Butterflies in the Garden

IMG_7061

Things have been very busy here at Texas Air Doctors!

  • First of all, we began using a new CRM software program in February and it was my responsibility to teach the office how to use it
  • We were invited to become a preferred provider for The Home Depot and I am serving as the liaison as we begin our relationship with them
  • I’ve had to get prepared for The Home Depot training program in Las Vegas (I know, I know, its hard work but someone has to do it.)

So as you can see, I have a reason my blog is tardy.

IMG_0102

For this blog, I attended “Butterflies in the Garden” in Fort Worth’s Botanic Garden. I went with my friend Lisa and her sons Avery and Isaac.

IMG_0101

Over 10,000 butterflies were released into the Green House Conservatory for this occasion. It strains my imagination to understand how these beautiful creatures can be cultivated from egg to adulthood so that their beauty is available to dazzle our vision all at the same time. The green house is kept warm and they use fruit, such as aging watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapples, to keep the butterflies happy and healthy.

IMG_0079

The butterflies at “Butterflies in the Garden” are not only from the United States, but from Central and South America also. One of the most amazing things is that they will land on your finger! It’s amazing as the just sit there and flutter.

Lisa’s son Isaac is only three-years-old and initially he ran from the butterflies as they approached him but he got better. Avery, on the other hand, was intent on studying the differences between the kinds of butterflies. He became very excited as a “Giant Swallowtail” butterfly and “Emperor” or “Blue Morpho” butterfly landed on my finger. I also got up close and personal with a “Postman” butterfly.

IMG_0107

I learned, with sorrow that the butterfly that I grew up knowing, the “Monarch” is in a state of decline. This beautiful orange and black icon only lays its eggs on milk weed plants and cultivation of food crops has diminished milk weed growth by over 21% since 1995. If you want to encourage the continued populace of the Monarch, experts are encouraging us to grow milk weed in our home landscapes.

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at www.thisisyourtown.com or email me .

Ron’s Corner Tavern

Nestled in the corner of a shopping center on Airport Freeway, alongside several other bars and restaurants, in the far back corner of the parking lot is Ron’s Corner Tavern.

They’re next to Big Shots, which is a pool hall, and a little further down the ways is Toadies’.

Three things make Ron’s Corner Tavern special:

One is the fact that they are the only NON-SMOKING bar in Bedford, that I’m aware of.

Two, they have a diverse collection of beer!

Three, they have a fire pit on their patio to help keep you warm on the chilly spring nights.

Ron’s will celebrate their thirdyear on May 4th, and I am sure they’ll have an exotic party!

I met with Jesse, the manager. He and most of the eight-member staff have been there since day one, except for Nancy one of the bartenders, but she’s been there almost a year. The entire staff at Ron’s is outgoing and function as one big family.

Jesse told me the story of the owner’s Uncle Ron. It seems that after Ron retired, he travelled around Europe sampling many beers and starting a huge collection of cans. His can collection now fills the Tavern encased by glass, on display throughout the tavern, even covering a whole back wall. There is a collection of beer coasters that cover the bar, each different from the next.

While looking at the cans, it appeared that they’d never been opened. I asked Jesse, and he chuckled at my question and showed me the secret to collecting beer bottles – open them on the bottom to pour the beer into a glass, leaving the bottle in pristine condition!

Ron’s Corner Tavern is a gift to the Hurst-Euless-Bedford area, allowing customers to stay in their hometown to taste a variety of different beers, instead of having to drive to Dallas or Fort Worth. It seems that every beer you could possibly want to taste is here. They have about 31 different kinds of beer on-tap and other beers and ciders in bottles and cans. The Draft selection is changed frequently, since when one keg goes empty, a different keg comes in. You have new choices all the time!

All of the employees at Ron’s Corner Tavern is are “Certified Beer Servers,” and passionate about beer. So, when you need help finding that new beer, wanting to experiment, or just new to beer, the amazingly friendly staff is there to help you to find the right fit.

I’m a picky beer drinker and I’m devoted to my Miller Lite; so, I assumed it would be a challenge for Jesse to find the beer for me. NOT – it took him about two samples to find the taste that that I loved. He selected an Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, a tart refreshing beer brewed with sea salt and coriander and featuring Blood Oranges. It was unlike anything I had tasted before and was just right!

All of their beers are domestic and some are from local breweries like the Deep Ellum Brewery in Dallas.

A few days later, I returned with some non-smoking friends wanting to get their opinion of Ron’s. They weren’t aware of a non-smoking bar here either.

We sat outside near the fire pit and looked over the Beer Menu (that’s right, the Beer Menu is all by itself), we ordered some appetizers to go with our drinks. I went with my Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, they selected the Community Public Ale.

The food soon followed – nachos, cheese fries, and fried avocado. The food tonight was prompt and delicious, as usual! On my previous visit I ordered a thin crust Pesto Pizza and it perfection!

With more places like Ron’s Corner Tavern and Bizzi’s Bistro popping up around Bedford, I know there will be more excellent places to come to Bedford.

