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Airports See it all the Time…

Love is taking flight.

Love is taking flight.

‘Twas the night before my 26th birthday, making it July 1, 2011, in case you’re wondering. I was at the Houston airport on a layover during my trip to Chicago.

Things were not so great.

I was in a weird place with my then-boyfriend. I don’t even think he was my official boyfriend at the time, though I wanted him to be, badly. I booked this trip as a treat to myself, a chance to get away and visit one of my best friends, Sheena.

The weird thing was, my faux-boyfriend was also going to Chicago. I’m not really sure why, but he was going with his sister and her husband, and because I was really just a fuck buddy dressed up in a girlfriend costume, I wasn’t invited to come along.

Oddly enough, though, I’d seen his sister and her husband at the Baton Rouge airport, and recall crossing my heart in hopes they wouldn’t be on my same flight.

I was waiting at my gate, when they said something was up with our plane’s engine, and it could be an 8-hour wait, putting me into Chicago well into my actual birthday. So, I made the mistake that all party girls do, and I found the nearest bar, ordering a 32-ounce cold one.

I had time to kill.

As I sipped, I called my mom and told her the news, and informed Sheena that I would be arriving a TAD bit late. When I hung up the phone, a very (very) handsome young gentleman had sat himself in the barstool beside mine and ordered a cocktail.

“We’re on the same flight,” he said, looking at me.

“We are?” I asked.

He nodded at my phone.

“I heard you talking about the delay,” he said.

“Oh yes, it really sucks!” I whined.

We continued on, complaining about how we were never going to make it to Chicago. We both kept drinking and talking, exchanging information about our jobs and so forth. After about two hours had passed, we decided to leave the bar and go back to our gate to check on the plane.

You can guess how this story ends. The plane was gone.

I called Sheena back to have to check online, and yes, the plane had already left, without us.

“Why aren’t you freaking out?” he asked me (we still hadn’t even exchanged names yet).

“Probably because I’ve had damn-near 60-ounces of beer!” I said.

We walked over to the Delta counter and of course, there were no flights to Chicago that night. We were booked on a flight in the morning. Well, actually he was a gentleman and let me go first, so I got the last seat on the 5am flight, whereas he couldn’t leave until 7 am.

I was planning on finding a bar, and getting back to business before just sleeping on a bench somewhere, before he proposed a bit of an adventure to me.

“I know this is crazy,” he said. “But maybe we should just get a cab out of here and have a drink, and get back before our flights.”

“But, I don’t even know you,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “But, my name’s Matt.”

Matt.

Oh my dreaded Curse of the Matts, I’ve dated and failed with SO many Matts. My faux-boyfriend was named Matt, and so was everyone else in this world, it seemed like.

I laughed, and told him the only way I would go was if I could send his picture to Sheena, along with his address and license plate number, in case this turned out to be a Natalee Holloway situation.

So I snapped his picture, and sent his driver’s license information to Sheena before getting in the cab. Sitting there, with only our carry-ons with us, he kept looking at me saying how crazy it was. He lived in Houston, so we took the cab to his apartment, where I waited outside for him to grab a set of keys.

We hopped in his Jeep, and he took me to a bar.

I walked in and ordered a drink, when a stranger next to me started flirting and asked me how long I’d been with my boyfriend, here, nodding at Matt. I laughed, and said I just met the guy two hours ago.

“Y’all are going to get married,” he said.

We stayed, played darts, had drinks, and at midnight, we took shots for my birthday. Somehow, I had lived to see 26.

When it was time to leave, I was planning on getting a taxi to take me right back to the airport. But instead, Matt insisted I stay at his apartment, and that he would take me to the airport in the morning. After many back-and-forths, I agreed. I’d already made plenty of bad decisions that night.

At his house, he found a spare charger for my Blackberry, and loaned me a pair of sweats, along with a blanket for the couch.

After just a few hours passed, I woke him up in time to get me back to the airport, where I called Sheena to tell her everything was okay, and that I hadn’t failed to do something a little wild on my birthday.

Sheena & I on my 26th birthday.

Sheena & I on my 26th birthday.

