Browsing Category

Travel

Travel

Communion Coworking in Richardson, Texas Review

September 30, 2019
Communion Coworking Space

While I was living in Texas, I needed a coworking space to work from as living at my parents means noise and kids in the summer. I was going to a local coffee shop, but their internet was not good enough to work from. After doing some research, I decided to try out a place in Richardson, which is only about a 15-minute drive from my parent’s house. The space is called Communion Neighborhood Cooperative. It has a restaurant, coffee shop and coworking space.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Many of the working spaces in Dallas are too far from my parent’s house or charge too much for the monthly fee. The first time I went, they were under significant construction and didn’t charge me for the day pass, which I thought was really nice. I went back for another day pass try when the construction was less and decided to sign up for a membership.

Communion Coworking

The coworking space at Communion is large and very modern. Communion used to be a car repair garage! You can still see some remnants of the old car garage in the coworking space.

There are plenty of large tables to work at with extra power spots to plug into. The wifi is really fast and I never had an issue with connectivity even with all of us being on the same network.

Communion Coworking

The Communion Coworking monthly membership entitles you to use private spaces as well for free. You just have to book them using the online reservation system. With the membership, you can access the coworking space any time during the week but not on the weekends. You can print, have access to the kitchen and there is unlimited coffee!

You can get a day pass as well. With the day pass, you can access the coworking space from 8-5 pm. You also get the added benefit of free coffee. You can’t get into the private spaces but there are some free telephone booth style desks if you need to take a phone call.

Communion Coworking

There is outside space in the back that is only accessible to the people using the coworking space. It is a nice place to take a break, play some foosball or practice your golf on the small putting green.

If you want a permanent desk, they have some options for that as well.

I loved working at Communion! The staff are friendly, the space is great and I met many other people coworking there. I actually miss going there every day. I got so much work done there as well. The only downside for me was that almost everyone working there worked for a company and was not freelance. It meant many people were working with other people already in the space and there was not so much networking going on. I still enjoyed it though.

As of fall 2019, the prices for coworking is $25 for a day pass, $250 for a monthly open space desk and $450 for a dedicated desk. The $250 is the best deal for open coworking in Dallas I have found. A large chain coworking space charges $370 in Dallas!

Communion Coffee

As I mentioned before, there was construction going on as I joined. This was because they were building a new coffee shop in front of the coworking space. The coffee shop was inside the restaurant before.

Communion Coffee Shop

Now the coffee shop is separate and provides much more space for people looking to have a coffee only and not have to sit for a whole meal. The coffee is great and the new space looks fabulous. It was already the best coffee shop in Richardson and it is even better now!

Communion Neighborhood Restaurant

The restaurant is wonderful. It is a casual place but with an elegant feel. All the food I had was amazing. I recommend the Coffee Rubbed Brisket Taco! The menu does change but usually, the staples are always available. The service is outstanding as well. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the weekends, they serve brunch as well.

Communion Restaurant in Richardson

In addition to the coffee shop, restaurant and coworking space, they have added a barbershop so you can get a haircut during a work break.

I absolutely love Communion and can’t wait to visit the next time I am back in Dallas. If you are looking for a coworking space in Dallas, this is your place!

 

 

Travel

Lazy Monk World Scratch Off World Map Review

September 23, 2019
Lazy Monk Scratch Off World Map

Recently I was gifted a Lazy Monk Scratch Off World MapLazy Monk Scratch Off World Map and while I don’t always do these, I have really wanted one of these scratch off world maps for a while now. Even though I was gifted this item, all opinions are my own.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

What’s Inside

The map arrives in a long tube that is branded and looks great. If you were giving this as a gift, you would not need to wrap it at all. My map came from Amazon so arrived inside a box, which meant there was no sticker on the tube itself.

Inside the tube, the map was well packaged and taped so it didn’t unroll during shipping. The map also had a tissue on the inside so the scratch-off parts would not get worn.

In addition to the map, it came with a pen, a guitar pick scratcher, eraser, brochure and a luggage tag. Unfortunately, in my haste to pack for Greece the luggage tag was left in the tube. My parents confirmed that the luggage tag was inside the tube and somehow, I just missed getting it out. My Dad was nice enough to take a photo of it for me so you can see it.

Lazy Monk luggage tag

The Map

Obviously, the map is the main part of this product. The paper it is on is thick and seems to be of high quality. It did not rip when I was scratching off the countries. The biggest problem was that I needed to let it lay flat with books on top of it before it would not roll up on me while scratching off. Which wouldn’t be a problem if I was patient!

Lazy Monk World Scratch Off Map

Scratching the countries or flags off is pretty easy with the guitar scratcher. I don’t recommend doing all the scratching at once as your hand will get tired. The scratching is easy with the guitar pick but not so easy with the eraser.

Some of the countries I have been to are so small they don’t show up well on the map, so I was glad to see a place to scratch off flags as well. Although, the Turks and Caicos Islands were not on the map or the flags so that was a bit disappointing. You can also scratch off continents, which is definitely great if you are looking to travel to all the continents. I can see the map is very colorful once you scratch it off so I can’t wait to visit more places so I can see what is underneath.

