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Life in DFW

My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!

Filtering by Category: Events

Bubblies, Starfish, and Fun for All Ages - It's #GrapeFest!

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I had been talking about this event since August, and I also did an instagram giveaway for it (congrats to all the winners!) last week. On September 15, The 30th Annual GrapeFest finally took place! And I am so grateful that I got to come and cover the event for 2 days, and even did an instagram takeover with Visit Grapevine

The event was free all day on Thursday (9/15) and free from morning till 5 pm on Friday (9/16), and because J was in school and Mr.Man was obviously at work, I got to enjoy the festival on the first day all by myself!

Click play to watch the whole experience and don't forget to subscribe :)

https://youtu.be/IPtlcFA5KIA

There were so many unique vendors selling everything from jewelries, apparels, to funny wooden signs (one of them says, "God is great. Beer is good. People are crazy" ;) and unique beautiful wine bottle holders.

Now because it was super hot outside, I decided to have my lunch at my favorite spot, Main Street Bakery. But on the second day, I had the brisket on a bun and corn dog with J by the Gazebo Stage.

Pauline, the manager of Main Street Bakery gave me this delicious cronut! It messed up my dress with all of its chocolate syrup drippings. But it was worth it!

What I loved about this festival was the fact that they put time and effort to entertain kids as much as they do with adults. They have interactive games, petting zoo (where a goat jumped onto my chest asking for food and got me screaming like crazy lol), Sea Life touch pool, LegoLand activity center, and GrapeStomp for kids called KidStomp!

I ended both my first and second day at the Champagne Terrace. I would like to participate in the People's Choice Wine Tasting but with a kiddo and no stroller, I had to skip it this year.

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I love this magical moment where the bubble machines were blowing a bazillion bubbles in front of the Champagne Terrace and all of the kids went running to catch them.

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This is insta-worty for sure! ;)

Over all it was an awesome experience, with the food, the live music, and various different wine tastings from different continents that took place. I cannot wait to go back next year!

Pairing Fine Texas Wines & Cheeses at Cross Timbers Winery

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Labor Day weekend has passed and summer is officially over but the excitement continues in the City of Grapevine! As you might have read in my previous post, the ultimate wine experience, GrapeFest, is coming next week from September 15th through the 18th and you and your family are invited! To celebrate, I got a little bit of a head start last week when I went to sample an array of exquisite local wine & cheese selections at Cross Timbers Winery.

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Located in the Historic Brock Family farm house, Cross Timbers Winery  now serves as a popular venue for weddings, receptions, parties and other special occasions. Providing 'wine tasting with wine education', the winery's tasting room is open for public from Tuesday to Sunday (see complete schedule here), with a wide variety of wine to choose from including reds, whites, single varietals, and blends.

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For this particular evening, I got to taste the Cross Timbers Muscat Canelli, Cross Timbers Chardonnay, Cross Timbers Sangiovese, and Cross Timbers Tempranillo.

We paired the wines with the delicious cheeses from Dallas' very own, Mozzarella Company . Owner Paula Lambert hosted this session, as she guided us through each pairing.

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Lambert fell in love with fresh mozzarellas when she was on an extended visit to Perugia, Italy. Due to the absence of such delicacy back home in Texas, she decided to bring the art of cheesemaking home with her. Her factory has been making fresh, award-winning cheeses by hand now for 34 years!

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We sampled Queso Blanco with Chiles and Epazote, Smoked Seamorza, Montasio Festivo, and Caciotta Black Pepper and Garlic (a lot of people's favorite that evening!).

My favorite combo was definitely the Cross Timbers Chardonnay with Smoked Scamorza! I loved the smokiness of the smooth, hand-formed cheese (they were smoked over pecan shells!) paired with the light-bodied Chardonnay.

But there was a wild card pairing! And it turned out to be my ultimate favorite!

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Cross Timbers Sparkling Wine with Cella and Rosemary Montasio! I loved the Cella cheese best! It is a mixture of cow's and goat's milk, with a subtle citrus flavor from lemongrass. Excellent, excellent flavor. I couldn't get enough of it!

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Some of the lovely ladies I met at the event include (left to right) Julia Sizemore (GrapeFest volunteer), Paula Lambert (Mozzarella Company), Carolyn Lease (event organizer), and Sharon Kircher (with Bank of the West, the presenting sponsor of GrapeFest).

