Category / Lifestyle

At Home Home Decor

Decorating Home for Autumn

The air is turning crisp and the leaves are taking on a golden hue which can only mean it’s time to find inspiration for autumn décor for your Houston or Dallas home.

Warm and inviting spaces are a hallmark of Darling Homes’ designs. To add a sophisticated autumn touch, accent your home’s natural beauty by placing a wreath on the front door, adorning the mantel with pumpkins or lighting candles with seasonal favorites on the coffee table.

Need more inspiration? The 2018 Good Housekeeping list of autumn décor helps homeowners discover some of the simplest yet most endearing home decorating tricks in the book.

Fall décor suggestions include:

  • Dried wheat wreaths to adorn the front door
  • Fall-themed throw pillows
  • Rustic-colored blankets in shades of orange, brown, red and yellow
  • Dried leaf garlands
  • Acorn accents for side tables and centerpieces
  • Pumpkins and squashes positioned throughout the home for a hint of autumn
  • Doormats with festive fall phrases such as ‘give thanks’

Autumn brings with it opportunities for indoor entertainment, whether you spend your nights and weekends in the living room with the fireplace burning or cozying up in the media room, take time to find your inspiration for fall décor on the Dallas and Houston Pinterest boards from Darling Homes. With a mix of pre-made and DIY décor ideas, these boards are the top choice for those looking to spice up their seasonal décor.

DIY projects for autumn can include:

  • Charming candy jars filled with candy corn or painted acorns
  • A garland made of glittering leaves
  • Pumpkins crafted out of yarn
  • Burlap wine bottle covers
  • Rustic mason jar candle holders
  • Chalkboard pumpkins embellished with a fall message

Whether seeking a craft for the holiday season or a new twist on autumn-themed home décor, these tips and tricks are certain to help bring a taste of fall into any Darling home.

Food Lifestyle

Experience the State Fair of Texas

It’s time for Texans to start preparing for their journeys to Dallas for the State Fair of Texas, an opportunity to indulge in fried food, catch their favorite artist performing live, check out the auto show and spend a few hours having a blast on the Midway rides. The fair begins September 28 and runs through October 21.

Prepare ahead of time

A full schedule of events is up on the State Fair of Texas website for visitors to use for planning their trip around a favorite musical act or special event, such as the Texas Innovation exhibit, the Texas Auto Show, Zuzu African Acrobats and much more. The website has a full list of options posted to help visitors prepare, including tips for arranging transportation, which activities to start with and where to dine.

Food

Foodies will delight in the wide array of choices at the Texas State Fair. A wine garden and celebrity chef kitchen provide an exciting culinary adventure for attendees. Food lovers can also grab a taste of award-winning fare with winners and finalists from the Big Tex Choice Awards, including a creative cotton candy taco and Arroz con Leche.

From delicious fried goods to the thrills of the Midway, this year’s State Fair of Texas is sure to be unforgettable.

Entertainment

The fair has a series of concerts, free with the price of admission this year, taking place on the Chevrolet Main Stage. On opening night, Kraig Park will take the stage as Elvis, followed by a variety of acts through the rest of the fair.

Artists performing at the fair include:

  • Aaron Watson on Oct. 6
  • Austin Mahone on Oct. 7
  • The Molly Ringwalds on Oct. 12
  • Ludacris on Oct. 13
  • Hunter Hayes on Oct. 14
  • Casting Crowns on Oct. 20

The Midway features over 70 rides for visitors to try out, including the Top o’ Texas Drop Tower, the Texas Star Ferris Wheel and the Sparkletts Log Flume.

The entertainment doesn’t stop there – the fair also offers up shopping, creative arts experiences, historical exhibits and will host college football games throughout the fair.

Livestock

It wouldn’t be a state fair without the livestock, and this year’s State Fair of Texas is no exception. In addition to fun events, visitors have the opportunity to learn more about agriculture and interact with a variety of farm animals.

