Blog Archives

Pic of the Week.

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes & my new python makeup bag (!).

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes & my new python makeup bag (!).

I’ve been wearing Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes all week! My friend Kendra sells Younique and asked me if I’ve ever tried any of the makeup. I hadn’t.

While I’m open to trying new things (I LOVE getting things in the mail, too), I’d heard the Younique products were expensive, and if you know anything about me, it’s that I always go for bargain makeup — Covergirl is… well, my girl.

Wearing two coats of Younique (post-workout).

Wearing two coats of Younique (post-workout).

But, Kendra was kind enough to let me try the mascara… and I am LOVING it. Now, you’ve got to understand my usual lash routine before you can appreciate my week with Younique.

I have pretty good natural lashes. I don’t wear any kind of fancy mascara; it’s whatever I can get on sale. Recently, I’ve been wearing CoverGirl Natural Lash in Black. I usually put on at least two, if not three coats, and sometimes I add a clear waterproof coat (on days my allergies act up).

And before I tried Younique, I was satisfied with the two-three coats of mascara. Now, I will say that I’ve never seen a picture of someone wearing Younique mascara that I was particularly impressed with. The lashes were always very straight and spidery, so I was skeptical.

So, Kendra sent me the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes, which consists of two tubes: one is the transplanting gel and the other is the natural fibers.

Doing one eye at a time, you apply a coat of the gel and before it dries, you apply the natural fibers, and then finally, seal it with another coat of gel.

One coat of this looks about the same as three coats of the regular stuff. I wasn’t totally impressed until I put on TWO coats of the Younique.

You can also put on a coat of your regular mascara, let it dry, and then do the Younique, which is what I’ve been doing. If you use an eyelash curler, I’d say do it between your regular mascara and the Younique. As for the spidery-look (I happen to like the lashes a little thicker), you can avoid it by using a lash comb.

I didn’t have any issues with the fibers falling, and it didn’t feel different than wearing regular mascara. I do have contacts, and it didn’t prove to be a problem.

If you want to try the Younique lashes, they do offer a guarantee, so you really can’t lose! To order from Kendra, click here.

Single Girl Recipe: Eggs.

Cute colored eggs!

Cute colored eggs!

I know everyone’s got different opinions about eggs; and the health benefits of them are always in question. Is it the good cholesterol or not? What about the fat content?

Well, I’m of the school of thought that eggs are a great source of protein (did you know one egg has 12g of protein and just 1 carb?!) and they are inexpensive. Sounds like a perfect combo to me!

YUM.

YUM.

I go on kicks where I love eggs in various forms, and sometimes I’m just not feeling them. But lately, I’ve been seeing these beautiful pictures of soft boiled eggs on Instagram (I’m talking to you, Crunchy Radish, and BarbellsNBeauties) and they look delicious!

So, I had to figure out how to make the perfect soft boiled egg. Enter: Google. I found several different sets of instructions, and really, it all depends on how “soft” you actually want your egg. I wanted a hard egg white, and a soft yolk.

Usually, when I hard boil an egg, I put it in the pot, cover with cold water, and turn the burner on high. I let the water reach a boil, then turn off the heat and let the egg sit in the water until it reaches room temperature.

For my soft boiled eggs, I put a pot of water on the stove and let it reach a simmer (small bubbles). Then, I put my eggs in, and left them in for 6-ish minutes. I got them out of the water, and let them cool so I could peel them.

It was my first try, but they were nearly perfect! It was a little softer than I wanted, but I peeled them, and put them in my dish (red quinoa and mushrooms) and popped it all in the microwave for 30 seconds and that did the trick!

While a soft boiled egg is a great addition to a salad, you can devour it with just about anything. Below are some recipes that include this new favorite of mine:

What are some of your favorite ways to eat eggs?

Exes: Married With Children.

When your ex straight up moves on... with a wife and a kid.

When your ex straight up moves on… with a wife and a kid.

Sometime last week, I wandered over to my ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page. It’s something I do when I’m feeling rather low about myself, even though looking at his page usually makes me feel worse. Call me a masochist.

Right away, I saw what I figured would be there: his profile picture was a tiny baby. His baby.

Because that is what people do; they get married, and within two years of being married, they have a kid.

When I found out my ex was getting married two years ago, I also found out via Facebook. I was stunned, to say the least, because we’d just broken up a year before.

It was a shitty way to confirm he was cheating on me for the greater part of our four-year relationship.

When I confronted him about it, he lied of course, saying their relationship just moved very quickly.

Finding out an ex is getting married is different for everyone; the reaction is probably relevant to how things ended.

Almost all of my exes are married, and as pathetic as it sounds, my heart broke a little when I found out about each one getting engaged.

I don’t believe any of my exes were “meant” for me, I think it’s more of admitting to myself that they found some sort of happiness with another person that I’ve yet to discover.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified that maybe I’ll never find that level of love, commitment, and happiness with someone.

This particular ex isn’t the only one of my exes to have a child. I think the nature of our relationship is what makes it sting a little, even years later.

