Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a day in the life

I'm a Paul kind of girl. But I was intrigued to read this new biography about the life of John Lennon after my mom read it. I've been reading a bit each night after the little one falls asleep. Despite the fact that I'm a Paul fanatic, I must admit that John seems to have been the Beatle with the most interesting personal life. He's definitely not someone I would have wanted to know or be friends with although I do admire him musically. I started thinking, does liking a certain Beatle say something about your personality? If you love John, are you extroverted and thrive on chaos? If you perfer George, does that mean you're shy yet worldy? I'm optimistic and open-minded, so I MUST be a Paul girl, right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

autumn continues...

On Halloween, we took the wee one to the Dallas Arboretum to gaze at mums, frolic among fallen leaves, and have fun with pumpkins. I discovered that there is a tree on the arboretum grounds that has been there since before the constitution was signed. (I love learning interesting facts about my city.) It was an absolutely perfect day (I wore a sweater!), and Harper slept the entire time. Despite the fact that she didn't see much of the gorgeous colors, we did snap some pretty darn cute pictures.

I've decided that holidays, outings, seasons, and special occasions are so much more fun with a child. I can't even imagine what Christmas is going to be like. There's something incredible about the idea of sharing these moments with my daughter, teaching her about traditions and the world around her. I can hardly wait for the next adventure...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

a note on mommyhood

Nothing prepares you for being a parent. No book, no article, no Discovery Channel documentary show. (Although they are all quite helpful.) Nope. You can't understand what it's like to be a parent until you are one. And it's wonderful. And amazing. And empowering. And frustrating. And every emotion you could ever hope and hope not to experience.

One of the most incredible films I've seen in recent memory is Sam Mendes' Away We Go, a little indie flick with a huge message. The first time I saw it, I misinterpreted the message. I thought it was about a couple trying to find a new city to live in, one that would be perfect for their not-yet-born baby. But I saw again after we had Harper, and I get it now. It's about the many ways you can be a parent. The good ways, the bad ways, the ridiculous ways of being a mommy or daddy. I'd recommend it for anyone who is planning to have or already has children. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

early childhood musical tastes

Could it be that my one-month-old has better taste in music than I did at her age? After all, it took me at least 17 years to discover Radiohead. All joking aside, Rockabye Baby is a miracle worker. And Harper seems to enjoy the Radiohead version. I put it on, turn out the lights, and (wham!) she's out like a light. The geniuses over at Rockabye have created lullabye versions of "Paranoid Android," "No Surprises," and some of my other Radiohead favorites (although they seem to have left out everything from The Bends... grrr). We also own the Beatles Rockabye Baby, just in case she feels like drifting off to "I'm Only Sleeping"...

Friday, October 23, 2009


In the spirit of my absence from the blogging world lately, I present these adorable clocks from Decoylab. Wouldn't one be lovely in Harper's room? I thought you'd agree. They are works of art with time-keeping functionality! Genius, I tell you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

my little fall pumpkin...

Born: September 29, 2009
12:15 a.m.

Friday, September 25, 2009

lemony heaven

I am officially now head-over-heels for Haagen-Daz's "Zesty Lemon" sorbet. I seriously can't stop eating it, and the tiny pints are $3+ each! Not only do they contain zero grams of fat, but the calorie count isn't bad either. This new addiction can't be good for my pocket book, but perhaps this treat will help me lose baby weight?

