Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tips for How to Buy Bathroom Towels

Oprah once shared that her first big splurge when she started working was on good quality towels.  I agree that wrapping yourself in a soft towel is the best feeling, especially at this time of year when you get a hot bath during cold weather. Many people have told me that they are clueless when it comes to buying new bathroom towels. One mom told me that it's easy to buy sheets because she just looks for high thread counts.  On the other hand, she told me that she has no idea about how to buy good quality towels and feels like Goldilocks because she has trouble finding towels that are just right.  In today's post, I'll share tips for how to buy good quality bathroom towels and break down key characteristics that you should consider.  Of course, we will consider your personal preferences while focusing on quality since you want to combine these two considerations.

When you buy towels, you need to consider your own personal preferences while also looking for key characteristics of good quality towels. For instance, some people like thinner towels while others love thick towels. In either case, both want good quality towels that are soft, absorb moisture, and hold up over time. 

Characteristics to look for in towels
Let's start with characteristics that may vary based on your personal preferences:

  • Size - Choose the size of towel that you prefer. Typical ranges include a standard bath towel of size 17"x52" to 17"x58" and a hand towel of 16"x28" to 16"x30".  Extra luxurious towels may be even larger. You may also prefer a larger bath sheet or other size.  In any case, if you stick with standard sizes, you should be able to find good quality towels.
  • Weight - Some towels report their fabric weight in GSM (grams per square meter). A lower number means a lightweight and thinner towel such as a gym towel. A higher weight is a thicker and heavier towel, typically the kind that you keep in your bathroom. Thinner towels typically dry quicker than thicker towels.
  • Color - We recommend white for a clean look that is also easy to wash and maintain a fresh look over time.  At the same time, pay careful attention to the washing instructions. For instance, some people assume that they should bleach their white towels. If a towel is labeled that you shouldn't use chlorine bleach, don't use bleach because it may weaken fibers and, as a result, the towel will lose absorbency quicker over time. 

Now let's talk about characteristics that apply more broadly.
  • Softness: I think that we all want soft towels. However, be careful when you shop for towels in-store based on how they feel before they are washed. Many companies use special softeners to make a towel feel softer than what it actually feels after several washes.  Keep this in mind when you are shopping for towels and pay close attention to the weight, characteristics of the cotton, and reviews for the particular brand and style.
  • Combed cotton: When you see this terms, it means that the manufacturer removed shorter threads so that the longest threads were woven into the towel.  This increases quality and prevents some pilling.  Combed cotton is often capable of holding up to 25x its weight in liquid.
  • Types of cotton: Many towels are made of standard cotton. Still, there are variations among types of cotton and a couple stand out for luxurious towels. Turkish cotton differs as the fibers are longer, providing a softer feel and higher durability, typically absorbing moisture better than standard cotton towels. What's interesting is that Turkish cotton also becomes softer and fluffier with washes. (I'll share some sample towels below where I found that this is true!) Supima cotton is another superior type of cotton that has extra long fibers, similarly providing a softer feel, durability, and ability to absorb moisture. Supima cotton represents less than 1% of the cotton grown in the world and typically grows well in the USA. Egyptian cotton is a third option for premium towels thanks to the extra long fibers that are often more absorbent, but takes longer to dry.
  • Banded edges: Towels with banded edges will typically reduce fraying. That's why you usually see banded edges on good quality towels.
  • Decorative towels: Towels with jacquard designs, embellishments such as beads, and printed designs are typically designed for decorative purposes and often do not hold up as well as traditional bathroom towels.
Finally, once you purchase your bathroom towels, let's review some tips for keeping them clean and fluffy.

  • Wash your towels before using them: Many companies spray softeners onto the fabric, so it's best to wash your towels before the first time that you use them.
  • Avoid fabric softeners: Unless your brand is labeled otherwise, you should avoid fabric softeners as this inhibits absorbency.
  • Avoid bleach unless otherwise labeled: As mentioned above, if a towel is labeled that you shouldn't use chlorine bleach, don't use it because the bleach may weaken fibers and, as a result, the towel will lose absorbency. 
  • Wash, fluff, dry, and fluff again: After you pull your towels out of the washing machine, fluff them by hand before you put them into the dryer. After you remove them from the dryer, fluff them by hand again.
Now that we've shared advice for characteristics of good towels, let's share some actual examples. Personally, in addition to the characteristics above, I also rely on recommendations from friends, family, and online reviews.  Personally, I feel like Lands' End is the best place to shop for towels because they carry a variety of luxurious towels with excellent reviews. They have a nice variety of good quality towels that fit different personal preferences.  There are a few versions that I will tell you about because they are all excellent quality, but cater to different personal preferences. My family has tested all of these towels and washed them dozens of times to observe the quality.

