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Health & Wellness

31 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up in 2021

From flower subscriptions to virtual book clubs, these local finds from our D Home editors will make for a happy, fulfilling 2021.
By D Home editors |

With 2020 in the rearview mirror (thank goodness!), we’re looking forward to brighter days ahead. To help you fill your new year with as much joy as possible, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite people, places, products, and services sure to make your 2021 easy, fulfilling, beautiful, and healthy. You’ll soon be on your way to living your best life—no resolutions required.

Make Your Year… Easy

1. Get Help With Your Garden

Want a gorgeous garden but don’t have the time to actually get the plants in the ground? Calloway’s Nursery can help. With its Pick & Plant service, you choose and purchase the plants, and Calloway’s professional planters will do the digging for you. Just show them where you want your plants to go, and they’ll handle the rest. The minimum installation fee is a reasonable $250.

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2. Summon a Personal Assistant

With Alto Concierge, Dallas’ app-based rideshare service has entered the world of personal shopping. With the touch of a button, you can request that an Alto driver make a grocery run for you, pick up your order from a local restaurant, swing by the post office for an online shopping return, or handle curbside pickup at your favorite retail spot. Fees vary by shopping time and delivery distance, but the first five minutes of shopping are always free, and most deliveries are made in under an hour.

3. Let the Convenience Store Come to You

With locations in Uptown and University Park, you can shop Foxtrot IRL, but why not let the Chicago import bring its goods to you? The upscale convenience store offers one-hour delivery of anything on its shelves, from typical munchies like Doritos and Oreos to specialty items such as gourmet cheeses, charcuterie boards, and organically farmed wines. Get bath tissue, trash bags, and dish soap, too. You’ll never look at 7-Eleven the same way again.

4. Refresh Your Wardrobe

Shopping for clothes can be a drag. The Yes wants to fix that. The personalized shopping app—with Dallas’ Taylor Tomasi Hill heading up fashion and creative—offers a mix of high and low, with both emerging designers and long-standing luxury brands. Through a series of yes-or-no questions, The Yes will determine your personal style, then build a curated store just for you. Would you never, ever wear a cold-shoulder top or ripped jeans? Just let the app know, and you won’t see either in your feed.

5. Book a House Call for Your Fur Babies

Serving 29 ZIP codes in Dallas and Collin County, locally owned ReadiVet takes the stress out of veterinary care. Book an appointment with the nose-to-tail service provider, and a vet and vet tech arrive at your door, ready to administer vaccines, treat illness, or simply give Fido or Fifi a regular checkup. Pet parents can even join by video chat if they won’t be home during the appointment.

6. Have Heat-and-Eat Meals Delivered to Your Door

Offering made-from-scratch entrees such as Hatch Chili Chicken Pot Pie and Homemade Pot Roast, Carrollton-based Front Porch Pantry’s rotating menu also includes breakfast casseroles, cakes, soups, and more. Each meal is evaluated by an in-house nutritionist, and options include low-fat, lower-sodium, and high-protein fare. The delivered-fresh dishes are freezer-friendly and will last up to one week in the refrigerator.

7. Automate Your Space

With today’s endless array of smart-home technologies, elevating the IQ of your home can save you time, money, and hassle. At family-owned Starpower, a favorite among area pro athletes, you can schedule a free consultation to discuss options such as automated shades, remote-controlled lighting systems, iPad-operated home theaters, and so much more. Starpower customizes packages for your home’s specific requirements, so you’ll purchase only the equipment you need.

8. Pretreat Fabrics for Easy Cleanup

For the past 50 years, Fiber-Seal has been keeping Dallas upholstery spot-free with its award-winning fabric care system. Enlist the services of these soft-surface specialists, and wine spills and pet mishaps won’t stand a chance. In addition to protecting new furnishings, they can also clean draperies, wallcoverings, specialty rugs, and wall-to-wall carpets.

Make Your Year… Fulfilling

9. Tap Into Your Creativity

With classes and workshops designed for adults of all levels and abilities, the Creative Arts Center of Dallas wants to help you discover your artistic vision. Painting, drawing, ceramics, and printmaking are just a few of the visual arts mediums you can try your hand at. Classes are led by experienced teaching artists, many of whom have exhibited their own work nationally and internationally. Reserve your spot early, as the nonprofit is currently operating at half capacity to ensure social distancing.

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10. Join a Virtual Book Club

Interabang Books has taken its lively monthly book club to Zoom. On the first Wednesday evening of every month, readers gather online with book buyer Lori Feathers to compare notes on the month’s selection, which is usually a work of literary fiction. Attendees of the February session are in for a special treat, as author Meredith Hall will join the discussion of her 2020 novel Beneficence.

11. Adopt a Dog

Adopting a dog can literally mean saving a life, and what could be more rewarding than that? North Texas has a variety of organizations that can help you find the right pooch for you and your family. For starters, check out Paws in the City, Operation Kindness, and Cane Rosso Rescue to see some of the many dogs that are looking for a fur-ever home. If you aren’t ready to adopt just yet, consider fostering a needy pup.

