Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

25 April 2017

Date Night Ideas For When You're Trying to Save Money

I'm sure you've picked up on this (ahem - Drink on Fleek) but I LOVE making cocktails. CB and I have been trying to save money - you know, that whole wedding thing we gotta do - so we're always on the lookout for something inexpensive we can do together at home for date night. When I found out there was a date night idea that would allow me to share my love of cocktail making and hanging out with CB, I was pumped. 

When we eat out for date night, we always end up spending upwards of $75 after drinks and tip. We needed something cheaper, but still just as fun. Enter: Datebox! You guys are going to totally dig this.

Datebox sends you a package each month, full of everything you will need for a festive themed date night! For example, our cocktail kit had a jigger, shaker, strainer, stirring spoon, bottle opener and complete recipes for both cocktails and mocktails. Plus, it had all of the instructions to learning a new game (cribbage) and coasters that doubled as conversation starters! 

Themes could include a sushi rolling class, paint and cake pop kit, indoor camping or a coffee roasting kit. A new Datebox, with a totally new theme, arrives on your doorstep each month. 

They seriously thought of everything you'll need. I mean, it comes with a Spotify playlist specifically designed for each individual Datebox. Tell me that isn't adorable?

I connected my phone into our bluetooth speaker and cranked up the curated Spoitfy playlist. We prepped for our cocktail and laughed at each other's answers as we asked the "get to know you" questions. I mean, we've been together for almost 3 years, but it's still fun to ask each other random questions we never knew!

You know, had I asked more random questions in the early stages of our relationship, perhaps bagel-gate might not have been so traumatic for me.

So what are we waiting for here, let's bust out the cocktails.
I made the blueberry mojito recipe that was included in the kit.
Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!

Staying in doesn't have to be boring, and you certainly don't have to limit yourself to Netflix and Chill. Check out a Datebox subscription instead! It is just the cutest thing and you and your S.O. will have a blast learning something new together.


I definitely want to try their sushi making class next! 
What do you guys like to do for date night? Do you ever make cocktails together? Or even better, make sushi together?? 

MMMM, sushi ๐Ÿคค

20 April 2017

13 Restaurant and Food Photography Tips for Bloggers

When I first started Dallas Love List, I googled and pinterest searched Restaurant and Food Photography Tips for Bloggers and honestly found nothing of substance. The posts were mostly back and forth on if it was respectful or not to take photos of your food in a restaurant. I always want to be respectful, but at the same time it is 2017 and, well, people do it every day. The restaurant food photography tips post needs to be written. 

The best way to take great food photos is to feel comfortable behind the camera, whichever camera it is that you use. I use both iPhone and DSLR -- I use this camera and this lens which will TRANSFORM your pics for just over $100. 

I wish I had this list when I first started, but here are my go-to tips and poses for taking photos of your food in restaurants.

I'm listing this first because if you want to be successful at this, you've gotta get over yourself and get over worrying what other people at other tables are thinking. Yes, you're standing up and taking a million photos and people might giggle. 

Those people who giggle will also be the same one liking your photo and tagging the buddy they're sitting with saying, "Hey @iamsarahwebb this looks soooo good we have to go here!!!" 

When someone tags their friend in your photo, that's the holy grail! So, get over yourself and get the shots you need and quit worrying if you look stupid or not. 

Spoiler: you do look stupid and you can laugh all the way to the bank (and by bank I mean all the free meals you're going to get).

2. Cut Your Sandwich Up and Stack It
If you order a burger or sandwich, cut it up and stack it together and hold it for the camera. A burger on a plate, boring. You can't see the pink inside and all of the other goodies like cheese, cheese and the cheese. Stacking it allows you to show off the core of the sandwiches and gives your audience a way better visual.

More examples of the sandwich stack here | here | here 

3. Ask your friend to reach for something
The NUMBER ONE rule of thumb is #CameraEatsFirst, and we will get to that in a second, but if someone is super HANGRY and they start reaching for a fry or chip, let them do it and take their picture. This is probably the weirdest thing I've ever said, but I like CB's hands (BAHHA ๐Ÿ˜‚) and I always think they look good in my photos! My hands on the other hand, woof.

More examples of "the reach" here | here | here

4. Sit at the bar
I won't drill the "Natural LIGHT" tip here, because in restaurants it just isn't feasible. Many are dark intentionally to add ambiance. Also, I have no cure for that, that sucks when that happens. You're screwed.

What you can do at a dark restaurant is sit at the bar though. The bar is usually toward the front, and thus closer to the front doors and windows. Alas, better chance for light there. The backdrop of your photos will be walls of liquor/beer/wine which usually looks great as that slightly blurred backdrop.

More examples of bar photos here | here

5. Get up and leave with your food
We were eating at a place called Fat Chicken in Trinity Groves, and I spotted a waiting area with red picnic tables when we walked in. I knew I was going to get that little table as my background. So I grabbed our deviled eggs, the cute napkin that was on the table and the menu and left. 

Does CB hate me --- sometimes. Until I take him to unlimited food and wine events for free and all is forgiven. It's annoying and worth it at the same time. 

I don't do the "get up and leave" that often because as awesome as the photo usually turns out, it's so rude. Here is an example of one other time I did.

6. Drinks in the Air
This is my go-to, I pretty much do this every other photo.
Make sure you tag #DrinksintheAir while you're at it.

My entire page is pretty much drinks in the air but check out some other examples here | here | here

7. Check Instagram Before You Order
I've asked bartenders, "What is your most photogenic drink?" and 100% of the time I've not gotten something I want to put on insta. When I think photogenic, I think snacks and garnishes galore. Bartenders think pink or purple with a lemon twist. 

I like to check three things before I order: what the restaurant has posted, what the restaurant has been tagged in, and the restaurant's geo tag feed. 

I had already seen that crepe on instagram and knew it was a good choice!

8. Cheers Other Things Besides Drinks
A typical go-to lifestyle/fashion blogger pose is the cheersing of the drinks. Now, I have that pose a lot on my feed, but it isn't very original. Next time, try cheersing something other than your drinks. I think you'll dig the uniqueness of that shot.

9. Use Props like Sunglasses, Newspapers and Bags
Forewarning: It's hard to not see yourself in the mirror of the sunglasses. I usually just try to smile when I take the pic.

A post shared by Dallas Love List (@dallaslovelist) on

Other examples of props I've used here | here | here

10. Don't forget sauces, they're pretty
Many restaurants, especially BBQ, Mexican and Chicken places offer a variety of sauces. Ask if you can have one of each and line them up in your photo.

Other use of sauces here | here

11. Pick your food up and show the camera what you're eating
Ask your friend to take your photo, or ask your friend to show you their food. Have them hold the burger/sandwich/drink outstretched to the camera. I don't use this one on Dallas Love List very often, but it works great as more of a lifestyle shot @iamsarahwebb.

A post shared by Sarah Webb / Venus Trapped (@iamsarahwebb) on

12. Eat on the Patio
This is obviously a no brainer for better lighting, but I'm listing it anyway.
SIT ON THE PATIO, your photos will not even compare to the ones taken inside.

13. Most Important Rule | Camera Eats First
The half eaten food photo is not a good one unless it's a donut. Camera ALWAYS eats first.

I'll end on that most important rule, the golden rule. Treat others how you would want to be treated, and make sure you don't eat until everyone has the photos they need.


If you liked these tips, I hope you'll follow me on INSTAGRAM (even if you don't live in Dallas) for more inspiration!! 

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