Etsy Jingle Bash brings good shopping cheer

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Today’s a prime day to start your Christmas shopping, as the annual Etsy Jingle Bash returns to Dallas with a wealth of cool, handcrafted goods.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., nearly 100 terrific local artisans with Etsy shops will congregate at the South Side Event Center showcasing artware, apparel, jewelry and paper goods perfect for gifting … or keeping for yourself! And unlike with Black Friday shopping at big-box retailers, your purchase at the Jingle Bash supports a local and home-grown business. (For a full list of who’ll be selling what, peek here.)

So go out and support your friendly local artisan and stuff some stockings while you do it!

Diva Car Review: 2014 Buick LaCrosse

The 2014 Buick Lacrosse, driven by The Dallas Diva

[Disclosure: Chevy provided me a vehicle to take for a one-week spin.]

I had the pleasure recently of getting a 2014 Buick LaCrosse in my clutches for a week to do with as I please [insert evil laugh]. What I discovered was a sturdy, sleek sedan that’s a fun-to-drive ride.

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Food, drinks, fun collide at Chefs and Seeds

Chefs and Seeds lands at Trinity Groves in October.

Tomorrow, Trinity Groves will be alight with a special benefit highlighing the foods of some of Dallas’ best culinary luminaries. Chefs and Seeds is uniting terrific cuisine, crafted cocktails and live music for a good cause at 3015 at Trinity Groves, the restaurant complex’s party venue. Proceeds will go toward a group called Seeds of Africa, which, according to its news release is “creating a Dream School that will house Seeds of Africa’s cutting-edge education and community development programs. Upon completion, the Dream School will serve 600 students between Pre-Kindergarten and 12th grade with free education, school supplies, meals and uniforms. In addition, its facilities will provide community development and health services to the students’ families and the greater Adama [Ethiopia] community.”

Some of Dallas’ top chefs — including two Top Chef alums — are donating their time for this wondrous cause, including Jon Stevens of Stock & Barrel; Andrew Bell of Bolsa; Omar Flores of Casa Rubia; Top Chef alum Tiffany Derry; Brian Zenner of Oak; Sharon Van Meter of 3015 at Trinity Groves; Tom Fleming of Crossroads Diner, Gilbert Garza of Suze; Tracy German of Cake Bar; Jeff Harris from AF+B; DJ Quintanilla of Resto Gastro Bistro; Stephen Rogers of Gemma; and Top Chef vet John Tesar from Knife. That’s a whole lot of good eatin’ that’ll be happening at TG, plus Deep Eddy Vodka is the beverage sponsor, so cocktails — flowing from no less than five bars! — should be ridiculously delicious alongside all the impeccable cuisine.

Tickets to Chefs and Seeds run $150 per person; snag yours here.

3 things to know about Dallas’ new beer pairing event

Beer pairing contest comes to Dallas

HopChef, a beer-and-food-pairing competition is set to light up Trinity Groves on the evening Nov. 3. Here are some essential deets to know before you click through and snag some tickets … and you will snag tix, because who doesn’t want to spend an evening sipping on craft brews and supping on some of the best beer-friendly food in town? Read on!

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Shop the Dallas Flea this November

Shop The Dallas Flea this November 2014! | TheDallasDiva.com

Our favorite occasional urban flea market and rustic glam shopping destination is back! On Nov. 8, The Dallas Flea will hold court once again at South Side on Lamar, bringing its charming mix of home-grown artisan wares to one central spot. There is always so much goodness to be uncovered here, chickadees! I love sitting for a spell at Cowgirl Cuties and trying on girly cowboy boots — they’ll be back this November! In the past, I’ve enjoyed perusing the goods of local stationary, art, jewelry and apparel makers; I love to devote the better part of an afternoon to shopping the Flea. And when hunger sets in, this foodie’s appetite is always sated with food vendors and trucks on site selling much deliciousness!

You can trust Flea founder and style maven extraordinaire Brittany Cobb to curate the event wonderfully, and I’ve never been disappointed. Word is that the Flea will leave its south-of-downtown digs next year for a larger new home. We can’t wait to see where it lands! Meantime, save the date for this fall’s go-round. Hope to see you there!