Monday, September 21, 2009

autumn, here we come

While I wait (impatiently) for the arrival of my baby, I keep reminding myself to stop and smell the roses. (We don't have any roses, but I digress.) I'm sensing the arrival of fall, my favorite time of year, which officially begins tomorrow. Nevermind that the temperature is still in the 80s. Somewhere, somehow there is a green leaf slowly changing to crimson, and it makes me giddy. I took the above photograph a couple of years ago, and decided to post it because, well, I love gourds. I just love them. Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors are on sale at Whole Foods already. Call me silly, but I live for autumn.
My Autumn Top 10:
10) Cooler temps. We don't get much of a break between summer and winter in Texas, and I cherish all three weeks of it. I adore breezy temps in the 60s.
9) Halloween. This was my favorite holiday as a child. My elementary school would have a Halloween carnival, and it made the night so much more festive. I don't dress up now, but I never miss a chance to give out candy to the neighborhood little ones.
8) Thanksgiving. As a young adult, my favorite holiday morphed into Thanksgiving, and my mouth still waters thinking about my Nana's turkey and dressing with the sounds of a football game in the background.
7) Pumpkin bread. There is a tradition in my family of clove-and-nutmeg-enriched, pumpkin-bread-making in the fall. We are not allowed to begin until October 1, and all baking must cease by January 1. It keeps it special.
6) Colorful leaves. Lest you begin to think that my entire list is food related, worry no more. I once made a pilgrimage to New England in October just to leaf-peek. I'm a weirdo. In Dallas, we only have a brief show, but it makes me happy.
5) Football. I'm from Texas. It's a prerequisite.
4) Charlie Brown's "The Great Pumpkin". Don't laugh. You know you love it, too.
3) Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum. I begin to lose consciousness (not really) when I think about how, this year, I will have a little one to take to the Arboretum, snuggle her up against some pumpkins, and take a picture. Sigh.
2) Gourds. Green ones, white ones, striped ones... I'm addicted. It's no coincidence that Cinderella's pumpkin turned into a magic coach to take her to the ball. Gourds are magical. And they don't taste bad, either. Bake a butternut squash with some cinnamon, and you'll be addicted, too.
1) The State Fair of Texas. This is, hands down, the best thing about fall in Dallas. The fair begins this Friday and ends October 18. I've only missed it once my entire life, and I look forward to it every year. I'm beginning to salivate right now. But it's about more than the fried food; it's the ferris wheel, the livestock, the giant talking cowboy in Wrangler jeans, the tradition of attending a fair that's more than a century old. It's beyond explanation.
Well, did I leave something out?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

just my style

Because I sometimes feel inclined to put a label on things (hey, so what?), I started thinking today about my own personal design style. This sometimes happens when I'm cleaning the house and looking around at how I've chosen to decorate my abode. If someone asked me to describe my design aesthetic, what would I tell them? I'm certainly not just "modern." I'm far from "traditional." No where near "classic." Anything "contemporary" is too new. I like retro pieces mixed with new. I came across the term "bohemian modern" recently, and that seems more like me. Then I thought "vintage modern" might do. Am I over-thinking this?

One of my favorite designers is Amy Butler. She designs mostly fabrics, but her home is divine. Just my style. The above photograph is an image of her dining room. What would you call this? Whatever it is, it's "me."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

macca macca macca

I should have posted this a week ago, but time gets away from me these days. August 19 was the Paul McCartney concert at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which, by the way, is a huge, flashy place of superlatives. If you know me well, then you know about my love for The Beatles. And if you know me really well, then you know that Paul is my favorite Beatle. I love his Lennon-McCartney work, his Wings work, his solo work, his Fireman work. You name it. That being said, if you know me really, really well, then you know I've already seen him twice before (The Husband has ventured to his concerts three times before). And let me just say that I've seen some smashing live acts in my day, including Radiohead while pressed against the stage baracade back in 1997. Paul always puts on a great show.

This time was a bit different, being eight months pregnant and all. But no worries, the swollen feet and four hours of sleep did not deter me from enjoying myself. We had floor seats near the back, which made it hard to see him, but we had the jumbo screens to help. My parents were with us, which was fun because, after all, they were around for the real McCartney mania and can appreciate the experience perhaps more than we can (although that might be tough).

