Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

30 November 2018

The Best Holiday Photo Spots in Dallas

It's here, it's here! The most wonderful time of the year has arrived in Dallas - the holiday season. Dallas has some amazing spots to take a picture (hello Deep Ellum), but once holiday season strikes, the whole city steps up their game. Photo ops are endless, and there are countless great places to pose for an awesome picture to get you in the holiday spirit. Today I'm teaming up with everyone's favorite, Target, to bring you the 10 most instagrammable spots to take a picture this holiday season in Dallas.

These places will not only be so fun to visit this Christmas but will also cause a major spike in Instagram likes, so beware! If you like lights, giant trees, and holiday fun, this post is for you. If not, I don't yet have a blog post for where to find Scrooge's most IG worthy spots. Supply and demand people, supply and demand.

Before we dive into these great locations that will kill it on IG, let's first talk a little coffee. No good photo hunting session ever started without a cup or two of java. Target this year (like every year) has everything you need to make your coffee as festive as your Instagram feed. I'm not going to lie, when I'm on the go, I am no stranger to a plain black cup of coffee. But the beauty of the holiday season is taking the time to slow down, spend more time with friends you don't see that often, and really savor every drop of the month of December. Alas, you have more time to festive up your normal, boring cup of Joe.

Target has so many options to make your coffee a bit sweeter this December. I picked up the 1850™ Brand Coffee Black Gold K-Cup® pods made with Arabica beans, and the Baileys® Irish Cream Coffee Creamer in their original Irish creamy, sophisticated flavor made with genuine Baileys ingredients. Don't worry, this is non-alcoholic, so you can start your day, potentially, with the same flavor you ended with the night before! LOLS!

If you've never thrown a little Baileys in your coffee, you're doing it wrong. 1850™ Brand Coffee is bold but incredibly smooth. When paired with the Baileys creamer, it feels like you're drinking a glass of creamy Christmas. It is just enough sweetness but not overpowering. I don't usually sweeten my coffee, so it's a nice added touch without too much sugar. It's a warm, bold cup of delight that will perk you up and get you on your merry way!

Target, per the usual, also has a massive selection of cute holiday mugs. I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone that Target is nailing the Christmas game.

Target has an available Cartwheel offer (via the Cartwheel app which you canoe found HERE) from 11/11 – 12/22 which will save you up to 20% on participating coffee and creamer!

So now that we have our coffee and creamer for the day, let's get to planning your holiday instagram feed, shall we?

in the heart of downtown Dallas
πŸ“ 555 S Lamar St, Dallas 

*bonus* you can shop with champagne
πŸ“ 1618 Main St, Dallas

the twelve days of Christmas exhibit
πŸ“8525 Garland Rd, Dallas
be sure to book your reservation in advance, they do sell out
πŸ“8525 Garland Rd, Dallas

their farmers market location is so festive, buy your tree here too! πŸ“601 S. Pearl Expy

a complete wonderland in Arlington by the ballpark
πŸ“1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington

the biggest tree everrr, with a downtown backdrop
πŸ“2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy, Dallas

added perk, come see me I'll buy you a coffee from Otto's πŸ˜‰
πŸ“Commerce St, Dallas

taking murals to a new level in bishop arts district 
πŸ“407 N. Bishop Ave.

a Dallas commerce st tradition - dec 1 at 10am
πŸ“Commerce St, Downtown Dallas

Anywhere I might have missed you'd add to the list!?!?! Where is your favorite place to take a picture in Dallas or in your hometown?  

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Danone and JM Smucker. The opinions and text are all mine.

23 November 2018

Christmas Gifts for Guys Under $50

If there's anything CB and I do well it's treating ourselves. Ok, so we don't buy many big ticket items, but we spend more than our share year round on food and drink. In all honesty, is there anything better to spend your money on?? So when it comes to Christmas, we're a little boring. We would rather set a limit of $50 or $100 and get each other several small things that were thoughtfully selected. Today I'm teaming up with my friends at Walgreens and Gillette to bring you tons of Christmas gift ideas for guys that are all under $50!

What I failed to think about when I wrote this post is CB reading it, whoopsies.
Oh well, these will all still work great for the man in your life!