Win tickets to Dallas’ first Makeup Show!

Win tickets to Dallas' first Makeup Show | TheDallasDiva.com

This weekend, The Makeup Show is making its first foray into DFW. What IS The Makeup Show? Only a convention-sized outlet showcasing what’s new and next in cosmetics. While it’s heavily aimed at professional makeup artists and the like, us civilian makeup lovers can join in on the fun when the show stops into the Hyatt Regency this Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to seminars by the industry’s leading makeup pros, there’ll be more than 75 brands, big and small, showing off their goods — not just shadows and blushes and glosses but the tools we use to apply them.

Lady freakin' Gaga!!

Lady freakin’ Gaga!!

One of the beauty masters making an appearance and leading a seminar is Mister Billy B, who’s prettied up one Lady Gaga — you may have heard of her. A singer or something. Wink! Other talented pros heading our way include Eugenia B (pictured at top), who counts Bette Midler and Alfre Woodard among her clients; Michael DeVellis, On Makeup founder; and Johnny Lavoy of Moda-Rey Salon & Spa.

Among the brands on hand for The Makeup Show are names you know and love, like MAKE UP FOR EVER, Nars, Smashbox, Kevyn Aucoin, Stila and so much more! You want in? Well, of course you do. You want in for free? I’ve got two tickets to (albeit quite speedily) give away this Friday. Enter away!

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The Dallas Chocolate Festival is back!

dallas chocolate fest

This weekend, Big D will become Big C — chocolate will rule as the sold-out Dallas Chocolate Festival rages at the Addison Conference Centre today, followed by chocolate workshops going down at 3015 Trinity Groves on Sunday. Can you handle it, chocoholics?

If you’ve already bought your tickets, you won’t be alone in sampling rich treats from the likes of Valrhona, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Dallas Caramel Company and many, many more at the festival. Worry not if you didn’t snag tickets to the fest, though — you can still buy entry into tomorrow’s workshops, which include a dessert class, a chocolate-making seminar, and (my personal fave) a sweets and wine-pairing course. Even sweeter than the subject matter is the fact that you can get 10 percent off any of the workshops and/or the three-workshop package. Just enter the promo code “divachocolate” for a tidy little discount. Tell ‘em the Diva sent ya!

Get fit fabulously for fall at MoveStudio

Work it out like a Diva at MoveStudio!

Work it out like a Diva at MoveStudio!

Workin’ on your fitness? If you’re like me, you’re always trying, which means looking for fun and exciting ways to burn some calories. For years I’ve been curious about MoveStudio, the North Dallas fitness studio with a huge range of classes to choose from, and I recently was bestowed a chance to try it!

While I was unable to try Nia, MoveStudio’s popular fusion of yoga, global dance moves, cardio and even martial arts, my fitness friend and I did attend Chair Dance Fitness, a sexy, slinky class where we not only got a terrific workout, but picked up some super-sassy moves. Hubba-hubba (and ouch the next day)!

We also took a Zumba class, working up a sweat to dance routines in hip-hop, Latin and Bollywood styles. I can’t get enough of Zumba, personally, but our instructor’s joy in leading us was totally infectious and added to my enthusiasm.

Zumba and Chair Dance are far from the only classes you can take at MoveStudio: From a wide range of yoga varieties to pilates to ballet-based workout classes, there’s something for every fitness level and interest, morning and night. Plus, MoveStudio has drop-in classes for everyone or series and workshops for those who want to commit to one methodology for a little while. Peek at their schedule and find your fit niche this fall!

[Disclaimer: MoveStudio gave me a one-week pass to check out classes, but these opinions are strictly my own.]

Satisfy your inner tech diva at Big (D)esign

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Credit: Jeremy Johnson

Next weekend, Big (D)esign, a showcase of tech and tech usability breakthroughs, is back in Dallas, regaling lovers of innovation with what’s new and next in gaming, web and film.

