Indulge Yourself with a Spa Day in Dallas – Fort Worth

April 17th, 2015

Dallas has long been synonymous with wealth. Heck, we had a whole show about wealthy Texans with the city’s name as the title. Well, enjoy some of that wealth and live like the rich, even if you’re not necessarily J.R. Ewing-level loaded. Here are a few fabulous spas for a day of indulgence.

ESPA at the Joule, Dallas

One of DFW’s premiere hotels hosts one of the region’s premiere spa brands as well.

This is the first ESPA-branded spa in Texas, set on two floors of the glittering Joule hotel. The subterranean level of the spa taps its geothermal inspiration with European heat experiences. There’s also the multi-functional treatment room where guests can retreat for a full day of pampering.


Mylinda Renay Salon Spa & Boutique, Arlington

While the kids are off playing at Six Flags, why not head just up the street to Mylinda Renay Salon Spa & Boutique, a unique environment for relaxation, beauty, and shopping in the heart of Arlington’s Entertainment District? From relaxing massages and skin treatments to dazzling new hairstyles, Mylinda Renay will surpass your expectations. The salon also offers a complete line of gifts, jewelry, and handbags.


V Spa is at the Hilton Anatole, DallasV Spa is at the Hilton Anatole, Dallas

The Anatole has long been a top hotel destination in DFW, so it’s no surprise that the spa within is its own five-star enterprise. V Spa is a sublime experience built to relax, pamper, and refresh. From facials to pedicures and a range of services for all budgets, V Spa will make sure you leave feeling way better than when you arrived.


Cooper Spa, DallasCooper Spa, Dallas

Speaking of pampering, Cooper Spa, on Preston Road in Dallas, makes pampering an art. With attention to restoring and rejuvenating the body and mind, Cooper is in one of the oldest fitness, nutrition, and wellness centers in the Metroplex. People have been extolling the virtues of Cooper for 40 years now ‒‒ there has to be something to that.


Mokara Spa, Fort WorthMokara Spa, Fort Worth

Who says Dallas gets all the luxury? In Fort Worth, guests of and visitors to the beautiful Omni Fort Worth Hotel have indulged their spa wishes at Mokara for years. You don’t have to check into the Omni to enjoy a soothing facial, a relaxing massage, or an invigorating pedicure in one of the most relaxing settings in town.


Ritz-Carlton Spa, DallasRitz-Carlton Spa, Dallas

Of course, if a luxury spa is what you’re after, why not go for the gold standard of luxury, the Ritz-Carlton.? The hotel’s Uptown spa, which opened in 2007, raised the bar for Dallas luxury, leaving many others scurrying in its wake. The spa is opulent, gleaming, and lavish, and isn’t that what you want if you’re looking to fully indulge yourself? And no, you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enter the spa

A Few Lesser Known Museums in DFW

April 8th, 2015


DFW’s collection of top-shelf museums doesn’t end with the Dallas Museum of Art and Dealey Plaza. In fact, the Metroplex is home to dozens of museums of all sizes for all kinds of tastes. So why not veer off the beaten path and check out some museums you might not have known were right here all along?

International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, Arlington

Right near Six Flags and the home of the Cowboys sits the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, which charts the sport from its beginnings to the biggest names in the game. Did you know, by the way, that bowling (a.k.a. kegling) is more than 5,000 years old? From ancient Egyptians and British monarchs to American taverns and the microchip, the long and fascinating history of bowling is on full display.

National Scouting Museum, Irving

Scouting may have come a long way since Norman Rockwell turned his iconic illustrations into the mythic history of scouting, but however far it has come, scouting has a home in DFW. The National Scouting Museum in Irving boasts a 53,000-square-foot exhibition space featuring all manner of artifacts, art, and information on the dedicated pioneers of scouting in the United States. There are also displays of Boy Scout activities and a knock-your-socks-off virtual reality simulation of a sizzling bike ride through the mountains.

Texas Civil War Museum, Fort Worth

You didn’t think Texas had some Civil War history worth preserving? Well, check out the Texas Civil War Museum, which opened its 15,000-square-foot exhibition space in 2006. The museum is fittingly Texas-sized, the largest Civil War museum west of the Mississippi River. It features exhibits on loan from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Texas Division, galleries that display clothes and equipment from the war, and a 75-seat movie theater that plays “Our Homes, Our Rights: Texas in the Civil War.”

