DFW Summer Bucket List

Looking for fun activities for the family this summer?  Our area hosts a great deal of fun indoor and outdoor activities.

Texas summer is calling you to get outside and go experience all of the culture, food and fun that Dallas-Fort Worth has to offer during this blissful season. To make your trip to the DFW Metroplex as memorable as possible, I’ve broken down the ultimate summer bucket list into the top activities. Choose your category of choice and see what’s awaiting you in DFW this summer.


Sail Dallas (Lewisville)
Want to explore the wide open waters and pick up a new skill while you’re at it? Sail Dallas is what you need this summer season. With courses for beginners and veterans alike, you’ll catch summer rays and relax all day on Lake Lewisville. Book your lesson here.

Gaylord Texan Resort (Grapevine)
In need of a staycation? The Gaylord Texan Resort is the perfect place to stay this summer. The rooms, rates and restaurants are first-class, and those seeking a splash can partake in all the water park thrills they desire at the Paradise Springs waterpark. Plan your Grapevine getaway here.

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark (Grand Prairie)
Beat the heat and have a blast all at once: The Epic Waters adventure proves you don’t need to see a beach to have great fun on the water. With over 80,000 square feet of rides, slides, pools and party space, it’s easy to see why they call this park “epic.” Learn more here.


The Rustic (Dallas)
Few venues can merge music, magnificent food and delicious drinks as effortlessly as The Rustic in Dallas. This all-inclusive establishment offers shows every weekend and it’s the perfect place to start or end your group’s night out. Learn more here.

Legacy Hall (Plano)
This addition to the luxurious offerings of Legacy West is a next-level food court that serves up delish dishes for days. Thai, Mexican, Italian and American cuisine are all options with enough savory sweets to satisfy all your cravings. Grab a spot on the patio at the Box Garden to listen to live music while you chow down. Learn more here.

Texas Truck Yard (Dallas)
The Truck Yard gifts visitors with dog-friendly dining in a cozy atmosphere and a plethora of delicious options. Cheesesteaks, tasty brews and even ice cream are all on the menu here, and the vibe is perfect for a family outing or a lunch date with friends. Get truckin’ and plannin’ by perusing the menu.


American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum (Fort Worth)
Nosedive into history with this gem of a museum which offers a first class experience for aviation fans and new travelers alike. You’ll explore the history of flying and aircraft—particularly as it relates to America’s most storied airline. Learn more about this fly museum.

National Videogame Museum (Frisco)
The official videogame museum of the U.S. is right here in Frisco and it contains over 100,000 artifacts of gaming history. Veteran gamers and newbies to the craft are all welcome in this celebration of the art and community of gaming. Gear up and get your game on here.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not (Grand Prairie)
Oddballs, oddities and the eighth, ninth and tenth wonders of the world reside right here at this grand Grand Prairie museum. From wax figures to mazes and mirages, this wacky museum will make a believer out of even the most skeptical skeptics. Learn more here.


Texas Rangers and Frisco RoughRiders (Arlington + Frisco)
Summer is the perfect time to catch a ballgame, and DFW has two talented teams to enjoy. The Texas Rangers offer major league fun at Globe Life Park in Arlington while their minor league affiliate, the Frisco RoughRiders, play in the Dr Pepper Ballpark where you can float in the lazy river while watching the game. Get your Rangers tickets here, and your RoughRiders tickets here.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden (Fort Worth)
Feeling something a little more low key? Grab your beloved and head to Fort Worth where you can stroll through all the botanical beauty that this gorgeous garden has to offer. Learn more here.

Klyde Warren Park (Dallas)
Toss a frisbee, go for a walk or lounge around with a good read: You can do it all and more at Klyde Warren Park. And when you get hungry, you have a wide array of food trucks at your disposal. Or, you can savor some good eats at Savor Gastropub, a swanky patio eatery that offers some of the best lobster puffs in North Texas.

Source: https://visitdfw.com/things-to-do-this-summer-in-dallas-fort-worth-bucket-list/

Texas State Parks

Texas has some of the most beautiful state parks in the country.  Here are links to all of the state parks.  Enjoy planning your next road trip!