We snapped the above photo with the Blackberry, so it's not high quality, but it's a momento nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a year in the life

Okay, I will post this, and then I promise to post something non-baby-related. But as the day draws nearer, I find that I am curiously drawn to things like this. Makes me smile. Hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

feathering my nest

Last weekend was baby shower time, and like everything, I was picky about the details. My wonderful sister (pictured below) was the marvelous hostess and helped me make my shower dreams a reality. We created an afternoon high-tea party for 40 guests in my living and dining rooms. Mini chicken salad sandwiches, mini cucumber sandwiches, mini muffins, scones, macaroons, fruit, sugar cookies, a giant two-tier buttercream cake, pineapple-strawberry punch, and (OF COURSE) hot and iced teas. We even had sugar lumps. Favors were loose-leaf tea bags wrapped in a cutesy fabric that announced "A Baby Is Brewing." It was all very dainty, ladylike, and fun. My mom and mother-in-law were endlessly helpful as well. I never could have pulled it off without everyone pitching in to make it so perfect. Needless to say, the nursery is now very full with baby items and clothing. Happiness.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

nursery revealed

The nursery is finally (mostly) finished, and I am so happy with the result. I chose a birdie theme, which begins with the wall colors by Martha Stewart. The accent wall is called Bird Nest while the other three are appropriately named Forest Lichen. While it took a lot of work and time, I'm really proud of my modern yet whimsical decor, most of which I found on sale or from cheap sources. (I'm not one to spend $500 on a sheet set, after all.) So I was patient and waited to find the perfect items. Both the crib and changing table were gifts, but they are from Wal-Mart's ModBaby line. The rug, lamp, side table, and frames are all Ikea. The retro 70s rocking chair was my mother's. In fact, she once rocked me in it! My grandfather built the beautiful bookshelf, which we painted and fastened tight to the wall. It almost looks built in, doesn't it? The bird prints were made by my sister, a graphic designer. I've found myself on occasion standing in the middle of this room and just staring at everything. Soon, there will be a baby living in there...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

baby book: check

Much like baby bedding, the world of baby books is plagued with tacky, cartoonish pink and blue characters whose smiling faces make me want to barf. Luckily, snobs like me have Etsy and sellers like Edna Mae, who sell beautiful, sophisticated, modern baby items. I found this baby book today, and Etsy once again had my business. It is handmade, not corny, and has a cover I can happily display in the nursery.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

hello, birdie

The nursery is coming together! Slowly but surely, my initial vision for this room in distress is taking shape. The furniture, lighting, bedding, rug, and even some knickknacks are in place and ready for baby. The last few decorative items will be added in the coming days, and I will be able to take some photographs and post the finished room. All we need now are the baby essentials to fill the room. I never realized how many different items are needed to take care of a little one. Humidifiers, diaper contraptions, receiving blankets, and a smattering of other baby things are clogging my gift registry at Babies R Us and Land of Nod. Will I really need all this stuff? I did, however, manage to register for some adorable, swoon-worthy items, like this birdie mobile made of bamboo.

Monday, July 6, 2009

cup of goodness

Remember my gushing over Pinkberry? My longing for REAL frozen yogurt in Dallas? Enter OrangeCup. Same concept as Pinkberry, just much closer to home. I simply love this place. The Husband and I have been there about three times in the last week and a half. The chic modern decor and green philsophy aside, I can get my ice cream craving satisfied here for less than 200 calories and no fat. It's real frozen yogurt, actual yogurt that is frozen. Not ice-cream-frozen-yogurt. I think I need to buy some stock in this place...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

nursery triumph

Oh, the woes of finding the perfect crib bedding. It has just about killed me. Perhaps I put way too much thought into this, but I believe a nursery is an extension of your living space and should reflect the sensibilities and decor of the rest of your home. It should NOT be an homage to Winnie the Pooh or look like the circus has come to town. That's just my opinion (ahem). (If you're inclined, check out Oh Dee Doh, a fantastic website for parents and parents-to-be who refuse to give in to ridiculous kid spaces and prefer well-designed rooms.)

