Anna Mazzocchi
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Continuing with their mission to reduce irresponsible drinking and driving, Lyft will be offering $50,000 worth of free rides all across the state of Texas over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

This offer comes through the company’s Ride Smart TX program, allowing users to enjoy the holiday and leave the driving to Lyft. This initiative will undoubtedly make the roads safer for everyone over the weekend, and it is commendable that Lyft regularly offers these specials. Just last month, they offered free rides for the Fourth of July holiday, and for Cinco de Mayo in May.

Want to know how to claim your free ride this weekend? If you have the Lyft app, all you have to do is apply the RIDESMARTLD code between noon on August 31 until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 3. If you do not have the app, you can claim your free ride here. Rides are limited to a $10 discount per user.

If you plan on letting loose this weekend poolside or at a backyard barbecue, take advantage of this incredible program. It’s not worth the risk of hurting yourself or others by getting behind the wheel following a day or night of drinking. Don’t drink and drive – grab a Lyft!  

Anna Mazzocchi
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The year ahead looks incredibly promising for the University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts! Both the Maverick Theatre Company and the Maverick Dance Company have quite the lineup planned for productions throughout the year. You might recognize some of the famous works being put on this year like Company and The Music Man, but these are just scratching the surface as to what this amazing department has in store.

The first productions of the year will be the Flight 12 Comedy Improv Troupe, taking place Sept. 21 and 22. If you have not yet been to an improv show, they are among some of the most entertaining performances you can see. This troupe is made up of 12 students and is headed by Associate Professor Joe Chapa. Both shows are at 8 p.m. in the UTA Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are $10 each. There will also be more performances from this impressive group in the spring on Feb. 8 and 9. 

The Clean House, a play by Sarah Ruhl, will be the next up in October. A play that is comedic, dramatic and beautiful, it will make for the perfect night at the theater! There will be five performances at the Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are $10; university faculty and staff members, students and senior citizens can purchase tickets for $8. The play is directed by Assistant Professor of Instruction Seraphina Nova Glass and runs Oct. 10 - 13 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 14 at 2:30 p.m.

MavLab Productions are a series of three one-act plays being put on this fall by the UTA Department of Theatre Arts. What is notable about these productions is that some of them are written and/or directed by current students. Their titles are Ladies in Waiting by Michele Palermo, directed by Assistant Professor of Instruction Detra Payne, followed by The Shock of Recognition by Robert Anderson, directed by current student Coy Rubalcaba, and Some Sunny Day, written and directed by current student Straton Rushing. See this series Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the UTA Studio Theatre. The ticket price is $10.

Company is a famous musical written by Stephen Sondheim, based upon the book written by George Furth. Chronicling the hilarious antics of a happy bachelor, if you are in need of a night of comedy with great music, make it a point to see this production. The show will be held at UTA’s Mainstage Theatre with five performance dates: Nov. 14 - 17 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12, and $10 for faculty or staff, students and senior citizens. The play will be directed by Dr. Katherine Noone, Assistant Professor of Instruction.

The Maverick Dance Company has upcoming performances for both winter and spring, entitled Via Dance. If you have an aspiring dancer in your family, you should definitely take them to watch these incredible talents put on breathtaking performances. Via Dance is directed by Artistic Director Amanda Jackson, Associate Artistic Director Meredith Knight Treminio, and student and guest choreographers. This winter, you can see the Maverick Dance Company Dec. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m. For the spring, their performances will be May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and May 5 at 2:30 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are $10 or $8 for faculty and staff, students and senior citizens.

If you are in the mood for a classic, heartwarming show, the Maverick Theatre Company is putting on The Music Man this coming spring. You can see this show  Feb. 27 - March 2 at 8 p.m. at the Mainstage Theatre, or on March 3 at 2:30 p.m. The production will be directed by Dr. Anne Healy, Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair. Tickets range from $10 - $12.

The last two performances of the year are performed in repertory, which means that they will be alternating every night until their last performance. The two plays, Eurydice and Princess Mia, both should not be missed. You can see Eurydice, written by Sarah Ruhl, on April 10, April 12, April 15 and April 17 at 8 p.m., and on April 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the Studio Theatre. It will be directed by Felicia Bertch, Assistant Professor of Instruction. Princess Mia will be performed on April 11, April 13, April 16 and April 18 at 8 p.m., and on April 14 at 2:30 p.m. The show will be directed by Artistic Director and UTA Professor Andrew Christopher Gaupp. See this performance at the Mainstage Theatre. Tickets range from $8 - $10.

