Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New stamps and More!

September has already proven to be a crazy busy month and now that I know I'm doing 3 shows this season, there is no time to waste! Each day I try to spend at least 5 hours crafting and brainstorming. So, today I finally sat down to carve a few new stamps to use on bags and cuffs etc. I absolutely love printing a stamp for the first time. Seeing the final image is really satisfying. At least 5 more need to be carved in the next couple of days. More sketching to do....

This week many new headbands have been born and I've been experimenting with new color combos and adding vinyl and felt into the mix. I'm so glad that I finally talked my machine into sewing thicker fabrics without having a fit. Yea! It seems that flowers of all kinds will be a major statement for my Fall collection. They seem positive and hopeful and we all need a bit of that these days.

My clay work has been focused on cutting high fire stoneware, which is great because I don't have to glaze the entire piece. The high fire clays are less porous and so I've been able to use a raw finish. It gives a more organic feel and each piece seems, well, more ceramic. :) My favorite shapes lately have been hearts with designs carved into them and also chunky squares with bold color blocks.

Combining my ceramic art and my fiber art has been a real success so far. It all feels really nice when you wear it.
The creative juices are really flowing lately, so back to the studio!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Runway Week 1 & 2

After a very long wait, Project Runway finally returned with a new host channel and a new contest location. I put any skepticism I had aside and simply enjoyed the anticipation as the premiere date came closer and closer. They definitely made the transition easier by giving us a one hour special "Project Runway All Stars". We were able to see something new in the NY setting and see Heidi in her pregnant state, which quite frankly at this point is her "normal" state. The competition was really fun and it was great to see some of our old designing pals, but it was a little more Santino focused than I would have liked. Sorry to say it, but I just think he needs therapy. Even if he was the greatest designer and in my opinion he's not, there is just no reason to be so ridiculously arrogant. Anyway. Long story short, I enjoyed the All Star challenge and in the end was rooting for Chris March. I thought his designs were really wearable and gave a strong nod to 80's fashion without being "costumey". I would totally wear it! Yes, his Red Carpet gown was a little bulky and needed to be pared down, but it was actually kinda cool. Don't get me wrong, I love Daniel, I do. He just didn't have the strongest collection overall. Moving on........

So, season 6 starts and we meet the designers and find out that two of them, Louise and Shirin are from the Dallas area!! Go Dallas! From the cast of 16 designers no one person really stood out to me right away. In the first episode I'm always looking for my Jay. Who's gonna be my Jay? Well, let's face it. Jay is Jay and after season one there was no one to compare. Sigh. Putting that aside I've decided that Epperson is really interesting to me. He hardly ever speaks, but he's got an amazing look and presence. I feel he's holding back, but we'll see what develops over time. Ra'mon is really likable but he nearly blew it with his bowling bag dress this week. Hopefully he pulls himself back from the edge after that one. Louise is of course a girl after my own heart with her love of retro and her Dallas connection, so I want to see her go far. Right now, no one else interests me. I do want to get the home address of Qristyl's parents so I can drive over there and slap them hard for giving her an absurd name. She deserved better.

Week one my top choices were Irina's design and Louise's design. They were both well constructed, wearable and most importantly, flattering.
I like the classic design of both of these dresses. They're not boring but they're not trying too hard either. I can see why Christopher's dress took the prize, but before the deliberation began I thought the judges would be all over him for creating something that they'd seen before. His design seemed too familiar, like I'd seen it shown on a previous episode from another designer. Hmm. I just might research that. Wow. Look at these three dresses. Where's the color? It makes me think of the phrase "tea stained". I think I like it. We did see 2 pops of color in Episode one from Qristyl and Johnny. One was good, one was... well... less than good.

