Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

31 May 2017

Hey Dad!

Hey Dad! 

Another year has come and gone since you passed away. Friday marks 11 years since I saw you last. That was a really terrible day, as were the weeks that followed. I don't cry that much anymore, but I just teared up typing that out, thinking about June 2, 2006. 

I do my best not to focus on that day! That day was lame, we had better ones. I remember you coming to sit in my section at Firebirds once a week and tipping me 120% every time. In your defense though, Firebirds is the best restaurant ever and I'd eat there once a week too. Also, your server was exceptional and certainly warranted a 120% tip. 

This is my third year in a row writing to you on this day. Well, I'm a couple days early this year because I have a sponsored post due Friday. I know you want me to earn that cash money, so I'm sure you don't mind me writing to you a day or two early! 

I'm flying to BOSTON on Friday to see my girlfriends. I've never been but don't you worry, I'll be on the lookout for Larry Bird. I know he is your favorite of all time. 

Speaking of favorites.... Tiger, what is happening with your boy??? Drew thinks he was in an ambien coma, he says people do crazy stuff when that medicine hits them wrong. Did you see Sergio a few weeks ago?? MY FAV finally won a major! And the Masters no less. I was so happy for him! 

I thought I had a lot to report in 2016, but man has 2017 been great so far. 

DREW asked me to MARRY HIM! Did you see it? He did it in the most PERFECT way possible... with all of our friends filming - standing in front of a mural in Deep Ellum. 

I get to call him Drew AND put his pic (sparingly, of course) on the blog now! 
I still call him CB though, I think using Drew just confuses everyone. 

You'll like this, he asked Mom's permission first! I'm told she gave him an emphatic YES! I was blindsided, I had no idea it was coming. I was starting to think we'd just be boyfriend and girlfriend forever. 

It's funny how dates coincide and weave themselves in and out of your life. What's crazy is that I met Drew 3 years ago this week, on May 30th. What has been a historically tough week for me, now has a happy beginning to it. Drew and Uncle Jim have the same birthday too, July 17th, how crazy is that?!? 

I am so excited to be getting married to Drew. I'd have been fine to go to Vegas and get married by your main squeeze, Elvis. Drew wanted a wedding though. I can respect that. Mom came in town two weeks ago and she bought me the PERFECT dress. I'd give you more details but Drew reads here regularly and I don't want him to know anything about it! 

You know I gotta bring it up even though I'm bitter about it, but, the Vols broke my heart this year. Butch Jones let me down. What the heck happened? We were supposed to be great, but we didn't even beat VANDY. We did beat Kentucky though, and broke the FLORIDA streak!! AND, did you see the HAIL MARY against Georgia - OMG, I AM STILL celebrating that one!

I also got to visit your old stomping grounds, Texas A&M, to see Tennessee play. Don't worry, I represented Rocky Top like a pro. DUH. Oh, and I've fully converted Drew to a Tennessee fan, just like I did you. YOU. TWO. ARE. WELCOME. 

Speaking of dates weaving together, guess what I started on June 2, 2016, the EXACT day I wrote you last!??! Dallas Love List!! I know you like hearing the numbers, would you believe I managed to grow it from 0-16,200 in just one year? I love this blog, but man is that account fun to run. We've been to so many events this past year, they all seem to be unlimited food and wine and we get to go FOR FREE!! How cool is that?? I got to take Mom to a fancy dinner when she was here a couple of weeks ago, and it didn't cost anyone a dime. Not bad, right? 

Life is good over here. 

WAIT - speaking again of dates weaving together....  
I almost forgot the best part. Drew and I set a wedding date.
You ready for it......

MARCH 3rd!! 
Yours and mom's wedding anniversary. That is really special to me that Drew and I will be able to share that date with y'all. I guess that just means I don't have to learn any new garage codes. LOLS! 

So yeah, things are great over here. The blog is doing great, Dallas Love List is a blast and Tohatsu is doing great too! I'm working every second of every day, just like you, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope you're able to see the big things I'm trying to accomplish over here, I want it all. 

Saving the best news for last: I BEAT DREW IN GOLF A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. 
Drop the mic. 

On that note, I'm going to sign off. 
I love you and miss you so much. 