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And the lovely lady on the far right on the picture above is Penny Bigbie, owner of Cross Timbers Winery.

Kimberly Foster from Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau was kind enough to get me a cookbook from Paula Lambert (signed!!) called Cheese, Glorious Cheese and this sweet encounter between the two of them in the photos below wrapped up my beautiful evening at Cross Timbers!

This is just a glimpse of the ultimate wine experience that The 30th Annual GrapeFest has got to offer next week! I can not wait to see y'all there! If you haven't already, get your tickets here

 

Counting Down To The Ultimate Wine Experience : GrapeFest® 2016

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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First of all, let me start by quoting this famous saying that I found all over pinterest a while ago. 720014thumb

Ow yea, a lot of you could probably relate ;) I love how this poster encapsulates one's love for wine as an adult with good humor. And in the spirit of loving the fruit of the vine itself, I am super excited to remind you guys about a wine experience that is coming to Grapevine, TX on September 15 to September 18!

Yes, in exactly one month from today, the 30th annual GrapeFest® commences with a variety of activities and entertainment for all ages. I missed the 'all ages' part last year, so I didn't go and check it out with Mr. Man. And we missed out on a lot of fun things provided at this family-friendly event!

GrapeStomp

Aside from the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the country, People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, that is going to take place at the festival along with the California Wine Tasting and the International Wine Tasting featuring Australia, you can also experience the fun GrapeStomp as seen in the picture above. With just $5/person (on top of festival admission), you get to stomp and squish some juicy grapes with a partner! I will definitely try this one this year!

And as for the little ones, KidsWorld will have them covered with tons of activities such as the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium touch pool and the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. There will also be interactive games and prizes!

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As if all of those I've mentioned above are not awesome enough, there will be non-stop live entertainment on multiple stages around the festival area as well as festival foods and delicious treats from multiple vendors for y'all to enjoy.

Live Music

And last but not least, complimentary parking and shuttle services will also be available!

Click here for more info on the parking and click here to get tickets for the event!

Now if you're in for a fun and free event prior to the big festival, check out Nash Farm's Italian Car Fest on September 10! I'm sure your dudes will enjoy this event, ladies! A number of Italian automobiles and two-wheelers will be displayed on the show field here at the farm, so you get to walk entirely around them and chat with owners about their special machines (well, maybe not you, but your Mr. ;) ).

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Parking is FREE as usual and there will also be food vendors present on this historic 157 year-old venue!

So many awesome things coming up in Grapevine, TX, be sure to follow them on instagram, twitter, and facebook for more updates.  I hope to see y'all at these events next month! :)

Have an awesome Monday!

***

Festival pictures courtesy of The City Grapevine 

Getting Ready for Christmas, in July

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Can you believe we're already halfway through the year 2016?  What have you done with the first half of the year? Have you kept your resolutions? (I couldn't even keep my own resolution to do a 21-Day Vegan Challenge back in January lol). But all regrets aside, the month of July has actually got me thinkin' of the most wonderful time of the year!  NPX 6

Yes, Christmas! This stamement might be more relatable to my people down in Australia, who are going through winter at this time of the year, while the rest of us are soaking up the summer heat (oh gosh, it's gonna get to 100 degrees next week!). But hey, we might not be able to celebrate 'Christmas in July' but we could get ready for Christmas this July, by getting tickets to the Grapevine Vintage Railroad's North Pole Express which will go on sale next Tuesday (07/12) !!!

 

Started in 2006, this Christmas tradition has become one of the most beloved events at the Christmas Capital of Texas, Grapevine. Just last year, more than 42,500 guests enjoyed the family-friendly and exciting North Pole Express ride. And, "for 2016, additional excursions have been added so we expect to see an increase in ridership this year," stated the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Communications, Leigh Lyons. 

Imagine boarding the beautifully decorated Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s Victorian rail coaches to the North Pole, where Elves welcome you and sing you traditional Christmas carols. And then a magical moment : Mrs. Claus boards the train and presents each child a “We Believe” silver Santa bell! 

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And then when you get to Santa's Workshop in the North Pole, you'll get to meet Santa, who'd wish everyone a Merry Christmas, share his Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk, and take a family photo with you and your family (it's complimentary!!).  

It's recommended to arrive 45 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time and be sure to check out GrapevineTexasUSA.com for more Christmas Capital of Texas activities for your family! 

