DSC03315-01Flip flops, swimsuits, sundresses, and hats. Weddings, graduations, and vacations. Summer is here! Along with these special occassions a brilliant smile is essential. In preparation for our recent trip to Europe, I whittened my teeth in the privacy of my home beforehand. I’ve loved the ease of use with Smile Brilliant‘s at home teeth whitening kit. I’ve used the kit before and I’ve really enjoyed the results. Check out my original Smile Brilliant post from Fall 2016 by clicking here. Last fall, I followed the easy step by step directions to make my teeth whittenig trays.

jenna-teeth-10420161005162917_img_0778I keep them safely in a user friendly compact carrying case.  To this day, I am still very pleased with the quality my trays. They’re flexible against my teeth and gums, have not yellowed, and are ready to be used at my convenience. Best of all, they were a perfect fit to my teeth.  All I needed to do in preparation for our trip was brush my teeth with water only, and begin the whittening process. *Using toothpaste before whittening your teeth can cause gum irritation. Therefore, I suggest water only before whittening. After using Smile Brilliant for 15 to 20 minutes daily a week before our trip, I was left with a beautiful smile for the Italian Coast! DSC03857The Amalfi Coast (Italian: Costiera Amalfitana) is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea, located in the Province of Salerno of southern Italy. There are a total of 13 little cities that make up the Amalfi coast. We were able to visit 3 of them during our 4 day stay. (Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello) They were all more beautiful than I ever imagined. We finally had our first taste of Lemoncello, Italian Gelato, and authentic Italian cusine. I’ve always hated tomatoes. However, the combination of fresh mozarella, tomatoes, oilve oil, oregano, basil, and cracked pepper won me over. As we explored the streets of Ravello, Positano, and Amalfi I couldn’t stop smiling. We snapped so many pictures and in each one, I had a picture perfect smile thanks to Smile Brilliant. DSC03306-01What are your plans for the summer? Do you want to brightten your smile for vacation, graduation, or a friend’s wedding? What about a gift for the new graduate or the lovely brife to be? Give the gift of a beautiful white smile with Smile Brilliant’s At Home Whittening Kit! I’ve teamed up with Smile Brilliant for a giveaway. EVERYONE who enters wins a $25 giftcard e-giftcard. This giveaway ends in 2 weeks! Click on the link below to enter.

DSC03333-02Thank you so much for allowing me to share our summer travels with you. The Amalfi Cost of Italy is wonderful. You’d love it here. As always, thanks for stopping by!

*This is a sponsored post.

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20170415163730_IMG_3223-01Happy Anniversary!  I cannot believe Sassy Teacher Chic has been online for one year. I never imagined that I would be able to share my personal style, life lessons, and travels with so many of you.  Yet here we are. Thank you for being here with me today. After months of wordpress, photoshoots, collaborations, meetups, and travels- I’ve had many experiences in the blogging world. What have I learned after one year of blogging?

 1. Comparison is the thief of joy.  We have all heard this before.  Sometimes I look at other bloggers and I begin to feel defeated. I see their success and wonder, what am I doing wrong? I’m a school teacher after all, it’s ingrained in me to measure myself by a grade of some sort. In the blogging community the grade is how many followers, likes, comments, engagement, collaborations, etc do you have. Falling into this mindset does nothing for me (or you).  I’ve learned this past year that it’s not good to compare myself with others.  Stay in your own lane, live your life, and be happy.  Growth takes time. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will a blog be built in a day.

2. Balance is the key.  This year, I tried to post everyday on social media. However, things happened and sometimes I had to skip my daily post.  At one point, I was sick with the flu for a week. (You guys didn’t want to see that, I’m sure.) At times, my photographer husband was out of town or he was just unavailable to take my photo.  My aunt passed away in October leaving a deep whole in my heart. We also had special weeks of activity planned in our congregation. I had papers to grade, lessons plans to write, and a car that was rear ended. Life just happened and I didn’t get to share a photo. Overtime, I began to be invited to events such as grand openings, fashion shows, etc. How wonderful! However, they’re also time consuming. I needed to find a baby sitter if Jason wasn’t home, and then drive to Dallas (where most events are). The stress of learning to balance it all began to weigh on me. Blogging begin to feel like a burden, and that didn’t make me happy at all.  I needed to plan better and to find balance. This year of blogging has really made me realize that as much as I enjoy blogging, it cannot take priority over my family life or spirituality. *Plan, plan, plan!  I now use a calendar to plan my blog post and photo shoots. Additionally, I utilize the Like to Know It app to draft my instagram post. This keeps me from being glued to social media.

