Venus Trapped in Mars

27 March 2017

What I Learned From Giving Up Booze for 24 Days

This post was a no-brainer for me to write. I had planned on writing about what I learned when I gave up booze - with one or two days left to go in my 24 Day Challenge, but that didn't happen. Actually, I'm glad it didn't happen because I feel like I learned even more after re-introducing booze back into my life. It was legit eye opening how giving up booze makes you feel, and what happens when you actually give up alcohol. 

First, I'll pat myself on the back because I made it through the entire challenge without giving in. Aside from a couple of specific events (St. Pats Parade + Bacon and Beer Festival) it was pretty easy. I didn't put myself in situations where I was setting myself up for failure and that was the key. I packed my lunch and snacks with me everywhere I went. I also drank club soda with lime like it was going out of style. I love club soda - my soda stream is my bestie - so that was a HUGE help. 

I'm going to be totally honest in this post. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my skin cleared up and I was bippity bopping all over the greater Dallas area with so much energy I was going to BURST open if I didn't move.

It did not have that effect on me....

What Happens when you give up alcohol Here are the 10 things that happened when I gave up booze! 

1. I wanted to SLEEP nonstop
I don't think I've ever slept so much or so soundly as I did over this 24 day period. On weekdays I was asleep by 10pm and out like a log all night. On weekends, I was tired by 10pm and could easily sleep until 8 or 9am the next morning and still want more. 

I didn't toss and turn, I just slept like a rock - well, aside from when Veenie or Gee licks my face in order to get me to lift the covers up for them. 

I was just really tired -- all the dang time. 

This one I realized after I reintroduced drinking again. I woke up with a hangover and with so much anxiety, it was terrible. 

I said to CB, "Oh my gosh my anxiety is out of control." 
He asked over what - and I couldn't give him an answer. I didn't know. When I have a hangover I don't just have nausea, I have uncontrollable anxiety and I can never pinpoint the cause. 

If you get this, it's the WORST thing in the world. Anxiety is no joke. 

It occurred to me, as I was laying there completely stressed out, that I never had a single ounce of any anxiety at all while I wasn't drinking. 

Before I did this 24 Day Challenge, I had myself convinced I had an anxiety problem that just probably wouldn't get solved. I was too nervous to talk to my doctor about it (don't ask me why, I just don't know) so I just DEALT with it. 

Turns out, it is caused by booze. This was hands down the biggest eye opener for me. 
No drinking = no anxiety. Really interesting. 

3. I Saved So Much MONEY 
This one was fantastic. My drink of choice (dirty gin martini) is always expensive. Generally around $10 a pop. Not drinking craft beers, pinot noirs, martinis or old fashioneds sure was light on the wallet. I obviously knew I'd save money, but with packing my lunch everywhere we went and not drinking -- there were a couple of weekends I made it through without spending a single dime. Making it through a weekend without spending money, mind blowing. 

4. I Thoroughly Enjoyed Being The DD
CB and I take Uber or Lyft everywhere when we go out drinking. We don't mess with drinking and driving, EVER. I have to admit, we do a really good job of planning to avoid drinking and driving. 

Usual scenario: We go out in Deep Ellum pretty often. When we do, we will drive to Deep Ellum and leave a car there in favor of Ubering back. The next morning (probably hungover) it was always such a pain in the butt to plan the whole day around going back to get the car. 

I could drive our friends around, we didn't need to worry about paying or planning around an uber, and I had my car with me the next day. I'm not sure why I loved having my car with me so much, perhaps it was enjoying having control, but I really liked being Designated Driver. I felt great about getting my friends home safely, and I felt even better that I didn't have to worry about if my car was safe in the lot I parked it over night. 

5. I Was Kind Of Lame Once 10pm hit
I was fine to go out with everyone and stay sober, but the second 10pm hit I was totally over it. I was yawning and had a hard time staying focused in the conversations. 

I also REALLY HATED - I mean REALLY hated - being sober when literally everyone around me was blasted. When we got off our float after the St. Patrick's Parade and walked down Lower Greenville, people were falling over, passed out in the street, stumbling into me, pushing, yelling, slurring words. I DID NOT like it, at all. 