1. Gillette Fusion ProShield Razor from Walgreens 

Let's first talk about the practical gift that every man will use, that you should go ahead and grab right away. It's a no brainer, and thanks to Walgreens I have a great deal for you. This holiday season, Gillette has released their Limited Edition Gift Packs - the Fusion ProShield razor, which features a premium sleek design paired with a high-quality razor and is just $19.99.

It's the first time a Gillette razor has included a matte black handle, which looks great paired with the chrome razor stand. The Fusion ProShield also includes an all-black FlexBall feature giving it a monochromatic look. This particular gift pack comes with one 5-bladed Fusion ProShield cartridge.

BOGO50 (Buy one, get another one 50% off) on Gillette Limited Edition gift packs from 11/18 to 11/24. Plus take $2 off Gillette Limited Edition gift packs from 12/16 to 12/22.

You can find these coupons in the Sunday paper or on the coupons section of or via the Walgreens app.

If you're reading this too late and you've missed the BOGO50 offer, Gillette is also offering $2 off from 12/16 to 12/22 at Walgreens. You may also find that coupon in your Sunday paper, or on the coupons section of or the Walgreens app.

Veenie and Gee helped me wrap it up for CB!
Editor’s note * they mostly just got dog hair everywhere though. Very little wrapping was accomplished.

CB asks for a Calendar for his office every year. We do so many fun things that it's always a blast to revisit our activities from the past year. I didn't make him one last year and I still hear about it constantly. Make a calendar for your S.O. or family or friends, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Turn your electronics on or off from anywhere using a smartphone app! This plug works with Alexa and Google Assistant as well. You should probably pick one up for yourself too so you never forget to leave your flat iron on all day (which I do constantly).

We love going to local breweries in Dallas (there are about a million of them), but why not try your hand at an at home beer making kit. Plus, it's an activity you can do together. If IPAs aren't your thing (Y THO) there are other flavors as well!

This is so stupid and I love it. Yes it's a gag gift but it would bring me great joy to walk into someone's office and see this tube man going wild in my presence. Great gift, solid stocking stuffer. OR, buy it for your white elephant exchange!

People buy drones all the time and don't consider the practice it will take to learn to fly it. What if you're terrible? What if you end up never taking the drone out? Rather than going all in on a major drone purchase, try this one for under $40 that even TAKES PICTURES! It has a 7 minute flight time, just enough to see if the whole DRONE LIFE is for you or not!

Let me lead with saying this has a lifespan of over 1,000 charging cycles!!! WHAT! We have a portable external battery that we always forget to charge up, and it usually only gives me about 75% battery. This bad boy can charge via the wall or from solar power. Buy one for you and your mans.

Who needs TopGolf when you can have a collapsible chipping game in your backyard! Great for any golfer, I know CB would love this. He probably would play with tennis balls and make Veenie go get the ones he misses.

Shut up and take my money. Pizza themed socks that come shaped as a pizza in a pizza box?!?!!? What a time to be alive.

Ugly Christmas sweater party victory here you guys come. I'd probably gift this one a bit earlier, so it can be enjoyed throughout this magical season! Christmas is better with a Jack Russell terrier! LOLOLOLOL

So hopefully these suggestions helped pave the way for the best Christmas giving season ever. Have you found anything your man has gone nuts over for a Christmas gift? Do you plan on getting any of these??

Thank you to Gillette and Walgreens for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #GillettePartner

24 October 2018

How to Spend the Day In Fort Worth

I've been spending a lot of time in Fort Worth lately because I just recently launched Fort Worth Love List. It's just a 30 minute (depending on traffic, that is) drive from Dallas to Fort Worth, so it was really a no brainer to launch this new account. Don't sleep on Fort Worth, in a lot of ways it's as cute as Dallas, if not cuter. There are so many Instagram worthy murals and the foodie scene is on point. So if you've got a day trip to Fort Worth planned or have some time to kill before a TCU football game, there are so many fun things to do in Fort Worth!

In all honesty I can credit CB for the Fort Worth Love List launch, and for pushing me to build more Love List accounts. Sometimes it takes someone else believing in you for you to realize you should be going after a goal!

No road trip (big or small) is complete without a mode of transportation. For this blog post, I've  teamed up with my friends at Toyota who lent me the SWEETEST 2018 TRD Off Road 4Runner. Although I drive an SUV, it's nothing compared to this cool AF vehicle. Driving is generally highly monotonous to me, but the 4Runner brought back the fun.

