Butterflies in the Garden

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

 

Cruisin’ Down Main Street

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Driving down Main Street in the 1967 Corvette.

Frank, my boss at Texas Air Doctors, came to me with the suggestion of writing a blog because I am the Director of Social Media. The idea interested me, but I had no idea what to write about: I’m a single independent woman. I’m not much of a cook nor a do it yourselfer.

I was really stumped as to subject matter for a blog.

Then, on a breezy November day, Frank suggested that I get out of the office. “Take a walk,” he said.  “Get some inspiration,” he said. “Go to Grapevine,” he said.

Well, it was a slow day at the office, and if the boss says go, who am I to argue? So off I went, to downtown Grapevine, with my trusty sidekick and photographer, Gary, to report the sights of Grapevine.

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Upon our arrival, it was obvious they were getting ready for Christmas and some of the stores were already fully decorated. Did you know Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas  (http://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas-capital-of-texas) and the that they have a Christmas Store ( http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7CYY_Merrys_Christmas_Clowns_Grapevine_Texas)  dedicated to lifting your spirit and decorating your home?

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Although I had never walked the length of Grapevine Main Street, certainly not from one end to the other, today I did.

From the north end at the historical Palace Theater, where they not only show old movies like Star Wars, or Cat Ballou for $5 a head, but also have live music presentations. Country to classic music is presented on their stage. Go to http://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/palace-theatre/movies/  to see what’s happening there this week.

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To the south end where Willhoite’s Restaurant (http://www.willhoites.com/) hosts many of the local bikers in the area who meet up and discuss whatever bikers discuss, over beers and burgers. There are so many beautiful motorcycles parked up front it will tweak the desires of every Harley Davidson enthusiast.

I tasted some Olive oils at The Olive Oil Store (http://grapevineoliveoilcompany.com/). Where they sell flavored Olive Oils and an assortment of Balsamic vinegar that is as old as 50-years. It is much, much different from what you get in the grocery store. They have Christmas sets that would be the perfect Christmas gift for your amateur chef.

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I crossed the street from Willhoite’s Restaurant, to Tolbert’s Restaurant (http://www.tolbertsrestaurant.com/index.htm) . A bit of history here – Frank X. Tolbert was a journalist, historian and chili enthusiast who wrote for the Dallas Morning News. He is directly responsible for the success of the Internationally famous “Terlingua Chilli Cookoff” You can even get a Cup, Bowl or Super Bowl of his Original Texas Red, chili at this restaurant, which is run by his daughter Kathleen and her husband.

There are a multitude of antique and souvenir shops along both sides of the street full of “Can’t Live Without” or “To Die For” trinkets. You can easily lose a day in your pursuit of happiness here.

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Napoli’s Italian Cafe – it has some of the best Italian food in town!

At the north end of main, on the East side sits Napoli’s Italian Restaurant ( http://www.napolisgrapevine.com/ ). A go to restaurant for those craving an Italian fix. The food is good, according to my boss and his boss Becky, but the confectionary next door is even better.  Italian ice cream and other desserts, such as Tiramisu Cake, Italian Cream Cake or Cannoli, this is the place to go to satisfy your Italian sweet tooth.

My favorite part of Main Street though was the Torian Log Cabin. It was built in 1845 down the road from Grapevine in the Lonesome Dove community. It had deteriorated but the owner contributed it to Grapevine and it was reconstructed on this little square of land in the heart of Grapevine. You can look in the windows and see how our early settlers lived. I’m glad for modern air conditioning and soft furniture.

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They also have an old time Gazebo. It decorated beautifully for Christmas, with the lights, the elves and a Mistletoe booth. The kids love to run up and over the stage of the Gazebo.

Frank was right, this little afternoon venture helped me determine what I wanted to write about – the Metroplex! I love the Metroplex. There is always so much to do, to experience, and (wait for it) to EAT!! One just doesn’t know about some of the places because they are off the beaten path or you’re not sure what they are or where they are.

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Follow my blog, This is Your Town, You Can Taste It!  for inspiration about where to go or what to see at events around town. I’ll tell you about them so you can experience them too!

P.S. There was a 1967 Red Corvette Convertible I got the pleasure of sitting in, it was amazing! The car was beautiful, and the color was perfect. I think I know what my next car should be.

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Deandra

Director of Social Media1 (2)