Best Running Trails in Dallas to Hit This Spring

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Lauren Smart
That is not me. Or you.

I'm a lifelong runner. Which is to say that I ran track in high school and have always owned a pair of running shoes. I typically pull them out only when I'm leaving the dumpy phase and headed into the frumpy phase. Or when I've eaten one too many delivery pizzas by myself. My current roommate is workout crazed, which has made it increasingly difficult to ignore my bright pink Mizunos. This list is as much for me as it is for you.


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Eight Best Spas in Dallas, Because You Really Need To Relax

Categories: Best of Dallas

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King Spa Waterpark

In this hectic world full of traffic, student loans, and boring jobs, relaxation is an absolute must. Most of us don't budget enough time or cash to bliss out from time to time, which will probably mean that we'll all end up dead from all the stress of our fast-paced lives by the time we're 50. If you're interested in avoiding that early, overly-caffeinated death, going to the spa is an excellent way to recharge your batteries if vacation just isn't in the cards.

And sure, going to the spa is expensive, but so is the therapist that you're inevitably going to need after that nervous breakdown. You don't have to mortgage your townhouse to indulge in some of Dallas' best spa services, but you should occasionally save up your extra pennies to spring for a full she-bang spa day at one of these eight excellent places to get your zen on.


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Most Popular Mixmaster Posts of 2014

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Catherine Downes

Glimpse into Matt Tolentino's Jazz Age Life at the Sunday Social March 30
Meet your friendly neighborhood hep cats, Matt Tolentino and his wife Danielle Bennignus. This lovely couple lives their life steeped in history and they brought some of it to the general public this year by launching an annual Sunday Social lawn party. Keep an eye out for next year's shindig.


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10 Best Art Exhibitions of 2014

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Zhulong Gallery
Jeremy Couillard's "The Vicious Valley"

This year the Dallas art scene felt rebellious. While one museum exhibition paid homage to a wonderful Dallas-based painter, another had me wanting to commit acts of destruction. At galleries and other exhibitions, the work dripped with anarchy and frustration with the system -- a sentiment felt across the country, and one necessary for art to survive and thrive in a place. There were also a few compelling new media exhibitions (although still too few) in Dallas, and a gallery emerged dedicated to that contemporary art form. The energy of the underground art scene may seem patchy, with the slow collapse of Oliver Francis Galley, and the end of Deep Ellum Windows, and Ware:Wolf:Haus, but all in all it's easy to look back and see a pretty impressive year in review.


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Our Favorite Dallas Observer Covers of 2014

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Editor's Note: Throughout the year, Art Director Tracie Louck is hard at work creating the face of the paper. Her covers greet you at nearly every coffee shop, bar, restaurant or art space in town. They're all pretty damn good. But even she has favorites, so at the end of the year we ask her to round them up and tell us why she picked them.


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8 Things To Do In Dallas Now That Summer Finally Ended, And Winter Arrives

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Dallas Arboretum

This year, the oppressive Texas summer decided to stick around well into November. The temperatures have been high, but this week, we've skipped right from summer to winter. During the six preceding months, it hasn't exactly been easy for Dallasites to do outdoorsy things without worrying about losing half of their enitre body weight in sweat.

But now, finally (and mercifully) fall...errr, freezing temps... have arrived. Turn off the Netflix reruns of Gilmore Girls that you've been immersed in and get out and explore these eight non-summer activities.


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10 Best Places in Dallas To Check Out Art For Free

Categories: Best of Dallas

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If you didn't grow up frequenting museums or galleries, navigating the art world can be extremely intimidating. Thanks to the state of arts education, most of us have a very limited knowledge of art outside of recognizing the "Mona Lisa" or that Van Gogh painting of sunflowers that hung in your mom's kitchen. Plus, there's this long-held idea that viewing and learning about art is extremely expensive.

But that isn't really true, at least not in Dallas. Sure, there are special exhibitions and traveling pieces that require you to plunk down a little coin to view, but much of the city's art is accessible entirely for free, meaning that you have no excuse to continue ignoring Dallas' flourishing arts scene. Take an afternoon to check out these eight free art exhibitions, most of which look nothing like the boring old classics you remember from your college art appreciation class. Go forth with this new knowledge, and argue with those who (wrongly) claim that Dallas is devoid of culture.

