Blog Archives

The Turkey Stands Alone.

Turkey for one!

Turkey for one!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the fall weather, a few days off from work, and of course, the food.

I love to cook (especially for a guy), I really like to eat, and the fact that pigging out is perfectly acceptable for this holiday is just the whipped topping on my pumpkin pie.

Almost every year, I’ve traveled to spend Turkey Day with my best friend and her family. My family is split, and frankly, I just don’t do all of the drama.

Last Thanksgiving, I’d just lost my job and had no business traveling. Thankfully, a friend in-town invited me to spend the day with her and her son.

Although it was just the three of us, we had a fantastic feast, capped off with lots of wine. It was a great, great day.

The truth is, I think of Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, and while that’s exciting, it’s also the most difficult time of year to be single.

It’s chilly outside, there’s couples snuggled up all over Instagram, and it’s just… depressing.

I have always wished that my Thanksgiving Day would be filled with turkey, and a little love from a sig-other.

I came close one year. I was head-over-heels for this guy and I invited him to come home to Indiana with me. He would fit right in — hunting gear and all. I even offered to cover his flight.

But the sad truth was, I was more of a booty call to him than anything significant. I don’t even think he’d told his family about me, while I was gushing to everyone how great he was, like a fool.

After we parted ways the following year, I read an article that outlined all the benefits of being single on Thanksgiving. No Stress! No worrying about overstuffing yourself! No introducing-the-guy-to-the-family drama!

True, but no matter how much I kid myself, that sting of being single cuts a little deeper this time of year.

So, what is one to do to combat holiday blues? I’m stuffing my Thanksgiving weekend with everything that makes me happy.

My best friend is coming in town, and we’re spending Thanksgiving Eve at the bar. There’s almost nothing a tumbler of spiked cider can’t cure!

On Thanksgiving morning, we’re doing something I have always wanted to do: we are volunteering to serve approximately 8,000 people in need. We will be plopping cranberry sauce into containers for delivery.

After that? It’s kitchen time — cocktails and Turkey Day food, and of course, watching the Macy’s Day parade while recovering from a food coma.

I really cannot wait.

I know the holidays aren’t just for the coupled, and there really are advantages to flying solo this time of year.

At the very least, I’m happy that I’ve got the freedom to do whatever I want this year, and I don’t have to worry about a schedule or what to wear. I’ll be wearing sweatpants and I’ll be drunk before 3pm.

If you’ve found love, that’s definitely something to be thankful for this year. But if you’re single, I say go ahead and be thankful that you’re not with the wrong person. And while you’re at it, have another piece of pie — treat yourself!

Red flags got me like…

Wait, let me take a selfie.

Wait, let me take a selfie.

A few weeks ago, my favorite radio show, “Johnjay and Rich,” got to talking about red flags in dating. Now, red flags are nothing new, but a lot of the red flags they were talking about were silly — like, don’t date a guy if he wears cargo pants.

If wearing cargo pants is the worst thing my non-existent boyfriend does, then I’ve got it made. But, it got me thinking about red flags. Everyone has a different idea of what’s okay and not okay when it comes to dating, but what are the standards? What’s got some dataaaaa behind it (I’m an analyst for a living)?

Turns out Elite Daily is serving up the stats on men who take selfies. Yup, they’re psychopaths. No, I’m serious.

Of course, the article is a little dramatic, acting like the “guy” takes selfies at every corner. I’m sure there are SOME guys like that, but I’ve had hot guys send me selfies and I don’t think it was psycho… I thought it was cute. Maybe I’M the psycho?

But, when you think about it, taking selfies IS kind of a girl thing, right? And, speaking of selfies, what ever happened to this musical gem?

Now, we can’t put all the blame on the men, so I found an article on women. Huffington Post published an article on types of single women to avoid… oh here we go. Check out #1 —

1. Debbie P. Drunkerson. The P stands for party. Feels most comfortable in bars and loves staying out late with friends. Note: People who don’t party are “boring.”

Hrmm…. I stay sober… from time to time.

The list continues with your standard stereotypes, and in all honesty, I don’t think ANY of them describe me. Wheww…

So, what are some of your red flags? I know mine have changed over the years. Off the top of my head, here are a few of my red flags.

