Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

19 March 2019

The Best Product to Monitor Your Home When You're Away

Thank you to Panasonic HomeHawk for sponsoring this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

We've been in our home for almost four years, and I have a love-hate relationship with our neighborhood. It's a transitional area in Dallas, and it has come A LONG WAY in our four years there. With that said, I still don't trust packages being sent to our house. 

I remember one of my first campaigns I had in the new house was for a wine brand. They sent me three $100 gift cards for a giveaway, and some swag. The box was confirmed as delivered, yet I never saw the box. I don't know what happened, but I can only imagine it was swiped off the front porch before I had the chance to collect it. 

While we do have a neighbor who is often at home during the day, I'm certainly not going to rely on her to spy on our front porch all day every day. 

Enter your new favorite gadget, the Panasonic HomeHawk. It's an outdoor home monitoring system, that is incredibly easy to install and set up, very user-friendly. Unlike other products on the market, you don't have to pay a monthly storage fee. You just get a one time SD card and you're good to go. 

The camera itself is wire free, and is set at a 172 degree angle so you can actually see more than just your front porch. 

We also thought it was great for our backyard too. We park our cars in the backyard, because it is gated. With that said, the gate isn't automatic so it doesn't lock easily. It's nice to have a camera also monitoring both the gate and the backdoor to our house. Major peace of mind for when we are traveling. 

It's 2 way talk and waterproof, basically it has everything you need for home monitoring when you're away from the house. Have your packages delivered and gain peace of mind knowing they're safe because you're watching over them. I'd also recommend getting a second kit to monitor any backdoors, or even monitor your detached garage if you have one of those - like we do!

Here is a little video I put together that goes into a little more detail about the HomeHawk and how it works for our family!

We got everything set up and ready to rock and roll before our Cabo trip. We were able to actively monitor our home right from our pool chair.

The app will ding you when someone approaches the camera, but my absolute favorite feature is that it TELLS THE OTHER PERSON (aka - a potential intruder or package stealer) that they're on camera. A speaker tells them "Premises is Being Monitored." Personally, if I were a package thief that would be enough to scare me away!

We ended up being those weirdos that took great enjoyment on seeing the pups on the cameras with the Rover sitter while we were gone. We tried to talk to Veenie through the two-way talk, but very sadly she was more interested in sniffing every blade grass and peeing where Gee had just peed. Pretty typical, TBH.

I highly recommend this product, and it will be a clutch addition to our front and back doors for the next few months when we have quite a few weekend getaways. Plus, I'll look forward to watching the pups while I'm gone, because I'm a stage five clinger.

For more information, or to purchase the Panasonic HomeHawk || CLICK HERE

Thanks to Panasonic for sponsoring today's post. All opinions are my own.

15 March 2019

The Top 10 Things You Need to See On A Trip to Savannah

A few weeks ago, I found myself in one of the nation's most beautiful cities, Savannah, Georgia. I'd been to Hilton Head as a kid plenty of times, but never to Savannah. That is, up until just recently when I started my new job with Makeready. We have a beautiful hotel there, The Alida! After a few work trips, one of which was spent simply exploring the city, and then my most recent trip with my friends at Toyota, I've decided on my top 10 favorite things that a visitor must do, see and eat in Savannah. 

It's no secret how much I adore Toyota both as a brand to work with, and for their cars. This trip to Savannah was centered around their all new 2020 Toyota Corolla. The Corolla is literally the world's best selling car, and is a household name at this point. Although when I was a kid my dad (a ford dealer for 35 years) used to mis-pronounce it TAY-ota, which made me cringe. I think he just did it for me to be like, "DAD THAT IS NOT HOW YOU SAY IT."

All jokes aside, for so many teens, a Corolla was their very first car. You might have an impression of this car in your mind, but that vision is NOTHING like the 2020 Toyota Corolla. This bad boy is sporty AF and swimming with features (I'm obsessed with the touch screen display with Apple car play), incredible audio from JBL and of course equipped with all of the Toyota safety features I've bragged about in the past. This one has Toyota Safety Sense™ with a pre-collision detection system that can help detect a vehicle, bicyclist or even pedestrian in certain situations, even in low light.