We met in college; we were both bartenders at a place under the overpass. Our relationship was fun-loving from the start. It didn’t take long for me to sleep with him, and because of that, I fell for him very quickly.

Although he told me he loved me, his actions showed me that we weren’t on the same level. I loved him more than I’d ever felt for anyone else. And that’s still true today. Enter: the bitterness.

He always told me marriage wasn’t “for him,” and he never talked about wanting children. Those are things I wanted, and to see him married, with a child… it feels like everyone around me has moved on and up, while I’m still here. And still single.

As a singleton, I constantly have to remind myself that just because someone is married, doesn’t mean they’re in a perfect relationship. And just because I’m single, doesn’t mean I’ll never find someone.

Perhaps seeing an ex move on is just a refreshing sign that people can change. Or maybe it just proves that he/she is great at living one giant lie after the next. Now, who wants to hit up happy hour?

Survival Guide: Road trip!

Wahoo! The open road!

Wahoo! The open road!

In just a few weeks, I’m heading on a road trip! It’s been years since I’ve hit the open road for a trip that lasted longer than 4 hours, but I can easily say that I’m looking forward to it.

About a year ago, I took a 19-hour train ride (read about it here), which was fantastic (though I did sleep for quite awhile), but I know my road trip will give me some mental clarity — time for me and some music. After all, the first half of my trip involves just me.

So, how do you accomplish a road trip of a lifetime? Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips for you!

  1. Plan (a little). You don’t want to hit the road with no plan at all — trust me, running out of gas mid-Mississippi isn’t the type of adventure you’re after. Have an idea of where you’re going and places to stop, whether it’s an interesting food stop or for a place to sleep. Don’t over-plan to the point of it being rigid and stressful, a road trip is supposed to be freeing!
  2. Pack the snacks. Nothing beats truck stop snacks, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to pack a cooler of drinks (I like to pack energy drinks and La Croix) and snacks (nuts, chocolate, fruit, cheese. Oh hell, pack a meat plate, too). Packing snacks and drinks means stopping less, and the ability to eat as you please instead of getting stuck in a drive-thru.
  3. Get entertainment. Because the first 15 hours of my trip, it’ll just be me (which I’ve done before), I’ll definitely be packing some great music (Sam Smith, John Mayer, Marc Broussard, among others) and possibly an audio book. I also have Sirius radio in my car (I could live off 90s on 9).
  4. To sleep or not to sleep? If you’re with a group, you can sleep in shifts (unless you’re all awake at once) and keep the car on the road. If not, you might have to break the trip up and plan to stop to sleep — don’t drive when you’re tired.
  5. The return. Heading home is typically less-exciting, so make the trip back something to look forward to. Maybe you plan a different route back, or stop at different places, catch a sunrise, listen to new music. Make the entire trip an adventure that’ll be worth your while!

When I was in college, I took a few road trips from Louisiana to Indiana all on my own. The first time I did it, I was so excited. Well, until I realized that driving up the entire state of Mississippi is quite a task. But, I listened to music, saw a sunset, and it was mentally refreshing. I’m looking forward to taking a very similar trip in two weeks. If you’ve got music or audio book recommendations, I’d love to hear them. And as always, follow me on social media @OrangeJulius7 to catch all the roadie pics!

Just remember on the way home, 
That you were never meant to feel alone.
It takes a little while, but you’d be fine:
Another good time coming down the line.

—John Mayer, On The Way Home

Dating on Instagram.

Glimpse-1

Glimpse, the dating app for Instagram.

I recently got an iPhone, after being a Blackberry user for years (it’s about time, right?). Since making the switch, I’m really trying to embrace the world of apps, especially dating apps.

I’ve already tried Tinder, and within three minutes I managed to play with fire and get burned. I saw my crush’s picture, and made a complete fool out of myself when he told me he was seeing someone.

Although, I still haven’t figured out why he was on Tinder to begin with. Anyway, I deleted the app and have banished Tinder from my life.

I did, however, download a new app called Glimpse that works with users who want to date through Instagram. Glimpse claims to be the opposite of Tinder, because “Swiping is basic, anyway.” It pairs users based on pictures and common interests, not on looks alone.

What I love so far about Glimpse is its vast array of users from around the world. It’s so easy to chat with men in other countries; places I’ve never even thought of. Plus, there are some really gorgeous pictures.

A few days after downloading Glimpse, I clicked that I liked a profile of a user named James. He appeared to be creative, and had a picture of himself playing guitar (love).

We got to chatting and clicked right away. He lives in North Carolina, and we messaged about life in the South, our work, and common interests.

After about a day, James was getting really flirty, which was cute, but I was cautious. He was quick to mention us meeting, so far as to discuss travel details.

“Let’s meet in Kansas City for a weekend and drink beer,” he said. “And eat BBQ. I’ll gladly pay for the room. And the rental car.”

Holy shit.

I’ve met up with people I’ve met online before, but it was a simple trip to the local coffee shop, during the day, with people around.

I’m open to meeting people, but I’m also not an idiot trying to get murdered.