If you are going to hang this, make sure you put it in a place that you can reach it to still be able to scratch it off.

I absolutely love this map and it would be a great gift for a traveler or anyone who enjoys maps.

 

 

Travel

Things to do in Galveston, Texas

August 26, 2019

Galveston is an island off the coast of Texas. It is a long narrow barrier island that is about an hour or so south of Houston. Galveston was hit by a destructive hurricane in 1900, killing over 6000 people, and it changed the town forever. Once the largest immigration port outside of Ellis Island, it was also once the largest financial center of the US as well, but the hurricane changed all that.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Because Galveston island is so long, it hardly ever feels crowded even on a summer weekend. The hurricane encouraged the city to build a sea all that now extends 10 miles out of the 27 miles of coastline. While the beach is the main attraction, there are plenty of things to do in Galveston besides swimming.

YouTube video

 

Tour Bishop’s Palace

Things to do in Galveston

The Gresham family built this large stone house in 1892. The house survived the 1900 hurricane with minimal damage and served as a refuge for many after the hurricane.

Things to do in Galveston

In 1923, the house was sold to the Catholic Church for the Bishop of the Catholic Church of Galveston, which is how it got its name of the Bishop’s Palace. It was the Bishop’s house until 1963 when it was opened to the public, and the Galveston Historical Foundation now owns it. Except for a few changes the bishop made over the years, the house is still original including the stainless windows in the entryway, except for the one the bishop replaced with an image of Mary.  He also changed the dumb waiter to an elevator. Bishop’s Palace is beautiful and definitely transports you back in time. Be sure to walk outside to the wrap-around porches.

Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace

Eat at Fisherman’s Wharf

This is not the Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco fame but a large seafood restaurant on the bayside of Galveston. They have plenty of outdoor seating, so my recommendation is to sit outside even if it is hot. It is worth watching the boats go by and watching for cruise ships!

Fisherman's Wharf

A friend who goes to Galveston all the time recommended the lobster bisque in the bread bowl. It was terrific and has bits of crab meat inside as well. The service was outstanding, and if I had been staying longer, I would have gone back for dinner.

Visit the Texas Seaport Museum and Elissa Tall Ship

Texas Seaport Museum

Right next door to Fisherman’s Wharf is the Texas Seaport Museum. The museum highlights the naval history of Texas. Did you know that Texas had its own navy? Texas was its own country from 1836 to 1846. On the ground floor, the museum tells the story of the immigration port of Galveston.

Elissa Tall Ship

However, the best part of the museum is the Elissa Tall Ship. The Elissa was built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was abandoned in the Greek port of Piraeus in the 1970s, and after several years of refurbishment, she was towed to Galveston in 1977 for complete She is a beautiful ship, and you can explore most of it. Elissa is still operational and goes on sails several times a year. If you are going to be in the Galveston area for an extended period of time, you can volunteer to train to sail with her!

Elissa Tall Ship

Have Some Cajun Greek Food

A local told me about the Cajun Greek on the first day I was in Galveston. The name intrigued me, so I went to give it a try. Due to the location, it is isn’t a tourist destination. You will most like need a car to get here as it is further west than most of the tourist spots in Galveston.

Cajun Greek

The restaurant isn’t fancy inside, but the food was excellent. I ordered the salmon dinner that came with spinach and rice. The salmon was glazed with a sweet sauce topped with avocado! While I was waiting, someone got their meal, and it looked like a Greek salad with shrimp on the side, which sounds fantastic. They had a good wine selection as well. The food was a little expensive but worth it.

Take the Ferry to See Dolphins

There is a ferry that runs from Galveston to Port Bolivar and is supposed to be the best place to see dolphins. The best part about the ferry is that it is free! You can take your car on, but if you do, you have to get off the ferry and get back in line to return. There isn’t much to see in Port Bolivar, so my advice is to get on as a foot passenger and just stay on to return. I did see dolphins but only for a little bit. They tend to hang out more near Port Bolivar, so be on the lookout when arriving and departing in Port Bolivar.

Eat some Shrimp N’ Stuff

Texans are known to be friendly, but the people of Galveston seem to be extra helpful, and this was another place recommended to me by a local during a random conversation. There was a line out the door even! When you get in, you order at a counter, and they give you buzzer for when your food is ready. Even though there was a line, I didn’t have to wait too long for my food.

Shrimp 'N Stuff

Almost everything is fried, so be prepared. I ordered coconut shrimp, hush puppies, crab balls, and spicy boiled potatoes. The coconut shrimp was so good! I wish I had ordered just that. They were sweet and crunchy. The hush puppies were good, but there were too many of them. I could have done without the crab balls and spicy boiled potatoes. The potatoes were way too spicy outside and plain inside. It is definitely a place you need to visit a few times to find your favorite.

