#TravelTuesday | Eat + Drink In Dallas

In April, we made a quick weekend trip to Dallas. The weekend was centered on celebration (one of Johnny's friends got engaged), so the majority of the weekend was spent with a group of friends eating and drinking. I can't review the city of Dallas as a whole since we didn't spend enough time, but I can give you a quick rundown of some top spots to relax and savor. Also, I apologize for lack of personal pictures on this post--I really didn't take many this trip! All photos below are linked to source.

1. Katy Trail Ice House

Outdoor drinking heaven at Katy Trail Ice House // Image via  katyicehouse.com

Outdoor drinking heaven at Katy Trail Ice House // Image via  katyicehouse.com

Huge margaritas, even bigger outdoor seating area, dogs galore. Do I need to say more? Go here for afternoon cocktails. 

2. Boulevardier

Charcuterie Board at Boulevardier // Image via Reddit 

Charcuterie Board at Boulevardier // Image via Reddit 

A more upscale restaurant in an intimate setting--aka, the perfect spot for a romantic dinner. The wine selection is great, and the rustic French food is delicious. I liked the charcuterie board! After dinner, take a stroll through the cute Bishop Arts District. 

3. Velvet Taco

Tacos at Velvet Taco // Image via CultureMapAustin.com

Tacos at Velvet Taco // Image via CultureMapAustin.com

Holy S^&t. That's all I have to say about these tacos. There is usually a line out the door of this small taco joint, and it is worth the wait. My favorite taco was the Barbacoa, mostly because the tortilla had crispy, melty cheese baked onto it. The loaded tots and elote corn were also faves. Plus, there's always red velvet cake for sale. This place is a must for lunch! 

4. The Old Monk

Cozy tavern atmosphere at The Old Monk // Image via 10best.com

Cozy tavern atmosphere at The Old Monk // Image via 10best.com

Right around the corner from Velvet Taco is a really cute area called Old East Dallas. It's filled with shops and fun restaurants and bars (I'm still sad we didn't have time to go into the Planet Blue shop). If you are a trappist beer lover like I am, the Old Monk is perfect since it offers a wide selection of Belgian beers. 

5. HG Supply Co. 

The rooftop at HG Supply Co // Image via Travel + Leisure

The rooftop at HG Supply Co // Image via Travel + Leisure

HG Supply Co. is the quintessential 20-something bar. Trendy decor, fun drinks (try the frozen Moscow Mule) and a rooftop deck. The setting was great for a fun day with friends, and the scene was lively. Lots of dogs here too--10/10 recommend! 

All in all, I was really surprised with Dallas. I wasn't expecting much, but the city was really trendy and aimed toward people in my age group (late 20s). I would definitely travel back for another weekend trip--the Velvet Taco may or may not play heavily into that ruling! 

Austin Fashion Week | Saturday Night Rundown

It's been over a month since ATX fashion week, so this post reviewing the last night of fashion week is overdue! However, I didn't want to completely miss the chance to share my experience and the awesome Saturday night designers. Below I have a few favorites, plus what I wore that night. 

Best emerging designer for Saturday night goes to Allie Lunt. At 14 years old, and a veteran of Project Runway Junior, Allie is seriously talented. Her clothing reflects her youth with fun pops of hot pink, but the pieces have a sophistication that makes them wearable by women of any age. Part of that is Allie's adherence to modesty in her designs; the sexy details are subtle, sheer lace on the bell bottoms or a perfectly placed back cut out, giving the collection a great refined feel. My favorite piece is naturally the denim jacket with puffy leopard sleeves! I'm sure we will be seeing Allie (and her signature amazing hairstyle!) a lot more in the future. For more information and to shop Allie's collection, click here.

Most eclectic collection of the night goes--with absolutely no competition--to Big Bertha's Paradise Vintage! The collection they sent down the runway was the fashion week equivalent of walking through a vintage shop. There were lots of "Wow, so cool!" moments (aka, black embellished vest) and a few "WTF!" moments (THE hat). This is the true vintage experience, in my opinion. Curiosities and beautiful things all jumbled together with an air of mystery and hidden stories. While this wasn't your typical designed-for-the-runway collection, I liked how it added whimsy and spectacle while showcasing one of Austin's most premiere vintage destinations, Big Bertha's Paradise. To learn more about Big Bertha's, click here! 

