Whole Foods

Doing Dallas: Fall Into Fall

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Sunday was the first time in as long as I can remember that it was below 70 degrees for a good majority of the day. Granted, it hovered around 66, but hey – I’ll take what I can get. I still don’t understand how we’re halfway to Halloween and it’s still hotter than blue blazes – in Virginia, we have actual seasons – but maybe that’s why they call Texas, “America’s Oven.” Actually, I’m not aware of anyone calling Texas that, but I’m pretty sure it's a fitting nickname.

Anyway, the dare-I-say chilly temperatures sent me into an autumn craze. I pulled out my sweaters, sent autumn emojis, drank spiced apple cider, and listened to Christmas music. However, this still was not enough. I wanted to go outside and spin around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I wanted to jump onto a bale of hay and carve a pumpkin and maybe even hold a gourd. Was there a magical place where I could do all of these things? After conducting a serious Google search, I discovered that yes, there is. Where, you ask? Why, the Dallas Arboretum! I recruited a fellow fall lovin’ friend, donned a pair of boots, and set off on a falltastic adventure.

Pumpkins: A Love Story

#PSL? More like #PTL for pumpkins.

Upon setting foot in the Arboretum, I felt as though I had walked into It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Seriously. Every imaginable harvest vegetable was stacked tastefully around the grounds: rutabagas, pumpkins, white pumpkins, warty pumpkins, squash, zucchini? Enough veggies to keep Rachel Ray busy chopping for weeks.

Gourds galore!

Winding our way down a path, we came across a heavenly sight – a pumpkin patch! This was about to be a dream come true and a childhood fantasy fulfilled. Walking into the patch, Katie doled out to this novice some solid advice in regards to picking the perfect pumpkin: “The right pumpkin will speak to you. Don’t look too hard for it…you’ll just know when you find it.” Was this a pumpkin or a man we were talking about?! Intrigued, I decided to photo-document Katie’s pumpkin hunt. I call the following sequence, “Katie in the Patch: A Love Story.”

pumpkins

Youth Culture Today

Today was apparently “Bring Your Children to the Arboretum Dressed in Halloween-Themed Apparel” Day. Needless to say, the many adorable family photo-shoots happening around the gardens (mostly featuring babies lying on pumpkins) were priceless and had us ogling. As we made our way down the pumpkin-lined paths, we soon encountered a conundrum. In front of us stood the entrance to the Children’s Garden – a special exhibit aimed at young children requiring an extra admission fee. Both of us wanted to continue into the exhibit to see more pumpkins, and, to be honest, in hopes of witnessing more precious photo-ops and maybe even a child dressed as a candy-corn! But, on the other hand, we did not want to come across as “those two grown people in the exhibit without a child” (I mean, that’s how all the Law & Order episodes start, right?)

The older you are, the more appreciative of this flower you’ll be.

A coin-flip led us to the ticket counter, where an attendant looked at me and asked, “How many children do you have, ma’am?” WHAT. Was she insinuating that I was a mother?! I still get carded in bars, and figured my sorority t-shirt and what I’ve always assumed to be a youthful face would be clear giveaways that I am very much without kids. Or, was she wondering why I, a childless 21-year-old, would be interested in entering a garden designed for people a mere third of my age.

“Oh, haha nope – it’s just me!”

“Mmmmhmmm,” she replied, judgment in her tone.

Age doesn't take away your love for lily pad bridges!

Oh gosh – all I wanted to do was see some pumpkins and maybe see a child dressed up in a peas-in-a-pod costume. Was that too much to ask?! Awash in shame, I put on my wristband and continued on into what turned out to be a fantastic exhibit…and might I add, enjoyable for people of all ages. There were water guns and tree houses and giant acorn chairs and artistic renderings of monarch butterflies; basically an outdoor Dave and Buster’s.

Though there is no age limit on fun, the excitement of the whole place quickly wore us out and we soon decided to head home, unable to keep up with the youths of today. On our way out, I happily discovered that there exist pumpkins larger than my head. And larger than a small child, for that matter. Possibly even larger than a baby cow. This discovery really amped up my autumn spirit, and on the way home as we cruised to seasonal tunes and sipped on salted caramel mochas, I insisted that we swing by Whole Foods to pick up some delicious pumpkin seeds. Happy fall, y’all!

