72 Hours in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas: Where to Eat, Places to See, and Things To Do

72 Hours in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas: Where to Eat, Places to See, and Things To Do

Greetings from Texas, y'all! In the heat of August, this pale-skinned, ex-parisian boarded a (way too) early flight from sunny Los Angeles and touched down in a blazing hell-hole named Texas. With only three days planned in the Big D, I was prepared for a brief, yet exciting long weekend ahead of me. While this wasn’t my first rodeo (see what I did there?) in Dallas, I knew there was so much more to explore than what I had previously seen before. After crowdsourcing on Instagram the best spots in the DFW Metroplex, and with my handy-dandy boyfriend who just so happens to live in the heart of downtown Dallas, I was ready for a weekend filled with BBQ, sweet tea and good ‘ol Southern Hospitality! So, if you’re heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a brief 72 hours, here's a few highlights you can’t miss!

Food: Lost in the Sauce

Immediately upon my 11:30 a.m. arrival, I was brisked away to BBQ heaven. While there are so many mouthwatering BBQ pits in Dallas, Hard Eight BBQ delivered the most perfect first meal! With not one, but two BBQ pits and all the sides in the world, let me just say you’re in for a real authentic treat at Hard Eight. Obviously, I had to try the different cuts of brisket, and other types of Texan speciality BBQ’d meats. Hailing from the land of Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip, it’s hard for me to admit this, but Texan BBQ really does deserve all the hype!

Honorable Mentions: Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse

While in Dallas, I also discovered a new love. No, I didn't leave my boyfriend for it, but let’s just say, breakfast tacos from Velvet Taco are high up on my admiration list. Apparently, this is the place to go in search of a greasy meal after a night out. While we split 6 tacos between the two of us, I could have easily put down the entire tray, they were that good. In the meaty, eggy, greasy, saucy, splendor of Velvet Taco breakfast tacos, I found love. In fact, I even dedicated an Instagram post to my love for these tacos, friends! Ok, I’ll stop now before my mouth starts watering, but just take my word, this is place you’re not going to want to miss!

Honorable Mentions: Torchy’s, Revolver Taco Lounge, La Paisanita (cash only!)

No trip for me is ever complete without a visit to a local specialty coffee shop. This time, that lucky coffee shop was Fiction Coffee, located near Bryan Place just a few minutes north of downtown Dallas. Quaint, and equipped with pink chairs, good coffee and a mural boasting “Coffee, Pastries, Escape From Reality” on the exterior, it's no surprise why yours truely was so drawn to it. Stop by for your morning cup of joe at Fiction Coffee, friends!

Honorable Mentions: Commissary, Magnolias: Sous le Pont

Last but not least, you need to visit the Mecca of all food halls: Dallas Farmers Market. You want fresh produce? It’s here. Local cheese? Check. Sweet treats? You bet! Farmers Market is an absolute must if you are a fellow foodie! In one visit I probably consumed around 1,000 calories just sampling all the goods that were here! On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, head on over the The Shed to find vendors from all over selling their home made goods. Whether you’re in the mood for something healthy, or letting your sweet tooth take over, Farmers Market has the perfect vendor for your craving! I always thought my little hometown had the cutest farmers market, but let me tell you friends, Dallas Farmers Market is next level.

See: Artsy Fartsy

When I first think of Dallas, Art does not immediately come to mind. However, since the city is booming with hip, young, millennials, it’s no surprise the local art scene is growing too. Staying in close proximity to Deep Ellum, we decided to take a walk over to the trendy neighborhood. Grab your camera because you’re not going to want to miss a photo-op with all the murals and local street art! While Deep Ellum is also home to some of the trendiest bars and restaurants, it’s nice to explore the neighborhood by day as well!

Another popular neighborhood, Bishop Arts District, also boasts some of the Dallas’s best street art as well. With murals around every corner, tiny little galleries, coffee shops, and some delicious comfort food hole-in-the-wall restaurants, this neighborhood is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas. Stop by for a quaint and relaxing afternoon, friends!

As an Art History major, I try to visit at least one museum in each destination that I travel to. This time, that museum was the Fort Worth Modern to check out the Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats It’s Own Leg exhibit. While I dragged my (very hesitant) boyfriend to the museum, it turned out to be a very nice, air-conditioned afternoon. If you wish to remain within downtown Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art is a great option as well (and has free admission to the permanent exhibition)!