I feel like Uber and Lyft drivers in Deep Ellum should only drive this car, with all the crazies running out in the street at 2am.... just a thought....

Shoot, there's even a hybrid version now that gets 53/52 mpg! Yowza, where was that when I was 16 years old, driving all over Midlothian, Virginia just because I could.  I remember I used to put $5 in my tank at a time because that was all I could afford.

This is such a great, affordable car with all of the technology bells and whistles kids want these days - there's even wifi on board! BOOM!

We had a great time scooting around Savannah in this cute, sporty car. It was easy to drive, but had plenty of pickup to get you going the right speed on the highway in a flash.

Flying into Savannah is EXPENSIVE, even from the mega hub that is Dallas. So, if you're within driving distance, I'd recommend a road trip. So, grab your Corrolla (don't have one - go buy one *wink*) and take a tour of Savannah by hitting the 10 favorite spots I think a tourist needs to see.

If you don't want to drive through the site, it is free to visit. BUT - I recommend paying the $10 it costs to get in because it's beautiful and that money goes to historic maintenance. This spot in Savannah will take your breath away.

Assuming you're staying in the downtown Savannah / Riverfront area, you can walk to this outstanding park. I mean really though, there is beauty at every turn and tree. I was there during the winter and fall months, so I'm bursting at the seams to see it all decked out in spring colors!

3. Grab Coffee then explore Tybee Island
Tybee Island is home to beautiful lighthouses, great shopping, beautiful sunsets on the beach and the cutest coffee shop, Tybean Coffee. I love a good pun. You'll be greeted by the coffee shop first, so grab a coffee, jump in your Corolla, and get to exploring! 

The stairs down to the Riverwalk are what I like to call - death stairs. No for real, they're so steep, a billion years old (give or take) and are actually really creepy. I understand they're historic and lovely, yada yada yada, but if you prefer to not leave with a broken leg, I say avoid those stairs by going through one of the hotels. Then take their elevator down to their bottom floor. Just a little pro-tip from me to you. 

The riverwalk has great shopping, bars on bars on bars, and cute little candy shops. They even have a little covered market, too! 

Yup, you can take your cocktail to go, New Orleans style, in Savannah! So grab a to go beverage and get your comfy shoes on and go for a walk. Savannah is known for their 22 squares scattered through the historic district. The squares are all covered in old live oak trees, and make you stop to really appreciate the beauty of the world. 

One of the squares, Chippewa Square, is actually where Forest Gump sat on his park bench! Kewl! MERICA! 

Savannah's most historic, and incredibly popular must visit restaurant, the Olde Pink House was originally built in 1771. Very sadly though, they experienced a fire in their upstairs ballroom in December 2018. Once they're back up and running (expected to be April or May 2019), make dinner reservations here and be part of history!  

Ok so you're headed to Savannah, but where should you STAY when you get there? I'd recommend the brand new Alida hotel. It's located on River Street, so you're within walking distance of the river, downtown, shopping, bars... everything. They have a rooftop bar called Lost Square (open to the public, so check it out regardless), a great pool with a pool bar, a wonderful restaurant on the bottom level called Rhett and even a cute retail shop where you can buy your very own custom-made-for-the-hotel, Stetson! 

Beware, your cuteness overload meter is going to be set off when you enter this charming coffee shop  and market. They have adorable, Parisian style outdoor seating for those beautiful Savannah Spring and Fall days. 

Shopping, wine and coffee - it's all of my favorite things! 

Think a French 75, good company and a world famous tomato basil bisque that you won't know how you lived without for so long! 

Located atop the beautiful Perry Lane Hotel is Peregin, a rooftop bar with amazing cocktails, a super cool mural, crazy good aesthetics and views for days! 

This is for sure the icing on a beautiful day spent in Savannah. 