Sid Richardson Museum, Fort Worth

Who is Sid Richardson, you ask? Well, was a longtime oilman who turned his vast fortune into a philanthropic enterprise, part of which is this eponymous museum of Western-themed art in Sundance Square. One of the best collections of Old West art in Texas, the Sid Richard is often overshadowed by the Amon Carter Museum. But it shouldn’t be. Come see works from legendary artists like artists, Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.

The 5 Best Brew Pubs in DFW

April 6th, 2015


When a hankering for a great beer (and a burger, perhaps) sets in, there’s little that can stop it. So why not indulge? Here are some of the best places for a great a beer in DFW, no matter what your taste.

The Ginger Man, Uptown

The 1955 novel by J.P. Dunleavy, ‘The Ginger man’ was actually once banned in the U.S. for its depiction of an American enjoying the unspoiled reverie of Dublin after WWII. Reveries including beer. The novel’s namesake bar in Uptown serves more than 100 specialty beers on draft and in bottles. There are a few other locations in Texas, but none as close to DFW as this one. It’s definitely closer than Ireland.


The Old Monk, HendersonThe Old Monk, Henderson

With more than 100 different beers in the house, including an ever-changing selection of new- and limited-release labels on tap at all times, the Old Monk is an iconic Henderson pub. The décor alone (come on, there’s an actual altar at the front entrance) will immediately put you in the mood for a chill hangout and a good pint to be savored.


Jack Mac’s, North DallasJack Mac’s, North Dallas

Venture to the nether lands of Dallas, where the only beers on tap are brewed right here in Texas. Jack Mac’s Swill&Grill in North Dallas features 14 rotating taps of Texas craft brews that don’t stick around long.  And yes, they’re all pretty good (but did you expect otherwise?)


Trinity Hall, MockingbirdTrinity Hall, Mockingbird

One of Dallas’ definitively Irish taverns, Trinity Hall’s dark wood, easygoing vibe, and multi-page menu of beers from just about every place you have ever heard or (seriously, there are more than 200 labels in the house) is a favorite of all ages legal enough to drink. Enjoy the bar trivia and soccer matches, or take in a pint while sitting on the deck. Just go.


Little Red Wasp Kitchen + Bar , Fort WorthLittle Red Wasp Kitchen + Bar , Fort Worth

You’re wondering about the name, right? Everybody does. The place was named after the childhood nickname of the owner’s wife. Now that you know that, get to Downtown Fort Worth and grab a pint at the Little Red Wasp. With a multitude of draft and bottled beers, and a menu of sandwiches that compliment every brew in the house, there may actually be no better brew pub in the region.

Five Hot New DFW Real Estate Projects for 2015

March 19th, 2015

With a whole new year ahead of us, it’s time to look at some of the biggest and best property projects on tap for realty dallas

1. The Toyota Effect

If it sounds like we’re overselling the magnitude of Toyota bringing its North American headquarters to Plano, we’re not. Quite simply, the importance of Toyota coming here can’t be overstated. For the company itself, Plano and northern DFW will be home for about 4,000 executives and workers in the company. For northern DFW, the presence of these 4,000 new, wealthy residents from New York and California will generate income to businesses that are scrambling to set up roots before the full crush of employees gets here. Vendors, suppliers, developers, and amenities are coming along with Toyota, to help support company operations and meet the demands of new residents.

2. Where 75 Meets 121

North of Plano sits McKinney, which was not only dubbed the most desirable place to live in the U.S. in 2014 by Time Magazine, but is also the hub of some major new development where routes 75 and 121 connect. Anchored by the much-awaited opening of the Nebraska Furniture Mart, a massive (almost 2 million square feet) warehouse and showroom that is expecting about 10 million visitors a year once it open in March, the 121 corridor into McKinney is growing under the major highway development transforming the interchange area and the development of Legacy West, a town center/residential turning 240 acres of once-overlooked Texas into a hotbed of residential and commercial activity.

