Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My trip to Dallas Part 3: Going back home and The Salt Lick BBQ

My blog post about my last day in Dallas.

Tuesday was the last day of our trip so we woke up at 9 am and had some free coffee at the hotel breakfast bar. We stopped at a couple of stores to see if we could find some souvenirs but we had no luck. 

Saying goodbye to Dallas was bittersweet. I loved my entire time there and only wish I had more days to spend there but I had school and responsibilities waiting for me at home. 

Saying goodbye to Dallas until next time!

 On our way out of the city we passed the House of Blues. I would have loved to go there and I hope next time I travel to Dallas I can make it. 

House of Blues, Dallas, TX

I had heard of The Salt Lick BBQ before, so on our way back I knew I wanted to stop there for lunch. We stopped at the location in Round Rock, TX.

The Salt Lick in Round Rock, TX  has amazing BBQ!

They had a great selection of different BBQ meats on their menu. 

What to order at The Salt Lick BBQ.

I went with the sliced brisket sandwich and it was fantastic. The meat was tender and juicy and their house BBQ sauce was excellent. The sandwich came with homemade coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans. They also gave us homemade pickles on the side, they were my favorite!

Amazing brisket sandwich from The Salt Lick BBQ in Round Rock, TX

The sandwich came on homemade sesame seed bread. It was really soft and the perfect compliment to the smoked meat. The sandwich was so big that I only ate half and took the rest to go.

Now that's what I call a brisket sandwich! Only in Texas.

The rest of the drive home was pretty uneventful and quite tiring. I stopped at an Arby's to pick up some food for my family because my Dad is a huge Arby's fan and there isn't a location where we live. I also wanted to take them food to thank them for watching my dogs.

The best part of the drive home was definitely coming home to these two faces!

This is Hershey, my boy Miniature Schnauzer.

Hershey the Miniature Schnauzer.

And this is Jellybean my girl Maltese/Poodle mix.

Jellybean the Maltese/Poodle mix

My trip to Dallas was really fun and exciting and I can't wait to go back. The best part was definitely the Maroon 5 concert.

Make sure you also check out part one and part two of my trip.

Monday, April 6, 2015

My trip to Dallas Part 2: Maroon 5 Concert, Dallas Galleria, Fifty Shades of Grey

A day in Dallas, Maroon 5 concert, Dallas Galleria, Fifty Shades of Grey!

On Monday my friends and I woke up around 8 to take advantage of the free breakfast the hotel offered. I tried to make healthy choices because I knew later on we would be snacking and eating out. I got some scrambled egg, breakfast potatoes, a sausage link, a biscuit and some fruit and yogurt. I also had a cup of coffee and a glass of ice water. Unfortunately the breakfast was not good at all... It had very little taste and even the fruit and yogurt were less than fresh. I ended up eating just half the biscuit and the potatoes. 

Healthy hotel breakfast.

After breakfast we went back up to the room to get ready for a fun day out. It was super cold that day, I believe it was 32 degrees. Brrrr 
We ended up going to the Dallas Galleria. That's right, we went to the mall. On a Monday. In the morning. 

Things to do in Dallas: Visit the Galleria

It was actually super fun and we had the mall almost all to ourselves. I think it was about 10 am and most of the stores weren't even open yet. So we decided to walk around and window shop. I saw a bunch of stores that aren't in my local mall so that was pretty cool. 

Gucci at the Dallas Galleria

Galleria Dallas on my last trip.

Louis Vuitton at the Galleria Dallas.

Since I didn't have have much to eat for breakfast I was feeling kind of sluggish after about an hour. We could smell fresh cookies baking so we made a beeline for the Nestle Tollhouse Shop. I'm not normally a sweet food kind of person but the cookies there were out of this world good!

Nestle Tollhouse cookies!

I ended up choosing two cookies, one was chocolate chip pecan and the other a peanut butter cup one. I also had a small iced coffee. 