Matt and I kept in-touch during our weekend in Chicago, though we didn’t run into each other. Instead, I was focused on having fun with my friend. I even heard from my faux boyfriend a few times as we tried to meet up.

A few weeks later, Airport Matt invited me back to Houston, so I drove to see him one afternoon after work. I stayed with him for a few days, and although we had a great time eating sushi, getting delicious bloody marys, and laying out at his pool, it just wasn’t meant to be.

We agreed, though, that it was a story for the ages.

And, in case you’re wondering about that faux boyfriend? He was actually in Chicago with his REAL girlfriend, who he proposed to and they are now married.

So I don’t feel so bad about kissing Airport Matt on my birthday, in a bar full of strangers, who at least wished me well.

People have the right to fly, And will when it gets compromised, Their hearts say ‘Move along,’ Their minds say ‘Gotcha heart,’ Let’s move it along…”—John Mayer, Wheel 

Chick Flicks That are Worth a Damn.

Call them RomComs, Chick Flicks, whatever, but the truth is, I’ve never been able to really label how I feel about this film genre. Sometimes, these movies cheer me up when I’m down, and other times, they make me cynical (more than I already am) and I feel like I’m never going to find a guy, and the next thing you know I’m in the freezer aisle at Albertson’s choosing between Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey.

So, I’m on a mission to find some chick flicks that are worth your time. You’ve probably seen them, and if you haven’t, run to the nearest RedBox. There’s a ton out there, so this might end up being a multi-part post, but I started with the ones I had right in my apartment. And yes, I watched them just for the sake of this post.

Sooooo cute!

Sooooo cute!

Drive Me Crazy (1999)

Plot: Nicole, head of her high school’s Centennial celebration committee, has everything lined up to get asked to the dance by popular basketball player, Brad. But when her plan falls through, she turns the guy next door into any girl’s dream…only for his ex to want him back. Can Nicole get her plan to work before the big dance? 

Starring the beloved Melissa Joan Hart, and the sexy Adrian Grenier, this film stands the text of time. Unless I’m just a huge dork, still living in high school.

I was in 9th grade when this movie came out, and I loved the way it openly addressed (and even mocked) high school cliques, and the worst, facing the fact that you might not have a date for the dance. And, even though Nicole’s (played by Hart) little friend turns out to be a huge bitch, I love that she talks in headlines: “Girl gets two-faced boy in backseat, violence anticipated.”

Hitch (2005)

Plot: Successful matchmaker, Hitch meets gossip columnist Sara, and while he struggles to impress her, his business is booming. Meanwhile, a client he declined screws over Sara’s best friend, putting Sara on the search for this “Date Doctor,” only to find it’s the man of her dreams, or so she thought. Can Hitch explain himself to win Sarah over? 

I know all the Ryan Gosling fans are groaning, since Eva Mendes is the lead female in this flick. While I’m not a huge fan of her’s, or Will Smith’s (who plays Hitch), for that matter, I just love this movie. It almost mocks RomComs in a way, pointing out that it doesn’t matter what rules you use for the game of dating, it really just comes down to finding the right person.

And, I can’t help it, but that scene where Hitch has a walkie-talkie delivered to Sara’s office to ask her on their first date? I. SO. WANT. THAT. TO. HAPPEN. TO. ME. Or, maybe if a guy would call me, that would be equally as impressive.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Plot: As college students, Harry and Sally meet through a mutual friend/girlfriend, and drive across the country together. Repulsed by Harry, Sally goes on her way, never talking to him again…until they bump into each other six years later at the airport. While years continue to pass, she finds him less repulsive, and they start to wonder, can men and women be friends, or will sex always get in the way?

Who doesn’t love Meg Ryan in a chick flick? I love that this movie (attempts to) tackles that annoying question about men and women being friends. I also love the soundtrack to this movie, and I think in general, it holds a special place in my heart because I fell in love with my best friend in college, too. Even though now, I hate his cheating guts.

Nevertheless, anytime I watch this movie, and Sally orders her complicated apple pie a la mode, it makes me want a slice. Really bad.

John Tucker Must Die (2006)

Plot: John Tucker is the hottest, most popular guy in high school…which is probably why he has, like, a dozen girlfriends. But when new girl Kate comes to town, she’s seen this story one too many times, and gathers three of his exes for ultimate revenge. 