If you are one of those beer connoisseurs who wonder how Ron’s stacks up to the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth, my opinion is that it is LOADS better! Got the variety and it’s close to home..

Oh! By the way, Wednesday night is “Pint Night” where you get to try a new special beer every week and Thursday night is “Live Music Night,” which is something you can’t turn down when you’re sitting by the fire.

Ron’s Corner Tavern is a great secret in Bedford, not too many people know about it because it’s tucked in the corner, but you might agree that it is best bar in Bedford!

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at www.thisisyourtown.com or email me .

DSCN1007

Quanah Parker Exhibit – One Man Two Worlds

 

DSCN0995

I was starting to have Cabin Fever. Looking outside my Texas Air Doctors office window at the beautiful weather. It had me feeling like a bird in a cage.

So I went to my boss, Frank, and asked him if I could take part of the day off to see the Quanah Parker Exhibit in Grapevine.

Although I didn’t originally know who Quanah Parker was, the exhibit initially grabbed my attention because of his mother – Cynthia Ann Parker. Her life and history is legend here in Tarrant County and particularly Northeast Tarrant County.

It seems that her family was among a group of early East Texas settlers and they established a fortress between Groesbeck and Mexia along the Navasota River. When she was about 9-years old, the fort was attacked by Comanche Indians and most of the adults including, her parents and grandmother were killed and she was kidnapped. She was raised by the Comanches and eventually married the chief.

Stories abound that Chief Peta Nocona was so enamored with his white bride, that contrary to Indian tradition to take multiple wives, she was his only wife. Together they had three children, two boys and a girl.DSCN1013.JPG

During one particularly fierce battle known as the Battle of the Pease River, near what is now Quanah, Texas, the Texas Rangers found her and her daughter “Prairie Flower” and reintroduced them to white society. Her oldest son, Quanah, was away on a hunting and the fate of her youngest son Pecos is undetermined. Controversy surrounds the fate of her husband, Chief Nocona some saying he was killed while others claim he lived for a long time afterwards.

Cynthia Ann lived in “Birdville” with her uncle, but she hated the civilized life of the settlers! She longed for her Indian family and tried on occasion to return to them. Cynthia was never fully able to adjust. After her daughter Prairie Flower died of pneumonia, Cynthia Ann soon died, probably from grief.

DSCN1010.JPG

Quanah’s history is very interesting because as his Mother went from the life of white society to one who was fully indoctrinated in the Indian culture, Quanah did the opposite, going from an Indian culture to being fully indoctrinated into the white society.

As a young man Quanah became the greatest Chief and leader of the Comanche Tribe. Leading his people against the encroachment of the white settlers and the buffalo hunters, who were destroying their way of life. The Comanche depended on the Buffalo for everything. Without Buffalo, their way of life would die.

On one occasion Quanah lead the fight against a group of buffalo hunters who had established a headquarters at a place called Adobe Walls, just north of Amarillo. The hunters would fan out in all directions to kill the buffalo in huge number leaving the carcasses to rot and taking only the skins to ship back east.

The battle lasted three days and the Comanche lost the battle when one of the hunters, using a new Buffalo Gun, supposedly knocked Quanah from his horse at a distance of almost a mile. It became known as “The Shot That Was Heard Around the World.” Quanah carried a bullet in his body from that battle for the rest of his life.

DSCN1007

He eventually gave up his battle with the U.S. Government and settled on the Comanche reservation in Oklahoma. There he was like a CEO of a major corporation: Cattle drovers paid the Comanche tribe a royalty for every head of cattle that crossed their land during the great cattle drives; Ranchers came to negotiate grazing rights on the vast expanses Comanche land; railroads paid to travel across Comanche Territories. Quanah and his tribe became very wealthy in a white man’s world due to his business acumen.

As he embraced the white culture, he took his mother’s maiden name and became known as Quanah Parker. He was well respected among the white Texas settlers becoming friends with such notables as Samuel Burk Burnet and President Theodore Roosevelt, in fact President Roosevelt declared that Quanah was the “Last Comanche Chief.

There is a statue of him in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historical District, because of his connection to Fort Worth and the Stock Show.

DSCN1012

Once an Army General visited Quanah’s home, near Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Quanah was so inspired by the General’s Uniform Star insignias that Quanah had large stars painted on the roof of his home.DSCN1003.JPG

It was fascinated by the exhibit and the pictures of Quanah Parker’s life, all on display right there in Grapevine at the Grapevine Visitor Information Center.

After looking at the Quanah Parker Exhibit and all of the pictures, I looked at some brochures and realized that there were other museums here!

But I didn’t have time for them today, I had an appointment back at the office and I wanted to grab lunch at Mason Dixie while I was here.

They have a New Special of a Brisket – Grilled Cheese Sandwich! Yum!

DSCN1040.JPG

I’ll have to do the other museums another day, besides, if I’m not back soon, the Texas Air Doctor’s office may fall apart without me. Ha! Just kidding Frank!