I'm not joking with what I'm about to say - I had to go off road mural hunting. Yes, you read that right. EXTREME MURALING, Y'ALL! This is an advanced maneuver that I wouldn't recommend unless you have the 4Runner TRD. LOLOLOL.

But really the road was closed, it was ripped up and muddier than the relationship between me and the University of Kentucky. Ok, JK, it wasn't that muddy but it was a tough mural to get to for any normal car. The 4Runner plowed right through and I found myself on the way to hundreds of Instagram likes in no time.

Ok, all jokes aside though, this Toyota is my new favorite and I thoroughly considered trying to give them my current car when it was time to make the return, in hopes they didn't notice.

So pull on those Cowboy boots (p.s. no one wears cowboy boots in Dallas, despite popular opinion) and join me on a day in Fort Worth excursion with my friends at Toyota!

I have to start the morning with a little something in my belly. I'm not a "skip breakfast" kinda gal, so I suggest starting with a donut to hold you over until brunch. They have two locations, but the cutest one (with a lot more flavor options) is located in Sundance Square.


There is the cutest coffee shop just off 7th called Ampersand. If you really want to get wild, grab the nitro cold brew, if you're not really into your heart racing out of your chest then perhaps their lavender vanilla latte.

Based on my photo below, I enjoy the self-induced heart racing.


Clearfork has so many great vendors at the Farmer's Market, everything from produce to spices to olive oil and succulents and a cheese vendor. It's open year round on Saturdays from 8am - 12pm!


One of Texas and Colorado's most popular brunch and breakfasts spots is now open in Fort Worth! Their menu is massive, so come ready to eat and I recommend trying a few different things for the table to share. All of the Benedict's are amazing and you can't go wrong with one of their varieties of Bloody Mary!


The Foundry District is home to Inspiration Alley, the coolest row of the most colorful, back to back to back murals. Bring a Cowboy hat as a prop and get to snapping the perfect IG pic!


A day of food in Fort Worth in a marathon not a sprint. I like to hit as many places as possible and split stuff with whoever is joining me for the day. You can't talk Fort Worth Food and not talk about Heim BBQ. I am not a fan of lines, so I try to hit off peak hours, like 11am or 3pm!


A plant shop out of an airstream is what Instagram dreams are made of. Be sure to walk off that BBQ from Heim and skip a couple of blocks down Magnolia to Grow Plant Shop.


The La Zona "compound" on Magnolia is the cutest thing ever.  Made up of a coffee shop (with ice cream churros) called Saint Sofia, and a tapas, pizza and beer restaurant called Hotel Madrid. The perfect place to duck in for a cocktail and a small plate snack.


Martin House Brewing is a great spot to hang out for a craft beer on a Saturday afternoon. Have a couple of beers and catch a sunset on the skyline during golden hour!


The sun goes down and it's finally time boot scoot and boogie. If you take a trip to Fort Worth and don't go to the stockyards, you're doing it wrong. Personally, for dinner, I say avoid the expensive steak houses and grab a (way cheaper) burger from the always on point Love Shack by Tim Love. The vibe there is fantastic too, with great live music acts throughout the day.

Or, if you don't despise lines like I do, the world famous Joe T. Garcias is a MUST VISIT for uncomplicated, classic Tex Mex. They obviously know a thing or two seeing as they've been around since 1935 and are the proud recipients of the James Beard Foundation award for Excellence.


This place is G-I-A-N-T. They always have live music and line dancing, aka what I like to call the lazy river of the bar world.  There are about a billion bars to grab a drink from, you can play pool, ride a mechanical bull, shop in their massive store - sky is the limit here. It's a must visit to end your night when you're visiting FW!

So there you have it, a day in Fort Worth for all you Dallasites (or for any outsider, really!) wanting to make the drive to Cow Town! Huge thank you to my friends at Toyota for helping me get around (and off road mural hunt) in style!

Want even more fun Fort Worth ideas? Be sure to follow Fort Worth Love List for the best food, cocktails and murals in the area!

20 September 2018

6 Ways To Maximize Your Team Fandom When You Live Out of State

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

It has been SIX YEARS this Labor Day since I moved to Dallas from Tennessee. I haven't been immersed in my beloved college town for six whole years, but that doesn't mean that my fandom is any less. On the contrary, absence does certainly make the heart grow fonder but, I've learned a few tips and tricks along the way to bring my college team's spirit right here to Dallas. I'm teaming up with my friends at Dr Pepper and Walmart today to bring you some tips on how I maximize my  team's fandom living out of state.

