My Favorites: Ashley and The Polkadot Alley Boutique

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Having lived most of my life in Dallas suburbs, I never thought I would be saying, “Yay, I can’t wait to go shopping in Lubbock!”.  I met my wonderful husband while attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, so we travel there often to visit family and attend football games, but I never dreamt I would be itching for a trip to Lubbock so I could go on a shopping spree at The Polkadot Alley Boutique.

My college friend and sorority sister, Ashley, is the founder and let’s-be-frank “mastermind” of a little gem in the West Texas desert called The Polkadot Alley and has been on this journey since 2008.  I’m proud to know and support this woman-owned business because I’ve seen Ashley follow her dream and work tirelessly to support a business that takes time and dedication.  She is also a loving wife and mother with three precious children, so you can say she’s an inspiration and role model to all.  Ashley has been so successful with her online store and storefront boutique that The Polkadot Alley has been featured not only on the local Lubbock news and TTU Alumni magazine, but also in worldwide news publications like The New York Times.  The internet boutique business is booming, and Ashley was there at its inception, helping to bring fashion to young (and not-so-young) ladies all over the states!

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Even though the models featured in The Polkadot Alley are geared towards the college crowd, do not let this deter you from exploring all of the wonderful pieces they have to offer!  And if you are in the Lubbock area, go visit her boutique where you can browse the fabulous store, and maybe she will let you peek at the warehouse in the back where she has tons of racks of shopping heaven!  I’ve been known to get lost back there for hours.  Hehe…

I want to share with you some of my favorite summer and fall looks from my recent shopping sprees at The Polkadot Alley and introduce you to Ashley’s wonderful store:

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I LOVE Summer!!!

The Pink Romper.  I know what you’re thinking, rompers can be super scary.  I picked this romper out for fellow 3NonBlonde Amanda to try on and she threw it back over the fitting room to me.  I thought, “Why not?” and proceeded to squeeze into this amazingly flattering shorts romper.  I immediately loved this romper because it has a flirty hemline that gives it a little more length so that my booty doesn’t hang out the back.  Ashley’s store has tons of romper selections, but this has been my favorite so far.

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This romper pattern reminds me of fireworks!

The Crop Top.  This is the first legit crop top I have bought and worn in my life!  Ashley carries it in like 5 other colors and I’m regretting not getting one in each.  I have received tons of compliments on this crop top and have worn it with a black pencil skirt and also with shorts.  It’s an easy piece to dress up or dress down and the neckline has a beautiful embroidered pattern on it.  The Polkadot Alley has a store full of crop tops and now that I’ve mastered my confidence in them, I know I’ll be looking for more.

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Crop tops for work? Yes!
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And also appropriate for Cancun!

Two Dresses for Any Season.  One of the many reasons I love The Polkadot Alley is they have many color and length choices.  Sure, I love short minis and dresses, but now that I’m 36(!), I am acutely aware of office and leisure appropriate clothing.  This is exactly what I was thinking when I spotted this delicious coral dress that hits the knee.  Ashley has it in like five different colors and also in a floor length style.  I’m too short for floor length, so I fell in love with this length because I could easily throw a cardigan or blazer on it and dress it up for work.  It’s a great color for any season.  The other dress I feel in love with was this 60’s inspired white dress with flower detail.  I traveled for work recently and wore it on a plane ride and it was pretty comfortable.  It’s a perfect A-line and doesn’t cinch but also doesn’t make you look frumpy.  It’s perfect!

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This color is yummy.
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Why yes! I am auditioning for Madmen!
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Fierce for fall

The T-shirt Dress(es).  Finding two t-shirt dresses that fit in length and width was a miracle in itself.  I am really thanking the fashion Gods the flared dress look is in this season.  It helps me find pieces that fit without worrying about things being way too small.  Anyway, the plum dress I found has pockets, which I love!  The black t-shirt dress is just so soft I want to live in it.  I bought it this weekend and have already worn in three times.  The week is not over, I may wear it again!  The versatility of the t-shirt dress is the reason I convinced myself to get both of them.  I can already picture throwing on a pair of boots, scarf, and moto jacket to make them fall worthy.

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Comfort, pockets and style…
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I want to live in this dress. It’s super soft.
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Perfect gameday dress!

I hope you enjoyed learning about The Polkadot Alley and find yourselves furiously searching the website for a new outfit!  Let us know if you have previously shopped at any online boutiques or if you have shopped at The Polkadot Alley.  I would love to hear your comments!

Social Media for The Polkadot Alley:

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Online Store

Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

My Favorite Things: Dallas Edition Part 1

I often get this question from family or friends who want to show visitors around town – What is there to do in Dallas? It is a pretty loaded question. With so much going on in a small area, it can be hard to narrow down. Here is Part 1 of my favorite things in Dallas.