A table of pizza and pasta.
Eataly isn’t just a market, there’s a full-on teaching restaurant inside the complex.

12. Get Cooking

Sorry, but warming up a rotisserie chicken and nuking some frozen veggies does not constitute cooking. Break out of your meal-prep rut with a hands-on culinary class at The Cookery in the Design District. With themes such as Barcelona Nights and Evening in Paris, you can travel the world through food while learning to prepare a three-course meal from scratch. If virtual education is more to your liking, you can also learn to craft staple Italian recipes from the talented chefs at Eataly, now open at NorthPark Center but operating the cooking school online until further notice.

13. Commune With Nature

Although the Trinity River Audubon Center, which sits on 120 acres just 10 miles south of downtown Dallas, remains closed because of the pandemic, the nature-viewing trails are open, just on a limited basis. On Fridays and Saturdays between 8 am and 1 pm, you can still hike five miles of trails in the Great Trinity Forest. Advance ticket purchase is required, and visitors are limited to a timed entry, so you can feel safe while you explore.

14. Master a New Language

The Language Institute at Dallas International School now offers all of its adult education classes online. That means you can learn to communicate in French, Spanish, Chinese, and more—all from the comfort of your home. Courses are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, with private classes available for those who prefer to learn at their own pace.

15. Learn to Grow a Garden

With her newly launched Dallas Garden School, horticulture expert Callie Works-Leary wants to reach a new generation of gardeners. Although she hopes to someday hold in-person classes, for now her courses are in a digital format that allows students to log in at their convenience. Though the classes feature various topics, they are all geared toward growing in North Texas. Upcoming sessions include North Texas Gardening 101, Indoor Seed Starting, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Build Your Own Raised Beds. She also has on the books a short “lunch-break webinar” that will tell you everything you need to know about growing onions. Rates from $39 to $175.

16. Support a Nonprofit

You can always donate money to your favorite causes, of course, but if you’re looking to share your time and talents, there are numerous Dallas nonprofits in need of your help. Consider volunteering at the Dallas Zoo. The zoo has lost many of its employees to layoffs, so its volunteer program is more important than ever. You can also join forces with For the Love of the Lake, which organizes cleanup activities and tree-planting events for White Rock Lake Park. Then there’s design-world favorite Dwell With Dignity, which needs help assembling furniture, hanging drapery, cleaning, and accessorizing homes for the families the group serves.

Make Your Year… Beautiful

17. Hire an Art Consultant

Whether you’re a serious collector or a first-time buyer, Collector House’s Jennifer Klos can guide you through the often daunting process of purchasing art. In addition to touring local galleries with her clients, the former museum curator can arrange trips to artist studios, art fairs, museums, and auction houses in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Basel. “There is a lot of great art at various price points,” Klos says, “so I can work with the client’s budget in mind.”

18. Send Yourself Flowers

Mark your calendars: Mars Hill Farm’s flower delivery subscriptions will resume in March. That means you can have a fresh-cut bouquet filled with in-season blooms from the Ferris farm brought right to your door weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Bouquets come in two sizes, and prices start at $35 every four weeks, with the delivery fee included.

blue print tait sideboatd
Blue Print

19. Gussy Up Your Digs With Grab-and-Go Decor

Just like you, your home needs a quick pick-me-up every once in a while. And when those times arrive, you want immediate gratification—no custom orders, not even two-day shipping. Luckily, Dallas has no shortage of design shops where you can walk in and walk out with an instant mood lifter. Some of our favorites are Blue Print in Uptown, Mecox in Inwood Village, and Laura Lee Clark in the Design District. Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind vintage vase, an inspiring coffee table book, or a just-right table lamp, these palaces of pretty can send you on your way with something beautiful in hand.

20. Get Your Lighting Right

“Updating bulbs remains one of the most affordable and fast ways to freshen up one’s interiors,” says interior designer Jean Liu. “The right light bulb makes all the difference in making our houses feel inviting and cozy.” Liu is a fan of LED BULBS for their long lifespan and variety of indoor and outdoor options available. “We might select frosted glass to prevent glare, amber filament for a more historic look or for clear light fixtures, and PAR flood bulbs to uplight an exterior,” she notes. For good color clarity and longevity, Liu recommends using Bulbrite and Feit Electric bulbs.

21. Bring the Spa Home

Hiatus Spa + Retreat has been a Dallas favorite since 2007, as popular for its perk-filled H-Circle membership plan as for its relaxing massages and glow-inducing facials. Now, with Hiatus Everyday, you can bring a little bit of Hiatus home. The spa’s debut product line includes revitalizing body washes, moisturizers, essential oils, and exfoliators, all sustainably sourced and crafted in Texas.

Oasis Plant Shop
Oasis Plant Shop

22. Consult a Plant Whisperer

The benefits of having houseplants are numerous, but the most obvious one is that well-chosen greenery can add life to even the most lackluster space. But it’s hard to know which plants are right for your home. The pros at Oasis plant shop offer customized plant installation for this very reason. After assessing your home’s style and the amount of sunlight each space receives, an “interior plant-scape designer,” aka a trained technician, will suggest plants and pots that best suit your home and budget. They will also provide detailed instructions for the care of your plants or set up a maintenance account for you.