My favorite collection of the night was Something by Sonjia. As a habitual wearer of beanies (once I passed Johnny in our cars as he was coming home from work and he called me with frantic concern, "You're wearing a beanie...in June??"), I was feeling the vibe of the collection as soon as the models came out wearing black beanies. The oversized, soft yet edgy feel of the collection was right on point with my style. I loved the subtle geometric prints and the soft teddy sherpa fur elements that I just wanted to wrap myself in. This collection made me wish it was winter, and that is not typical for me! Sonjia is a Project Runway designer, and it's clear that she has innate talent coupled with amazing experience to produce such amazing garments. 

Two of my favorite capsule collections: Masha Osoianu Design and J. Ewing Designs. These were so good, I wish they had showed a full collection! 

Keep scrolling to see what I wore Saturday night + meet my new friends I made at the show, Allen and Jessica! 

The black fringe romper is by Amanda Valentine. I bought it off the rack that night and changed into it! The combat boots are by Free People, the bag is Givenchy and the necklace is Kendra Scott. 

THANK YOU to Rebecca of Mira Visu Photography for all the photos of the weekend, the puppy snuggles, rose and pizza, and a fun weekend hosting me in Austin!! 

#TravelTuesday | Now Sapphire, Cancun

Welcome to a new section on my blog, #TravelTuesday! Johnny and I travel a lot, and seeing the country and the world has always been a huge part of my life, so I want to share my experiences and tips here on Luna Elise! Since I'm just starting this segment, I figured I would go back and talk about some of the many trips I have been on this year! Please bear with me on the photography as I don't have a professional photographer along with me when I travel. To hear about our experience at the Now Sapphire resort in Cancun, scroll down! 

View from our room (Ocean Front Suite)

View from our room (Ocean Front Suite)

Let me preface this review with a disclaimer: If you're in Cancun, nothing is going to be terrible! However, the Now Sapphire definitely had its ups and downs. We were there for a friend's wedding, so this venue was picked for us--giving us a good opportunity to see a different property on Cancun (we always stay at The Excellence Playa Mujeres). Below, I break the property down by my key criteria when going on vacation.

Resort Style/Type

First of all, the Now Sapphire is kid-friendly, which may be a pro or con depending on your preference. This is great for wedding parties and guests or for family trips. The Now Sapphire did a good job balancing kids and adult activities by having "day-camp" for kids and a separate pool + bar for adults. The on-site nightclub was a good addition to give younger adults without children a late night option. Normally, Johnny and I choose adults-only resorts so we were a little wary about Now Sapphire, but I didn't feel--for lack of better words--bombarded by kids like I feared. 

Iguana right outside our building.

Iguana right outside our building.

Resort Grounds

Architecture and interior design always have a special place in my heart, so I am a sucker for a resort/hotel with great design. Commonly, I will spend more to stay in a place that fits my tastes; so design is one of my factors. The Now Sapphire had small but lovely grounds. Hidden pathways twisted through the bamboo connecting the different villas, and boardwalks crossed over shallow rock pools in the lobby. Plenty of animals could be seen right on the grounds from iguanas to some raccoon/cat creature that I still don't know the name of. The beach was cleared of seaweed each morning. The rooms were pretty standard Cancun resort type lodgings--think marble floors, dark wood furniture, white bedding. No complaints there, but also not blown away. Our favorite part was the balcony. Nothing beats an ocean front balcony, and this one had a jacuzzi tub on it as well. Definite plus for us! Overall for design and style on this resort, the lobby and grounds are more impressive than the rooms. 

Views upon arrival. Boardwalks are precarious after tequila shots! 

Views upon arrival. Boardwalks are precarious after tequila shots! 

Location

The Now Sapphire was not very conveniently located to some of the main attractions of Cancun. It is quite far from the Hotel Zone and over an hour drive (through road construction) to reach the docks to go to Isla Mujeres. While we don't go out in the Hotel Zone usually, taking a catamaran to Isla Mujeres is one of our favorite things to do. The long bus ride to and from the docks to do our Isla Mujeres excursion was a real bummer for us. Especially during a short trip, three hours on a bus really eats into vacation time! 

Sunsets on our ocean front balcony--we always spend lots of time on balconies!

Sunsets on our ocean front balcony--we always spend lots of time on balconies!