I sometimes have anger issues (ok, I'm a loose cannon on occasion) and my anger management problems were in full force. Drunk girls slamming into me because they downed 400 jell-o shots, yeah, not for me. 

6. Weekends
There was a whole weekend out there that I didn't know existed. You mean, I can go workout on the weekend? Like, what? 

Waking up without any kind of hangover meant I could go do Soul Cycle, got up early to have coffee with a friend, we played a full round of golf, went to the Arboretum and looked at flowers, took a road trip. We did all sorts of things and I wasn't forcing myself through the motions because I had a hangover. 

When you have a productive weekend, especially on a Sunday, Monday didn't suck nearly as much. Also, perhaps a reason there was ZERO anxiety to be had. 

7. I did not have a "GLOW"
I had read a few "Things That Happened when I Stopped Drinking" posts and they almost all mentioned how glowing their skin was. My skin was fine, but it wasn't any different than before. Maybe it is because I've always been a big water drinker - I usually meet my water intake goal by 10am. I thought I'd have this dewy complexion that would appear after a week without booze, but that never came. 

8. Blood Pressure Improved
I've had high blood pressure for the past several years. I wrote about when I was first forced on blood pressure medicine HERE. It was shocking to be my age and told I needed blood pressure medicine. Although I'm not ALWAYS religious about working out, I have always been pretty good at sticking to a healthy eating plan during the week. Spoiler: it's the weekends that get me. 

Even while on blood pressure medicine, there are times when I go to the doctor and the number still freaks me out. Sometimes 130/90. 

Well, on day 21 of 24 of not drinking - I went to the dentist who took my Blood Pressure. 
My BP was 117/70. I squealed, I was SO excited about this.

9. No Shakes, No Rapid Heart Beating, No Shortness of Breath
After a night of drinking, the next morning there are MANY times my hands will be shaky, my heart feels like it is going to race right out of my chest and I can't seem to catch my breath. 

This was of course non-existent. Again, another reason I didn't have anxiety. 

10. I had full control over myself
When I get halfway through that 2nd drink, I start to question the way everything sounds coming out of my mouth. 

Did I say that weird?
Can they tell I'm feeling it? 
Am I talking too loud at this person right now?? 
Am I talking TOO much? 
Did I just slur that sentence? 

As much as I love a craft cocktail, I HATE feeling drunk. 

Well, let me rephrase that, I hate thinking that someone else thinks I'm drunk. 

I like to think I'm a smart woman, and I think the second you get finished with that second drink you throw all of your education, poise, intelligence out the window when you can't pronounce words correctly or slur everything you're trying to say to someone.   

Knowing I was sober and completely put together was downright lovely. I really enjoyed that feeling. I felt very confident because I knew I had my shit together and I knew what was going to come out of my mouth was exactly what I wanted to say, when I wanted to say and and how I wanted to say it. 

In conclusion
I was so excited to finally have that first drink again, so I know that I don't want to completely cut out drinking. 

I think I have a solid plan of attack for going forward, and that is to only drink (meaning, more than 2) when it's just me and CB or my close friends. I know I don't have to stress out with them, I can be myself and I can be silly with them. I won't wake up after a night with them and think crap what did I do to upset someone.

I also think I'll try and reserve the cocktails for events and weekends only. I don't need a Tuesday night glass of wine while sitting on the couch, I just don't. Sure there will be bad days where a glass of wine is the only remedy, but in an effort to continue to lose weight and save money, cocktails/beer/wine need to be viewed as a treat, not a requirement.

I don't want to bring that anxiety back into my life, and if I am thankful for one thing on this 24 day challenge it's that I've learned the root of my anxiety, and how to get rid of it. That alone made taking, and succeeding, in this challenge a win in my book!

Oh and I lost weight and won my DietBet! Whoop!

P.S. - I'm doing another DietBet again this month. It started today but you have a couple of days to complete your initial weigh-in! Come join me!!