  • Can’t hold a steady job
  • Doesn’t have goals
  • Lacks work ethic
  • Is dishonest/hypocritical
  • Doesn’t have any childhood or longterm friends
  • Says one thing, does another
  • Is accusatory

So let’s hear it — I want to know your red flags and, if you’re willing, how you came up with them!

First comes marriage, then divorce?

Welcome to Splitsville.

Welcome to Splitsville.

It has been reported that nearly half (42 percent) of all marriages that end in divorce, end within 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Given that I’m 30, and most of the people I know have been married for five years, shit is starting to crumble.

Right now, I can think of at least four people who’ve already been divorced. And if the math is correct, we’re not out of the woods yet.

I’ve been through several bad breakups, but I’m certain they don’t compare to what it feels like to get divorced.

While I may have fantasized about what it would be like to get married and be together forever, there is no paperwork, assets, or attorneys when a breakup happens.

Of course, I wish divorce didn’t happen. My parents divorced after 17 years of marriage and I’m still getting over it.

But, I also understand that things don’t work out, people change, and personal happiness is important.

And I also know that not everyone will get a divorce, but I certainly wish people would pump the breaks a little before walking down the aisle. Can we at least agree that getting married before age 26 is a giant mistake?

There are a ton of factors that go into all of the statistics we see on divorce: education level, age, lifestyle, occupational factors, etc. So, solving one problem won’t end divorce for everyone.

And sometimes, things just don’t workout.

In the last year, studies have shown that people are actually waiting longer to get married than ever before.

Why? Because more people (mostly women) are going to college, and lots of them are focusing on their careers and finances before tying the knot.


Results from the Census showed that fear may also be a factor, given that so many millenials are products of divorce.

Delaying marriage often results in making a wiser choice when it comes to a mate — though divorce is not out-of-the-question.

Two men I’ve dated were divorced; and it’s not something that bothers me. In both cases, there were children involved, so the ex-wives were also present at times.

I’m cool with it, although I know it’s difficult for many people to cope with.

I think it all depends on the reason for the divorce. Was there infidelity? Was there abuse? Did it just crumble? Who’s fault was it (…kidding. Kind of.)?

When I think about the people I know going through a divorce, my heart breaks for them.

Some of them are happier now, and some of them are still dealing.

I know that at 25, I was in no shape to get married — even though I thought I was. I had a limited view of marriage, and failed to see it as a true partnership.

I’m a completely different person now, and I’m definitely looking for something different when it comes to a relationship.

But, I also looked way better at 25, had more energy, and much more patience when it came to dating.

There are times I wonder if I missed my window for marriage. Today, my potential partner will have to deal with my spreading thighs, stress-induced OCD, and increasing need for sleep.

On the other hand, I’m not dead yet. And the same goes for my divorced friends.

Sure, it certainly sucks to get divorced young, but wouldn’t it suck harder to get divorced in 20 years?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather know now that something is going to fail, instead of later.

Now is the time to cut your losses, and put you first, and perhaps, before we’re all too old, we’ll find the missing piece we were meant to be with all along.

Pic of the Week.

Shot glass shelves.

Shot glass shelves.

Well, I realize that for a ‘Pic of the Week,’ this is a pretty subpar photo. I was too lazy to get on the ladder, and to be honest, I’m terrified of that damn ladder.

But! I’m pretty proud of this little project I accomplished, so there it is. Assembled shelves that are now home to my tacky shot glass collection.

I got the shelves from Ikea — I think they were a whopping $4 each — and they were really easy to put together. Although, I about fainted when I saw the back was VERY similar to the back to that invisible shelf I attempted to hang awhile back.

However, I got a little smarter this time ’round, and dropped dabs of paint where the nails should go, so when I held the shelves up to the wall, I marked the walls in the perfect spot. It worked and I hung the shelves in under five minutes. Voila!

Two shelves were enough to house my current collection, but I have a third one for the ones to come.

I started my collection many years ago, because I love looking at tacky souvenirs. Shot glasses were an easy thing to start collecting, because well, I love taking shots, and they are inexpensive, and every souvenir shop is bound to have them.

I realize at my age, a shot glass collection is probably inappropriate, but I’ve never been one to worry about things like that. So, there it is, my tacky shot glass collection right in my living room!