If you end up using any of the spots on my guide for your next trip, let me know via INSTAGRAM! As I continue my travels to Savannah, I'll continue to update this guide, so be sure to pin for later - or for your next trip to Savannah. 

31 January 2019

My Five Favorite Things To Get Delivered That Will Make Your Life Easier

Thank you to Gillette Venus Razors for sponsoring this post, and to all of the brands that support Venus Trapped in Mars! All thoughts and opinions are my own!

How lucky are we to live in a time when literally anything can be delivered to your door? You can have groceries, beer, prescriptions, clothes and of course, pizza. There are a few delivery services for me though that are more valuable than anything else. Things that I HATE going out and buying, don't have time to buy, or always forget to purchase then realize it's too late. Today, I thought I'd talk about the magic of getting your favorite, most necessary purchases delivered right to your door.

I'm picturing you with a cup of coffee rolling your eyes at me not even wanting to read because you think it's just going to be me listing pizza over and over and over again. While, yes, you're right, I have listed pizza below (it's me, after all) there are some pretty valuable services on this list!

Side note: before I met Drew I used to yell PIZZA IS HERE to an empty apartment so the driver wouldn't think it was ALL FOR ME. And by "before I met Drew" I mean that was last weekend when he was out of town skiing. WHATEVER IT IS FINE.

Let's hop to it, here are FIVE of my favorite things that I have delivered right to my door.... you know, because being out in public is VERY HARD.

1. Gillette Venus Razor Subscription

As if a blogger with the name VENUS Trapped in Mars and a dog named Venus would use any razor other than a Venus Razor! I was so excited to partner with Venus Razors today because - not a lie - I've been using this particular razor for nearly a decade! I'm SO BAD about using my Venus Razor for far too long because I keep forgetting to replace it. It'll slip my mind to pick it up at the grocery store, then I'm back in the shower again needing a fresh razor and I'm too late!

This is not a problem any longer though, because Gillette has just launched Venus Direct where you can customize a three step process of selecting a custom handle, razor heads and extra features that are uniquely designed for and by you! I've been hearing about men's razor subscription services, so I'm THRILLED to learn about this for us ladies now!

Plus, get this... all of our Venus handles fit all of our blade refills! For blades, you have your choice between original, white tea, extra smooth and Olay moisture. With one simple shave plan, you get your choice of stylish, high quality razors delivered to your door when you want them! The delivery is also free, and plans start at as little as $10 a month. It's so convenient, and even allows you to cancel at any time.

2. Dog Food Delivery 
I work downtown, which is really not near a convenient pet store. Finding a store that carries Veenie and Gee's particular dog food is SO DIFFICULT. Not to mention their bags of food are massive and it's a workout to lug around two giant bags.

I put buying their food off for so long that I end up with major dog mom guilt when I feed them treats for dinner because they're out of food. Pass on the dog mom guilt and sign up for automatic dog food delivery from a site like Petco!

3. Rent The Runway
I've been the biggest fan of Rent the Runway now for well over a year and a half. It has changed the shopping game for me. I almost never shop, I just rent. My closet is full of basics like jeans, solid color tops and then the occasional graphic tee.

I take chances on styles I would never drop a load of cash on, I wear dresses that are worth thousands of dollars and I have name brand fashion like Kate Spade and Tory Burch at my fingertips. I literally shop every day, but I never have to spend my lifesavings to do it!

I feel like I'm the poster child for Rent The Runway, I worship that brand. If you ever have any questions on their unlimited program, holler at your girl!

4. Pizza Hut
You knew I wouldn't miss this on my list of the best delivery services. If I could put Pizza Hut on automatic delivery for Sunday around 12:30pm, I would. Forget brunch, I'd take Pizza Hut in bed all day every day.

Thin crust, pepperoni, extra sauce. Breadsticks if I'm feeling extra sassy.

5. Prescriptions  
Much like dog food, prescriptions are so annoying to get filled and picked up. It's never quick, you're usually standing in line behind ole Aunt Ella Mae who doesn't understand which of her 48 prescriptions is leaving this weird bubbly rash on her right buttocks, and then all of a sudden you've been in CVS for an hour and a half.