Livestock activities include:

  • Farm Day at the Fair for students in 2nd through 4th grade
  • Cow milking demonstrations
  • Livestock terminology lessons
  • Cows, sheep, rabbits and llamas on display
  • Hands-on educational exhibits

New Attractions

Every year, the State Fair of Texas works to bring in new exhibits. This year, the state’s inventive side is on display with a unique exposition, “Celebrating Texas Innovation,” which showcases local contributions to agriculture, medicine, science and more.

Innovation isn’t all the fair is adding this year. Other new exhibits and shows include Amazing Archery, Dallas in the Time of MLK and an All-Star Stunt Dog Show.

This year’s State Fair of Texas is filled with fun experiences, delicious food and thrilling rides Texans won’t want to miss!

Lifestyle

Places to View Art in Texas

The streets of Houston and Dallas are filled with opportunities to experience the arts, with murals, photography, galleries and museums just around the corner from Darling Homes communities.

Houston

At the First Saturday Arts Market in Houston, open year-round in the Historic Houston Heights area, visitors can meander through an outdoor market to find art that catches their eye. With the atmosphere of a festival, locals can also indulge in food truck cuisine and enjoy live music while searching for the perfect piece of art to complement the interior design of their Darling home. A Houston mainstay for the past 14 years, this market creates a friendly atmosphere for all ages to come and enjoy the arts.

Handcrafted goods sold at the market include:

  • Jewelry
  • Photography
  • Sculptures
  • Folk art
  • Paintings

Houston is also home to a long list of galleries, which Paper City Magazine organized into a list based on region. This list also includes local art museums and centers, giving Houstonians a guide to view beautiful works of art located around town.

Gallery Row, located at the intersection of Colquitt and Lake Streets in the Upper Kirby region of the city, is known as a hotspot for artwork, with locations including the Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Goldesberry Gallery, Moody Gallery, Dean Day Gallery, Parkerson Gallery and more.

Genres of artwork displayed at these locations include jigsaw puzzle paintings, rare estate finds, vintage photography, contemporary artwork, realism, sculpture and much more.

Dallas

When exploring Dallas, there are numerous locations that feature artwork. Throughout Downtown Dallas, artwork is present on street corners and situated in front of buildings for the passersby to admire. The Dallas Arts District has worked since 1984 to build an artistic presence in Downtown Dallas, and the region has grown into the largest contiguous arts district in the country, spanning 19 blocks. This artwork covers a wide range of genres, from Texas historical features to music and mythology to a police memorial.

With this guide from D Magazine, art lovers can easily find the location of public works, including:

  • Rosa Parks statue
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza
  • Pegasus Statue
  • The Storm, a music-themed mural
  • Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive, a collection of 49 bronze longhorns and three cowboys

The Dallas Art Dealers Association also offers a list of art walks and events in the city, and is known to host DADA art walks at various times throughout the year. The association also offers a free, comprehensive gallery guide that ensures art enthusiasts have information about how to view art throughout the year.

Each gallery in Dallas offers its visitors a unique view into the world of art, including Dallas Contemporary, a former warehouse converted into a showroom that dedicates itself wholly to public engagement. This free gallery is known for its thought-provoking and absorbing artwork, and brings in new, exciting exhibits for visitors to see throughout the year.

From galleries to outdoor markets, Houston and Dallas provide ample opportunities for artists and art lovers to experience local showcases.

Lifestyle Travel

Escape the City with a Texas Day Trip

Now that you’ve settled into your Darling Homes community in Dallas or Houston, it’s time to branch out of the neighborhood and explore more of Texas! With amazing day trip options, it’s never been easier for locals to hop in the car and explore more of the Lone Star State.

Dallas

Magnolia Market

Fans of the HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper’ are a mere hour and a half from Waco, the home of Magnolia Market at the Silos. Make it a day by experiencing all the Silos has to offer!

  • Silos Baking Co.
  • The Market
  • Seed & Supply
  • The Food trucks & lawn games

Texas Education

Waco is a premier destination for brushing up on your Texas history. Check out one of the following:

Outdoor Retreat

Prefer to spend a day outdoors? Try a peaceful retreat at Lake Whitney State Park, roughly an hour and 40 minutes southwest of Dallas, offering plenty of activities on and off the lake.