Let's start with the heaviest towels - The Turkish Spa Bath Towels. This is my son's favorite because he likes ultra soft towels that are heavier and absorb quickly. The tradeoff is that heavier towels typically take longer to dry, but he is fine with that since he typically only showers once a day at home and the towels definitely dry within 24 hours.  This towel is excellent quality and weighs in at 750 grams per square meter. This translates to pure luxury because this soft and thirsty cotton absorbs quickly and has a smooth feel.  It's not surprising that this towel set has almost perfect reviews from customers and that there are people who exclusively buy their towels from Lands' End. 

Here is a quick overview of this towel set:
  • Rare Turkish cotton in our densest towel
  • Ringspun yarn for extra strength and silkiness
  • Bath towel is 750 grams per square meter
  • Set includes 2 bath, 2 hand towels, 2 washcloths
  • This product has been verified in an independent laboratory as free from harmful levels of more than 300 substances to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
  • Machine wash. Imported.

Now let's talk about the second heaviest towels - The Supima Bath Towels. This is the line of towels that I personally love the most. They are a bit lighter than the Turkish Spa Bath Towels that my son loves, weighing in at 650 grams per square meter.  I love that these towels are incredibly soft, super absorbent, and dry relatively quickly. I shower twice per day, so the fact that these are so soft and absorbent while also being able to dry so quickly makes them a good fit for me.  These towels similarly have almost perfect reviews from customers. I noticed one comment where someone noted that they have purchased much more expensive towels that were not nearly as good of quality as these Lands' End Supima towels. I have to agree because I know that many people look at the prices and don't realize that they should also look at the weight, type of cotton, and other characteristics when they purchase towels.  

Here is a quick overview of this towel set:
  • Rare Supima® — the top 3% of cotton grown in the U.S.
  • Combed for added softness
  • Detailed with dobby weave
  • Set includes 2 bath, 2 hand towels, 2 washcloths
  • Bath Towel is 650 grams per square meter
  • This product has been verified in an independent laboratory as free from harmful levels of more than 300 substances to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
  • 100% combed Supima cotton. Machine wash. Imported

Now let's talk about excellent quality towels for those who prefer lighter towels - The Hydrocotton Bath Towels. My husband is athletic and exercises during most of his free time. He runs alongside my son who rides his bike to/from school. He also sometimes runs for a few hours a day.  (This isn't a typo - he sometimes runs for three hours a day!)  As a result, he showers 2 to 3 times/day.  He takes quick showers since he packs in so many runs. As a result, his preferences are different than mine. The Hydrocotton Bath Towels are the perfect fit for him. The Hydrocotton uses Turkish cotton yarns that are hollow and that absorb extremely well. The towels weigh 450 grams per square meter.  They are perfect for athletes who want excellent quality towels that absorb moisture quickly, but also want their towels to dry quickly. 

Here is a quick overview of this towel set:
  • Hydrocotton dries you faster
  • Turkish cotton yarns are “hollow” to be more absorbent
  • Towel releases moisture quickly to dry in a flash
  • 450 grams per square meter
  • Set includes 2 bath, 2 hand towels, 2 washcloths
  • 100% cotton. Machine wash. Imported
  • This product has been verified in an independent laboratory as free from harmful levels of more than 300 substances to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®

Finally, I love soft bath mats that are easy to wash. We've gone through phases where we have tried different types of bath mats such as memory foam mats or decorative mats. Over the years, we've eventually circled back to simple and soft bath mats that are easy to toss into the washer and dryer.  As a busy mom, simplicity and softness have become my top criteria.  We love the Turkish Textured Bath Rug.  Similar to the bath towels mentioned above, this bath rug is incredibly soft, absorbent, and holds up well over time.  It weighs a whopping 1,200 grams per square meter and has an anti-pill finish. It uses the Turkish cotton (with long fibers) that we all know provides an amazing softness, absorbency, and durability. It was created to match the towel sets above. Best of all, it's so easy to toss into the washer when I clean our bathrooms.  