Meanwhile, I signed up to take a six week dance series class — ‘Six Weeks to Sexy’ in which we learn a dance over a six-week period, and the dance is in high heels and it’s to The Weeknd! YAASSSSSS!!

I’m so, so excited to have some fun with this one. We had our first class last night and it was packed full of women who were ready to rock out in their stilettos… it was a blast! I’ll definitely be posting some video the more I learn.

What’s on my DVR?

This is NOT my DVR.

This is NOT my DVR.

For some reason, I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of hiding the fact that I’m a TV junkie… not sure HOW I was able to hide it (hell, maybe I haven’t), but I’m here to assure you, it’s true. I’m a TV junkie.

I’d love to tell you that hey, it’s fall, and it’s getting chilly out, and the TV is really good right now, but let’s face facts: I watch loads of TV all the time. All year ’round, you can count on me to be parked in front of the TV watching shit that’s rotting my brain. K?

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s get right to it and snoop through my DVR. Wanna know a fun fact? I just got DVR for the first time two months ago! When I lived in Baton Rouge, my basic cable (completely basic) bill was $85/month. I refused to pay more, even by a dime, so I skipped out on hi-def, specialty channels, and DVR.

When I moved to Austin, I really wanted to spoil myself, and since my rent is cheaper, and I got a shiny new job, I splurged on my cable package. I use AT&T U-Verse, and not to sell you on it, but when I joined I got three months free of HBO, a six-month new customer discount, and a $100 Visa gift card just for joining!

Even after all the specials are over, I’m left with more than 300 channels, plus the HBO package, and DVR on both my TVs for a little more than $100/month. It’s a great deal (and if you’re considering it, you can use my code here to get deals and an extra $25 gift card) — just saying.

To make things even BETTER, I downloaded the AT&T U-Verse app on my phone, which means I can schedule things to record while I’m not at home, and you can even use your phone as a remote, because… who doesn’t lose the remote from time to time?

Now, I’ve got 160 hours to use on my DVR, so I record everything. Here’s what’s on my DVR right this moment:

  • LA Ink — The adventure of Kat Von D and her tattoo shop, High Voltage in Los Angeles. This show used to be on TLC, but now it’s on the Spanish Channel, I think Nuvo. The funny thing about this is that, all the episodes are super old. But it’s still great TV; tattoos, dating, LA… I love it.
  • Manzo’d With Children — I whish Caroline Manzo was still a part of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, but she’s not, so this is where we have to see her… not to mention her hot son, Albie.
  • Oprah: Where Are They Now? — I am not a fan of Oprah. But this show is pretty cool. It’s celebrities and people in the news that we haven’t heard of for a long time. There’s been Holly Madison, Columbine survivors, Danielle Staub, Tori Spelling, Dave Coulier, among many others. Each episode features 3-4 different people.
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations — I feel like Anthony Bourdain and I are kindred spirits. He’s like this witty foodie who writes/does travel documentaries and analyzes shit until it’s dead. And then analyzes it again. I love it.
  • Project Runway — This season just had it’s season finale, but this is a show I’ve never missed, and I don’t plan on missing it anytime soon.
  • The Pioneer Woman — Who doesn’t love Ree Drummond and her amazing ranch home… and the fattening food she cooks without a care? Truthfully, I love that her recipes are simple and easy, yet really impressive. Plus, she’s sweet.
  • Scream Queens — I’m still not sold on this show, but I had to see what all the fuss was about.
  • CSI — One of my favorite shows ever, but I only watch the episodes with Grissom. Period.
  • The Real Girl’s Kitchen — Haylie Duff hosts a fun cooking show that features “real” food (not really sure what that means, but I will say there’s lots of celebrity guests and she’s got some pretty nifty kitchen tricks.
  • American Sniper — I’ve had this movie recorded for awhile, waiting for the emotional guts to actually watch it.
  • Deal or No Deal — I have a love/hate relationship with this show.
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close — Again, waiting for that moment to watch this (I read the book and saw it in the theatre, but I just bawled).
  • DRONEX: The Hunt for El Chingon — I am a sucker for documentaries and this one sounded too great to pass up, “fearless journalists hunt down and interview the most wanted and dangerous drug lord in Mexico.” YES.
  • Vanderpump Rules — Who can resist the drama at Pump and Sur? Not me.
  • Apres Ski — This show just started, but it’s pretty good. Skiing vacations of the rich and hot? It’s kind of like “Below Deck” but for the mountains. Sign me up!
  • Workaholics — A recent favorite, the loose story of three dude-coworkers who also live together, and do dumb shit. Loves it.