Sizeable pumpkins.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

Doing Dallas: Wholey Moly

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Confession: Saturday night was the first time I have ever set foot in a Whole Foods. I have lived with this secret for the past 21 years, always nodding along when friends mentioned their favorite soy crispettes or buckwheat variety, yet never actually knowing what these things were. As a college student on a budget and without kitchen facilities, I lived peaceably in my ignorance, until, leaving Brunch two weeks ago I overheard a hip young couple say, “Let’s drop by Whole Foods on our way home to grab some pomegranates and kale chips.” Yes, that is a direct quote. Struck by the realization that I’ve not embraced the Dallas lifestyle to the fullest, I decided to make a change.

My shirt matched a jug of agave nectar that was bigger than my head.

Living in Fear of a Fashion Faux Pas

In preparation for my journey, I scoured my closet for the most eco-friendly outfit I could find. I desperately wanted to look like I belonged and could think of nothing more embarrassing than giving-off non-organic vibes. Unfortunately, my wardrobe is severely lacking in hemp-based apparel, so I settled for the most hippie-esque outfit I own: a flowy little number with two wooden beads that I prayed screamed earthiness, paired with brown flats that hopefully suggested my desire to blend in with garden topsoil. Going against the Texan saying, “The bigger the hair, the closer to God,” I left my hair product-free to do my part in reducing humanity’s CFC and aerosol footprint. I was ready.

Katie was really drawn to our store’s personal touches. Thanks, Martin!

The Sights, The Smells, The Joy…

Walking through those sliding glass doors, I was instantly hit by a blast of cool air-conditioning and the smell of a victory garden. I knew I’d stumbled into something special. I mean, where else could I find fresh apple frangipane made by Martin? NO WHERE. Where else could I buy a lifetime supply of agave nectar? Not at Tom Thumb, that’s for sure. Where else could I buy both fermented probiotic coconut water and Toms shoes on the same aisle? I can’t think of any other establishment.

I wanted to skip up and down every aisle, to sift my fingers through all eight breeds of quinoa grains, to smell every imported coffee bean, to taste every beet juice, to wash with every artisanal handcrafted soap. Every aisle was a new adventure into organic taste bud bliss, every free sample a new love-affair.

Making Friends

After running around the store in a state of sheer ecstasy, it was time to get down to business. I had come to Whole Foods on a mission: to buy ingredients to make organic – and therefore healthy – chocolate chip cookies.

Any toddler-approved egg is good egg in my book.

My first stop was the egg aisle. Wanting to do this organic thing right, I voiced to my friends what I was looking for. “I just really want eggs that came from a happy chicken – one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to its fullest.” Yes, that is a direct quote. A woman shopping nearby overheard my qualifications and came to my aid.

“I really recommend those eggs there,” she said pointing to the expensive egg section. “I know they’re more costly, but they’re free range.”

“Thank you so much. I’ll definitely go with those. The chicken’s quality of life is what’s most important to me.”

Smiling, my helpful new friend walked away. As I went to pick up the eggs, I couldn’t help but notice the advertising on the carton.

Meeting a Challenge: Whole Foods or Hole in My Wallet?

Collecting the cookie ingredients, I was acutely aware of my final bill creeping higher and higher. I had entered the store with a mere $35 in my savings account and a generous $10 cookie budget. However, over half of my budget had already been spent on blissful chickens. Adding up the cost of all ingredients, I realized my little cookie endeavor would cost me $30.72 plus tax. Oh no. Concluding that leaving $2 for gas and the rest of the month’s expenses wouldn’t be wise, I retraced my once joy-filled steps to replace all of the items.

Katie and Rachael’s victorious reaction to finding the cheapest cookie ingredient: baking soda.

Lessons Learned

Leaving empty-handed and with cookie dreams shattered, we headed to a cheap ice cream shop, where for $2 I purchased a large scoop of coconut delight. As I was eating, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if the milk to make the ice cream had come from a happy cow, one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to the fullest…

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!