3. Trammel Crow

Apart from the pending sale of the $60 million former Trammel Crow estate in Highland Park, the company is partnering with Metropolitan Life Insurance to develop an eagerly awaited mixed-use project in Uptown. The companies are finalizing plans to build a two-towered commercial-residential complex overlooking  the arts district from its perch at the Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Pearl Street. Plans call for a 30-story residential tower and a 20-story office building across from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

4. The Airports

You would think that once an airport is in place, it’s mostly just maintenance. But no, 2015 could see a flurry of activity from DFW Airport and Love Field, each trying to reinvent itself to meet the growing business epicenter that is the new DFW. The expansion of light rail service from DFW International to Downtown Dallas will continue in 2015 and will open the door for several construction jobs, as well as increase the mobility of those living on the heretofore neglected southwestern side of the Metroplex. And at Love Field, news that the Southwest Airlines monopoly will meet the competition of Virgin Airlines will be something to watch unfold as the aging airport will get a facelift to meet a flood of new executive travelers.

5. Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum hasn’t been doing so well since its heyday a decade or so ago. Businesses struggle to stay afloat as neighboring Uptown flourishes. But with Interstate 345 coming down and a bevy of developers looking to cash in on the growth happening less than two miles away, expect big things. This year, new development could generate upwards of $4 billion in investments here, and small projects are expected to be the first step toward closing the link between Downtown and Deep Ellum.

Five Great Wine Bars in DFW

March 18th, 2015

A great glass of wine is a wonderful thing. So is a night out. And when you want to enjoy a glass without having to put up with the bar scene to do it, one of DFW’s great wine bars could be the answer you’re looking for.


Mercy Wine Bar, Addison

Mercy is about the complete wine experience, where novices can learn and would-be sommeliers can indulge their palates. There’s always something new to try at Mercy, where warm and cozy are the watchwords. And you know they’re serious about good times because the name comes from Roy Orbison’s famous exclamation in the song Oh, Pretty Woman.

Cru, Dallas and Allen

With locations in Uptown and at Watters Creek in Allen, Cru manages to combine high-end wine with a non-snooty, welcoming atmosphere sure to turn any new oenophile into a seasoned connoisseur. With an intimate atmosphere that resembles a cigar bar and yet an openness that lets you feel like you can sit in a quiet corner and not be bothered, Cru is a great choice for a first-timer on the wine scene.


Winslow’s Wine Café, Fort Worth

Winslow’s Wine Café manages an interesting feat ‒‒ a friendly, neighborhood feel where wine snobs and wine newbies get along without worry. Intimate and relaxing, this is a great social stop for anyone hoping for a generally cool crowd who just happens to love good wines.


Veritas, Dallas 

Veritas Wine Room is an East Dallas treasure. A diamond in the rough and earthy vibe of the Knox-Henderson bar scene. Veritas offers some great extravagances alongside is varietals ‒‒ artisanal Texas cheeses and chocolates, gourmet nibbles, and select craft beers for those not up for a glass of the grape. You’ll very much love the comfy atmosphere and sophisticated vibe here.



Into The Glass, Grapevine 

Into the Glass Wine Bar & Texas Café in Grapevine has a motto that best sums up the entire experience here: Don’t overthink it, just drink it. Yes, you can be a wine snob, but ITG wants you first and foremost to just enjoy what you’re drinking. Wine, after all, is a sipping, social drink. So have a little fun when you uncork the next bottle.

Top 5 Golf Courses in Dallas-Fort Worth

March 11th, 2015

DFW is tailor-made for great golf. We have abundant sunny days, warm weather, and aren’t plagued by rain, making time on the links always an option. The number of great courses doesn’t hurt either. Check out these fairways when you’re looking for some great DFW golf.

Colonial Country Club

Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth is probably the city’s finest set of links. Founded in 1936, the club has a storied history and is the favored club of more than 1,500 members. Apart from the manicured country setting, Colonial is big into charities, meaning you can get in a round or two and feel good about helping some good causes benefitting Tarrant County.


 Old American Golf Club 

Up in the beautiful Colony, a little north of DFW, is the very-much-worth-the-trip Old American Golf Club. A throwback to traditional, old-school American courses as designed by the great Tripp Davis, Old American features gorgeous natural bunkers and views of Lake Lewisville that may make you want to slow your game and take a long look around. Old American is also one of the youngest courses in the area, having opened in 2010, but the club hosted a U.S. Open qualifier in the spring of 2012 and has received numerous accolades from golf publications and the Dallas Morning News.

Dallas National Golf Club

The venerable Dallas National Golf Club, designed by the legendary Tom Fazio, is a high-end club that exists entirely in its own world. This course does not border highways or developments. When you’re here, it’s just pure golf. From the 130-yard wide practice range (with tees on both ends and eight bunkered greens) to the natural beauty of the fairways, this is heaven for the golf purist.

