Venus Trapped in Mars

22 December 2015

A First-Timer's Trip To Vegas


Here we are, two days later, and I'm still struggling to get it together after my 3 day weekend in Vegas. Each night since I've been back, I've been in bed by 8pm, yet I just can't seem to get back to normal. Vegas is a true test of your ability to party, and by party I mean stay up past midnight three nights in a row. 

Other than the exhaustion that has unpacked its bags under my eyeballs, Vegas was just the most incredible time. This was our first vacation with just the two of us, and I'm happy to report that we are the perfect travel companions. For the most part, we wanted to do all of the same things which was obviously very convenient for maximizing our time. My only request was to visit The Neon Museum, which CB certainly wouldn't have picked on his own, but I think he ended up enjoying it just as much as I did.  The rest of the weekend, where we went and what we did, I left up to him since he's been so many times before. 

We arrived on Thursday night and I was like a kid in a candy store with a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. We took a few minutes to swoon over our gorgeous room and view at the MGM Signature, before we bolted out to explore. CB suggested downtown Vegas the first night, saying it was quite a bit different than the strip. I ordered a totally inappropriate $20 blue drink that came in a football and left my mouth looking like a smurf, then put $20 in a machine that paid me in a slew of rushing quarters. 

Delicious alcohol slushies and spewing quarters.... you're alright Vegas, you're alright. 







The neon lights, the bright, inviting glow that cast off literally everything... I was so in love with all of the textures, patterns, lights and tiling everywhere. There wasn't a single detail that Vegas seemed to miss. (Which is good, because with the super high prices on everything, they better not miss any details!

The next morning we slept in until about 10, which was the latest we could possibly rationalize allowing ourselves to stay in bed in a city like Vegas. I woke up to CB walking through the door with a McDonalds Egg White Delight in tow.... I knew I loved that kid, y'all. 

We left the MGM, popped into Walgreens for a $2.99 Miller Light Tallboy and went for a stroll outdoors, passing NYNY, Paris, the Cosmopolitan and finally found ourselves at the mesmerizing Christmas display at the Bellagio.

















Update: we did not bring our Miller Light Tallboys into the Bellagio........ 










After each spending (and losing) $20 in a poker machine to receive a "free" drink, we laughed at how ridiculous that was and headed to my favorite part of the trip, The Neon Museum. The Neon Museum could easily have its own post. It's a boneyard filled with old Vegas signs, and the most photogenic, instagram-worthy tour you could ever imagine. 















I'm still trying to decide on my favorite sign.  I think if I had to pick, I'd say the Jackpot Motel sign just for the simplicity, and those palm trees so casually popping up in the background. A close second would be that very last pink and yellow casino sign. Unfortunately the picture doesn't do it justice! What's your favorite???? 



That night, CB took me out for my birthday dinner at one of the restaurants in Paris where I was treated to absolutely delicious oysters and steak. 








It's safe to say it was one of the very best weekends I've ever had, with my very favorite person on this earth. I'm a very lucky girl, that's all I know! Now on to plan our next trip together, would it be bad to go to Vegas again???? 


Nah, not just yet, I don't think my wallet can handle anymore $22 cocktails. 





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17 December 2015

Vegas, Here I Come!



Today is my 29th birthday, and the 3rd time I've had the pleasure of celebrating this day right here on my own little internet nook, Venus Trapped in Mars. I had every intention of celebrating my birthday with you guys by posting my Dallas Cowboys video today, but alas, I don't have the go ahead from the Cowboys just yet. As soon as I have permission though, that bad boy is being splattered all over every social media account I have! 

Although I do have a full work day today, as soon as 5pm rolls around CB and I will be bolting over to Dallas Love Field airport and catching the 7:30pm Virgin flight to VEGAS. It's fitting that we're taking Virgin to Vegas, seeing as this will be my very first time to visit. To say I'm excited wouldn't be doing my current mood justice, I feel like there is no possible way I'm going to make it until 5pm. 

My mom, also known as the luckiest person I know, won two free nights at the MGM Signature hotel and was kind enough to give those nights to us! We will be staying there tonight and tomorrow, then moving over to the Linq for the final night.

I can't say we have much of a concrete plan for the weekend. CB has an idea up his sleeve for a birthday dinner tomorrow night, and I bought us tickets to go to the the Neon Museum which I'm super pumped about. We will also be seeing my best friend, Lil Jon perform on Saturday. For those who have been around here for a while, you will probably remember that Lil Jon and I are best friends because he retweeted me. When you retweet me, we become best friends, that's just how my little mind works.

And in the most important part of this whole post... I made a life altering decision to purchase a romper. I know, I know, I'm a loose cannon. I'm planning on being crazy in Vegas, and that's ok right??? This is the very last birthday that I can make the excuse, "It's ok, I'm still just SO young!"