Welp, now that I’ve clearly made my case… what are you watching on TV these days? And yeah, check out AT&T U-Verse if you’re looking to switch carriers!

Searching for Unicorns.

What's this crazy talk?

What’s this crazy talk?

At least a year ago, a guy named Daniel invented the “Universal Hot Crazy Matrix,” and presented his findings on YouTube. It went viral, because guys love to call women crazy.

According to the matrix, all women start off at being “at least a four” on the “crazy scale.” If you’re between a 5-8 on the scale, under the crazy line, that’s what Daniel calls the “Fun Zone.”

If you’re an eight hot, and below crazy, that’s the “Wife Zone.” Anything above an eight hot and still below crazy is considered a unicorn and does not exist.

While I know this matrix was created by a 46-year-old white guy with a cell phone clip on his belt, it gets on my nerves.

I don’t know where I rank on the hot scale, so perhaps I’m a three and this is a pointless argument. I do know that I’ve been called crazy many times, for doing things that I wouldn’t consider to be actually insane.

When I’ve done these so called “crazy” things, they have always been fueled by someone, usually a man, doing something to piss me off. Wanna know what really drives me nuts?

When a guy has one thing on his to-do list and that one thing is absolutely more important than the 100 things I’ve got on mine. This results in me getting huffy, and the guy delivers one of these bombs:

“Holly, I told you I had to do this one thing today. Stop being crazy.”

And in that moment, I want light his car on fire. How’s that for crazy?

A guy calling a girl crazy is a very simple, easy way of dismissing our feelings. It can shut down an entire argument with just one word.

One thing I’ve noticed in the past month is that I’ve got a lot of things working against me in the crazy department. As a relationship columnist, blogger, and author, nearly every romantic interaction I’ve had is out there for anyone to read.

And, being a writer, I analyze everything.

A few weekends ago, a guy I’ve had a crush on for most of my life, really did something to grind my gears.

From my perspective, he was attempting to blow me off by continually telling me how busy he was. I told him I could “take a hint.” So, I put my phone on silent and tried my damnedest to remove him from my brain (read: I went shopping).

But here’s the thing. This guy is really nice. He’s successful, attractive, loves kids and animals, and he even calls me sometimes — really, it’s overwhelming how all-around hot he is.

And then there’s me. I’ve got insecurities, daddy issues, and baggage out of my ass. I’ve tried for years to either hide it, or pretend shit doesn’t bother me, because dammit, I’m not crazy, I’m a pretty little unicorn!

So, here’s the part the Crazy Hot Matrix fails to explain: what happens to all of us in the “No Zone”?

My crush and I were in a little bit of a stand-off after I tried to explain myself to him. I wanted an apology and he wasn’t going to give it. There were tumbleweeds and rusted spurs, until I called him and we agreed it was a miscommunication.

But if I’m being totally honest, I can’t shake it. I feel like whatever fire was between us, has fizzled, because I did the ultimate thing you’re not supposed to do — I acted crazy. I’m no longer that fantastical pony with glittery hair (#goals). I’m just another crazy one, flailing her arms for attention.

This leads me to the other problem with the Crazy Hot Matrix: the shame. And guys wonder why we drink wine every night and eat loads of pizza! Well, because cheese happens, and wine washes away our shame from actually eating, and from going off-the-charts crazy.

I think it’s time this crazy cowgirl hopped on a horse in search of a watering hole where my kind will be – something tells me Miranda Lambert will be there, and I’m okay with that.

Fiction Friday: ‘Black & Blue’, Part VI.

Finally, it's game time!

Finally, it’s game time!

The following is an original piece, written by Holly A. Phillips in 2007. It’s a story based on her favorite hockey player, Sean Avery. Read previous sections of this story here, here, here, here, and here (okay, so it’s kind of long). 