On to Episode 2!!!!!! Now they're really getting the feel for it and I'm expecting great things and beautiful garments and... oh... wait. It's a pregnancy challenge. Boo. Sure, sure I understand that they have to limit the designers and challenge them to create something beautiful in any circumstance, but this really bummed me out. There is something a little creepy about emaciated models with big pregnancy bumps don't you agree? Even so, there was some fun to be had. In episode 2 Christopher has immunity, Ari is gone and so the other 14 designers are left to duke it out. This week we got a heavy dose of Mitchell. He's kind of shaping up to be a bit obnoxious, yes? I thought to myself, do the producers think this is funny? Have they picked a boring cast and realized that these might be the most entertaining moments they'll get? Dunno. His shorts were a scream, really. I would scream if I had to wear them and people would scream AT me if I did. Hmm. More nude and beige and cream... I see a trend here. For the second runway show, here are my thoughts: Althea's Navy blue dress was boring and too long and any woman that was really pregnant would fall out of her top and be arrested in five minutes. Carol Hannah's design was cool and I liked the little jacket, but in the end I thought she accentuated the belly way to much with that strap that went underneath. Christopher's design was really pretty and I loved the raspberry color of the top. It's practical, wearable and fashionable. Okay. Epperson's design came down the runway and when she opened the jacket I said out loud "Oh, no he didn't!" Only Foxy Brown could pull that off! Gordana was playing it safe with her design, but I liked it. Very chic and urban. Irina's design screamed baby shower and I don't get the little "corsage" running across the top of the belly. Johnny's design was really nice but not interesting. Logan's pants were pretty basic but the top he made was great. The construction was so smart and it fit the criteria of being form fitting without accentuating the bad things about carrying around a giant belly. Good for him. Louise's design was sweet and very feminine. I don't know that I would want to wear something shiny when pregnant, but I liked it anyway. Malvin. Oh, Malvin. Nuff said. Nicolas was just boring and the skirt was too short for a decent woman to wear. Qristyl 's dress was really chic and was the perfect outfit to wear to a gallery opening. Ra'mon. I see what he was trying to do, but oh my goodness. It was the worst outfit of the night in my opinion. Worse that Malvin's! Now if they had challenged the designer to made something out of luggage, well then no one could blame him for coming up with this dress, but they went to Mood and had their choice of fabrics! Oh dear. P.S. - What is going on in the boob area? The good thing for Ra'mon is that it can't get worse. He hit rock bottom with that dress and things can only get better. Shirin's outfit was my favorite and I'm glad the judges agreed. Pregnant or not this outfit was tres chic! I just loved the charcoal grey coat. The collar was so stylish and the way it hung on the body was really flattering. The dress itself looked expensive and well made. Kudos to Shirin for taking the time to add hand sewn details. Very nice. What? She added a lining to that coat? Oh yes, she did. I think Shirin is going to prove to be a contender when it comes to sewing. When I look at that outfit, as a consumer I think "Good Investment". It would be worth paying a little more to have two classic pieces like these in my wardrobe. Sans the extra poof in the front, of course.

So, what's next? I hope we'll see some real personalities emerge from the group. The previews for next week hinted at some tension between designers, so we just might see some fireworks. I don't really watch for the drama though. I want to see how the minds of talented people work and how a sketch turns into a finished design. Each episode is inspiring, but I think for this season it might be less entertaining. It's too early to say for sure. My beloved Project Runway is back and I intend to love it for better or worse. Here's the cast of season 6. Click on the link to the official PR site and see photos of all the designs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I'm having a bit of fun with my newest little gadget. A dear friend of mine received a Cricut Expression for her birthday and because she's so incredibly awesome, she decided to give me her old one. It's really in mint condition and feels new to me.

Today was the first day I started playing with it and I'm surprised at how fun it really is. Watching the little blade cut the paper is kind cool and then seeing how sharp and precise the cuts are is impressive. If would have taken me a hour to do it by hand.

I did a sample cut using the basic cartridge and here's what I got.....