Rule One || Make a playlist to kickstart your Gameday. 

This should feature songs that make you feel like you're in college all over again. Songs that bring you back to your roots. A lot of times you can even track down mp3's of your team's actual marching band performing live. I like to include my team's fight song, some songs about the state of Tennessee and some of the classics I remember belting at the top of my lungs while we played corn hole in the hours leading up to kickoff. 

Anything that takes me back, I add it to the list and play it first thing in the morning while I watch sports coverage of the day's games.

Rule Two || Utilize Your Alum Club

Who wants to watch the games solo? Or even worse, who wants to watch your games at a restaurant with potentially the enemy team's fans. I sure as heck don't. 

Instead, I joined our team's alum club here in Dallas. We all meet as a group to watch the games. All of the tables have pom poms, they do giveaways for apparel during halftime and the proceeds go to the alum club organization. 

I can scream at any decibel level I desire and not get judged because you're a screaming nutcase. 

Rule Three || Convert Your Friends

This rule is crucial, or else you might need to consider finding new friends. If your friends don't like your team, convert them. It's like the opposite of if you can't beat em, join em! 
Since my team isn't in-state, it was an easy sell. We aren't rivals, so they are now able to root for their team - AND - for my team! Win win! Everyone comes over to our house to watch my team's games, and we also watch theirs. It's a win win. 
Rule Four || Know The League

What do you do in the morning when you're getting ready for work? Listen to music? Nothing? Zone out to infomercials? Or God forbid.... watch the news (gasp!). Start getting ready while sports news is on your television. You don't have to actually watch sports news twelve times in a row, like a dude, to get something out of it. Listen, do your makeup, glance up occasionally when they're doing the top 10 plays of the day.... voila, you'll start the day armed with all of the sports knowledge you really need to be the best fan possible.

Rule Five || Follow Your Team On Every Social Platform 

Being out of state, you miss out on the pulse of your school's town. Following them on social allows a BTS glimpse of how it feels to be right in the thick of things. Also, go a little deeper and find some beat reporters (basically reporters who ONLY write about your team) to follow on social. Watch their Instagram stories before you get up and get your day started, it'll get you hyped for game day.

Rule Six || When it Doubt, Grill It Out

If all else fails, throw your own dang party! It's your party and you can scream at whatever defensive back that you want to. When you throw a tailgate in your own backyard it's way more comfortable anyway, and you can BYOD (bring your own dog - both of the hot and K9 variety). Veenie and I are prepping for our big season kick off party where all of our friends are coming over to celebrate. We have about 6 couple friends who all bring their dogs and we have a howling good time. Puns all intended. 

I like to pop over to Walmart for all of my tailgate needs, especially if there is any kind of grilling involved. The season kickoff tailgate is always my favorite because I'm not yet annoyed or depressed by my team. The season kickoff tailgate is good food, good times and SMILES all around with all of our friends hanging out, playing lawn games and cheering on our teams. Talk to me about smiles come November, we'll see if I'm still grinning from ear to ear - LOLS!

For this tailgate I got the essentials: Dr Pepper® - the official drink of college football fans, Kingsford® Original Charcoal which is super easy to light and always maintains consistent flavor, and Hidden Valley® Ranch Dressing, which is perfect for salads, veggies (I picked up cauliflower) and even meats!

You of course NEVER EVER want to be grilling while the game is on, but a little pre-kickoff hot dog and Dr Pepper never hurt anyone! This is why I love shopping at Walmart, I only had to make one stop and I got everything I need for our party and friends that come over in a matter of 10 minutes. Less time shopping, more time to put my game face on! Once kickoff hits though, all bets are off. I'm inside, on the couch with LASER FOCUS. No calls pls. Unless Veenie is calling, I always answer for Veenie kisses.

Can you smell the sweet scent of football season from these pictures? Burgers, dogs, the sound of the Dr Pepper can popping open and all of our friends screaming while watching the game in our living room. We had the most fun take a big whiff y'all, football !

Happy football season, friends. May your wins be prevalent .......... unless you're playing my team that is.

Are you ready to fire up your gameday???
Find new recipe ideas and get inspired and FIRED UP for gameday by clicking HERE