Blog Archives

Fresh Friday: Guilty.

Hello hotness.

Hello hotness.

I’ve only got a sample bottle of Guilty by Gucci, but I’ll say it’s lasted me quite awhile — the bottle is substantial.

Now, this is going to sound really corny, but every time I get a good sniff of this scent, it makes me think of everything luxurious (particularly diamonds). I’m not sure why, of course… perhaps I knew someone in a former life that wore it and she was dripping in gold and diamonds.

As described by Sephora, “Made for the woman who shatters expectations, this fragrance imbues with a feeling of power, a sense that she can attain whatever she wants — even the thrill of the forbidden. A sheer, floral-oriental fragrance, it opens with a bright burst of citrus and a dangerous hint of black pepper. This arresting introduction gives way to full-throttle femininity as its heart pulses with fruity and floral notes. The fragrance dries down to a rich, ambery base with notes of patchouli. The overall effect is young, stylish, and eminently wearable—a daring edge of sexiness and sensuality that captures the essence of Gucci.

The stunning bottle fuses glass and metal, a feature revealed through Gucci’s signature interlocking ‘G’ characters. At the center of the iconic logo’s letterforms, the bottle’s gleaming metallic surface is elegantly cut away to expose the bottle’s glass interior.”

Looks like me and Sephora are on the same page! Be sure to dabble a little Guilty on if you get the chance (find the tester bottles…) and let me know if you get that whole diamond effect.

This Christmas: go glam.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you all are prepping for a fantastic day filled with love, kindness, and okay, a little bit of glamour. One of my favorite things about Christmastime is having the excuse to pull out my glitter eyeliner, shimmery shadows, and bold colors.

I’ve always loved experimenting with makeup, and opening a few gifts under the tree that assist in my hobby never hurt anyone. Sure, I know you’ve already hit up some holiday parties, but there’s still time to get a fabulous look in for Santa’s arrival, and for the days leading up to New Year’s!

This year, glitter and gold are completely IN when it comes to holiday makeup — hallelujah! NY Magazine has 4 cool ways to wear gold eye makeup, including dusting loose gold glitter on your freshly mascara’d eyelashes (Yes!). Get the look:

Now, I’ve always admired Emma Stone — her style, her movies — so, when she stepped out this winter wearing matte red lips and slightly stained cheeks, I loved her a little more and knew I HAD to steal this look (check out Vogue for the details). Get the look:

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

I have always loved a smokey eye, and I found a great tutorial by Carli Bybel on a Grunge Glam Holiday look. I’ve never gotten into the whole makeup tutorial thing, but she does a really great job. To get the look (shown in the main picture above), Carli used:

 — Rimmel Scandal Eyes Shadow Stick — Makeup Geek Pigment in Nightlife — BH Cosmetics Forever Nude Palette — Katy Perry false lashes in Oh, Honey! — Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Mascara in Black — Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black — MAC Fix — Bronze glitter powder — Nude lip pencil — Buttercup Lipstick by Gerard Cosmetics — NYX powder blush in Pinky — Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

To polish off your look, don’t forget a fabulous nail hue. Elle magazine has 30 cool nail colors for all of your holiday party nail-needs.

Whether you’re going out and about for the holiday, looking fabulous, or you’re cozied up at home (experimenting with your new makeup from Santa), I hope your Christmas is fantastic! I’m looking forward to sharing even more with you in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all!

Pic of the Week.

Pretty sure they weren't supposed to be THIS ugly.

Pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be THIS ugly.

Late last week, I decided to bake some holiday cookies from a kit I bought a few months ago — an Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit. It was just too cute to pass up.

The kit had nearly everything I needed: dry ingredients for the cookie dough, a sweater cookie cutter, food coloring for red and green icing, piping bags, and various bags of festive sprinkles. All I had to add were the eggs, butter, milk, and powdered sugar.

If you’re one of my long-time readers, you’ll know that I always try to cut calories when I can, even when it comes to Christmas cookies. So, when I stopped at my local market that morning, I quickly snatched up sticks of coconut oil.

