Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

18 July 2017

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Dream

Pizza shirt back at it again. 


I had a dream last night that I was with a bunch of bloggers I follow, and we were all sitting in a class room. I was in the back. The professor asked the class, how many items did everyone buy from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? 

One blogger raised her hand and said, "14 items!" 

Another raised her hand and exclaimed, "30 items!

Another proud blogger raised her hand and boasted, "50 items, professor!!!
Everyone then slow clapped in admiration for her her 50 items. 

The professor asked me, "Sarah, how many items did you buy from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?"

I looked down at my desk, blinked, took a big deep breath and said, "None, professor. I don't have a Nordstrom card." A loud gasp filled the room and everyone immediately touched their hand to their chest in pity.  Whispers of "that poor girl" and "bless her heart" filled the room. 

Oh wait, that wasn't my dream. That was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I'm Charlie.

Please tell me I'm not the only person without a Nordstrom card? Am I?!?!?! 

ANYWAYS....

Two things I wanted to talk about today.

Thing 1: I signed up for Rent the Runway's Unlimited Program and I'm SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. I'd been thinking about joining for a while, then last week that had a 20% off your first month special and I pounced on it. You get 3 items at a time. Keep them until you're done, then send them back and pick 3 more. It's fantastic.

My first three items (here, here, here) arrived and they all fit like a glove. I was shocked and delighted. You'll see them all this weekend on our trip to Austin.

Which brings me to my next point....

Thing 2: I have a busy week this week before we head out to Austin. I mentioned partnership this last week, but we are there Thursday - Monday for a collaboration with Visit Austin. To say CB and I are pumped is a major understatement. I've been to Austin twice, but both times were for a concert so there wasn't a ton of extra exploration time.

I've got a massive list going, but I'm all ears for your recommendations on the most instagrammable spots.

For this collaboration, I'm going to be doing two different posts. One will be an Austin City Guide (hotel, entertainment, food (also yes, I'm aware that food IS entertainment)) and the other will be a mural guide to the city! FUN RIGHT?

We are staying at Hotel Van Zandt and then one night at Hotel Saint Cecilia.
So, hit me with your recs if you have any!

Ok, gotta run.
TOODLES.
LYLAS. 

13 July 2017

What the ESPYs Taught Me


I woke up this morning with an emotional hangover. I watched the ESPYs last night (as I always do because I enjoy the pain, apparently) and if I wasn't ugly crying during the two (three?!) hour show, I had goosebumps. That's a lot for the human body to handle in a short amount of time, especially considering we fast forwarded through commercials. Legit, two straight hours of goosebumps and ugly tears. No wonder I felt all weird this morning.

If you missed it, here it is in a nutshell: U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro who was badly injured in Afghanistan when his humvee rolled over a bomb. He was in a coma for three months and was told he'd likely never walk or breathe on his own again.

He of course said F THAT and now competes in the Invictus games for power lifting and shotput and was the very first 100% combat disabled Air Force technician to re-enlist in the service.



image via   
And the tears rolled.

He then gave an acceptance speech after winning the Pat Tillman Award for service where he talked about being terrified for his son to see him for the first time. He was scared that his son would be scared of his new face.

And the tears rolled.

The son of course hugged him (what Del Toro described as "the best hug of his life") and told him he was glad to have his dad back.

And the tears rolled.

We then met Jarrius Robertson and his family. Jarrius has been all over social media, you've probably seen him on the sidelines at Saints practices or maybe at WWE events. Jarrius has had two liver transplants and 13 surgeries and is legit the happiest little kid I think I've ever seen.

In true ESPY dramatics, they tell us his entire story and the viewer is left praying this little guy is still alive. They finish the segment by telling us in April, he received a life-saving liver transplant giving him a new shot at life.

And the tears rolled.

He won the Jimmy V Perseverance Award and accepted the award looking like a stone cold boss. Check him out.


He and his dad gave a speech about being an organ donor and I simultaneously cried, got goosebumps and smiled as big as I possibly could. Go on Jarrius. You the man. He of course got a standing ovation (as did all of the night's real heroes) and....

the tears rolled.

Finally, the last ugly cry happened right before bed. Michelle Obama told us the story of Eunice Shriver's pursuit for inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities in the world of sports. I am nothing short of embarrassed to say, I didn't know the story of Eunice's journey to founding one of the most revolutionary organizations on the planet, the Special Olympics.