  • Swim
  • Boat
  • Fish
  • Hike and bike
  • Observe wildlife

Houston

Beach Bums & Thrill Seekers

Galveston is a popular day trip destination for Houstonians, located about an hour away from the city. With a wide range of activities, this destination offers something for everyone from beachgoers to thrill seekers.

Texas Legends

About an hour and a half northwest of Houston lies Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, where Texas history and sightseeing could easily entertain your group for a day. The gorgeous grounds are ideal for picnicking, sightseeing and birdwatching before heading to see a piece of Texas legend. Known as the Birthplace of Texas, this site allows visitors to go through Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum and tour through Barrington Living History Farm.

Texas is full of rich history, beautiful outdoor spaces and fun activities. These easy day trips from your Darling Homes community are just a sample of what the state has to offer its residents.

Community Lifestyle

Staying Fit Indoors During the Summer

From cycling to barre to boxing and group classes, fitness trends are ever-changing. Gyms and other exercise spots near your Darling Homes community in Dallas and Houston help residents stay fit indoors during the hot summer months.

This article from Self helps break down the results from the American College of Sports Medicine’s survey that identifies some of the top exercise trends of 2018. One of which is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Companies like Orangetheory Fitness  focus on high intensity workouts in a group setting, providing an effective and efficient way to get fit.

Classes at local gyms and boutique fitness hotspots, provide a fun and upbeat way to exercise indoors. Group fitness classes are a big point of interest this year, including everything from yoga to barre and kickboxing to spin.

Bodyweight training and strength training are also seeing a surge in popularity this year. Because bodyweight training doesn’t require equipment, it’s an easy way to stay fit at home with push-ups, crunches, squats, lunges and more. Strength training helps boost muscle mass and provides a fairly simple way for fitness fans to stay in shape in the gym or potentially at home. Darling Homes has a variety of home designs with flexible spaces that could be converted to become a personal gym.

Personal training is also seeing an uptick in interest, with people hiring trainers to help them reach their goals and train them on the best exercises and practices for indoor exercise.

Another fitness trend that continues to grow is to follow progress and activity on wearable tracking devices. With well-known options including Fitbit and Apple Watches, more and more technology is being developed every year. Items like the Motiv ring, an activity tracking ring, and technology in your clothing to track heart rate, motion and more, continue to gain traction.

No matter what activity piques your interest and keeps you active, there are plenty of indoor options near your Darling Homes community in Dallas or Houston to keep you cool while staying fit.

At Home Lifestyle

Getting your Texas Home Ready for Vacation

Summer is an ideal time to explore a new city, visit an old favorite place or see family away from your Darling Homes community in Dallas or Houston. But homeowners often lose precious R&R time worrying about the security of their belongings while they travel and the chores they left undone. Fear not. There are some steps you can take before your next trip to ensure you return to a safe, secure and clean space.

Getting ready for vacation is a great time to clean your home and leave a blank slate for you to ease back into your daily routine after your travels. Unpacking and returning to work and school will seem less stressful if you have already taken out the trash, thrown out expired or perishable items from the refrigerator and have the pre-vacation laundry done.

When it’s time to leave, turning up the thermostat in summer or turning down the heat during cooler months can help save on energy bills during your vacation time.

Beyond getting your spaces cleaned and prepped, HGTV detailed a variety of miscellaneous to-do items you might not have considered. For example, prepare a simple breakfast for when you return, and prepare to leave pets with a sitter or boarding facility. Consider asking a trusted neighbor or friend to water plants and collect mail to maintain your home and make it look occupied while you are away.  

While traveling, you want to relax and not worry about keeping your dream home safe. State Farm created a checklist for travelers looking to make their homes appear occupied and busy during their absence.

Consider turning lights on daily timers, locking all doors and windows and double checking that all appliances are turned off to ensure your home stays secured during your absence.