Do: Urban Cowboy

If you decide to visit the Big D during football season, then obviously a Dallas Cowboys football game is a must. However, if you’re like me, and visit during off-season, there are plenty of other entertainment options to fill your weekend nights. Having never been to an authentic rodeo before, my boyfriend was ecstatic to take me to the Fort Worth Stockyards and Rodeo. Here, you’ll literally be transported to the Wild West as Wrangler-clad cowboys sing Deep in the Heart of Texas like its their national anthem, ride bulls, and drink beer like it’s water. After, the rodeo, don’t skip out on Billy Bob’s Texas Honky Tonk for a real boot stompin’ good time.

Back in downtown Dallas, enjoy the evening sun set over the skyline. While it’s blazing hot in the dead of summer, this is the perfect time to be outside. As night falls over the industrial city, the skyline lights up for an unforgettable view. There are plenty of places to catch the sunset, including Happiest Hour, HG Supply Co, and The Statler!

So there you have it, friends! A few top recommendations for your short 72 hour trip to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. While there are so many places to visit in the busy city and with limited time, picking out the top is an intimidating task!

What places you would recommend during a short trip to Dallas? Let me know!

’Til next time, friends.

Fall Style Guide: How to Dress for Autumn on the Central Coast of California

Fall Style Guide: How to Dress for Autumn on the Central Coast of California

Labor Day has passed and it’s now officially every basic girls favorite season: Fall! Here on the Central Coast of California, Fall is just an extension of summer. With warmer days in September and October, it seems like we never fully reach our Autumn weather until November. This makes dressing up for Fall difficult as all we really want is to do is cuddle up in our chunky knit sweaters and fuzzy socks. But NO, it’s way too hot for that. So, what does one wear when the Pumpkin Spice Lattes officially hit the menu? Don’t worry friends, I’ve got you covered with my California Fall Style Guide!


Everyone knows California is known for its beaches, however, once Fall hits, it’s time for harvest in the vineyards to begin! On the Central Coast of California, vineyards and winery tasting rooms populate our area as far as the eye can see. Not that we need any other excuse to visit a winery to do some wine tasting, but harvest time is unlike any other! Wineries host barrel tasting events, grape stomps and special parties to celebrate the grapes ripening. For this harvest-inspired look, I paired a simple black long sleeved crop top with a vintage maxi wrap skirt. Throw on a felt hat, comfy mule sandals, and a wine stained lipstick and voila! you’re ready to hit the tasting room in style!

Wearing “Free Spirit” Lipstick from local makeup company, House of the Rozetree.

A felt hat will keep the sun off your scalp and add a touch of boho-glam to your look!


Excited for your after-work happy hour or dinner plans? Although here on the Central Coast, we don’t have too many restaurants that require you to dress up, it’s always nice to hit downtown in style! I’m constantly battling the voice in my head saying I’m too dressed up for the Central Coast. Therefore, a simple black maxi dress, paired with nude espadrilles and a brown belt is casual and dressy at the same time. Cool nights are inevitable, so when the night grows chilly, grab a jean jacket to keep your shoulders warm but still maintain your cool-girl vibe.

Adding a gold, long necklace will help dress up your black maxi! I'm seriously in love with Rocksbox and trying on the jewelry before deciding to buy it! Use my code samjessxoxo to try your first month of Rocksbox for free!

Matte nude lipstick is all the rage right now! “Dutch” Liquid Velvet from House of the Rozetree completes every look!

Casual Wear

At an average of 70 degrees, our Fall weather on the Central Coast of California borderlines the need for a light jacket or risking it and bearing your shoulders. For the days that the breeze picks up more than usual, comfy is the way to go! This look is perfect for basically anything you do on the Central Coast whether you’re grabbing a cappuccino at Scout Coffee Co. or picking a few things up at Trader Joe’s, you simply can’t go wrong with this laid-back modern bohemian outfit. For this look, I channeled my inner Stevie Nicks with a white vintage crochet sweater. Pair it with high-waisted boyfriend jeans, a black tank top underneath and comfy black sandal wedges and take on your day in style! 

Pair with oversized sunglasses to complete your chic lazy-girl look!

I love my “Dutch” Liquid Velvet from House of the Rozetree so much, I decided to wear it again!

So, there you have it friends. Three separate looks that you can recreate or mix-and-match to complete your ultimate Fall ensemble! Just because it's still hot here in California, doesn't mean you can’t dress for Autumn! So, grab a felt hat, “Dutch” Liquid Velvet Lipstick, and a black maxi dress and you’re set to hit the pumpkin patch in style!

What’s your favorite Fall accessory? Leave a comment below!

‘Til next time, friends.