IMG_20170428_154538_6923. Remember your purpose.  Being sick for a week was good for me.  It really allowed me to meditate and reflect (as I lay there in my feverish state) about the reason I began blogging in the first place.  For me, blogging is a way of sharing!  So many of my friends do not care one iota about style, and it was so nice to find others who do care what shoe goes with what dress. If you ever meet me in person, you’ll realize something else: I’m a talker! Blogging has given me a platform in which I can talk.  My career right now is teaching elementary school, being a wife to Jason, and a mother to Jocelyn. This is what makes me the happiest in life. Blogging at this point in time is a side business and personal hobby. One that I’m passionate about, obviously, but I must be realistic.  So why compare myself with career bloggers? Why stress out if I didn’t get to post my outfit of the day? Do I really need (or even want) to go to that event? Nah. I slowly realized that I needed to stick to my purpose of sharing, and just like that I felt so much better!

4. Be True to Yourself.  As the year went on, I was often approached by companies to collaborate.  During a collaboration or partnership, I am given a product to test and then I share my opinion with others on my blog and Instagram account.  This is a win-win for both myself and the brand I’m working with. I get to try new things and that brand gets promoted on social media. I love this aspect of blogging!  I’ve been able to try out hair extensions, beautiful clothing, lotions, ice cream, handbags, and so much more! However, like all good things there is a downside.  I found myself being approached by companies whose brand/products do not fit my modest brand.  It’s hard to say no, and for one moment I considered working with those brands. However, I knew I had to be true to my values and my audience. I choose not to participate and I’m happy.IMG_20170420_215021_0585. Content Is King. They say, if you build it they will come.  This is true of social media. A big part of blogging is photograph and content. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to really improve my writing style, how to pose, lights, angles, and the art of photography. (I’m still working on the posing part. I’m so glad my husband is patient with me!) I’ve learned it’s not just the outfit that matters. It’s the quality of your content. This year, the quality of my photos has improved and thus the reach of my audience has too. *My two favorite apps are: Touch Retouch and Snapseed. Both of these have allowed me to edit my images. While I still use my Galaxy Note 5 to take photos, Jason’s Cannon 6D camera is King!

6. Join a Blogging Community! No man (or woman) is an island. We all need support. This is certainly true with blogging. Last year, I joined Style Collective, a support group for bloggers. Thru Style Collective I’ve become a girl boss. I was able to meet great brands to collaborate with, get to know other bloggers, find out about meet ups, get advice on wordpress, and so much more! I’ve learned about SEO (search engine organization), photography, New York Fashion Week, how to monetize my blog, and best practices. If blogging is something that you’re interested it, either for a career or a hobby, please consider joining a blogging group.

So there you have it! Six things I’ve learned from my first year of blogging.  To celebrate, I’m sharing a $25 gift card to Macy’s Backstage. Macy’s Backstage is similar to Nordstrom Rack. How?  Items that have been are leftover from the previous season or have been deeply discounted are placed at Macy’s Backstage. It’s the place to find department store items at everyday prices. (You can use the gift card at both Macy’s Backstage and Macy’s Department Store.) For those who admire this dress I’ve linked it here for you here. To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment on my blog below.

****UPDATE**** And the winner is, Lovepanick!  I will contact you via email. Thank you to everyone who commented. As always, thanks for stopping by! IMG_20170427_200942_395

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20170514193140_0G6A8741-01We are an active family.  After a weekend of hiking, paddle boarding, biking, or sight-seeing in the sun my skin really needs some TLC. I wish I could being my whole bathroom, but traveling limits exactly what I can take, especially when we fly. Therefore, it’s vital that I bring only the essentials.  From head to toe, here are my travel skin care essentials.

“Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it everyday for the rest of your life.” -Renee

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  • Granier Frutics Skin Active + Blackhead Eliminating Scrub. This is a Gel exfoliator with micro beads deeply cleanses. It unclogs and tightens my pores while smoothing my face and neck. The charcoal and salicylic acid to draw out dirt, oil and impurities without being harsh. It’s the perfect make-up remover! I cannot find a smaller size and so I must put some in a smaller container when we travel. 
  • Neutrogena Daily Moisturizer (Sensitive Skin) SPF 35.  I use this moisturizer each morning after washing my face.  It’s light weight, non greasy, and includes SPF.  It’s vital to wear SPF on a daily basis. I’m outside every day for 20 to 30 minutes during recess, and then at least a good 2 hours on the weekend during the door to door ministry. SPF is vital to keep my skin from being damaged by the sun. Happily, there is a smaller size which is great for travel. (Yay!)
  • However, where I really invest in myself is my nighttime routine. It’s my essential antiaging step that cannot be skipped, even on vacation.  My recent obsession is the Nimni Cream by Hydropeptide.  At bedtime, I wash my face and then apply the Nimni Cream. I love the light weight feel and smell. It hydrates, rejuvenates, and improves the appearance of my skin while I sleep.  The Nimni Cream contains time release retinol , vitamin c, amino acids, and patented collagen support complex which help increase the cell turnover rate of your face and decolletage. The enhanced penetration complex helps fight wrinkles and fine lines, and I’m all for that!  It has not clogged my pores, left me feeling greasy, or caused a breakout. A little bit goes a long way. The Nimni Cream is available in two sizes, with the .5 fluid ounce being perfect to carry onto the plane. (YAY!) You can view a VIDEO and learn more about this wonderful cream here by clicking here. It’s worth the investment. Add it to your nighttime routine and see the difference.

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  • The Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, Fragrance Mist, and Body Wash from Sol de Janerio are my favorite body products. The body wash and body lotion are both thick, creamy, fragrant, and super moisturizing. It smells so good I want to taste it! My favorite part is the little flecks of gold dust it leaves on my skin.  And not to be overlooked is the Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist. It really compliments the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, allowing the sweet scent to linger all day. Sadly, I cannot find a carryon on friendly size (3.4 ounces) of the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and so I have to decant it into a smaller container for travel.

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  • The driest parts of my body are my hands and feet.  Hiking makes my feet feel hot and tired.  Then as the weather warms and I pull out my summer sandles, there is a vital need to really keep those puppies moisturized.  The Cracked Heel of Approval from Bath and Body Works really helps to keep the dead dry skin away.  Once again, I haven’t found this product in a travel friendly size and so I must decant it into a smaller container.
  • However, the product that’s perfect for both your hands and feet, and even your body, is Gloves in a Bottle. It gives soothing relief for dry, cracked, and irritated skin. Gloves in the Bottle is non-greasy, fast absorbing, and last through many washes. This especially needed while on vacation. I find myself frequently washing my hands as we visit more and more public places. (Our trip to New York made me a germ a phobe after watching a homeless man urinate in the subway tunnel, and them touch all of the handles as he left.) With so much handwashing it seems like I can go though a bottle of hand lotion a day while on vacation!!  However, with Gloves in a Bottle, the lotion seemed to last longer.  It’s light smell is also perfect for the workplace where too many fragrances came become an irritant. The 3.4 fl ounces is excellent for carrying onto the plane. (YAY!)

So there you have it! From head to toe, my travel skin-Care essentials that I take with my whenever I leave home. I hope you find this list helpful for your next vacation.  Where are you planning to go? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know.

