Posts Tagged ‘cupcake’

Like many of you, I’m enjoying time with family and childhood friends during the holidays.  It’s nice to slow down a little, feel like a kid again from the excitement of the season and having mom cook for me (not the mention the bowl of Christmas Cap’n Crunch I had this morning!).  There have  been moments of “memory lane” and nostalgia about the “way things were”.  I love traditions.  I love the old ones and the new ways we look at them as we grow and I love creating new traditions! 

This week I indulged in one of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions:  The mall! 

Not a frenzied shopping trip for gifts.

No shopping bag overload. 

And, not just ANY mall.  This was the Northpark Mall in Dallas, TX experience.  An adventure of color, decorations, holiday magic and memories.  It was always one of my favorite moments as a kid.  This week I went again as a grown up, with a mix of new and old traditions. 

It started early one morning as my mom and I ventured out to the “Santa Line” for tickets.  This is the new part of the tradition.  My nieces have sat on the “magical” Santa’s lap for 18 years now.  Never missing a year.  All the visits chronicled in colorful, magical photos their father is so proud of.  There is a line, and tickets, and a “come back at…” process because THIS very popular Santa, according to many in Dallas, is the “real Santa”.  I know, because while walking around the mall that day, I heard this phrase time and time again in the conversations of passers-by. 

Northpark Santa's House

Santa’s “house” before he and all the excited children arrived.


Northpark Santa

The real Santa???


After we got the tickets it was time to indulge MY memories and revisit the decorations that still hang every year in the mall.  The same ones I used to visit as a child.  Here are a few of my favorite “old” things:

Santa in his sleigh.  Santa is made from nuts and candies!  This truly fascinated me as a kid!


Santa’s sleigh hangs high above the shoppers below (not as high as it SEEMED as a kid) and is guided by his trusty team of reindeer…all made of nuts.



I’ve never heard the story behind these sculptures, but they are there every year and tower above with their arms steadily moving.  I love their strong energy among the soft, vibrant colors of the poinsettia.


You can’t have Christmas without music!  I loved watching the fingers play over the keys as this young man played a beautiful Christmas carol.


Merry Miller entertained young and old with beautiful harp music.  Do I need to tell you how much I LOVE the colorful harp strings?!?!


The Lionel trains were back.  I don’t know why trains and Christmas go together…but I’m sure glad they do!


Neiman Marcus Ornaments

A holiday visit to Northpark would not be complete without a stop into Neiman’s to see the decorations! 

I was so inspired by the baskets FULL of colorful ornaments.  Oh how I LOVE Christmas tree ornaments!!


There were “new” holiday moments also.  New stores.  New window displays.  New colorful visual treats. 

These beautiful knitted stockings hung on the wall at one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie.  There is just something about a knitted stocking that says “tradition”.



“Frisky” was at the mall looking for a new home and hoping to be a special Christmas gift.  He was full of love (and energy…his name suited him).  I sure hope someone takes him home.  I love the SPCA!  I have two furry creatures at home that were rescued by SPCA volunteers.  A special holiday wish to all my furry friends out there:  Alex, Nelson, Pup, Wilber, Lily, Matteo, Dusty, Princess, Indie, Cara, and “Turq”.


Barneys holiday window wished me “A Foodie Holiday” and advises “Give Good Art” (I couldn’t agree MORE!)  The beautiful artwork is done in partnership with Big Thought, a Dallas-based non-profit .  “…we believe that every child and family should be immersed in opportunities to imagine, create and succeed.”  I’m so glad I learned about this amazing organization!  A big thanks to Jackson, the concierge at Barneys, for talking to me about the art and the partnership with Big Thought.  Please check them out here!


Of course I found the cupcakes! 


And it was a mall, so of course there was fashion involved.  There were colors, and textiles, and textures, and shapes that inspired me and left me wanting more (money in my wallet for one thing…).  Maybe I’ll save those NEW favorite things for tomorrow.  You might have a little extra money or gift cards you aren’t sure how to spend…

 All this color and holiday cheer left me quite hungry.  Let’s see…I am in Texas…Mexican food, BBQ, Chicken Fried Steak?  Nope, cupcakes!  On a whim, I conspired with my best friend to surprise her 11 year old daughter with a knock on the door to whisk her away to Brendal’s Bakery and Cupcake Couture (thank you Google and my iPhone map!).   She was TOTALLY surprised!  We ate TOO many cupcakes!  And, I think I may have a new tradition…

May your old traditions continue and may new ones excite and inspire you! 

Happy {colorful} holidays to all of you!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?  Share them with us in the comments below.



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It’s been really cold in New York City this weekend!  Leaving me mostly tucked inside my house counting the hours until my trip to Southwest Florida this week.  Hurry Wednesday, hurry!!!  

Tired of the cold, snow, and wintery weather?  I sure am!  Let’s warm up with some Water Color and Urban Color images!     

Grab your sunscreen, sit down with a fruity drink (put an umbrella in it even!), stretch a beach towel across your chair, and let’s get warm along the shore!  

© Melissa McClain

 Sit on the beach and watch the waves crash along the shoreline.   

© Melissa McClain

Go out sailing on a beautiful summer day.  

© Melissa McClain

 Play in the warm, refreshing water and look back at the golden sand beach……

© Melissa McClain

melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Lexi’s Day At the Beach”

as the kids enjoy playing in the fresh air.

© Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Ferry To Martha’s Vineyard has the right idea!  Take a vacation to one of my favorite places!    

© Melissa McClain

 Windsurf as the breeze blows through your hair.  

© Melissa McClain

Read a book and relax by the lake.  


Are you warm yet?  I’m getting there!  Let’s go enjoy the great outdoors, no messy sand in our shoes, and take a drive. 


© Melissa McClain

 Pass fields of golden hops on a warm Spring day.   

© Melissa McClain

Walk through fields of lilacs and enjoy their scent on the breeze.  

© Melissa McClain

Stop at the zoo and see the peacocks spreading their tail feathers in a rainbow of colors.

© Melissa McClain

Enjoy the return of colorful flowers like these delicate lillies.  

© Melissa McClain

     Watch the birds as they soar above.  

© Melissa McClain

Enjoy the mountains as the snow melts from their peaks.  

© Melissa McClain

Stop by the farmer’s market and pick up some strawberries picked fresh this morning.   

© Melissa McClain

Find a peaceful meadow…..  

© Melissa McClain

 melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Izzy’s Picnic”

 and stop for an afternoon picnic with the kids.  Don’t forget the cupcakes!!


Return home warm and relaxed after a full day.

© Melissa McClain

 Sit on the back porch… 

© Melissa McClain

 melissaAnne Water Colors Digital Collage “Cami In the Garden”

as your daughter tends to her garden. 

© Melissa McClain

Go for a run after the sun sets, because it’s too hot during the day! 


It will get warm again, really it will!  Until then, feel free to check back in here and dream about all the fun things you’ll do on that first really warm, nice day.  Let us know your plans.  Maybe we’ll join you!  



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