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5-Star Dallas Queso Review

“Cheese—milk’s leap towards immortality.”

~Clifton Paul Fadiman

Okay, let me start out by saying I didn’t plan it this way. I promise. Don’t judge me. I didn’t plan to devote a whole post to queso… but it just happened.

Anyone who knows me knows I love cheese. I adore it. But when I came to Dallas, I was going to do one of my usual food roundups with my local favorites. BBQ, soul food, seafood, the works. But at every restaurant my buddy Leah took us to for our “taste of Dallas” tour we ended up having queso. Soon it became the central theme. So I decided to roll with it.

I do wish I had more time to sample more amazing cheese. I got more recommendations while there (people seemed a bit passionate about the subject). But alas, I ran out of time. But here are three 5-star quesos that speak to the Tex-Mex culture in Dallas.

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Blogger 2 Boss Conference Recap

“There is no such thing as fashionably late when fashion is your business.”

~ Lisa Petty, Founder, DFW Style Daily

This past weekend was the inaugural Blogger 2 Boss Conference hosted by Dallas fashion and lifestyle publication DFW Style Daily.

The day-long conference (with Friday night welcome cocktail party) featured numerous speakers on various topics, and was held at the NYLO Hotel Dallas/Las Colinas.

Leah Frazier, Editor of DFW Style Daily and owner of Diamond Icon Image and Styling Consultants, stated that the entire purpose of the conference was “education.” Having been to numerous blogger conferences that amounted to extended networking sessions, she wanted to provide Dallas- (and other) area bloggers with real knowledge to help them grow their blogs and turn them into businesses, hence making them “bosses.”

And education certainly was achieved.

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Who Knew Encinitas Tasted So Good?

“I love to take something ordinary and make it really special.”

~Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

Everywhere I go, I try to experience the local fare. Food is such an integral part of travel; it allows you to delve into the local experience. Whether it is domestic or international, I always try to sample the local cuisine.

So even though I have been to Encinitas and Carlsbad a number of times, I decided to branch out and try some different dining experiences, outside of Fidel’s Little Mexico, which we always enjoy. Here are some new favorites that stuck out that I just had to share. (And make sure you make it all the way to the end because the last place has changed my dining expectations forever.)

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The Carlsbad Flower Fields… and Global Warming?

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

~Walter Hagen

California is such a vast wonderland. I think I had started to take it for granted. While I am looking for new and exciting places to visit, I forget that people come here for vacation. It’s a wonderful place that I fear I have gotten way too accustomed to.

So I decided to look into cool photography spots in Cali, specifically in the LA area. But while searching the Interwebs, I ran across a little gem: The Carlsbad Flower Fields.

How have I missed this? As many times as I have been down to visit San Diego and Carlsbad I had never heard of the Flower Fields. And to cap it off, it was right across the street from the outlet mall I have visited. #shame

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I Left My Heart in Solana Beach

“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every so often, you come across a place that transforms you. Somewhere that changes your very essence.

I had always imagined that I would be struck by places like the Colosseum or the Taj Mahal or the Iguaçu Falls or the Great Barrier Reef. I never imagined I would be altered by somewhere so close to home. And just outside of San Diego, no less.

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The Sights and Tastes of the LINQ (A Photo Essay)

“A little bit of this town goes a very long way.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson

I frequent Vegas pretty regularly, usually a couple of times a year. On this last trip, I took some time to explore the new LINQ complex. It is an area filled with restaurants and shops connected to The LINQ Hotel & Casino. The main attraction at The LINQ is The High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel.

So below is a photo essay of the sights and tastes of The LINQ. I will start with the tastes since it is much shorter than the sights, but be sure to scroll through for some of my favorite pics from the evening.

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A Real ‘Thriller’: ‘Michael Jackson One’ Changed My Everything

“To give people a piece of your heart is worth more than all the wealth in the world.”

~Michael Jackson

Those who know me know how much Michael Jackson means to my heart soul. As a child (and teenager), I wanted to be a background dancer for him, which is clearly the ultimate honor for a dancer. In the late 2000s, my then-fiance’ and I thought about changing our honeymoon to London when Michael announced his farewell tour, so we could see a show. And, of course, at our wedding our first dance was Michael Jackson authentic choreography (which was timely because he sadly occurred a couple of weeks before the wedding even though our dance was planned well before his death). We even spent our first morning of our honeymoon watching the funeral coverage.

So when I heard about the Michael Jackson One Cirque du Soleil show a few years ago, needless to say I was more than intrigued. Well, I finally caught the show about a week ago at The Mandalay Bay.

And… It. Was. AWESOME.

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L.A. Food Beyond Just Tacos

“When it’s done properly, taco should be a verb.”

~Jonathan Gold

Think Los Angeles food and tacos inevitably comes to mind. Now, I love a good taco (special shout out to Tacos Tumbras a Tomas in Grand Central Market downtown, not to mention the Kogi Truck). I think most everything tastes better when wrapped in a tortilla. But there are so many other amazing cuisines in LA that leave you wanting more.

So, because people always ask me for food recommendations when they are coming to town, and given that spring break is just around the corner, I have come up with a round up of my favorite L.A. food spots by category. Enjoy, because I actually made myself hungry putting this together.

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A Whale of a Good Time

“The whales do not sing because they have an answer. They sing because they have a song.”

~Gregory Colbert

It had been a long day.

Almost an hour and a half in, we had yet to see any whales and we spent our time simply trying to catch our footing on the boat. I was cold and the dead weight of my camera was tiring.

But let me back up. As I embarked on the quest to conquer various items on my Travel Goals list, about a month ago I saw a deal for whale watching off the Channel Islands. So I enlisted my buddy and we, along with her 4-year-old daughter (who is the real trooper in all of this) decided to tackle a 3-hour whale watching boat trip so I could cross that item off my list.

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My Suburban Chi-Town Food Faves

“I miss everything about Chicago, except January and February.”

~Gary Cole

Chicago is my twice-a-year food mistress, and I love her for it.

I am an Illinois girl in a California world. Having grown up outside of Chicago, I have a great appreciation for wonderful food (see my previous post). But not highfalutin food with words I can’t pronounce—No, I love the simple yet delicious foods. I relish foods that inspire a good conversation with good friends over a long meal. It’s a part of our culture, our lifestyle. The food that you eat super fast or it feels that way because it is gone before you know it. That’s why our pizza (read: the best pizza in the States) is deep dish. It’s not supposed to be eaten on the run without interaction with anyone else; it is supposed to be enjoyed, savored. It is supposed to fill you and those around you up, both literally and figuratively.

Most people write about the excellent restaurants in the city proper.  But I grew up in the burbs. So over those many years, I have some of my own local favorites that top the list of options whenever I make the trek home.

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