How cool is that? I'm not into scrapbooking at all, but this little Cricut will be useful to me when I make signs and displays for my craft booth. There is a cartridge that I'd like to buy called Tags, Bags, Boxes and More. It cuts tags in every size and will cut a box that you can put together yourself. So great! When a little extra money comes my way I plan to buy that and also a few other accessories. Unfortunately the coupons that all of the major craft stores offer specifically exclude Cricut products. Boo. So I'm keeping my eyes open for a sale. :)

Stay tuned for more Cricut adventures!
Oh and check out all of the new items in my Etsy shop!!!

PS: I made it into two treasuries this week. :-) yeah!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Labels and Displays

For the most part I make my own displays. The Superchica display system has been built by using a combination of recycled items and wood scraps. Ha. Yes. It sounds pretty crafty doesn't it? When I say Handmade I guess I really, really mean it. Thankfully, the local thrift stores and various estate sales have helped me find good foundational pieces over the years. My display storage area is full. My husband even said to me last week "You've got to get rid of some of these displays!". He says that because along with the good displays, I've kept the bad. The ones that just didn't look quite right and the ones that fell apart at first use.

Today I'm conjuring up a display for headbands. I just can't seem to find something I like, so I'm going to make standing head silhouettes. Here's an idea of what I'm working on....

The plan is to cut them out of foam board and then cover them with a groovy fabric or maybe decoupage them. Not sure yet. The key will be making a sturdy base for them to sit on that won't easily fall over. I'll let you know how it works out. Your ideas are welcomed.

Also in the plan today is attaching price tags to my newest items. This time around I've kept it simple. These were easy to design and I like that they clearly show my logo. So, I'm off to start tying little strings to each tag. :)
Show season is really coming fast!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Inside My Studio.

Well hey there! Tonight it seemed like a great idea to make a short video for you, so that you could tour my work space. I make this little studio work hard for me and use every square inch to store my supplies and work. Welcome to Superchica HQ :)

Take a look.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting by.

The economy these days is tough. I'm sure you know that. Everyone is making changes to their budget and tightening their belts. Yes, that's very true and it means different things to different people. So how do you live and spend less? Various conversations I've had and stories I've heard give me the impression that many people don't really know how to live frugally. I'm often surprised to find out how many people actually run out and buy the latest gadgets the day they hit the market and how many people buy and wear designer clothing. I think to myself "Who buys that stuff?". Apparently, lots of people do, even in these tough times. Go figure. Well, not me. I did go through a designer phase when I was 20 yrs old, but managed to rack up a wee bit of debt because of it. Believe me. The debt outlasted the clothes and it wasn't worth it.

How do I live now? Cheaply! My husband and I are usually shocked when we find out how much money other people earn and live on each year. Nearly all of the time they earn twice what we do, and often times much more. It sounds wonderful for them and so it shocks us even more when they too complain about the economy and tell us how they're struggling. That's when I think to myself "Try living on our salary.", which could be more gracious, I know. So how do we do it? Here's what we do to get by on very little.....

Groceries: We shop at WalMart for the basics. Yes, I am concerned about the ethical practices of WalMart, and I would love to show it by not shopping there. Some days I feel guilty for giving them my money, but the truth is they really do have the lowest prices and we are able to get what we need within our budget. We do buy our fish, some produce and lunch meats from Central market, which is a $40 trip for us and I try to budget it every month.

Necessities: The 99cent store is a good resource. I buy office supplies, hair gadgets, plastic storage, batteries and some toiletries there. It's a huge money saver. $10 or less will cover me for my monthly trip.

Pet Food: I scan the web for coupons and usually find one for either Petsmart or for the food we buy. It's Avoderm by Breeders choice and lately they've been offering a $5 off printable coupon that really helps.

Gas: We drive older import cars that we own. My car gets about 27 mpg and it's nearly 15 years old. My husbands truck gets about the same. Getting less that 25 mpg is a real shame and I don't really know why anyone would be willing to settle for a car than guzzles gas and lightens your wallet.