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts is sure to wow this season. If you plan on attending any of these shows, visit their website for more information about the program and upcoming performances. For ticketing inquiries, you can reach the box office at 817-272-9595. The addresses for both theatres are listed below:

UTA Mainstage Theatre

502 S. Cooper Street

Arlington, TX 76019

Fine Arts Building, North Section, Room 174.


UTA Studio Theatre

502 S. Cooper Street

Arlington, TX 76019

Fine Arts Building, North Section, Room 137.

Anna Mazzocchi
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Okra is a classic staple to any Southern table, and thank goodness for that. The delicious vegetable is one of the most versatile out there, and people have caught on to that over the years – so much so that in Dallas, we have an annual festival to celebrate it!

Okrapalooza is back for its 7th year in East Dallas. This food festival is increasingly popular each year, and we can see why. Chefs from all over come to compete in an okra cook-off, creating original dishes for crowds to taste, local breweries supplying beer, live music, activities for kids, and more. To top it all off, there is always a theme selected for the festival, and this year it is... The Beatles!

Okrapalooza is put on by the Promise of Peace gardens, an organization dedicated to “turn vacant spaces into thriving places” by getting communities together and planting beautiful gardens. Their mission, through these gardens, is to teach the value of nutrition in our diets as well as the sanctity of the environment. Your ticket price of $50 will benefit this great cause.

If you agree that this is the perfect way to end your summer, you can purchase tickets here! Okrapalooza will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 9 at The Lot in Dallas. If you need more convincing, check out these photos from last year’s event.

See you on Sept. 9!

The Lot is located at 7530 East Grand Ave. 

Anna Mazzocchi
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Trader Joe’s remains a favorite grocery store for so many people around the country. Who can argue with inexpensive, high-quality food and specialty items made exclusively for their store – cookie butter, anyone? The chain is always producing new frozen meals and entrees that you can enjoy whenever you want, as well as new coffees, drinks, and other kinds of products. There are regularly new things to try, so here are five recently released products that we’re excited to pick up the next time we shop at Trader Joe’s.

1. Chipotle Vegetable Quesadillas

These meat-free, vegetable-stuffed quesadillas are full of flavor and will go well with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. The inside of the quesadillas is made up of sweet corn, black beans, onions, and dried jalapeño, all in a savory sauce – the perfect way to solve a Tex-Mex craving!

2. Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese

The same four-cheese flavor you love in Trader Joe’s mac and cheese, but without the gluten! The gluten-free mac & cheese is made with rotini noodles that are composed of quinoa, lentil, and rice flour. This is mouthwatering! If you want to upgrade the meal, just top it with your favorite mac and cheese additions, like bacon crumbles or hot sauce, and you are good to go.

3. New Cake Flavors

If you have a sweet tooth and cannot resist a good cake, Trader Joe’s has two new flavors that make the perfect finale to any meal. The store now offers Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean and Dark Chocolate Ganache mini sheet cakes that you should definitely bring home for yourself or your next dinner party.

4. Uncured Ham & Swiss Cheese Flaky Croissant Dough Squares

Brunch at home, anyone? With this item, you won’t need to go out to have the perfect mid-morning weekend fare. These decadent croissant squares have ham and swiss cheese that melt together when you bake them, and are sure to be the ultimate pairing with your mimosa.

5. Neapolitan Joe-Joe’s

These can be something of a controversy for hardcore Trader Joe’s shoppers versus those who grew up strictly on Oreo’s. It’s too close to call on which is a better cookie! Regardless, Trader Joe’s just released a new flavor of Joe-Joe’s in a classic combination you know and love: Neapolitan! Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, all in one. Yum! 

Anna Mazzocchi

Aug. 24 presents a fantastic opportunity for you to come out and participate in a fun and supportive event benefiting the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is an incredible organization that aids in the legal proceedings for children who have been severely abused or have witnessed violent crimes that no one should ever see. Not only does the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center help facilitate the investigations, they also help the child mentally process the trauma by providing therapy services at no cost, which will benefit their mental well-being for years to come. The DCAC fights for a child’s justice after the unimaginable.

The fundraising event, called Aim for Advocacy, will include a day spent outdoors shooting sporting clays, a catered lunch, a raffle, and an auction. This is a worthwhile cause for an organization that works hard every day to defend the children of Dallas County. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the Dallas Gun Club. You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets here.

The Dallas Gun Club is located at 3601 S Stemmons Freeway in Lewisville.

Anna Mazzocchi
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Prosper residents have yet another delicious restaurant to enjoy! On Aug. 15, Sauce Pizza & Wine opened their first-ever location in Texas at the Gates of Prosper outdoor shopping center. This has been a highly anticipated grand opening with the restaurant’s mouthwatering menu, extensive wine list, and a modern, fresh atmosphere.

