Blog Archives

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?

Pic of the Week.

All the proper fixins' for a movie premier!

All the proper fixins’ for a movie premier!

Thursday night, I could not wait to finish with work, jump into my sweats and walk right on over to the movie theatre for the midnight premier of “The Longest Ride,” a film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller.

I was really excited for several reasons: 1. the book was fantastic. I have very, very fond memories of laying out on my terrace, getting a tan, sipping on a wine spritzer (no, seriously), and falling in love with this unique story, 2. SCOTT EASTWOOD IS FINE, and 3. I allowed myself a cheat and got a junior popcorn, with butter.

Um, hi.

Um, hi.

But seriously, that second point needs to be mentioned one more time… because how have I not noticed him nor his hotness before now?

Anyway, “The Longest Ride” is the story of two couples — very similar couples — in different time periods, whose lives intersect in a very unique way.

The movie and the book tells both of their stories, while in turn, offering a tale of love… as only Nicholas Sparks could. Read more about the book from a previous blog post, here

I think this movie struck me in an interesting way, because some of the issues in the story are easily things that could happen to anyone. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of questions and uncertainty when I think about love and my future. The movie touched on those issues, and although it was a little overwhelming at midnight on a Thursday, it was cathartic.

While I’ve seen all of the movies and read nearly all of Sparks’ books, this one is definitely one of my favorites (I just love “The Last Song”). I don’t, and won’t, spoil the movie for you, but per usual, don’t forget to pack the Kleenex!

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

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!

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.

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?

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!

Fresh Friday: Pink Sugar.

Loving this sweet scent!

Loving this sweet scent!

Ta-da, it’s Friday! Pay no mind that it’s Friday the 13th… because it’s the freakin’ weekend, and even though I have to work all weekend, Friday still makes me pretty happy (mainly because every Friday, there’s a CSI marathon on FX).

Anyway, I’ve probably had a sample of Aquolina’s Pink Sugar in my bin-0-perfumes, and I pulled it out Monday, spritzed a little on and seriously fell in love. Why? Because it smells like donuts.

And I do realize that just yesterday, I posted about how to stick to a healthy diet. I’m not saying eat donuts — but if you can stand it, wearing Pink Sugar is the perfect way to “enjoy” said pastry, minus the calories!

According to Sephora, “Stylish and lively, with a distinctive personality, Pink Sugar takes you on a journey through the pleasures and flavors of childhood with a playful blend of vanilla and caramel.”

Yum! This is the perfect scent for spring (and summer).

Speaking of donuts, I recently joined Instagram (follow me @OrangeJulius7), and I’m pretty obsessed with the ‘grams coming from California Donuts. Srsly.

I'll leave it at that.

I’ll leave it at that.

Survival Guide: Dieting.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

We’re well into March, which means if you had a New Year’s Resolution of “sticking to a healthy diet,” then you’ve probably crashed and burned a few times by now.

And no, it’s not that I don’t have faith in you! I just know that making changes, especially when it comes to food (delicious food) is very difficult.

But, I’ll share what’s worked for me. And of course, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone, but perhaps it will. And if you’ve got ideas that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear them!

  1. Remember the “Why.” There’s a reason you decided to eat healthy and even get on a diet — so go back to that. Maybe it was a picture of yourself five years ago. The looming swimsuit season. A doctor’s recommendation. Your kids. Whatever the reason, remember that, and let it inspire you. If you need to make a note and tape it on your fridge, do that!

    Survive a squat hold!

    Survive a squat hold!

  2. Find inspiration. Everyone gets inspired by different things. Pictures of hot guys really inspire me to get my butt to the gym. Fact: when we have to do “squat holds” in boxing class, I always picture Justin Bieber. Shirtless. Whatever works for you, do it, think it, put a picture of it on your phone — it can be your little secret.
  3. Cater to you. Not every diet plan works for every person. Some people love Paleo, I really didn’t. Some people like Atkins; I’ve never tried it. I think it’s important to find something that works for you, and that’s a matter of clearing the outside noise from your mind. Take things slow. If you eat fast food every day, even a small change of grilled meats and veggies is going to make a big difference. If you’re ready to make another change in a month, then do it.
  4. Allow freedom. This is the toughest part, but the second you tell yourself you can’t have chocolate, you’re going to want JUST chocolate. So, allow a cheat meal, or maybe a cheat day — whatever is going to work for you. If you box yourself into a strict plan, you’ll resent yourself and the diet. Then? You’ll quit the healthy foods altogether.
  5. Get creative. My favorite part about healthy eating is discovering things that are healthy, but are so delicious. Don’t be afraid to try new things! When I did Paleo, I craved sweets, but I ended up finding these dates rolled in unsweetened coconut… that tasted like fig newtons. They were a fabulous treat that felt like a cheat but weren’t! Find recipes you love all the time and see what twists you can give them to make them fit your new guidelines. You’ll find that there’s lots of healthy, delicious options for you.