Several athletes also helped to tell Eunice's story. These select athletes told us how they were bullied, pushed into lockers, made fun of, mocked and shied away from ever striking up conversation with their peers because they were embarrassed and ashamed of their disability. They told their story about how competing in the Special Olympics single handedly gave them the confidence they had been lacking their whole life.

And the tears rolled.

Eunice made it her life's mission for inclusion in sports. She did it. In a time (60s-70s) when women didn't have a platform she found and fought for a platform, and in my opinion she legitimately changed the world with the creation of the Special Olympics. Last night we learned that 250 million people in this world have an intellectual disability and thanks to Eunice, they now have a place to compete in sports.

Her son, Tim Shriver accepted the award and gave an insanely powerful speech on her behalf. Eunice passed away in 2009, but I certainly hope that she was able to see her son, and the eight athletes who helped tell her story, so beautifully accept the Arthur Ashe courage award on her behalf.


I went to bed last night snuggled up in CB's nook, as I always do, but last night I had a very full heart. Each year, I watch the ESPYs and each year they teach me something different. This year, the ESPYs taught me that the world of sports is so much more than the NBA or NFL. It's so much more than Steph's 200 million dollar contract. It's so much more than if the VOLS are going to have a winning season or not.

Sports changes the lives of everyone who plays. Using sports as his personal variation of therapy helped Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro walk and breathe again, when he was told he probably never would. Hanging out with the Saints players, the girls and guys from the WWE and the LSU football team gave Jarrius Robertson the strength he needed to keep the fight going until his number was called on the liver transplant waiting list. Sports opened Diana Shilts' (and other people's) eyes to see that it's awesome to be different.

Sports changed my life. I had a really rough time in high school, I had a hard time making friends and never found my place. On the basketball court though, I always felt like I belonged. I was never intimidated on the court, I never felt like I had to say or do the right thing or I'd get made fun of. No one ever called me "pubes" (because of my curly hair) on the basketball court and it was the only place in all of Midlothian High School where I wasn't self conscious or anxious or intimidated.

Next time you think SPORTS are dumb because you see a star running back with a multi-million dollar contract arrested on drug charges, remember that the world of sports does so much good that never gets talked about in the media.

There is so much more to the world of sports than what we see on TV, the ESPYs last night taught me that.

12 July 2017

A Dallasite's Weekend Guide to Winstar World Casino


One of our absolute favorite weekend getaways from Dallas is to Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. It's a super easy drive from Dallas, under an hour and a half, and an awesome, easy weekend getaway with something for everyone. When they contacted me and asked if I wanted to come have 24 hours of fun, well that was a no-brainer! HECK YES I DO! 

Winstar has everything you could ever want in a resort. They of course have a full casino complete with poker room, black jack tables and more slot machines than you could ever imagine. In addition to the casino, the resort is jam packed with amenities like a world-class spa, 36 holes of golf with unlimited bottles of water included at every turn, MIST their night club and two beautiful resort style pools with a full service bar. 

This past Friday, I took a half day at work and headed to Denton (on the way to Winstar) to pick up CB for our 24 hours of excitement at Winstar. I had already hit the ATM, one thing I certainly recommend doing before you go to avoid any ATM fees at the casino. On the way, we had lunch at Rusty Taco which makes for a great pit stop to break up the drive. 

Oh, and makes for great content for Dallas Love List. But that is neither here nor there, jk Dallas Love List content it's always here AND there. Whatever that means.





After tacos, we jumped in the car and hopped back on the highway. The drive from Denton was a short 45 minutes. When we got to Winstar we dropped our car off with the valet which is TOTALLY FREE! Not bad, right?

For the trip, we had VIP check-in which made things SO SMOOTH. I don't think we waited more than 2 minutes to get checked in and get our keys to the room. Our room was on the 16th floor, and the view was incredible.

The bathrooms at Winstar have what I like to call Oprah lighting. I might be aging myself here, but do you remember watching Oprah and her guests were always GLOWING. Their eyes glistened, their skin looked miraculous and it was all because her set had such incredible lighting. That's the same lighting that Winstar's bathrooms have.

I of course took a shameless selfie to document.


We immediately unloaded and headed for the pool.
And by pool I mean pool bar.