Dallas Museum of Art
Last year, the Dallas Museum of Art made general admission to their permanent collection free. The DMA's permanent collection exceeds 22,000 items, and includes an impressive selection of works by recognizable figures like Salvador Dali and Piet Mondrian. There's plenty of historical art from cultures all over the world, and an assortment of oddities to keep things interesting, like a bunch of late 1800s silver from Tiffany and Co.

The African American Museum
Contrary to much of our education, not all art is created by crazy, old white dudes. The African American Museum in Fair Park has a self-described "small but rich" collection of art created both in Africa and the United States. The museum's collection of African masks and textiles is particularly notable, along with a collection of African-American folk art with works from greats like Clementine Hunter. The museum's program of special exhibitions is particularly varied, including a current exhibition on quilting as an art form.


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10 Best Dallas-based Etsy Shops

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Pepino Chick
Most of us would much rather buy something than make it, especially if it's hand-made by a much more creative and talented person. Fortunately, the rise of Etsy and the DIY trend has made it much easier to find unique goods crafted by individual artists and not sweatshop workers. No longer are crafty types and artists relegated to flea markets and gallery showings.

Even though Etsy is a global market place for artisans, that doesn't mean that it isn't possible to shop local when you're looking for handmade prints or vegan, gluten-free soaps. Add these ten Etsy sellers to your radar, and prepare to max out your credit card on their varied and excellently crafted wares. At least you'll be stimulating the local economy.

Pepino Chick
When she's not making music with the Polyphonic Spree, or stealing the show on stages across Dallas, Natalie Young is crafting up one-of-a-kind fiber art for her Etsy shop Pepino Chick. Young's minimalist dreamcatchers, "low-impact" wall hangings and jewelry are visually arresting and made with "magic, goodness, natural love." Whether or not Young's art will actually bring you good juju, your walls, or outfit, will certainly look better. If you're looking for a special gift or really unique piece of art, you can also commision Young to hand-draw a 3-D portrait of you in a super-cool flower crown.

Hurd & Honey
With a little reclaimed wood and infinite creativity, the minds behind Hurd & Honey create stunning, one-of-a-kind furniture and decor. Each piece is unique to its buyer, and painstakingly made to order after purchase. All things considered, their prices are also insanely reasonable. A snooty New York boutique would charge the price of most people's first home for a hand-made chevron end table made from reclaimed wood. At Hurd & Honey, this beauty is only $170.

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Five Random Arty Things That (Maybe) Deserve Best Ofs

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Jason Acton
Our Best of Dallas 2014 issue rolls out this week. While we can modestly say it's the greatest, most comprehensive city guide ever created, Dallas is a pretty big place that's filled to the brim with best-ness. To cover all the good stuff we might have left out, Mixmaster will offer some tips about the other best things in Dallas.
It's not that we forgot about these things. No, forgetting is not what happened. Assigning the right superlative was just difficult. Sometimes the language required for Best Ofs can be limiting. Certainly these things aren't the "best" things in the art world, but they are a meaningful part of the city's artistic growth and, we believe, an integral part of the future of Dallas art, in one way or another.


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Five Best Neighborhoods in Dallas

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Greg Cella
The Patio at HG Sply Co, one of many Lower Greenville hangouts.
Our Best of Dallas 2014 issue rolls out this week. While we can modestly say it's the greatest, most comprehensive city guide ever created, Dallas is a pretty big place that's filled to the brim with best-ness. To cover all the good stuff we might have left out, Mixmaster will offer some tips about the other best things in Dallas.

There are plenty of places to live in Dallas, but when you're choosing where to park your pillow, there are lots of other things that go into it as well. Like, who your neighbors are and what you can do on the weekend without too much (or any!) driving. Sure, you could move to McKinney Avenue, but how about these places instead? Or when you're exploring your city -- whether new or old -- at least, you could stop by for a visit.

Lower Greenville
For years, the southernmost strip of Greenville Avenue had a reputation for underage drinking and drunken disagreements. Now it has a reputation for popsicles and poutine. In just a short time, these few blocks have become desirable real estate, welcoming in new tenants like Trader Joe's and the ever-popular Truck Yard. It's got everything you could want, from the early morning brews at Mudsmith to the late night beverages on the rooftop of HG Sply Co. Plus, you can fix your flats at Transit Bikes Co. or see at a show at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. We're one step closer to a walkable neighborhood, Dallas.


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