Fort Worth Stockshow

One of the most exciting events that happens in Texas in January is the Fort Worth Stock Show!

In the mid-to late 1800s Fort Worth was the last major stop for rest and supplies. Over four million head of cattle travelled through Fort Worth at that time and it soon was known as “Cowtown.” In 1876, the railroad finally arrived to Fort Worth and it became a major shipping point for livestock. The stockyards was called Union Stockyards at this time due to the railroad. Fortunately for Fort Worth, Greenlief Simpson a wealthy Boston man came to Texas (due to lack of funds to get enough cattle) and decided to invest, Simpson, invited another investor with him, Louville Niles, whose primary business was meat packing. They bought the Union Stockyards and changed the name to Fort Worth Stockyards Company.

Quickly the men realized Fort Worth had more to offer than just a shipping business, so they added meat processing, or packing plants, to their Stockyards business plan.

The new Livestock Exchange Building, the livestock pens and the barns were started in 1902. The livestock market drew farmers and ranchers to Fort Worth from all over Texas.

The Stockyards Cowtown Coliseum was built in 1907 and was just finished in 88 working days and was home to the first indoor rodeo.

When the Stockyards fell on hard times in the 1970s, after the packing plants closed, one of the buildings was put to use as home to a popular restaurant, The Spaghetti Warehouse, but the area continued to decline. In 1976 the Fort Worth Historical Society was chartered to ensure Fort Worth’s livestock heritage would continue to be remembered and preserved in the Stockyards.

That’s enough history, now let’s get to my visit to the Fort Worth Stock Show, which was held at Will Rogers Coliseum. My y companion, Avery (my nine-year-old nephew), and I parked at Billy Bob’s Texas knowing there would be a shuttle to take us straight to the big event! It was nice to relax on the shuttle which held up to 56 people, so you never had to wait too long!

DSCN0957.JPG

The shuttle dropped us off right at the gate (better than the long walk!) and we entered. The outside was a carnival! Full of rides like bumper cars, a huge slide, carousel, Ferris wheel, a haunted house, petting zoo; as well, as some delicious fried goodies, which is what makes the Stock Show so great!

Avery daringly evaluated the rides to see what he would ride first, and decided on the bumper cars. We got his tickets and I watched him have fun! He was very good as he bumped other cars and maneuvered around obstacles, showing that he might have a future as a race car driver.

As I watched Avery, I was bombarded by the smell of food! Corn dogs, nachos, lemonade, cotton candy .  .  . and fried Oreos! Fried Oreos! Is there anything that can’t be made better by deep frying it? And is there any place that kind of food can be better than at the Stock Show?

We stood in line for a drink and we had to try some fried Oreos! They were delicious, just the right amount of fried and the right amount of Oreo!

DSCN0960.JPG

Unfortunately, we didn’t get into the rodeo, because it had already sold out, but with such a beautiful Saturday we decided to check out the food court.

Looking through all the options at the food court, from burgers to Bar-B-Que and even to Louisiana crawfish but our stomachs decided that we needed Nachos. And Boy, did they hit the spot.

After satisfying our cravings for food, it was time to burn off some of those calories by going to check out some of the expos that were going on.

DSCN0967.JPG

What do you want or need? They had it all! Cowboy hats, mattresses, specialty adult beverages, leather boots, it was just amazing how much there was to see! But, like most young guys, Avery was starting to get bored and was again thinking about bumper car action! So it was back to the midway for more youthful action.

Finally, after a few more rides and a lot more walking, our feet had started to ache and we headed back to the shuttle and our car.

I can’t think of a better way to help my young charge dissipate some energy on a beautiful Saturday afternoon while enjoying the tradition of a 100-year old Fort Worth event.

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at This Is Your Town or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

 

A Scrumptous Meal (1)

Mason & Dixie

According to some of my blogger friends, I was missing out on a hidden gem at the Grapevine Antique Market that not many people knew about.

A small café, called Mason & Dixie, is located inside the Grapevine Antique Mall, which is located on Northwest Highway in Grapevine. I call it a café, because it’s NOT a tea room and not a restaurant, but in an attempt to keep with the antique theme, it’s a café, or if you will, a southern eatery.

When I visited their Facebook page, I fell in love with the menu. One of their most popular items is a version of a French sandwich called a “Croque Monsieur” which has Black forest ham, two cheeses – Havarti & Gruyere and Dijon mustard, all placed on Croissant roll, which is then covered mornay sauce (Gruyere cheese and egg yolk) and baked. Uhmmmm!

Their sandwich menu also has a Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, a Reuben Sandwich that’s piled high with sauerkraut and corned beef and a Fig Panini, among other choices.

After a sandwich (and sometimes before) comes the most important course of any meal – Dessert – I spell it with a capital “D” because it’s so crucial.  According to internet reviews Mason and Dixie does Dessert right, with one favorite being the Sea Salt Caramel Brownie.

My stomach was beginning to growl just looking at the menu and the deciding what to eat.