*This is a “Sponsored Post”. It’s “Powered by BrandBacker”*

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jenna-april-006-01Lace is everwhere this Spring and Summer! You can find lace details and overlays on shirts, stops, skirts, and even shoes.  From sexy black lace to demure white lace, it is here to stay. However, the lace dress from Demerara Dallas really stands outs above others with it’s floral pattern.  Delicate blues, pinks, white, and soft coral flowers cover this entire dress. With so many lovely colors this dress can we worn over and over again, with different accessories each time to highlight the colors.  jenna-april-007For our Memorial, I chose to accent the lovely coral and peach hues for Spring.  It’s modest silhouette is both classy and fashionable. I’m in love with the full skirt that billows around you with each step. This Floral Lace dress is an elegant must have to your Spring wardrobe.  It’s perfect for Spring and Summer weddings, formal parties, and gatherings.jenna-april-004Dress shabbily and they remember they dress. Dress impeccably and they will remember the woman.” -Coco Chanel

jenna-april-009Shop Demerara Dallas online or visit their Dallas location. Tell them that Jennifer from SassyTeacherChic sent you. Also, stay tuned and keep your ears opened! This unique Dallas boutique is expanding to Plano and Fort Worth!

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SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-00-26-15We usually go away for our wedding anniversary.  However, with Jocelyn’s school program, the Memorial of Christ Death, the Special Talk, and higher travel prices due to Easter Sunday- we realized that it would just be best to have a “stay-cation” for our wedding anniversary.  So what is there to do in Fort Worth, Texas?  Here are the highlights of my hometown by districts. Perhaps you can gain some inspiration for your family fun, date nights, or “stay-cation” from a local’s perspective.

(In alphabetical order. I’ve placed an * next to must see areas if you’re on a brief time table.)

1. Camp Bowie District 

On historic Camp Bowie Boulevard a few minutes west of downtown, you’ll find some of the finest upscale specialty boutiques, with items ranging from haute couture fashions and furs to fine jewels and housewares. My favorite store on Camp Bowie is Petunias & Pickle Bottoms Maternity Store. I frequented this boutique during my pregnancy with Jocelyn. Pregnant women like to (and need to) eat so, I discovered great places for lunch.  Galligaskins is a great place for submarine sandwiches. Tokoyo Cafe has the freshest sushi and Tok fries on the west side of Fort Worth. I really like the atmosphere here. For desert you must get cake at Nothing Bundt Cakes.  See, I was really hungry when I was preggo.  No wonder I gained 50 pounds with my baby girl! Ridgmar Mall is located just down the road. With Neiman Marcus being relocated to The Shops at Clear Fork the feel and atmosphere of Ridgmar Mall is shifting. It’s main attractions are now the Cinemark Movie Theatre, Ridgmar Kids Club, and outlet stores.

2. Cultural Arts District*

Located just west of downtown Fort Worth are all of the gardens, museums, and The Fort Worth Zoo. If you’re visiting Fort Worth, take a good 2 to 3 hours to explore the Fort Worth Zoo. It has been rated among the top 20 zoos in the United States for good reason. The MOLA exhibit is wonderful, as well as the new Splash Pad for the kids.  We frequent the Zoo splash pad during the summer months because there is no standing water for your kids to drown in. There are only places to run, slide, and splash. It’s a mommy’s worry free swim spot for the kids. Tip:  Wednesday is half price admission day at the Fort Worth Zoo.

IMG_20170403_010654_944Take a stroll in the oldest garden in Texas, The Fort Botanical Gardens.  The 110 acre garden is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Bring your camera as you explore the acres of land, discovering butterflies, plants of all kinds, and an interactive nature path.  The gardens are a perfect place to picnic, and for family pictures. Located inside of the Botanical Gardens is the serene Japanese Gardens. ($7 for adults; $4.00 for children.) Many events are held each year in the Botanic Gardens.  My two favorite events are the Butterfly Festival (spring), and Fort Worth Concerts in the Gardens (summer). Each summer the Fort Worth Symphony invites you to picnic in the gardens as they play a 2 hours live laser light show and fireworks. This is a summer favorite in my household!!!

Venture over to Casa Manana “House of tomorrow to see a live Broadway Show.  Take the children to see wonderful productions by the Children’s Theater.  You’ll be impressed with the talent seen at Casa Manana.  Casa Manana gives back to the community of Fort Worth by inviting the children of Fort Worth to attned one children’s threatre production for fee during school field trips.