23. Contain Your Clutter

Netflix fans already know the power of The Home Edit, the brainchild of organizational gurus Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer. The duo’s eight-episode series showed them bringing order to the lives of celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Khloe Kardashian, and their handy brand can do the same for you—now by video chat. Whether you need “a little help” ($250 for one hour) or “a lot of help” ($525 for three hours), one of the company’s anti-chaos crusaders can dispense virtual organizing advice and make purging recs, too. Because an organized space is a beautiful one.

Make Your Year… Healthy

24. Clean Up Your Beauty Routine

At Credo in Plano, the chain’s only Texas location, you can browse more than 130 clean beauty brands, including bestsellers such as Indie Lee, Kosas, and Westman Atelier. If a product is on Credo’s shelves, you know it meets a rigid standard involving its ingredients’ safety, sourcing, ethics, sustainability, and transparency. Need help navigating the aisles? Book a private appointment before or after store hours, or chat live with one of Credo’s clean beauty experts.

25. Achieve Your Best Sleep

We can’t promise our formula has been scientifically proven, but if you thought a good night’s sleep was just a pipe dream, we have a few recommendations. First, get a custom pillow from The Pillow Bar, which will match your pillow to your sleep style, age, and shoulder size. Then, dress your bed in organic cotton Coyuchi sheets, available at Mary Cates & Co. And, finally, spray your sleep space with Dream Weaver Mist, available at Go Easy and made with a blend of mugwort, lavender, and sage. After that, you’ll be snoozing soundly in no time.

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26. Take Care of Your Skin

Dallas’ skincare queen Joanna Czech has some words of wisdom: “Your nighttime skincare routine is the most important because products are about 60 percent more effective when the body is at rest. Never go to bed without taking off your makeup. Don’t overexfoliate—this can harm the skin irreparably. Make sure your lifestyle is healthy: a proper diet, the right amount of sleep, and drinking lots of water. It is important to have a professional’s input on the proper regimen for your unique skin. And monthly professional treatments are advised, but if that is not possible, seasonally is the next best thing.” Details are still hush-hush, but look for a new product line from Czech coming soon. In the meantime, book a virtual consultation and you’ll receive a customized skincare routine from a seasoned esthetician.

27. Sanitize Safely

We’re all doing a little more cleaning than usual these days, but sometimes all the scrubbing and disinfecting still doesn’t feel like enough. A new service called Holy Fog hopes to bring you a little more peace of mind with its organic, nontoxic dry fogging system. The odorless and eco-friendly sanitizing solution cleans both hard and soft surfaces and is proven against COVID-19, H1N1, and flu. The solution leaves no residue behind, helps eliminate mold and mildew, and is good for homes, vehicles, and HVAC systems.

28. Schedule an At-Home Sweat Sesh

You don’t need a home gym. You don’t need cute workout gear. You don’t even need to leave your house. With these virtual fitness classes led by local studios, you can get in shape in the comfort of your living room. Stream weekly dance cardio and sculpt classes from Caulfield’s Dance Fitness. Feel the burn with online versions of Session’s popular Pilates workouts. Or check out Class Studios’ digital and livestream classes, including spin, circuit training, sculpting, and high-intensity interval training.

29. Drink Your Juice

As the first free-standing organic juice bar in town, The Gem is a juicing pioneer in Dallas. Going strong since 2012, The Gem cold-presses its juices fresh every day and uses only organic ingredients. Try the immunity-boosting Green Glow for a mix of kale, cucumber, lemon, apple, and ginger, or go for the Platinum Veggie Love, aka “the detox master.” Curbside pickup is available at both locations, and you can also have the juices delivered.

White Rock Soap Gallery products.

30. Get Rid of Grime the Natural Way

From the beginning, when White Rock Soap Gallery was making only soap and soy candles, the brand has been dedicated to crafting all-natural products. WRSG eventually expanded to include four locations—in Lake Highlands, Bishop Arts, The Colony, and McKinney—and added home-cleaning compounds to its repertoire, including all-purpose cleaning sprays and powders, a glass and mirror cleaner, and a cleaner for stone, granite, marble, and stainless steel. Basically, they’ve got every surface in your house covered. Contactless pickup is available at the Lake Highlands store, and you can get free delivery to seven East Dallas ZIP codes.

31. Book a Virtual Therapy Session

No matter how busy you are, a teletherapy session means you can more easily make time to focus on your mental health care, especially during a pandemic that has us cooped up at home more often than not. At Connections Wellness Group in Denton, telehealth has become a big part of the practice’s offerings, and it is likely to stick around long after COVID-19 has left the headlines. As therapist Awstin Gregg, Connections’ owner and CEO, told D Medical Directory last year, “We anticipate that we will maintain a healthy amount of teletherapy services even after social distancing requirements have been relaxed due to the benefit of accessibility for our patients.”