Drive West to See the Sunset

Things to do in Galveston

Due to the position of Galveston Island, the sunset is behind the island. This means you can’t go down to the beach to watch the sunset. One evening I drove west so that I could see the sunset. I really wanted to find a great spot to watch it, but I left too late and had to pull over to view it. The one good thing is that further down the island are public beaches that you can drive onto. Look for the blue beach access signs. Because I was past much of the development, I could see the sunset from the beach here. The sunset I saw was a beautiful fiery red and orange and definitely worth the drive.

Have Breakfast at the Sunflower Bakery and Cafe

On my first morning in Galveston, I had driven in from Houston and needed more coffee and breakfast. I did a quick search of breakfast places in Galveston and found this gem. This was another place where the line was long, but since I was alone, I was able to sit at the community table with no wait. All the food sounded amazing and I ordered an omelet and coffee. The coffee came in a large mug, which this coffee lover appreciated. The omelet was large and tasty. The other diners I spoke to at the table said their lunches were also good. The Sunflower is only open for breakfast and lunch and closes at 5 pm, so get there early.

Go to The Beach

Of course, no visit to Galveston is complete without a visit to the beach! The beach runs almost the whole length of the island so there is plenty of places to sit and even during the height of summer it won’t be crowded. There is parking along most of the seawall but you do have to pay with an app to park there. If you go further west, you can find free parking on the beach or next to it. The beaches on the east end are paid beaches and the fees go to beach conservation and maintenance. If you come in the summer, I recommend going to the beach late in the day to avoid the worst of the heat as it is light out until at least 8 pm.

Galveston is a great getaway that has plenty of things to do and a beach to enjoy. To me, you can’t beat that kind of vacation spot. Have you been to Galveston? What is your favorite thing to do there?

Book a hotel in Galveston on Booking.com by clicking here.

Pin It

Galveston, Texas

Travel

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston, Texas Review

August 12, 2019
Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

I am a big fan of the W Hotel chain, so I was excited to try out their Aloft brand on a recent trip to Houston. The Aloft Galleria Houston, Texas, was in the exact location I needed, which was close to the Greece Consulate. Houston traffic is known for being very bad, and I didn’t want to get on the highway. This Aloft had reasonable prices and decent reviews, so I decided to give it a try.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Check-In

I drove to Houston from Dallas, so I needed to be able to park. When you arrive, you can park in a check-in space, so you don’t have to pay for parking with your credit card. It also meant that I could just go in with my wallet and not all my luggage. I was greeted right away, and check-in was fast. The keycard for my room also granted me access to the parking garage.

The Room

My room was on the 6th floor, which is only the second floor of rooms in the hotel as the parking garage is the first four levels. The room is smaller than some American sized hotel rooms, but it didn’t feel too small. Part of the reason for this is the layout of the hotel. You enter and are right away into the closet/bathroom area. Behind the closet wall is the sleeping area. While this is fine for a hotel, if you are staying longer, you might not want to see this every time you walk-in.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

The bathroom is a good size, and the shower stall is also large. They provide shampoo/conditioner and body wash in refillable pumps, which I appreciate for the environment’s sake. Aloft uses Bliss products in their hotels, which is one of my favorites and fits with many W Hotels having a Bliss spa located in the hotel. A few reviewers mentioned the rooms were not clean. There was some soap scum on the shower floor. I can see how it might bother some, but the hotel isn’t new, so I wasn’t too bothered. I think it was just due to age.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

In the sleeping area are a bed, a desk, and a bench. The bed was comfortable, and there were four pillows, which I prefer as I like to double up. The desk faced a decent view of the area, and the two windows provided ample natural light. The only drawback was the design of the desk and area above the air conditioner as it created a gap between the window and the shade. This caused sunlight to peek in from under the shade, which ended up being right at my eye level while I was in bed. Again, not a huge deal, but if you want to sleep in, you might need an eye mask.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

I got lots of use of the desk, and the chair was really comfortable when I sat in it all day the last day I was in the hotel. The bench in the room was really only suitable for holding my luggage as there was no cushion. This was fine because the tv only faced the bed.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

The biggest complaint was that the walls were really thin and I could hear conversations happening in the other rooms. This never happened at night, but I spent an entire day in my room working, and this made it hard to concentrate. I was just glad I had earplugs.

The Amenities

Down in the lobby was where breakfast was served. It was not included in the cost of the room. The price varied on what you ordered. The food was good, considering most of it was pre-made. I was able to make coffee in my room as well, so I ended up buying some yogurt to keep in the fridge for the next two days.

There was also a bar area in the lobby. It was a full-service bar and had a nice vibe. One night I went down, and there was live music for a few hours. The bar is supposed to serve food, but the one night I wanted to eat there was no chef. There is an outdoor patio for the bar area, but it was way too hot to sit outside.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

The Aloft also had a small indoor pool and gym. I didn’t use the pool, but the gym was well equipped, and all the machines were working! Trust me, I have been in many hotels with gyms that only one machine worked! They have towels, yoga mats, and earphones for you to use. I was the only person in the gym as well.

Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston

Overall, if I needed to, I would stay here again. It wasn’t pristine clean, but the bed was clean, and I liked the location. If you do visit the Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston, Texas, bring earplugs!

Book the Aloft Hotel Galleria Houston here!