Here is a quick overview of this towel set:
  • Made with long-staple Turkish cotton
  • 1,200 grams per square meter
  • Anti-pill finish
  • 20"x30"
  • 100% Turkish cotton. Machine wash. Made in Turkey

In summary, purchasing top quality towels is easy if you understand the characteristics to look for such as brand, weight, type of cotton, and banded edges. There isn't a one-size solution for everyone since different people have individual preferences, but there are certainly key characteristics that help you to understand your purchase and what to expect.  You should also give careful attention to washing and drying your towels so that they maintain their absorbency and durability. Personally, we recommend Lands' End because they have curated a collection of towels that are excellent quality and that span a variety of personal preferences. Check out their bath towels here.
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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Holiday Party Series: Part 2: Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe

The holiday party season is here! This is the second post in our series of holiday dinner ideas. In today's post, I'll share a glimpse into healthy holiday catering from Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe. 
This restaurant is fantastic because they offer the perfect mix of health and good taste. Your guests will appreciate the healthy and nutrient dense food options that stand out as truly special during the holiday season. As we share the menu items that we recommend, pay close attention to the colorful ingredients that are prepared in a healthy Mediterranean style without butter or questionable additives.

Let's start with the basics before I tell you about our favorite food items. Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe has several locations, including two in the DFW metro - Southlake and Plano.  We've enjoyed many visits to the Southlake location over the years as it is one of our favorite restaurants.  Taziki's is also well known for their family-style take-out dinners for families of four. (Their family take-out dinners have been a lifesaver on many busy evenings when I didn't have time to make dinner!)  Today, we'll focus on catering. 

First, you'll want to visit their catering page here. The catering menus are easy to browse online. You may place your order online or over the phone.   You may pickup your order or they will deliver it. (Be sure to give a minimum of 24 hours notice for delivery. I recommend extra time if your order is extremely large.) Their customer service is top notch. They are truly dedicated to providing excellent catering. If you have a question or concern at any time, they even have a dedicated support hotline!  In our personal experience, the manager seemed like a perfectionist who paid close attention to every detail throughout the entire process.

Now, let me share examples of our favorite menu items. You'll notice a trend of colorful veggies and the combinatorial explosion of possibilities to create a well balanced meal that is packed with nutrients.

Let's start with appetizers. 

The Taziki Dip is made from Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, and a hint of lemon.  This dip stands out because it is fresh and they shred the cucumber for a nice texture and taste. We served it with their soft pita bread on the plate below.

The Hummus Trias is my personal favorite, especially when served with their baked pita chips that have delicious seasoning. The Hummus Trias includes their signature hummus in three varieties - Original, Basil Pesto, and Rustic Tomato.    They provide three containers of the original hummus and then two small containers with the remaining ingredients for Basil Pesto and Rustic Tomato so that you are able to mix them just before you serve the hummus. 

Let me show a closer view of the Original Hummus because their combination of ingredients is perfect. You'll notice the texture below.

This is a closer view of the Pesto Hummus. This was one of the most popular items at our holiday party.

This is the Rustic Tomato Hummus. This was also popular and disappeared quickly!

The Grilled Chicken Roll-Ups are a great option for holiday parties. They contain grilled chicken with tomato and feta in a grilled flour tortilla. Your guests will love that they cut these into smaller portions so that it's easy to sample a little bit of everything at your holiday party.  Many of our guests also loved adding the Pesto Hummus to these trendy roll-ups. 

Let's move on to the entrees. You will notice that they are surrounded with colorful veggies.  This is a highlight of the meal. As I mentioned earlier, there is a combinatorial explosion in the number of ways to combine fresh veggies into a nutrient packed meal!  This is a great way to offer healthy options to guests.

The Greek Salad is served with fresh mixed lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, red onions, feta, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, and a special Greek dressing. Everyone raved about this healthy option and that the dressing is fantastic!

The Taziki's Signature Pasta is another popular catering item. This includes penne pasta and grilled chicken, tossed in their iconic homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette and topped with tomatoes, feta, and fresh basil.  We noticed that they are generous with the ratio of grilled chicken so that this is packed with protein. This is perfect for holiday parties because the Balsamic Vinaigrette is unique and this stands out as a memorable dish. 

Finally, the Beef Tender is my personal favorite. The chefs are perfectionists as they use good quality beef and season and chargrill it to perfection.  Some of our guests ate the beef with the delicious Basmati Rice. Others added it to salad or even dipped it in hummus or Taziki Dip.  You will definitely want to include the Beef Tender in your holiday order.