State Parks

State Forest
State Historic Site
State Fish Hatchery
State Fish Hatchery
National Parks
National Forests
National Historic Site
National Historic Park
National Wildlife Refuges
National Recreation Areas
National Seashore
Sankt-Petersburg Russia April 13, 2018: Apple iPhone X on office desk with icons of social media network instagram application on screen. Social network. Starting social media app. Photo taken at company office

Instagram For Business

Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses.  Here are some ideas to use for marketing your business.

  1. Add professional-looking photos.

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform, so it’s important to share visually pleasing content. Generic photos won’t cut it. Take photos, edit them, and take the time to make sure you’re creating a cohesive grid on Instagram. [Read related article: 10 Best Photo Editing Apps for Business]

To add a new photo, tap the camera button at the bottom of your screen. You can take a new photo or select one from your camera roll. On the next screen, there are multiple options to personalize your post. You can add a filter, tag other users, write a caption and add a location. You can also turn off comments on this page with the advanced settings. 

  1. Use Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is one of the channel’s most popular features. These photos and videos disappear 24 hours after they’re posted. Instagram offers many tools that make it easy to create engaging and creative stories.

“Small businesses should leverage Instagram Stories to market their products and services, getting their messages to followers that otherwise might not see regular Instagram posts in their feed because of the latest updates to the algorithm,” said Laura Kenat, content coordinator at Jo Chicago.

On Instagram Stories, you can post recorded videos, still photos, live videos, boomerangs (videos that loop back and forth), basic text, music and focused photos. You can also add stickers such as your location, the temperature, user tags and hashtags.

The stickers for polls, questions and sliding bars make it easy to interact with your users and get feedback. Some accounts use the questions feature to hold a weekly Ask Me Anything, which is a fun way to answer common questions.

Another way to draw attention to your brand is with Stories Highlights, which stay on your profile until you remove them.

  1. Stream live videos.

In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live video that disappears – sort of like a cross between Facebook Live and Snapchat. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of interesting aspects of your business, show products or answer live questions through the comments.

Once the video ends, it lives in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. If you want a video to remain on your Instagram feed, you can upload video you’ve taken or shoot video directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload video, you can still add filters and change the cover.

  1. Interact with other Instagram users.

As with any social media platform, it’s important to engage and interact with your followers on Instagram. Here’s how.

Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.

Commenting: Next to the like button is a comment button – just tap it, and the app will take you to the comments page for that photo, with a text box where you can enter what you want to say. Hit Post when it’s complete.

Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.

Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post content. To do so, tap Tag People before sharing your photo, and then tap where in the photo you’d like to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for their account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.

Direct messaging: To access Instagram Direct, go to the homepage and tap the button in the top right corner. Here, you can send private instant messages, photos and videos to other users. To send a new DM, tap the + button in the top right corner and select Send Photo or Video, or Send Message. Once you’ve sent the message, you and the recipients can message back and forth. Users who are not already following you will be asked whether they want to allow you to send them photos and videos before they can view your DM.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram direct messages and WhatsApp to create one messaging platform, according to a January 2019 New York Times article. When this is done, you’ll be able to connect with your followers on Facebook and Instagram through one application. 

  1. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way to help users find content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #DaveAndBusters works as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not.

Because users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand.

Hashtags such as #nofilter (a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters), #selfie (a picture of yourself), and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (old photos) are popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. It’s a good idea to look at other established brands or even personal users and bloggers in your industry for examples of what hashtags to use.

Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.

Once you understand hashtags, you can branch out and experiment to find which ones work best for your brand. It’s also smart to create a custom hashtag for your business or even an event you’re hosting. This way, customers can follow along with an event, even if they aren’t there in person.

  1. Advertise on Instagram.

Like on other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three formats for advertising:

Photo ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom right corner under the photo.

Video ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.

Carousel ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.

All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-thrus to your website, mobile app installations and mass awareness. 

For more information about advertising on Instagram, go here.

  1. Sell products on Instagram.

In May 2018, Instagram added a payment feature for select users. It has now started to roll Checkout on Instagram out to all users. And it could potentially have a big impact on small businesses. With the feature, users can buy things without leaving Instagram. In the coming weeks, you’ll see a blue Checkout button under images of products from an initial group of 20 brands, including Burberry, Nike and Warby Parker. All that will be required to complete a transaction will be a name, email address, billing info and shipping addresses. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, will then save that data for future transactions. Users can pay via Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. While this remains in closed beta, small businesses do not have the ability to sell via the platform. But, we anticipate that will change in the next year. 