Their vision combines fine Italian dining and relaxed dining with ease; their pizzas are delectable with savory options like the Prosciutto and Fig with goat cheese, and hearty varieties like the Suprema and Spicy Chicken Sausage. This is not your ordinary pizza joint – Sauce’s flavors are bold, yet entirely cohesive. If you would rather enjoy something other than pizza, they have 10 different salads, several panini options, and filling pasta dishes. The dessert menu is just as tantalizing with classic Italian tiramisu, gelato, and warm cookies.

This new restaurant is definitely a must-see. On Aug. 18, there is even more of an incentive for you to go out! The local nonprofit Kids Prosper Kids, an incredible student organization that is dedicated to making a difference all around the world, will receive 100 percent of the profits that day from Sauce.

Sauce Pizza & Wine will no doubt become a popular staple in the town as it develops. Visit them at the Gates of Prosper soon!

Sauce Pizza & Wine is located at 1151 S. Preston Road #10 in Prosper.

Anna Mazzocchi
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“Staycations” can be just as much fun as getting out of town, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There are plenty of fun hotels and mini-getaways around us that make for a wonderful end of summer weekend. Here are a few of our picks:

Gaylord Texan

This well-known Grapevine installation is a must-see at some point for you and your family! The Gaylord Texan is an unbelievable resort and convention center with unbeatable rooms, restaurants, and amenities. Specifically for the summer months, you need to see the Paradise Springs water park. With multiple pools and slides to choose from, a lazy river, and a crazy water jungle gym, you’ll certainly have plenty to do. Plus, Summerfest is going on until September 3, so it is a good time to book! If you want a completely different seasonal experience, book a holiday stay. The resort goes all out with beautiful decorations and an incredible ice sculpture display.

The Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas

This resort may be better for a weekend away with your significant other; the Four Seasons is serene and incredibly relaxing. With beautiful rooms to choose from, golf, tennis, a luxurious spa, and a wonderful restaurant, this place is an easy, romantic escape from busy everyday life.

Great Wolf Lodge

When I was little, my family and I went to Great Wolf Lodge annually! To this day, it is one of my favorite places for all of the memories that I have there. We always went in the winter; there was something so fun about being at an indoor waterpark in January. However, they have both an indoor area and outdoor park for summer. This resort is the perfect staycation for families year-round, with an assortment of amenities and fun activities for kids.

The Westin Stonebriar Hotel and Golf Club

Further north, a lavish resort option is the Westin Stonebriar Hotel and Golf Club. This luxury resort is beautiful; there are a variety of room styles to choose from, delicious dining options, golf, a spa, and a pool all in the booming area of Frisco.

The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

If you really feel like treating yourself, the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is an amazing choice for a quick getaway. The hotel is impeccably designed and has a rich history that anyone would love to immerse themselves in.

Where is your favorite staycation in the Dallas-Fort Worth?

Anna Mazzocchi
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I can say with 100% certainty that bringing a furry friend into your home is one of the best things you will ever do! My dogs at home are members of the family and bring so much joy to our lives every day. My family and I are also fervent rescue advocates, and we always encourage people to join in the “adopt, don’t shop” movement that is all about giving pups a second chance versus buying from a breeder or pet store. Here are rescues located around the Dallas-Fort Worth area that serve as great places to start the search for your new family member.

Lone Star Dog Ranch Rescue

Located in Anna, Texas, this family operation cannot be spoken of highly enough. I can personally vouch for this; my rescues have come from there and I love them with all my heart! Lone Star Dog Ranch Rescue was started by Renee Eden, and since its founding, it has grown vastly in dogs, volunteers, and has attained an extensive social media following nationwide. Eden, members of her family, and select volunteers rescue and rehome dogs from some of the poorest conditions imaginable, like puppy mills, overcrowded shelters, and other beyond. They pay veterinary care, including treatment for infections, heartworms and cancer, which can be expensive if the animals have not been properly cared for previously. Dogs often have to be spayed and neutered, too. Once they have been treated and are good to go, animals are put up for adoption and given loving, forever homes. These are wonderful animals that appreciate their second lease on life and will show you and your family that appreciation and love. You can read more about the incredible people at Lone Star and what they do here.

Dallas DogRRR

Dallas DogRRR is also a top-notch organization that bases their mission on three “Rs:” Rescue, Rehab and Reform. They save dogs that are in the worst condition when they are found, give them all the medical care and attention they need, and find them a new home. This is a volunteer organization made up of generous, selfless people dedicated to saving as many animals as they can. Check out their website, look at the unbelievable before and after photos, and peruse all the sweet dogs that can’t wait to meet you.