I have a heart medicine that I need filled once a month and getting it delivered straight to the door is so easy. I never go without a pill, and I don't have to see Ella Mae. Win win!

I hope this post helped you rethink some of your daily needs, and how much easier it would be to just add it as a subscription service!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Gillette Venus. The opinions and text are all mine.

Super Bowl Squares 2019 || LA Rams vs New England Patriots

Every year I do Super Bowl Squares here on VTIM and the time has finally come for Super Bowl Squares 2019 for Super Bowl 53, New England Patriots vs the LA Rams! This year's Super Bowl Squares post is sponsored by one of MY FAVORITE snacks of all time, popchips!

I've seen so many bloggers on instagram doing the "empty bottle challenge" where they prove to you that they actually use the products they endorse. Last year, I worked with the popchips team and it was the first time I had ever heard of the company. Last year they sent me about 15 bags of popchips and I thought, good lord I'll never eat all of these.

I did, though.
I ate them all.

Over the last year I'd pack a small ziplock bag of popchips and have them on hand, in the right serving size, in case I got hungry at work. When they asked to work together again, I was giddy. YES SEND ME MORE popchips I NEED MY FIX!

I love having better-for-you snacks on hand at work for when I get hungry, so that I don't make poor decisions. By poor decisions - I mean the constant, never ending supply of sweets in the office. I work in a hotel for goodness sakes, there is ALWAYS extra food floating around. Extra delicious food that is very hard to turn down if I don't have something else to turn to.

It's such a great option to have out as a Super Bowl snack because it balances out some of those unhealthier options you have at your fingertips. Read also: queso, seven layer dip, ranch, pizza, burgers, junk, junk and more junk. For the record, I do love junk. But it's nice to know that I am walking in to this year's party knowing there's a more sensible option available. Hey, I do have a Mexico trip coming up after all!

I'm not suggesting to ditch the queso - hell no, this is TEXAS! Queso is LYFE during the game, but maybe instead of tortilla chips, try switching it out for new ridges popchips. Just in time for Sunday's game, they just launched new ridges packaging (available in Buffalo Ranch, Cheddar and Sour Cream and Tangy Barbecue) and they're a sturdier chip that's perfect for dipping. You'll legit enjoy it just as much, and save a ton of calories along the way. They are available in ten flavors, and are never fried - containing only real ingredients. The best part, less than 130 calories per serving!

ORDER popchips HERE

Ok, now that you're all snacked-up, let's get started with the one game you MUST HAVE at your Super Bowl party... Super Bowl Squares 2019 for Super Bowl 53 || New England Patriots vs. LA Rams. This post includes the free blank printable version of Super Bowl Squares 2019 as well as instructions on how to play Super Bowl Squares. 

|| Official Super Bowl Squares 2019 board ||

For Free Super Bowl Squares Printable Version || Click Here

How To Play Super Bowl Squares 2016

 Step 1 || Determine the cost of each square. To keep things simple, I'd recommend just $1 per square. 

 Step 2 || Those participating purchase desired number of squares 
(Only purchase white squares, leave the shaded squares blank for now) 

 Step 3 || After all of the white squares are purchased, the host will write the numbers 0-9 in random order in the shaded squares across the top of the board. The host will then write 0-9 again in the shaded squares vertically down the page. 

 Step 4 || You'll have 4 total winners throughout the game, so divide your money 4 ways.

Step 5 || Find your winners. At the end of each quarter, half and finish of the game, match the last digit of the Patriots score, and the last digit of the Rams score to find your winner. 

So if these instructions are a bit confusing, and you are more of a hands on learner, like I am, here is an example:

Let's say I'm having a party and I ask my party guests if they would like to buy squares. The squares cost just $1 a piece. Here are what my party guests buy...