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Credit: Jeremy Johnson

While serious tech geeks will get a kick out of the educational seminars happening from the conference’s Thursday start through Sunday completion, those of us who are simply fangirls/boys for nifty tech should head to the Addison event to check out the tradeshow, happening Friday and Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. For $25, you can check out and play with toys like a spaceship-piloting simulator and virtual reality headset. Plus, artists from Pixar and Disney will be on hand for meet-and-greets; also in attendance will be Academy Award-winning special effects meister Phil Tippett, who’s worked on Star Wars, Robocop and Jurassic Park.

Check out the entire Big (D)esign schedule here and get fabulously geeked next weekend!

Why Bossier’s hot pool lounge is your next getaway

dare pool view2

Hola, chickadees! I just returned from a terrific girlfriend’s getaway at Horseshoe Casino Bossier City, which was highlighted by visits to the destination’s luxe pool lounge, Dare Dayclub. If you’re up for end-of-summer travel this month or next, you should consider investing a weekend in Louisiana to check out this hot outdoor lounge! Whether it’s a girlfriend’s getaway like I had, a romantic jaunt or just a road trip with your party posse (Shreveport/Bossier is just about three hours away), you can build the ideal visit due east. Here’s five reasons my stay was superb and yours can be, too:

1. The Dallas douche factor at this lounge is nonexistent.
I love Dallas. You know this by my blog name. But Dallas clubs attract a certain inescapable $30,000 millionaire situation. Thankfully, as you’re scanning the scene at Dare — packed as it is with a good number of visiting Dallasites — you’ll notice the folks in the cabanas and in lounge chairs are having a genuinely good time, focusing on their friends, dancing and enjoying the pool, as opposed to glowering and posing with their bottle of Ciroc. And that makes for a convivial party atmosphere.

2. The pool is actually swimmable!
Unlike the pool lounges I’ve found in Dallas, Dare’s pool is 4 feet deep, which makes swimming and contented floating possible and terrific (you’ll have to practice your dive technique elsewhere, alas). And the club throws in fun floatables like beach balls and inflatable sharks. Sweet!

dare cabana

3. There’s plenty to do away from your cabana.
In what was the perfect luxury travel touch, me and the gals were treated to fabulous massages at the Horseshoe’s peaceful on-site spa, Indulge, which also has facials and a slate of salon services on its menu. Plus, hello — the casino is right there. If you’re like me, you’ll hit the quarter slots and the poker room!

4. The music at Dare slays.
The DJ who held court the Saturday my group was there played a killer mix of pop hits, throwback hip-hop and serious R&B grooves. We couldn’t keep to our seats.

5. Drinks and eats at the pool are reasonable.
Costs for bottles of liquor are a nice change of pace from Dallas’ markups. A bottle of Grey Goose is way less than $300, whereas we’ve never seen it less than $400 in Big D clubs. And if you’re gonna get your drank on, it’s a better bet than ordering individual cups from the bar. As for eats, a fine shrimp cocktail and a couple California rolls will set you back way less than $30, and are delicious fuel for heading back to the pool!

four winds food collage

Bonus: Drinks and eats at the Horseshoe restaurants are damn delish!
We stuffed our faces at both Four Winds, a high-end, pan-Asian restaurant, and at Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, a palace of meat and seafood. There’s a taste of our spread at Four Winds above. Crab rangoon, the best fried rice evah, Peking duck, orange scallops, and shrimp in lobster sauce were among the highlights.

jack binion food collage

From our spread at Jack Binion’s, seafood was the thang: Gigantic crab legs, marinated crab claws, escargots, fried crab claws and shrimp cocktail were some standouts. Another was our joyous and personable server, Jarvis, seen here with our generous selection of desserts …

binion jarvis

What a charmer! He took great care of us and peppered our evening with great conversation. All in all, he helped make this a wonderful weekend at the Horseshoe.

And hey — the long weekend’s just begun — you still have time to travel east for a phenomenal time at the Horseshoe!

[Disclosure: The Horseshoe Casino Bossier City provided my accommodations, dining and cabana rental during my visit. But these opinions are all mine!]

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