12 Days of Christmas at Dallas Arboretum

Arboretum12DaysofChristmasCelebrate the holidays at the Dallas Arboretum like never before with this $2 million centerpiece exhibit entitled The 12 Days of Christmas featuring an elaborate collection of 25-foot Victorian gazebos filled with the charming costumed characters and whimsical animals that are made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. Each gazebo is encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a dramatic, three-dimensional experience, and will feature mechanical parts and festive music that will assist in bringing the characters to an even more life-like state.GazeboEnjoy the .75-mile walk through the garden exhibit, as you witness these handcrafted gazebos spread across a winter wonderland.Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Mansion.jpg2During the day, visitors can enjoy the lavishly decorated DeGolyer Estate, filled top to bottom with a collection of Byers’ Choice Ltd. Christmas Caroler figurines. This exhibit runs from November 26, 2014 – January 4, 2015 | Daily | 10AM-4PM Visitors can also stroll the gardens to view seasonal plantings and enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities.ArboretumGazeboDuring the evening, the garden will remain open for extended hours for The 12 Days at Night, where the beautifully illuminated gazebos will be showcased for magical nighttime viewing. During this time, visitors will be even further immersed in the Victorian-era holiday theme as they enjoy live carolers and holiday themed treats.

The 12 Days of Christmas daytime exhibit is included with general garden admission:
Adults | $15 non-members
Seniors | $12 non-members
Children ages 3-12 | $10
Children under 3 receive free admission
Parking | $10 at the gate | $5 online only
Member Parking | Free
Member Admission | Free

Other Holiday Events at The Arboretum

Special Weekend Holiday Festivities
November 29-December 21, 2014 | Saturdays and Sundays | Noon-4PM
Enjoy visits with Santa, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Holiday Tea
Starting November 28, 2014 – 11AM and 2PM daily
Enjoy an elegant, three-course holiday tea for a special Christmas memory for those 13 and older. Prices range between $47 and $57 and include parking and admission to the garden. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 214.515.6511.

Make this a new Christmas tradition for your family; it will be a truly magical experience!

Celebrate the Holidays in Hill Country with JW Marriott Resort

jwhillcountryxmasJW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa offers a nightly light display with thousands of twinkling lights synchronized to music, Elf School where participants learn the secrets of an elf’s life and become “certified JW elves” and a polar plunge into the resort’s one non-heated pool with prizes for the day’s wackiest plunge.

Nestled in the Texas Hill Country on the edge of San Antonio, which enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, the season comes alive with experiences at the resort for all ages.  Whether it is a getaway for couples or families during the holidays or home base for those visiting friends and families in the San Antonio area, there are decorations, food offerings and activities to delight the young and the young at heart.

Holiday rates offer significant savings and start at just $199, which is a 40% savings from high season rates.   Visit www.jwhillcountryholidays.com for more information.

HILL COUNTRY HOLIDAY EXPERIENCES:
Saturday, November 22, 2014 thru Wednesday, December 31, 2014

* JW Illumination
Enjoy thousands of twinkling lights choreographed to joyful holiday sounds as you stroll through our outdoor wonderland with a cup of rich, hot cocoa. The perfect companion to a wintry night!
When: Annual Lighting Ceremony – Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 5:30PM
o Nightly shows from 6:30PM to 10PM; 5 minute light show every 20 minutes
• Complimentary for guests and visitors

Friday, November 28, 2014 thru Wednesday, December 24, 2014

* Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus ($)
Enjoy breakfast at 18 Oaks with none other than Santa, Mrs. Claus and the JW Elves.
Cost: $35 Adults / $25 Children ages 4 – 12 (Tax & Gratuity included)
When: Saturday mornings (Check experience schedule for times)
Location: 18 Oaks – Reservations required at 210-483-6653

* Elf Tuck-in ($)
Our playful elves are ready to make a special visit with your child and tuck them into bed.
Cost: $20 per child, ages 4-12. Includes a keepsake for each child.
When: Friday & Saturday nights; 8pm to 10pm
Location: Guest’s room – Reservations required at 210-483-6622satjw_holidays_phototour05* JW Sounds of the Season
Angel Chorus – local school choirs to perform weeknights in December.
Yuletide Carolers – Strolling carolers performing weekends in December.
Radio Rudolph – Keep the holiday spirit with our simultaneous broadcast of the JW Illumination soundtrack on your guest room FM radio. Nightly, 6:30PM-10PM.