Food 

On any given day, I love to eat; when I'm on vacation, experiencing new and delicious foods is one of the main ways I explore and have fun. The Now Sapphire gets poor marks in this regard, unfortunately. If you're traveling for the food, this might not be the right resort for you. We did, however, have some truly delicious fresh lobster on Isla Mujeres!

Our best food was off resort, on Isla Mujeres. 

Our best food was off resort, on Isla Mujeres. 

Amenities

The Now Sapphire offered many of the usual resort amenities (pools, spa, tennis, wind surfing, etc). We loved the spa. It was beautifully decorated and offered unique treatments complimentary when you purchase an upgraded room. One of these treatments was hydrotherapy--basically a hangover cure (convenient)! Speaking of hangovers, our wedding group was not super impressed with the pool bars closing down at 5pm or the lack of mini bar selection. This was probably the kid-friendly element coming into play. The wedding planning service (the reason we were there) seemed to have done a really good job. The wedding went smoothly and the reception area by the pool was really gorgeous. 

Isla Mueres 

Isla Mueres 

Summary

The Now Sapphire would be a good choice if you have kids, are traveling on a budget or are planning a bigger destination wedding (40 guests at this one) and want to keep costs down but still have a gorgeous experience. For couples looking for a romantic or luxury experience, this might not fit the bill. However, as I prefaced, it's hard to have a bad time in Cancun--hopefully the review above helps you know if the Now Sapphire is for you! 

Fashion x Austin Fashion Week | Friday Night Overview

Friday night in Austin, Texas--Rebecca and I both sporting outfits we had serendipitously found while out shopping, our hair and makeup was perfection and we had just eaten a most delicious dinner of pizza and rose. In other words, the scene was set for a perfect night, and the designers showcased Friday night of Fashion X Austin held their own! Below, see some of the showcases that made Friday night of fashion week amazing. 

Boudoir Queen

Boudoir Queen was the first designer to take the runway. Immediately just reading the brand name in the program, I knew I would love this designer. Vintage, bedroom inspired garments floated down the runway in a swirl of marabou feathers and velvet. The colors and textures were gorgeous, but my favorite element of the designs were how each garment could tell a story. Shop Boudoir Queen here! 

Harry Rex 

Best ready-to-wear line of the night goes to Harry Rex. The audience was super hyped for this designer, and for good reason. Models on the runway sported camo, leather, and tulle pieces that looked like they were straight off the streets of punk rock London. Britannia ruled the runway for the finale piece complete with a crown! While the pieces were fun and edgy, they were also functional. The line was the epitome of irreverent street style. Many pieces could be dressed up or down. Shop Harry Rex here! 

Style Setter: AJ Bingham 

The crowd went wild for the first menswear set on the runway, featuring pieces from the personal closet of style setter and advocate for children of abuse, AJ Bingham. Crisp suiting was the name of the game for this set. The energy of the male models was on point! 

Hopeless Cause Atelier 

Hopeless Cause Atelier caught my eye as my favorite gowns of the night. Velvet, silk and flowy organza all made their way into this collection in a number of gorgeous gemstone colors and unexpected cuts. My favorite was the flowing emerald green gown worn perfectly by model Carmen Powers (first picture). 

DG Clothes Project 

DG Clothes Project takes most unique concept for the night by featuring SHOES on the runway! Not just any shoes, this collection featured--removable--metallic fringes, pastel pom-poms and neon plumage (kudos to the models for being able to walk in these). 

Lee Merritt Swimwear

One of the main things I enjoyed about Austin Fashion Week is how wearable many of the designs were. Lee Merritt Swimwear was no exception. Instead of making the runway a showcase for elaborate (impractical) designs, Lee Merritt showed a collection of resort wear that had me saying, "I want that. I would wear that." To me, this is really important for swim. You want something sexy, but flattering and comfortable. This line hit that spot on. As Lee says, "Life isn't perfect, but your bikini can be." Order your perfect bikini here. 

The Capsule Collections Pushed the Boundaries...

The capsule collections were HOT for Friday! Lingerie looks and romantic fabrics and prints reigned the runway. The sheer bodice is right on trend with styles seen on the haute couture runways lately (notably Dior). It was done very tastefully here and I'm in favor of this artistic expression! 

Keep scrolling for what I wore Friday night...