 The Golf Club of Dallas

The Golf Club of Dallas opened in 1953, a year after the death of designer Perry Maxwell. In fact, GCD is the last course Maxwell designed. Since then, the management has taken great pains to retain Maxwell’s original designs and spirit. The club did get an upgrade in 2002, but not so much of one that it’s classic design suffered. The newly renovated course, actually, restores the traditional feel, so playing here is like playing how the club was originally intended.

 TPC Craig Ranch

TPC, just north of Dallas in McKinney, boasts 233 acres of breathtaking countryside views, behind the gated wellness and lifestyle community of Craig Ranch.  This is the place for an authentic PGA experience and is certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System member. The Tom Weiskopf-designed offers sweeping views of Rowlett Creek and offers lush rolling hills. If you’re serious about golf, a membership here is just the ticket.

The 2015 That Should Have Been

January 18th, 2015

According to Back to the Future (at least, part 2) we should all have hoverboards by now. Which is pittance compared to the amenities The Jetsons told us we would have by 2015.

It’s not their fault. No one could really have guessed that the miracle gadgets of the 21st century would be a lot more complicated to develop than we thought. Then again, we are ahead of the curve when it comes to talking to people on computer screens. With Skype and Google+ in our pockets, we can see and hear almost anybody.

Still, it would have been nice if buying a new home came with a kitchen that made all your food for you, from thin air. Or bathrooms and bedrooms and closets that had machines able to scrub and groom and dress us in preparation of those grueling three-hour work days we were supposed to get.

And yes, it would be nice if we all got those flying cars that allowed us to drop-ship ourselves to wherever we wanted to go. Imagine being able to live in McKinney and travel to work in Dallas without having to use the words “parking lot” on 75. Or, if you’re running late, would it not be great to have self-lacing and self-tying shoes like Marty McFly did?

Then again, those wonder-filled predictions for 2015 aren’t all wrong. Besides the videphone-style calls, we do have flat screen televisions, drones, 3-D television shows and movies, and the ability to unlock doors and cars with our fingerprints.

So maybe the predictions of the future won’t be all wrong. And, if the movies keep getting a few things right, it will only be another 20 years before we have personal robot servants and cars that drive themselves. Which will certainly go a  long way toward soothing any ire brought on by sitting in traffic around the Metroplex.

And hey, for any Cubs fans out there, you guys are finally supposed to get your World Series this year. At least that’s what Doc Brown showed us.

Looking Back at the Great Real Estate Market Of 2014

January 12th, 2015

Now that 2014 is fully in the history books, we can say it was an epic year for the DFW real estate market. Dallas itself continues to grow, and is, as we enter 2015, one of the 2014 Dallas real estate markettop five commercial markets (according to PriceWaterhouse Coopers) and the second-best residential market (according to CNN Money) in America.

The lofty hopes and predictions for Big D’s 2015 didn’t just happen. In commercial news, DFW set a high bar in 2014. The most notable deal in the market last year, of course, was the announcement that Toyota was bringing its North American headquarters to Plano. That move is already ramping up the North Dallas suburban home sales market, generating sales in the cities of Plano, Allen, and Frisco that have even gone above asking price.

Toyota’s imminent arrival also spurred demand for office space in DFW, as did expansions by Southwest Airlines and Omnitracs. Such major corporate deals generated nearly 5 million square feet of office space leasing, an eight-year high in leasing activity in northern Texas, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

In Dallas itself, the building boom echoed loudest in and around Uptown, where Harwood International’s 22-story Frost Tower (slated to be ready for occupancy by spring) touched off several building projects that are in progress. There is the construction at McKinney & Olive, where Crescent Real Estate Holdings is building a 530,000-square-foot mixed-use project; the much-anticipated construction at 1920 McKinney Avenue; and the 23-floor Victory Center tower just purchased by Hines.

In the residential market, starts were up 17 percent in northern Texas last year, according to a report by Residential Strategies. And third-quarter closings were the highest they’ve been since before the recession hit in 2008. Meanwhile, median home prices in DFW have come a long way since the depths of 2009. Since then, median prices here have grown by about 33 percent (around $70,000) to $275,000.

Even in the luxury market, 2014 was good to DFW. The listing for the $60 million former Trammell Crow estate in Highland Park capped off a year of big listings and sales, which also saw the titanic (and troubled) Waggoner family ranch hit the market for almost three-quarters of a billion dollars. Which isn’t so bad for half a million acres.

