You can tell the story of my life through long drives up Interstate 35. I can’t remember the first road trip — it must have been when I was a baby — but they’d often begin in the wee hours. Sleep still in my eyes, I’d climb into the back of my dad’s truck, with my backpack filled with Goldfish and books and activities, and up the freeway from Austin we’d go.
Dad and I would listen to the radio or old George Strait and Jimmy Buffett CDs until I was awake enough to play word games. I’d watch the sun rise over that stretch of empty land behind the Temple Buc-cee’s while Dad pumped gas and got a cup of coffee. We’d stop for breakfast at the Waco IHOP. Finally, as the Big D skyline appeared in the distance, we’d compete to see who could spot the giant giraffe at the Dallas Zoo first. My dad usually won. After all, he was in the front seat.
Hi, I’m Catherine Wendlandt, your new online associate editor for our Living and Home and Garden sections. I was born and raised in Austin, but I’ve must’ve traveled up I-35 (the bane of all Texans, as I like to tell out-of-staters) to Dallas hundreds of times. As a kid, my dad and I would come north for a morning doctor’s appointment at Scottish Rite Hospital. We’d grab lunch somewhere and head west to Fossil Rim in Glen Rose to see—and feed—all of the animals. (Beware the ostriches.)
As I got older, I’d board a bus full of tweens for our annual middle school choir trip. After we got the singing out of the way, we’d visit the aquarium, the mall, and Medieval Times on Friday. Then we spent all of Saturday at Six Flags. What a time.
I studied journalism at the University of Missouri (M-I-Z), and four times a year, I’d drive I-35 for almost eight hours —through Texas and Oklahoma — to and from school. Let me tell you, eight hours on I-35 is too long.
Eventually, my brother (and later my sister) moved to Dallas, so I began making the long, 18-wheeler-filled trek up on my own to visit them, spending a week here, a weekend there, shopping at NorthPark Mall and sitting with a slice of the good stuff at Emporium Pies. I even spent a summer in Dallas as food intern for D. (If you want to know the best ice cream sandwich in the city, or where to get the weirdest queso, hit me up.)
In recent years, I traded I-35 for 45 (the drive is prettier, but the drivers are crazier) and spent the pandemic in Houston, working as Houstonia magazine’s digital editor, covering anything and everything, including shopping guides, COVID-19, and even cannonballs, while spending hours on social media (It was my job, I promise!). If you called me then, I probably answered with, “Hold on, I gotta tweet.”
But now I’m back in Dallas and can hopefully avoid long drives on 35 and 45. As your Living editor, I’m excited to cover all things home, lifestyle, and wellness for you. Don’t know what the latest design trends are? I’ll ask the interior designers. Need a gift guide? I’ve got you. Interested in a new wellness trend? I probably am too.
After all, what else am I going to do in the car?