Texas

Girls Weekend Trip to Overland Park, Kansas City

A quick weekend girls trip is such a fabulous way to get away and relax with some of your closest girlfriends. Visit Overland Park invited myself and a friend to Kansas City to see all of the amazing activities and food the city has to offer.

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The flight was very quick and my plane landed at Kansas City International Airport in no time! I was super excited to explore a new place and could hardly wait to get the itinerary rolling the next day. The airport was approximately 45 minutes away from Overland Park, so as soon as Leah and I checked-in to our room at Hyatt Place, we grabbed a bite to eat at Stroud’s and returned back to the hotel to rest up for a full day.

Morning Bite from McLain's Market

Just a breeze away from our hotel, we started our morning at McLain’s Market for a quick bite to eat before our spa appointment. Can’t enjoy spa services on an empty, growling stomach! There were so many freshly baked pastries to choose from, but I settled on the avocado toast and Sunrise juice which were both so delicious. It gave me just the boost I needed!

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Serenity at Sunlight Day Spa

Sunlight Day Spa had the most serene environment that made me wish I could slip away to the spa every single day on my lunch hour. Leah received a customized 60-minute facial which included steaming, masks, extractions and everything else needed for a holiday glow.

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Afterwards, we were both able to hop in one of Sunlight’s mPulse chromotherapy saunas. They’re actually available to purchase upstairs at the spa and would definitely make the ultimate “gift to self”. We relaxed and chatted in the sauna for about 30 minutes with the company of YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, Pandora and more. It was the real deal.

Mini Holiday Shopping Spree at Oak Park Mall

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Following our spa visit, we were whisked away via Uber to Oak Park Mall. I love a trip with good shopping and this mall had all of the stores I love such as Nordstrom, Lush and Sephora. 

Kansas City's Most Coveted BBQ from Q39

After our first full girls day out, we spent time at the hotel watching Christmas classics before heading to dinner at one of Kansas City’s hottest BBQ spots. When we asked friends on social media where we should visit and eat, Q39 was one of the top named restaurants. We were encouraged to try it out, but with a reservation. Being from Texas where BBQ lives, we were a little skeptical at first.

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This newly opened location was completely packed with diners ready to feast their tastebuds on burnt ends and Q39’s special barbecue sauces. Luckily, we did have a reservation! We each ordered a drink and started with the bacon wrapped shrimp before indulging in a plate with our choice of two meats, apple coleslaw and fries. Leah and I were completely stuffed! Our minds were blown by the sauces and the meats were all cooked to perfection. From two Texas girls, we approve!

Weekend Brunch at Room 39

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On our final morning in Overland Park, we awoke from our foodie comas for brunch at Room 39. I’m always down for a hearty breakfast or brunch! 

I skipped on mimosas for this one, but we each ordered the challah french toast topped with a mixed berry compote and cinnamon whipped ricotta with a glass of fresh orange juice…and it was delicious. It was served with crispy potatoes and bacon. If I’ve learned anything from my visit to Kansas City, it’s that there are lots of potatoes in every form, and they’re tasty.

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Blend Your Own Beauty

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After breakfast, we blended our own fragrances at Blend! I live for customized beauty and thought this concept was so neat. You can choose from several notes in essential oils to create your own fragrance, shower gels, lotions, and more! If you know what types of scents someone loves, this would be the perfect holiday gift. You can even recreate some of your favorite designer fragrances.

Leah prefers clean scents, so she chose rain/shower essential oils; my own preferences vary, but I was in the mood for something tropical to remind me of my summer trip to Kauai, so I chose Monoi de Tahiti (one of my favorite floral scents) and Hibiscus Passion.

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Ditch Your Diet | Indulge in Decadent Delectables

It’s the holidays and probably the last time to indulge in those sweets you said you’d give up last New Year! Decadent Coffee and Dessert Bar was the happy place we stumbled upon at Prairiefire Shopping Center. Initially, it caught my eye because the shop was pink…and then I spotted a sign outside with hot chocolate and other treats! Once we got inside, there was classic holiday music playing, it was warm and there were desserts galore. Leah and I were SOLD.

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She got the pecan pie à la mode and I picked the apple turnover drizzled with icing. As if that wasn’t already enough, we both sipped on hot chocolate so rich that we were ready to take a nap right in Decadent’s plush pink chairs.

Evening Wine Dive

On our final evening in Overland Park, we Ubered to Louie’s Wine Dive for cocktails and bites. There’s nothing like wine, girlfriends and lots of laughs to end a good trip! We ordered The “Overland Park” which was Louie’s version of a classic Old Fashioned and the Sinatra Burger. We thoroughly enjoyed our cocktails and they were crafted with tons of flavor — no watered down drinks here! For dessert, we ordered the beignets with a rum butter sauce.

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Overland Park has plenty to offer whether you’re traveling with girlfriends or family! It’s a quick weekend destination especially from Dallas and, from what we’ve seen and heard, is growing rather quickly. There were so many more spots I wanted to visit, so I can’t wait to journey back to Kansas City to explore again. Planning a girls trip to Overland Park? Definitely visit some of the places from our itinerary!

