On sunny days in Dallas all I want to do is go to Ascension. Their patio is a frequent host to my and Lydia’s blogging, drinking, caffeination and story swapping.
It’s slightly sunny and barely above 60 degrees today, so naturally I set out to make another such afternoon happen. I was mid-Google mapping when one of my new year’s goals came to mind, reminding me to try new things and places.
So I swapped my Google activity to search and began looking up a new coffee shop instead. Drip Coffee caught my eye, and after reading Yelp reviews criticizing the shop’s environment as too industrial (this Yelper would hate my wedding) and praising their fresh-roasted coffee, I was sold.
And I’m in love.
I’m no expert when it comes to coffee terminology, but I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to taste. Their iced coffee is 100% my favorite in Dallas now. It is dark, rich flavor, slightly nutty and chocolatey, and – my favorite – has a smooth but thick texture. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but I can actually taste the coffee, you know? I hate when it’s a thin, almost syrupy-textured liquid.
Music can make or break a place, and their’s is just the right style (good) and volume level (subtly audible). Nothing like the true aural hideousness that is Mudsmith. Don’t ever go there.
The baristas also actually know or want to know every customer and ask real questions about their lives, which is just awesome.
Regardless of whether my coffee description made any sense, you should definitely try Drip Coffee. Bonus, it is surrounded by a lot of shops with serious cute-potential. Apparently I should make it to the Park Cities side of town more often.
We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. — Max DePree
Isn’t it funny how our minds unconsciously prepare us for upcoming change? I know, I was just writing about how I’m making a conscious effort to live in the moment and appreciate where I am now before I move. Even so, as I rolled into work a tad on the late side this morning I caught myself cursing traffic and thinking, “I can’t wait until I move in a month and don’t have to deal with this traffic anymore.”
Mind you, my new home will not be any closer to work than I am now. In fact, traffic could
even be probably will be worse on that side of town. But it’s like the promised newness is a glittery object (preferably from Anthropologie) dangling in front of me that I can’t help but mesmerizingly coo “oooh pretty” with arms outstretched.
Rather than look at this as a bad thing, I’ve realized it’s actually a coping mechanism of sorts. I’m soon closing the “post-grad firsts” chapter of my life, and my mind is just helping me prepare for a smooth transition to whatever is next. Instead of wanting to hold on tightly to what I have now out of comfort, nostalgia, fear or laziness, my mind is letting me acknowledge those minor details that aren’t 100% awesome to fuel anticipation of all that’s to come.
So, May marks the last month of my South Dallas home and roommates, and I plan to make the most of it by…
- Spending as many sunny afternoons at the rooftop pool as I can, even if it’s just for the last hour of sun after work.
- Actually using my apartment’s gym.
- Hosting a going away party, preferably pool-side of course.
- Finally photographing my favorite buildings, painted walls and random art structures throughout South Dallas.
- Riding the DART…somewhere.
Traveling with friends is always a little hairy. First off, you’re together constantly which can get old in and of itself. Second, you likely will have different ideas as to what you’ll do on your trip. For my Europe trip (now referred to as Wonderlust 2013), I did some planning and research on Berlin last night. Berlin is so rich in history so the major tourist attractions are memorials and museums. I’m not a big history buff. I have an appreciation for history, but it doesn’t exactly get me giddy. So when listing out possible activities, I didn’t list too many of the history heavy spots that populated the pages of my tour guide. What I do find fascinating, however, is how the wars and history affected the landscape of the city. Streets and squares were demolished during the war and the falling of the Berlin Wall and are still working to get back to their original glory. East and West Berlin have switched personalities completely. It just reminds you that all this extreme violence wasn’t too long ago.
Here’s the thing though. What if someone I am traveling with is a die hard history nerd and wants to see every museum with a gun or flag in it? Instead of a constant struggle throughout the trip that could end with me going crazy in a museum, a friend feeling they wasted their trip or someone’s feelings getting hurt, I think it’s important to establish these kinds of things before we even step on a plane. That way, we can establish expectations now and even plan on splitting up if need be. So I’ve sent all my research to my two travel buddies to get their feedback and to start that conversation of “what do you want to get out of this trip?” Granted, it’s a tricky question. But I think everyone should stick up for what they really want to see (a life of regrets is no fun) but also be flexible. You also shouldn’t ruin the trip by having a bad attitude because you didn’t get to see the one statute you came to see. Instead, be up front about what you want to tour that way you can establish early that you might take a solo mission to accomplish your trip goals.
And then sometimes, you’ll see a photo from Tuula Vintage on Instagram in Prague and message your friend and say “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO SEE THIS BRIDGE OR I’LL DIE” in the overly dramatic way that only she can understand, and then she, in her cool Spain, best friend kind of way, will say “Babes, our hostel is on the bridge. You’re welcome.” Can’t wait to see my best friend in just a short few weeks!
If you can’t tell by all these pictures of other places I’d like to be, I’ve been feeling a little restless lately.
I realized, after months (and months) of getting settled and exploring, I feel like I can finally say I know Dallas. I know how to get where I’m going…although my apartment is still the first location to auto-populate in my Google Maps search thanks to all too frequent direction searching. I’ve explored a lot of the major neighborhoods, eaten at a different restaurants, gone out to some different bars, even managed to find multiple different coffee shops, which is quite a feat in a world now overrun by Starbucks’ on every corner. Some people might find all this comforting, but I was always the kid shoving furniture around my room every couple months to have “new” surroundings, living vicariously through often multiple book characters a week, and asking to go to a boarding school so I could have some adventures of my own.
Adjusting to life in one place and without the limitless flying privileges I used to be privy to while still a student is definitely, well…an adjustment. So to me this feeling means it’s time to a) go somewhere new and/or b) get creative.
Luckily, I actually do get to go somewhere pretty soon. Like Lydia, I’m also “planning” a trip, albeit much shorter and not quite as exciting as Europe…I will be celebrating my birthday weekend in Washington D.C. next week. The word planning is in quotation marks because (to my boyfriend’s chagrin) my idea of trip planning involves quite a lot of vague, general ideas about activities and destinations. I’m happiest when I’m just wandering around somewhere new, soaking it all in and stopping at places based on a providential mix of happenstance and locals’ recommendations. I’ve found countless great coffee, cupcakes, shops, and even some celebrities this way. All that said, I am quite excited to be somewhere I have to get on a plane to get to, and I would love any recommendations for cool, must-see (aka must eat or drink) local places.
As for the getting creative, I’m sure there’s plenty of new places in Dallas…now I’ll just have to find them.