If you visit Fort Worth during January, no doubt you’ll hear about The Will Roger’s Memorial Center. Established in Fort Worth, Texas in 1936, the Will Rogers Memorial Center now attracts in excess of 2 million visitors each year to the Cultural District. This 120-acre facility plays host to an extensive variety of cultural, corporate, educational and sporting events including many international-level equestrian and livestock shows. The Cowtown Marathon is loated here each Februry.  And Each January is home to the Fort Worth Stock and Rodeo Show, a Fort Worth favorite. Kids love the stock show along with it’s Midway fill of rides.  Year after year, the children of Fort Worth are given a free ticket to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s great family fun!

Last but not least, be sure to visit the many Fort Worth museums:

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Amon G. Carter Museum– View a renowned collection of American art—paintings, sculpture, and photography—housed in an iconic Philip Johnson-designed building in the heart of Fort Worth. On Wednesday mornings, during June and July, visit the museum at 10:00 for free story times followed by arts and crafts.

The Kimbell Art Museum– Fort Worth, Texas museum of international art with collections ranging from antiquities to 20th century contemporary art. Each fall we look forward to the Samurai Festival during October.

The Modern Art Museum– If contemporary, modern, or just plain weird art is your thing, visit the Modern Art Museum. Sundays are free at the Modern! Dine at Cafe Modern on Friday Nights where dinner is festive, romantic, and diverse. See new independent films in held at the Magnolia Theater located inside the Modern Art Museum Fridays-Sundays.

Fort Worth Science & History Museum is the first Children’s Museum in Texas, established in 1941. Let your little ones explore, roam, and create.  For both adults and children, check out the Fort Worth Omni Threatre. The Omni Theater was the first IMAX screen in the Southwest and, with an eight-story domed screen and 30-degree stadium seating. The Omni’s 120-foot-wide screen places the audience in the center of the action, producing a sensation much closer to real-life than a conventional movie theater.

What about eating and shopping in the Arts District?  Jason and I recommend: The Woodshed off University Drive for yummy Fort Worth BBQ. It’s near the zoo a.nd nestled against the Trinity River for a great view.  If you’re looking for shopping drop by the open air University Park Village to shop for great finds at Anthropologie, Shephora, The Apple Store, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Vera Bradley and more. Another favorite spot of mine is Fort Worth Central Market.  Saw what?  Our HEB Central Market offers a playground for the kids, live music on its covered patio, and cooking classes- which makes a wonderful date night in my opinion!!!! Trust me, it’s really cool!!

3. Clear Fork

Located off Fort Worth’s only Tollway in southwest Fort Worth are the new Shops at Clear Fork. With Neiman Marcus as it’s anchor, this will be the prime location for luxury shopping in Fort Worth.  Many of the stores will open in Fall 2017. Keep checking their website to see what new shops will open.SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-00-21-29 Just across the traffic circle be sure to have a delicious lunch at the Press Cafe. Their fresh salads and hamburgers are divine! There are 2 outdoor patios where you can dine with friends in the cool spring air.  This is also where the Trinity Trail Head is located. Rent a bike on site or walk/jog/run along the 40 mile trail.  If you’re in the area on a Saturday morning stop by the Trinity Trail Head to shop fresh produce at The Clear Fork Farmer’s Market.  It’s open year round.

4. Downtown*SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-06-53-36Fort Worth is a big city with a small town feel. This is really apparent as you walk the streets of Downtown Fort Worth.  If this is your first time in town, here are some definite places in Downtown Fort Worth to visit.

Sundance Square spans 35 blocks in Downtown Fort Worth.  Sundance Square is filled with dozens of options for shopping, dining, and entertainment. The 42 buildings in Sundance Square – both modern and historic – total more than three million square feet of retail and office space. Fashionistas check out Loft, H&M, and Black House White Market for trendy apparel.

SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-06-51-45If you’re just wanting to stroll and let the kids run, you’ll really enjoy the Sundance Square Plaza.  Think of it as a 55,000-square-foot living room: a place to hang out with friends, indulge your senses, and let your everyday worries disappear. On any given day, you might find a band playing, a yoga class in progress, or thousands enjoying an outdoor movie. Sundance Square Plaza is a masterpiece of urban design, complete with a fantastic fountains, four giant umbrellas, and a state-of-the art sound and lighting system. My family and I love going to the Plaza for Summer Movie Nights. They’re free!!!

Grab your popcorn a catch the latest box office hit move at AMC Palace 9 Movie Theatre. Better still, visit the beautiful Fort Worth Bass Performance Hall. This lovely love building is the permanent home to major performing arts organizations including the Fort Worth Opera, the Texas Ballet Theater, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and Concerts. Voted one of the “top 10 opera houses in the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine, Bass Hall’s interior resembles a classic European opera house, while it’s bold exterior boasts two, 48-foot tall hark angels that are cultural icons for the city. It’s truly a sight to see.  Bass Performance Hall also doe strives to educate and expose the children of Fort Worth to culture. Each year over 100,000 2nd graders take a field trip to Bass Hall for free. I love going here each year with my students to see “Peter and The Wolf.”

Are you in need of a good laugh? Fort Worth has 2 comedy clubs located in the heart of downtown: Hyena’s Comedy Night and Four Day Weekend.  Last but not least, if you visit Fort Worth during the month of April drop by and enjoy the annual Main Street Arts Festival. Purchase one of a kind art pieces, jam to live music, and sample tasty foods while strolling the streets of downtown Fort Worth. It’s the highlight of Spring here in Fort Worth.  Park downtown for free for free after 5pm in downtown Fort worth.  You can also have your parking validated if you’re visiting one of the stores at the Sundance Plaza.  (I love Fort Worth.)

For places to dine in downtown, Jason and I recommend: The Bird Cafe, Del Friscos, Simply, Fondue, The Cheesecake Factory, and the new Salsa Limon!!!  And just on the outskirts of downtown, tucked away on Florence Street try the Bon Giorno Coffe for coffee, pastries, games, and above all else- FREE WIFI.

5. The Foundary

IMG_20170326_025216_633The Foundary district, (TFD) is a new community, adjacent to 7th Street and the Museum District, with creative office, retail and restaurant and, future event and market space. It mixes urban, industrial, and art all in one area. It is home to small local shops, live music, and some the best wall murals in all of Fort Worth.  Keep your eye on this up new area as more shops are being added.

While in The Foundry be sure to taste the great food at the Fort Worth Food Park, the first and finest park in Fort Worth. Enjoy a variety of gourmet dishes served up by some of the area’s top local chefs all in one serene park-like setting. Families, groups, or anyone just looking to kick back and sample a variety of high-quality food trucks are welcome. The Park features outdoor games, live music and other special events. The Park is also pet-friendly and all food trucks accept credit cards. Enjoy free wireless internet while you eat too.

6. Hulen

At the intersection of Hulen & Overton Park you’ll find the only Barnes & Noble Book Store in Fort Worth and one Half Price Book Store. Honestly, this breaks my heart because I love to read.  One by one our bookstores are disappearing.  The book store is a favorite past time of my family for story times, book signings, and a hot cup of tea on a cold winter morning. It’s cafe place is a great place to have a quick lunch while catching up with an old friend.  Just across the street you’ll find Fort Worth’s Hulen Mall, home of my favorite clothing store (EXPRESS).  Just behind the mall is the Hulen Street Movie Tavern. Over the years, Hulen has slowly become a place of retail and less for shopping and dinning. However, there still great places for unique brunch and dinner.  I suggest Wasabi Sushi for a tasty lunch. The prices are excellent!  At the intersection of Hulen and Hartwood, as you near TCU, look for The Locals Food Kitchen for a delicious fusion of cultural cuisines. The price is right and so is it quiet location if you wish to avoid crowds for lunch and date night.