Other key ways to protect your belongings include securing your valuables and making sure your security system is armed when you leave. Following these tips prior to departing can help your peace of mind during your absence and when you return to your Darling home.

Community Lifestyle

Best Staycations Near Your Darling Homes Community

There’s nothing quite like a summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to travel far. These are our top picks for a fabulous and exquisite staycation near your Dallas or Houston community.

Dallas

Vacation close to home with amenities for all ages, including adults-only zones at the Hilton Anatole. Jadewaters, the hotel’s resort-style pool area, strikes the perfect balance of relaxation and luxury featuring Leisure Cove Pool that is adults-only on weekends as well as a swim-up bar, two water slides, a lazy river and a splash area for children. Elevate your poolside vacation with exclusive guest offers like picnic packages, cabanas, American Girl packages and more.

Situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, the Four Seasons Resort and Club showcases high-quality accommodations and offers a broad range of amenities including babysitting services. With indoor and outdoor tennis court options, access to an award-winning golf course, fitness classes, boutiques and a choice of three pools (must see: the Agave Pool & Bar), guests will have no shortage of options for relaxation and entertainment.

Houston

The Marriott Houston Marquis, near Discovery Green Park, creates a charming, luxurious oasis in the heart of the city. A rooftop infinity pool and lazy river set the scene for soaking up a Texas summer. Other hotel features include the PURE spa and multiple dining locations ranging from a coffee house to tapas and Mexican. The hotel’s central location is ideal for those looking to explore their city for a few days.

Hotel ZaZa, in the Houston Museum District, has unique room designs and services to delight its guests. With concept rooms including a Rock Star Suite, Fatal Charms suite, Soho Loft and Villa Champagne, guests may never want to leave their room — unless, of course, they want to head to the ZaSpa. The spa offers guests a choice of salon services, sauna, body wraps and exfoliation treatments. The Monarch restaurant, with views of the Museum of Fine Arts, has different menus of creative, fresh cuisine for every meal of the day.

Finding staycation options near your Darling Homes’ community is an easy and fun choice for you and your loved ones to enjoy a weekend away from home without having to travel far.

Community Fashion Lifestyle

Explore Local Texas Boutiques

Darling Homes’ communities in Dallas and Houston are known for their proximity to employment centers, restaurants and recreation options, but some communities are also close to charming, local boutiques and shops.

Dallas

Both Frisco and McKinney are home to local shops and artisans near incredible Darling Homes’ communities. From home decor to baby gifts and clothing, these boutiques have something to offer every shopper.

Frisco

The Charlotte Jones Collection at the Omni Frisco offers tourists and residents access to carefully curated goods including clothing for men, women and children as well as home goods. This shop, located by the Ford Center at the Star, also offers Dallas Cowboys merchandise.

The Blue Door Boutique, a Frisco favorite, gives shoppers a unique and tailored experience with stylists offering advice for customers sifting through clothing, jewelry, gifts and antiques.

McKinney

Update your summer wardrobe with a stop at Cotton Hearts in McKinney, where merchandise includes a beautifully manicured collection of clothing and accessories. Shoppers will find the perfect balance of elegant yet casual attire

For true Western Style, look no further than Orisons Boutique. From glittery cowboy boots to chic dresses and menswear, Orisons’ motto of “We Dress Texas” rings true.

 

Houston

The Woodlands

Residents of The Woodlands can stop by Marta’s, where jewelry, gifts, shoes, accessories, beauty supplies and more are well-stocked.

Diva Boutique puts a focus on women’s clothing, with tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes and accessories to find your complete outfit close to home.

Sugar Land

The summer season is in full swing at Anything Bling in Sugar Land. This boutique offers a mix of fun and classy sundresses, adorable tops and the accessories to compliment any outfit.

For a true Texas selection, head over to Fabulous You where you’ll find hand-selected items including unique tees, trucker hats, turquoise jewelry and boots.

Do you have a favorite boutique near your Darling Homes’ community? Let us know where you love to shop locally!

