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Rae Liu Johnson and family, Leatherology,

Leatherology Co-Founder Rae Liu

family outings, shopping destinations and where to dine in Preston Hollow

In 2008, Rae Liu co-founded Leatherology with her brother David to help others elevate and celebrate the everyday through beautifully designed leather goods. We caught up with the Preston Hollow mom of two (Kressa is 5; Max is 3) to chat about life outside of Leatherology. She shares her favorite neighborhood spots for family time, date nights with her husband Kurt, R&R and more.

DFWChild: Why do you think Preston Hollow is a great place to raise a family?
Rae Liu: We love the neighborhood for its mature trees, convenience to downtown and proximity to great schools. We live close to Northaven Trail, which is being extended to connect directly to White Rock Trail, so there are lots of great walking options.

C: Where else do you go to get outdoors?
RL: We love the playground at White Rock Park. On weekends, we do family picnics from a hilltop that overlooks on the lake. We also love Preston Hollow Park. Lots of area children go there after school, so my kids have had tons of impromptu play dates with classmates.

C: Sounds like a good way to make mom friends, too.
RL: I’ve met most of my mom friends through my children’s school. I have one group I chat with almost daily. All of our kids were born within a week of each other and were in the same preschool class. It’s nice to go through the same milestones together.

Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science

C: Where else do you frequent as a family?
RL: I’ve started taking the kids to the St. Michael’s Farmers Market on the weekends. It’s off Dallas North Tollway and Northwest Highway. They have truly local farmers, ranchers and artisans selling goods there. I can get locally grown produce, and the kids get ice cream or popsicles. We also love outings to the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Klyde Warren Park.

C: Do you have a favorite destination for girls’ nights?
RL: With COVID, I haven’t had any girls’ nights lately. But my girlfriends and I formed a monthly book club on Zoom. 

C: Where do you go for self-care?
RL: I love going to the garden store to clear my head. North Haven Gardens is my favorite. Valley House Gallery off of Spring Valley is also really special. Manicures at home are also a nice treat! I use the Cherry app.

Photo courtesy of CAMP Dallas

C: Are there any local shops you love?
RL: Now that kids’ birthday parties are happening again, The Toy Maven at Preston Royal Village is our weekend go-to. They have an incredible selection of toys, and they gift wrap everything for free. The CAMP store off Walnut Hill is also fantastic. It’s an experiential toy store with lots of activities, so my kids always have a blast.

C: How do you stay active?
RL: Gardening. I’ve been trying to get my kids interested since they were super young! They love helping me plant seeds, bulbs and also weeding — because it means they get to dig!

C: What restaurants are topping your list in the wake of COVID?
RL: I’m excited to try Merdian, the new Brazilian restaurant. I’m also looking forward to going back to favorites like Tei-An, Homewood Dallas and Lucia. Royal China and Princi Italia are our version of comfort food. Prior to COVID, we used to take the kids to Cindi’s Deli every weekend. They have a kid-friendly menu, and my kids love the coloring pages and crayons they provide.

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C: How do you stay cool when the weather heats up?
RL: We go to the grandparents’ house to swim and take the kids for snow cones.

C: How do you give back to the community as a family?
RL: We’re fans and supporters of the North Texas Food Bank and The Family Place.

C: What’s on the agenda when you have out-of-town visitors?
RL: Good barbecue. I also love showing visitors different neighborhoods in Dallas: Deep Ellum, Bishop Arts, Downtown, Klyde Warren Park and White Rock Lake. If they like shopping, I take them to Knox-Henderson, NorthPark Center and Highland Park Village.

C: Have you discovered any hidden gems recently?
RL: There’s an incredible Buddhist Thai Temple off Stults Road near Forest and Central Expressway. On Sunday mornings, they host an amazing Thai food market — everything is delicious. I’m so excited it’s reopened!

Featured photo courtesy of Sarah Kate Berger