It said on the package that it could be subbed for butter, one-for-one. Sweet! But once I got home and started mixing all of my ingredients, I don’t think the coconut oil was my brightest idea.

It made the dough very sticky, so I kept having to add flour to it in order for it to even roll onto my counter. It took me nearly an hour to cut a mere seven sweater cookies and get them onto a baking sheet. Once they got into the oven I started mixing my icing — coconut oil, milk, food coloring, and powdered sugar.

Please note that I didn’t even have butter in my fridge or else I wouldn’t have continued using the coconut oil. Naturally, the coconut oil made the icing a tad runny, and when I put it into the piping bags, it was separating under the warmth of my hands. Drats!

Runny icing resulted in sweater cookies: the Dexter edition, because it looked like they were smeared with blood. By the time I got icing on all of the cookies, I barely felt like messing with the sprinkles, and basically tossed random candies on all of the cookies.

Well, they ARE supposed to be ugly/tacky sweaters, I thought, and it felt justified for a few minutes. The ones on the box looked way cuter.

I’ve mentioned before that baking cookies with my dad is one of my fondest childhood memories when it comes to Christmas. But of course, he made the dough, and all I did was add icing and red hots. And I’m sure it was about the company we had, not about the activity.

Each year, I try to recreate those memories by vowing to bake dozens and dozens of cookies that I ice and decorate. And every year, I get really excited as I unpack all of my ingredients from the store… but I quickly get frustrated once the dough isn’t right or the cookie cutter sucks.

Then I wonder, WHY did I decide to do this, again?

But nevertheless, it felt really nice to be doing something festive — I’ve been so busy with work and job hunting that it’s been difficult getting into the Christmas season.

Later that night, I took my festive little sweater cookies over to a friend’s house. Like true friends, they were excited, saying how intricate and cute my hideous creations were. After we feasted on fried turkey (okay, so I’m not always tight on calories), we all sampled the cookies, and to my absolute delight, they were some of the best sugar cookies I’ve had.

They tasted like my childhood Christmas cookies — and I’ll never forget it.

All Blanche wants for Christmas…

There's a clear favorite here...

There’s a clear favorite here…

When you are a cat lady, said cat (or cats) is a large part of the holidays (well, and every day). That is no different in my home, where one Miss Blanche E. Devereaux pretty much runs the plantation. This was made pretty obvious last year, for Blanche’s first Christmas, when her stocking was overflowing, while mine had a few cookie crumbs and a half-eaten candy cane in the bottom.

Blanche Devereaux

Blanche Devereaux

This year, the tiny beast has taken it upon herself to not only skip rent payments (her share is $10/month) to buy gifts for others, but she figured out my computer password and TYPED a wish list. Cats these days. And so, I present to you, All Blanche Wants for Christmas:

For starters, Blanche would like a tipi. Because the floor, Holly’s bed, nor the couch are good enough places for a Southern Belle to rest her tired paws. In with the Aztec, out with everything Holly has already purchased.

Blanche dreams of sleeping in her tipi, day or night, perhaps looking out of its flap-door and gazing up and the stars (add: glow-in-the-dark stars to list).

Blanche would also like endless amounts of metallic pipe cleaners — seriously, she goes nuts over those things.

Blanche D. on the ones and twos.

Blanche D. on the ones and twos.

Add to the list, a scratching pad for Blanche to sharpen her claws (which in-turn shred all of my furniture and any important documents), but not just ANY scratching pad, why not a cat DJ scratching pad?

Truth-be-told, I was scared to get Blanche a scratching pad because it would promote the whole scratching thing. But actually, purchasing one (a boring, square one) kept her from scratching my furniture, and she takes to the scratching post! So, if you’re on the fence about purchasing one, do it, for the sake of your furniture.

And finally, Blanche would like a water fountain to replace her standard (read: boring) water bowl. If you’ve never been to my apartment, you need to know that it is a common occurrence for Blanche to hang out on my bathroom sink and meow until someone (me) comes to turn on the faucet for her to drink from. No, seriously.

This concludes Blanche’s Christmas wish list. Perhaps it gave you a few gift ideas for the feline friend in your life… or maybe it just solidified my place in this world as a cat lady.