7. Near SouthSide 

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Near South Side is the place where you sit bsck and chill. Fort Worth’s most eclectic district has really come into its own in the last several years – and there’s no sign of it slowing down.  My husband and I affectionately call this neighborhood “hipster side”.  You must must visit Brewed!!!!  It’s my favortie place to kick back with friends, play board games, and sample the latest coffee.  It feels like a little taste of Brooklyn New York to Jason and I. Try the Nachos at Yucatan Taco Stand.  If you’re vegan or on a Paleo Diet, you’re in the right spot.  Drop by Spiral Diner for your vegan fare.  In need of coffee or a tasty treat?  We recommend Stir Crazy or Great Harvest Bread Company.  If beer is your thing, take your friends to Rahr & Sons Brewing. Mid week they offer beer tasting and pizza.  Personally, I detest beer (yuck), but Jason likes it.  He says you should definitely check it out if you’re a beer fan.  Finally, you must sample Funky Town Donuts!  They are huge and delicious!!!

As for events, Near Southside has no shortage of fun events.  From March thru October come out and enjy a family friendly month concert, food trucks, arts, crafts, and more during Friday on the Green.  Stroll Magnolia Street during ArtsGoggle. This popular arts festival is free to the public, family-friendly event attracts a crowd as diverse as the neighborhood itself with live music, artistic displays of every kind, food, drink, and fun for everyone. And don’t forget Open Streets. Open Streets is a four-hour Sunday event each April that closes Magnolia Avenue to traffic and opens the roadway up to cyclists, food trucks, dog walkers, skateboarders, yoga classes, face painters and much more. The street is open for the neighborhood to come out and play.

8. Panther Island

You must visit Panther Island. Just north of downtown Fort Worth, Panther Island sits on the Trinity River and is home to Fort Worth’s only drive in movie theatre, Coyote Drive In. It feels so retro and fun.  While on Panther Island try a few water sports on the Trinity River. We’ve gone kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing off Panther Island. Don’t worry about having equipment.  You can rent it there from Backwoods Paddle Sports. Panther Island Pavilion hub is not only for waterfront activity in Fort Worth. Think concerts, festivals, 5k races, tubing, kayak & SUP rentals, a public beach and so much more! Plus it’s home to the only waterfront stage in Texas.  Have a beer (again not my thing) at the Panther Island Brewing Company, and float the Trinity River on a hot summer’s day to stay cool.

9. Stockyards

Fort Worth is nicknamed, “where the west began” due to it’s stockyards located north of downtown Fort Worth, TX. Okay, time to become a 2nd grade teacher here. The Fort Worth Stockyards  are what put Fort Worth on the map in the 1800’s was it’s beef industry. Cowboys of old would drive their cattle and down Chisholm Trail to Fort Worth to shipped all over the United States via train.  This is what made Fort Worth so different from it’s sister city Dallas. The original stockyards are still here and well preserved down to the the brick side walks. Twice a day you can witness a real live cattle drive through Main Streets of Fort Worth.  If you want to feel like a real cowboy or cowgirl, visit the Fort Worth Stockyards. In my opinion, it’s a tourist trap, but worth seeing if you’re here. While you’re in that neck of the woods check out the famous Joe T Garcia Tex-Mex Restaurant.  We don’t go there for the food, we good there for the atmosphere and it’s lovely gardens.

10. WatersideSmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-00-40-14Do you want a nice stroll away from crowds? At Bryant Irving and Arbor Lawn you’ll discover the newly established community of Water Side. It is home to Fort Worth’s only Whole Foods store. Just behind the Whole Foods are residential areas, Trinity Trials, and open air parks. Take a couples cooking class for date night at Sur la Table. Eat pizza at the new Blaze Pizzeria, grab a Popsicle from Steel City Pops, and walk the lovely Trinity Trails.  Or stay and play at the new park while listening to music from the hundreds of outdoor speakers. Waterside is serene, clam, and small in size.