DSCN0941

When I entered the Antique Market, I looked to the left and saw my destination, which was marked with a sign telling the hours “11 to 2:27”

“Why 11-2:27?” I asked, Beth, the owner and chef.

She told me, “Nobody will ever forget that time.” I chuckled, she’s right. Plus, with these hours, she’s able to do some catering in the evening.

Beth was blessed with a little good luck along her path to success. She started out being a caterer throwing parties and everybody loving her food (which is tasty!) and, since she has a natural flair for interior design, she was invited to do a few projects for clients. Word of mouth took over and she got more gigs for both interior design and catering.

Then, 2-years ago space came available at the Grapevine Antique Market and Beth left her catering card behind. They soon called her to come work at the restaurant inside the mall.

Using her skills for interior design she helped them redesign the restaurant and they started fresh. Her designs make for a cozy environment to “Gather. Sip. Eat.”

Each table has filtered water, the menu, a tin full of sweeteners and some flowers. It’s like going to visit your Great-aunt – if your Great-aunt is a Southern Belle.

DSCN0942.JPG

The name, Mason & Dixie is a play on words and inspired by the Mason-Dixon Line, which is considered to be the cultural boundary between the north and south. This theme allows Beth to prepare a variety of southern recipes with that southern flare. Throughout my interview with Beth and time spent at Mason & Dixie the Southern Hospitality is very evident.

Beth has a loyal clientele. Her customers know where to get a good southern meal and she knows what they want.

There is usually a theme with her food varying from week to week and the week I visited it was kind of a New Orleans, French inspired menu.

I had the Croque-Monsieur Sandwich, that I described above. It was phenomenal! I had a mental image of strolling the French Quarter, listening to the Blues and eating my sandwich on a sidewalk café.

DSCN0948.JPG

Then, she offered me “THE DESSERT” – THE DESSERT” will become the benchmark by which I measure all future Desserts – Brown Sugar & Pecan, Bread Pudding with Butter Bourbon Sauce!

OMG! It took my breath away it was so good; I’m salivating as I write this.

DSCN0952.JPG

If you want a cozy lunch or if you just want the Brown Sugar & Pecan, Bread Pudding with Butter Bourbon Sauce, go to Mason & Dixie, located inside the Grapevine Antique Market and when you see Beth tell her Deandra, from Texas Air Doctors said, “Howdy!” (That’s a Southern greeting for “Hello.”)

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at This Is Your Town or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

 

 

 

Texas Folk Art

Amon Carter Museum

Christmas is finally over and it’s a brand new year, so I’ve been online searching for events, looking for something interesting to fill my weekends and tell you about. I found four very interesting exhibits, all at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.

If you’re not familiar with the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, it’s fantastic! Even if you’re not into the museum experience and it is quite spacious and has a terrific view of downtown Fort Worth. The museum has original Mr. Carter’s western art collection, such as Remington bronzes and paintings along with his daughter’s collection of modern art works.

Ruth Carter Stevenson is Amon Carter’s daughter and after his death she was responsible for organizing the museum according to Mr. Carters’ wishes. He requested that much of his considerable wealth be used to build a museum to house the works he already owned and to purchase and display additional art as a public service for the citizens of Fort Worth, a city he dearly loved. Mr. Carter’s desire was that his museum be free, and it including special exhibits.

DSCN0859

Today you can see the following exhibits:

Texas Folk Art runs through September 19 and is exactly what it says – Folk Art. Paintings and sculptures by itinerant artists from Texas that have very basic lines but lots of visuals showing what life was like day to day in the artists perspective.  I found these pictures to be amateurish and simple. It made me wonder what it would be like to live in that time, was it really that dull and monotonous?

folk art

Clara McDonald Williamson, The Family Room, 1955  

folk art 2

Clara McDonald Williamson, Landscape by Moonlight, 1957-58

Another exhibit was Tales from the American West: The Rees-Jones Collection, which will be in town until February 21. Trevor Rees-Jones, the collector, became interested in western art, when he visited the Amon Carter as a young boy. His collection spans from the eighteenth century through the 1920s. Sculptures, watercolors, and much more are on display. The exhibit mainly portrays the American way of life of in the West, displaying everything from Indians to landscapes, they spoke to the Cowgirl in me. Riding horses, herding cattle and fighting off outlaws and bad guys. Well, maybe I’ve watched a few too many western movies.

american west

This one is a favorite, Charles Schreyvogel, Protecting the Enigrants, 1906

DSCN0868

Another favorite, Adolph Alexander Weinman, Chief Black Bird, Ogalalla Sioux modeled 1903, Bronze.

Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum, which is a kind of art that came after the War of Independence, all of the artists are self-taught. According to selftaughtgenius.org, as the field matured under the umbrella of “folk art” it also expanded to include a wider variety of artists. For the last twenty years, the term “self-taught” is more about addressing the artistic inspiration from unsuspected paths and unconventional spaces. As you can see, the range of Self-Taught Artwork ranges from letters, books, quilts, to even buildings made out of airplane parts, wood, metal, glass, etc. It was quite an amazing display including a variety for forms including textile, furniture, drawings, ceramics, etc., dating from the eighteenth century to the present.

self taught

Ammi Phillips, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog, 1830-1835

2002.35.1

Marino Auriti, Encyclopedia Palace/Palazzo, ca. 1950s

10660327_10205258023679011_4658003489253673051_n

Marino Auriti, Encyclopedia Palace/Palazzo,  ca. 1950s

DSCN0875.JPG

Artist unidentified, Pictorial Table Rug, c. 1840

My favorite though was  That Day: Laura Wilson which lasts until February 14.

Perhaps it’s my favorite because I’m a movie buff and Laura Wilson lives in Dallas and is the mother three actors – Andrew, Owen, and Luke Wilson.

Her exhibit of seventy-two black and white photographs are both startling and mesmerizing. Kind of like watching a car crash – you don’t want to look, but you have to. It’s an interesting collection of beauty and violence. Each one was different than the last, and each single frame told a story that lead to the next.

94-33.10a

Laura Wilson, Debutante and Her Maids, Laredo, Texas, February 18, 1994

azborder.1.30

Laura Wilson, Young Woman with Child, border camp, Arizona-Sonora border, June 30, 2000

cowboyswalking

Laura Wilson, Cowboys Walking, J.R. Green Cattle Company, Shackelford County, Texas, May 13, 1997

So, wow, I picked the right day to go the Amon Carter, 4 exhibits and an entire day to enjoy them.

The Amon Carter Museum, located at 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth 76107 in the Cultural District of Fort Worth. The Amon Catrer Museum of American Art is free, as per Amon Carter wanted: non-profit. They have several exhibits that occur so it’s great to stop by any day of the week and just take a break from the world and enjoy the beauty in art.

 

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at http://itsyourtown.com or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

 

Bedford Tree Lighting

I’m a resident of Bedford, and I knew I couldn’t miss this tree lighting! I had my nine-year-old companion, Avery with me and we were off for our adventure!

The events started at the Bedford Public Library, where they had cookie decorating, storytelling, coloring, and movies! What more could you ask for? We were greeted by everyone in the Library in their best reindeer costume, and there were so many options on what to do! Cookie decorating, coloring, storytelling, movie watching, even the Mayor was going to come and read a story!

DSCN0381

I asked Avery, what was the first thing he wanted to do, and he was already thinking with his stomach and took me straight to the cookie decorating. There were so many options to put on your cookies! So many different colors of sprinkles, mints, candy, and of course frosting. From there, we did a little bit of coloring, mine was a snowman and a train, Avery chose ornaments which he later gave to me so we could cut out and hang them. He quickly caught the eye of a movie playing in the next room, and that was the next place he wanted to go!

It started to get later, and then it was time for the Hay Ride that would take us up to Old Bedford School, in 1915 they built this two story brick schoolhouse and was used for many students through the 1950s and was used until 1969. Now it is used for special events like weddings, tours, and of course, the Tree Lighting. There was a lit path leading up to the Old Bedford School for those who didn’t want to wait on the hay ride, but we both really wanted to have a hay ride.

DSCN0418

Old Bedford School House

Slowly it was our turn, the tractor came around and we hopped on back the lit trainer, and enjoyed our ride up to the Old Bedford School, which too our surprise was lit up in blue lights, decorated to every detail. The outside had blue trim, blue windows, and a Christmas wreath down the middle all in blue. It was quite a vision. Along the ride, we could see all the activities that were taking place: a bounce house, a tent with Charlie Brown playing, which was also the snack and arts station, a train ride, local students performing, and even an ice scultpurist hard at work! Learning after our last outing together at Sundance Square, we knew that the first place we were going to go was to get hot chocolate. I stood in line for hot chocolate, while Avery worked hard on a wreath, and to my surprise there were even donutholes from Shipley’s Do-Nuts , which has been in Bedford for as long as I could remember! Hot chocolate and donut holes are the perfect combination, so much so Avery had to go back and get more donuts while I watched the gentleman sculpture ice. He was using a chainsaw and working with such ease on the block of ice.

Then the tree was lit! What a magnificent tree, it just glowed so brightly I was astonished by the sparkling star on top, the tree had an extensive amount of lights and decorations. Candy canes were lit around part of the tree, it was like something out of Santa’s Village! Avery and I just stood next to each other in awe over the Bedford’s Christmas Tree, it was quite sight.

Bedford’s Animal Shelter was also out there, with pets to adopt and a huge inflated husky decorated for Christmas! There were so many lights to be seen, Santa and his reindeers, even the flag post was decorated and stood tall. It was starting to get kind of chilly and we went to stood by the fire to get warm. Avery was so excited about the lights, “Deda,” he said. “Can we see more Christmas lights?”

I looked down at him next to the fire pit, I knew there was an area in town, over by Glennbrook Homes off of Meadowside and Brookside. That was going to be our next stop!

DSCN0457

At first we drove around, looking at beautiful nativity scenes and decorations, but then we stumbled upon the crème de la crème of homes!