The Column: Single Bells.

All by myyyyself...

All by myyyyself…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? The holidays are often associated with cheer, get-togethers, and gifts, but for singletons, the holidays can be a lonely reminder of what we’re missing.

Blame it on the chilly weather or the party invitations, but it often seems like the holidays are made for couples. And hey, good for the couples. But where does that leave the rest of us? Out in the cold, hanging with Frosty?

If there’s vodka and candy canes, it actually doesn’t sound half-bad.

Think about it: there’s Thanksgiving, followed by Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. If that midnight kiss doesn’t send you over the edge, don’t worry, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

But these next few weeks don’t have to be couples-only — it’s time we take December by the reins. Move over, Santa!

My very first boyfriend and I broke up right before Christmas (many years ago), so I returned his gift and bought myself some nice makeup instead.

Side note: his last name was Garland, and I used to wonder what it’d be like if we got married (Holly Garland).

Anyway, this started a personal tradition: spoil yourself a little this time of year. When you’re out shopping for everyone else, pickup a little something for yourself.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t purchase a few gifts for myself each year, wrap them, and write “From John Mayer” on the tag (excuse me while I hide now).

A few years ago, I suffered from a much more devastating breakup in November. I was not in the mood for Christmas cheer.

But instead of pouting, I told myself I would say “yes” to every holiday event I was invited to. In return, I went to several parties, a brunch, and baked dozens of cookies. I was too busy to be sad, plus I met new people and had fun.

It was also the same year I discovered alcoholic whipped cream. Put that in your cocoa and let me know how it turns out for you.

If nothing else, think of it this way: you’ve only got to buy gifts for family and friends. No need to stress over finding the perfect gift for that special someone. And to top it off, no judgment from a significant other when you get too drunk on New Year’s Eve.

One tradition I always look forward to is baking on Christmas Eve. It’s something I started doing several years ago as a way to get into the spirit; plus, it looks like I’ve really got it together when I show up to the next gathering with a festive, homemade something.

It also doesn’t hurt if you want to eat the entire thing yourself — no one around to witness it, yet another perk of the single life.

So, cheers to being single this holiday season. May you have an electric blanket for warmth, a stocking big enough for Santa’s visit (or John Mayer, in my case), and one of those wine glasses big enough for an entire bottle.

Solo Survival: Enjoying the Holidays as a Singleton

  1. Better Not Pout — Don’t feel sorry for yourself; it’ll just make it worse.
  2. Get Festive — Peppermint cocktails, ugly sweaters, whatever you love, enjoy the perks of the holiday season on your own (or with friends, of course).
  3. Rule It- If you’re miserable at the Christmas party, then leave. Want more pie? Eat it! The perk of being single is getting to do whatever you want, so do it.

Fresh Friday: Fan di Fendi.

Hawt.

Hawt.

This week’s Fresh Friday profile is Fan di Fendi… by Fendi — say that entire phrase five times fast. I’ll admit that I’m kind of loving this scent, and not just for the winter months, but for the entire year!

It’s got warm base notes of leather and patchouli, middle notes of jasmine, tuberose, and rose, and top notes of tangerine, black currant, and pear. The overall effect is this solid scent that has many layers upon its first spritz.

As described by Macy’s, “Fan di FENDI is the object of pure desire. A glamorous piece of sensual gold; a sexy scent on the skin; and a radiant, sensual, and addictive fragrance. Notes include pear, black currant accord, tangerine, pink peppercorn; the heart is comprised of damascena rose and yellow jasmine; and the finish is of soft leather accord, patchouli. Experience the sensual fragrance by FENDI, Fan di FENDI with the Fragrance Collection for Women.”

If you get the chance to at least get a whiff of Fan di Fendi — do it! I think you’ll like the complexity of this feminine fragrance.

WYSK: Lisa Robertson.

QVC Queen Lisa Robertson

QVC Queen Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson, former Miss Tennessee, recently retired from her 20-year run on QVC — a channel I’ve come to love over the years.