I was short on answers, hoping James would get the hint. But the next day, he brought it up again, mentioning his high-end video equipment to “help me” with my vlogs.

Oh, hell no. It was time to set this creeper straight.

“I’m not really trying to get axed,” I told him, mentioning how creepy he sounded.

He apologized, and said he didn’t mean for it to come across that way. But then said he’d fly to Baton Rouge and meet me at a coffee shop if it made me feel more comfortable.

Hmmm, not really. Once a creeper, always a creeper — it seems to be the truth.

After that, there wasn’t much else to say. I’ll never really know what his intentions were, but there’s no way I was going to find out the hard way.

I’m still on Glimpse, but I haven’t gotten involved in many conversations since then.

I’m still not against online dating, or dating apps, as I think it’s good to put yourself out there in several ways. In any case, dating is difficult work.

Perhaps finding the perfect dating app is just as difficult as finding the perfect date. #ItsComplicated

 

Me & my bullshit, part two.

Drop the mic, bitch.

Drop the mic, bitch.

Read part one of “Me & my bullshit.” 

I find a tiny bit (okay, a medium bit) of comfort in recognizing the fact that the road many writers, amateur and professional, travel is one that’s alone.

The craft of writing is introspective — even fiction writers often say their stories come from some place real — and looking within isn’t something that happens at a conference table or in a room full of cubicles.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what success means to me — not in terms of money, but in terms of what every day is like for me. I’m still working to get where I want to be.

While Ryan’s words really, really hurt me, I know that I cannot change who I am to please him, or anyone. I have always promised myself and my readers that I will remain honest, even if that means I’m not the most popular person.

I also know that there’s a big, big difference between someone like me who works every single day, chasing my dreams, and someone who sits at a job, letting the days pass them by. Complacency is not for me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about successful people, and I’ve noticed that many of those people, who are SO successful in business, are also misunderstood in many other aspects of their life. Perhaps that’s just how it goes.

Take Steve Jobs for example. Chances are you’re reading this from a device that he invented. I’m writing it on one. And I’ll Tweet about it on another one later today. In his biography by Walter Isaacson (a genius writer that I’ve been lucky enough to interview), there are many mentions of how Jobs went against the grain in nearly all areas of his life — even in unflattering ways.

At the root of the reality distortion was Jobs’s belief that the rules didn’t apply to him. He had some evidence for this; in his childhood, he had often been able to bend reality to his desires. Rebelliousness and willfulness were ingrained in his character. He had the sense that he was special, a chosen one, an enlightened one.

— Walter Isaacson, “Steve Jobs” [119]

There are other successful creatives I can relate to — Amy Winehouse and her broken heart (and the ability to turn that into beautiful music), John Green in his writing processes, and of course, my love, John Mayer, in his ways of being so, so introspective and insecure, that it gets him in trouble socially.

And while I know (haters, this is for you) I’m not nearly as genius as those people, I do know that I’m not a dumb ass. I’m not the girl who lost her job. I’m not someone wishing to be a writer. I’m someone just trying (and often succeeding) to make it. And by it, I mean my dreams a reality.

My past is littered with guys like Ryan. Guys who tell me how great I am, and then disappear for no valid reason. One of the biggest questions I had when Ryan sent me his douchey text was this: Why are we so quick to cut people off?

It’s that easy, especially hiding behind a fucking phone screen, to write someone a message and cut them out of your life forever, because you don’t feel like dealing with a human. Another question I had? If my behavior was so scary, why didn’t he ask me if I was okay?

And that’s the difference between being selfless and selfish, my friends.

I know I won’t stop writing — let’s be honest here, there’s nothing else I’m really cut out for. And I know it’s not going to be easy. But when the road gets tough, and the guys continue to be assholes, I’ll probably just write more of these posts about my “bullshit.”

You know the greatest thing about that guy at the gym who thinks my column is bullshit?

He read it.

If you’re nice to me I’ll never write anything bad about you. 

—Amy Winehouse

Fresh Friday: Warm Cotton.

The perfume for non-perfume wearers.

The perfume for non-perfume wearers.

“Inspired by soap,” is what the package says, and that’s certainly what it smells like! Warm Cotton by CLEAN reminds of the way it smells outside, in the summer, when someone is doing their laundry. Very fresh, clean, and cozy, in a sense.

As described by Sephora, “Cozy up to CLEAN Warm Cotton Eau de Parfum, a fragrance that captures the comforting scent of just-out-of-the-dryer freshness. Blending the crispness of freshly laundered linens into an understated fragrance that is soft and subtly sexy, CLEAN Warm Cotton is perfect for the modern woman who is confident enough to let herself—not her fragrance—command attention.”

Warm Cotton has notes of Citrus, Watery Green Pear, Verbena, Floral Essences, Fruit Essences, Marine Essences, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Musk, Fougere, and Amber. A perfectly subtle scent for spring and summer!