Walking usually cleared my mind, but it was still buzzing when I reached the stadium. The lines into the building were the longest I’d seen. It was going to be loud in there. The locker room was noisier than usual, too.

“Black, bro, this is it,” 32 said. “Beat that ass.”

“Planning on it,” I said.

“Dude, you hook up with that chick finally?” 45 asked.

“Oh, c’mon man,” I said. “No, and if I did, now isn’t the time to bring it up.”

“So you did then?” he asked. “I saw some new bitches in your 94 tickets, what’s that about?”

“Seriously man, it’s a big game,” I said. “Pull it together.”

I needed to make my own advice. I couldn’t tell if it was because Kate was coming again or because of the Kings. The stadium was packed. I hadn’t played for a crowd this size in a long time. When I took my place on the ice, front left, the Kings paired me with a new player. Figured.

“Bring it on, Fucker,” he hissed.

I kept my mouth shut. I was the night’s target, as usual. I didn’t need to say anything. Whoever the motherfucker was, he’s been warned about me all week. He could see the bruises on my neck and the leftover black eye on my face. It was going to be a long game. We got the puck first and were gaining on the Kings from the start. One of our rookies roughed up their wingman, sending them both into the box. The Kings always went straight up the middle, so I tried to keep the puck to the side. It was working.

I got my first penalty in the top of the second period. It was minor — persisting in an altercation — but it still cost me two minutes. It was obvious the Kings had been told not to fight with me. Anything I tried to stir up, they ignored. In the box, I studied the game. It was 4-3, Kings. My lip was bleeding. I was waiting for the Kings’ goalie to pull a low blow — he’d done it before. He’d pull his mask off in the middle of the play to start the whole thing over. But we had one more period to tie it up and then win it overtime. I couldn’t get worried now.

My teammates were able to sneak a play behind them and score while I was in the box. We were tied 4-4. I spent the rest of the second period actually playing; moving the puck — but we didn’t score. At half time, I looked for Kate again, but didn’t see her. I knew she had to be there though; we were on good terms this time. In the locker room, coach warned me about penalties in the third period. He said they were probably going to gang up on me, since they hadn’t done much in the first half. He was right.

We lined up before the puck dropped and the banter began.

“Black, you still a badass? Let’s fight,” 24 said. I gritted my mouth guard.

We got the puck after the drop and tried to pass it to the goal from the side. But 12 was blocked — tripped by a stick. But now we had the advantage: Power Play. Only four of their players were on the ice.

“Why don’t you get yourself in the box, Black?” 35 said. I didn’t look at him. I was waiting by their goal, hoping to slap it in at any moment.

“Well, well, look who’s being a badass now,” he said. “Did mommy tell you to ignore the bad boys?”

Damn. These motherfuckers wouldn’t let up. I wanted to swing at him; knock him out like I usually would. But there wasn’t much time left in the period. If we scored, we’d win without having to go into OT.

Two more minutes. I skated to the middle of the rink and found myself back in front of 24.

“Fucker, you’re back?” he said. “Back for more 24…”

“More of what?” I said. “You haven’t done anything. Pussy.”

He did nothing.

I looked behind me to see 12 with the puck again. He was crossing the blue line and there was a clear shot to the goal if he passed it to me. He saw I was open, made the pass, and I skated forward to the goal. The Kings’ goalie wobbled back and forth, ready to block. I went to the side and brought my stick back, ready to shoot. But as I slapped the puck forward, I fell. Someone had pushed me. When I hit the ice, my chin caught me; I big my tongue. I heard the sirens. Goal. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. 10 seconds. Game over, we won.

We skated past the Kings, and shook their hands, all mumbling the same thing: “Good game.” It wasn’t the way I’d pictured seeing those guys again after skating with them for nearly eight years. But it was work; people got traded and then had to compete against each other. We’d play them again and maybe they’d win. Yeah, right.

I hurried through my locker room routine and went outside to see if Kate was waiting. I searched for her, careful not to talk to anyone else. I had learned my lesson. Through all of the jerseys and foam fingers, I saw her. She was standing in her heels that made her average height, and her hair was down and thick. She was wearing a Rangers’ button.

“Hey there,” I said.