30 May 2017

The 5 Best Dog Friendly Spots in Dallas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaMysteries #CollectiveBias

Like so many cities, Dallas has gone to the dogs! If you google Dog Friendly Dallas restaurants and bars you'll find a list a mile long. It seems like every restaurant here accommodates and welcomes dogs with open arms. I'm certainly happier when the pups are by my side. I'll take them everywhere with me if the Dallas venue allows dogs! 

Today, I thought I'd talk about my top 5 dog friendly spots in Dallas.

Before we get into that though, I wanted to tell you about a special happening at the ultimate dog friendly spot, Petsmart. Petsmart has teamed up with Purina® to offer shoppers an amazing deal: from June 1- June 30th when you spend $40 on participating Purina products, you get a $10 Petsmart gift card.  This offer can actually be redeemed an unlimited amount of times during the month of June, so feel free to shop the special as much as you like! 

Upon spending your $40 on participating Purina products, you will then register with your contact information and upload your receipt to the redemption site, HERE!  You will then be mailed a physical, $10 Petsmart gift card in 4-8 weeks for use on a future visit!

After you're done stocking your cabinets with those participating Purina products, head to one (or all!) of these top 5 dog friendly spots in Dallas to hang with your bestie who stole your heart! Oh, and be sure to tag #PurinaMysteries on social when you're visiting one of these spots!

Mutts is a dog park, restaurant and human/k9 watering hole all rolled into one. This place has been my favorite spot to post up for years. It's a great place to bring your laptop, get some work done and hang with your pup at the same time. Find a spot in the shade and just chillax!

.......Always looking for squirrels.......

2. Ten Bells
This patio in Bishop Arts is shaded (a must in Texas if you want to do a patio) and a great spot to chill with your pup and take in some live music or play trivia. If you're a fan of trivia, round up your pup squad and meet on Wednesdays at 8pm.

BONUS: although they limit the amount of people per team, there's no rule that limits the amount of pups. If All Dogs Go To Heaven or Snoop Dogg is one of the trivia answers, you'll be in luck!

Harwood Grove is the CUTEST little spot you ever did see. Not only is it dog friendly, but they actually handed us frisbees when they saw we had our pups with us! There are hammocks, lawn games like cornhole and even volleyball! Harwood Grove is open seasonally, and a fabulous spot to hang (or lounge on a hammock) with your pup in Dallas!

The Foundry + Chicken Scratch has live music nearly every weekend, and tons of outdoor picnic tables for you and your pup. There is far more outdoor space, than indoor. Plus, there are servers outside so you don't even need to worry about going inside! Awesome pup friendly restaurant and bar right on the outskirts of downtown.

Although Lee Harveys is  leashed dog friendly all week long, on Sunday they have what's called dog day afternoon. On dog day afternoon, their fully fenced-in patio goes to the dogs! It becomes an off-leash dog park for well behaved pups!

Sundog Funday, anyone??

Don't forget to shop those select Purina products for the entire month of June, and get your hands paws on a $10 Petsmart gift card! Here's a look at the products included in the promotion at Petsmart!

Where are your favorite dog friendly spots in your city??? 

26 May 2017

Office Shelving Perfect for Bloggers

I feel like my whole life is in my home office. I recently turned it into a home office/closet and it was the best idea ever. Unlike fashion bloggers I sadly don't get sent boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes- although if someone wants to send me those I won't be mad! 

What I do have are endless props from pineapple parties, about a million notebooks that I use on instagram flatlays, trays and backdrops from when I threw a donut party... essentially I just have about a million odds and ends that I don't want to part with because I'll more than likely use them on future blog posts. 

I partnered with Way Basics a few months ago on "Tips for Styling the Perfect Shelfie" and I'm coming at ya with part two of that post! We partnered up again to show how easy it is to add on to existing Way Basic shelving units! I previously had the 9 storage cube system, and added on with an additional 6 cubes for extra storage! Their cubes all work so well together, so if you aren't sure how much you'll need for your office, start small and then add on later! 

How many of those items do you recognize from blog posts? Hah! For sure all the blankets!  And the notebooks. I have a weakness for notebooks from the home office section at Home Goods that I just cannot quit. I bet I buy a new one every month! ACK! 

Do you have a home office that houses all your blog stuff? 
How do you keep organized?

Be sure to check out Way Basics - their shelving units have completely transformed my office and everything has a place! 

Now to deal with all the empty boxes that are not pictured in this photo.... 