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21 March 2017

What To Do On A Weekend in Denver

I have been a total slacker on trip recaps but better late than never! Back in February, CB and I spent a long weekend in Denver. We hit as many local Denver breweries (and even a winery) as possible, found lots of amazing street art and ate all of the food. Here is what we did in Denver, where we ate in Denver and what we saw (aka- the best Denver street art) while on a long weekend in Denver! 

So CB and I love craft beer (actually, we really don't discriminate, we enjoy anything that starts with A and ends with lcohol) and we heard the craft beer scene in Denver was off the charts. We knew we wanted to hit as many breweries as possible. In order to keep our wits about us and not be out of commission by 2pm, we split a flight at each stop. 

We stayed Downtown at the Holiday Inn Express, paid for with IHG points. I'm lucky to get enough of those from work trips to pay for a few weekend getaways each year for me and CB! This hotel had just been renovated and included a free breakfast plus great views from the room. Location was excellent too, we were able to walk to what we wanted to do that day!

We woke up, grabbed a *free* breakfast and headed out on a stroll to the RINO district, stopping for mural after mural along the way. All of these were found on the walk from downtown to RINO. 

Our first stop for the day was in the RINO district for Bloody Marys (and coffee, and water - I'm a 3 beverage kind of gal at breakfast) at the Denver Central Market. I'm told the Denver Central Market is new, and let's be real here it is downright CHARMING AF.

Denver Central Market

SUPER cheap *so comfy* kicks SIMILAR HERE + HERE + HERE

In addition to trying to drink efficiently, we also wanted to eat efficiently. So we shared small plates at several different spots. At the Central Market we split the Labne Cheese toast w/ Dukkah salad from Izzo and Bloodies from the bar there, Curio

After scarfing that delicious toast down, we ventured down the street to Ratio Beerworks and split our first flight of the day. This place was a colorful retro themed beer wonderland. It was so funky, and the beer was delicious too. If we ever meet in person, I assume I'll order an IPA, my beer of choice!

Ratio Beerworks

After Ratio, we walked back toward downtown to The Great Divide and split a half flight there. 

The Great Divide

After that we walked BACK down to the RINO neighborhood and had a wine flight at Infinite Monkey Theorem which is an AWESOME urban winery. We split a few different varieties, one of which had to be a rose because I just can't quit them. 

Infinite Monkey Theorem

After that flight (yes, still standing, but feeling very groovy at this point) we walked down the street (still in RINO) to Our Mutual Friend brewing which was jam packed so we knew it would be great. 

Another hour, another flight. 

Our Mutual Friend

Ok, still keeping up?
Next we went to a super unique concept for a bar, First Draft.

First Draft

I didn't take any photos here *face palm* but we did meet up with Sami and her sweet boyfriend Brian. Sami showed us the ropes on how this place worked. 

Basically, think of this bar like one of the fro-yo places you've been to. They charge you by the ounce. So go ahead, pour however much you like into your glass, but it'll cost you. 

We also learned that they cut you off after so many ounces. WE OF COURSE DIDN'T USE ALL OF OUR AVAILABLE OUNCES. ANOTHER TABLE DID. 

jk. We might have used them. We weren't driving, and ounces are small. 

Really unique concept, I hope they'll bring it to Dallas! 

For dinner that night we couldn't resist the incredible tourist trap known conveyor belt sushi restaurant, Sushi Rama

Sushi Rama

We paid too much for sushi and probably got hosed, but we had fun and smiled the whole time. (Smiles may or may not be due to using all of our available ounces at First Draft-- TBD.) 

We also saw this sign which was crazy accurate....

Following dinner, we spotted what looked like a cool place with flashing strobe lights (my weakness) and headed in to Voicebox. I'm hoping you guys don't judge me with this story but if you do, then oh well. CB and I are very social when we have a beer or in today's case like 14 mini beers. Voicebox, as it turned out, was a group party Karaoke spot. Groups can reserve their own private room and karaoke - in private - with your friends.  Well, CB and I were DYINGGGG to get into one of the rooms but obviously didn't have a group. 

So we sat at the bar and tried to make small talk (aka - become best friends) with every last person who walked up. 

We started with gems like, "So how bout them Broncos?" or "HAVING FUN IN THERE??!!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!?"