Community Lifestyle

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Texas style

In Dallas and Houston, near Darling Homes’ communities, residents are getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July with live music, good food, parades and more.

Dallas Celebrations

July 3

Head to a Texas Rangers game against the Houston Astros on July 3 or 4 for an all-American good time. After the game, the audience will experience an Independence Day treat with a fireworks show.

In downtown Arlington, Light Up Arlington is bringing in live entertainment with a beverage tent, food and activities including train rides with fireworks starting at about 9:45 p.m.

Red, White & Boom fireworks will light up the Dallas skyline from the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, with the festival running from 6 to 10 p.m.

Fourth of July

Darling Homes residents in Frisco will have convenient access to the Frisco Freedom Fest at Toyota Stadium, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Live entertainment, local vendors and more fill the afternoon with fun before fireworks after the FC Dallas match is over.

In McKinney, another celebration titled Red, White and Boom! Starts at 10 a.m. with a parade followed by a block party in downtown. At Craig Ranch in McKinney, beginning at 5:30 p.m., live music, kids’ activities and other festivities will keep the party going until the fireworks show at 9:45 p.m.

Houston Celebrations

Celebrations of our nation’s independence continue in Houston, where the stars and stripes will be on display at a number of local events.

July 3

At the Miller Outdoor Theater, experience Independence Day with a free concert by the Houston Symphony at 8:30 p.m. followed by a fireworks show.

Residents of The Woodlands can catch the symphony’s show the day before at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion at 8 p.m.

Fourth of July

Looking to escape the July heat? Take your loved ones out to the Snow & Ice Celebration at Memorial City Mall from 1 to 4 p.m. and cool off while playing in 30,000 pounds of snow while indulging in frozen treats and enjoying live entertainment.

Missouri City is hosting its own series of events from 6 to 9 p.m., with activities, food and entertainment leading up to its traditional fireworks show at Buffalo Run Park, with seating available at Thurgood Marshall High School.

Keep your Fourth of July traditions and explore your community events by checking out one of the incredible opportunities to mark the holiday near your community.

At Home Food Lifestyle

Making the most of your Texas Garden

This summer, many Texans and Darling Homes residents in Houston and Dallas are planting gardens as a way to experience delicious homegrown food from their very own backyard.

Houston and Dallas are in different planting zones, meaning different types of produce grow better when planted at different times, but both zones grow a variety of fruits and vegetables well throughout the hot summer months.

In Houston, June and July create the perfect planting season for eggplant, melon, okra, peas, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon and pumpkins, according to the The Old Farmer’s Almanac planting calendar. For summer cooking, these Houston-friendly crops make great side dishes to any meal. Peas, watermelon and peppers are perfect for seasonal salads.  Harvest Green, a community in the Houston area, is labeled as an “Agri-hood” where residents have access to goods grown in a community farm, making agriculture a central theme of the neighborhood.

Similar to Houston, the Dallas planting calendar lists okra, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, eggplant, melon, peas, peppers and pumpkin as ready to plant. Harvesting all of these in both Texas cities continue throughout the fall months as vegetables become ripe, though the growing time is different for each one.

To help your plants grow and increase your yield, there are a few tips and tricks for beginners that can help gardeners of every skill level. These delicious crops can be kept in separate pots or in one communal garden, depending on how many different plants you’d like to maintain throughout the year. Depending on how many different plants and what types you’d like to grow, creating a designated space for a garden bed for items such as watermelons or pumpkins, or planting in a series of pots for smaller items including herbs and peas, can create a manageable garden space in your backyard.

HGTV put together a list of tips for gardeners, including helpful guidance on cleaning pots, how to use garden tools and even how to get dirt out from underneath your fingernails after tending to the plants. From start to finish, gardening requires a lot of patience and care to produce healthy, flourishing plants.

Gardening can also have unexpected health benefits, including mood-boosting, decreasing risk of dementia and combating loneliness.  

Do you have a Texas garden or want to start one? Check out our list of Lone Star State-friendly recipes and garden spaces for Houston and Dallas and let us know what recipes you love to make with your home-grown food.