Texas Girls Trip

In the beginning of the year, I sat down and came up with a list of 19 things I wanted to do in 2019. I got this idea from the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. Last month, I got to check ‘girls trip to Dallas’ off my list. My mom, sister, and I took a weekend away to visit old friends, indulge in a little pampering, and take a day-trip to Waco to shop at Magnolia Market.

Girls weekend to Dallas, Texas

I decided to drive to Dallas from my home in Fayetteville, Arkansas which took about 5 hours. During the drive, I appreciated the rare alone time and listened to an audio book. The hours passed by quickly, and soon I was at the airport to pick up my mom and sister who flew in from Kansas City. This was my first time driving to the airport in Dallas, so figuring out the airport toll and which terminal to go to, was the most stressful part of the journey. Luckily, I arrived at the right place at the right time.

harbor district in rockwall, texas

We chose to stay at a hotel close to our friend’s home in Rockwall, Texas which is 25 miles away from Dallas. Our room had views of Lake Ray Hubbard – one of the largest lakes in north Texas. We also enjoyed the hotel’s proximity to restaurants along the Harbor.

Harbor District on Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall, Texas

Enjoying authentic Tex-Mex was a priority item on my Texas to-do list, so we ate a late lunch at Gloria’s Restaurant at the Harbor. We also went to Hollywood Nails & Spa to get a pedicure. It was nice to get pampered! We headed back to our room to freshen up before meeting our friends at their lovely home.

road trip to Waco, texas

Visiting Waco on a Saturday in September, we knew we had to get an early start to arrive before the Magnolia attractions got too crowded. We ate breakfast at our hotel and drove nearly 2 hours to Waco. The time went quickly as we chatted.

When we arrived in Waco, we found off-street parking a couple blocks away from the Magnolia Silos. On the walk there, we stopped in fun decor shops called The Findery and the Findery Marketplace.

Shopping in Waco, Texas

magnolia market

Once inside the Magnolia Market, it was difficult to decide what to look at first. How does Joanna Gaines design spaces that feel both crisp and cozy at the same time? I guess that is why so many people (including me) are drawn to visit the HGTV designer’s shops. Besides taking time to smell every type of scented candle, my favorite section was their beautiful garden. I’m inspired to plant daisies, lavender, and roses!

Magnolia Market & Silos in Waco, Texas
I love the sweet combination of Blackfoot Daisy and Fernleaf Lavender found in the Magnolia Garden.

Waxahachie, Texas

After a delightful morning in Waco, we headed back towards our hotel. On the way, we stopped for a late lunch in a quaint town called Waxahachie. On the town square we decided to try Farmluck. I wish we would have come with larger appetites. The ice cream desserts served from their old-fashioned soda fountain looked absolutely amazing. There is a vintage candy store in the back where I purchased kid-sized aprons for my two little girls.

Waxahachie, Texas

downtown rockwall, texas

Once back in Rockwall, we took some time to relax and change clothes before heading out to dinner with our friends in downtown Rockwall. We enjoyed eating at Zanata where we shared a flavorful house salad and a ‘Spiked Happy Hour’ pizza cooked on their wood burning oven. Downtown Rockwall was bustling with live music and families taking pictures of their kids all dressed up for homecoming.

Wine on the patio

We ended our girls weekend with a final stroll around the Harbor and a glass of wine at a restaurant that had an outdoor patio. Great food, nice views, fun pedicures, amazing shopping, a little wine, and the best companions made our Texas trip a perfect girls weekend.

the best of texas

I hope you enjoyed reading about our girls trip to Texas. From Dallas to Austin and San Antonio – there are a lot of big destinations to choose from when planning a trip to the Lone Star State. The smaller city of Rockwall surprised us with its charm and walkability. We fit in a lot to our weekend getaway, but I know there is more to experience in Texas. I’m excited to go back.


Traveling with Kids to Santa Fe, New Mexico (Part 1)

Iconic Santa Fe train stop

One of my 19 in 2019 goals is to take our daughters to two new states this year. Choosing our first destination was easy. I traveled to New Mexico for family backpacking trips and big cousin reunions when I was a kid. I have many fond memories, so I was excited to return. We decided on the city of Santa Fe because it’s known for food, art, culture, and exploring the outdoors.