Espresso at Cafe Strada

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Cafe Strada is on a great little pedestrian side street in downtown Dallas. After ordering your coffee (or gelato!), grab a seat at one of their small tables and do some people watching. With the Joule hotel across the street and a 30-foot giant sculpture of an eyeball, there is plenty to see while you enjoy your coffee.

Catch a ride in an e-frog

Getting around the different neighborhoods of downtown can be difficult if you have a large group. While many areas are walkable, it can be overwhelming to get around if you are new to town. So when you need to go from downtown to Deep Ellum, Uptown, the Arts district, Fair Park, the Cedars, or anywhere in between, text an e-frog! These electric motor, open-air carts can hold 5 adults comfortably and are easily reached via text. Just let them know your name and how many in your group and they will send someone over. We recently coordinated 2 carts to take a group of friends from our house to Klyde Warren Park for a few hours of fun. No one had to find parking and we had a great time.  Note – these guys do not charge a fee for the ride, so tip your driver well!

See the sloths at Dallas World Aquarium

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Sloths!!

While I would argue the DWA is more tropical forest and less aquarium, it is still a great place to see some animals and other creatures when it is too hot or too rainy for the zoo. Also, my attention span for museums and zoos is pretty short, so the smaller footprint of the aquarium suits me just fine. After you enter, you will wind through 2 levels of rain forest with all kinds of monkeys and birds. Because you start at the tops of the trees, you have lots of opportunities to spot different animals. Moving further down, the exhibits with lizards and snakes start, and at the very bottom of the building are all the tanks. There are also sloths, penguins, and a panther. While the small footprint of the building makes for 1-2 hours of fun, it also means it can be crowded. Aim to be there when it first opens to avoid the crowds, or go during the week.

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My adorable nephews had fun too!

Take a stroll on the Santa Fe Trestle Trail

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I’ve posted about the Santa Fe Trestle Trail before, but you truly can’t miss this bit of nature in the middle of the city. Whether you have 20 minutes or 2 hours, experiencing how quiet it can be inside the levees while you are right next to the city is something you shouldn’t miss.

Klyde Warren Park – See what happens when you build a park over a highway

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We returned soggy kids to their parents after this trip. Pro tip – bring a towel!

This 5 acre park is built over a highway and connect the Arts District with Uptown. On a nice day, every bit of this park will be packed with people lounging in the sun, playing in the fountains, enjoying some free yoga, or grabbing a snack at the many food trucks. My favorite thing to do is find a seat and do some people watching while enjoying a beer. While the park offers plenty of space for people, there is very little parking. Grab a trolley or an e-frog and leave the car at home.

Meet new friends at Full Circle Tavern

This patio is Tucker approved.
This patio is Tucker approved.

After all this exploring, you will be starving. Make your way to the Cedars and grab a drink and a meal at Full Circle Tavern. They have a great shaded patio and are dog friendly, so bring along your four-legged friends too. The owners at FCT are super friendly and take extra care to be sure you enjoy your food and your time in their tavern. The servers and bartenders complete the experience by making you feel right at home. The husband says order the grilled cheese with bacon and an egg – you won’t regret it.

End your day with a drink and some music at Lee Harvey’s

Lee Harvey’s was a neighborhood staple long before we moved here. Considered a dive bar, it has evolved over the years into a great place for a burger and a beer. Seating is mostly outdoors and long picnic tables give you space to hang out and chat with friends, or enjoy some live music. Bands are booked on most Friday and Saturday evenings. It is a great place to wind down your day before heading back home.

My list could go on forever, but I’ll stop Part 1 here. What are some of your favorite places in Dallas?

Kendra Sig

Urban Living, Dallas Style

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Everything is bigger in…Dallas

In a few short months, my fellow NonBlonde Amanda will be moving to the suburbs permanently. I recently visited her part of town and I was surprised by how out of my element I’ve felt! I’ve lived in the city for almost nine years and I’m no longer used to the daily life of suburbia. Although I would say Amanda’s new part of town is still just a little bit country too. 🙂

I love living in the city. We can walk to our neighborhood bars and restaurants, there is a great local coffee shop, and we even have a movie theater now. A short bike ride puts us in Deep Ellum or the Arts District, and a 5 minute ride on the #2 DART bus puts us right in the heart of the Main Street District.

Surprisingly, even land-locked Dallas County has some great natural beauty. The Trinity River runs nearby and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail runs in between the levies and is a great place for biking or walking. The city noise fades away and you can enjoy some time in a natural space, with the downtown skyline just behind you.