Is this the most well-written, smart chick flick out there? No. But who doesn’t love a movie dedicated to getting back at the guy who broke your heart? Besides, some of the pranks they pull are pretty funny (i.e. the red thong?). And, I hate to admit it, but Tucker (played by Jesse Metcalfe) is fine as hell.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Love the shoes...

Love the shoes…

Plot: Elle Woods, pretty sorority girl in pink, thinks she’s about to get engaged to her college sweetheart. But instead, she gets dumped for being “too blonde.” So, she gets into Harvard to win him back, but when she does, she finds something else is worth her time. 

If this isn’t a great movie to pull any chick out of her doldrums, then I don’t know what is. Even if it’s not a breakup I’m upset over, this movie gets me going! While the pink sorority facade is laughable, I love her creative ways to get ahead, and her witty comebacks.

Plus, there’s the nail tech that you cannot help but love. And the fashion, the fashion is to die for. Plus, ever since I’ve seen this movie, I’ve always wondered about that scented resume. Anyone ever tried that?

PS. While I was looking for fun “Legally Blonde” stuff, I came across this makeup kit by Bella Pierre, which is supposedly the same stuff they used in Legally Blonde, the Broadway musical!

Now And Then (1995)

Plot: Four 12-year-old girls, best friends, are growing up together during an Indiana summer in the 70s. But it’s not just any summer—for all of them, this seems to be the summer that everything happens. 

I don’t know how I first saw this movie, but I recall watching it dozens of times with my BFF, Angela, and let me tell you this: it does not get old. Staring Christina Ricci, Rosi O’Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson, and Devon Sawa, I mean COME ON.

This movie covers it all—divorce, death, the birds and the bees, haunting stories, and anything that comes with growing up in a small town. It’s a must see.

Divide...and conquer.

Divide…and conquer.

The Breakup (2006)

Plot: Once Gary and Brooke breakup, they are faced with one big decision: who gets their condo? Their extreme efforts to push each other out becomes comical. 

I’m sorry, but I love Vince Vaughn. Add in Jennifer Anniston and I’m sold. This movie makes a tough situation pretty funny, and has a pretty good depiction about the way relationships are sometimes (the fight about the lemons is spot-on). And I can’t help it, but I simply LOVE drooling over that condo.

“There’s a real big gap between getting your ass kicked and having a dancing, singing sprite fool you with trickery and then strike your throat before you even know you’re in a fight. But I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand that, because all you do is make moves from up in your ivory tower.”—Gary, The Breakup 

Pic of the Week.

Homemade happy hour, featuring the Cecil Place Sour

Homemade happy hour, featuring the Cecil Place Sour

I have a guilty pleasure of admiring the glamorous lives of others from afar, via Instagram. No, I don’t even HAVE an Instagram account, but I’ve managed to find plenty of profiles, and be jealous of their beautiful lives.

God, I’m creepy.

Anyway, one of the bloggers I follow (and stalk on Instagram) posts all kinds of delicious recipes that I’m mentally marking for future use. One of them was a handcrafted cocktail she created, and named it after her street, Cecil Place.

It looked delicious.

So, when my friend and co-worker, Ashley, wanted to do a happy hour, I snatched the chance to host it and make a pitcher of Cecil Place Sours. Because when else am I going to whip up a fancy drink of bourbon and citrus?

To make the Cecil Place Sour, you will need:

  • 3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice (about one juicy grapefruit)

  • 2/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons)

  • Bourbon (I used Bulleit Bourbon)

  • Egg whites (a splash per drink)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 sprigs of  fresh thyme

First, get your simple syrup made. In a small sauce pan combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water and toss in your thyme. Let simmer on medium for about 3 minutes until sugar dissolves; turn off heat and let steep. Remove thyme and transfer syrup to an airtight container. Refrigerate whatever you don’t use.

Next, squeeze all of your citrus.