Utilities: We're all pretty much paying the same rates. Having a digital, programmable thermostat has helped us quite a bit. I recommend it. We only water our lawn 3 times a week and sometimes less. Then we pray for rain. :)

Phone: We have the most basic cell phone plan. Together we have 700 shared minutes a month and have never even come close to using it all. The internet plan for our cell phones was just too expensive, so we aren't doing that. I know it seems like a bummer, but if we're honest with ourselves it's a luxury and not a necessity.

Clothing: Kent hardly ever buys anything for himself, but when he does it's basic shorts or jeans for under $30. I buy more clothing but mostly from thrift stores. I rarely pay for than $5 for an item. Every once in a while we buy new, but only if it's on sale or we have coupons and a special occasion requires it.

Thing we wish we could do but don't so that we can save money:
Haircuts I get one haircut a year, maybe two. Ogle School of Hair and Design and TIGI Hairdressing School are great options. Less than $10 gets you a wash, cut and blow dry.
Manicures/Pedicures Nope. Not in the budget. It would be nice, but a bottle of clear polish will have to do for now.
Movies We see maybe 3 movies a year. Tickets for two are pricey and if we add popcorn or a drink we've spent half of our grocery budget in one day.
Vacations It's rare. :( We will take a 5 day vacation every 2 or 3 years and it has to be somewhere we can drive to. Road trips are actually still affordable. I search endlessly for the best hotel deals and we eat on the cheap.
Concerts This one is a bummer. We see maybe one concert every 2 years. Grrr. Not because there aren't great musicians coming to town, but because concert tickets for 2 plus all the "convenience" fees adds up to outrageous. Boo.
Have Health Insurance It would be really helpful. Let's hope Obama can make this happen for us.

Our weakness... We spend most of our expendable income on restaurants. It's the one thing we allow ourselves to splurge on. Of course when I say splurge, I mean $20 or less for the two of us to eat.

My basic tips are:

*Buy used clothing, cars and furniture.
*Drive a car that gets good gas mileage and needs few repairs.
*Don't get the most expensive phone plan and limit your use.
*Invest in a digital thermostat and set it at 74 during the summer months.
*Get a Brita water pitcher instead of buying bottled water.
*Search the web for coupons any time you shop. Try visiting http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com/ or Google "Printable Coupons" and add the category you're looking for.
*Know what the lowest prices really are for your groceries and toiletries. Prices at Albertson's are usually 30% higher than WalMart and Kroger is about 20% higher.
*Visit your neighborhood Dollar Tree or 99cent store.

Please share your budge tips too! I am always happy to learn new ways to save money and live on less.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Unexpected.

Today is the day that I climb out of my shell and finally write a new blog. The last few months have been very strange and sometimes scary, but as of this day it's all okay. Many people have asked me about what happened but I haven't been able to really communicate it in detail until now. Let me tell you about my journey and why I've been gone for so long.

It started in April. I felt a little "under the weather" and like I might be getting a cold. There were several Superchica events scheduled that month and I was working like crazy both at home and at the office. Then one day I felt a little bit worse and it seemed to be harder to concentrate on my work and I was getting tired too quickly and my head felt too heavy for my body. I was making headbands and printing, cutting and sewing fabric and every few minutes I felt like my head was falling forward and then a cold sweat would come. It was like I had never felt before, but I still thought I was just tired and working too much and that a good night's sleep would remedy everything. That was not the case. I went into work on a Tuesday and the drive over was really rough. I was disoriented and a little bit dizzy and the cold sweats were getting more intense. When I got there I managed to check a few emails and then I knew I had to go before it became to hard to do anything. At home, I laid down and tried to rest and close my eyes for a while hoping to feel better, hoping to nap and wake up feeling like myself. I went to bed early and in the morning I planned to work, but once I was out of bed I knew I was in trouble and called Kent. He rushed home and took me to the Prima Care near our house.