In other news, I hope you all have a fantastic Easter weekend. To me, Easter isn’t a big deal, since I’m not a kid, I don’t have an Easter basket, and I am not celebrating anything religious. However, I am excited that business has slowed for the weekend and I’ll be able to enjoy it, and perhaps spend some time outdoors. I even bought myself a bouquet of coral tulips to celebrate.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @OrangeJulius7 to see what I’m up to this weekend! Cheers, y’all!

Me & my bullshit, part one.

This is about how many fucks I give.

This is about how many fucks I give.

“You’re the girl from the magazine, right?” he asked.

It was a guy I recognized from my gym. I shrugged.

“I guess…” I said, not really sure what he meant.

“Yeah, you write that bullshit column,” he said.

That bullshit column. Three little words that pretty much sum up my insecurities — especially lately. Let me start from the beginning.

A few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to Tweet my first book, “How I Fell: Love, Lies & Cocktails,” 140 characters at a time. I have seen other writers do it, and I have quite a few Twitter followers, so I thought it would be a great way to shake things up, get some marketing out there for my book, possibly sell a few copies, and get some more followers.

What I didn’t realize, is that it took a REALLY long time to Tweet the book — like, three whole days. During those three days, I barely got any sleep, I was living off takeout and alcohol, and the worst part of it? I was having to read (and type) a relationship that was terrible. I did not take into account just how emotional reading that stuff from two years ago would be. It was bad.

That same week, I’d set aside some time to have a “Facetime date” with my high school crush (you can read our full story here)… his name rhymes with Ryan Wence. The day of our “date,” he sent me a text saying a work friend was in town and he (the friend) wanted to go to dinner. Ryan apologized, saying he didn’t realize how long his friend was planning on being in town when he scheduled our date, and he hoped I wasn’t mad.

I told him of course I wasn’t mad at all, and I hoped he had fun at dinner. Ryan asked if we could reschedule for the following day. In my emotional book-Tweeting state, I wrote him back saying yes, we could reschedule, and said I admittedly misread his first text, and thought for a split second the friend was a girl and I almost got jealous (smiley-wink). I didn’t think anything of it when he didn’t respond.

Let me tell you a little bit about my relationship with Ryan. We hooked up almost a year ago when I went on a visit to Indiana. Since then, I admitted to him that I liked him, a lot, and he told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship, having just got out of something serious. I understood and appreciated his honesty. We kept in touch via text mostly, sometimes we talked on the phone.

I really appreciated his friendship — we have a lot of things in common, and he was kind to me, and supportive when I needed it. For Valentine’s Day, I sent him a homemade card in the mail. He told me he had it on display in his living room, and he wished he could be with me for the holiday.

He later told me he knew he hadn’t been the nicest person to me, and he appreciated our friendship more than he could even admit. “I check my phone every day to see if you’ve texted me,” he said.

I’ve got plans to be in Indiana this May, so we made plans to meet up. This is when I suggested the Facetime date. The following day, I texted Ryan to see what time he wanted to talk. He replied:

“I don’t think we should talk. Your text last night scared me. We aren’t even dating yet I will date other women. Your Tweets last night were scary. Your behavior is scaring me.”

HUH?

My book Tweets were scaring him? This was a guy that’s read my blog, column, and one of my books! What the hell was he talking about? And I was totally trying to be playful about the jealousy thing… I never said we were dating, or said he couldn’t date other women — but thanks for finding the shittiest way possible to tell me you’re not interested in me whatsoever.

But my attempts at explaining myself went into that black hole where apparently ALL of my bullshit goes; that place where guys put all of my messages and ghost me forever. I haven’t heard from him since.

I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling like I don’t fit in — it’s really just been a matter of how much I care or not. As an adult, I’m starting to realize and accept more and more that no, I don’t fit in, and it’s probably not going to change any time soon (or ever).

I am a creative. I think differently than a lot of people. I also work for myself (as a result of my creativity), which means I don’t work “normal” hours, I don’t make money in the conventional way, and my work processes are very different. Me Tweeting a book was simply something I was trying to do to shake things up, keep me on the edge of creativity, essentially make a few sales, and now I was being shamed for it. Awesome.

I started to wonder just how much more of this I can take. In the last few months, I’ve been rejected quite a few times — am I really that terrible a person? When a recent crush I had rejected me by telling me he was seeing someone (which I think he wasn’t), I posted on Facebook that I’d be hiding under my couch for a few days and that I felt ugly. Someone commented saying I needed to stop calling myself ugly.

Sure, I get that. And thank you. But just because I’m not a troll, doesn’t mean I wake up every morning feeling beautiful. Trust me, when people tell you that everything you write is bullshit, and that you don’t even deserve a chance at a date, or that your behavior is scary, it’s really easy to feel ugly every once in awhile.

Read “Me & my bullshit, part two” right here, Monday, April 6. 

On Baggage: Give Me Back my DVDs.

It's more fun watching TV on a free flat screen!

It’s more fun watching TV on a free flat screen!

I watch a lot of TV. Not in the sense of me, sitting on my couch eating popcorn while binging on hours of TV, but if I’m home, my TV is usually on.