Lisa is one of the reasons I’ve loved QVC so much; she’s got a clear style and hosted many of her own segments on QVC to share/sell products that reflected her interests. She genuinely knows a lot about jewelry, clothing fit, hair care, and skincare products; which explains why so many (20 million) viewers trusted her advice.

What I love most about Lisa is how much she encompassed her job. She became more than just a QVC hostess, she became a TV personality, and even used her personal style to promote brands and designers she loves. She even took to her Facebook page to share holiday decorating tips and workout routines.

She felt like a friend, and because of that, her career was decades long and well-respected.

She has a NEW fan page on Facebook, and even admitted to “oversleeping” on her first day as a retiree. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for her, and above all, what she’ll wear during the process!

Pic of the Week.

Hoping to rise from the ashes... with my trusty notebook.

Hoping to rise from the ashes… with my trusty notebook.

In the first volume of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring), J.R.R. Tolkein wrote a poem:

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.

For the last month, I’ve mentioned that times for me have been tough, and I finally feel like I’m able to put some words together to share my story with you.

Five weeks ago, I lost my job. At the end of a Thursday, I went to a scheduled meeting, equipped with my iPad (to take notes), and upon sitting down, I was told that my services were no longer needed.

This was the job I took right after graduation, so I’ve worked there for nearly seven years. It’s the reason I stayed in Baton Rouge. Just four months prior to this meeting, I’d received the highest raise in the office, because I was told I’d gone above and beyond what I was asked to do — and I’d done so with (mostly) a smile on my face.

Quickly, I was told that I needed to turn all of my work belongings in, I was given papers to sign, and I was told that I should pack my things immediately, and would then be escorted out of the building. I was also told that I could never work there, or at any of their associated offices, and in return, my blog class was also taken away.

“Do you have any questions?” Someone asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Why is this happening to me? I’ve never even been in trouble.”

I was told it was an “at-will” termination, meaning they didn’t have to tell me a reason. With that, I was watched as I packed seven years’ worth of my crap into boxes (they even had those ready for me), and I carried them to my car (wearing my slacks and high heels) as my coworkers watched.

Losing my job is something I never expected to happen to me; and it’s been an incredible ebb and flow of emotions since that day.

Of course, I started applying for jobs immediately. So far, I’ve applied for 36 jobs that range from seasonal work, to part time and full time positions. I’ve learned that Baton Rouge isn’t really THE place for someone like me — a writer, editor, blogger, digital media awesome-sauce.

So, I’ve applied for a few jobs that fit my talents and degree-field, but most of the work has been retail just to get some work while I decide what’s next for me.

Around Thanksgiving, I accepted a part-time sales associate position at the mall. On my first day, I worked a shift from 9am-11:30 pm (14 hours). I cried on my short drive home.

I worked really hard to get a degree; and I (think) I worked hard at my job… but it was taken from me. And now, my punishment is a tunnel with no light at the end — long shifts at $8/hour, standing on my feet, smiling at hundreds of customers as they shop.

My first week in retail, I worked more than 40 hours. I also accepted two additional jobs, mainly because $8/hour is about 1/3 of what I made before, and I’ve got bills. So, I am currently juggling three part-time retail jobs.

In these last few weeks, I’ve learned so much information I never thought I’d need to know, and in a way, I’m sure that’s some sort of blessing. This entire journey has been a branch of soul-searching. I’ve really had to dig and figure out what I’ve got to offer an employer, aside from my obvious strengths.

I now know that I can learn three different cash register systems, often working two of them in one day. I am really good at bagging trash and mopping floors. I can memorize shoe style numbers and organize towers of candles. I can also tell the difference between a matte finish and a shiny finish on red, vintage Christmas ornaments packed in dusty boxes. My coworkers also tell me I “don’t look old” — most of them are 19 — and that I’m “silly.”

Above all: I know I will do anything to keep my head above water; will only take what I deserve; and will never, ever accept a handout (or pity, so please, no).