I bought two very cheap dresses from Forever 21 that I would never wear here in Dallas. One is a sparkly silver romper and the other is a LOOK AT ME gold bling number with the sides cut out. I've been known to wear a cardigan to the club (by club, I obviously mean bar because I'm not 18) on multiple occasions, and it will take everything in my power not to pair either of these dresses with a nice little cozy librarian cardigan.

In fact, I didn't even pack a cardigan.
*BOOM*

Alright fine, I might have packed one, but it's a bright orange color, not just a blah taupe.

Alright, alright, if we're calculating my suitcase inventory, I did pack a taupe cardigan... but I vow not to wear it to see Lil Jon, ok?

I'll of course be snapchatting my Vegas journey, and if you want to check in on me to make sure I'm not wearing either of my two cardigans then I suggest you follow along on snapchat @iamsarahwebb, and on Instagram too, just to be double certain!

Official Hashtag: #nocardiganweekend


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16 December 2015

What I Read This Year

Hmmm, about that post title....

I should probably clarify that I don't actually read, I listen to books.

It's horribly embarrassing for me to admit that I've never been a reader. I always saw blog posts, Pinterest pins and articles filled with exciting beach reads and can't-put-down thriller recommendations, but I just blew right past them because I was just never interested in reading.

I've tried so many different times to start a book, but I never finish. I think the last time I voluntarily read a book, from cover to cover, was when I was 19 years old. I read The 5 People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and it pulled me in right from the first page. I was so enthralled by that book because I had just lost my Dad and it was just one of the only books that completely held my attention from start to finish. 

I've tried reading easy beach reads, I've tried the classics, I've tried mysteries... nothing seems to hold my attention. Instead of focusing on the words printed in front of my face, I instead start thinking about if I should start Drew Brees or Matthew Stafford in fantasy that week,  or what I should wear to my birthday party, or worrying if the tide is gonna reach my chair. I just couldn't focus on a book to save my life. 

That was until I did the trial membership for Audible earlier this year. I had just finished binge listening to the Serial Podcast, and I had enjoyed that so much that I thought, heck, why not give Audible a go?

I listen to books every single day on my way to and from work, and on my lunch break. Yes, for those wondering, I like to eat my lean cuisine in my car while listening to an audio book. Tis the life of Sarah. Shhhhhh... Sometimes I switch it up and listen to the Dr. Laura podcast, don't tell anyone that though, k? 

After nearly a year of downloading and listening to audio books, I'm excited to finally make a list of my own favorites. Here are my favorite books that I couldn't put down (so to speak), some of the books I hated and some of the books saved on my list for future purchase!




The best part about Audible? When you read a biography or memoir, it is likely to be read by the person who actually wrote the book. Mindy reads her book to us and her charm is very easy to fall in love with. She tells stories that are so relatable I forget if I'm reading a book about me, or a book about her. Her writing is so funny and so effortless that, as a blogger, I find her inspiring. I started reading, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" and when I finished I immediately downloaded "Why Not Me" right after.  

Oh my gosh y'all, this book. I'm currently about halfway through and I'm so enthralled that I've considered sneaking off to the bathroom to listen at work. If you liked the Serial podcast, or solving mystery novels, you'll need to stop everything you're doing and download this book. Don't tell me what happens though, I'm not done yet!

Here's the review:
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss- a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago ... and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

3. The Kind Worth Killing || Peter Swanson
The narrator on Audible can make or break a book for me. There are 3 different narrators in this book, and they're all very distinct voices that do a great job of painting the picture of the character you're listing to. I actually got really excited when I started listening to the book listed above, Pretty Girls, and found out it was the same female narrator that read this book, The Kind Worth Killing.

If you like total, unexpected plot twists and turns, you'll like this book. If you like strong, intelligent female lead characters, you'll like this book.

Here's the review:
On a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily takes a turn when Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his wife. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help.

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done.

4. Yes Please || Amy Poehler
I'm sure you've heard of this book by now, but even if you've read it before, I'd recommend listening to it on Audible. Amy's narration is so great because she adds in commentary that is not included in the physical copy of the book. Plus, she brings in her friends to read portions of the book, like Seth Meyer and Carol Burnett.

5. Not That Kind of Girl || Lena Dunham
Ok so I feel like some of you guys are going to disagree with me, but I hated this book. Well, hate is a strong word... let's rephrase that to say that it just wasn't my cup of tea. I love Lena, but this book just didn't do it for me. I loved Mindy and Amy's books (yes, first name basis) because they wrote like they spoke, simple and easy.

I can't stand books that are trying too hard to sound what I like to call, "writery." Extra, totally unnecessary words, and using "writery" imagery simply to show off is very annoying to me. I like simple and undeniably funny, which is not what I got from this book. I had such high expectations for this one, so it really hurt when I ended up not liking it.

6. The Girl On the Train || Paula Hawkins
YAAAAS girl. YAS. When I first downloaded this book, I had to turn it off because I was having a hard time keeping focus with the narrator's British Accent. After restarting it a few times, I was eventually sucked right in. Man did the ending blindside me, I did not see that one coming. This book was a total winner that I might even listen to again.