5 Tips For Solo Summer Car Shopping

About two years after moving to Dallas, I got that itch to get a new car. Although it certainly wasn't my first full time job out of college (I worked my butt off back in Tennessee working two full time jobs from 7am - 4pm and then another position from 5pm-11pm) it was the first time I had solid, steady money. 

I also grew up in a car family, my Dad sold cars for 40 years. CB oddly enough grew up in a car family, too. When you have a parent who is in the car business, you get new cars sometimes as often as every few months if they're driving a demo that gets bought off the lot. 

I obviously do not expect a car that often, but every 5 years or I get the itch. This itch came because I was in a pretty nasty accident and I was ready to be in a bigger SUV. I had just moved to Deep Ellum, right on the outskirts of downtown, and my commute quadrupled from previously living in Carrollton. I went from a 10 minute drive to a 40 minute drive. I was ready for a change. 

This is the perfect timing for this post, because Summer is when people flock to the car dealerships! In fact, I bought my car on June 7th! I remember that date because it was my second date with CB and I was horrendously late to meet him. Probably best that he found out I'm late to everything that early on anyway. 

Oh, and did I mention I did this car shopping all on my own? I was pretty darn proud of myself!  I did a few things when purchasing my car, plus learned a few things for next time that were incredibly helpful and I thought I'd share them with you today!

5 Tips For Summer Car Shopping Solo

1. Have every intention of leaving the dealership without a new set of car keys in hand
CB said he has the exact same thing. He had plans to meet his brother to go fishing, and had no intention of buying a car that day. I had every intention of leaving myself, because I had a date that night that I didn't want to be late for - whoops! When you go in knowing you are JUST BROWSING you have a lot more willpower to walk away if the deal isn't EXACTLY what you want. 

2. Don't assume financing at the dealership is the way to go
Did you know dealers generally make a commission on not just the car you buy but also the auto loan too? Plus, just because you see some amazing deal like zero percent interest rates doesn't mean you automatically qualify. 

3. Secure financing before you go to the dealership
You can actually pre-qualify for financing and see financing terms before you visit a dealer using the Capital One® Auto Navigator® website. Actually, using this site you can find a car too, they have over 3 million cars and 12,000 participating dealers in their database.

By using the Capital One® Auto Navigator®  you are able to see your personalized APR and monthly payment on each car once you pre-qualify for financing. From there, you can build your offer and see how financing terms change. Plus, you can also get dealer ratings and read car reviews – all in one place. There is also access to car history reports on the site too. You'll go in WAY more prepared, and knowledgeable.

This was my first time buying a car on my own and feeling confident that I was getting a good deal was key to me leaving happy and feeling like I just #nailedit.

4. Go on the last day of the month
I did not do this, but I've had several people tell me that is how they got a killer deal! I should have known to do this though, seeing as my Dad would work the longest hours on the last few days of the month! They have sales goals to meet and, paired with tip #1 of being ready to walk away, you can leave with a wonderful deal!

5. The second you feel like you're not being treated with the same respect as everyone else, LEAVE! 
I went to multiple dealerships where some jerk salesman was clearly dancing around in his head with glee because he was certain he was going to take me for every dime I have. I knew what I wanted for my trade in and he gave me a number that was THOUSANDS less than my number.

Then he proceeded to ask where my husband or father was, and he'd be happy to make a deal with him. I'm not joking, that happened. This was my first stop and I left that dealership SO UPSET. Not only did I not have a husband or father to help me, I felt like I couldn't do this on my own. That is NOT how you should feel. The second you don't feel welcome or comfortable, just leave. You owe them nothing. Find a dealership that makes you feel important and treats you with the same respect as every other customer. Settle for nothing less than that.


Car shopping can be intimidating, unless you go in knowing your price and financing and not budging until you get that price. Summer shopping is the best time to do car shopping too, because that is when Summer incentive programs start! New models are normally rolled out around August, so in the Summer, they want to sell off the previous models. To do so, they will offer a lot of incentives! Make sure you get your hands on those incentives!

What tips do you have for car buying that I missed? Anything work for you that you'll for sure use again in the future? 

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

25 May 2017

Surviving A Texan Summer - No Sweat!

This post is sponsored by RaceTrac but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

I cannot believe how spoiled we've been in Dallas in 2017 so far. The winter was mild, and so far, the Spring has been super pleasant. Last weekend it was 75 degrees with a lovely breeze -- IN MAY! I couldn't believe it! 