In summary, Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe is perfect for health conscious holiday parties where you want to impress guests and provide them with nutritious dinner options.  We featured our favorite items, but Taziki's also has a larger menu that you will find on their website.  We loved working with them because they are very focused on quality and excellent customer service. They made it easy for us to throw a holiday party with very little effort on our end since they took care of the most important details -- the perfect food! We love that guests raved about the food at our holiday party. Visit Taziki's here.

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Holiday Party Series: Part 1 - Texas de Brazil for Holiday Parties

The holiday season is here! Don't you love it when you attend a holiday party and are surprised with good food? I always hope that my guests are excited about the food that we serve. However, sometimes it's hard to find time to prepare food for parties on top of working and taking care of my children. I count on trendy restaurants to help me out. Over the next couple of weeks, we will feature our favorite restaurants that make it easy to host holiday parties. We'll cover four different types of popular holiday menus, including Brazilian, Mediterranean, Texas BBQ, and Low Calorie (Salads).  In today's post, we'll feature Texas de Brazil.  We took photos in the restaurant, but we'll also tell you about their take-out options for holiday parties.

We visited Texas de Brazil in Addison earlier today. 

The restaurant includes a bar, dining area, take-out, and catering.  Starting with the bar, they offer fantastic house wine, beer, Caipirinha, and many other drinks.

The buffet is my favorite part because it is generously packed with veggies, fruit, cheese, and, yes, even some meat.

Here is a sample plate of food from the buffet area. You'll notice that I love colorful veggies and that the buffet makes it easy to pack a variety of nutrients into a meal.  Many of the buffet items are available for $10 to $16 per pound for holiday parties. Click here for a list.

Of course, the main attraction of Texas de Brazil  is the rodizio-style dinner.  The restaurant is set up nicely that you are able to walk over and watch the chefs prepare the meat. Let me share a few examples. This one is from the kitchen.

The following is an example that was brought to our table.

Here is another example that was brought to our table.  Everything that we tried was fantastic. They were generous with the servings, always asking if we wanted more. The different meats are available for takeout at $8 to $24 per pound for holiday parties. You'll find the full list here.

Of course, I should mention the popular dishes that are served to every table, including Brazilian Cheese Bread, Fried Bananas, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  They are also available for takeout to serve at holiday parties. 

The Brazilian Cheese Bread is my favorite. The takeout price for this trendy appetizer is $15 per dozen.

The Fried Bananas are also popular. The takeout price is $6 per pound. The Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a fantastic complement to meat. The takeout price is $5.75 per pound.

Finally, Texas de Brazil is well known for their trendy desserts. The menu and prices may vary by location, so inquire about the options and prices when you call in advance for takeout. (Click here to find the phone number for the location near you.)  Here are a few examples from the Addison location.

In addition to their regular menu shown above, they currently have a Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake that is fantastic for holiday parties.  Again, you will want to call in advance to check the availability and prices for your holiday party.

Now that I've shared a variety of menu items, let me point you to their takeout and catering menus. Takeout orders are easy to order in advance and pickup just before your party. Catering is available when you have a minimum of 45 guests (or a $2,000 minimum).   

I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into Texas de Brazil. Their food is sure to impress holiday guests. Plus, if you plan in advance, you'll be able to save with their limited time gift card deal. Now through December 21st, customers will receive a $25 bonus card with every $100 gift card purchase. Get the full details here.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

(Win it!) Visit Cost Plus World Market for the Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt!

This post is in partnership with World Market, a brand I love. All opinions here are my own.

Shopping at Cost Plus World Market just became more exciting this holiday season thanks to their holiday love for everything gold and the trendy Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt where eight in-store customers have a daily chance to win a $10, $20, $25 or $50 reward if they find a Golden Bell at their local store.  In today's post, I'll tell you about the Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt and share a peek at trendy Gold Holiday items, including my favorites - Gold Decor and Gold Ornaments.

If your children are like mine, they often share their displeasure for shopping. The Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt may just change their opinions because it adds a new level excitement to shopping.  Tell your little sidekicks that shopping at Cost Plus World Market this holiday season involves a fun scavenger hunt and that they may help you to try to find a Golden Bell that is redeemable for a  $10, $20, $25 or $50 reward! Of course, the reward needs to be redeemed the same day, so they may also build a wishlist in their head as you walk through the store in case you win a prize!

