Sporty Jessica Sutton, of Love2shop Holidays in the Wirral, ditched the gym clothes for a bit of glam and was impressed by Texas on Travel Weekly’s Cover Stars trip.
Q. Cover Stars flew you out in American Airlines business class. Had you travelled that way before?
A. No. It was a great experience that I’d definitely suggest if customers can afford it or for a special occasion. We flew out with American Airlines, which just pipped British Airways who we came back with because the layout on American was more private. I had the vegan food option and it was really good so I know they’ve got all dietary requirements covered.
Q. After you landed you went to Fort Worth. What was the highlight?
A. We checked into the Sheraton, which is a really nice hotel, got changed and headed out to Joe T Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant. The queue outside was massive but we got taken straight to the front. I couldn’t believe how popular it was until I tried the food. It was proper old-school Tex-Mex. Then we saw more classic Texas when we went to the rodeo, which is a must for any visitor.
Q. And you saw a country music legend…
A. Yeah, we were so lucky because we went to Billy Bob’s Honky Tonk, which was celebrating its 35th anniversary and Willie Nelson was playing. I’d heard his name before but had no idea how big and popular he is. Everyone on the trip was saying he’s their dad’s favourite musician. He’s in his 80s now, so I was impressed at how well he looked. It was a privilege to see him play.
Q. How was the tour of the Stockyards and Bull Ring?
A. Our driver, Lil’ Wayne (not the rapper), was great. He took us to the Stockyards, which was like something out of a film. It’s so typically Texas, so was a really authentic experience. At the Bull Ring they were actually selling the bulls off, like a cattle market. I had never seen that before. We also went to downtown Fort Worth and visited the site where John F Kennedy had given his last speech the day before he got shot. And we went to Sundance Square where there are lots of bars and restaurants.
Q. And then you were treated to a Simon Shopping Destinations centre…
A. We were shopping all day! I like shopping but I was so nervous because I’d been looking by myself and couldn’t find anything that I liked except for a leather jacket from Max Azria. So it was great to have the personal shoppers to help me complete the outfit. We went to get the jacket and they found me a skater dress too. They were really honest too, so when I came out of the fitting room and they said ‘yes’ rather than ‘erm’, I knew they were being genuine.
Q. Talk us through your photoshoot.
A. I live in my gym clothes so it took me out of my comfort zone. We did the shoot at my hotel, Omni Barton Creek, on the golf course. I was in heels on grass and it was early in the morning. My grandad, who was golf mad, had passed away a few weeks before, so I was thinking of him. He would’ve laughed at me, so that was a really nice moment.
Q. And the rest of the trip…
A. We also drove into Austin, which was lovely. We went to a proper old-style barbecue at a really cool and quirky restaurant. There were so many different types of meats that I didn’t know where to start. It was full-on American. At least I’d had the vegan option on the plane.
Shot at the beautiful Omni Barton Creek, Jess dazzles in an elegant Aztec skater dress and chic leather jacket (cover photo) from BCBG Max Azria at Grand Prairie Premium Outlets – a Simon Shopping Destinations property offering outstanding discounts of 25% 65% off everyday prices. Jess’s look is completed with a stylish blow dry from the Spa at Omni Barton Creek, and make up courtsey of Caroline Donaldson-Sinclair for Simon Shopping Destinations.
Jessica’s Texas tips
Upgrade if you can: That bit of luxury for a long flight means you arrive feeling more refreshed.
Suggest Texas: It’s proper America and offers something different to Orlando or New York.
Get them to Grapevine: It’s really pretty, very laid-back and there’s a vintage railway.
Jessica on real-life cowboys
“When you think of Texas the first thing you think of are cowboys. But I didn’t expect it to be such a big part of their culture still. We are not talking people dressing up in fancy dress; it was everyday clothing for them – boots, hats and all. I texted my mum when we were at the rodeo saying ‘cowboys are real’. Even the bars are like traditional saloons, which is a great spectacle. We went into one bar where the whole place was decorated with cowboy hats – every style you could think of was on the wall. They even buy and sell cattle too. Cowboys are not just characters from a Wild West film; it’s a lifestyle and it’s how they live.”
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