Those chocolate chip pecan cookies were amazing!

We found a great spot to sit on the second floor right by the edge where we could see people ice skating at the ice rink. I have to admit it was pretty relaxing having coffee and cookies and people watching at the mall on a Monday morning.

Galleria Dallas: Ice skating!

Cookies and coffee for a shopping break in Dallas.

The chocolate chip pecan cookie was amazing. It was super fresh and it had the perfect texture between chewy and crispy. I ate all of it. The other cookie, the one with the peanut butter cup baked in the center, was so good but so rich and decadent that I only had two small bites and took it back to the hotel with me.

Peanut butter cup cookie from Nestle Tollhouse. The BEST peanut butter cup cookie ever!

After hanging out at the Galleria for a few hours, we left to explore and ended up at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The building has a very modern architectural style. There's a glass level on an incline that has an escalator you can actually ride. 

Perot museum of nature and science.

I thought the typography of this sign was really cool.

We walked in and saw the prices and the line and we decided to leave. The place was jam packed with children and families and the cover charge was like $30/person. There was a Sherlock Holmes exhibit which I would have LOVED to explore but I guess it'll have to be next time.

We left the museum and headed to a movie theater close by. Fifty Shades of Grey had just premiered the previous weekend and we were excited to check it out. We were one of only three groups of people watching Fifty Shades on a Monday during the day. It was funny but it also made watching it less awkward. I'm a huge book nerd and I tried to read the Fifty Shades book but I was not a fan. I didn't know what to expect from the movie other than what I'd seen in the previews but I have to confess that I really, really liked the movie. I think they found a way to translate the book into the movie where it wasn't cheesy or fake. Also, watching Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey? THE highlight of the movie. I'm actually a huge Jamie Dornan fan, having discovered him playing a twisted, sadistic serial killer in the TV show The Fall. (Find it now on Netflix) So watching him shirtless was a pretty huge selling point for me. My friends of course loved the movie. 

Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

One of the girls wanted to get a snack at the theater but wanted to share. So we agreed to split an order of bacon cheese fries. They were really good and it was my first actual "meal" of the day. I always to try to make good decisions about what I eat since I am on a weight loss journey, but being on vacation is a good time to enjoy and not stress too much about being perfect in our food choices. 

Movie theater food: bacon cheese fries!

I took pictures with my friends in case your wondering, but they aren't ok with having their picture online. Since this is my blog, I'll only post things about myself because I'm not the type of person to force the spotlight on my friends. 

After the movie we headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the concert. Seeing Maroon 5 in concert was a dream of mine and an item in my 30 Before 30 List. I've been a huge fan of them since Songs About Jane and I could not believe I got to go. We watched some HBO and I also had a healthy snack, grapes and a yogurt I had packed. The hotel had a mini fridge so we stored water and snacks there. It was a money saver for sure. 

Also, notice the coffee stirrers in my yogurt. I couldn't find a spoon and used what I could find in the room. It worked pretty well actually.

Healthy hotel snack: grapes and yogurt!

I started to get sleepy back in the hotel room but I forced myself to stay awake because I knew if I napped, I would be groggy and have a sleep hangover. I started to get ready while watching a movie called Walk of Shame with Elizabeth Banks. It was so funny that I vowed to rent it when I got back home. (I did rent it and I must say I loved it and recommend you check it out.)

I actually ran out of time while doing my makeup that I ended up just wearing a simple teased pony in my hair. 

Dallas hotel room selfie.

I wore black skinny jeans and a cool striped blazer from Forever 21 that I bought last year and that for some reason always reminds me of Lady Gaga. (Must be the shoulder style)

The venue for the concert was the American Airlines Center. We got there pretty early because we didn't want to have a hard time finding parking. We paid $30 to pay close by. I know, ridiculous.

I got to see Maroon 5 in concert at the American Airlines Center in Dallas!

