Here Are The Reasons Why I Love Dallas
I didn't grow up in Dallas. Well, sort of. See if you can follow me here — I did and I didn't. Until the age of 10, I was a Connecticutian. Yes, it's true. I was thisclose to a "Gilmore girls" type of lifestyle, minus the small, quaint, everyone-loves-everyone type of town and plus the snotty, unfriendly, and surprisingly melting pot culture (but that may have been the public school scene alone). It wasn't until I had chopped all my hair off into a pixie cut in the 4th grade and was on the edge of a full mental breakdown from the incessant bullying that my family learned we were making the move to Dallas, Texas. It was the most out-of-the-box, foreign relocation I had ever heard of, but I was more than ready to pack my things (see: pogs, face glitter, and Limited Too outfits) and GTFO out of Stamford forever.
It took me a loooooong time to fall in love with Dallas. Partly because I grew up in the suburbs up north, which are very far removed from Dallas proper and full of money so new, it's still covered in placenta. But also because something inside of me, call it my "Yankee" roots, just did not want to love it. I didn't want to be a Texan. It sounded southern and rednecky and just, gross. When I left the south to head up the map to Kansas for college, I felt nothing leaving Texas behind. Of course, most school mates and inquiring strangers alike (i.e. nosey sales associates, family friends) could not figure out why the hell I was going to KU. When the majority of your graduating class remains within Texas or travels a safe distance to school in Oklahoma, taking it a step further to the literal middle of the USA in Lawrence, Kansas confuses the piss out of people.
And, even when I had graduated college and moved back home, I still didn't like Dallas or plan to stay here long. I viewed returning to the town from whence you came to start "real life" was pathetic and a clear sign of failure. I came back to Dallas in August 2009 and have been moving to Chicago/New York/Denver/LA/Seattle ever since. I'm still here, though. Catch my drift?
It wasn't until this past year, after I went through a tumultuous six months of unemployment, applying for jobs in all the aforementioned places and receiving absolutely zero feedback or bites that finally, finally, I woke up and realized "Hey. Being in Dallas isn't half bad. Maybe I should stop trying so hard to leave it, and just embrace it for once." And I have.
Dallas is way cooler than outsiders think. It's like a super small Chicago in that it's pretty damn clean for being a big city, and it's easily navigated.
Dallas is also trying really hard to up its outdoorsy game. We may not have something as awesome as Austin's Greenbelt, but we're trying to make better on what we do have. It started by building a damn park over a massive highway, and followed that with tearing up one of its most beloved dog parks near White Rock Lake in order to totally revamp it (although, the fact that it won't be ready until May kills me).
Dallas has a lot of bleach blonde, anorexic, pearl donning, aristocrat snobs populating its more higher-end streets, it's true. But what makes this city so great is that, for every one of these "typical Dallas" girls you spot, you're sure to spot a completely tatted up, chain-smoking, hipster right behind her.
Dallas is an unexpected mashup of Stepford housewives in training and a constantly on-the-rise alternative scene, both within miles of each other. And I love that.
Dallas's food scene? I mean, C'MON. Almost weekly, I'm either sending or sent an article about a new restaurant opening near me. Grilled cheese sandwiches, cheap burgers and beer, restaurants decked out to remind you of your school days and give you anxiety with menus designed on scantrons? There is no shortage of creative culinary artists in these here parts, AND I LOVE IT.
Dallas is livable. You can find one-bedroom apartments under $1K that aren't complete dumps, or you can pay more to live bigger. Sure, it's still expensive to many peoples' standards, but looking at the bigger picture wherein you pay the same price to SHARE an apartment with 3-4 other people in California or New York, it's not so bad. Many living quarters here come equipped with yards, designated parking spots, personal washers and dryers and even pools. Getting all this and still being able to buy Chipotle for dinner at least once a week is what I consider a win.
Dallas loves fashion. We've been made fun of for only being able to turn to Neiman Marcus as our highest level of couture, but that's bull crap. Have you been to Highland Park Village? More than that, the fashion blogger scene here has exploded. Lauren Scruggs (now Mrs. Jason Kennedy), Dallas Wardrobe, Brighton Keller, Fashion Jackson, Lo Murphy, TargetDoesItAgain/Ascot&Hart/JenLovesCove — there are WAY too many to list on here, but you get the picture. These talented women realized it works more favorably to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Not to mention the incredible help of Dallas's own Amber Venz Box of rewardStyle and LIKETOKNOWIT rewarding their efforts monetarily via Instagram every single day. This place is a damn mecca for fashion, and I won't hear otherwise.
Dallas understands balance. For every overpriced, designer boutique that could make even the most basic Dallas bitch feel like Vivian Ward there's a totally original, one-off clothing store with reasonable prices and fabulous pieces for the everyday gal. Stores like RiffRaff, Milk&Honey, and The Gypsy Wagon keep the local Dallasite well-dressed and well-fed (you know, since we have that extra cash for Chipotle). And, in that same vein, for every over-priced Starbucks (but that Flat White, tho) , there's an up and coming, local coffee shop.
Dallas is all about music. Although not into the thick of the music scene myself, I've seen and heard enough to know Dallas takes its musical talents very seriously. We even have festivals and stuff. The amount of amazing local talent that has sprung up here is impressive. Plus, rarely is Dallas passed over when it comes to big bands or artists touring.
Dallas keeps it exciting with weather. Yeah, it can be annoying living in such a bi-polar state, but I have to admit, it does keep me on my toes (whether they're covered with booties one day and sitting on display in sandals the next). Although a winter-lover at heart, I've learned to enjoy every day between November-April being a tossup, weather-wise. I can sleep easy at night knowing my heaviest winter coat will get at least 10 good wears, but that I can also possibly get away with going tights-less on a Saturday night in December.
Dallas does sports. Not that I care (like, at all), but a lot of people do. Our basketball and football teams are no joke, and fans love them more than their own mothers most of the time.
Dallas is easy to travel to and from. It's like, take your pick of which airport and airline, and I'll be there relatively quickly with probably zero issues to drop you off or retrieve you. Yes, I will be PICKING YOU UP from the airport. Dallas doesn't lend itself to "just grabbing a cab into the city." That's not necessary here. Not really.
Basically, from food to fashion to entertainment, Dallas has it covered, and I'm relieved for myself that I've finally been able to admit that I not only love this city, but I'm proud to be from it. Yeah, the traffic gets worse every year, but I can no longer blame people for wanting to reproduce here and move here. I totally get the appeal.
Love you, Big D. Mean it.