Tickets sell out very quickly, so get yours ASAP here >> https://tickets.grapevineticketline.com/event/northpole :) 

It's 5 months till Christmas! Can't wait to get and give presents and more importantly, be present for my family. 

**

- all photos are owned by Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Why Learning Self-Defense is Every Woman's Responsibility

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I know what you think. This title might be a little too paranoid. I mean, there are so many bad things that are happening in the world today, but it couldn't be that bad right? Well, as a part-time worker at an anti-human trafficking organization, I can tell you that kidnapping, trafficking, rape, and robbery could happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere. I've heard and read so many stories where women get kidnapped by anyone from  colleagues, distant relatives, to a complete stranger.

It's not about focusing on the fear of the bad people out there, though. It's about focusing on equipping yourself for your future. At least that's what I learned from one of the mothers who took her daughter to a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) class at Irving Fire & Police Academy back in April.

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"You never know what life throws at you," said Maria who had been coming to the 12-hour class with her teenage daughter, Sarah.

They were not the only mother-daughter team in the room. I saw so many others who came with their nieces and daughters, some even come every year just to refresh their memories.

 

There were about 16 people in the class from all over the DFW metroplex (yes, that's the cool thing about this class, you don't have to live in Irving to join). This class get filled up very quickly every month.I guess the hunger and the need for such training are growing. Self-defense is not just for The Avengers cast or martial arts-enthusiasts, or those who live in a high-risk neighborhood. Because although you can depend on our law enforcement officers to protect us to some extent, you just never know.

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Different ages, different walks of life, same goal - to equip themselves for life. The classes are not all physical though, participants learn the theories at a class setting first before they got to the physical training.

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Check out the gears! You don't have to worry about getting hurt, the trainers are professionals so they know how to prepare you for the bad situations without hurting you. However, you can hit and kick them in return! (They got protective gears on too, so everyone's safe!  ;).

 

It was so empowering just to watch these women defending themselves. They're all everyday women, just like you and me, with no martial arts training background whatsoever. And there they were, kicking, pushing, and defending themselves. This is more empowering than a Beyonce video!

My favorite part was watching these ladies cheering their classmate as she got into a 'combat' with the trainers. "You can do it! Come on! Work around it!," they yelled with excitement.

It's such a beautiful and empowering atmosphere, women supporting and believing in other women. Nobody was too young or too old to fight. Anyone can get up and fight to defend themselves.

This women-only 4-day class takes place every month at the Irving Police & Fire academy for FREE. The minimum age is 10 years old and the class is also available in Spanish! This month's class is full, but be on the lookout for the next one on July 18th!! For more info and registration, click here. 

 

 

1 Week of Golf, 50k Youtube Views, and more.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

First, let me start by saying that I have no idea how to play golf. Before going to this tournament last week, I had only been to a driving range 2x in my life, and I had never been to a golf course before. It was just not a part of my life. Unlike basketball or soccer, you know (Indonesians are big on soccer). byron (1 of 3)

So when I got the invitation to cover this event in March, I thought, "Hmm...from what angle can I cover it?"

Little did I know that more than just a sporting event, a golf tournament is a lifestyle event, where people come dressed up (some really nicely, some don't really care), sip cocktails and beers, and socialize. And this particular event that I was going to cover, was actually kid-friendly!

So there I was at the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson at Four Seasons in Las Colinas, Irving TX, covering my first ever golf tournament.

And then this happened on the first day ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKtSRdAl8QQ

 

The world's #2 golfer who's a Dallas native, Jordan Spieth caught a marshmallow off a golf ball during a free youth clinic. I recorded it with my DSLR and got over 50k views in just a few days! And as a result I had a few agencies contacting me, trying to buy my video. It was an incredible experience. I don't know if it would make a good money or not but I hope it would in the near future ;)

I'm so grateful for Visit Irving, Texas, for giving me my media pass, so I got to dine here at the Media Dining area for free throughout the tournament week.

 

And I got to bring J with me :) #BestJobEver right?

After we're done with lunch, we usually go to the KidsZone presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Center, Momentous Institute, YMCA Dallas, and Dallas Mavericks.

 

J loved it. He didn't want to leave. At one point, I let him play on the inflatables without his pants on.

 

And when he got tired, I would put him to sleep on his stroller, and then took a walk around the huge Four Seasons golf course to watch the game.