Need recipe ideas? Here’s a few of my favorites:

Luv vs. Love.

Right through the heart...

Right through the heart…

The day after Valentine’s, I got a text at 4:30 am.

“Love you.”

It was from a guy I went to high school with; we’ve kept in touch over the years, and have hooked up a few times.

Given the timing of the text, I figured it was a drunk thing and I just didn’t reply. We have never said “love” to each other — we don’t even talk on the phone.

While I do like him, and care about him, I don’t think “love” is the word to describe what we have.

About a week after the text, he called me out on it and told me I was rude for not saying “I love you” back.

Huh?

Love is still a really big word for me. Sure, I’ve been in love (a few times) and I’ve said it to the men I’ve fallen for.

In my past, romantic love has come during a committed relationship. And while I do enjoy talking to this guy, I like seeing him (he travels full time) when I can, and I certainly enjoy hooking up, it’s not love.

After all, he said it in a text message.

This is when I have to wonder if I’m just out of touch. Is this what we’re doing now? Saying “I love you” via text?

Sure, I get it if you’re dating someone and the l-bomb has already been dropped in-person, face-to-face, but…

Of course, this guy was really, really pissed that I had “no manners” and still wouldn’t say it back — a fight happening over text, mind you.

There is a risk anytime you open up to someone, and when you don’t get the response you’re hoping for, it is really difficult. I’ve been there.

But I can’t say something, especially love, that I don’t mean just to make someone feel better, or to keep them from being mad at me.

The first man I ever loved was my best friend. We were friends for years before we started dating, but it didn’t take long for me to be crazy for him.

When that relationship ended, it took years before I fell in love again and I fell hard.

After that, I fell in love with someone destructive, and it’s difficult for me to even know if it was really love. But I did say it to him, after a very short amount of time.

I am well-aware that the nature of dating and relationships are changing every day. Hell, it seems like people aren’t even dating at all anymore.

But no matter the trends, the cultural changes, the technology, love is something that’s got to be an anchor.

Love is what we’re living for, right?

And something that important deserves more than a text message; it deserves a moment.

I thought I’d hear from the guy at least a few days later, admitting he was a little harsh on me, and he’d apologize.

But I haven’t heard from him since. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I know one thing.

That’s not love.

Pic of the Week.

Just home... at the office.

Just home… at the office.

It seems like so long ago that I had an 8-5 office job — and really it was four months ago. While I am still working out details of my life nearly every week, in ways it seems like things are going along okay, and in other ways, it feels like I’ve got no direction whatsoever.

In December, I was working three retail jobs. One of those was seasonal, so I was down to two jobs. And then, on Saturday, I went to cash a check from one of my jobs and it wouldn’t cash — my employer didn’t have enough money to cover the check. So I quit.

I’m down to one retail job, which I believe will cut down on how burnt-out I’ve felt lately, but I of course worry about making ends meet.

The trend I’ve noticed is that the less hours I’ve got in retail, the more writing gigs I can take on. And that’s great! It’s scary, but it is also very exciting. And, even though I’ve still been applying for office jobs every week, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever find myself in an office working for someone else.

Last week, I started listening to some webinars led by people who do what I want to do — make a living by blogging. While they gave some great tips (that I’ll be implementing over the next few months), it was the most comforting thing to hear their struggles before their business dreams became reality.

When I think about it, it seems really exciting to work for myself — I can set my own schedule; do whatever I want; work in my pajamas while watching copious amounts of television; and I can travel.

But everything has a downside. My biggest one? There’s no sick days when you work for yourself. It’s like the court episode of Sex & the City… “I work for myself and no one can cover for me.”

I feel like I’m always telling you readers that I have no idea what’s coming up — which is really weird for me to say because I’m a planner and a strategist. But I really don’t know. Every week around here is so different from the last; so in a month, I sure as hell don’t know.

I do know that I finally had a Sunday off (pictured above) and I slept in for the first time in months. I also took a nap! It is a luxury I haven’t had in awhile.

I also know that I’ve got a few big meetings this week, and I’m nervous and excited all at once. You know what they say, when one door closes, another one opens…

6/50 Shades: Blushing Sequin.

Spring is on its way, bring on the brights!