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

A girl named Rozzi Crane opened the show and she was alright. She's Adam Levine's protege and apparently she sings the Christina Aguilera part in Moves Like Jagger. After her came Magic! They're the band that sings Rude. It was a super popular song last year. 

Magic! In concert.

I'll admit our seats were definitely not the best and all photos were taken with my iPhone so they are not the best quality. I could've taken my real camera but I really wanted to enjoy the concert and sing my heart out with Maroon 5. Does anyone else think the experience is more important than the photos?

Here's some shots of Maroon 5.

Maroon 5 concert in Dallas, TX!

Maroon 5 V tour.

Maroon 5 V Tour Dallas, TX

They opened with Animals, and the whole concert was just amazing. It was actually the first stop of their entire V tour and I was so excited I got to be a part of it. I'll never forget singing along with Adam Levine to all my favorite Maroon 5 songs!

Adam Levine in concert!

Man crush Monday: Adam Levine

Oh Adam!

Adam Levine from Maroon 5 in concert.

After the concert we went back to the hotel and had an early night since we were leaving back home the next morning.

I have a short post of part 3 coming up that includes a review of an amazing BBQ restaurant we ate at. 

If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of my trip here and Part 3 here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monthly Netflix Favorites: March 2015

Monthly Netflix TV show reviews on this blog!

Like many of you out there, I'm a huge Netflix fan. I find that personally I find myself more drawn to the amazing TV shows rather than the movies they offer. Because I constantly find new favorites, I decided to create a monthly series where I share my monthly Netflix faves. (Disclaimer: I am NOT affiliated with Netflix in any way, I'm just an avid consumer who pays a monthly fee like everybody else)

I've been a Netflix subscriber since way back when it offered mostly obscure and indy movies and TV shows. As most of you probably know, Netflix has stepped up it's game a hundred fold in recent years. They have SO many amazing TV shows and movies that I find myself having daily dates with my couch. I promise I do more productive things with my time than just watch Netflix ;)

This month I started a watching a few series that were completely new to me. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt review!

This show is the brainchild of comedy genius Tina Fey. It chronicles the life of Kimmy, a woman who was trapped in an underground bunker by a reverend as part of a doomsday cult. When I first read the description, I wasn't too sure if I'd be into that type of story but I decided to give it a shot and I am SO glad I did. It's incredibly funny to see how Kimmy starts dealing with life after 15 years of being (literally) underground. My favorite parts are when she deals with technology and social media (hashbrown no filter!) Kimmy finds an apartment in New York and ends up with a HILARIOUS roommate, a gay aspiring actor, Titus Andromedon. I have laughed out loud at the things Titus say and I feel like sometimes he outshines Kimmy because he is so hilarious. 

The writing in the show is amazingly smart and funny, typical Tina Fey. So if you like comedies and feel like watching something light with catch phrases a la Mean Girls, this show is for you. (Pinoooooot Noir!)

F&F rating: 5/5


Psych season 8 review.

This month I finished a series I've been watching for a while now, Psych. This show stars Shawn Spencer, a guy who can't keep a job for more than a few months. Thanks to his detective dad, he has amazing observational skills, often noticing tiny details other people don't. These skills land him in the police station one day where in order to get out of trouble he "psychically" solves a crime. He ends up getting hired as a psychic consultant for the SBPD and opening up the psychic detective agency, Psych. Along with his childhood best friend Gus, they solve crimes for the police while getting into hilarious situations. There's plenty of laughs, romance and 80's movies references. I've seen all 8 seasons and loved every episode. It was bittersweet to let go of Shawn and Gus but I'm glad I got to know the characters, they were amazing. I recommend this show if you're looking for something out of the box with a different plot in every episode, plus the characters are super quotable.

F&F rating: 4.5/5

Beauty & the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is such a hot and romantic show! Check out the review!