In the process of creating my modern yet feminine nursery, I noticed that crib bedding is either a) hideous or b) not hideous but too expensive. However, I discovered discount online shopping and (lo and behold) Nurseryworks' pea berry mocha crib set popped up on super sale at I snatched it immediately, and it was delivered lickity split. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the pregnancy road trip

At first thought, going on a 10-day, cross-country road trip six and a half months preggo seemed mighty crazy. After all, hours sitting in the car with a smooshed bladder doesn't really sound appealing, does it? But The Husband and I squashed the notion that we would have a horrible time and opted instead for the optimistic attitude when we planned our trip across the Texas panhandle, into the Colorado Rockies, through the planes of Wyoming, and into the mountainous terrain of the Tetons and Yellowstone. After doing some research on pregnant road trips, I felt confident that I could weather the storm. As long as we stopped every hour or hour and half to stretch and take a potty break and not spend more than six hours a day traveling, my doctor assured me that everything would be fine. And the more research I did, the more I realized that couples are taking "babymoons" more often these days. After being back for three days, I can report that it was an uplifting and wonderful experience, one of the best trips we've ever taken as a couple. More to come soon! (I couldn't resist taking a photo of the pregnant woman on a horse scultpture in downtown Jackson, Wyoming.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

memorial music

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and I simply love this holiday. Perhaps it's that feeling that summer is about to begin. Everyone is outdoors doing some kind of activity. The fireflies are out, there's still a faint spring breeze in the air before the summer humidity kicks in, and everyone is off work and in dandy spirits. The Husband and I are lucky enough to live within walking distance of Flagpole Hill. Each Memorial Day, the Dallas Symphony sets up on the hill to play followed by a fireworks show. Last night around 8, we trudged up there, blanket under arm, and made camp under a towering, leafy oak within perfect view of the bandstand. I peered down the hill and thoroughly enjoyed watching children weave in and out of the crowd with their glow-in-the-dark swords, couples sipping wine and chewing on grapes, and feet bobbing back and forth during the uplifting, patriotic movements of the orchestra. It was lovely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

summer parfait

For my mom's recent birthday party, I whipped up this chocolate-strawberry parfait. It was pretty darn tasty. My sister wanted seconds before we had finished serving everyone. It's incredibly easy and provides a nice, cool dessert for summer. Here's the recipe!

Chocolate-Strawberry Parfait

1 box dark chocolate cake
1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 large can of strawberry pie filling
Fresh strawberries

Prepare cake according to package instructions. Let cool completely. Cut cake into mini squares and place one layer on the bottom of a glass serving dish. Cover this layer with half of the strawberry pie filling. Then put down a layer of Cool Whip. Repeat layers. On top, garnish with fresh cut strawberries. (You will most likely have leftover chocolate cake.) Refrigerate parfait for about two hours before serving.

Friday, May 1, 2009

nursery swoon

Big time swoons for this nursery by Denai Jones at Petunia Pickle Bottom. It is the inspiration behind our yet-to-be-born baby girl's nursery. I abhor most nursery decor (probably because it's usually powder blue or a hideous shade of pink). So I wanted to find something that was more me, yet something that would be soothing for the baby. I've opted for two shades for the walls, "Forest Lichen" and "Bird's Nest." I plan to incorporate mostly white furniture and dress it up with a vintage modern bird theme. The walls are painted, but that's about it for now. I'll post some pics when it's all done! In the meantime, you can gaze at more beautiful photos of my inspiration here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

family car

Ever hear of family-car-syndrome? I have. I never thought I would contract it because I've always wanted a green Mini Cooper with white racing stripes (and this was BEFORE they were available in the U.S. of A.). The Husband and I have fallen victim to this incurable pandemic, and before we knew it, we were at the Honda dealership buying one of these. I must admit that I was smitten by the newer design and 27-mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency (ain't bad for an SUV, no?). Plus, the roadtrip to Yellowstone will be ever so much more comfortable. I'm a Honda girl from way back. My last two cars (both Civics) have been so good to me, so I have to give a woot-woot to the Honda brand. (Woot! Woot!) Go get one!