Choosing Prima Care may have been a mistake, but it seemed right at the time. They took my blood and ran the unusual tests, hooked me up to an EKG machine and checked my vitals. My symptoms were dizziness, weakness, nausea and pain in my stomach. Their diagnosis was a GI infection an they gave me a prescription for antibiotics and assurances that I would be much better by the next day. We felt relieved and went immediately to have the prescription filled. I hadn't eaten in a while and I couldn't take the antibiotics on an empty stomach, so we stopped at a nearby restaurant to eat. The host was seating us and talking while he did it and then suddenly I felt the most urgent need to vomit. It was so awful! I excused myself with a hand gesture and ran for the ladies room. I was right. I had to vomit, not once but three times. Keep in mind that I had not vomited in nearly 30 years, so it was a jarring and unexpected experience to say the least. When I returned to the table I gave Kent the grim news and I tried my best to eat something before heading home.

Kent put me straight to bed and I tried to sleep, but the symptoms were rapidly changing and the dizziness was getting much worse. That night was one of the worst of my whole life. The vertigo had started. It's really hard to describe to anyone that has not had it. It's like you're falling and falling and everything is spinning so fast, but you're sitting still. My eyes told me that I was turning in circles and even with my eyes closed I was spinning. The best words to describe it are horrible, terrifying and sickening. The vomiting started again and came every 20 minutes or so. My whole body shook and I was in my own personal hell. This only got worse as Wednesday became Thursday. Truly, I can tell you that I was sure death was near and that this was going to be the last day of my life. Even so, I prayed and hoped that I could make it and God was good and sustained me through very dark days. Speaking was not really possible, but I did manage to beg Kent to call the doctor back and tell them I was worsening, which he did. They prescribed and anti-nausea medication and a steroid. The thought being that if I had inflammation in my inner ear the steroids would make it better. It did improve things and I was able to sleep a little and the vomiting stopped after 4 days. Talk about grateful! I was thrilled about that. What remained was extreme dizziness, pain in my stomach and weakness. Kent had to become a caretaker for his newly invalid wife. He was amazing, and so incredible to me. Best husband ever.

A little vertigo, a lot of dizziness and my new stalker, constant weakness insisted on hanging around. We decided to see an inner ear specialist and I took my first shower in a week. Sitting on the shower floor, on top of a folded towel I did my best to get cleaned up. It was humbling to say the least. Kent helped me dress and put my hair back in a pony tail and we headed for Medical City. I had an exam and they gave me an elaborate hearing test, but we didn't really leave with answers, just more prescriptions. We were now going to try a diuretic to possibly lessen any inner ear fluid that might be out of balance and another anti nausea medication that would hopefully be less coma inducing. Things seemed to slightly improve, but the new nausea med turned out to be Diazapam and that made me feel really bad. I stopped taking that after the first pill. Not good. We decided I would try to deal with the nausea and hope for the best. Everyday Kent fed me little pieces of banana and saltines every 6 hours. I must say that eating and drinking while your laying flat is really hard and I don't recommend it. In between my small meals he would give me Gatorade through a straw and the rest of the day I slept or laid there in an incapacitated state. That seemed to last forever. In actuality it lasted for about 3 weeks.

Eventually I was able to sit up and feed myself and even get to and from the bathroom with only a little bit of help. After a few more weeks I was able to leave the bedroom and sit with Kent in the living room to eat a real meal. The dizziness was still there, but it had become manageable and I was able to change my clothes and took another shower. Yes, I had only 2 showers in month. Not exactly a shining moment, but hey I was grateful for life and breath.