I’ve got one TV in my living room and one in my bedroom.

The one in my living room is a near-60-inch, flat-screen, that is leftover from a relationship I had two years ago.

My then-boyfriend said he had an “extra” TV that wasn’t being used, and I could put it in my apartment. I really didn’t need another TV, but he insisted, and it arrived a few days later.

About two months later, I dumped him, on account of him being a complete drunk, not to mention he had a side-chick.

I was nice enough to pack up all of his clothes and random crap he had around my apartment, and leave it on his front porch.

But I wasn’t sure how to get the TV to him. It’s big enough that I can’t safely carry it by myself, and I didn’t want to just leave it outside his house.

I told him I could arrange a time for him to come pick it up, a time when a guy friend could be there with me. My ex was violent and I was scared to be alone with him.

But my ex conveniently couldn’t arrive during the allotted time. I soon got the hint. The TV was his thing. It was his excuse to talk to me; his way of finding out when I was home and what I was doing.

He even got the bright idea that I could just leave my apartment unlocked while I went to work and he’d just pick up the TV. Um, how about you’re crazy?

It was creepy. I wanted him out of my life.

Instead of leaving my apartment unlocked, I dragged the TV into the hallway of my complex, covered it with a beach towel, and went to work.

As predicted, I got a text from my ex saying, “Can’t make it today.” He wanted to reschedule.

Nope.

I told myself that if I got home and the TV was still there, I was keeping it, and I was never speaking to my ex about it again.

The TV was the final link between us and I wanted it broken (not literally, though I would’ve gotten great pleasure out of tossing it from my window).

When I got home, the TV was there, untouched. I dragged in back inside, and have been enjoying trashy shows on it ever since.

Recently, I got a message on Facebook from my ex’s brother, asking if I had the TV, because it was actually his.

Well, sucks for you. Two years out from the relationship, and I’m still hearing about the damn TV. Bye, Felicia.

This is why it’s best to get rid of everything related to the relationship right away, even if it means making a donation to Goodwill.

You live and learn. For now, I’ll continue obsessing over “Secrets and Lies” on my giant-screen TV.

Pic of the Week.

Allergies be damned.

Allergies be damned.

I spent most of last week in bed. And not in the way you’d expect, or wish upon a person like myself (by that I mean a person who hasn’t gotten laid in awhile). I spent my week in bed sneezing, coughing, sniffling… basically anything that irritated my cat Blanche.

Spring is here, and that means one thing: ALLERGIES.

I didn’t have allergies until I moved to Louisiana. Even then, I didn’t suffer from any of these allergies until about two years ago. I felt like I always needed to carry a box of Kleenex with me. What I thought was a cold that would just never leave, was actually allergies.

So, last week was terrible. I was trying to drink fluids, get rest, and get things cleared up, all while feeling guilty that I wasn’t really working. The good thing about being your own boss is that you don’t have to call in sick. You just… stay in bed for four days.

The bad thing about being your own boss is that… no one can cover for you. Basically, no work gets done. I did lay in bed and conduct a few interviews via phone (no, I’m serious). I asked Blanche to sort my emails, but clearly those didn’t get done.

Outside of sleeping and catching up on TV, I spent a lot of time at Whole Foods. I used the sniffles as an excuse to eat copious amounts of spicy chicken noodle soup from the Asian counter. That shit is awesome and if you haven’t tried it, make plans to get to a Whole Foods, pronto.

Turns out, spicy chicken noodle soup isn’t really a cure for allergies. So, I bought some herbal pills that I’ve been eating ever since. I also got some local raw honey because there’s, like, a one percent chance that it’ll get rid of my allergies.

I’m not sure what I’m allergic to, and that’s the other thing about being your own boss — there’s no health insurance, so fancy tests like allergy ones, aren’t going to happen. We’re just going to assume I’m allergic to Blanche, since it was about two years ago that she showed up and shit hit the fan.

But since I am a loving cat lady, I’ll continue to live in the prison of my own making — that made of cat hair, pipe cleaners, and tuna cans. But hey, we’ve got the local honey.

Looking for Alaska.

Quote from Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Quote from Looking for Alaska by John Green.

I’m sad and happy (all at once) to announce that I’ve got NO more John Green books to read! I saved Looking for Alaska for last, because while I was excited to read it, I was also sad knowing that I’d have no more books of Green’s to read!

Looking for Alaska was Green’s first book, and has won many awards including the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award. It was listed in the Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults in 2006, and the 2006 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, among several others.

CANNOT wait.

CANNOT wait.

Looking for Alaska is the story of Miles Halter. Miles is a man of few words, though he is obsessed with last words — having memorized the last words of many well-known people. He’s going to boarding school for the first time and meets the COOLEST girl… ever. Alaska Young.

I really don’t want to spoil this book if you haven’t read it. And if you haven’t read it, you MUST read this book!

Now that I’ve read all of Green’s books, I can say there are many similarities (I often get Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska mixed up) in all of them — which might be why I love them all so much. While Looking for Alaska wasn’t my favorite, it connected with me in ways that others didn’t.