Friday, April 17, 2009

hello, decemberists... er... happy bullets

The Happy Bullets - "Herbert Had a Dream" from geoff johnston on Vimeo.

I was thrilled when I discovered this video online thanks to Geoff Johnston over at Quick. I adore this living-room-impromptu sit-in of Dallas band The Happy Bullets, not only because I know these fine folks (some more than others) but because they are simply marvelous. They also quite remind me of those great northwesterners, The Decemberists, but that's neither here nor there, now is it? I'm so glad to hear some new Bullets music. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


With my cravings ebbing and flowing like Lake Michigan lately, I have a new obsession: Izze sparkling fruit drinks. You can buy them at Whole Foods or (surprise!) Super Target. I'm smitten for the mandarin and grapefruit flavors, but they have blueberry and other offerings as well. The can says "pure fruit juice and sparkling water made with natural ingredients and fortified with vitamins." They are about 70% fruit juice with no refined sugars or preservatives, something that Welches surely can't boast. On top of all this goodness, the Izze Beverage Co. seems likes a hip place to work!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

best things about teaching

In order to pysch myself up about the dreaded PPR exam this weekend, I've created a list of my favorite things about being a prep school English teacher. Once this test is done (and I pass it, of course), I will be officially certified. This has been a truly wild year, one I have learned so much from. It really has been an adventure of sorts.

Top 10 Things I Love About Prep School Teaching

10. The people. There are so many incredible teachers at my school. Smart. Educated. Caring. Dedicated. I have learned so much from them.
9. Watching teenagers do their teenager thing. Honestly, I laugh every day. Don't you remember caring so much about so many silly things at age 15?
8. Christmas Break and Spring Break. Need I say more?
7. Summer Break. Helllll-0.
6. The opportunity to rediscover the splendid novels of my youth and college years. I forgot how wonderful Great Expectations really is. Way to go, Dickens.
5. Seeing looks of recognition and amazement on my students faces when I teach them something new. There's nothing like it.
4. Watching my students grow smarter by the day and getting to say, "I helped them do that."
3. That familiar sigh of relief as the school year winds down, a feeling I haven't experienced since I was a student. I can only imagine that the fall will feel like a fresh, new beginning.
2. Helping young people understand the splendor as well as the misgivings of life and giving them advice and support.
1. Being able to wake up each day and know that today will be completely different than yesterday.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

spring walks in the park

It's that strange time of year when, if you glance out a window, it still looks remarkably like winter, yet the weather is much warmer and little buds are sprouting here and there. The Husband, the Dog, and I have picked up our afternoon/evening walks in the park again, and once more I feel lucky to live so close to a protected greenbelt.

On another spring note, the Elfa closets I mentioned in a previous post went on sale, so we jumped at the opportunity and completely revamped the closet in the second bedroom. Eighteen drawers, 14 shelves, and two hanging rods later, we have a brand new closet! Prior to the installment, however, we had to do some massive spring cleaning, seeing as how we used that closet for storage. I did come across some hilarious photographs and keepsakes from years past though, which was quite entertaining.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ram on

I am happy to share something I discovered recently from Aquarium Drunkard. Apparently, some really fan-tastic bands from L.A. decided to re-record Ram, one of Paul McCartney's first solo records (one I quite like and tend to recommend to people, along with McCartney). Bands like The Parson Readheads and Frankel took part in this endeavor. I'm not normally into covers, but I listened to this record straight through, and there were very few tracks I took issue with. In fact, the entire thing is pretty darn good. Download away, people.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

home-improvement mode

I am once again in home-improvement mode. After The Husband and I complete a project, I tend to sigh with relief (as does he) and take a breather. I avoid even thinking about the next venture. However, my mind now has a few more ideas in the hopper, including a closet organization in our second bedroom. It is a somewhat-massive closet, larger than the one in our master (thanks for nothing, mid-century architects), but it's awkwardly shaped with hideous sliding doors that swing back and forth when closed.