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to Eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris, France

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to Eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris, France

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris

Planning an upcoming trip to Paris? With so many places to see and things to do, a trip to Paris can easily turn from fantasy to nightmare. Luckily for you, friends, I’ve compiled all three of my Paris guides into one easy place. So sit back, relax and read up on the best places to eat, caffeinate or grab a drink in Paris!

Paris Guide Pt. 1 Eat

Fact: Paris is known for its food. Take it from the girl who gained 10 pounds the first time she lived in Paris. With so many amazing places to brunch, grab a quick crepe, or enjoy a nice dinner, you really can’t go wrong anywhere you eat. However, click here for a full list of my favorite restaurants I discovered during my year in Paris!

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris

Paris Guide Pt. 2 Coffee

When the winter hits, you’ll be saying Merci Samantha for this comprehensive coffee shop guide. Coffee is a lifestyle in Paris, and you don’t want to miss out on some of the trendiest coffee shops the city has to offer. From quaint and book-filled, to modern and moto-themed cafes, I’m positive you’ll find the perfect cappuccino to fit your style. Click here to discover some of Paris’s best coffee shops!

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris
Paris Guide Pt. 3 Nightlife

What’s a trip to Paris without a glass (or two…) of wine?! Whether you’re in the mood for a trendy cocktail bar, hidden speakeasy, or just want to enjoy a classic french wine, Paris has something for everyone! Click here to read about some of the trendiest places to grab a drink in Paris!

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris
Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar

As always, send over new places you have discovered on your travels to Paris as well! I’m all for learning together, and I definitely plan on returning to Paris in the near future!

Bisous and ‘til next time, Paris and friends.

Ultimate Paris Guide: Places to eat, Grab a Coffee, and Drink in Paris

5 Things Living in Paris Taught Me About Fashion

5 Things Living in Paris Taught Me About Fashion

5 things living in paris taught me about fashion

Ah Paris, the city of lights, love and fashion. Often when we think of Parisian fashion, it’s common to imagine a tall, thin woman dressed head-to-toe in Chanel walking her tiny poodle down the Champs-Élysées. However, if I have learned anything from my year in Paris, this is entirely not the case. While each arrondissement possesses its own style there are fashion motifs shared universally across the city. Here are the top 5 pieces of advice that living in Paris taught me about fashion:

1. You Are Not a Walking Billboard

Chanel, Louis Vuitton, YSL. All of these brands are littered across the city and it's not uncommon to see the latest pieces out and about. However, when it comes to brands, Parisians truly believe they are not a walking billboard. A Chanel brooch tactfully placed on a blazer? Sure. An obnoxious YSL scarf paired with loud Dior shoes and that same Chanel brooch? Think twice, friends. Just like you wouldn't buy everything from Forever 21 because it’s cheap, not every designer piece is suitable to wear in public just because it’s a big brand name.

2. When In Doubt, Black It Out

This is a fairly straight forward trend. Day to night, black will always be in style. Throw on that classic red lipstick and your set to take on the world.

3. Simplicity is Key

Ok, not going to lie friends, this is one piece of advice I learned from the book “How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are” A.K.A. my Parisian bible (purchase here). It brings up an excellent point that often, the best outfits are composed of simple basics, fit with one piece you have splurged on. Eyeing those designer shoes, purse or jacket? Go for it! But for the ultimate Parisian-Chic look, keep the rest simple and clean.

4. When it Comes to Makeup, Less is More

Looking around Paris, you won't find too many women with caked on foundation, crazy faux-lashes, or perfectly structured highlighted noses. Less truly is more. Makeup is seen as way to enhance natural beauty, and not as a way to disguise or re-shape.

5. Never Underestimate the Power of a Leather Jacket

This one is pretty straight forward. Regardless of the weather, the time of day, or the rest of your ensemble, a leather jacket will always complete your look.

Although a little cliché, the best thing any girl can wear is her confidence. Regardless if your aiming for a Parisian-Chic look, or going for that laid back California vibe, remember to stay to true to yourself, and your own unique style. After all, it’s not about the clothes you wear but your confidence to take on the world that truly sets you apart from the rest.

Shop my favorite Parisian looks here:

What is your favorite fashion advice you have learned so far?

‘Til next time, friends.

Click here to read about my first Paris Fashion Week experience with Oxford Fashion Studio!