We were prepared to buy shots, whatever it took to get in a karaoke room. 
Sadly, no one invited us in :( it was sad. 

SO - if you ever hit up a Voicebox in your area and see two smiling people trying to make small talk at the bar, INVITE THEM INTO YOUR GROUP BOOTH DANG IT! They'll be an awesome addition to your party, I promise! 

After that we called it a night  and took an uber home. 

The next morning we met Sami and Brian for a brunch we were very excited about at a place called Bacon Social House. I had my go-to Eggs Benedict, a Bloody Mary and - how could we resist - a bacon flight. 

Bacon Social House

From there, CB and I found a spot to hunker down and watch the Super Bowl for the rest of the evening. 

The next morning - Monday - we HAD to hit up Snooze for breakfast. I had so many recommendations for that place, that I couldn't NOT go there. Plus, we had tried to go to the one in Austin but the wait was just way too long. Heading there early on a Monday morning, we didn't wait at all! 

Again, more Eggs Benedict, now do you see why I had to start the healthy eating train?????? 

One more mural and we were wheels up, back to Dallas.

I without a doubt fell in love with Denver. The RINO neighborhood reminded me so much of my favorite Dallas neighborhood, Deep Ellum, and I almost didn't want to leave! The people were all so chill. From what I saw, everyone was just really damn cool. No one was dressed to the nines, everyone was wearing kicks and jeans or comfy clothes. I honestly would fit right in in Denver. 

Alas, Dallas has my heart, but Denver gets a major honorable mention. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it is less than $100 to fly there from Dallas on a handful of different airlines! 

Until next time, Denver! 

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19 March 2017

Buying a Car in Dallas

You guys know how much I love my city, Dallas, by now right? For those of you who don't know, I was born and raised in Richmond, Va, went to college (and stayed several years after college) in Knoxville, Tn, had a brief stint living in Lexington, Ky and found myself a place to call home - finally - in Dallas. 

Since starting Dallas Love List, I get to hear about a lot of events before they're made available to the general public. Normally I get wind of food and beverage festivals, but today I wanted to talk to you about the upcoming DFW Auto Show. The DFW Auto Show is one of the largest new car and truck shows in the nation, and open to the public from March 22-26, 2017. 

My dad was a car salesman for over 25 years, so my perspective on owning a car while growing up was totally skewed. He'd come home with a new dealer demo every three months, it was awesome! As a little kid he'd ask me what kind of car he should try and track down next, I of course used to scream CONVERTIBLE! 

As an adult now, I of course realized this is in no way shape or form normal. A couple of years after I had moved to Dallas, I bought my first car all on my own. I had no help, and went dealership to dealership with my haggling game face on. I had done my research and I knew what I wanted to pay. I think I did pretty well, considering car buying (especially as a single female) can be VERY intimidating. 

One thing I for sure didn't have, but will 100% use when it is time to buy my next car is the Capital One® Auto Navigator® which simplifies both the car buying and car financing process. It essentially adds transparency to an otherwise hectic and intimidating process by allowing the consumer to see if they pre-qualify for auto financing before they visit a dealer, without impacting their credit score. You can browse 3 million cars from over 12,000 participating dealers, and see car history reports, dealer ratings, car reviews and get a personalized APR and monthly payment on each car once you pre-qualify for financing. 

So for all my Dallasites, as one of the title sponsors of this year’s DFW Auto Show, Capital One will show attendees how they’ve developed Auto Navigator with customer needs top of mind. At the Capital One Auto Navigator Garage, located in Hall F of the Show, car enthusiasts and potential car buyers can learn more about how they can find and finance the car perfect for them with Capital One’s Auto Navigator! 

For more information about the Capital One Auto Navigator Garage, be sure to visit Capital One's Facebook page before the show kicks off here in Dallas March 22nd! 

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

17 March 2017

No Booze, Spring Training and D Weddings

Happy St. Patrick's Day kids. I totally forgot it was St. Pats today. In fact, I've been confused all week since we did our St. Patrick's Day parade this past Saturday. I thought we were done and past this but ah well, top of the Irish mornin to ya! 