These lights were marvelous! There were arches full of lights, I saw others pulled over to the side getting out and taking pictures. “Do you think this is the place, Avery?” I asked him eagerly. He was ready to get out and explore this beautiful home full of lights. Everytime you walked through there was more and more to see! Reindeers waiting for Santa, candy canes, polar bears, snowmen, even a mailbox that opened and closed! This was truly Santa’s Village with every detail memorable and precise.

DSCN0478

Avery was so excited, running through the little pathways finding more and more things we didn’t see the first time. We found Santa Claus standing next to a cactus, I think Santa finally arrived in Texas. Christmas presents were glowing, the pathways were covered in white to look like snow. There were nutcrackers, even a cowboy snow man with a hat and huge belt buckle waving “Howdy” to us. But, we had to continue on our drive through the area to see what else there was. Avery was disappointed to go, but so happy to run through the Village of Lights! We discovered Palm Trees, houses decked out from their roof to their bushes. Then it was time to go home. L

DSCN0484

I was filled with Christmas joy and happiness, seeing all those lights really got me in the Christmas spirit and makes me want to put lights out! Christmas Lights have always been my favorite part of the season and it was wonderful to share that with my companion, Avery.

DSCN0502

I highly recommend checking out the Glennbrook Homes! This is their 25th Anniversary of decorating Christmas Style, and they know how to illuminate a night! There are extra pictures below! There so more than enough to take.

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at http://itsyourtown.com or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

DSCN0482DSCN0466DSCN0472DSCN0485DSCN0461.JPGDSCN0470.JPG

holidays!

Lone Star Christmas and ICE!

 

My friend, Thom invited me to accompany him on his first excursion to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. Frank, my boss at Texas Air Doctors, agreed to let me off early as long if I promised to use the trip for my blog.

I was very excited because the Gaylord is a very interesting place to visit at any time, but it’s particularly inviting around Christmas because of all the decorations!

The Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Convention Center is located in Grapevine, and was built in April of 2004. It is a HUGE 400,000 square feet of sights, sounds and entertainment.

Along with 1,511 rooms, 127 suites and four restaurants, it has the fabulous Glass Cactus Night Club, rated as one of the top 25 nightclubs in the United States.

As you probably know, Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of the World and the Gaylord Texan helps make that title true.

Christmas trees, colorful decorations, bright lights are everywhere: hanging from the 10-story ceilings, lining every railing, placed on every tree that grows along the river that runs through the Resort. It is truly a beautiful and awe inspiring sight. As you walk the pathways you’ll see there is a little train set with a town called “Lowdown” that’s lit with solar panels.

Exploring the area had given us an appetite, so we started looking for a place to eat: Old Hickory Steakhouse, Zeppole Coastal Italian, Texan Station Sports Bar & Grill, or the Riverwalk Cantina. Although the decision was hard, I wanted to sit by so we could watch the koi, so we chose the Riverwalk Cantina. The view setting was both charming and intimate with the little river flowing past us, surrounded by the beautiful plants and flowers, plus the koi fish below.

DSCN0686.JPG

The menu looked delicious, a modern twist on classic Tex-Mex dishes with an open café replicating the feeling of San Antonio’s Riverwalk! They had so many options from Sizzling Fajitas, Street Tacos, Seared Gulf Coast Grouper, and The Texan Hamburgesa (100% Angus beef, bacon, jalapeno cream cheese, cheese, lettuce, tomato, smoked onion on a house-crafted brioche bun!) ! For starters we had the queso dip which came out in a skillet, it was the perfect appetizer, the hot gooey cheesiness! Next, was our main course! I had the Sizzling Shrimp Fajitas and Thom got the Texas Hamburgeresa. Everything was cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful.

After dinner came the main attraction – a tour through the annual Christmas show called “ICE” (which is open until January 3, 2016)! Ice is where a group of Chinese ice artist carve over two million pounds of ice into a winter wonderland! They use three types of ice for the exhibit, Clear “Crystal Ice”, White Ice, and Colored Ice. (http://www.marriott.com/hotel-info/dalgt-gaylord-texan-resort-and-convention-center/lone-star-christmas/udp3ura/making-of-ice.mi)

The theme this year was Christmas Around the World. As the line thinned out, was our turn to go in as they gave us some large parkas to provide some extra warmth. Though Thom and I were very excited on what we might see, we weren’t prepared for how cold it was going to be in the Exhibit. The temperature is 9 degrees and today there was a wind blowing as well! It was really chilly! Although I’ve never been there this is what I imagine Christmas morning Alaska would be like.

It was quite amazing what they made out of ice! They had several ornaments representing different countries. For example, for Germany, they made a gingerbread house, with a tree behind, and a nutcracker standing on guard! Their attention to every little detail made you wonder whether was really ice or not.

DSCN0725.JPG

 

I loved the Swedish display! It was a large wooden shoe with a carrot sticking out of it, Santa on a white horse, and a Swedish girl holding tulips. Mexico was very festive! With piñatas and streamers hanging from the ceiling, it looked like they were ready to hit that piñata! All the colors were vibrant and lively.