Like I said, I don’t want to give anything away, BUT this book has a layer of seriousness to it, but at the same time, a great layer of imagination that I appreciate. As always, I went crazy with my digital highlighter while reading the book, so here are some of my favorite quotes:

‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.

That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happened like I imagined them.

And now is as good a time as any to say that she was beautiful.

You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.

You’ve got your oats. You’ve got your meal. You’ve got your cream. It’s a fuckin’ food pyramid.

I just did some calculations, and I’ve been able to determine that you’re full of shit.

I finally decided that people believed in an afterlife because they couldn’t bear not to.

There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow—that, in short, we are all going.

I gritted my teeth, and then before us, broken glass glittered in the blare of the sun like the road was wearing jewelry, and that spot must be the spot.

And so… even though we’re ALL (ok, me) looking forward to Paper Towns hitting theatres this summer, Looking for Alaska will be in theatres NEXT summer!

While not much has been released about the film adaptation, I am so excited to see how they turn his first book into his third movie!

Anyone out there read Looking for Alaska? I’d be thrilled to nerd out about it with you!

The truth on birth control.

This picture is so cheesy, I just had to use it.

This picture is so cheesy, I just had to use it.

I know birth control can be a little bit of a touchy subject for some, but as a relationship blogger & columnist, I feel it’s almost irresponsible if I don’t at least mention it.

Let’s just get this out of the way: yes, I’m on birth control. I have been for about 8 years. I never thought anything of it, until I missed my period and found out I was pregnant. I had an abortion, and it was quite terrifying and emotionally draining—not something I would recommend on anyone. With that procedure came a prescription for birth control, and I’ve been on it ever since.

There’s several different TYPES of birth control and every person probably prefers something different. I use the NuvaRing, which I like because you insert it once a month, it stays there for three weeks, you take it out for a week, and then put a new one in. Voila, no babies.

The scary thing, though, is that of course it could come out without you realizing it. This hasn’t ever happened to me — it’s come out, but I knew it. If it does come out, you’ve got three hours to put it back in without any consequences (hormonally).

But have you ever wondered about what birth control is putting into your body? While I don’t lose sleep over it, I do think about it. Here’s some popular types:

  1. Combination Pill—Estrostep Fe, LoEstrin 1/20, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Yasmin, Yaz. The Good: This birth control mainstay is still 99% effective against pregnancy when taken around the same time every day. It’s also known for easing hot flashes and restoring regular periods. Avoid it if you smoke or have migraines.
  2. Progestin-only Pill—Micronor, Nora-BE, Nor-QD, Ovrette. The Good: Known as the mini pill, progestin-only meds don’t contain estrogen. They’re safer for smokers, diabetics, and heart disease patients, as well as those at risk for blood clots. They also won’t reduce the milk supply for women who are breast-feeding.
  3. Extended Cycle Pill—Lybrel, Seasonale, Seasonique. The Good: These pills prevent pregnancy and allow you to have a period only every three months. (Note: Lybrel stops your period for a year, but you must take a pill every day, year-round.) Fact: There’s no evidence proving it’s dangerous not to have periods, but there is still no long-term research to show that it is safe.
  4. Diaphragm—Milex Wide Seal, Ortho All-Flex, Semina, SILCS. The Good: Made of rubber and shaped like a dome, a diaphragm prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg. It covers the cervix and must always be used with a spermicide. Women must be fitted for a diaphragm in their doctor’s office. Fact: If your weight tends to fluctuate by more than 10 pounds at a time, the diaphragm may not work. If you gain or lose weight, you’ll need to be refitted. Prone to bladder infections? You might want to consider another option.
  5. IUD—Mirena, ParaGard. The Good: ParaGard is a surgically implanted copper device that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. Mirena, also surgically implanted, works by releasing hormones. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are more than 99% effective and good for 10 years. Fact: Some doctors recommend the device only for women who have given birth. When the device is implanted, your uterus is expanded, and this might cause pain in women who have not had children. If you’re planning on having children in a year or two, look at other options. The IUD can be removed, but the high cost—up to $500—might not be worth it for short-term use.
  6. Patch—Ortho Evra. The Good: You can place the hormone-releasing patch on your arm, buttock, or abdomen, and rest easy for one week. Fact: If you’re particularly at risk for blood clots, you might want to find a different method. The patch delivers 60% more estrogen than a low-dose pill, so you’re at an increased risk for dangerous blood clots.
  7. Implant—Implanon, Norplant. The Good: About the size of a matchstick, the implant is placed under the skin on your upper arm. Implants last for three years and can cost up to $800. They are nearly 100% effective. Fact: Implanon may not work as well for women taking St. John’s wort, or women who are overweight.

Of course, there are condoms (male and female). I didn’t put these in the list, because depending on the situation, it’s a smart idea to use a condom AND another form of birth control. Call me paranoid, but here’s the fact: using a hormonal type of birth control does not do anything to protect you against an STD.