I thought I'd take today to do some basic updates on my life. Easy post, I'll type, you read. 

1. Let's talk about the 24 days of no booze and eating healthy
The eating part has been easy peasy. I eat 5-6 times a day, which I've been told is very good for you. I'm eating a crap ton of avocado and, inadvertently, also wasting a crap ton of avocado. 

I'd venture to say that 30% of my paycheck has gone directly to the purchase of avocados. About15% (of that 30%) are avocados that have been opened, half eaten and then gone bad. I'm not sure of the solution to this problem. First world probs, no doubt. 

I really haven't struggled with the eating healthy side. I don't feel hungry, probably because I'm eating all day. 

The booze side though, that's been very difficult. 

I'll start with a pro on not boozing: I AM SAVING ALL THE CASH. I cannot believe how little I've spent in these past 19 days. More money for half eaten avocados. Yay. 

I won't sugarcoat this, but giving up booze has been really hard. Last Saturday, we got to throw beads on the SEC float in the St. Patrick's Day parade. I don't want to go into a lot of detail because I'm saving all of this detail for one long, "What I learned after 24 days of not drinking" blog post - side note: I see these posts all the time on sites like The Everygirl, and I click them EVERY TIME. So, I'd be crazy not to write it myself. To sum it up, everyone around me was completely shit canned and I was as sober as a gopher, which was tedious to say the least. 

Another side note of not drinking: everyone assumes you're pregnant. 
Nope, not pregnant, just torturing myself for fun.

One last weekend of no booze to go. I GOT THIS.

Another side note: Saturday I have VIP tickets to the bacon and beer festival and VIP tickets to Local Brews Local Grooves Beer Festival. FML. Both events include unlimited beer. The first event includes unlimited bacon. I just really hope both events have Topo Chico because that's pretty much the only thing keeping me going. 

2. Texas Rangers Spring Training with Toyota 

I hinted on instagram about an upcoming collaboration I have with Toyota. Well, to spill the beans, CB and I are headed on an amazing road trip to Texas Rangers Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona in a brand new 2017 Land Cruiser!! WHAT. WHAAAAAT???


We are so excited, we are almost annoying to be around. We leave Tuesday after work and it cannot come soon enough. We are breaking the trip into 3 stops. 

Tuesday Night, March 21st 
Dallas ----> Amarillo 
We don't have any stops planned -- mostly because I'm told there is nothing to see between Dallas and Amarillo. 

Wednesday Morning, March 22nd
Amarillo ----> Albuquerque I still have not figured out how to spell Albuquerque without the help of google so let's just call it ABQ. 

Stops Planned: 
Sunset Drinks (FIRST DRINK ALERT) at the Apothecary Lounge at Hotel Parq Central

Thursday Morning, March 22nd
ABQ ----> Scottsdale - Talking Stick Resort

Stops Planned: 
Wigwam Village (wigwam is my favorite word, we have to go here)
Cock Rock (yes, you read that right. I'm sorry, that is hilarious and we are stopping.) 

I've never been to New Mexico, nor Arizona. If you have ANY recommendations on stops that I didn't list PLEASE holler at me! I'm all ears! 

3. D Weddings Partnership 

For those of you who are not from Dallas, my absolute favorite magazine/publication in Dallas is D Magazine. They have a division of D Mag, totally devoted to Dallas weddings called D Weddings.

WELL.... YOUR GIRL HERE is going to be partnering with them for the entire duration of our engagement, sharing behind the scenes, struggles, excitement, fun, joy, nerves, anxiety, pressures and the TOTAL LOVE of the wedding process. 

I'll be taking over their social channels and website during each step of the wedding process from looking at venues to choosing a dress. IT IS GOING TO BE SOOOO FUN and not to mention a great opportunity for Dallas Love List too! They're looking to expand and grow the D Weddings brand and I am SO PUMPED they chose me to help them with that. 

I'm working on my first blog post for them as we speak, so I hope you'll follow along with me on their social channels: Insta // Facebook // Blog

EEK! So much fun stuff ahead and I hope you'll follow along with me for all of it! 
Happy St. Pats, kids! Have a great weekend y'all! 

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