11. West 7th Street*

SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-00-13-05Shop, dine, workout, and play on West 7th Street. This urban district borders the Cultural Arts District, Downtown Fort Worth, and The Foundary District.  There are great places to eat all over West 7th Street.  Jason and I recommend Times Ten Cellers for wine tasting and pizza, Rodeo Goat for Texas sized hamburgers, Steel City Pops for the gourmet all natural popsicles,  Terra Mediterranean Grill for for healthy cusine, Blue Sushi and Kona Grill for their $5.00 Happy Hours, and above all Velvet Taco for the best gourmet tacos. (My favorite items from Velvet are the local tots with scrambled egg.  And you must try the Picnic Chicken Taco.  Ah man, now I’m hungry.)  Do you want to have dinner and a movie? We love the 7th Street Movie Tavern.  Just across the way, visit the Montgomery Ward Plaza for fine dinning with Gloria’s and Sushi Axiom. Stuffed after all that eating?  Need to work off a few pounds?  You’re in the right spot.  West 7th is home to the ZYN22 Spin Club, Social Running Club, and Fort Worth Running Club.  We really like West 7th Street!SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-06-54-33Gain easy entrance to the Trinity Park from 7th Street.  Trinity Park is home to a duck pond, a miniature train, several playgrounds and Trinity Trails, the best hiking and biking trails around town. Don’t worry about bringing your bike, you can rent one from the multiple kiosk!  We like to take a cardboard box and slide down the big hills on a warm sunny day.  And in the summer, Trinity Park is home to outdoor productions for Shakespeare in the Park.

Dont want to visit the park? Hang out and play giant Jenga, old school Pac Man, Skee Ball and pool while eating hot wings at Fort Worth’s adult only retro arcade, Barcadia. They even play older music mixed in with today’s hits. Barcadia is a our favorite place to go for date night when we want to pretend that we are teenagers. Monday & Tuesday nights are free play at Barcadia!  And just across the way, sip your latte while putting mini golf at yet another Fort Worth Coffee Shop.

12. Just Outside of Fort Worth

Just short 30 minute drive from Fort Worth you’ll find major attractions such as:

Six Flags Over Texas– (Arlington, TX) Dallas/Ft. Worth’s biggest, most popular attraction featuring dozens of thrill rides, shows, and activities (Arlington, Texas). Parents: Don’t be afraid to take your 4 or 5 year old.  There are many rides just for the little ones in Bugs Bunny Boom Town.  I take Jocelyn once each year and she really enjoys herself.  However, I’d avoid the park during the heart of summer. It’s too hot!

The At&T Stadium  (Arlington, TX) is the home for the American Football team Dallas Cowboys.  It seats over 50,000 enthusiastic fans in this colossal size stadium. Warning! Tickets are pricey.  When it’s not football season you can catch large concerts tours and other athletic events here.

The Globe Life Park  (Arlington, TX) is home of American baseball team the Texas Rangers.  We enjoy going out to the ball game and having a classic hotdog and soda as we watch the game.  There is even a children play area located inside of the Globe Life Park!  We love letting Jocelyn play here when we make it out for a ball game.

If you like fast cars then visit the Texas Motor Speedway. The racetrack is actually in Fort Worth.  However, it at the most Northern point of the city, 30 minutes from it’s center of I-35, that you feel as if you’re no longer in Fort Worth. The Texas Motor Speedway, is the premier motorsports facility in Texas hosting IndyCar, NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck series races.  Not too far from the Speedway are great places to eat and shop just down I-35 at the Alliance Town Center. We suggest you get a meal at BJ’s Restaurant.  The poozookie is Jason’s favorite dessert.  Local tip: Beware of the traffic in this area.  I-35 is under constant construction and you’ll often find yourself stuck inching along the I-35 corridor.  It’s maddening!SmartSelectImage_2017-04-19-15-59-16So there you have it: Fort Worth, Texas from a local’s view point. I’m thinking mostly of hanging out with family and friends. Each weekend I walk the streets of Fort Worth in my door to door ministry. During the summer months, I spend my free time keeping Jocelyn occupied when we’re not at school.  Indeed, there is so much to do here. You can see why we have stayed in my hometown of Fort Worth.  It is a big city (800,000 people and growing) with a small town feel. It’s where the west began, constantly changing and thriving,  and certainly “worth living” here.

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