I was out Christmas shopping last week, and I came across a sale bin of notebooks. I found the one in the picture, and I loved the quote so much, I bought it for myself. Ever since, I’ve been using it to keep notes for my various jobs, write to-do lists and grocery lists, and keep my schedule and hours-worked/money-earned. I usually use my iPad for such tasks, but on my first day of work, I caught someone going through my purse, so… notebook it is. And this trusty notebook has been my LIFE, and has given me a little motivation as I go through my day.

The parting with my old job is like a messy breakup; it’s got no closure. I am constantly wondering what I did to piss someone off enough to kick me out. I know I had the Twitter issue, but as far as I know, it was resolved. Some of my coworkers have speculated that it was things I said in my column.

And I know, that this blog and the column can be viewed as a gamble to an employer. I also delayed posting this, because I’m terrified that saying all of this will keep me from getting a job. Of course, I don’t want that. I don’t want someone to ever think that I’m not a professional, or more importantly, that I’m not a hard worker. I am. I am not a liability.

Instead, I hope my future employer can look at it differently. That I’m brave for putting myself out there. That I’ve managed to find a way to turn my passions into a salary, and that I’m disciplined enough to stay on deadline, keep people interested, and manage a blog and all of its corresponding marketing and social media, all on my own!

Someone asked me why I didn’t just write with a pen name from now on? My heart sank. Because that isn’t honest. And honesty has always been my biggest promise. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed that I write about dating, and drinking, and sometimes (very rarely, might I add) sex. Those are all things most people do, they just don’t publicize it. Why should I have to hide it?

Working three jobs, plus hunting for one full-time job that I will actually kind-of like, has taken up so much of my time, I haven’t been able to do the things I enjoy, like go to the gym, hit up the spa, or even sit down with a book. I spend a lot of time in bed, with my feet on a heating pad, working on my laptop (my “vintage” one, I had to give my swanky one back to work) between shifts. I have also come to enjoy eating a peanut butter sandwich in my car as I drive from one job to the next.

And then there’s this blog. Like a best friend, it’s always there. I wanted to make CERTAIN that this blog did not waiver during my time of distress, so I made sure to never miss a post, and hopefully, keep things interesting. I hope I’ve done that for you. This blog, along with my cat Blanche, are often the only things that keep me smiling lately — and they’re not going anywhere. Well, unless Blanche decides to hightail it out the window.

I know these next few months are going to have ups and downs. I really have NO idea what’s on the horizon — aside from the certainty of filling out unemployment every Sunday. I do know that this happened to me for some reason. Something great is out there, I just have to find it. And I might not find it without tears and confusion, but if I stay true to myself, good things are going to come.

I’m waiting on the day.
When my life on the run
Bleaches out in the sun
And shows my age.

—John Mayer, Waiting on the Day

When you’re not invited…

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride...

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride…

Over the years, I’ve been to some really great weddings… and I’ve been to some not-so-great weddings, of course. But now that we live online — we can see everything anyone we even slightly know does — it’s easy to see when someone gets married.

Which, in turn, makes it easy to figure out when you’re not invited to a wedding. Now, I know a lot of people who’ve gotten married in the last five years, most of whom I don’t know well-enough to be considered on their guest list. But there have been a few weddings I was disappointed I didn’t get to attend.

Of course, there are reasons a bride and groom can only invite a certain number of people to their wedding. Such as:

  • Finances. Small budget = small guest list.
  • Wishes for a small wedding. Intimate wedding ceremony means only close friends and/or family are invited.
  • Location. Destination weddings are often planned for a small amount of people, unless the couple honestly thinks a bunch of people will be flying around the globe.
  • Tit for tat. You didn’t invite them to your wedding (or other events). This is debatable (more on this later).
  • Acquaintance. Are you just an acquaintance of the bride or groom? A coworker? If you’re not talking to/hanging out with this person/couple on a regular basis, you might not make the cut.
  • Past issues. Have you gotten in a fight with this person and they’re holding a grudge?
  • Party animal. Maybe you’re a crazy loud drunk and you’ll cause a scene. Just saying.

According to Martha Stewart Weddings (!), you don’t HAVE to invite someone to your wedding just because they invited you to theirs. However, if it was a recent wedding and you are close friends, of course you should.