You may thing, oh that would never happen to me, but if you’ve ever had an STD scare (I have, read about it here) you’d know that it’s really, really scary. Using condoms will NOT protect you from every STD, but it will decrease your chances of getting most STDs. I wouldn’t suggest relying solely on condoms, because they can break and then… you’re screwed in more ways than one.

As for the hormones? Women may experience side effects from the hormones during the first three months of use. The side effects include moodiness (ha), nausea, lighter periods. As for that fear of weight gain? There’s no such proof, especially if you use low-dose.

Finally, I wanted to mention the Plan B pill, because yes, I’ve had to take this as well, and it’s something that has changed over its years on the market. The Plan B pill serves as emergency contraception is a backup for regular birth control. Plan B contains a higher dose of the same synthetic hormones found in the combination pill. It works best if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, but may work up to five days later. Plan B, known as the morning-after pill, is available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, but only to women 18 years and older. Minors need a prescription.

What type(s) do you use? What works and what doesn’t? What experiences have you had?

The Lifetime of a Crush.

Aww, cute. He's probably an asshole.

Aww, cute. He’s probably an asshole.

You know that feeling you get when you start dating someone new? The stomach flip, the tingles, it seems like the sun is shining all the time; it’s exciting and everything seems right.

That’s how I feel when I’ve got a crush.

This is probably because I don’t know much about those I crush on, but that’s the beauty of it; you can just tell yourself they’re perfect.

A few weeks ago, I developed a decent-sized crush on a guy at my gym (ugh, I hate myself already).

Sure, he’s physically attractive. But I was more interested in the fact that we have similar interests; he has a good sense of humor, and he seemed like a non-douche.

One night, after downing a bottle of wine, I settled in for a round of Tinder swiping.

Not two minutes into my session, whom do I see, but my crush, right there, in front of my face!

In a way, I was a little shocked. I’d never seen anyone I knew on Tinder.

On the other hand, it meant he was single, looking for some type of mingling, and it said he was “active” just 20 minutes prior.

My liquid courage didn’t waver, and I sent him a text message admitting I’d seen him on Tinder.

Like a normal, sober person, he didn’t think it was a big deal and we chatted briefly about the reasons people are on Tinder.

To me, I took this entire conversation to mean that we were in flirtatious territory.

A few nights later, I was out with a slew of people from my gym — it seemed like everyone was there, except him.

So, I sent him a text, and he explained where he was.

“Well, if I’d have known that, I would’ve looked way less cute,” I replied.

My problem isn’t being shy. It’s usually being too forward, which I’m now aware sometimes comes across as being desperate.

He didn’t reply until the following morning, which made me feel like a complete asshole.

When he did reply, he explained that he was hanging out with a girl he’s “been seeing.”

I remembered why it’s called a crush. My stomach dropped and I was embarrassed.

I wished I’d never seen him on Tinder, and I definitely wished I’d never texted him.

My friends told me not to feel stupid, “How were you supposed to know he was seeing someone?”

While true — not to mention the fact that he was on Tinder to begin with — I still felt ridiculous.

I wondered if he really was seeing someone, or if he just said that so I’d leave him alone. Either way, I took his text as a clear message to get away, and fast.

So, I did.

I’ve managed to avoid him at the gym.

I also deleted Tinder, and got the Drizzy App instead.

“You know I pop bottles ‘cause I bottle my emotions.”

Pic of the Week.

Tweeting the entire book, 140 characters at a time.

Tweeting the entire book, 140 characters at a time.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all! Today is probably the busiest day I’ve got planned this week, partly because I’m prepping for a fun little event here at The Bitter Lemon HQ: Drumroll…

Starting at midnight tonight, I will be TWEETING the entire contents of my very first book, “How I Fell.” Remember that one?

My first book was published nearly two years ago, and I want to take advantage of all my people on Twitter, all my people on Instagram, Facebook, the blog, yadda… yadda…

If you’re knew here, my first book is the story of how I fell in love with an alcoholic. I shared my story on this blog and received an overwhelming amount of support and love. It was truly amazing — proof that any situation (even something as completely terrible like being in an emotionally abusive relationship) can flip into something good.

Get more details on my first book, as well as my second and third books, by clicking right HERE.

So, please join me as I Tweet the ENTIRE book, “How I Fell: Love, Lies, & Cocktails” tomorrow, starting at midnight — read the whole book 140 characters at a time. You know I’m always trying to keep things fresh!

Things you can do in the meantime:

  • Follow me on Twitter @OrangeJulius7
  • Follow me on Instagram @OrangeJulius7 (there may or may not be a giveaway tomorrow)
  • Prep your coffee pots with the good ish to read along via Tweet!

In other news, the weather in Baton Rouge has been completely fabulous lately! I was all excited to open the windows and get some fresh air, when I noticed I’ve got not one, but three wasps’ nests right outside three of the four windows I’ve got in my apartment. Fabulous!

Is that something maintenance will take care of? Ugh.

I spent last week being woken up by the smoke alarm — once it was actually the smoke alarm, and the second time it was the building’s fire alarm. So that was…interesting (I dialed maintenance at 1 am). And last night, I discovered my microwave doesn’t work! What the hell is going on?