In a cocktail shaker add a few cubes of ice, but not too many or you will not end up with the beautiful texture these drinks are known for. Pour in 1 part Bourbon, 1 part citrus juice, 1/2 part thyme simple syrup (I don’t like mine sweet, if you prefer sweet do 1 part), and a splash of egg whites. Shake vigorously for about 2 min to achieve a frothy consistency and pour over ice. There is enough citrus juice in this recipe to make about 5 cocktails.

I made mine by the pitcher, and Ashley and I sat on my terrace with hummus, cheese, meats, and crackers. It was a glorious spring evening with great food, drink, and company!

PS. Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s blog!

Seeing Red (Flags).

Living on the beach? Not a red flag.

Living on the beach? Not a red flag.

As a relationship columnist and blogger, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to admit all of my stories when it comes to dating the wrong guys. While I have dozens (okay, maybe hundreds) of stories, what it really boils down to is ignoring red flags, especially before things get serious.

It’s something that I’ve really been working on, especially in this last year that I’ve been single. If you’re in the same boat as I am, maybe my list of red flags will help you out. If you have any others that I’ve missed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or Tweet me @OrangeJulius7 

RED FLAGS: WHEN YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER…

  • Expects you to do everything
  • Cannot apologize
  • Doesn’t introduce you to friends, family
  • Is not good at communicating
  • Talks down to you
  • Has a mean sense of humor
  • Wants to change you
  • Mentions sex early in the relationship
  • Doesn’t make you feel special
  • Gushes about someone else
  • Is secretive with his phone
  • Doesn’t fight fair
  • Is lazy in bed
  • Is a stage-5 clinger
  • Is never around when you really need them
  • Doesn’t share personal details
  • Uses texting as a main source of communication
  • Needs to go out every single weekend
  • Still talks to The Ex
  • Does drugs
  • Never has any money
  • Can’t remember conversations you’ve shared
  • Changes his/her story

In previous relationships, when one (or several) of red flags would appear, I didn’t think of them as detrimental. I figured, “Oh, boys will be boys,” or that eventually, things would change. But, they didn’t and then I was left feeling like a fool.

In my last relationship, it got on my nerves how much my then-boyfriend was on his phone. He would text during dinner dates and movies. When I asked him what that was about, or who he was texting, he would always say it was work. He also always had his phone with him (even in the bathroom) and had a password on it (he told me it was so his coworkers wouldn’t mess with it). But when I found out he was cheating on me the whole relationship, I wished I would have pressed further and connected the dots sooner.

Of course, every relationship is different, so the red flags might not match my list. In general, I think following your gut is the key to finding any red flags.

Pic of the Week.

One of simplest, yet favorite baking pieces

While simple, this is one of my favorite baking pieces

When I got my first apartment (by myself) after college, my mom gave me an extra crock-pot she had, as all I had was a bed, a dresser, and a slew of clothes.

It took me years to get enough furniture to make for a decent home, and lots gifts to fill my kitchen with all of the things I needed to be the little chef (Ratatouille!) I wanted to be. Today, kitchen gadgets are nearly popping out of my cabinets, but that’s not my story.

I kept the hand-me-down crock-pot for years and used it often. In fact, I didn’t get a new, modern one (with a timer and a thermometer) until two Christmases ago, from my mom. However, I still kept the old crock-pot for one reason: it was a perfect fit for my Bread ‘n Cake Bake pan—also given to me by my mom.

It came with a little recipe book, so old the pages don’t hold together anymore. Although there are several delicious recipes, I’ve only made the Pumpkin Tea Bread, but it’s so deliciously dense, I wouldn’t bake it any other way.

Over the weekend, I pulled out my old crock pot, along with my Bread ‘n Bake pan, and whipped up a batch of the bread, only this time, making it a little healthier:

  • 1/2 cup oil (unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (organic coconut palm sugar)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour (coconut flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (unsweetened dried cranberries)

Blend oil and two sugars. Stir in beaten eggs and pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in nuts and dates. Pour batter into greased and floured Bread ‘n Cake Bake and cover. Bake in covered crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or until done.

If you don’t have a Bread ‘n Cake Bake, just follow this recipe, and follow a similar bread recipe for baking in an oven, as far as temperature and time goes.

When I finished baking, I let it cool completely before slicing it in half, wrapping it up, and giving away half of it to my awesome personal trainer, a boxer who won his fight two weekends ago.

