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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 

The Column: On Cooking and Dating

Look for my column, The Bitter Lemon, in Baton Rouge’s alt-weekly, Dig magazine. A fresh issue hits the stands every Wednesday. This week’s column covers two of my favorite things: cooking and dating. 

I need to figure out how to do this...

I need to figure out how to do this…

The man I thought I was going to marry was a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy. If love were rice dressing, then my turkey was overstuffed for him.

I did everything I could to win his heart (read: cooked and baked dozens of recipes). From meatloaf and shepherd’s pie to birthday cakes and mocha chip cookies, I always had something in the oven for our time together.

But I quickly learned—when he got married—that even a perfect, medium-rare steak doesn’t make a relationship.

From a young age, I have loved food. My dad often cooked dinner in our house, as my mom worked late. While the meals weren’t fancy, my dad’s recipe for crockpot “Mushroom Chicken” holds a special place in my heart.

I have always liked cooking for myself, but when Mr. Meat and Potatoes came into my life, I relished cooking for him even more. But it was always one-sided. I can recall maybe two times, in four years, where he cooked for me. Read More…

Pic of the Week.

My bargain beauty finds.

My bargain beauty finds.

Pictures like this could probably be my “Pic of the Week” nearly every seven days. I absolutely love (LOVE) bargain shopping, but I particularly love hunting for beauty products at stores like Dollar Tree and Big Lots.

Part of this is out of necessity. I just cannot afford, or justify, spending $20-$50 on a single beauty product. I won’t even spend more than a few dollars on nail polish.

Some of the fun in my beauty bargain adventures is, of course, saving massive amounts of money, while still looking just as pretty as the girls slapping down major credit cards. But the other part of my high is that because the products are so cheap, I’m more likely to try different things.

Neon green nail art pen? Yep, $1.

In the picture, you’ll see my latest grab bag, with products all from Dollar Tree. I got fake nails (with glitter cheetah print on them), nail glue, three bottles of polish, a base coat, a top coat, and various nail glitter (which I have already used).

I switch up my nail color (and have recently been adding nail art and 3D elements) at least once a week, sometimes twice, so arguing with me about the lifetime of my cheap polish isn’t necessary.

When I get products from Big Lots, chances are, the brands are still decent, such as Cover Girl, Revlon, and Neutrogena. The Dollar Tree brands might be sub-par, but when it comes to glitter and eye shadow, I’m not concerned about it.

Take into consideration, my curious cat, who just a few weeks ago, knocked one of my eyeshadow palettes (I love these) off my bathroom counter. At first, I was upset, because I loved the colors, and they were all broken and smudged together, but then I remembered that I got it from Big Lots, and it was only $2.

My friend Ashley joined me on my latest adventure, and we bonded over our bargain finds—I think both of us left the store feeling like we stole something. If you’re someone who only goes for the high-end stuff, I’d dare you to give something less-expensive a chance. I think you’d be surprised to find that the stuff inside is just the same.

Beauty is in the Eye Cream.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve got HUGE bags under my eyes. Hell, there are HUGE bags above them, too. I have dabbled in a few different eye creams (Mary Kay Time Wise Firming Eye Cream, Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel), but never really got into it. So, I went to someone who just might be an Eye Cream Expert: my best friend Sheena. Tomorrow is her birthday, so what better way to commemorate getting older by letting HER give you some anti-aging advice (Happy Birthday, boobie!)?  

Like SHE needs eye cream.

Like SHE needs eye cream.

At some point in college, it dawned on me that I will get old and (as if it could get any worse), look old. Back then, one of my roommates and I decided to pool our money to buy a tube of the hottest new item: L’Oreal Paris Wrinkle De-Crease Collagen Filler ($25).

Our plan was to start fighting age early, and when everyone else was looking leathery and wrinkled, we would still look 21 and would get all the guys. As it turned out, the cream gave me a rash across my forehead and instead of looking young and hot, I looked gross and diseased (and got no guys).

But that didn’t stop my hunt for the perfect product to fight age; I started looking specifically for eye creams because Cosmopolitan and Oprah told me that eyes are the most important and what gets noticed first.

So, I’ve compiled a list of some of the different creams and serums I have tried and what they actually do for the skin around your eyes. Hopefully this will save some time (and money!) for anyone else in search of the perfect product.

Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift Pro Dual Eye System (0.66 ounce bottle, $25)

What it’s supposed to do: Lift eyes like they defy gravity!

What it did: This is by far my most favorite eye product because it actually works and is pretty inexpensive. The jar that it comes in has two separate products, one for use on the upper lid and one for under your eyes. You can feel the upper lid gel tightening as it dries, which makes me happy because you can actually see it in action. The cream for the under eye reduces the appearance of dark circles, which was pretty impressive to me because they didn’t even claim that feature in the description. What they do claim in the description is that this product has injectable grade Arginine and PVP. Yes injectable grade! I just like the way that sounds.

What it didn’t do: Last long. I don’t know how long this jar is actually supposed to last, but I used it all in a little less than a month.

Aveeno Positively Ageless Lifting & Firming Eye Cream (0.5 ounce bottle, $20)

aveeno-positively-ageless-eye-cream

Aveeno Positively Ageless

What it’s supposed to do: Fight signs of aging and sun damage by visibly lifting and firming skin around the eyes reducing the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.

What it did: After using this product just a few times the area around my eyes seemed much brighter and dark circles were not as apparent. No more tired eyes, yay!

What it didn’t do:  I didn’t notice any line reducing or firming action happening when I used this, which was disappointing.

When I pay $20 or more for a product I want it to shrink my skin so much that my eyeballs feel like they are about to pop out of my head.

Clinique Anti-Gravity Firming Eye Lift Cream (0.5 ounce jar, $37)

What it’s supposed to do: Hydrate, lift, and firm around the eyes while helping to erase the look of lines.

What it did: Hydrates and slightly firms. When I went to Macy’s to buy this product, the consultant working at the Clinique counter told me that this product was, “…like for our Grandmothers.” I bought it anyway and gave her the [firmed] stink eye as I walked away. So maybe I’m not the ideal consumer for this product, but it did kind of work for me.  I noticed that when used every day it did firm the area around my eyes, although not as much as I would have liked but it did give great hydration like they claim. Another plus is that the tiny jar lasts a long time, the consultant told me one jar should last about 6 months.

What it didn’t do: Erase the look of lines and give a lasting firmness. The firmness that this product gives definitely goes away if you don’t use it twice a day every day.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Serum (1.0 ounce bottle, $47.50)

Clinique Repairwear

Clinique Repairwear

Used with:

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream (0.5 ounce bottle, $43.50)

Clinique Repairwear uplifting firming cream (1.7 ounce bottle, $59.50)

Note: These all came in a Christmas gift pack together from Clinique.com that was $67.50.

What it’s supposed to do (Serum): After 12 weeks of use delivers 63% of visible wrinkle improvement that you would get from a laser procedure at a dermatologist. Reverses sun damage and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

What it did:  I really really loved this product (serum) if just for the fact that it made my skin so silky and smooth after I put it on.  I don’t know if you’re supposed to use this on your eyes, but I did. I also used it with the eye cream and uplifting firming cream.  I figure my eyes probably have sun damage too, so why not? I didn’t notice much of a difference in the area around my eyes with any of the products, but it did make the skin tone in the rest of my face more even.  I also didn’t notice any difference when using the uplifting firming cream, but if nothing else it was a nice light moisturizer.

What it didn’t do: Reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.  I don’t have many lines or wrinkles, but I didn’t notice a difference at all in the ones that I do have. Boooo!

At home remedies

Frozen metal spoons—Decreases eye swelling/puffiness. Keep metal spoons in the freezer for a quick fix for eye swelling, this usually works in about 5-10 minutes.

Greek yogurt—Minimizes redness in the skin. Apply Greek yogurt like a face mask and leave on 10-15 minutes.

Egg white face mask—Tightens skin to reduce appearance of fine lines. Apply egg whites like a face mask to a clean face and let sit for 15 minutes until completely dry.

Extra virgin olive oil/grape seed oil/almond oil—Minimizes wrinkles. Rub oil(s) on wrinkles for a few minutes daily.

Cucumbers/potatoes—Diminishes the look of wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes. Place slices on eyes for 15-20 minutes daily.

