been looking for that long, it was emotionally exhausting to think we had found the "one" twice already only to realize it wasn't a good fit once we looked more closely. I had accepted that we weren't going to find anything and would just need to sign a 9 month lease and start looking again in the fall after the competitiveness of summer was over. But then we walked into this house and knew it was perfect!

It has 3 bedrooms and two baths, a large laundry room, two car garage, and a nice fenced in backyard for the pup. The street has a cute name and we're in a good school district. No farther from work than we were before. Hot water heater, roof, and HVAC are all new within the last 3 years but the house still has some the original elements giving it charm. Gas stove and updated countertops and flooring. And the most adorable guest bathroom. Honestly it's everything and more that we wanted in a first home.

We put in an offer that day. The next morning we got a call from our realtor to let us know we were in a multiple bid situation and the owners were asking for everyone's best offer by 5pm. We went to church and prayed about it and then put in our offer. Later that evening we got the call that the owners had decided they wanted to work with us but countered our offer. After double checking with the mortgage broker we decided to accept there counter and officially said yes to buying the house! The rest of the process was true whirlwind. I kept waiting for the hammer to drop and something to go wrong, but we got lucky and the whole process went really smoothly.

When the year started I shared that one of my 2019 intentions was to be aggressive with saving because we wanted to buy a house in 2020. Reaching that bigger goal of owning a home a year early is so surreal. I realize I'm very fortunate to be in a position where this is possible and I owe a lot of thanks to my parents who not only always stressed the importance of saving and living within your means, but also allowed me to graduate college debt free and then live at home to save for 2 years. I truly feel like I'm living the American dream, and for that I am thankful.