I've been watching a lot of comedies lately and felt like I needed to watch something with more romance. I kept seeing this show when I browsed Netflix, so I finally decided to give it a shot. I am definitely in LOVE with this show. It's a remake of an 80's show by the same name. I've never seen the 80's version but let me tell you this modern day adaptation is amazing.

Beauty & The Beast stars a woman named Cat, who became a detective after her mother was murdered. Cat was saved by a strange "beast" creature, named Vincent. He used to be a doctor and later joined the army where he became part of an experiment to create faster, stronger soldiers. Needless to say the experiment went wrong and Vincent ended up on the run for his life. Cat and Vincent find each other again and work together to solve crimes in New York City. The chemistry between them is HOT. It takes them a while to actually make a move but when they do, trust me you'll be feeling butterflies. The show has plenty of mystery, romance and action, Cat and her partner Tess kick butt! Yay for girl power! Seriously give this show a shot if you need a little romance in your TV repertoire. Plus, this is Vincent:

Vincent Keller from Beauty and the Beast.

Man crush Jay Ryan from Beauty and the Beast.

F&F rating: 5/5

Bates Motel 

Bates Motel Season 2 review up on my blog.

Season 2 of Bates Motel was added on Netflix recently and it was as good if not better than season 1. Bates Motel is a modern retelling prologue of the cult favorite book and movie Psycho. The show delves deep into how Norman Bates became a killer and the relationship with his mother Norma and how it affected his behavior. I have to warn you this show can get a bit uncomfortable at times. I personally love any TV genre and watching something that's gritty, intense and kind of disturbing is right up my alley. There's beautiful people, many subplots and Norma and Norman's relationship will kind of creep you out but you won't be able to turn the show off. This season solves the previous mystery of Mrs. Watson's murder, has Dylan learning a life-altering DISTURBING secret and introduces a few new characters. Seriously, if you're up for a change in TV genre check this show out. 

F&F rating 4/5

Royal Pains

Monthly Netflix favorites for the month of March.

March was a good month for me for new show discoveries. You know how sometimes you try watching a new show on Netflix and you start watching it and it's just eh? This month I hit the TV jackpot because I loved every new show I tried.

I'm no stranger to medical dramas, (is anyone?) House M.D., and Grey's Anatomy being among some of my faves. Royal Pains is such a good show. It stars Hank Lawson, an ER doctor who gets fired after a questionable judgement call. Giving up on life, he retreats to his couch and gets dumped by his fiancee. Thanks to his (funny and charming) little brother Evan R. Lawson C.P.A. (you'll get it when you watch the show) he takes a trip to the Hampton's where he ends up saving a girl's life and is offered a job as the new concierge doctor. Hank ends up making house calls and solving medical cases in every episode. The show definitely has a lighter tone than other medical dramas I've seen, so it's much less stressful to watch. P.S. Hank's physician assistant Divya is super witty and sarcastic, my kind of character. Give this show a try if you want a medical drama with less stress and more charm.

F&F rating: 5/5

Lipstick Jungle 

Lipstick Jungle TV show review.

Almost no woman can say that she wasn't a fan of Sex & The City. It's one of my all time favorite shows for its realism and honesty. I own the complete boxed set and find myself re-watching the episodes often. Lipstick Jungle is based on a book by the same author of Sex & The City, Candace Bushnell. The show was canceled after two seasons (both of which are on Netflix) and it's a shame because it's actually quite good. It follows the lives of three successful career women: a movie exec, a fashion designer and an editor-in-chief. The show delves into balancing family and work life, dealing with dwindling marriages and new relationships. It's definitely a more toned down version with no adult language or explicit sex scenes but I find it's very relatable. While it's definitely NOT a replacement for Sex & The City (nothing ever will be) give this show a try if you like dramas about successful women balancing love lives, families and careers.

F&F rating 4/5

I'm pretty excited about my Netflix monthly faves. I'm also working on a post about my non-Netflix faves, it'll be coming up very soon.

Have you seen any of these shows? What were your monthly favorites for the month of March?