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I’ve spent the majority of my life living in suburbs or smaller towns. Moving into a more urban area was a whole new adventure. Our part of town is under a renovation of sorts, so many of the residents were new as well. Within two weeks, my husband and I had met more neighbors than the two years we lived in North Dallas. Everyone had an interest in knowing their neighbors, for various reasons. First of all, the neighborhood still had some rough parts, so knowing who should and shouldn’t be on the property is important information. Second, many of our friends and family didn’t live close enough for regular gatherings, so meeting neighbors led to new social circles. Once we learned a nearby restaurant had half-price food on Wednesday’s, a group of neighbors regularly met there for delicious food and good company. Our new home had a true community feel, something I didn’t even know we had been missing.

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View from the neighborhood

Will we live in the city forever? Who knows! Every now and then we drive through other neighborhoods farther away from the city center, but it always comes back to how much we love our community, and we aren’t quite ready to leave that.

Kendra Sig

Valentine’s Day Shenanigans

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Us. I LOVED my Bloomindale’s dress!  Yes, I totally copied J from J’s Everyday Fashion!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about couples.  About six years ago, a tradition was started with my sisters when we decided to do a couple’s Valentine’s Day celebration which includes a fancy dinner and possibly dancing…we call it Valentineapalooza.  At the time, we were trying to coordinate babysitters (ahem, my parents) and it just made sense to all go out together instead of trying to coordinate who would get to go out for Valentine’s Day.  Plus, we love hanging out with one another, so we knew it would be extra fun to go out as new parents and have a good time celebrating together.

The formula to a successful Valentineapalooza consists of of four things:

1. Great company -Valentineapalooza #6 took place in Lubbock, Texas and consisted of six couples we love dearly, but don’t get to see enough.  Your group definitely doesn’t have to be this large.  And if you’re single, your group can consist of all ladies.  This can be done with a co-ed group that are not necessarily couples either.  It’s really up to you.  The point is to plan a fun night out with a group that you love. And to have fun!

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Our entire group in front of the Texas Tech Club

2. Fancy dinner – Reservations for Valentine’s Day must be done very far in advance, especially for larger groups, so make sure your group can make a decision on a place to eat and book it ASAP.  We had the pleasure of having a connection to The Tech Club and got to dine overseeing an amazing view of the Texas Tech football field.  Also, our group was large enough to be accommodated with a private room, so we had a cozy time.  When your daily dinner plans consist of Chick-Fil-A takeout or quick, homemade meals, this is quite the treat.  Getting waited on hand and foot on this special night makes us feel like kings.

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Fancy dinner time! Check out that view.

3. After hours fun – There are several options for after-dinner fun.  This year, ours consisted of taking a limo and riding to different destinations for drinks and dancing.  We chose to get a limo because it made it easier for all of us to travel together and also to avoid drinking and driving.  In previous years, we stayed at a Marriott hotel that was walking distance to The Shops at Legacy where there is an abundant night life.  The point of Valentineapalooza is to get out and have fun, so there’s many options for after hours activities.  At the end of the night, we took our limo to Whataburger.  Yes, we are so classy.

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Limo fun

4. Kid-free hotel stay – I don’t know about you mother’s out there but at my house, kids get put in their own beds and somehow our three year-old always wanders over to my bed and ends up being my backpack for the remainder of the night.  A Valentineapalooza hotel stay without little people waking me up in the middle of the night or at the butt crack of dawn is like heaven to both my husband and me.  We had the luxury of staying at the Overton Hotel which is located right across the street from The Tech Club.  As parents, we can’t even shower or take a bathroom break without little feet following us around.  Having a long, hot shower and taking my time putting on my makeup without getting it swiped by Babyzilla was nice.  Michael took a long nap while I got ready because that’s what he does when he gets a moment to slow down.  I watched the news instead of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  It’s the small things people.

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My husband is The Flash

Valentineapalooza has become a tradition for us and we plan to continue planning it for years to come.  I also want to say that for my husband and myself, it’s important to make this event about us and enjoy each other’s company.  We typically have a Kid Valentine’s Day celebration prior to our Valentineapalooza date night event because we love our kids too.  Do you have special Valentine’s Day you would like to share with us?  Are they kid-free or kid friendly?  Share your ideas with us in the comments.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

When You Have Writers Block, Have A Glass of Wine…..or Three.

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Elisa and I at a non-blondes awesome annual wine party, with photo booth accessories of course.

So I had two really great options for a blog this week, one super deep and and one about organizing. When I finally had time to sit down and write this blog, neither seemed to inspire me like they had earlier in the week. So I did a quick Google search on ‘what to write about when you have writers block’ and the first thing I saw was to write about something you love, so here is my blog on wine.