Spring is on its way, bring on the brights!

I know I can’t be the only one dragging ass this morning after LOSING an entire hour yesterday — so sad. But the good news is, spring is on the way, and that means summer is just around the corner (especially true if you live in the South. Spring is, like, a day).

Regardless, I hope y’all had a fantastic weekend. I did have to work some shifts, but I was also able to get in a workout and a yoga session, which felt great!

I also tried out a new shade of pink! This one is by L’Oreal Paris and is part of the Colour Riche line, called Blushing Sequin — I love a sequin, so I was really excited to try this color.

Although it looks very bright and bold in the tube, it’s a very nice shade of pink. I will definitely be wearing this one again.

What I’ve noticed, so far, about L’Oreal lipsticks, is that while they aren’t glossy, they do have a creamy texture (see my post on L’Oreal’s Pink Cashmere), which is very rare for a lipstick. This keeps my lips from feeling dry — usually I but on a balm first, but with this lipstick, I didn’t have to. Score!

What bright hues are you looking forward to wearing this spring? Let’s hear it!

Baring it all, in business?

A topless picture I sent 10 years ago, has come back... in a business proposal.

A topless picture I sent 10 years ago, has come back… in a business proposal.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a guy I went to high school with — you may remember him as the guy who wrote this email about me. To make a long story short, it’s a guy I had a massive crush on for years, but for some reason he was terrible to me.

Because of my A. faith in people and their ability to change, and 3. my wavering level of self-confidence, we have kept in touch over the years, though I haven’t seen him in about 10. A little more than a year ago, I stopped communicating with him because he often made me feel bad about myself.

He’s made it clear that he thinks my career is a joke, my life is boring, and he’s got no problem bragging to me about how great everything is for him.

Enter: the email. It was formally written, as he said he knows we’re “not on good terms,” but he was in a position to hire a writer and thought of me (not sure why, but whatevs). He described the project as lucrative.

He also said he hoped that this business deal would somehow mend our friendship, but if I told him to “fuck off,” then he would understand.

After thinking on it for a day, I replied to him, touching on only the business matter at hand. I’m always looking for more, new writing work, so if in fact his proposal was legit, then let’s play ball.

I heard from him a few days later, On Valentine’s Day, via text, saying he was still working out plans on the writing deal.

Then, he started sending me a variety of photos that I wasn’t really sure what I was looking at: various office pictures of some sort, of dogs under desks, people sleeping in weird places, and motivational sayings taped to a glass wall. I didn’t reply.

Then he asked me if I was single for Valentine’s Day, but I had fallen asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, he’d sent me another picture. It was one I’d sent him 10 years ago — a topless photo.

He’d sent a text along with it, “I’m single too, but I still have this to look at, get off to, and help me sleep.”

My stomach churned.

I remembered that I’d sent him the picture — not a smart move, but at least my face wasn’t in it — you could even see my dorm room behind my bare chest.

The picture, of course, made me mad. How many phones had he had since then, and he felt it necessary to save the picture on each phone? But the photo also made me very sad. It was a sign of my past — a time when I did a lot of things to either please people, or get their attention. And for years, I desperately wanted his attention.

I wrote him back and told him that all at once, I remembered why our friendship was over, and that I was no longer interested in the business deal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my past lately (read last week’s column for further proof), and although I’m getting better at making sound decisions regarding my emotions, it will always be a working journey for me.

The fact of the matter is, as a dating columnist and blogger, there are a lot of people out there that know things about me, that they wouldn’t know otherwise. Most of the time, this doesn’t bother me at all — until I want to get a “serious” writing gig.

I get nervous when I make a pitch — afraid they’ll Google me and see the secrets I’ve shared, that Playboy audition, or my weaknesses in finding a decent man — I’m afraid they’ll judge me; box me in as a fluff writer and call it a day.

I will probably suffer from that battle until I find a job (or jobs) that celebrate the entire me. But that’s the struggle any creative finds himself in. Every blog, every article, poem, one-liner, painting, collection… it’s out there to be judged by those who know nothing of the sort.

That is the risk we take, in order to fulfill our passion.

While I’m not proud of that picture I took 10 years ago (it wasn’t my last, but let’s be real), I can only be proud of the moves I’m making today — the ones that don’t involve the toxic people, in life and in business.

Pic of the Week.

Yummy, healthy Shanti Bars.

Yummy, healthy Shanti Bars.

Lately, I have been basically living off protein bars. Seriously. I take them to work and eat one when I don’t have time to break for an entire meal, or just pack them in my lunchbox so that when I do sit down to eat, I can get protein without the use of a fridge or a microwave.

