Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

27 April 2017

The Girls' Guide to the 2017 NFL Draft

Official guest NFL Draft 2017 analyst for the Cowboys ๐Ÿ˜‚ 
These pictures make me laugh.  

Although the NFL draft is no Super Bowl and it certainly isn't as exciting as the first game of the season when your hopes are high and your dreams haven't been crushed yet (oh hey, Tennessee, how ya doin?!), it is still pretty special. 

As a Tennessee fan, it is hands down the most excited I've been for the draft in many years. Several of my boys are up for grabs and could go round one. I've had some cash burning a hole in my pocket to the NFL Shop for quite some time, but I've been waiting to see if the Cowboys take one of my players. 

I'll lose it. Those of you reading out in Cali will hear my squeals all the way from Texas. 

As much as it pains me, the vast majority of you guys reading do not specifically care about former Tennessee players, so I'll spare you all of those details. 

I will though, bring you, the 5 Things You Need to Know Before you watch the NFL DRAFT.

The First Thing You Need to Know
--- theDETAILS ---

Location: Philadelphia 
(Does anyone else sound out Philadelphia like the kid from Big Daddy - Philly-del-phia - just me?)
Time: 8pm EST
Network: ESPN and NFL Network. 
Stream Online: HERE

Another really cool thing is that they've built a TEMPORARY theatre by the Art Museum (aka Rocky's) steps. Take a look at it here, it is insane.

The Second Thing You Need to Know
--- theDRUGS ---

You're going to be hearing a lot about the drug tests from some of the biggest names in the draft. Reuben Foster from Alabama and Jabrill Peppers from Michigan both tested positive for diluted urine sample.

I PERSONALLY want to note that this does not mean that they straight up tested positive. It means that the urine was diluted and they were unable to get a reading. To the NFL, a diluted sample equals positive. 

I had to drug test for my current job before I started. I was obviously clean, but at the time I was tested I had a UTI. If you've ever had a UTI, you know that you CHUG water like you've been living in the Serengeti for a decade. Well, my sample was diluted and I had to test again. I was mortified when my boss told me it came back diluted and I needed to test again, but I also had a doctors note, an antibiotic and instructions to hydrate. 

Do I think that either of them had a UTI. LOLS, no. But just thought I'd clear the "diluted positive test" up for ya. There's a good chance both of them will drop way down in the draft because of this. 

The Third Thing You Need to Know

No one learns. Why does no one learn? 

Joe Mixon from Oklahoma will be a total wild card. The majority of teams have removed him from their draft board due to a domestic violence altercation that was all on video in 2014. The video is on the internet if you want to find it, I won't be including it here. Mixon punched a girl so hard that it knocked her off her feet, and she fell and hit her head on a table. She was in surgery for 8 hours having 4 fractures repaired in her face.  

I really don't want to get into all of the details, but there is more than just Mixon on the draft board tonight that has been accused of domestic violence or rape. 

The Fourth Thing You Need to Know
--- theBEST ---

It is almost certain that the Cleveland Browns will take Myles Garret a defensive end from Texas A&M. After that, although everyone has an opinion, no one has any real clue what is going down.

Need a refresher on what a defensive end does on the field?
Check out this post: What Is Your Favorite Defender's Role on the Football Field.

 The Fifth Thing You Need to Know
---followTWITTER ---

This is bad, but I just don't check twitter very often anymore. Certainly not as much as I used to. When it comes to the NFL Draft though, Twitter is king. 

Here are some accounts I recommend you follow for hilarious, up to the minute tweets on the 2017 NFL Draft...

I'll be multi tasking tonight (headed to New Orleans tomorrow, whoop!) but I'll most certainly be on twitter as much as I can be throughout the draft! Every year, we've done an NFL Draft twitter party, and this year is no different! 

Let's link up our tweets during the draft. 
Use hashtag: #GirlsGoneDraft

Raise your hand if you're excited

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!! 

Liked the post? Share it on Pinterest (PRETTY PLEASE?!?)

18 April 2017

Chips Salsa Repeat


A MEDIUM FASHION POST!! It's been a hot minute!

A girlfriend of mine (who I actually met through Helene, what, 4 years ago!??!Ally, and I share a love for food --- well, that and a love for taking pictures of our food.  Helene and Ally have been friends for forever, and I'm so grateful they let this Dallas newbie in to their circle!

Side note, I will have been in Dallas 5 years in August. Am I still a newbie at this point??? 

Now, while I just have an iPhone and a wildly patient boyfriend that let's me snap 100 of the exact same picture of the hamburger before anyone can touch, Ally is actually a professional photographer. She knows what she is doing, with a real camera and super mega lens that is pure magic. 

We try to get together and try new restaurants at least once a month.  If you're into this kinda thing -- which I hope you are, and I hope you follow Dallas Love List for all of the best places to visit๐Ÿ˜‚ -- thsee are the places we've tried together, and highly recommend you visit the next time you find yourself in the Big D!

Pink Magnolia || Oak Cliff
(I clearly didn't take that photo, Ally did) 
Grayson Social || Downtown
Zatar || Deep Ellum
Dandelion Cheesecakes || Carrollton
Joy Macarons || Oak Cliff
Pok The Raw Bar || West Village
Brewed + Pressed || West Village

Last week Ally asked if I wanted to hit The Standard Pour and get some pictures of the new LikeToKnow.It mural by Alli K Design. I'm sure you've seen this mural ALL OVER INSTAGRAM, but I gotta admit it is very cute.