Rebecca and I found so many great spots to shoot Friday night. From conventional spots like the red carpet and the reception hall to lucking out and getting to walk the Fashion X Austin runway and getting special access to the rooftop pool + deck! The silver maxi dress I wore is still available in most sizes and on major sale (under $30, seriously!) from Urban Outfitters

Photography: Mira Visu Photo // LIKE Rebecca + Josh on Facebook 

DESIGNERS & MODELS FEATURED IN THESE PHOTOS: If you would like copies of your images, please contact Rebecca through her FACEBOOK PAGE. She would be happy to share images with you. :)

Austin Fashion Week | Thursday Night

Austin, TX is one of my favorite cities. I try to visit whenever I have a reason. Recently I had a really good reason to visit when my application for a media pass went through for Fashion X Austin Fashion Week! It's exciting to see where I can take my blog and bring back experiences to share with my followers! I was especially lucky to bring along my good friend, Rebecca. Not only was that (too much) fun, but she is also the face behind Mira Visu Photography. Meaning, I got some really great images of the runway and my outfits! Scroll down to check out my favorites from the evening + what I wore! 

Capsule Collections 

The Capsule collections were a really cool feature to showcase emerging designers. Each designer doing a capsule sent their mini collection of three looks down the runway together. It was a great way to mix up the standard runway and experience up and coming talent!

Amanda Valentine

Amanda Valentine's collection caught my eye immediately. The fringe, the bold but wearable colors--I could instantly see the wearability of these pieces! Amanda mixes boho and structured so perfectly which makes her designs so versatile. The black fringed pieces were my favorite (the color black and anything fringe are my weakness), so I ended up buying the sample size black fringe romper from the runway pictured above! Amanda was really friendly and during our chat I found out she's from Lincoln, NE. Small world; from Nebraska to a stylist for 21 Pilots + an amazing fashion designer. Shop her collection here!

Style Setter | Ana Rueles 

Style Setter collections were another unique feature to the Austin runway. "Style Setters" were Austin locals who have a passion for fashion AND for philanthropic causes. A presentation was given on each style setter's charity. After that, models walked the runway wearing fashions from the style setter's actual fabulous closets! Ana Rueles was the featured style setter Thursday night--how fabulous is the crimson satin wrap gown?!

This Is Sloane

You know things are getting crazy when Ballet Austin is not the most theatrical collection of the night! This Is Sloane put on a true show, using props like face masks and rubber gloves to set off her collection with a futuristic, dystopian vibe. The pieces themselves were a quirky blend of Victorian-esque silhouettes, western-style themes like fringe, wide brim hats and ponchos, all topped off with a healthy dose of silvery fabric. The show ended with an irreverent take on wedding wear. It should also be mentioned that the designer, Sloane Lenz, is only 21 years old and is already showing her collection not only in Austin, but in tons of other major fashion weeks like New York and Dallas! You can pre-order selected items from the collection above HERE. I love the white dress with stars!

Ballet Austin

Speaking of Ballet Austin, the costumes (presented by the troupe themselves!) were a major highlight for me. I'm a HUGE Mozart nerd--yes seriously--so when the cast of the Magic Flute walked the runway to the classic overture, I was losing my nerd s&*t. Costumes and cast from the ballet version of Beauty & The Beast also walked. It was truly incredible to see! 

Bonus...There was an interesting assortment of non-traditional wedding wear on Thursday night.

The "Starter Marriage" ensemble has me DYING. Loved the irreverence. On the flip side, the pink bridal gown is seriously stunning. 

My Outfit

I kept it relatively "casual" the first night since I wasn't sure what the dress code would be for this fashion week and I didn't want to over or under dress (one of my weird, compulsive fears). I chose this blue and gold Sabo Skirt two piece set and paired it with my Raye heels (SO comfortable) to dress it up even more. Big thanks to Rebecca for all the post-show photo shoots!

All photos taken on location at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. **Side Note: Anyone traveling to ATX, I would 100% recommend the JW Marriott to stay! The staff was very friendly, and as you can see from the photos, the decor was absolutely to die for (I haven't even shown you the rooftop pool yet)! 

Photos were all taken by Mira Visu Photography. If you are featured in these images and would like copies, please connect with Rebecca via her Mira Visu Facebook Page--and give it a like while you're there! ;)