So, what do you do when you’re not invited to someone’s wedding that you felt you should have been invited to?

If you’re really upset, you could ask the person why you weren’t invited — no, seriously, New York writer Chris Chafin did.

I think it depends on the situation. If you’re REALLY close, then hopefully the person will be able to tell you upfront why you can’t attend their special day. If you don’t feel close enough to discuss the matter, then perhaps that’s why you weren’t invited.

In the cases where I’ve felt upset that I wasn’t invited, I brushed it off as thinking me and that person just aren’t close enough. And that’s okay.

After all, Justin Timberlake didn’t invite ANY of his NSYNC band mates to his wedding. Rude much?

Survival Guide: Solo and Sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

It’s that time of year, and by that I mean: cold and flu season. Yuck! If there’s one thing worse than being sick, it’s being sick with no one to care for you.

When I’m sick, which is at least once every fall/winter, I throw a massive pity party for myself. Let’s face it: getting out of bed for food or Kleenex is a giant pain in the ass — don’t even mention leaving the house.

This is why being single and sick is terrible. No one to tuck you in, bring you soup, change DVDs in the player, etc. But it IS possible to get through it, and here’s how:

  1. Actually call in sick. At least, if you have that luxury. Being at work while sneezing your head off is not attractive, productive, nor is it efficient — you’re not going to get well soon if you’re at work.
  2. Stock up on goods. I keep a stock of stuff I like to have while I’m sick. Sounds a little dramatic until you venture to Wal-Mart mid-fever. It ain’t fun. Some of my favorites are: Alka-Seltzer Cold & Flu day/night tablets, Theraflu, cough drops, canned soup, and popsicles.
  3. Pamper yourself. Now’s the time to pull out your favorite pajamas, fluff your pillows, pop in a season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and guzzle Gatorade from a wine glass. Chances are, you’re sick because you’ve been running like crazy, and your body needs rest (and proper hydration).
  4. Don’t touch the phone. If you’re anything like me, being sick sometimes leads to a pity party, and within 15 minutes, you feel like one giant failure, and no one has ever or will ever love you. Do not take this opportunity to text others and invite them to your pity party. Probably a better idea to drink some Theraflu, and sleep all day.

Sure, having someone to deliver you goodies while you’re sick sounds nice, but let’s face facts, there’s a lot of other crap you’d have to put up with in return. What are you favorite ways to comfort yourself when you’re feeling feverish?

The Column: One New E-Male.

I've got male... seriously.

I’ve got male… seriously.

Thanks to spam email, my inbox always has at least 50 unread messages. I usually use my elevator rides to delete them in what seems like a never-ending game.

Goal for 2015: unsubscribe to Target, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Restoration Hardware, and Barnes & Noble email lists.

I was about to delete one, when I realized I’d never seen the sender before, and the subject line was “Cheers.”

I opened it:

Holly,

Hi, my name is Justin, I work with Travis… he turned me onto your site and mentioned, more than once, what a cool girl you are. I have not lived here for very long, less than one year and only recently have I stopped traveling back and forth from Texas every week, so in many respects it seems like I just got here.

Pic of the Week.

Necessary items for Christmas spirit.

Necessary items for Christmas spirit.

I mentioned last week that I’m having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year, and I think it’s because I didn’t travel home for Thanksgiving. Usually when I do, my friends and I open gifts and watch the tree lighting in Downtown Indianapolis.

I put my Christmas tree up, in hopes that would help, but I haven’t been home much to enjoy it. While enjoying my coffee the other morning, I realized I don’t have any wintery/holiday coffee mugs. This was a problem. So, I ventured out to find one, and fell in love with the one in the picture. Cute little owl in a Santa hat — the other side features an owl in an argyle sweater.

During said shopping trip, I also found a few holiday radio stations (including Holly on Sirius XM, channel 17)… but it just wasn’t doing the trick.

Then I got to thinking, per usual, that I don’t often associate the holidays with joy and happiness. I’m usually not with family, or a boyfriend, and many years, I’ve been tight on money. The holidays are stressful, as an adult, anyway.