Oscar the Grouch (OTG) - Asks for 10 squares - puts in $10

Miley Cyrus (MC) - Asks for 5 squares - puts in $5 (cheap ass)

Peter Griffin (PG)-Asks for 10 squares and a Pawtucket Patriot- puts in $10 but no money for the beer

General Neyland (GN)- asks for 5 squares - but just gives me a high 5. So, I go ahead and cover his $5

You know I wouldn't skip a gambling opportunity. Sarah buys 10 squares - $10 (SRW)

Terrell Owens (TO) - tries to buy just 5 squares, I tell him if he buys more I'll be his Facebook friend, so he buys 20 - $20 (He ended up having to take out a loan for the $20)

Buggs Bunny (BB) - comes in and scoops up the rest ($40)

With $100 in the pot. We will have 4 winners, each winner gets $25! Our board now looks like this...

Our next step is to randomly list our numbers across the top and down the side. 

We sit down and start shoveling cheese dip and popchips into our belly, while watching the game.

The first quarter ends, and the score is Rams 7 - Patriots 3. Find 7 on Rams' side, and 3 on Patriots' side, then you find your winner!

And Buggs is your first quarter winner! Yay Buggs, get it! Any questions??! I'm here to help! 

*Warning* Always play with ice cold (Miller light) beer! And of course drink responsibly and junk.  

Thank you to popchips for sponsoring this post, and to all of the brands the support Venus Trapped in Mars! All thoughts and opinions are my own!

30 January 2019

The Best Product to Revive Hair Damaged by a Flat Iron

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

Thank you to Pantene for sponsoring this post! I'm always so appreciative of the brand partnerships that make Venus Trapped in Mars possible. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I have super thick, kinky, curly hair that has a mind of its own. The way I style my hair goes in waves (hah, hair puns). During the summer months I almost always wear it curly because Texas is just WAY TOO HOT and I sweat too much, so straightening my hair ends up being pointless. During the winter though, I wear it straight nearly every day.

In the colder months, after using so many hot tools, if I don't feed it moisture on a regular basis it loses its luster and shine. The ends will get really frizzy and it takes several more passes with a flat iron to get smooth.

My hair is majorly high maintenance when I wear it straight or in loose curls. I first start by blowing it dry with a round brush, hit the roots and ends with a flat iron, then finish with a curling iron for loose waves. Talk about a moisture suck!

Earlier this month, I added a game changing new product called Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots to my weekly hair routine, and I am OBSESSED!!! This is Pantene’s first at-home rescue treatment which has actually been imported from Brazil, and will hit shelves this month! 

Prior to learning about this new product, I'd get my moisturizing treatment at the salon. This ended up being SO EXPENSIVE and while it did leave my hair feeling so much softer, I just couldn't justify the price tag. The Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots are designed to be used at home and they repair extremely damaged hair in just the first use. If you color treat your hair, or use tons of hot tools (like I do) these need to be in your beauty routine.

The Intense Rescue Shots are Pantene's most potent repair product yet, with a single-dose tube containing a deeply absorbing blend of Pro-Vitamin B5, strengthening lipids and natural glycerin that targets the damaged areas to give hair the flexibility and resilience it needs to endure styling and environmental stresses.

I've used at home conditioning treatments in the past that weigh down your hair because they don't wash out very well. This treatment rinses quickly, so you won't have any of that gunky residue that leaves your hair feeling greasy.

Using them is easy, too. Drew and I did a staycation this past weekend at The Stoneleigh (we had their Presidential Suite, HOLY COW was it a beaut) so before we went out for a date night, I just replaced my normal conditioner that day with the Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots. I'd recommend doing this once a week, honestly.

You'll want to use the single-dose tube root to tip, but I get way more damage on my ends due to flat ironing, so I applied more on the ends of my hair.

Leave it in for 30 seconds, then rinse out for 30 seconds! I'd actually recommend not over rinsing, either, because it is designed NOT to weigh your hair down. You basically can't mess this up!

And then voila, luscious locks in just one treatment a week for just FIVE DOLLARS at Target!!!!!