* Keep Calm and Plunge On Contest With Lifeguard Elves ($)
Freezing water + freezing weather = the perfect scenario for a Polar Bear! Or…for those who are brave enough to jump into the one pool we decided to not heat this winter. Prizes will be given for the wackiest plunge and for any selfie shared at #JWMARRIOTTSANANTONIO
Cost: Complimentary to participate; $20 for commemorative T-Shirt
When: Saturdays at 9am from November 22-December 31
Location: River Bluff Water Experience – Adult Pool

* Kids’ Night Out ($)
While parents are away the kids will play! Range Riders Kids’ Club will be transformed into a
different fun filled themed party and dinner. From 6pm-10pm children will enjoy creative
activities and games, and receive a special keepsake.
Cost: $65 per child with dinner included, ages 4-12.
When: Check experience schedule for dates
Location: Range Riders Kids’ Club – Reservations recommended

*Making of a Certified JW Marriott San Antonio Elf ($)
Come learn the secrets of the magical and mischievous lives of Santa’s elves AND all good girls and boys will be named honorary JW Elves for the 2014 holiday season.
Cost: $35 includes holiday keepsake
When: Saturdays from 4pm-5pm
Location: Texas Library

* Santa’s Workshop
Write a special letter to Santa and he may just respond with a special note during your stay! Create a masterpiece depicting your favorite JW Hill Country holiday memory and enter the holiday art contest. Select artwork will be chosen for a complimentary one-night stay during the 2015 holiday season.
Cost: Complimentary
o Meet with JW Elves
o Write a letter to Santa
o Enter the JW holiday art contest
When: Check experience schedule for dates and times
Location: Texas Library

* Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus ($)
Take your photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Cost: $25 per flash drive containing up to 5 photos
When: Saturday nights
Location: Texas Library
Formal family portrait available by appointment only. Call 210-483-6647 for reservations.

* Holiday S’mores
Experience a real Texas tradition with a holiday twist. Gooey marshmallows, graham crackers and sweet peppermint bark chocolate! Regular chocolate will also be available.
Cost: Complimentary
When: Fridays & Saturdays; 5pm-6pm
Location: North Fire Pit

* Story Time with the Elves
The North Pole has sent some expert story readers to share memorable stories with little listeners.
Cost: Complimentary
When: Friday & Saturday nights
Location: Texas Librarysatjw_holidays_phototour03* Tinsel’s Treasures
Teaching children the Spirit of Giving during the holiday season is our JW Elves most favorite thing. Bring your children by Tinsel’s Treasures for a chance to select trinkets for someone very special to them.
Cost: $5- $20
When: Check experience schedule for dates and times
Location: Outside Texas Library

The Hill Country and San Antonio offer rich cultural holiday experiences for everyone.  A few highlights include:

Light the Way, November 22, 2014January 6, 2014: Nearly a million lights decorate the University of Incarnate Word campus.

Holiday Parade, November 28, 2014 at 7PMFor over 30 years, this spectacular one-hour parade along San Antonio’s River Walk has featured illuminated floats with celebrities, bands and lavishly-costumed participants.

La Gran Tamalada, December 14, 2014: At the annual tamal-making community party known as La Gran Tamalada, you’ll get hands-on experience from community tamaleras and enjoy San Antonio storytelling at its finest. Every holiday season, participants of all ages learn valuable methods and techniques in this informative and highly entertaining workshop at the historic Guadalupe Theater.

Hecho a Mano, December 5 – 7, 2014: A three-day festival that features an array of handcrafted specialty items that encompass both traditional and contemporary styles by mostly local and regional artists.

Fredericksburg, driving distance from the resort, is picture-perfect and known as the heart of the Texas Hill Country and offers German traditions, timeless holiday décor and four weeks of festive holiday entertainment during the holidays. Enjoy ice skating, marveling at the 30-foot Christmas tree and 26-foot German Christmas pyramid at Marktplatz.