I've considered two options. One is an Elfa closet from The Container Store (pictured). The other would be cheaper but requires more ingenuity. Ikea has large wardrobes that fit inside closets. We would simply remove the doors and slide in the wardrobes (but "simply" never turns out to be as easy when it comes to Ikea). It will likely be a big expense, but I find it a necessary one at the moment. The new bamboo floors in the den will have to wait.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

journey to montana

The Husband and I have long discussed a roadtrip to Montana: "Big Sky Country." There's something fascinating about that area of the country. Perhaps it's the untamed, Wild West feeling or all the natural beauty. We're not sure. We just know that we want to go. We are planning to hit the road in early summer with stops planned in Jackson Hole, WY, and Yellowstone. Part of my personal fascination with Montana is the fact that wild horses still roam there., but they are being threatened by lost grazing areas, which sickens me. Nonetheless, I'm hoping in our upcoming trip that we might catch a glimpse of a herd traveling across the plains...

say it isn't so

First Blueprint, then Home & Garden, and now this. Another one of my favorite shelter magazines, Domino, is folding. Having recently worked for a home decor mag, I understand how the economy is affecting the industry, but this is seriously heartbreaking. There isn't going to be a shelter magazine left that suits my demographic and lifestyle. What's a girl to do?

Monday, February 2, 2009

before and after

AFTER (thoroughly modern):

The curvy, ugly light fixture in my dining room has finally been replaced with this drum shade from CB2. It really ties the decor together in the room. The previous light was way too ornate. When the new light arrived, we were somewhat shocked to realize that it was a plug-in light! After some wire-splitting and a trip to Home Depot, however, we had it all wired and done. It really makes a difference in the room.

BEFORE (curvy insanity!):

Monday, January 26, 2009

nyc adventures, vol. 3

Perhaps the strangest experience in New York was our encounter with Daniel Radcliffe's bare bottom (and other unmentionables). I'm a huge supporter of theater, and I get star-struck just about as much as anyone, so the thought of seeing Harry Potter himself in the flesh was, well, a no-brainer. We bought tickets to Equus prior to our trip, knowing full well there was a nude scene. The theatre was small, and we had very good seats in the lower balcony. Besides the nudity, the story itself was bizarre. It involves a troubled teenager who formulates his own religious connections with horses and ends up blinding a barnful of them in a shameful rage. I can't say I've ever seen anything like it. We left speechless and a little creeped out, but Radcliffe did an excellent job, as did his fellow actors. It definitely makes you think when it's all over about the crazy things the mind will come up with. As we were leaving, a man behind us remarked, "I'll never watch Harry Potter the same again."

Friday, January 23, 2009

nyc adventures, vol. 2

My best meal in New York City this time around? Easy. Aquavit--a Scandinavian fine dining restaurant in Midtown that we tackled for lunch in order to save some moolah. We opted for the "cafe" part of the restaurant, which was decked in a very Euro-mod style and much cheaper than the "dining room." A $24 two-course lunch seemed kind of over-the-top, but why not? We were in New York City, after all. Ahem. First course was a steaming bowl of butternut squash soup, perhaps the best damn soup made of ghord I'd ever had. Resting on top were four marshmellows that slowly melted and blended into the soup for a sweet-buttery effect. God, it was good. Main course for me was roasted chicken with some kind of mash and crispy green beans. Jen had a very colorful salmon with a Scandinavian fruit medly I can't recall the name of. I enjoyed my meal with a $7 cup of chamomile tea. (I had these images of a man hiking into the Alps to pick fresh chamomile to deliver it to my cup; hence the high price.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