Paris Guide Pt. 3: NIGHTLIFE

Paris Guide Pt. 3: NIGHTLIFE

I often get asked for recommendations when it comes to nightlife in Paris. So here it is friends, my official Paris Guide Pt. 3 dedicated to those boozy beverages we all love. One does not simply come to Paris and not enjoy a couple glasses of wine. However, what many people don't realize on their Paris trip, is that the city is actually home a very vibrant and diverse drinking culture. With speakeasies, cocktail bars, shot bars, and wine bars galore, there’s bound to be something to fit your style. So sit back, relax and enjoy a nice cold one after a long day of sightseeing.


Le Bar 10: Located near Odéon, this is a fun and casual place to grab a jug of sangria with friends. Homemade everyday, this is a great place to start your night, or grab a drink before dinner.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @gabriellavanti

Le Comptoir General: Hands down, one of my favorite places in Paris! It’s hard to put into words how cool this bar is, but once you're inside you'll understand. Hip atmosphere, great DJ, and a young professional crowd, you're sure to have a great night here!

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @lecomptoirgeneral
Lavomatic: Hidden little speakeasy cocktail bar in a laundromat. Need I say more?

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @jucalderari
Le Tres Particulier- Another hidden cocktail bar in Montmartre. Super romantic and secluded location with amazing cocktails. A little pricey, but worth it for a nice date night!

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @thesill
Cantada II: If you’re curious to try out the Green Fairy (Absinthe) then look no further. This is the perfect rock and roll, heavy-metal themed bar that has a wide selection of Absinthe to try. Take it easy there, friends.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @sidglover
La Surferie: If you’re a fellow Californian and missing the West Coast, head here for a surf-themed bar. Try a delicious mojito, socialize, or stare at the never-ending reel of surf films.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @mb2d_mb2d

Wine Bars

Le Malabar: While you can find a wine bar on every corner in Paris, Le Malabar is special. Not only does it have great charcuterie and an amazing wine list, but it also has a hip and funky atmosphere complete with little taxidermy pieces. Sounds weird, but is actually really cool.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @laurekz

L’Eclair: Located near the Eiffel Tower on a little hidden street called Rue Cler, this wine bar is great to stop at after a long day of sightseeing. It has a hip atmosphere, an amazing wine selection and if you’re really feeling the night, you can try one of their big “bird cage” drinks to share with the group. 

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @alydallygirl


To be honest friends, I’m not much of a “clubber” anymore, and I find the clubbing scene in Paris to be incredibly pretentious and expensive. However, if that is your kind of night then check out Titty Twister, VIP Room, Duplex, Hobo, and L’Arc. If you are a girl trying to go on a weekend, find a promoter on Instagram that can get you in for free. This will save time and money on your night out!

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo taken at Titty Twister by @samantharayejess


Le Pechoir: With two locations (in Le Marais and Oberkampf) Le Pechoir usually hosts a great crowd and has an amazing rooftop atmosphere. Expect a long line during the warmer months but take your time once you're up there! Definitely do not miss your opportunity to visit while you're in Paris!

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @tuczak
Mama Shelter: Hey all my Los Angeles-based friends, this is the OG Mama Shelter! Great rooftop atmosphere with a Foosball table, and wide selection of drinks to quench your thirst.

Popular Areas

Oberkampf/ Republique: Generally a young and hip crowd, a variety of different places from fun and rowdy shot bars like Espit Chupitos to cool and casual cocktail bars.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo of Espit Chupitos by @sabineyahiaoui
Grands Boulevards: The main street contains big brand bars like O’Sullivan's, Café Oz and Corcoran's while the side streets are home to smaller but equally packed places. 

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo of O'Sullivan's by @amy.buny
Rue Mouffetard: Located near the universities, Rue Mouffetard is always packed with students. The best time to go is during happy hour or “apéro” time where you'll find cheap drinks conveniently located near some of the best street crepes in Paris.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @mariana_kara
Bastille: Bastille is one of those neighborhoods that always seems to be busy no matter the time or day. Head on over if you’re in the mood to let loose and dance.

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @corcorans_bastille

Marche de Montorgueil: Located near the center of Paris, this is great street to stroll down if you’re looking for dinner and drinks. It contains a wide selection of cuisines, so no matter what you're craving, (wine, cocktails, etc.) you’ll be sure to find it!

Paris Guide Nightlife
Photo by @marine_ulrn

Pont Alexandre III: This is usually more vibrant during the warmer months. Grab a glass of rosé from Flow or Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, sit by the river and watch the world go by. 

So friends, where is your favorite place to go out in Paris? As always, feel free to share your own recommendations!

‘Til next time, friends.

Updated June 2018

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Paris Guide Nightlife