Microsoft Opening in Dallas

RPMMicrosoftStoreMicrosoft opened its newest and largest store in the nation last weekend, November 8, 2014 in NorthPark Center in Dallas. The opening marked the 106th Microsoft store and the 10th in Texas. “NorthPark was a place we have wanted to be in for a long time,” said Store Manager Mike Williams. “We just couldn’t find the right deal but right now is the perfect time to be here.” The 5,323 square foot store is located between Nordstrom and Macy’s and not too far from the Apple store.Microsoft openingThousands of people were lined up early Saturday morning for the official grand opening ceremony that started at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The first 2,500 people in line for the ribbon cutting ceremony received a pair of tickets to see Tim McGraw and The Band Perry perform live at 1PM. Some people camped out in the mall’s parking lot in order to be the first 100 in line to win a Meet and Greet with performer Tim McGraw prior to the concert.microsoftstoretexasopeningOn hand for the opening ceremony were Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Darren Laybourn and Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins. As part of the grand opening, Microsoft donated a software grant to community organizations more than double the size of its usual amount. The company’s technology grants totaled $2,125,000 and checks were presented to representatives from the following organizations:

MicrosoftProductsThe store offers an assortment of products including Windows 8.1 desktops, tablets, laptops, Windows Phone devices, Xbox One, Office 365, Surface Pro 3, and W HP’s Sprout.  Also available are Microsoft Surface Pro 3, a PC with built-in project screen and touch pad, only available in 20 of Microsoft’s stores, and Microsoft’s Band, which has various capabilities including GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep quality tracking. The latest smartphones including Microsoft’s Lumia line and Blu Win HD, which can load SIM cards from two different carriers are available.microsoft-bandThe store has a living room area, where shoppers can play with the Xbox One and try various demos, a theater, which is designated for business training sessions and special events, and its answers desk, where customers can go to check out or find more information. The store’s 51 employees have received at least four weeks of training and will keep learning from two or more teacher staffers in each store.  Customers can receive service, get recommendations and receive help with PC setups.  The store also offers free computer tune ups and free virus removals.

Since 2009 when Microsoft opened their first store in Scottsdale, Arizona they have opened 104 retail locations in 189 countries worldwide. They have welcomed more than 400 million customers to their full line and now count Dallas as one their newest and premier locations!

Trina Turk + Real Posh Mom = 7 Year Anniversary Celebration

RPMTrinaTurkJoin myself, RPM’s newest writer Jayne & the gals at Trina Turk for the Summer Style event next Thursday night at Trina Turk in Highland Park Village! Not only will you enjoy sips & light bites, but you can also get style tips as you get ready for summer & even get a 20% discount on the new Trina Turk summer arrivals + an exclusive Trina Turk iPhone case. Great, right? Also, in celebration for Real Posh Mom’s 7th Anniversary, I will be revealing some new exciting things happening with Real Posh Mom. I hope to see you all Thursday night! XO

Where: Trina Turk in Highland Park Village
When: Next Thursday, March 15, 2014
Time: 5:30PM – 7:30PM (come & go)
RSVP: Dallas@TrinaTurk.com

RPMTrinaTurkEarrings

Pictured: Cynthia of Oh So Cynthia (left) and myself (right)

Treat Your Mom Like a Queen at JW Marriott

JWMarriottMomsDayFor the woman who is the CEO of the household, president of the PTA or master of motherhood, treat her to a special Mother’s Day at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. That is just what the hotel did for me and my family this past weekend! On Sunday, May 11, the hill country San Antonio resort will be offering two great reasons to celebrate there – the legendary 18 Oaks Mother’s Day Brunch and a relaxing treatment at the Lantana Spa.

From 9AM to 3PM, 18 Oaks will feature an elevated offering of its delicious Sunday brunch, serenaded with music from 9:30AM to 2:30PM. Brunch at 18 Oaks is an experience with fresh seafood, carved meats such as prime rib, housemade pates, artisan cheeses and a unique take on breakfast with dishes such as: poached eggs on cheesy grits, grilled quail with maple glaze, omelets and mini chicken pot pies. And, trust me, the 18 Oaks is not just fresh, local eating, it is about the sustainable experience that your tastebuds will have after each bite.18OaksFruit18OaksShrimp18OaksMeatCheese18OaksBreads18OaksDesserts

I haven’t been yet, but I look forward to retreating at Lantana Spa. It is truly the perfect gift for mom! *ahem* The Spa’s recently announced Hill Country Lavender Farm to Treatment Table Experience will help mom relax and unwind surrounded by the fragrance of lavender – a staple in the Hill Country this time of year. Offered Saturdays, May 24 through June 28, 2014 (lavender bloom season in the surrounding Hill Country), mom will experience the ultimate relaxation with this package.