nyc adventures, vol. 1

While in New York City, Jen and I managed to twice escape frigid morning temperatures on Broadway inside a Europa Cafe for egg sandwiches and coffee. I like mine with egg and cheese only on an English muffin. In my mind, there's no better place for an egg sandwich than New York City. I've tried to make my own, but nothing compares to the NYC egg sandwich. Nothing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

egg sandwiches, snow, and light bulbs

Jen and I spent the weekend in glorious New York, and I always feel a shock to the system when I return home after a trip to the city. After days of constant, in-your-face metropolitan action, life in Dallas just seems so simple. In the coming days, I will post a few of our adventures, including how we survived in sub-zero temperatures, Daniel Radcliffe's bottom, and the best egg sandwiches in the universe. But nothing (nothing) tops the talking light bulb ("unlock... the CODE!"). Thanks, Jen, for finding a video of it. I still can't believe modern art sometimes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

new music obsession

I first saw Zooey Deschanel in the movie Almost Famous. She played the music-obsessed older sister. I will never forget her line, "Simon and Garfunkel is poetry!" Perhaps she reminded me of my self a little... but I digress. Zooey has an L.A. pop band (She & Him), and they are absolutely fantastic. I think she has incredible style and a beautiful voice (remember her in Elf when she sang,"Baby It's Cold Outside" in the shower?), and her home is even featured in Domino magazine this month. I think I'm either jealous or slightly obsessed... you decide.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

an evening of celebrities, dallas style

Last night I ventured out into the too-warm-for-December air to dine at Nick Badovinus' new restaurant, Neighborhood Services, where I was to meet my old friends Renee and Jason. At the urging of Renee that we MUST arrive early (because this restaurant is apparently the new IT place), I pulled up to a valet line that wrapped around the curb and onto Lovers Lane at 5:50 p.m. Surely, all this excitement couldn't be over a restaurant, could it? Before 6 o'clock? But what was I thinking? This is Dallas, a place where local chefs are gods and people flock to their latest offerings like pidgeons on stale bread.

Having arrived first, I trotted inside and was greeted by at least 50 eager patrons, most of whom seemed at least 20 years older than me. I pushed my way toward the host stand, where I nervously glanced at a list that covered almost an entire legal pad. "How long is the wait?" I asked timidly. "Well," replied the well-dressed host, "I am about to seat the dining room, and then they have to EAT. Then we can seat you. So... probably an hour." I said "okay" and gave him my name and party number. I found Renee, second to arrive, in the same valet predicament I had just escaped from. "One hour," I mouthed.

Once we were both inside among the throngs, Renee and I planted ourselves two feet from the bar and peered at two women who appeared to be readying themselves to be seated. We were right, and before long, we had shimmied our way into a comfy post at the bar, where I ordered a "Beauty School Dropout"--St. Germain Hanger One mandarin blossom vodka, elderflower syrup, and crushed raspberry rose champagne. A tiny, plastic monkey was hanging from the edge of the martini class. I started to like this place.

Jason arrived, and we were seated sooner than expected. For the next hour and a half, we munched on food that rivals Badovinus' other Dallas restaurants, The Porch and Hibiscus, and marveled at the large number of over-40s that filled the dining room. At one point, we noticed Nick himself, dressed in jeans and a white apron, his blond surfer hair flowing freely, chatting with the four-top sitting next to us. It wasn't until we were getting up to leave that Jason noticed that one of the diners on the four-top was no other than Cowboys great Roger Staubach. I stared at him and his steak for a moment before vacating the place. For the people-watching and cocktails, I highly recommend Neighborhood Services. The concept of the place and the food, of course, are nicely done too. The waitstaff are dressed in ivy league-style sweaters, and the dimly lit atmosphere reminds me of what a bar near Harvard University might look like or Greenwich Village in New York City--it's long and narrow with lots of wood accents. I also love the storefront, which is styled in a very mid-century mod kind of way.

But I must plead with Mr. Badovinus: Please start opening larger restaurants.

Photo by Carter Rose, DMN.