Oh and the toys! There were giraffes, cars, elephants, all carved from ice.

There was a little break in the ice sculptures where you can slide down the ice! Although many children and their parents were enjoying it, I felt it was too cold for me and I was afraid I would get stuck to the ice. I could just hear the television news teasers, “Local woman sticks to the ice at the Gaylord – news at 10.” No, thanks, I’ll walk on.

DSCN0732.JPG

The ice sculpture that was most attractive to me was a beautiful white dove, with its wings spread in flight and the word, “Peace” written underneath. It was quite extraordinary.

DSCN0735.JPG

It is so hard to believe that all of this beauty is cut and sculpted in such detail from large block of ice! I got very lucky to see a man doing some the carving a bear and got a good photo of it.

DSCN0744

When we reached the North Pole exhibit, Santa was sitting in his big cushy chair checking his Naughty and Nice list. I saw my name on the nice list! J

I got to sit in a sled, next to a reindeer and although I assumed the Elf was going to be my driver, just sat back on the presents ready for a joy ride!

The last scene of the ICE Exhibit was a nativity scene. An exquisite Angel was lit and stood back watching the Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus laying in the manger. It was absolutely breathtaking. It made me thankful for everything that has occurred in my life.

Outside the exhibit, they had hot chocolate! (I’ve learned now, how essential hot chocolate is when it gets cold.) There was a little shop with trinkets, ornaments and other souvenirs you could purchase to remember the event. What caught my eye the most were the big red Santa boots!

DSCN0752.JPG

On our walk back to the main resort, there were so many Christmas Trees decorated in so many different fashions. One was decorated with blue ornaments and white stars for the Dallas Cowboys. They even had a Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling that was all lit up. Another was made out of Patron liquor bottles and that had been fashioned into a fountain.

When we got back to the central it was totally dark outside and the decorations inside the glass Atrium, that is the ceiling of the Gaylord, became more evident and beautiful! It looked like the lights were falling out of the sky, the Christmas trees were lit up, even the main lobby of the hotel had perfect Christmas decorations. Even as we walked back to parking garage the lights were all along the way, the trees were lit up, and right outside the hotel by the flags, across from the pond, it looked like shooting stars reaching for the sky.

DSCN0776.JPG

The ICE exhibit was fun. The artists were skilled. The venue was beautiful. And the lights – they were spectacular. All in all, I think Thom enjoyed first visit to the Gaylord just as much as I did, and it was my third trip!

The Gaylord has several other events this Christmas Season also. You can have breakfast with Rudolph, build a gingerbread house, cookies and milk with Ms. Claus, Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt, Santa’s Wild Workshop Snow Tube, Santa’s Snowball throwing workshop, and a meet and greet with Rudolph and friends!

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at http://itsyourtown.com or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

 

Hot Chocolates

Goodies.png

 

When starting this blog, I asked around to quite a few people, “Where’s the best place in town to get cakes?” Almost everybody said, “Hot Chocolates!”

After going to their website (www.hotchocolates.net) it said that their brick and mortar store had been closed since March, but under the guidance of the Texas Cottage Food Law, it made it legal to sell baked goods from home.

Being curious about the rave reviews so many people told me, I hopped on Facebook and saw the creative designs: one was built like a construction zone, having the tow trucks and cranes collect candy, the one that caught my eye the most was a cake with a Crayola crayons box on it filled with 64 crayons and had a few laying out on the cake. It was amazing to see what kind of creativity and designs could come from one person and I knew I had to meet Becky!

12235094_10153266942647602_3199029624337804114_n

 

Hot Chocolates has been around since 2002, that’s thirteen years!

Becky did not start out as baker, she earned her degree in restaurant and hotel management from Texas Tech, but when she met her future business partner, who had worked at bakeries while in college, their friendship was instantaneous and they started cooking together. First just dinners, then cakes until finally they decided to start their own business – Hot Chocolates!

Becky enrolled in a baking class so she could get the basics down, then expanded to decorating and let her creativity shine.

She and her business partner leased a space and ran their bakery next to the Mardel’s Bookstore in the Mayfair shopping center, on highway 26 in Hurst, for about five years, and had another brick & mortar storefront, beforehand for five years as well..

Then the lease was up.

Becky’s business partner decided to pursue other interests, but Becky still had the passion to bake, so she moved the business to her home. She prepares her cakes in her kitchen and has converted a bedroom to a dedicated cake decorating studio! I think decorating is where she shines.

Working on her own she gets the chance to expand her knowledge and experience by doing all the designs herself instead of having a helper! She does more than just cakes though, she does cupcakes, cookies, brownies and .. .. Gosh, if it is baked, she does it.

Besides chocolate or vanilla, you can choose from over 50 other cake flavors including Pink Champagne and Italian Cream.

12243496_10153266922852602_1365471594565765375_n

12294801_10153285051047602_7879930564912220202_n

If you have special dietary requirements, she also makes gluten free and sugar free cakes.

