i managed to make it through almost 30 years without ever stepping foot in Texas. and considering how many ties to that massive state i seem to have, that’s pretty much a boot-scootin’ miracle.

not only did my fave cousin move to Dallas a few years ago, but two fabulous girls i found myself traipsing around Paris with last year just happen to be from that football-crazed rodeo state as well.

clearly, God was sending me a sign: “get yourself to the lonestar state — you’ll thank me for it.”

so i get off the plane at DFW on St. Paddy’s Day and immediately experience something akin to culture shock, as all signs of life as i know it in NY are replaced by these:

apparently this is Texas’ version of McDonalds/Panera/(insert chain here)

when life gets tough, or upon instant departure from the air, perhaps a lil tequila to ease your mind/remind you that you’re in Mexico Tejas?

annnd plenty of these to be bought:

i seriously considered investing in a pair, but a redneck fashion outing just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. guess it’s a good enough reason to return…

there were Mexican woven ponchos and gaudy silver jewelry everywhere — and this was just in the airport. clearly, Texas has its own subculture of Mexo-desert-rodeo-hooplah… and it’s nothing if not entertaining. my very first night there, i came THISCLOSE to riding a mechanical bull — at a karaoke bar, on the patio, in heels.

i think i felt less like a fish out of water in Paris. “bonjour” and good wine i understand. “y’all” and cheap beer…not really speaking my language.

after i overcame my initial Western-dazed tunnel vision, i discovered that i absolutely loved Dallas. yes, this is mostly due to the fact that 2 of my fave ladies made this an incredible trip for me.

best.hosts.ever. (don’t mind the bright lights & blurry-ness. this was our artistic pose. that, or whichever rand-o had the camera obviously never used one before.)

can you pick out the native Texan in this picture? i’ll give you a hint…in Dallas, even the non-blondes are blonde. both us brunettes hail from NY. i almost felt exotic, walking into restaurant after store after bar full of blondes & fake blondes like i was from some strange planet of darkness. i was afraid people might start petting me.
it kinda rocked.

things i could get used to about Dallas:

1. the weather. it was around 80 every day, blue-skied and sunny. (i timed my trip so as to avoid the 120 degree days of dashing from frozen yogurt shop to air conditioned store with a cup of ice in each hand.) we even had Lissa’s convertible top down. girls were wearing shorts – in March. it was like Heaven.

2. the patios. almost every place has a big, nice patio, always teeming with people. we did a tour of the patio scene that weekend: brunches, dinners, Saturday afternoon manmosas (mimosas in pint glasses- yumm), nightlife shenanigans — you name it, we did it. i could probably write a whole post rating the patio hotspots in Dallas. (i won’t. you’re welcome.)

3. this mall. apparently there’s another one there that people prefer, but i was pretty impressed with this monster of a skylit masterpiece (even if it did take me 1/2 my life and 3/4 of my sanity to navigate through the service roads and parking garages — no lots? seriously?). oh, and of course i tried a new (to me) froyo brand there called Orange Cup. def no Pinkberry, but it got me through my shopping.

(pretty little colorful visual. this post was getting a lil long…needed to brighten it up a bit.)

4. Wolfgang Puck’s Five-Sixty Restaurant. located in Reunion Tower downtown, the trendy restaurant sits in a glowing ball and spins you 360-degrees as you wine & dine. the nighttime view of the city was truly spectacular, and we were fortunate enough to hit it on that Saturday night when the moon was huuuuuge. it was definitely a cool highlight of my trip.

there was really only one rain-on-my-cowboy-parade moment in Dallas, and (brace yourself) here it is:

yes, that’s a huge bruise, not entirely unsimilar from the cringe-worthy disaster from A League of Their Own (one of the best movies of all times, imo. anyone remember the maaaaassive bruise that chick got, sliding into a base?). except this one is mine.

note to self: just because a dog is on a leash, it doesn’t mean it won’t attack you. i had to literally shake the thing off me. i don’t know what kind of dog it was, but he was mean. i gave the little boy holding the leash and stuttering his apology a (very nice) talking to, then tried to continue running without crying.

two days later, a woman walking a chihuahua was coming toward me as i was running, and i instantly became a nervous wreck, synpapses exploding like fireworks. he wanted to kill me. i could see it in his little eyes.

i beelined into the grass. i might never share a sidewalk with a dog again — unless i’m the one walking it.

so i’d totally recommend going to Dallas. explore the patios, enjoy the nightlife, meet some blondes. just stay off the dog-ridden sidewalks.