Oh, maintenance! I need you!

I’ve lived in my apartment for nearly four years now, and the last time I lived an apartment for four years, I moved. I’m wondering if that’s just my time limit, or if I just need to freshen things up. Obviously, I can get things fixed pretty easily and free-of-cost, but maybe I should invest in some real spring cleaning or find ways to give my place a facelift?

What do you do to keep your house looking fresh, or making it a place you love?

Anyway, see you all on Twitter, TONIGHT, at midnight! Be there!

Faith in the face mask(s).

Don't miss a spot!

Don’t miss a spot!

Right after college, I had TERRIBLE acne. I’m not talking a few zits here or there, I’m talking — it was really bad, like the “before” pictures on a Proactive commercial. Not only was it embarrassing and painful, but I worked in the service industry, and I needed to look presentable, so I often wore loads of makeup to try and cover it up — it was a never-ending cycle.

I’d already tried Proactive, which worked for a little while, and I wasn’t in a position to go to a dermatologist. So, I went to a local spa and asked them if there was anything they could do (I was nearly in tears out of embarrassment). They recommended a detox facial.

So that’s what I did. The facial was a series of steam, scrubs, masks, and extractions (which was very painful that first time). I also bought some of the products my esthetician recommended. For awhile, I got the facial once a week. Before I knew it, my face was clearing up and I started going every two weeks, then once a month.

While it was necessary, it was also quite a treat. I have always loved doing at-home facials, with cucumber slices on my eyes and a clay mask on my cheeks — even if just for a short time, it makes my skin feel so smooth.

The thing is, there are TONS of different face masks you can get for at-home use: for dryness, dullness, acne, oil, wrinkles, etc. Some of these are clay masks, or avocado, or honey, or non-drying.

Since I’m constantly stockpiling face masks, I figured I’d share some of my findings with you. Belo are three different masks I’ve recently tried.

Fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.

Fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.

Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask

I got this for Christmas, and it’s definitely the most-unique at-home spa experience I’ve ever had — very fantastic! According to Macys.com, “The same skin-freshening mask used in Bliss Spas. Boost your skincare regimen with this straight-from-the-spa facial treatment, a weekly must for all skin types. The unique rubberizing mask is designed to envelop skin’s surface, allowing its key ingredients to be optimally absorbed by the skin. The brightening, skin-renewing formula is packed with powerful antioxidants and nourishing, detoxifying seaweed. So if you’re looking for a bright and healthy complexion–‘mask’, and you shall receive!”

When you purchase a box, you’ll get six packets (one packet = one mask). The packets are full of powder, which you mix with water and then apply. It really does turn to rubber, and you can peel the entire mask off your face in 20 minutes. The end result? Super silky skin.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Mask.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Mask.

NPW Cucumber & Aloe Vera Soothing, Calming & Revitalizing Face Mask

For New Year’s, I got a Detox Pamper Pack that included a hair mask, foot lotion, eye pads, and this face mask.

I finally put it on a few nights ago, after first exfoliating with a coffee scrub from Posh, and I think it was the first time I’ve tried a non-drying mask. It just stays creamy on the skin, and is really light in feeling.

More than anything, this mask is supposed to help you relax, and leave your skin with a new glow — I definitely think it did just that!

Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask

Ah, the classic clay mask — it’s even light green in color. And if anyone does the clay mask for at-home use like a champ, it’s Freeman. They’ve got a ton of masks to choose from, and you can get a pretty giant tube of the stuff for under $10 (I’m a big fan of the lemon-mint).

The classic green mask.

The classic green mask.

I recently tried the Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask, and what I love about the green, clay masks is that, although they’re sometimes a little itchy and tight while drying, once you rinse it off, the skin feels so freakin’ soft!

Maximize the Mask

I saved an article I saw in Vogue, “The New Beauty Agenda: Layering Your Face Masks,” which claims we can get even more out of a face mask by layering it — what?

According to the article, “layering” simply means applying one right after the other. In order to get the best effects, apply any exfoliating or purifying masks first, then go for the hydrating or oxygenating, or rejuvenating.

Vogue recommends this routine twice a month, at most.

A. I’m so trying this, and B. If you click the article link above, it offers a few mask “recipes” for your skin type.

Peter Thomas Roth

I can’t do a blog entry on face masks without mentioning Peter Thomas Roth. A large part of my skin regimen recommended by my spa esthetician were products by Peter Thomas Roth. They have tons of different products for acne-prone or aging skin, and I’ve always loved them.

While the products are a little pricy, they last a long time, promise.

One of my FAVORITE products from PTR is the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. As described by Sephora, “This powerful yet gently exfoliating treatment works in three ways: exfoliates with pumpkin enzyme, peels with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and polishes with aluminum oxide. It reveals smoother, younger-looking, radiant, and revitalized skin.”

It’s seriously fabulous — creamy and non-drying, plus it smells like pumpkin (you know me!). What are some of your favorite facial products that make your skin feel amazing?

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