Because everyone deserves a little treat.

Things I’ve Learned from ‘Will & Grace’

The cast from my favorite show, Will & Grace

The cast from my favorite show, Will & Grace

I know watching TV, especially in excessive amounts, is generally looked down upon. But I’ve found that the more I watch, the more things I learn, so I’ll continue on my mission to prove that TV is actually good for the brain.

And when it comes to relationships, and life in general, I’ve learned a lot of things from (repeatedly) watching all eight seasons of “Will & Grace” on DVD.

So, here goes:

  1. Married men do cheat. Okay, so I didn’t necessarily learn this from watching “Will & Grace,” but it doesn’t matter how many times I see season six, when Leo (Grace’s husband, played by Harry Connick, Jr.) cheats on Grace with his coworker, it still tears my heart in half.
  2. Taye Diggs will always be fine as hell. Toward the end of the series, Will meets a man named James (Taye Diggs) at the movie theatre. They hit it off, and run into each other later at a resort, fall in love, and arrange for him to marry Grace so he doesn’t get deported. He ends up being a complete asshole, but still…Taye Diggs.
  3. Jennifer Lopez laughs with us. She makes a few guest appearances on the show, completely making fun of herself (mocking her busy schedule with music, book signings, clothing line, perfumes, etc.), and I kind of like her a little for it.
  4. We go for what we know. It’s a running joke on the show that Grace repeatedly dates gay men, because she lives with Will.
  5. No one is perfect. Sometimes characters in fiction novels or sitcoms are a little too perfect. What I love about Will & Grace is that a big part of the humor on the show is them making fun of each other, sometimes over their flaws.
  6. Friends are really, really important. It seems like everything in pop culture focuses on romantic relationships, and since I’ve been single, for, well, 100 years, I like seeing the spotlight on something other than that. Sure, the characters on Will & Grace have dated and been married, but the show always comes back to their lifelong friendship.

You know I had a dream once. To be rich and beautiful and have a great body. Oh look, my dream came true.

—Karen Walker, Will & Grace

To see what I’ve learned from watching The Hills, click here.

Pic of the Week.

My first major DIY project.

My first major DIY project.

Sunday night, I put the final touches on my first major DIY project—a dresser I keep in my bedroom.

I got the dresser before my senior year in college—it was purchased from Target and I put it together, and it survived three moves with me, somehow.

It’s original color was white, and I always liked how it looked with my bedroom colors of turquoise and chocolate, with hints of white. But move after move, the dresser looked more yellow and less white. It needed a facelift.

My mom announced she was coming into town a few weeks ago, and I knew we could work on the project together. My mom my just be the queen of DIY. She repainted her entire home, redid floors, and is always up for a new project.

While I do love good DIYs, I find I don’t have the patience. I get excited over something, buy the materials, and then once I get going, I just want it to be finished. So, I stick to small projects that only require a few steps.

I knew this one was going to take a little bit of patience, so I was happy to have someone with some experience by my side.

After finding a few pictures of what I had in mind, my mom and I made a trip to Lowe’s purchasing two pints of paint: Valspar Sea Kiss (which matches a quilt I keep on the end of my bed) and Valspar Fabulous Red, which is completely off of my color palette, but I just couldn’t resist it.

We also purchase a can of high gloss glaze, and 10 awesome knobs—my mom was kind enough to pack sand paper and paint brushes in her suitcase.

We sanded the finish off the dresser, then painted one coat of Sea Kiss, followed with a coat of glaze. Next, we painted two coats of Fabulous Red, before using various grits of sand paper to fade the red and let the turquoise show through.

Finally, we put on two coats of glaze and added the knobs. Honestly, it doesn’t look how I imagined, because I didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted. I just knew I wanted it to look completely unique—sort of like an old piece of luggage, or like something I found in a barn, yet chic, to go with the other pieces of furniture in my home.

I’m not making any promises about future projects, but I’ve got a little more confidence now when it comes to tackling the big stuff.

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My dresser project even makes a tiny debut in my column for Dig magazine, The Bitter Lemon, which comes out tomorrow, so be sure to pick up a copy!

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