This trip was sponsored by Visit Overland Park.

STAYCATION: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center | Grapevine, Texas

This week definitely felt like an early weekend as my mom and I rolled our suitcases into our guest room at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. If you're familiar with me and my location, you know that I don't exactly live far from the resort. So what was my reason for spending two relaxing nights here? Aside from the fact that my mom had a convention to attend, I simply came along for a staycation.

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I'm no stranger to the Gaylord Texan, but each time is just as glorious as the last. No two seasons are the same as they're always adding attractions for the family to enjoy. From the Alamo-themed atrium to the seasonal light shows, the atmosphere remains exciting. 

Travel Tip: Looking for a quick staycation at an affordable price? The Gaylord Texas often offers last-minute weekend deals!

Our Guest Room

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Initially, it wasn't in the plan for me to come along, so we were happy to see two queen-sized beds neatly made. The guest room was very spacious with a small sitting area and a desk for me to get work done. Although the room was sized well, our view for this particular room was facing the roof. While it wasn't exactly the view we hoped for, the size definitely compensated and we were also given quite a few options at check-in. There are options for lake, atrium, partial atrium views as well as suites. 

I am extremely picky when it comes to hotels because not all are sanitary and if I'm going to lay my head there at night, everything needs to be spot-on. I mean, have y'all seen Hotel Hell?! *gags* One thing I absolutely loved was the bedding. The pillows were nicely fluffed and supported my neck, and the sheets had a high thread count which didn't give me that creepy crawly feeling I get sometimes.

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From a home decor lover, my mom pointed out the great amount of texture in the room. Every piece from the walls to the headboards on the beds has texture, but it makes still makes sense and doesn't clash. 

The Bathroom

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One of my absolute favorite things about the hotel is the spacious bathroom and lighting. I pay attention to details especially when it comes to the space where I have to get ready in the morning! There are Kohler sinks installed that each face opposite directions at slight angle so you're not bumping elbows with your mate while trying to move around. Genius!

In-Room Dining

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The first thing I look at when I get settled at a hotel is the room service menu. Yes, I'm a very hungry girl! Actually, I was so hungry on our first night that we ordered dinner and I completely forgot to take photos with my DLSR...but I do have an Instagram shot of the bacon cheeseburger I had!

#Staycation at the @GaylordTexan begins!

A photo posted by Jaleesa Charisse (@jaleesacharisse) on

I was still knocked out from a late night while my mom was getting ready for her busy day, so by the time I woke up at 10AM, I had just one hour left to order breakfast. Executive decisions had to be made!

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After quickly browsing the menu, I decided on french toast lightly sprinkled with powdered with fresh strawberries and blueberries (my favorite), a side of smoked bacon (4 thick cut strips), and a glass of high pulp orange juice.

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The service each time we ordered was excellent. A delivery time was given and it was accurate or earlier both times. They also ensured we had everything we ordered rather than simply pushing the cart into the room, collecting a tip, and peacing out. We were also able to pay with cash or a separate credit/debit card, so if you're staying on someone else's dime and don't want them to get billed for your extreme hunger...these are options!

The Atrium

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The atrium is one of the most beautiful parts of the resort and it's great for those with allergies who might almost die from outside air. I know that struggle. 

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There are plants galore and restaurants where you can be right in the midst of it all! Plus, if you have a room with an atrium view, this entire area is your view with a full skylight providing guests plenty of vitamin D. The atrium also changes throughout the season. I've heard it's beautiful at Christmas, but I haven't been during that time of year yet. Currently, there is an Alice in Wonderland theme (hence the mushrooms and inflatables).

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Nearby Shopping & Dining Destinations

The Gaylord Texas is located near the DFW International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, so if you're visiting the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex from out-of-town and are looking for a resort, I would absolutely recommend this one. It's perfect whether you're traveling with your significant other or with the little ones. There something for everyone on and off the property!

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Approximately 12 minutes away is the Southlake Town Square with a variety of retail stops and restaurants. I decided to make a stop at Sephora and pick up some goodies, but there are several other stores such as Coach, Lily Pulitzer, Michael Kors, and small boutiques. If you're a bargain shopper, then Grapevine Mills just might be your cup of tea with 180 stores -- most of the anchors are outlet/discount.

After I got my little Sephora bag (see my mini haul courtesy of Sephora, below), I stopped by The Cheesecake Factory for our dinner. My mom and I each ate the miso salmon dinner and shared a large slice of the Linda's Fudge Cake.

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There's plenty to do in the area. Not to worry!


I can't wait to stay at the Gaylord Texan again! Since it was still during the week, I was in the room working during most of our full day at the resort, so I didn't have time to visit the Paradise Springs Lagoon before it closed. I was really hoping to relax poolside in one of my new swimsuits and order a couple of drinks. *sad face* Maybe next time! Nevertheless, it's an amazing staycation spot because you'll forget that you're even in Dallas which is exactly what a Dallasite needs sometimes. I'll be back soon!

Have you stayed at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center or considering for staycation/getaway? Let me know in the comments!