Plus, I did buy a skirt that I can actually link on Like To Know It, as opposed to everything else I own which is from Ross or TJ Maxx. That seemed like a good enough occasion to me!

If you need a photographer in the Dallas area, you HAVE to hit up Ally! She's your girl!! Plus, you'll probably get to share a cheeseboard after so why the heck would you not?

13 April 2017

The Ultimate Route 66 Spring Training Road Trip || Dallas to Phoenix

I am so PUMPED to share with you guys our ULTIMATE (read: 16ish hours) road trip from Dallas to Phoenix to attend Texas Rangers' Spring Training in Arizona. There are a couple of routes you can take to get to Phoenix from Dallas, but we opted to drive through Albuquerque, New Mexico rather than El Paso. We made the best stops along Route 66, and I'm going to share them all with you today.  
Let's take a step back real quick! Toyota contacted me back in January to see if I'd like to partner up by road tripping to my team's spring training in their jaw dropping, gorgeous 2017 Land Cruiser. LOLS.... WOULD I??????????? Why, yes. Yes, I would. 

An offer to see my favorite team in spring training in a state I'd never even been to, in one of the nicest SUVs to ever be put into production doesn't come around very often. CB and I were PUMPED!

I spent so much time researching what stops we needed to make along our trip. By the time we left, and with a little help of the best app ever, I had our entire trip totally mapped out, Route 66 stops and all!


Tuesday night after work, we took off to knock out the nearly 6 hour drive from Dallas to Amarillo. I was very apprehensive about missing some cool attractions because it was dark, but CB insisted that there is NOTHING TO SEE between Dallas and Amarillo. He was right, we saw a crap ton of windmills and that's about it. 

Let's talk about this Land Cruiser we were driving. This SUV was my dream car. I drive a smaller SUV, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel in such a big car. When I climbed in I was shocked at how manageable it is. I felt right at home, not intimidated in the least.

Like any normal human, I immediately started pushing buttons to see what everything did. 
I lifted the center console and GUESS WHAT I FOUND.


I realize I sound like a Beverly Hillbilly right now, but I was dying over the cooler. I think I was most sad to say goodbye to the cooler on that last day with the Land Cruiser. Yes, I'm weird. 

The Toyota Land Cruiser also practically drove itself. When you'd put the car in cruise control, it would detect when another car was in front of you and then match that car's pace. It also beeped at you when you crossed over into another lane without your turn signal on!! 

AND THE SEATS WERE AIR CONDITIONED. I am always hot, and when it hits 108 in Dallas, I would give my right arm for that kind of feature in a car with leather seats. 

I assume you've gotten the point by now, I was OBSESSED with this vehicle. It was a dream. 

Here is a fun little fact you didn't know about me. I have this little teddy bear that I do not drive without, ever. I got my driver's license on March 17th, and on that day, my mom left a "Lots-Of-Luck" bear in the car for me. I've transferred that bear with me from car to car, ever since. He keeps the luck on my side, and there was no way he wasn't coming along for the ride. 

Now, on to the trip itself!
We woke up bright and early in Amarillo and hit the road for all of 3 miles to our first stop:
Cadillac Ranch

Road Trip Shirt similar here and here |  

Of course I wrote that....

From there, we hit the road for an hour and a half until we arrived in Tucumcari, New Mexico at a little trinket store on Route 66 better known as:
TeePee Curious

From there, we hopped up and down Route 66 for about a mile making stops at:
The Palomino Motel

Then this awesome little gas station down the road for a couple of authentic Route 66 photo opps.

Still in Tucumcari, we pulled off for a few scenic shots!
We took our sweet time, can you tell?

On the road again.
Next stop, an hour and 9 minutes down the road:
Santa Rosa Lake State Park

Back at it...
Next stop, two hours down the road just outside of Albuquerque:
Sandia Peak Tramway
$25 gets on up the mountain tram and back down again. 

Hold on to your hat,
it's WINDY AF up there!

Done driving for the day, Toyota put us up in the very quaint Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Since we were done behind the wheel, we settled in for an IPA at Tractor Brewing, followed by happy hour at the hotel's rooftop bar with incredible views.

We were back at it the next morning at 7am, Phoenix bound.

Our first stop was 3 hours down the road at the
Petrified Forest National Park
Pro Tip: I would NOT stop here if you are in a time crunch (like we were). I WOULD ABSOLUTELY stop here if you have about 2 hours to give. The park is a 30 mile long drive. The north side of the park - the painted desert, shown below - is all we got to see. The Petrified Forest is on the south side, and will continue to live on my bucket list of must-sees! 

ALSO- it was FREEEEZING cold and sleeting. Wasn't expecting that in the desert! 

Onward and outward. One hour drive to:
Standing On A Corner in Winslow Arizona
I mean why not. It's hardly a detour at all, maybe 5 minutes off the highway. This entire town is devoted to that single line in the Eagles song Take it Easy.

LOLS. That one makes me laugh.
We then headed through Flagstaff where we faced a....

I'm still confused on that one. I thought the desert was hot?!
We drove through the blizzard, and were soon rewarded with fields on fields on fields of cacti!

I had never seen a cactus  that looked like the emoji ๐ŸŒต, I screamed with glee! 
I knew we had made it to the Cactus League Spring Training! 

I'll be recapping the rest of our #ToyotaGrandSlam Spring Training trip in a second post next week! 

What is the longest road trip you've ever been on? Where did you go, what stops did you make?  
Have you road tripped Route 66?!