Of course, there are some protein bars that are healthier than others, and I’m always trying to find healthy ones that taste great, without breaking the bank, of course.

Recently, I discovered Shanti Bars, which are the first EVER paleo-friendly bars I’ve seen! Not only are they paleo, but they’re also 100% organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based. They are handcrafted in sunny Miami, Florida, and made with non-GMO ingredients and NO preservatives — this is really, really amazing for a protein bar.

I got the variety pack, which included one bar of each flavor: coconut, goji, spirulina, goldenberry, cacao, mulberry, and turmeric.

I haven’t had ALL of the bars yet, but so far, Goldenberry and Coconut are my faves. Here’s why I’m loving the Goldenberry:

A zesty nut-free blend of super seeds mixed with a refreshing splash of lemon.

Each bite of the Shanti Goldenberry Protein bar is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other life-giving properties that heal, energize and rejuvenate the body and the mind. With 17 grams of plant based protein, this bar is perfect as a meal replacement or post workout recovery. Shanti Goldnberry Protein bar is jam packed with nutrient rich ingredients such as goldenberries, chia seeds and hemp seeds ready to boost your immunity and strength. To make it even more filling and fueling we added a bit of organic rice protein.

And the Coconut:

A satisfying combination of creamy coconut and sweet almonds.

Shanti Coconut Energy bar is packed with nutrients, bursting with flavor and life-giving ingredients like coconut and maca. It has all that you need to give you the burst of energy and all the health benefits your body needs. This energy bar provides 7g of plant-based protein. Coconut is not only delicious and creamy, it is also known as a fat burning agent. Think of coconut as your ally in energy. Delicious, nutritious and fat burning.

Yum! I love the chewy texture of the bars, plus the fresh taste. Very delicious! A perfect, guilt-free snack or even a meal replacement. Finally, a healthy option for someone on-the-go!

Maine.

I picked up a copy of Maine during a library trip — I had written down a list of authors I wanted to check out and J. Courtney Sullivan was definitely one of them.

Maine is Sullivan’s second novel (the first one is Commencement), and it’s got all the good stuff rolled into one: the story of a multi-generational family, each with its own set of problems. What brings them together, aside from family, is the family-owned beach property, purchased decades prior.

The book is divided into chapters (naturally), but each chapter is told by the perspective of a different family member — I LOVE it when authors do this! The New York Times book review of Maine does a great job of wrapping the characters up in a neat little package:

Alice, the widowed, 83-year-old matriarch, a devoted Catholic and fierce but lonely woman who is haunted by a tragedy in her past; Alice’s granddaughter Maggie, a fiction writer living in Brooklyn whose first collection of stories was about “love gone awry” (and who, though she was supposed to arrive in Maine with her boyfriend, has instead shown up solo, and pregnant, love having gone awry yet again); Maggie’s mother, Kathleen, the black sheep of the family, who on hearing of her daughter’s predicament hops a plane from California even though she vowed after her father’s death that she would never visit Maine again; and Ann Marie, the fastidious, tightly wound wife of Kathleen’s brother, Patrick, whose carefully constructed marriage is not all it seems to be.

Because of the different-character chapter setup, the story really dives into the lives and the history of each character, which is really interesting.

I found an interesting article in Real Simple where Sullivan answered questions about the book. In one, she discussed the deeper meaning of Maine:

Maine is a novel about the roles we play within a family—in the eyes of the Kellehers, Kathleen will always be a mess. But to people in the worm farming and AA communities, she’s something of a leader. And the same is true for Alice. Her kids see her as someone who is too old to be trusted alone, a mean drunk, a racist. But through her church, she prays each day, she visits the sick, she fights to keep her hometown parish alive. Her church community sees her as she wants to be seen. As both Alice and Kathleen show, sometimes it’s much easier to be graceful and generous to outsiders than to your own family.

Fascinating! I have to admit, I didn’t even think about it this way when I was reading the book. Truthfully, I picked up the book, because I have always loved the idea of a beach home that’s shared by a big family — the memories and the drama surrounding it. Plus… beach picnics. With wine.

I am really looking forward to reading other books by Sullivan, including Commencement (a sparkling tale of friendship and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose), The Engagements (an exhilarating novel about Frances Gerety, the real pioneering ad woman who coined the famous slogan “A Diamond is Forever,” and four unique marriages that will test how true—or not—those words might be), and Dating Up (a guide for women everywhere who have worked hard to get where they are in their lives and their careers and deserve to be challenged, excited, and supported).

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