Here's the review: 
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?



I also read Gone Girl and Bossypants, both very popular books that I totally LOVED. I won't go into detail on those because I'm sure you have already heard all about them. Next on my list to read: The Good Girl, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, The Liar, Luckiest Girl Alive, A Hundred Summers, Cartwheel, To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

As you can tell, I love modern murder mysteries... what would you recommend for me that I might like? What books have you read this year that blew you away??



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15 December 2015

Hard Cider Sangria Recipe || Drink on Fleek



When I first started Drink on Fleek, I never imagined I'd have as much fun with it as I do. I of course love taste testing all of my concoctions, but it has also been fun learning about new and different types of liquor, beer and wine that I had never used in cocktails before. Patti, the co-founder of an awesome craft hard cider company based out of New York, Awestruck Cider, sent me an email a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in collaborating on a new cocktail for the Drink on Fleek series. Ummm, duh! 

I'd never thought to use a hard cider in a cocktail, but the possibilities and pairings are endless. I had been hoping to do a sangria recipe for a few weeks now, so I decided that would be the perfect big-batch, Holiday cocktail to use their delicious ciders in. 




The world of hard cider can be totally confusing because flavors and sweetness levels can be all over the map, but Awestruck makes it easy on us all by having a flavor slider bar to help decide if a particular flavor of cider is right for you.  For this recipe I went with their Eastern Dry Cider, which is a dry cider -- obviously -- with a good amount of fizz. I knew it would be perfect in my sangria. 

I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet drinks, so I used a Sauvignon Blanc as the wine in the sangria. If you prefer a sweeter, more bubbly batch, try using a riesling in yours! 





Hard Cider Sangria 

Makes 1 Serving

|| Ingredients || 
1 Large Bottle (750mL) Dry Hard Cider
I used Awestruck Eastern Dry Cider

1 Bottle White Wine
I used a Sauvignon Blanc

1 Red Apple

1 Pear
Cinnamon Stick

|| Directions || 
Slice your apple and pear and toss together in a large pitcher with your cinnamon stick. Pour wine over your fruit and chill until you're ready to serve. Right before serving, pour cider in your pitcher and gently stir. Pour over ice and serve with a cinnamon stick. 







To learn more about Awestruck Cider || Check them out on Facebook and Instagram!
For more cocktail ideas, check out my full feed of Drink on Fleek here.



Thank you to Awestruck for providing their cider for this post. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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14 December 2015

A Tacky Sweater Birthday Party

Last weekend, CB and I threw a joint Birthday/Christmas/Football watching party at our place. The vast majority of our group of friends, myself included, have a December birthday. We wanted to throw a party to celebrate the college football regular season coming to a close, each and every December birthday and of course, those beautiful tacky sweaters that everyone loves to wear.



General asked if he could wear his Christmas sweater to the party. I never say no to my little boy, so I dug it out of the closet and helped him get dressed. (LOLZZ) So handsome.

Veenie was jealous, so I helped her put her (way too small) Santa suit on.





The vet put Veenie on a diet, so no one taunt her with chips and salsa, ok?? That just wouldn't be fair.

I had ordered a tacky sweater for myself nearly a month earlier from Etsy, but the seller's page ended up being a scam and I never received it. I had to go with a backup I found at Walmart which turned out to be quite the popular sweater, seeing as CB's best friend Justin arrived wearing the exact same thing! Twins!





We had about 20 people coming over that night, so I called one of my absolute favorite restaurants the day before, Chipotle, and ordered catering. I went with The Big Spread, and opted for chicken, steak and carnitas. I scheduled my pickup time for 5:30pm, and when I got there, everything I needed to setup my party feast was packed and waiting for me.

Setup was a breeze, and even included bowls, napkins forks, chafing stands, steam pans and fuel.











As our friends arrived thoughout the evening, everyone was able to help themselves to as much food as they wanted. I secretly kept going back and grazed on chips and guac the entire night.

NOPE, this is for sure my first serving, I don't know what you're talking about. 









I filled my Chiptle bowl up and posted up on the couch to watch the three major conference championship games going on that night. We of course have that two TV setup in the living room: Fantasy Football, level expert. 

After we ate, some of us an embarrassing amount more than others, we all grabbed a spot on the couch for our white elephant gift exchange. We had the idea to do the white elephant exchange last minute, so we decided to take the guess work out of it and make it a liquor exchange. The rules were that you could only spend $20, and it must come from the liquor store. There was a lot of fireball.... a whole lot of fireball. 






Each present was opened.... wine, fireball, vodka.... but then this happened: Mariachi Tequila. My friend Heather has a cruel sense of humor.






The joke was on her though when things came full circle and she got iced....
Karma called...





The party was a great success, and everyone left with full bellies and smiles on their faces! Chipotle's catering is a great option for the next time you're having a bunch of friends over to watch football, wear tacky sweaters or celebrate a birthday! 




Thank you to Chipotle for providing catering for our Tacky Sweater party. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

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