It's perfect to do it while he's asleep because the golfers really need the audience to be really quiet.

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Whenever they raised their hands like on this picture above, I held my breath, hoping J won't wake up until I've finished taking pictures and left the area :P Wouldn't want him to ruin the tournament on live national tv lol.

 

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Here's one of my favorite moments of the event, seeing the golfers (in this picture : Brooks Koepka, the runner up) hugging Peggy Nelson, the wife of the legendary, Byron Nelson after they finish on the 18th hole.

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And here's also another one of my favorite moments, where Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia (the one wearing the white polo shirt) got into a sudden death playoff, where Garcia ended up winning the whole tournament. You can watch his winning putt on the video below.

https://youtu.be/cn6LqdZWG78

 

It was a truly amazing experience for me, a stay at home mom, to cover such a prestigious event. I remember back in the day, when I used to work for a radio station and a magazine in Indonesia, I used to get access to events and do what I love. I let it all go when I got married in 2012, but now I get to do it again, without having to sacrifice my family!

I truly believe that you can do whatever you want to do in any season that you're in right now. Trust God, work hard, and you will surely get there! :)

 

Ms. Lauryn Hill Live in Dallas 2016

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I have been waiting for the chance to get to see Lauryn Hill's live show for sooooo long. I fell in love with her voice when I saw the movie Sister Act 2 at the age of like 6 or 7, but then I really got jnto her stuff in 2002, when she released her MTV Unplugged album.

I bought her CD at an airport in Berlin with the leftover money I got from my mom, because I just couldn't possibly go home to Indonesia without that CD in my discman. Later on, then  I began to get into her stuff from her 1998 Grammy-winning album, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

I was meant to see her show in NYC back in 2011, but then my visa didn't let me to stay long enough to do it. So last night, was a BIG DEAL for me!!

So glad that she came to D-town on my birthday week :)

Doors opened at 7 pm, I got there at 7.20 and got me some fruity vodka.

The opening act performed at 8 pm, didn't catch his name but his voice was beautiful and I enjoyed his 30-minute showcase.

Next! At 9.20 pm, the DJ got on stage to prep up for the main act.

It was a lot of fun, he played a lot of 90s hip hop and paid tribute to Prince as well by playing the song "I Wanna Be Your Lover".

After standing for 3 hours, I finally got to see the greatest female MC of all time, Lauryn Hill a.k.a L-Boogie, a.k.a Ms. Lauryn Hill --  in person!!

And she performed my favorite song from the Unplugged album : I Gotta Find Peace of Mind. I completely freaked out.

She redid all of her old songs from the Unplugged album and the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album, so they sound nothing like the original ones the audience knew and we kinda had to listen closely to the lyrics to know which song was which.

A little selfie with the crew. Love these mamas!

I guess my only "complain" was the fact that she complained about the volumes on her ear piece and monitors to her sound guy like ALL the time. It wasn't good enough for her and she looked bothered, which bothered us too. But you know what, she sounded perfect, just like I expected and more. She's a true performer and entertainer with crazy talents and substance in her lyrics. And she's very nice to her fans, signing autographs before leaving the stage and stuff.

She paid tribute to Sade, Nina Simone, and Bob Marley before ending the show with the song That Thing (Doo Wop).

You might like Nicky, Riri, Miley, Bey, and even Iggy. But to me, it will always be L-Boogie. Wooh!

A Galentine's Day at OpenSeat

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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How was your Valentine's Day weekend? Mine was filled with the fun of watching NBA All-Star Game, NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest (Aaron Gordon shoulda won!), and the Grammy's (Kendrick Lamar shoulda won album of the year!!). I wouldn't do it any other way, I mean what's more lovely than watching your favorite game/show on tv with your loved ones while eating some good, homemade brownies? (recipe coming soon). Anyways, besides all of those in-home fun, I also managed to come to the second meeting of OpenSeat!

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Unlike most V-Day events, this community of genuine and intentional sisterhood provided a safe and fun environment for us to celebrate friendship in the 'weekend of Love'. Because love isn't only for people who are dating or married, it's for everyone!

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Yup, true that. That's why I'm grateful for my good friends :) We had some parmesan-crusted chicken wtih mashed potatoes and gravy.

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I helped with the decoration a little bit, and I thought it turned out well!