So there you have it—Sheena, the Eye Cream Expert’s take on getting rid of bags, dark circles, and wrinkles. Don’t mind me while I try all of the above. In the meantime, I think Sheena should plop her face into a birthday cake iced with egg whites (a la Mrs. Doubtfire) to fight age. Now THAT’S having your cake and eating it, too. 

Things As They Seem (part II).

[Continued from Part I...]

Suzy and Sam, first picture as a married couple.

Suzy and Sam, first picture as a married couple.

About a week later, Jay and I had plans to attend a birthday outing on a party bus with a group of my friends. As I was getting ready, he sent me a text message saying I had actually already met this girl he’d “gone out with” as she was in my office one day.

Let me think. Not to be a total bitch, but yes, I saw someone in my office who said she knew me because she saw one of my blogging presentations. Cool, I told her. I had no clue what her name was, nor did I recall seeing her in the audience because there was 100 people there and it was a year beforehand, nor did she say, HEY, I’M FUCKING YOUR FRIEND JAY.

But, maybe I’m just an idiot and/or Jay’s girlfriend should get off my status.

Before he (secretly) started seeing someone, he was planning on staying at my apartment that night, instead of driving home, across town. But after I told him I was over the funny shit, he said he wasn’t going to drink much so that he could drive himself home.

Whatever.

We met up to get on the party bus, me wearing my awesome sequined shorts (get the scoop here), and we make it through one bar before Jay starts giving me the talk about how much he “loves” me and always wants me in his life in some form or fashion.

Then, he kissed me. And again. And a lot. This was on January 18, but whose keeping track, anyway? Girlfriend who? What? I don’t know.

We get to the 4th bar on the party bus, Lock and Key, where he was apparently with his secret girlfriend the night before. There, he tells me how great and awesome I am.

“You keep saying I’m awesome,” I said. “But not awesome enough for YOU.”

I got on the bus, and that was that. We ended up at my favorite guilty pleasure, The Cadillac, where I made a fool of myself attempting to do the Cupid Shuffle.

We stumbled off the bus near my apartment, and he came upstairs to sleep over.

When I awoke the next morning to go to brunch, there he was, under the covers, his shoulders bare. I was still completely dressed.

I woke him up, recapped the night, we laughed, he still failed to mention any girlfriend, and so I kissed him goodbye and headed to brunch.

Maybe he really wasn’t dating anyone, I thought.

I told a fellow blogger at brunch about the situation. She told me it was shady and that I needed to stand my ground. Hmm…

During the next few weeks, I started seeing photos of him and girlfriend (or at least I assumed) on Facebook, but whenever I would ask him what he was up to, he would cooly not mention girlfriend.

I decided to just lay low. Our friendship was doomed. But despite being upset, I had already agreed that I would be a guest on Jay’s video podcast to talk about Valentine’s Day survival tips for singletons.

So, I put on my happy face, chugged a glass of wine, and the show started recording. During the live show, Jay’s cohost mentioned Jay’s girlfriend and how much sex they were going to have on February 14.

Smile. Smile. Smile, I told myself. My teeth clenched. Before the show started, he had told me not to mention us hooking up.

I kept quiet and kept my cool, but girlfriend was angry—or that is what I gathered from the amount of text messages blowing up Jay’s phone. I could also see the texts popping up on the iPad screen from which we were recording.

After lots and lots of typing on Jay’s part, I saw it:

“Baby, you’re fine. I love you.”

They were already saying “I love you”? We had messed around just a few weeks prior. I am no mathematician, but that usually doesn’t happen in two weeks.

I hadn’t been placed in any type of friend zone. I had been played like a fucking fool. My mind took me back to that night downtown, when he cheated on his last girlfriend.

I finished my wine and said I needed to leave, dialing my friend’s number as soon as his front door shut.

I needed answers, so I went to a mutual friend and asked him for the scoop. We compared calendars, and his jaw dropped when I pointed to the dates we’d been together. He confirmed there was overlap. I knew I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

This was someone I thought was my friend.

I waited weeks to say anything to Jay, because I knew what would happen when I did. He would try to save face, say that everything I was upset over was untrue, and that I was simply jealous of  girlfriend.

That’s exactly what happened, only Jay added insult to injury when he said, “I’m sorry you disagree.”