It seemed I had reached a plateau. I could not move my head right or left or even look up without losing my balance. Every time I felt dizzy the nausea was right there with it and while I had made strides, life was not good. Bright lights hurt my eyes, I could not read, loud sounds made me break out in a sweat and I would frequently shake. We had seen the ear specialist again, but still no diagnosis. There was talk of an inner ear infection, Meniere's Disease and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo but nothing definite. We decided to go to a homeopathic doctor. Our friends had been to him before with great success and it was affordable. When I called, the receptionist said they were booked until July, but they fit me in as an emergency appointment, which was really nice of them and we went right away. He gave me a remedy and within 48 hours I was feeling much, much better. Suddenly I could look up!!! You have no idea how important that is until you can't do it. It was amazing. I got steadily better that week and we returned to him for a follow up visit. He gave me a second remedy and I got even better. A normal life seemed possible and I was very, very thankful. That same week I saw our kinesiologist for an adjustment and realignment of my meridians and things got even better. I did have a downturn about a week later and the dizziness returned, but it only lasted for 3 days and since then I've been getting better and better. Thanks to God and Kent and alternative medicine. Yeah!~

So, where am I now? Nearly normal. I'm driving and going to work and eating normally and showering daily and I can even type and read. Not bad. Sometimes I get a little dizzy and I have a hard time turning around quickly and shifting focus from one thing to another. It's tolerable. I went back to my homeopathic doc this week and he gave me another remedy that will hopefully help me to recover fully. Things are good.

What have I learned? Most importantly I know that when it really comes down to it, it's you and God. When I was at my worst and I couldn't speak or move or open my eyes, He was there and I could talk to Him and pray. I also became even more aware of how fantastic my husband is. He is truly a beautiful person and my very best friend on this earth and I can trust him with anything. I really already knew that, but now it is burned on my heart. Lastly, I learned how important it is to have your health. Mobility, sight, strength, and the ability to eat food and keep it down are really, really important!! I'm so glad for each day and so thankful for my life and for the people that love me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day of the New

Well, I sat down at the sewing machine and Poof! I had an idea. So... here is the newest Superchica design.

This first headband took nearly an hour to create, but that's common for new designs. I should be able to do a little better next time. What do you think? It's a thin stretchy band with my "Floral Featurette" attached to the side. The base is pleated and sewn with an orange contrast thread. You'll see these in my Etsy shop soon and at the next show!!!!!

No more time to sew now... must head to my "real job". Today was so productive.
See you soon.

Building It By Hand

As the dogs whiz up and down the hall, chasing each other, I'm taking the time to share with you the latest in Superchica's design process.

It's clay time! Yes, yesterday I had a clay day. Which basically means I spend the whole day cutting, rolling, pounding, shaping and smoothing clay. It's a tough job, but it's also fun and I get to play around with lots of ideas. Right now, I'm working on new cuff buckles and XL buttons made from high-fire stoneware clay. They're really durable and kinda chunky when fired and I like that. I began sewing these XL accessories onto my fabric cuffs last month and I really like the way they've turned out. It's a nice mix of textures and I think they'll do well for Spring.

Today I'll give them one more smoothing over and then they're headed for the kiln. It will take all day and part of the night for this first fire. Tomorrow when they've cooled, I'll add the color and dip them in glaze before finally loading them up for their last go 'round in the kiln. I hope to have them done by Friday for a big photo shoot coming up this weekend.

In addition to making accessories, I've been working on my displays. In case you haven't noticed, displays that you buy from the store suppliers are really expensive and they're often poorly made. So, I've made most of mine from wood or a combination of found items. It's a little bit "home grown" but I think it adds more personality to my booth. :) Yesterday I made a totally bizarre display that I plan to use for my Etsy photos. It's an ear! Yes, I made an ear with a little hole in it for displaying my earrings. I can't decide if it's cool or creepy. I hoping for cool. Then I made a wrist form for my cuffs. It's pretty tall and will work well for photographs and as a show display.

Well, I'm about to enter the studio and work for at least 3 or 4 hours today. I got the coolest fabric this week that will soon become new cuffs and hair accessories. I might even make some little zipper bags. Hmmm.. But first, more clay.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What's with Dallas?