When you’re ready to order your cake, she needs two weeks’ notice, due to being the only person doing all of the work and baking between seven to ten cakes a week!

How do I get my cake if she bakes from home? Becky offers curbside pickup from her home. You don’t even have to get out of the car!

Meeting Becky was such a pleasure and it was great to get to know her, but she sweetened the meeting by bringing me a treat, four delicious cupcakes! I brought them back to the Texas Air Doctor’s office for everyone to sample: two chocolate and two vanilla cupcakes. I chose the vanilla cupcake with sprinkles on it, it was moist and fluffy and decorated pretty. The frosting was just right! Not too much, and not super sweet, just the most splendid cupcake I have ever ate. And I think everyone in my office agrees, as well.DSCN0215.JPG

Hot Chocolates is definitely a wonderful and tasty place to order a cake for your next celebration. Becky is an amazing baker and cake decorator and it will make your special occasion even more special! I highly recommend that you give her a call at 817-282-9400 when you’re looking for a creative cake that is outside of the box. You’ll be both filled and fulfilled.

Deandra

Texas Air Doctors’ Social Media Director

Want to know what’s going on in your town or have suggestions for me?

Read my blog at This Is Your Town or Contact me at Deandra@TexasAirDoctors.com

 

Southlake Tree Lighting

 

 

contract

I have never been to a tree lighting before, so I decided to go to the Southlake Town Square Tree Lighting. Town Square is so huge, it is easy to get lost in there. I went on line and looked to see where to park, and there were lots of options! Not knowing the Southlake Town Square very well, I parked over by Trader Joe’s and headed off to my adventure!

All of the events, from parking to getting a picture with Santa is FREE. Parking is easy and not stressful, I arrived at about five o’clock (it started at 430) and when I left at eight there was no traffic.

It was the coldest nights of the year, so far! Food was the first thing on my mind upon arrival, I walked through checking out the booths, chocolate dipped frozen cheesecake, caramel apples, cotton candy, hot chocolate, and some barbeque. I can’t believe how much food there was!

As I walked checking out the food, there was Christmas music everywhere, local school children playing Christmas songs, even an elementary school was performing.

DSCN0155.JPG DSCN0166.JPG

There were several restaurants in Town Square, I found stopped at Snuffer’s. Needing to warm up a bit, I got a delicious cheeseburger to help me to be able to capture all of the events that the Tree Lighting had to offer. Never would I have imagined all of the fun things they had to do.

People were making snowmen, other kids were sledding, there were booths set up to make your own ornament, design your own cupcake! Gee, I wish I was a kid again to really enjoy all the fun activities that Southlake had to offer.

DSCN0134.JPG  DSCN0148.JPG

Lots of characters were running around that night! I ran into some elves and we took a selfie, they were dressed in red and had the biggest smiles on their face! Then I ran into some very tall soldiers, they were so handsome. Snoopy put a big smile on my face and I got to rub his belly, then when I turned a corner there was Rudolph with his red nose so bright. Did you know that this is his 76th anniversary leading Santa’s sleigh! Seeing Mrs. Claus was very nice, she was sitting on a bench and I stopped and chatted with her. She encouraged me to go see Santa!
DSCN0116.JPG    DSCN0058.JPG

 

DSCN0059.JPG    DSCN0083.JPG

The line to Santa’s Village was kind of long, but worth the wait to have a chance to sit in the sleigh with him and get my picture taken! As I waited in line, I saw carriage rides passing by with beautiful black and white horses and the carriage all decorated up with Christmas Lights.

DSCN0050

DSCN0189.JPG

Finally! It was my turn to see Santa, it was so exciting! Santa with that white beard covering his face and jolly belly. I whispered to him, “I am hoping for a Pony this year.” There was a post office next to Santa’s Village where you can write your list or a letter to Santa in case you didn’t get a chance to speak with him. I filled out my list, Pony being number one on the list, followed by Barbie’s Dream House, and that new convertible car I’ve been saving up for, and dropped it in his mailbox.

DSCN0060.JPG

Southlake was so full of joy and togetherness, it really brought out the Christmas Spirit. One of my favorite parts is the beauty that exists in Southlake Town Center, the fountains lit up with red and green to celebrate the season, the trees turning the beautiful autumn colors with Christmas lights wrapped around them.

DSCN0188.JPG

The Christmas Tree was HUGE and decorated beautifully, lights twinkling and ornaments sparkling. I could just feel the Christmas Spirit in myself and Southlake. Then there were fireworks! It was an awesome surprise and made things just as special.

DSCN0139.JPGDSCN0140.JPG

I highly recommend taking a visit to Southlake to check out the beautiful tree, the scenery, and the great stores and restaurants.

I will definitely being going again next year and bring more friends! It was so much fun and family friendly.

My only regret? Missing the carriage ride because of the long lines, but I’ll do it next year.

Overall, it was fun, easy, and a great was to spend time with your loved ones and get into the Holiday Spirit!

PS I just love this picture below.

DSCN0089.JPG