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I can’t say that my love affair with wine was love at first sip but at this point in my life I can’t see a future with out him. I have become so wine crazy I get weekly texts, emails, and FB messages/posts from friends and family that pertain to wine. I guess there is something to be said about those little grapes and how happy they make me. I do frequently wonder if I have a SWF attraction to this sweet juice but then again, there are much, much worse things I could have an obsession with, so those thoughts are fleeting.

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I have been know to use my large purse for good. This was a fun movie night with a girlfriend.

My taste in wine has grown over the years. While I like to think I know a little bit about wine I am by no means a snob. I know enough to be dangerous. I started off only liking the reds but as I have grow in my relationship with wine I have come to love the whites as well. I am a meat and potatoes girl most of the time so reds are my go to 90% of the time. I am trying to be an adult and eat more fish so I have really come to appreciate some nice Chardonnays and Pinot Grigio. Most recently I have found a fun new fling with rosé. I used to think all pink wines were for cheap dates at a pool hall but now I know and appreciate the differences of the pink wines. A blush or a white zin are still the pool hall floozy kind of wine where as a nice strong red blend rosé is a totally different story. It is like the debutant of wines. Smart, sophisticated, strong but a little sweet.

I have found many new gadgets to help me enjoy my wine and I feel as though I would be doing you a disservice by not sharing my secretes. For quick access I highly recommend the Cork Pop wine opener. It has a cutter, large needle, and CO2 cartridge for quick access. It’s the split crotch panties of the wine opener world. A little tacky but very appreciated when you are in a hurry.

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Tacky if you are a fancy wine drinker but useful after a crappy day of work when you can’t get to the wine fast enough.

Then there is the Food Saver. I originally bought it to help save money with storing food and canning in my mason jars but quickly learned there was an even better use, SAVING WINE! If you don’t go through a whole bottle a night (surprise, surprise, I usually don’t) then this is essential for saving that precious wine for the next night.

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Not a killer bottle but worth saving for tomorrow night.

 

Lastly is the handy, dandy app Vivino. I have this for three purposes. You can keep track of your favorite wines, see what your friends and strangers like, and also search wines when you are standing in the middle of Tom Thumb and don’t know which one to pick to go with dinner. I used to always say ‘this is my favorite wine, I will get this again’ and then couldn’t remember the next day what the wine was unless I had a picture of the wine. This is like Pinterest for wine.

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While these are my favorite wine accessories and gadgets I have found there are many, many more out there. Does anyone have these? What is your must have wine accessory/gadget?

Diptic

Amanda Sig

On Sororities

In the summer before starting college, a friend’s mother convinced my mother to talk to me about joining sorority rush in the fall. As an introverted person, this was just about my worst nightmare. Talking to complete strangers about my life, trying to determine after ten minutes of conversation if I wanted to spend the next four years hanging out with these strangers, and did I really want to get a part-time job to afford dues so that I could attend mandatory Monday night meetings? It was overwhelming and completely foreign. No one in my family had ever rushed or joined a sorority, so I didn’t have any inside information on what I was getting into.

But sometimes you reluctantly listen to your mother, so I signed up and trekked off to school a week early to see what this was all about.

After a crazy week where I’m sure I looked insanely out of place and totally lost, I accepted an invitation to Alpha Chi Omega and began a four year journey that I really wouldn’t trade for anything. In summary, my mom was right! I met amazing people from all sorts of backgrounds and watched as we all grew into women and graduated college. I’m also glad that I did all of this before Facebook was invented and some of our crazy antics could have ended up on the Internet.

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After college, I assumed I’d stay close with a few friends, but I really had no idea what that would turn into. I never would have predicted I would be writing a blog with two of them over 13 years after graduation! I also couldn’t have imagined how they would help me turn my birthday into a two week extravaganza almost every year. We spent one Sunday morning enjoying brunch on a catamaran. A few hours later, we sat down with a medium/palm reader/tarot card reader to get a glimpse of our futures. And a week after that those same girls (and my husband) surprised me with a trip to see Theresa Caputo from Long Island Medium. Apparently we are obsessed with spiritual endeavors right now.

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I feel very fortunate to have these ladies in my life. Every single one of them has special gifts that they share unconditionally. I could have never known how this crazy group of 18 year old girls would change my life, but they have and I’m grateful to have them. And I’m glad my mom was so persistent on pushing me out of my shell all those years ago.

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So here is my very public thank you letter to all of my friends that make my birthday so special every year. Whether I met you in Alpha Chi Omega, or in the years since college, your friendship is one I truly value.

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