Mom will begin the morning with transportation by limousine to Blanco, Texas (approximately 60 minutes) and visit the Hill Country Lavender farm where she will meet the owner, Tasha Breiger. She’ll take in the soothing fragrance of lavender all around her as she tours the farm and learns about growing lavender and several of its properties and benefits. She will also have the opportunity to clip her own sprigs of lavender and receive a personal bottle of organic lavender massage oil produced with lavender grown at the farm.

After her tour of the farm, she will be driven back to the resort where the spa’s Replenish Bistro Chef will prepare a lavender-infused dessert as part of her lunch in the tranquil setting of the restaurant in Lantana Spa. Content and nourished, she will next unwind with a lavender based spa treatment of her choice featuring the organic lavender massage oil she received at the Hill Country Lavender farm. Treatment choices will include 105-minute Spirit of the Curandero’s Energy Spa Journey, a choice of an 80-minute or 50-minute Lavender Aromatherapy Massage or a 50-minute Lavender Salt Glow.LantanaSpaTreat your mom or that special woman in your life to not just a gift BUT an experience at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa!

Watermelon Salad

WatermelonSaladWatermelon + Feta + Onion Salad
A salad that will impress friends and family at your next get together. Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Cookwell & Co. gave me a bottle of their Watermelon Vinaigrette to try – just in time for summer! Pair this sweet side dish with grilled chicken, hot dogs or burgers and discover the fresh, refreshing flavor of Cookwell & Co.’s Watermelon Vinaigrette. It is obvious why they have been so successful for the past 10 years, and in the years to come. This dish is close to perfection!

Ingredients
6 cups diced watermelon (well drained and chilled)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup Feta cheese crumbles
1 cup Cookwell & Co.’s Watermelon Vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Just For Kids Rocks into SeaWorld This Spring

Just_For_Kids_Logo Disclosure: SeaWorld Antonio selected me be to be a “Wildside Blogger,” which provides my family with an annual pass to SeaWorld and Aquatica San Antonio. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All photos are mine and are subject to copyright.

SeaWorld San Antonio’s Just For Kids festival returns on Saturdays starting April 26 through May 18, 2014.KidzBop This Saturday, April 26, 2014, Kidz Bop brings the party to SeaWorld San Antonio! Come sing and dance along to today’s biggest hits sung by kids, for kids! Concert will take place at 12:45PM and again at 3:15PM.

Your kids will line the stage and interact through songs and movements. The artists, like Kidz Bop are geared toward children, and they know how to do all the things that kids want to see and hear and do, so even older kids will jump, high-five others, stomp and clap with the music. The line-up will be announced each Monday before the saturday performances. All show times 12:45PM and 3:15PM. Plus, see the Elmo Rocks! show in Nautilus every Sunday.

When you enter the enter the park, grab a Just for Kids brochure. It’s a bright yellow flyer with a map of all the interactive learning opportunities for your kids. Next, you need a wristband per person to enter the concerts, so get this as soon as you can, as space is limited. SeaWorld’s Just for Kids festival also have other interactive things throughout the park that my kids loved, such as visiting four locations and collect the corresponding cards. My 8 year-old daughter loves this the most, as she is naturally curious and loves collecting things. There is also Shamu’s Party Zone, located near the concert venue. This area features a live DJ, games, crafts and character appearances.
IMG_2328 CookieMonster IMG_2332Remember to also grab a SeaWorld program guide to see all the other amazing shows and be entertained with your favorite animals and characters!
IMG_2249 Catch Just for Kids before it’s gone with a Fun Card and come back for a year full of fun when other great seasonal events will be happening! Take advantage of the BOGO Fun Card offer. Click here for more information!

Elizabeth Toon Charities Concert

ElizabethToonCharitiesElizabeth Toon Charities is gearing up for the 8th Annual Elizabeth Toon Charities Concert on Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 7PM to 10:30PM at The Rustic. Tickets are available for $50 by clicking here. The Sporting Clay Tournament follows on Friday, May 2 at the Dallas Gun Club.

 
Concert highlights include:
· Mockingbird Sun will open for our surprise headliner, which in past years has included names like Jack Ingram!
· Kendra Scott will host a “Mystery Box” that benefits Elizabeth Toon Charities during the concert. For $100, you can purchase a mystery box that contains Kendra Scott Jewelry and gift cards to various stores and restaurants around Dallas.
· They will have a live auction and raffle for a chance to win prizes such as golf retreats and tickets to prime sporting events and concerts!