We only stayed for a few hours for two reasons. Reason one, I'm not totally convinced that I acutally have pigment in my skin, so I burn way too quickly even slathered in 50SPF, and two we had a very exciting date with The Spa at Winstar.



Both CB and I had spa appointments. CB was getting a classic massage, while I had a "glow" package lined up that I was so giddy about. The glow package included a full body exfoliation/moisturizing two hour treatment.

My whole body was dry brushed, which essentially felt like a glorious back scratch that I constantly beg CB to give me (lolss), followed by exfoliation via sugar scrub, a hydrating body wrap and aromatherapy oil application.

This treatment was EV-ER-EY-THING.

It was the best of both worlds. If you're looking for a massage, this is the way to go. If you're looking for a deeply conditioning, reparative and moisturizing skin treatment this is also the way to go. She worked out all of my kinks (there were quite a few), helped with the pain I have in my neck from when I do spin class and left my skin feeling SILKY SMOOTH. I seriously couldn't stop touching my skin. It was incredible.

The only downside was how sad I felt when it came to an end! But, alas, it was time to have dinner and party the night away with CB.

CB loved his massage as well, but since his was a bit shorter, when he finished up he headed down to the poker room while I got ready for the evening.



For dinner, we went to their Italian restaurant called Capisce Ristorante Italiano. I had a drity gin martini (always my go to) and the gnocchi which was excellent and CB had the special ravioli for the evening and a glass of pinot noir.




We also gambled, duh! I loved the new kiosks for reprinting your player's club card. The player's club card is their reward system. In the past, reprinting a card has kind of been a pain in the butt, but this was so easy, the kiosk printed mine in all of 2 minutes.


After some slots and blackjack, we called it a night.

We woke up the next morning, excited for golf at 10am! The course was actually just expanded to 36 holes, so we were pumped to have the privilege of getting to play! There are two, full 18-hole courses: Redbud and Scissortail. We were assigned to Redbud, and much to my relief we didn't have to pair up with anyone! Even though I'm really not bad at golf, I get nervous hitting in front of other people, that was SUCH a relief.




It was swelteringly hot outside (hello, Oklahoma in July) and CB and I were both RIDICULOUSLY impressed by the amount of water available to us on the course. The only kind of water I prefer to see on a course is via bottles, as opposed to bodies of water I have to hit my golf ball over to reach the green.

It felt like every few holes there were giant coolers filled with ICE COLD bottles of water so we could stay hydrated. There were even towels iced down to drape over your neck. It was a really lovely touch that did not go unnoticed.

Speaking of lovely touches, I didn't have the "touch" around the greens that day. I didn't play very well, but CB and I sure had a blast spending the day on the links together.




After golf, we loaded up our clubs, said our goodbyes and headed for the highway.






We had such a wonderful time and of course will be back sooner rather than later.
Partially because I forgot to cash in my voucher from the slot machines, but mostly because Winstar is such an easy and awesome getaway from Dallas for a weekend of fun.

Plus, I hear that my boy Willy Nelson will be there in November at the Global Event Center and I couldn't possibly miss that event for the world!

For more info on Winstar and to book a room, check out their website HERE!

10 July 2017

Don't Wait for Opportunities to Come to You


Don't you hate it when you wake up in the middle of the night with an amazing blog post idea and think, "Man, I really should write that down." but then are way too lazy and you just roll over and fall back asleep thinking, "Nahhhhh, I'll remember it. It's too good to forget.

Yeah, me either. 

JK JK JK JK. I did this last night and totally forgot what it was. I'm sure it was totally riveting though, perhaps even a viral game changer post that everyone would fall in love with and I'd gain instant blogging fame. Alas, the genius idea is gone and although I've been trying to remember it all morning, I've got nothing. 

CB and I had a whirlwind of a weekend, one that I'll be updating you more on as the week goes. On Friday, we took a half day because Winstar World Casino (about an hour and 10 minutes from Dallas) invited us out for 24 hours of fun! We had an amazing time even though I gave them a lot of my money via the black jack tables. More on that later this week though.

Yesterday CB and I had a full day of playing tourist in Dallas. We found a new neighborhood we want to live in, tried a few new restaurants and visited the Farmers Market. I also took photos for several different blog posts in the EXACT same outfit. Please do not judge me, but in my defense, it's a very good outfit with the focal point being a t-shirt that says the word PIZZA in giant letters and nothing else. If you would, please just act surprised each time you see it during the month of July. I promise I have other clothes, but changing in and out of new outfits in July heat is no fun. Nobody got time for that. 