Hotel Santa Fe

We stayed at the Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda & Spa which we selected because it’s the only Native American-owned hotel in downtown Santa Fe. (according to their website) †

Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda and Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico

We enjoyed the location because we could easily walk to restaurants and attractions. There is also plenty of parking onsite as well as a shuttle service.

We ate a delicious breakfast and dinner at their Amaya Restaurant, and the girls LOVED the outdoor swimming pool where we met several other young families. (the water was a bit chilly for Mom)

Hotel Santa Fe outdoor pool

Restaurants in Santa Fe, New Mexico

I grew up in a town known for it’s food (Kansas City – barbecue), so when I’m visiting a new city with a foodie reputation, I’m eager to try the local flavors.

Tomasita’s – Our first night in town, we went to Tomasita’s which serves ‘northern New Mexican cuisine’. They are known for their red and green chile. My favorite part of the meal was their sopaipillas served warm with honey butter. This restaurant was conveniently located within walking distance to our hotel.

Second Street Brewery at the Railyard – We enjoyed a few snacks and local beer at Second Street Brewery in the Railyard district which is located near the Farmers Market and was also a walkable distance from our hotel. The brewery has a full food menu. The chocolate milk and soft pretzels were a big hit with our daughters.

Pizzaria da Lino – Our gracious server welcomed us like family and the brick oven pizza was delicious. Chili Line Brewing Co. is right next door and it’s also worth checking out their smoked beer.

Chocolate Maven – It’s not surprising that this chocolate shop that seems to be a bit hidden from the other tourist attractions is decorated with numerous “Best of Santa Fe” signs. Their hot chocolate is the best I’ve ever tasted!

Chocolate Maven in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Best of Santa Fe first place winner. Best bakery in santa fe, new mexico

Mangiamo Pronto!  Sam’s Corner Cafe – We enjoyed friendly service and creamy gelato at this cozy Italian cafe.

Gelato in Santa Fe at Mangiamo Pronto! Sam's Corner Cafe

Tip: We had several friends recommend The Shed. We were amazed that this James Beard Award winning restaurant had a two week waiting list for a reservation! Next time we are in New Mexico we will plan ahead.

Our stay was great and the mouth watering food was top-notch, but there is even more to enjoy in Santa Fe. I’ll write another post about our favorite family-friendly attractions, so keep an eye out for Santa Fe: Part 2.

19 Goals in 2019

I recently shared my 19 in 2019 list on facebook and instagram and I enjoyed the reactions I got from my friends and family. It was all very encouraging. I got the idea from the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. It’s not surprising that most of my list has to do with traveling, hiking, and family.

  1. make daily green smoothies for girls and me
  2. grow veggies/herb garden and apple orchard
  3. go on new summit hike with my husband
  4. hike with my Dad and brother up Hallett
  5. celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday with a family trip
  6. girls trip to Dallas
  7. attend Dad’s football hall-of-fame induction
  8. hire 3-4 reliable babysitters
  9. join a book club
  10. take a writing or photography class
  11. do an ironic cross stitch
  12. take girls to 2 new states
  13. explore Arkansas
  14. keep 3+ house plants alive
  15. join moms group in Arkansas
  16. get girls passports
  17. take my oldest daughter (4 years old) to her first movie
  18. start family Friday night game and movie tradition
  19. get my hair cut each quarter
‘Green Smoothie’ (Goal #1)

Hike with Hike it Baby (Goal #13 and #15)

January Progress!

I’ve made progress on finding a mom’s group in Arkansas (#15) which has also helped me explore our new state (#13). I joined Hike it Baby which brings together young families who love to explore nature. The group welcomes both moms and dads, so it’s not your typical ‘moms group’, but I’m ok with that. Hike it Baby is a national organization – you can learn more at hikeitbaby.com.

Hike it Baby Blog

Hike it Baby also has a blog featuring fun and helpful articles about getting outdoors with little kids. I was excited to have a post published a few years ago called “What’s in My Pack?“. I wrote it when our oldest was a baby. I’m sure the post would be completely different if I re-wrote it now that we have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old.

Hall of Fame

Last weekend I was thrilled to check #7 off my list. We attended my Dad’s induction into Missouri State University’s Sports Hall of Fame. My father received the honor for his success as a linebacker. He holds several football records for most tackles that haven’t been broken for over 35 years. Way to go Dad!