Elizabeth Toon Charities is dedicated to helping children in need in all areas including health, education, therapy and children facing challenging disabilities and terminal illnesses. Each one of these charities are doing to their best to improve the lives of children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Beneficiaries for 2014 include:
· Behind Every Door Ministries
· Catch Up & Read
· ChildCareGroup
· Children’s Medical Center (Foster Care Program)
· Foundation for the Education of Young Women
· Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support
· ManeGait
· Mental Health America of Greater Dallas
· Promise House
· Camp John Marc
· Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
· Rise School of Dallas
· Scottish Rite Hospital

Parents, Make it a Date to Have a PowerTalk!

powertalk21A new survey of Texas teens and parents let us know that there is a huge disconnect in what parents believe their teens face in terms of pressure to drink alcohol versus the reality of what their teens experience when it comes to alcohol. The good news is that parents are the No. 1 influence on their teen’s decisions about drinking. What parents do and say matters, and some teens may be getting mixed messages.

April 21 is PowerTalk 21® – the national day for parents to talk with their children about alcohol. I know this may go beyond the topics that you normally cover, but as a parent, this is important to us all, whether it’s your child or someone else’s child. We’re hoping to get the word out through influential moms like you. Register for a free 30 minute online workshop here!

Conversation Starters

CONNECT.
– Eat dinner together.
– Include your tween and teen while you run errands.
– Watch your kids moods. If there are any change, ask why.

EDUCATE.
– Tell them of the dangers of alcohol, especially when ingested by young people.
– Tell them WHY you are concerned about them drinking alcohol. Your tween and teen cannot hear “I love you and want you to be safe…” too much.
– Introduce them to car services like the UBER app.

BE A ROLE MODEL.
– Don’t drink and then drive. I know this is obvious, but your kids are watching your behavior. Try to practice what your preach. Call UBER and let your kids see how safe and responsible this service can be.

ENCOURAGE.
– Acknowledge the ways your kids contribute in the family.
– Notice the little things that they do.
– Have an open door policy in your house, where you kids feel comfortable to ask you ANY question without punishment. Be NOT just available to your kids, BUT also to your kids’ friends.

MONITOR.
– Ask where your kids are going when they leave the house, who they are going to be with and how you can reach their friend’s parents.
– Put a mobile phone rule in place where they have to call you or text you when they leave “said” location.

ENFORCE.
– Be consistent on your family rules. If your kids miss curfew, follow through with the agreed upon discipline. Your kids love structure, even though sometimes their actions demonstrate differently.

Lastly remember that parents have power, and kids look up to you FIRST. I HIGHLY suggest you start having the talk about drugs and alcohol sooner than later. I recommend at least by the time they enter Junior High or age 11. Kids are experimenting, and it is better to have a plan in place and an open line of communication than to have to get a call from the police that the worst has happened.MADDPOYINFOGRAPHIC

Better Than Good Roasted Brussels Sprouts

BrusselsSproutsBaconJamRoasted Brussels Sprouts with Better Than Good Bacon Jam
A sure-fire way to liven up any dish is to add the delicious taste of bacon! Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Cookwell & Co. gave me a jar of their new Better Than Good Bacon Jam to try – just in time for Easter dinner! Pair this hearty side dish with chicken, pork or pasta and discover the savory flavor of Cookwell & Co.’s Better Than Good Bacon Jam. It is obvious why they have been so successful for the past 10 years, and in the years to come. This stuff is addictive!

Ingredients
1 bag Brussels Sprouts, end trimmed and halved
1 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/4 in pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 jar Better Than Good Bacon Jam

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and toss or stir to combine and coat.

On a foil lined baking sheet spread out sprout mixture in a single layer. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes. Sprouts should be fork tender but not mushy.
BTGBaconJam While still hot place Brussels sprouts in a bowl or skillet and pour in 1/2 jar of Better Than Good Bacon Jam. Stir or toss to coat and serve.

Austin-based Cookwell & Company is celebrating 10 years of creating food products that elevate the everyday eating experience by providing the products necessary to prepare quick, easy to make, but great tasting meals that you will feel proud to serve to your friends and family. Check out this Super Bowl commercial featuring their BACON JAM!