Last night we went to an unlimited food and wine event - my favorite kind of event, duh. I thought I'd give y'all a little bit of background on how I get tickets to these events for free. It's pretty complex and detailed process and it requires a ton of work on your part.

NOT - I literally just ask for tickets.

I have no secrets, no tricks up my sleeve. I just simply ask. 90% of the time I get a yes. 10% of the time they don't respond at all. I don't think I've ever gotten a no. 

Not only do I ask, but I ask for a specific number and type of ticket. I also tell them what I'll do for them in return: ticket giveaway on instagram prior to the event, social shares during the event, several on insta stories, and a blog post after the event, filled with high-quality photos. The email request I send is short, sweet, to the point and includes a specific request, followed by what's in it for them. 

The vast majority of events I go to for Dallas Love List, I was not invited to, rather I had to ask for it. So, this is your daily Monday reminder to go ask for something you want this week. Whether it be a ticket to a foodie event in your hometown, a collaboration with a clothing company you look up to or even a hotel stay for the next trip you have planned.

Don't wait for opportunities to come to you. Go get them yourself. 


5 Easy Weekend Getaways from Dallas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM2

CB and I are trying to save our money for our wedding and honeymoon, so that means big vacations are the first thing to go. We will obviously go to see my mom this summer in Virginia Beach, but aside from that, we don't have any big trips planned that include an airplane! Now that I have my new car and don't have to worry about going over lease miles anymore, weekend road trip getaways are far more appealing.

Going with our road trip theme, I've rounded up a few of my favorite weekend getaways we've taken from Dallas.




Before I share my 5 favorites though, I want to tell you about a great way to be able to share your experiences on these trips by uploading photos and videos to social media, and staying connected with friends and family while you're away without burning through insanely high priced cell phone data. There's a deal you might not already know about called the $49.88 PLUS Plan is from Walmart Family Mobile. It is powered by T-Mobile, so in no way are you sacrificing service. You're getting an incredible coverage on T-Mobile's nationwide 4G LTE† network, plus there is no contract and clear monthly service plan pricing. It's super easy to switch and activate, you just pick a phone, pick a plan, activate and go! For this Summer's collaboration with Walmart Family Mobile, I picked the LG Grace which comes with Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 15GB of 4G LTE† then 2G*.




I use a ton of data when I travel, because I'm almost always on instagram stories or posting content to my social channels. That extra GB of data is a game changer, especially when your extra source of income (i.e. the income that'll pay for your honeymoon) is your blog and brand. With Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan, you will also receive a free VUDU◊ movie rental credit valued at $7.00 each time you renew your service!

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing.



So let's jump in, here are my suggestions on my 5 favorite Dallas weekend getaways where you can take your extra data this Summer! 

5 Dallas Weekend Road Trip Getaways 

1. Austin - 195 Miles or 2 hours, 56 minutes

I'm actually headed to Austin next Thursday for a SUPER fun collaboration with Visit Austin! On our trip we are going to stay at two different spots: Hotel Van Zandt and one night at Hotel Saint Cecilia which I'm pretty pumped about because it looks like an instagrammers dream! CB and I plan to eat all of the food, drink all of the tasty drinks and see every single mural in Austin. If you have any specific food/mural/watering hole recs, I'm all ears!

2. Broken Bow - 172 Miles or 2 hours, 50 minutes


I think CB would disown me if I didn't include this favorite weekend getaway on the list. CB likes to fish and camp when we go, I prefer to eat pizza at a place called Grateful Head, make s'mores and sleep with a roof over my head. Whichever you prefer, tent or cabin, food or fishing, Broken Bow has an option for you! It's a Veenie and Gee top pic too.

Read about our past Broken Bow adventures HERE.

3. Shreveport - 187 Miles or 2 hours, 44 minutes

I'm not sure how many Dallas weekend getaway lists out there include Shreveport but I freaking loved it. Amazing food, great murals and tons of entertainment at the local casinos. We just stayed one night in Shreveport but totally loved our time there. Go eat at The Blind Tiger, it's amazing.

Read about our Shreveport adventure HERE.