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For the 'game', each of us had to pick a song that would best be our life soundtrack, pick a singer to sing it, and tell everyone else in the room why picked that particular song and singer. Some picked very simple and happy song (including me), some picked very deep songs that really resonated with their lives and where they are today. It was very inspiring to hear the struggles of fellow women and how their faith has kept them through.

Here's a little video I've put together about the event, don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXheAaocXJ0&feature=youtu.be

What a way to celebrate love and friendship! Looking forward to meeting and doing life with these ladies in the future! Follow @OpenSeat on instagram to get updates on the next events.

Happy Galentine's Day :)

Getting The Heat at Zest Fest 2016

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Although my tolerance towards spicy food is not that high, I am married to a dude who puts a crazy amount of hot sauce into everything he eats. So when we found out about a festival dedicated solely for spicy food/condiments, we knew we had to check it out. Especially because there were contests and celebrity chefs doing live cooking demo too!

That's Mr.Man, trying the Mild to Wild Pepper & Herb Co.'s "Stupid Hot" Sauce. It is stupid hot y'all. As in, the kind that could make your brain stop functioning for a few seconds- kinda hot. We didn't know who was going to eat it at home if we got a bottle of it, so we got their Red Savina Garlic sauce. Mr. Man actually shook the guy at the booth's hands, because the sauce has successfully got him all sweating and speechless.

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Each year, vendors compete to win the Fiery Food Challenge through a blind tasting involving the event-goers. If they win, vendors get to bring home this award right here. Like Smokin' Texas Gourmet, that has won quite a few times now, and not only for their food but for their cocktail mixers too!

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With a storefront in Keller, TX, Smokin' Texas Gourmet offers a variety of gluten free spices, all-natural and artisanal condiments, seasonings, hot sauces and custom products by chef Peter Mollett.  The one on the picture above is their delicious Jalapeño Honey Mustard. You can order online and have it delivered to your home!

Now, it was time for us to get some lunch. All of these spicy sauces got us craving for some serious grub. So I ordered some ribs with some Eddie Deen BBQ sauce that we had previously sampled with some pickle and sausage (right picture).

Next, it was time for some dessert! We're so glad that we found the Texas Toffee booth after all of the spiciness we've had that afternoon! Loved the 'Gotcha Toffee' (cinnamon & ghost pepper), but my favorite was the dark chocolate pecan! You can find out more about their candy selections here. 

Notice on the picture on the top left, they have the trophy? Yes, we weren't the only ones obsessed with Texas Toffee. You should definitely check it out too :)

You can catch glimpses of what went down at Zest Fest by clicking play on the following video. And...don't forget to subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CNIr4I59_Y&feature=youtu.be

 

Now if you're a fan of spicy food who wants to try out different products every month that you can't get in a regular retailer, Heck That's Hot might just be what you need. 

   It is a monthly subscription of a box of spicy food from salsa, beef jerky, dip mixes to chips and everything spicy you could think of (7 to 8 items in total) for just $30/month.

With the cold weather and the storm that have just passed, do you think you're ready for some heat? :)

I know I'm not. Ugh...

***

The Meetup Dallas Launch Party

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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As I mentioned on my previous post, I've been looking forward to come to this particular event, put together by the lovely and creative ladies of The Meetup Dallas for a while. With their motto "We rise by lifting others", The Meetup is meant to serve as a networking event to connect creative and entrepreneur women across the metroplex without the catty competition. And last Wednesday, it did just that.  

Didn't wanna wear anything too crazy and formal, so I decided to go with my new ASOS skirt & flats, and my Loren Hope necklace + Perry Street earrings that I got from my Rocksbox, a monthly premium jewelry subscription which allows you to borrow designer jewelries for just $19/month. And if you use my code mozdebxoxo, you'll get your first month FREE!

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Anyways, I met some really interesting bloggers and business owners at the event, including one of my favorite local photographers, Megan Weaver, Angie of POSH floral, the lovely ladies from We The Birds macarons, and interestingly, a financial professional name Lucy. To catch a glimpse of the event, press play on the following video and don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel!

https://youtu.be/9IN-GzuUNRk

 

The fact that Stacy and Laura share the same vision of connecting women to encourage growth and collaboration instead of competition is inspiring. Looking forward to coming to their quarterly events :) In the meantime, don't forget to give them a follow!