Sweltering Summer and triple digit temps are coming though. Summer in Texas makes me wonder why I decided to come to Dallas in the first place. Ok, not really, but you I can't function outdoors. I pretty much give up on my appearance - ditching any kind of face makeup and the hair goes straight into a curly pony tail. Don't even think about asking me to put on a pair of jeans. They feel more like leg torture chambers. I feel claustraphobic in about 10 seconds and I turn into Miranda from that episode of Sex and the City when she tries on tacky wedding dresses as a joke. GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME!!! 

It is just SOOO HOT! The (melting) icing on the cake is that everyone reminds you how hot it is every two seconds. Full conversations are rarely had outside in Texas in the Summer, everyone just resorts to pointing out the heat over and over. 

"It's hot" 
"Wow, it's so hot out here"
"I'm melting" 

No kidding, NANCY, it's Texas in July, what do you expect?? 
I digress. 

Maybe when I reach the 10 year Texan resident mark, I'll be able to hang with the rest of the Texans, but for now I just totally give up from mid-June through the end of September. Shoutout to the Ford dealer who convinced me I needed a remote start car if I wanted leather seats. YOU DA REAL MVP.

With triple digits looming, it's perfect timing that I kick off my season long partnership with RaceTrac!

Let me fill you in a little bit about their Summer promotion called Sodapalooza, which only comes around once per year. Starting May 3, head over to any RaceTrac to purchase a 2017 Sodapalooza cup. The limited-time-only cups are available at any RaceTrac location for just $11.99 and get you FREE refills of fountain and frozen beverages through July 31. Plus, when you download the RaceTrac Rewards app on any iOS or Android phone, you get an extra $2 off!

Here's the thing though, the cups are starting to sell out already. I got mine from the RaceTrac right off 635 in Irving and they still had some left. You'll see them at a stand near the register, like this one.

Your cups also come filled with coupons valued over $60. My cup had a coupon to the Dallas Zoo which I'm super pumped about! Anytime I go to the Zoo I beeline straight to the Giraffe section where you can actually FEED THEM!!! I die every time.

For more information on Sodapalooza and other RaceTrac initiatives, follow RaceTrac on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and visit to become a RaceTrac Insider and get Sodapalooza news straight to your inbox, as well as giveaways and coupons throughout the year. 

22 May 2017

Wine Down After A Day On The Links

Golf is a game that is near and dear to my heart. Although I played about a million sports, and my Dad was always my coach, golf is the one game that we really bonded over. As a kid, I never truly appreciated the game of golf. I certainly didn't appreciate the talent I had. Looking back, I kick myself for not pursuing and practicing the sport. I might have had a pretty decent chance at playing in college. 

I'll never forget my second shot, on my very first round of golf. We were playing a par three course, and aside from a few swings on the driving range, I'd never played golf before. My first shot off the tee box went about 10 feet. On my second shot, I got up there, whacked at the ball from way back in the fairway and it literally went in the hole. My second shot ever was a birdie, that I drained from 100 yards away. 

I looked at my parents and was like, "What, like it's hard?" JK, I didn't quote Legally Blonde, that movie hadn't even been released yet. For the record, it all went downhill from there, but that was still a really fun way to kick off my golf career. 

Today, CB and I play together. He wants to "help" my game by completely changing everything about my swing, all the way down to the grip on the club. I know he is trying to help, just like my Dad would have been all those years ago. 

My thought though? If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Also, not to brag but also to go ahead and brag, I beat CB on our last round of golf sooooo..........

Another reason I love golf is because I adore any sport that ends with wine or beer rather than a sports drink and orange slices. Although some people drink on the course, that has never been me and will never be me. I'd prefer to save my wine for afterwards, when I can really sit down and enjoy the glass in full!

Plus, then I can sit and hang out with my main squeeze!

Gran Reserva is the perfect wine for golfers. Why do I say that? Well, included on the bottle is a $25 credit on a round of golf at major golf courses nationwide courtesy of Concha y Toro Gran Reserva. Find a specially marked bottle necker where you buy wine. And you can also enter a great sweepstakes to win – one year of free golf.

Be sure to check out the Tee Time Sweepstakes for more details!

CB and I have already made plans to redeem our $25 credit and play together this upcoming weekend!

Do you guys play golf? Leave a comment and tell me about a golf memory you have!

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