4. San Antonio - 273 Miles or 4 hours, 7 minutes

CB and I went to San Antonio in May of last year and stayed at the Hotel Indigo which overlooked the Alamo. We were within walking distance to to River Walk and tons of bars and restaurants. Although we walked everywhere, and did our best to maximize our time, we still have lots left to see and can't wait to go back.

Read about our San Antonio trip HERE.


5. Lake Granbury - 72 miles or 1 hour 20 minutes

A much closer to Dallas destination is Lake Granbury, where I'm delighted to say that CB's family happens to have a lake house! We were just there for the 4th and had so much fun. Go on a Saturday, check out Revolver Brewing for their open house then spend the rest of the day laying in a hammock lakeside! There are also several parks along the lake (De Cordova Bend Park is a good choice) where you can camp and they're open to the public for swimming!

Read about one of our Lake Granbury trips HERE.


What Dallas weekend getaway destinations have you visited and loved? I'm always on the lookout for new, drivable adventures!

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No matter where you're headed this Summer, be sure to document your adventures while also saving money on data by using the $49.88 PLUS Plan is from Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile! Find it in the electronics department at your local Walmart.




*Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at myfamilymobile.com

†To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM Card. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

◊ Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU's website: http://www.vudu.com/termsofservice.html

07 July 2017

When Everyone You Know is Getting Married in the Same Year...

I was asked to participate in the #HallmarkAtWalgreens campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.






I don't know about you guys but I just LOVE love. CB, who is born and raised in Arlington, Texas has several buddies he's been best friends with since they were little kids. He even owns a business with one of those friends. Although they are all in their early 30s, none have been married before. Like CB and I, they've all been dating their girlfriends now for many years and even all live together. 

The first of his friend's asked his girlfriend to marry him a few months before CB asked me. They are getting married in September. CB then asked me back in January. Soon after, another of his friends got engaged, followed by his best friend, who got engaged about a month ago. 

We are essentially now in a situation where everyone is going to go from being boyfriend/girlfriend to married all in the same year. I think it's pretty cool, myself. They've done everything together for so long, so why not throw matrimony in there too! 

I assume CB will be best man at more than one of these weddings coming up, so he's got all of the hard work. I just have to be prepared for champagne and bridal showers! When everyone has an online registry these days, the simple yet very important handwritten wedding card makes a huge impact and is most certainly something the couple will cherish.  







I've teamed up with Walgreens and Hallmark today to talk about their adorable selection of wedding cards! Their variety is huge with something for every type of couple! They even had several options for cards in Spanish, which I thought was fantastic.

Want to know something awesome? As you know, CB and I met on match.com, but so did his best friend and his fiancé! Pretty cool, huh? I tell everyone to give match.com a go, although it was mostly awful, I'd still recommend it because it totally works for finding love. You just have to be a bit patient.

The first wedding of the group kicks off this upcoming September, so  I focused on a card that fit that couple first! They met when CB's friend was studying abroad, and fell in love in London! How romantic is that? I wanted to be sure to choose a card that was simple, yet had an understated romantic feel to it!


I also grabbed a few other options in case CB liked one of those better. There were so many options, including ones that are guaranteed to make the couple cry, ones that would make the couple laugh out loud, ones that are pretty and floral, ones that are in Spanish and even the most elaborate cards with ornaments and bling that you know the couple will treasure for years down the road.

We ended up going with a simple card that has a beautiful lettering of the word Congratulations! This couple lives in Fort Worth,  and I loved the hand lettering shown on this card. Fort Worth is known for being no frills yet still fun and spunky, just like this card! Anytime I buy a card I do the fridge test: I hold it up and decide if it'll look great on the couple's fridge. I knew this Congratulations card would pass the tissue test.

The card above, "Celebrating With You" I decided to save for a different couple. They are always touching and kissing (in the cutest, non PDA way possible) and I could totally see him carrying her through the threshold like the old school days of romance. *SWOON* 








Inside I wrote them a note congratulating them on their wedding, wished them a lifetime of happiness and told them I knew they were perfect for each other. In the end, I think that's the highest compliment you can get as a couple, is for someone to tell you you make a great team! 

If you have weddings coming up, be sure to pop into Walgreens and check out their selection of Hallmark cards! Plus, from now through 7/19, there is a Text 2 Clip coupon offer shoppers can get in store for Hallmark cards!

Now, to figure out what to wear to all of these weddings 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