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Travel

Cities we visit, food we eat, and the fun things we do there. 

Filtering by Category: Places To Go

The Art of Staycationing

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I don't know who came up with the term 'Staycation' and what do you guys usually do when you do it (I guess everybody's different), but for me and my family, the point of going on a staycation is getting away from our daily routines as you would when you go on a vacation, without having to travel very far.  ashton-27

So this month, we chose to 'travel' to our neighboring city, Fort Worth, TX. It's only 30 minutes from our apartment, it's got a good historic and downtown district, and it's got this beautiful hotel called The Ashton Hotel.

Located strategically by the city's Sundance Square, The Ashton is a luxury boutique hotel that has a lot of history in it. In fact, it is listed as a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Okay so what do you do on a staycation? Here's what we usually do.

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1. Chill in the hotel bathrobes and watch cable TV all afternoon

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Seriously guys, this is the best feeling ever. The thought of not having to do laundry, cook, and clean up is a vacation in itself to me! The hotel room was so luxurious and comfy, the custom bathrobes made me feel like a boss lady, and that view by that big window --- ohhh yesss, I can get used to this! At least for another 20 hours lol.

Don't try to do too much on your staycation. The point is to relax. So chill, watch tv, have some cookies, and savor the moment.

2. Enjoy room service if there's any or try the hotel breakfast

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The Ashton waffles were amazing. I wish they offered room service on the weekends, though.

3. Go to the nearest kid-friendly attraction

Choosing Fort Worth Zoo was a no-brainer. It's our favorite zoo in the DFW metroplex, it's got tons of attractions, and we got our FREE tickets from our POGO PASS :) If you're thinking of visiting Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austion, Arizona, or Vegas you can get entries to multiple family-friendly venues with just under $50 when you purchase the passes at pogopass.com with my code MOZDEB. 

4. Try the nearby restaurants

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We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Hanabi, and then made a quick stop at my favorite ice cream place in the metroplex, MELT. I had the cookies and cream but J had their vegan 'Out of the Blue' and it was amazing!

5. Take a walk around the hotel 

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We took a walk to Sundance Square, explored the downtown area a bit, and then went back to the hotel, took a nice warm shower, and watched a good movie until we fell asleep. It was definitely a rejuvenating getaway. We can't wait to do it again!

Hotel and Six 10 Grille photography by Beckley & Co. 

In partnership with The Ashton hotel. 

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A Little Pre-Valentine's Day Family Staycation

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day, because well...I'm just not into anything cheesy and lovey dovey like that (ever since I was a teenager, true story!). So when I noticed that Valentine's Day was like 2 weeks away from last weekend, I thought, hey, why not do a little staycation around my city of Las Colinas and have a little getaway with my little family. Any excuse to have a little getaway, right? So last weekend we stayed at NYLO Hotel Las Colinas. And we loved it!

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I like the modern and spacious loft design, with a touch of industrial decor around the hotel. The room is just the right size for our small family. To get the glimpse of our staycation, click play and don't forget to subscribe on youtube.

https://youtu.be/o3YnIEXMz10

We got everything from waffles, chinese food, to fresh-cut tulips, turned on the TV and just chilled there. It's nice to not have to clean up and make your bed every once in a while.

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Yes, J loves his orange juice. And I love spending a Saturday, not having to worry about events and what-not. I didn't even post anything on my social media that day! I think that's the essence of 'celebrating love' - as most people believe February 14th is all about. I personally like having J with us, because, well...my love is for him too, not just for Mr. Man. And it's just more convenient to have us all together. It's just the 3 of us anyways. But whatever works for you, kid or no kid, as long as you can have a little 'sabbath' from work and routines and getaway with your loved ones.

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We talked, argued a little bit, ate, laughed, and rested. I don't know what they put in our pillows but we slept good that night. Cute coffee mug? I know! I got it from ILY Couture. It's on sale now so get it quick!

The next day, we had breakfast at The Loft at NYLO.

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And Mr.Man played pool while Jerome chilled with his youtube videos.

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If you don't have any plans yet for Valentine's Day weekend, NYLO hotel Las Colinas offers special rates starting at $199 per couple, which include a 1 night stay and 3-course dinner on the Valentine's Day eve (Saturday, February 13th) with delicious menus like Peppercorn Orange Poached Shrimp. Lamb Chops, and Chocolate Walnut Bread Pudding. Yumm!!

Book your stay now and if you don't know where to go or what to do during your stay around Las Colinas/Irving, check out Visit Irving's blog.

*in-room photos by Beckley.Co // in partnership with NYLO Hotels.