Currently small businesses can take advantage of Shoppable Posts to sell products through Instagram. A business simply creates a product catalog connected to their account. Then you tag the product, similar to how you tag a person in a post. To create a shoppable post you must have a business account and you must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies. You can create your catalog through Facebook, Shopify or BigCommerce. 

Other Instagram tips and tricks

To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind.

Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that takes users to a website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific webpage, you can change the default link in your bio to that page and note in the caption that the link is in your profile.

Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re popular on the platform. But if your business has nothing to do with those things, it could make you look disjointed and confuse your followers.

Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it drives more people to visit your profile. If you do decide to run a contest or sweepstakes, though, make sure you’re following rules and guidelines.

Respond to other users’ comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with customers and followers shows that you are paying attention and care about what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.

Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company’s website. This shows visitors that you’re active on Instagram and can help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipsis button in the bottom right corner, and select Embed. This pulls up a box with the embed code and gives you the option to display the caption. From there, copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.

Use Instagram influencers to promote your business. Influencers are people who have large followings on Instagram. You can pay influencers to market your products to their followers in a natural way. These sponsored posts typically are subtle and don’t look like ads. This is helpful because people typically hate advertisements.

Share posts directly to your story. In May 2018, Instagram announced a feature that allows users to share posts directly to their stories. With this feature, small businesses can interact with their followers while promoting their product or services. If a client posts a photo of your product, you can share the post directly to your story to highlight the product and your client.

Use polls and other features in your stories. Instagram offers many interactive features that you can use to build online conversations and relationships. For instance, you can use the interactive questions sticker in Instagram Stories. This feature lets followers submit questions for you to answer. This is a fun and simple way to interact with your followers.

Use IGTV. Launched in June 2018, IGTV is a feature that shows long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app and within Instagram’s app, and each video can be up to an hour long. If you get creative, you can use IGTV to market your business in several ways, including by hosting FAQ sessions and conducting how-to chats. For more ways to use video marketing on social media, check out this Business News Daily guide.

Click here for full article and other helpful information. 

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7662-instagram-business-guide.html

What is Title Insurance?

Explaining title insurance to your buyer clients can be difficult and confusing to say the least. We hope this short video on what title insurance is will help you and your clients better understand the importance of protecting your home with title insurance coverage.

Two types of Title Insurance

There are two basic types of title insurance:
• Loan Title Policy
• Owner’s Protection
Most financial lenders require a Loan Title Policy as security for their investment in your property, just as they require homeowners or other types of coverage for their protection. 
Owner’s title insurance lets the new home owner feel safe and confident there are no other claims as to the ownership of the insured property. Among other matters it insures access to the property, gives the homeowner the right to occupy the property, provides good and indefeasible title which shows there are no specific liens against the property. The policy is purchased at the closing and lasts as long as you have an interest in the insured property.

What does your Premium Cover?

Title insuring begins with a search of public land records affecting the real estate concerned. An examination is conducted by the title agent on behalf of its underwriter to determine whether the property is insurable. We have a highly qualified team of abstractors and examiners that review your property to be sure you have clean and clear title to your new home. Some of the items they review are:
• They review prior owner’s wills and deeds to be sure the wording and names are correct.
• They look to make sure all outstanding mortgages and/or judgments are released or will be released at closing.
• They check on liens against the property because the seller has not paid his/her taxes.
• They search to be sure there are no lawsuits or legal action that would affect the property.
• They examine the records to be sure and make note of any easements and utility lines that will cause any issues.

Protecting your Investment

Title insurance is not as commonly understood as other types of insurance. However, it is just as important. When you purchase a home, in addition to purchasing the actual land or building structure, you are actually purchasing the title to that property as well as the rights to occupy and use the space. Having an Owner’s Title Policy insures and protects claims asserted by others on your property.
Other types of insurance that protect your home may focus on possible future events and charge an annual premium. Owner’s Title Insurance is a one-time purchase and following a careful examination and research of past ownership of your property, it protects you on claims or issues on your property before you were the owner.

Your home is probably your most important investment. Before closing on your home, inquire about your title insurance protection. Be sure to protect your asset with an Owner’s Title Policy.

Why Title Insurance