As a kid, I could not wait for Christmas break! It meant two whole weeks away from school, sleeping in, and waiting for Santa. My dad and I would decorate the house inside and out, and we always made a slew of cookies — some we decorated with icing and red hots. One year, we made a gingerbread village with snowmen made of popcorn balls and coconut.

As I’ve gotten older, there’s been many years where I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit until Christmas Eve (when I bake my annual holiday dessert) — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just hate to waste the whole season being a bump on a log.

So, I furthered my efforts, and got out a stack of Christmas movies (Home Alone, my all-time fave!), and lit my first wood-wick (the flame crackles) candle in vanilla cinnamon brulee.

But it wasn’t really until I remembered some Christmas songs I really wanted to hear… I dug through my iTunes libraries, finding a few but not the ones I was after, and then started digging through my car… and voila: Happy Holly Days, a mixed CD I made in December 2011, which includes songs from:

I’m not quite the Jolly Holly that I was as a kid, but hell, I may never be — at least I’m on my way. What are you doing to get into the Christmas spirit?

Was Harry right about the friends thing?

It's all fun and games until someone falls in love.

It’s all fun and games until someone falls in love.

“You realize of course that we could never be friends… What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” —Harry, When Harry Met Sally

Harry might have been the first person to make the statement, but it’s the age-old question: can men and women really be friends?

I’ve talked about the (dreaded) Friend Zone on this blog, and really, I do believe that there’s not always a spark when it comes to men and women — because the spark has to happen between both people. But I do think Harry was/is on to something.

If one person in a friendship feels something more, there’s only so long they can sit back and watch the other person date, or be romantic with someone else. Perhaps the question is this: How long can men and women be friends?

When it comes to the Friend Zone, I thought it’d happened to me twice, but the most recent time, actually the guy was seeing someone behind my back, so there’s that option.

But the one time I was placed in the Friend Zone (I’m only sharing this as proof that men do put women in the Friend Zone), it was terrible. I was in high school, and I had the biggest crush on this guy… we did everything best friends did.

But once I came out and told him that I liked him, he started going on dates with lots of different girls, and telling me all about them, even bragging about the sex he had to me one night (he ran outside with the used condom and put it on my car antennae)… why did I even like him?

Years later, he told me that it just wasn’t the right time for us to date. Sure. We still never dated.

The thing is, there are actual benefits from befriending the opposite sex. You can get good opinions and dating advice from them, and it’s always interesting to hear the different perspective.

So, yeah, I do think men and women can be friends —but for how long? — I’m not so sure. And ps. none of this goes for people who are emotionally unavailable.

A gift guide for December lovers.

December is for lovers.

December is for lovers.

The holidays are here, and no matter how much we try to agree with the whole, “It’s not about the gifts,” mantra, there’s a lot of pressure to get the perfect present.

When it comes to that special someone, the pressure can be overbearing. But leave it to DIG – we’ve got you covered with a guide on what to buy for each stage of your relationship and even something for the singles.

0-3 Months

A new relationship right around the holidays doesn’t mean you’ve got to go all out for your sweetheart. In fact, skip on a tangible gift and go for a sweet experience.

Perhaps a fancy, dress-up date night (Dinner, drinks and an overnight at The Renaissance), a couple’s massage (BumbleLane.com), wine tasting (food and wine pairings, complimentary wine tasting at Bin 77), or a home-cooked meal for two. Think “meaningful,” while still providing an opportunity to get to know each other. Read more…

The Column: Going the (Long) Distance.

Shots, shots, shots!

Shots, shots, shots!

There we were: kissing on a bench outside The Dungeon in the French Quarter. It’s the start of any classic love story, right?

I met my friend Brooks in high school, though we weren’t friends until I was nearly out of college.

Like most people our age, we reconnected through Facebook, and over the years our friendship turned slightly romantic.

Brooks is tall with blond hair, and carries himself with an air of coolness – he’s very “take it or leave it.” Luckily for him, I’ve got a soft spot for skater shoes and fitted jeans.

For work, he’s a freelance sound tech, which means he’s always on the road, setting up for tours. Read more…

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