 

Full of surprises. Our Little Staycation in Downtown Dallas.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Finally got a chance to sit down and post this! I've been too busy living last week, going out everyday with J, cooking some meals for women and children in a shelter with Gateway's Titus 2 women's group, and just enjoying every second without worrying about what picture to post on instagram, you know what I mean? It's pretty liberating - not streaming your thoughts and personal details to the world on daily basis and just...saying nice things like "I love you" straight to Mr.Man instead of posting a photo of him with lovey dovey caption on facebook. You know, the old-school style. Anyway...I love what I do, so this week, I'm back! At least to post this story because a lot went on during my birthday weekend. And I just thought I needed to share it to y'all.

So, I thought that my birthday weekend would be perfect - a staycation downtown, mother's day brunch, perfect weather, everything. I felt like I've earned this staycation, and I wanted to be celebrated! At least by my little family. But guess what happened?

First, we went to the famous Ellen's Southern Kitchen at West End Historical District for lunch.

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Everything was good for a few minutes, until J started to fuss and we found out that he had a mild fever.

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Oh no. "Why now? Why today?" - I grumbled. He felt very sick that I didn't even get the chance to eat my lunch (Ellen's famous buttermilk fried chicken!!), cause we had to take him to the hotel for nap. The little dude didn't even want to eat anything. He just wanted me to nurse him. With that dress that I was wearing? Yeah, it was impossible to nurse in public, so we rushed to the hotel. The beautiful Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas.

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It's a modern boutique hotel with a classic exterior (I think the building was an oil company or something). You'd recognize the building from its red flying horse light at the top. We checked in on Friday, and they were serving free lemonade and limeade at the lobby!

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Happy birthday to Mom...Happy birthday to Mom...

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Oh wait, not feelin' it? Okay never mind.

J was too fussy to even do anything fun. So I nursed him and put him (and Elmo) to bed right away.

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I had planned to take a trolley and go uptown for some snacks or something. But since J's condition was worsen, we decided to stay at the hotel that afternoon. I really wanted to complain. But maybe at the second quarter of life, birthdays aren't meant to be all about you anymore. Maybe, now that you're older, you oughta celebrate your birthday by loving others. And in my case, it was my baby.

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The only thing that could soothe him besides my breastmilk? Music videos. Yes! And I'm not talking about explicit or oversexualized music videos here. They are positive music videos that I've compiled on a youtube playlist for him! (I'll share them to y'all soon). The thing that could soothe me on the other hand? Ehm...maybe some wine?

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Not a problem! Magnolia serves complimentary beer and wine (guests only) for a couple hours in the afternoon. And complimentary cookies and milk at night before bedtime! Sweet! This weekend will only get better, right?

Not really.

Because the next day, on our way to visit Dallas Aquarium, Mr. Man got a phone call from his mother in Indonesia...And we found out that...His grandmother had just passed away that morning.

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Again. "Why now? Why this weekend? Wasn't this weekend suppose to be a refreshing and rejuvenating getaway for us?" - I whined. Though J had recovered from his mild fever that morning, he still hadn't fully regained his strength. The rain was pouring and Opung Gendut (that's what we called Mr.Man's grandma) was gone. Perfect.

But there was no turning back. It was all happening outside our control. So we just prayed in the car, called some relatives to console them and decided to still make the most of this staycation.

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We couldn't believe we were still in downtown Dallas. It felt like we were somewhere exotic. The Dallas Aquarium is definitely worth visiting! You get to see so many different animals in a very cool man-made environment.

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Btw, yes new hair. $19.95, thanks to Supercuts. Haha!

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Can't forget to represent ;) They have many different restaurants here, and in one of them, Indonesian comfort food called Nasi Goreng is regularly served! How cool is that!

Speaking of Indonesian comfort food, I have been craving for a Dutch comfort food that is also very popular in Indonesia (they invaded our country for 300 years plus my grandma's half Dutch so I love it!) called Bitterballen. Couldn't find it anywhere in Dallas so we settled for some good Croquette at Henk's European Deli.

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What's even cooler about this place is that they have so many dutch snacks and condiments that you can't find at a regular supermarket! Like chocolate muisjes !

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Dutch traditional spiced cookies called Spekulaas!

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And even...another Indonesian comfort food called Kerupuk!! Yeas!! They have it people!!

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Definitely coming back to this place more often, I'd probably try their famous Black Forrest cake one day.

Moving on to the next day, the Mother's Day, we ended our little staycation by checking out the hotel and having brunch at a health-conscious restaurant called True Food Kitchen.

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I had quinoa pancake with Greek yoghurt and maple syrup, Mr. Man had the organic omelet with veggies and cheese, and J had the teriyaki chicken bowl. What a way to end a getaway weekend.

It really wasn't that flashy fun as I planned it to be. But It wasn't bad either. I guess the things in life, whatever they are, will only be as good as we make them.

Welcome to the 2nd quarter, Deb. Life has just begun!