If 2015 is even half as good as 2014, it will still be a great year. But by all accounts, this year looks to be even better for DFW.

The Dallas Cowboys Prepare for Greenbay

January 10th, 2015

No, Dallas, you’re not dreaming. It’s January and the Cowboys are still playing.Dallas, Texas

Fresh off a dramatic comeback win against the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys are now headed to Green Bay for the divisional round, marking the first time the Cowboys and Packers will play an elimination game at Lambeau Field since 1967’s legendary Ice Bowl.

Though not expected to be balmy, the January 11 game will feature two teams having hot late-season success. The Packers themselves dispatched Detroit in Week 17 to clinch their division title, and the Cowboys, at last living up to their potential, have managed to parlay level-headed calm into a never-give-up style of play that is rewriting the decade-long disappointment fans have learned to live with.

Jason WittenKey to the Cowboys’ success against Green Bay will be which quarterback is most on his game. If Tony Romo, long (and, some say unjustly) blamed for the last several mediocre Dallas seasons, can maintain the level-headedness he attributed to the comeback win against Detroit, his leadership will likely carry his team through rough times (as it has all season). The Cowboy line, however, will need to do its part to protect Romo. Against the Lions, Romo found himself sacked six times. Part of that was a too-loose line, but Romo also needs to let go of the ball on pass plays sooner, so as not to tempt sack-happy defenses like the one Green Bay is about to throw at him.

Romo, of course, must also master his accuracy. Not long ago, Romo was known for tossing up interceptions at the worst moments, and his luck against the Packers was always dodgy at best. But Romo has mastered better throwing control since a disastrous late-fourth interception (yes, against Green Bay) a year ago. If he keeps his cool and shrugs off his mistakes, which he has been doing for most of this season, the Cowboys will do well against the Packers.

Dallas must also capitalize on the potential problems Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers will face. Rodgers is still getting over a calf injury he suffered from the same Lions that almost knocked off the Cowboys last Sunday. If the Cowboys can keep Rodgers on the run, his nagging calf injury could keep him off his game, especially late, when Dallas seems to most enjoy striking.

One major key to defensive Cowboy success in Green Bay will be the performance of rookie phenom DeMarcus Lawrence, who has, mostly, shown maturity under pressure. And so far, his most memorable moment this season is probably the late-fourth sack of Lion quarterback Matthew Stafford to essentially close out any hope Detroit had to rally back.

DFW 2015 Hype Basketball Championship

January 6th, 2015

One of the biggest youth basketball tournaments in the U.S., the Hype Tournament championship, took place last weekend in North Texas, and VIP Realty president Richard Soto’s  son, Caleb, was there when his squad scored the buzzer-beater that won the tournament.

D1 Shooters 2023

Caleb is a member of the D1 Shooters 2023, which competed against some of the best teams in the country. Teams from California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas took to the hardwood for the Hype championship, which seeks to foster drug-free, violence-free, diverse programs that advocate tolerance, unity, and acceptance among the many races, religions, and ethnicities of the world. The Shooters entered the championship 5-0, and put everyone across the county on notice that some of the nations best young basketball players are from right here in the Frisco area.

The 2023 Shooters were placed in a Super Pool with two other Top-15 teams ‒‒ American Roundball Corporation (ARC) from Los Angeles and the Oklahoma Chaos. The Shooters kicked off the tournament with a 38-33 thriller and swiftly moved through the best young players in America en route to the championship game against Houston’s Gulf Coast BlueChips at the Hype Sports Winter Jam in Lewisville.IMG_4292

The Championship game on January 4 was a thriller for the ages. An epic back-and-forth battle ensued from the opening tip-off, both teams making huge plays and showing their abundant game skills. But a forced a turnover with 12 seconds to play cost the BlueChips. With the clock ticking down and the score tied 28-28, the Shooters passed like pros and set up for what can only be described as a storybook ending for the young North Texans. Robert Jones Jr. saved a broken play with less than three seconds to go and made a dazzling pass to Ty Cox, who sank a 16-foot, nothing-but-net jumper as the final buzzer sounded, giving Shooters a 30-28 victory and a championship to cap their perfect tournament run.

“I’m proud of my son for playing like a champion and, mostly, for his sportsmanship,” Soto says. “He gave his whole family a memory we’ll cherish for years.

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