This blog is an answer to Amanda, who is struggling with the Dallas culture like so many of us are.

I know how you feel. Dallas is a strange city. There isn't really much to do with the exception of shopping and eating. We seem to have more than our share of chains and "cookie cutter" stores and shops. Everyone is content to shop at the Gap and eat at McDonalds 3 times week. It's not good.

Have hope. There is a struggling underground of people who want real culture like you and I do. This is why we live in East Dallas. Our neighborhood is almost exclusively older homes and there are so many trees and lots of little funky restaurants. I recommend you spend a day getting lost in East Dallas.

Places and things that make me feel like I'm not in Dallas anymore:

The Dairyette: It's a drive up burger/soda joint that only takes cash. Very quaint with good malts. Right down the street from my house. They often have vintage car shows. 9785 Ferguson Rd

Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School: "Dr. Sketchy's is what happens when Cabaret meets Art School" You buy at ticket, show up with your drawing supplies and they supply a model. It's like a little party. http://www.myspace.com/dallassketchy

CD Source: Looking for a wide variety of Jazz and music that isn't top 40? Cd Source is a used record store that has a treasure trove of goodies. They're not he fanciest place and sometimes it smells funny but you're sure to find something you like. It's the closest thing to Cheapo records (my fav in Austin) that we have. 5500 Greenville Ave Ste 201

Genroku: Sushi in Chinatown. This place has great sushi at a good price and also makes killer chinese food. Not your usual sushi joint. Good beer selection and tasty miso soup. Some people may laugh at our little Chinatown in Richardson when you compare it to any other Chinatown but it's all we've got and it has a few gems worth seeking out. Stop by the new and improved Asian market or go across the way for Dim Sum on weekends. 400 N Greenville Ave

Bishop Arts: You may have already discovered it, but in case you haven't.... It's a small part of Oak Cliff that has a great selection of restaurants and shopping in a historic setting. Stop and eat at Veracruz. It's MesoAmerican, Mayan, Huasteco and Aztec Cuisine. It's kicks a$$!!!! 408 North Bishop, Suite 107 Then stop by Make and see a shop filled with 100% hand made items. My Superchica merch is there and you can also sign up for a sewing class. Walk the neighborhood and enjoy the ambiance.

The Majestic: What a wonderful building. They host so many shows and plays each year, there is sure to be several you are interested in. The Dallas Black Dance Theater performs this month and the AFI film festival is happening in April. 1925 Elm Street Dallas

Jimmy's Food Store: Step into Little Italy and fill your tummy with a fine sandwich or maybe a cannoli. Jimmy's has a full stock of Italian groceries, wine and desserts. Their deli makes fresh sandwiches and other goodies and you can buy fresh pasta too. A favorite with diners who "aren't from here". You can eat there or take it with you. 4901 Bryan St

Henk's European Deli and Bakery: We love this place. It makes me feel like I've left Dallas for just a bit. They have a full service restaurant that specializes in all types of sausage, krauts and other German dishes. They also offer a wide selection of European beers served in tall steins. It's not campy, it's authentic. Stop by their large bakery to get meringue cookies, napoleons and black & whites. They also have a small shop where you can buy European groceries. Check out the live music on the weekends. Sit at the bar or table and enjoy. 5811 Blackwell, behind the big Half Price Books

That's a small list of good things in Dallas, but there are many more. I realize that what we lack is a general vibe that supports the arts & culture and a reverence for history. Sadly, Dallas is full of beautiful historical buildings but many are crumbling and others are to be demolished. Check out Preservation Dallas to find out more about what's being done to preserve our history. http://www.preservationdallas.org

I need encouragement too. Especially after I've traveled somewhere else, but it's really up to us to be bold and make our mark in Dallas and hope that others will follow and that one day we can overcome the materialism. We need a revival!!!

Let's just say no to valet parking, chains, McMansions and trendy anything.