DFW Humane Society

You cannot go wrong with the local humane society for our area. DFW Humane Society is a nonprofit and no-kill shelter, which means they will never euthanize no matter how many animals they receive. It is appalling how many animals are dropped off weekly, but the team there cares for them the best they can despite the sad circumstances. The DFW Humane Society houses both dogs and cats, and coming up on August 18, all adoption fees are being waived. If you’re searching for a new member of the family, the DFW Humane Society is a good place to start!

Do you represent a Dallas-Fort Worth animal rescue organization? To learn more about how to share news about your organization on BubbleLife for free, click here.

Anna Mazzocchi
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Subscription services have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there is no doubt why. The convenience, variety, and simplicity of the entire experience is incomparable. With the effect of Christmas morning at every single delivery, they are customizable, often returnable if you’re not satisfied, and certainly not going away anytime soon. These services have a surefire audience in busy moms who don’t always have time to shop. They vary widely in category and functionality, so we’ve rounded up a few subscription services that are sure to appeal to the hardworking moms out there.

1. Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is an early subscription service that is still going strong today. Available for women, men, and children, it is the equivalent of having a personal stylist online. Based on a survey, your stylist will send you five items each month. From there, you’ll essentially pick and choose what you want to keep, then send back what you don’t. You’ll receive free shipping both ways and if you want to keep everything sent in your box that month, they will give you 25% off. This makes everything super easy, especially when it comes to buying clothes for your kids!

2. Birchbox

Birchbox is a great subscription if you are someone like me who loves to try new beauty products, but doesn’t want to shell out a lot of money at the risk of not liking them. Each monthly box is $10 for five sample items (they occasionally throw in freebies!) based on your preferences. You get a variety of makeup, hair, and other beauty products. They also have a “Grooming” side for men of the same concept!

3. Rocksbox

They now have a subscription service that will bring you jewelry from brands like Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, Loren Hope, and more! Rocksbox was started by powerhouse entrepreneur Meaghan Rose to simplify the process of finding cute jewelry staples that you will want to wear on repeat. Every month, you will get a box of three jewelry pieces to try; you can purchase what you love and send back what you don’t, only to receive something else! Rocksbox is an efficient, fun way to find some of your soon-to-be favorite jewels.

4. Blue Apron

After a busy day, the last thing you want to do is make a stop at the grocery store. They now have subscription boxes for meal preparation, too! Blue Apron is one of those services. With plenty of meals to choose from, you are going to love having everything you need for a pre-designed meal plan. The recipes are pre-measured and waiting for you to whip them up. The food is high quality and the subscription is customizable, starting at $60 per month.

5. FabFitFun

You’ve likely heard of this subscription service due to its overwhelming popularity. There is a reason it continues to grow! FabFitFun is an amazing service whose deliveries are divided into seasons. They contain 8-10 full-size products that are valued at over $200 a box. These products include the areas of beauty, makeup, fitness, and more. The best part? Each box is only $50. Jump on this bandwagon as soon as possible!

Do you have any subscription favorites? Share them in the comments!

Anna Mazzocchi
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Anyone following the news knows that California has had a difficult year with wildfires. This, however, is nothing too out of the ordinary; wildfires have always been common, unfortunate events in the history of California that have claimed lives, destroyed homes and devastated wildlife, all at an alarming pace.

What you may not realize is that we have 
intense wildfires in Texas, too. Most recently, we have seen four of them occur, spreading from the Panhandle and eventually ending in the center of the state. Experts say that the risk of widespread wildfires will likely only get worse due to two unavoidable factors: the intense heat and the ongoing drought.

I highly doubt anyone needs an explanation of the level of devastation that comes with wildfires. Besides being a danger to our lives and our homes, we lose wildlife, natural beauty, and vegetation.

What Can You Do To Help?

It’s time to take a leaf out of Smokey the Bear’s book and take the proper, responsible steps to help prevent wildfires in our beautiful state. Here are a few practices listed to keep in mind:

  • If you and your family are campers, cautiously choose a campfire site that is not near any dry areas or brush, is in an open location, and is a safe distance from your tent. Don’t forget to take wind into account when choosing a location for your campfire.

  • Sparking of any kind can cause a wildfire in the right conditions. Your car can cause a spark in many different ways, as can machines like lawnmowers and other household equipment. Keep in mind the time of day you are doing yard work and keep your equipment in good condition. This especially applies if you are in a wooded area or an area with a significant amount of trees or brush around you. That is endless fuel for a fire and will only allow it to grow further.

  • Be extremely cautious and aware of your surroundings when you conduct controlled debris burning on your property. This is also an incredibly important time to keep the direction of the wind in mind.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think we have one of the most beautiful states in the country. We need to do everything we can to protect it. With intense heat and continuing drought conditions, we cannot afford a careless accident.