Check out this video that contains an overview:

Here are the details:
  • What: The Cost Plus World Market Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt where in-store shoppers may find a Golden Bell at their local store, a reward worth a $10, $20, $25 or $50!
  • Where: Your local Cost Plus World Market store. (Click here for a participating store locator. Personally, we visit the Southlake, TX location!)
  • When: Play in stores November 1 – December 9
    • Game 1 (store opening to 3pm): 4 Golden Bells will be hidden prior to store opening
    • Game 2 (4pm to Store Closing): 4 Golden Bells will be hidden for game 2
  • How to Play: 
    • Every day beginning Thursday, November 1st through Sunday, December 9th your local Cost Plus World Market store will hide 8 Golden Bell pieces throughout the store. 
    • Each day, they will share a daily clue in store, via email, and on our social media channels. Use the clue to help you 
    • Find a Golden Bell piece and you could receive a reward. 
    • Find (1) Golden Bell piece and bring it to the nearest store associate to exchange for a reward coupon worth $10, $20, $25 or $50. Reward is valid only on the day it is awarded. 
    • Limit (1) reward per person throughout the Promotion Period (11/1/18 - 12/9/18, regardless of store location(s) visited. 
    • See the rules here.

Bonus tip for Trendy Mom Readers: Follow us on Twitter because we will share daily clues of where to find the Golden Bells over the next 38 days (minus Thanksgiving when stores are closed)!

Here is the clue for Day 1: Golden Bell, ringing true, can be found near something blue.

Now that I've shared the details about the Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt, let me share some of my favorite items under their Gold Decor and Gold Ornaments categories! I created a collage and listed the links below.

We hope that you have a memorable holiday season that is filled with joy, happiness, and the trend of gold! We wish luck to each of our Trendy Mom Readers and hope that the daily Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt hints that we share over the next 38 days will add an extra layer of magic to the holiday season for your family!
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Prairie Lights Holiday Lights Experience is Perfect for Families with Children of All Ages #PrairieLights

Everything is bigger in Texas. If you have been to Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie, TX, you will have to agree that the experience is BIG!  In today's post, I'll tell you about our visit to Prairie Lights and encourage your family to wear cozy clothing and Santa hats for a mesmerizing ride through the lights and a walk through the Holiday Village and Holiday Magic Lighted Forest (Don't worry - I will only share a few photos to give you an idea of the event without sharing too many that spoil the wonderful surprises!)

Let's start with the basics:
  • What: Prairie Lights Holiday Lights
  • Where: 5610 Lynn Creek Parkway. Driving directions may be found here
  • When: November 22, 2018 to December 30, 2018
  • Tickets: Buy tickets in advance on the Prairie Lights website here. (While it's a fabulous activity throughout the holiday season, a family-friendly hint is to visit at non-peak times such as weeknight/non-prime/non-holiday nights when possible.)
When you arrive at Prairie Lights, you will find a two-mile path with 4 million sparkling lights. There are hundreds of all-new displays, so even if you have visited before, there will be new dazzling displays that line and arch over the roads.

Approximately halfway through the drive, you will find Holiday Village.  This adds to the magic of the experience and is especially perfect for those with young children like mine.  Holiday Village has food, gifts, Santa, and a brand new indoor Holiday Show. 

The Indoor Holiday Show, Holiday Dreams, was fantastic. I won't spoil it for you, but I have never seen anything quite like it. My children loved all of the special light effects!

The Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest was my favorite part.  

If I could wrap a bow around my happiest memories, I would include memories of my children walking through the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest. They couldn't help but to run slightly ahead of us and periodically do happy dances under the sparkling lights.

We also appreciated that Prairie Lights has the best Santa Claus and photo setup.  If your baby is going to cry on Santa's lap, they have a rocking horse for your little one to sit instead.  (This is genius, right?!)

Once back in your vehicle, the second half of the drive ends with the very animated light tunnel – the perfect finale to a night you will never forget!  (I'm not sharing a photo of the tunnel because I don't want to spoil it for you. It's amazing and you'll appreciate the fabulous ending to your visit!)

I hope that I shared the perfect amount of information to tell you about the amazing experience without spoiling too many surprises for you.  Prairie Lights is sure to become a tradition for many families! Personally, it was a magical experience for my family. Our visit created happy childhood memories for my children to treasure. 

Learn More
You will find more information and digital tickets at prairielights.org
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