Well, you know what? I’m sorry that I don’t accept backhanded apologies. I’m sorry that I deserve friends who don’t lie to me. I am sorry that you should have done the correct thing, and introduced me to your girlfriend, because that is what people do when they fall in love.

I’m sorry that you feel like you need two chicks at once. I’m sorry you took advantage of me. I’m sorry that I fell for you. And I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for not giving a bucket of fucks any longer.

My heart is on the mend, but I’m glad that this isn’t an issue I have to deal with any longer. Sometimes, things really are what they seem. The thing is, we often don’t want to admit what’s true, especially if that means a friend is actually okay with hurting your heart.

I admit we knew we’d get in trouble. That part’s true. We knew people would be worried, and we still ran away, anyway. But something also happened, which we didn’t do on purpose. When we first met each other, something happened to us.

—Sam, Moonrise Kingdom

Collaboration With Dig Magazine!

Designed by Melissa Renee Rushing.

Designed by Melissa Renee Rushing.

I am so, so happy to finally (I’ve kept quiet for a week) announce my collaboration with Dig Magazine, Baton Rouge’s alt-weekly.

While I have written articles for Dig before, my new project is dear to my heart, as I’ll be writing a fresh column each week, based on my adventures in dating—very similar to what I share with you here.

Even though this blog has been around since 2010, I am honored that my favorite city publication is printing my opinions, and sharing my blog with everyone in its (30,000) circulation.

So, if you’re new here because you saw the column (also called The Bitter Lemon)—which debuted today—in Dig Magazine, a big, fat, HOWDY! I am thrilled beyond belief to share my world with you, even though it’s not always pretty.

I hope you’ll join me on another journey of mine, with Dig. Comment, Tweet me, let’s chat! I’d love to hear from you.

You can find the column in the pages of Dig (find an issue here), or you can read it online, too (right here).

I also want to mention that my friend, and f*cking awesome poet, Leslie D. Rose, is the one who took my headshot for the column. If you ever need photographs taken, give her a shout!

Thank you, once again, for reading my words. I look forward to writing for Y’ALL—new and old.

Pic of the Week.

Angela, me, Charlotte, Sheena, and Ryan Gosling.

Angela, me, Charlotte, Sheena, and Ryan Gosling.

Last week, I was so lucky to have my best friends—Angela and Sheena—in town from Indiana. The two of them were deep in winter depression (I’m really believing that’s a thing) and drove the 12 hours South to get to Baton Rouge.

While the two of them have visited me several times before, they’d never been here at the same time. The three of us, along with some of my in-town friends, had a blast! We had lots and lots of drinks, went to brunch at Mason’s Grill, traveled to the Abita Brew Pub, played hours of Bullshit and Apples to Apples, indulged in Zippy’s 44-ounce margaritas, went to Les Bon Temps for the Eclectic Truth Poetry Slam, and watched the finale of The Bachelor together.

We also celebrated Sheena’s birthday, which is March 25, by having a homemade dinner, drinks (duh), a strawberry-creamcheese king cake, and gifts—enter: Ryan Gosling. Okay, so it’s the Ryan Gosling in paper doll form, but it’s pretty legit, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Take Ryan Gosling with you...EVERYWHERE.

Take Ryan Gosling with you…EVERYWHERE.

Sheena and Angela were also in town on the night of my last blog class for the semester. As a treat for my students, I asked local blogger Charlotte Tryforos of Living Well On The Cheap to come speak.

While I had never met Charlotte in-person, I felt like we were friends because I’ve been following her blog for awhile. Funny story, actually: a coworker of mine asked me if I read her blog, and I said no, but checked it out, and loved it. Then I read that she lived right here in Baton Rouge!

Double-sweetness.

I don’t have many friends who blog, so it was a delight to meet and talk to her face-to-face. and then I got to hear how she started blogging, and how she maintains her (awesome) blog.

Preach.

Preach.

I had such a great time with my friends, and I was sad to see them drive away. I usually only get to see them once or twice each year, since we live so far apart from each other. However, these two women are ones I’ve known since 6th grade, and as time has taught us, nearly nothing can pull us apart.

Sometimes I wish we all lived in the same city so my life could be like last weekend all of the time—when I’m with them, I feel like my other worries disappear. I feel supported. But I know we are where we are for a reason, even if it’s just for the simple fact that our annual visits are more appreciated.

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