“Hey, congrats,” she said as she hugged me. She smelled good.

“Nice button,” I said. She laughed.

“I’m conforming to the masses.”

“Don’t change too much,” I told her. “I like you like this.”

“You alright?” she asked. “That last fall looked pretty painful.”

“I think I’ll be fine.”

“What now?” she asked.

Home,” I said. “You coming with me?”

“Sure,” she said. “You walking?”

“Of course,” I said. The reporters were just leaving the ice and making their way toward me. “Hurry.”

I took her hand and we walked out of the Garden fast, quick enough to escape the mob. I wasn’t going to deal with it this time. When we got back to the apartment, Kate came inside. We sat on the couch under the Chanel painting. She’d insisted I put ice on my chin; I did it just to appease her. I was drifting in and out of sleep. Soon, my sheets stopped smelling like peppermint. Instead, they smelled like Kate — and I hoped they would for awhile.


Removing the Mask.

I actually LOVE this idea!

I actually LOVE this idea!

I’m finally going to admit it: I hate Halloween.

As a kid, I loved it (duh, free candy), and in college, it was the perfect excuse to wear fishnets and do keg stands.

But, I’m older now, and truthfully, a lot of things that didn’t scare me before, terrify me now.

I’m particularly terrified of masks. Any type of mask. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a mask, if it’s covering someone’s face, I’m out of there so fast.

According to my mom, I’ve been scared of masks my whole life.

Honestly, who wouldn’t be? If you can’t see someone’s face, it’s difficult to tell who they are. What’s more frightening than the unknown?

In high school, a guy I dated invited me to come over. When I arrived, he was wearing the infamous white mask from “Scream”. He didn’t chase me or tackle me; he just sat there staring at me.

It was creepy as hell, and after many shrieks for him to remove the mask, he did, and everything was okay again.

But when you consider dating, there’s all sorts of things people can do to trick us into thinking they’re someone they really aren’t — and not just in October.

The last guy I was in a serious relationship with put on a very sweet façade at first. In this world, he was a good father, a hard worker, and a loyal boyfriend. But, four months into our relationship, the person behind the mask started to reveal himself.

Truthfully, he was a deadbeat, he was fired for stealing money from his job, he was arrested for drunk driving, and he was infatuated with his side chick.

It was one of the meanest tricks anyone has ever played on me.

While it’s been two years since that went down (like a razorblade in an apple), I’ve certainly come a long way, but I find myself very cautious as I attempt to step back into dating. Will it be a mean trick or a sweet treat?

Technology makes it easier for people to trick us into believing one persona, when there could be worlds of secrets behind the mask (also known as the Instagram filter).

When I use dating apps, I constantly wonder if that’s the real person I’m talking to, or if Nev and Max are going to arrive at my door and tell me I’ve been Catfished.

Even when messaging with guys, I sometimes question the meaning behind the text, or if they’re even as single as they’re telling me they are.

I recently started a new job, and everyone told me they never celebrate Halloween at the office because no one was into it.

Sweeter words have never been spoken. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to see masks at my office at the end of the month.

But, of course, enough people spoke up that they wanted to wear costumes, and so, a costume contest has been added to our task list. And, what’s a costume contest without a Halloween-themed potluck?

But, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a team player, and I often try to keep my mask fear to myself.

So, I need a costume. I’m toying with the idea of going as Amy Winehouse, because I can rock some ballet flats and a Bump-It without judgment.

Halloween is all about living as someone you want to be, right? Then, I should totally go as Kate Middleton, because she’s got killer style and a hot, kind husband. Or, maybe I should go as Ronda Rousey – powerful, rich, and knows how to kick ass.

Who knows what kind of costume I’ll end up putting together. But I know this: it’s time to start putting a few of these fears behind me. Sure, I don’t want to get tricked by a man in a mask, but if I’m going to find my knight in shining armor, I’m going to have to get out of the dark.

Dirty 30: the aching back.

Lower back pain is a lil bitch.

Lower back pain is a lil bitch.

Here we are, at the start of another week. And, I’m excited to say that I’m starting a new series here on the blog: “Dirty 30.” Dirty 30 is going to focus on all of the shitty things that happen once you turn 30. What a joy, right?

The first Dirty 30 installment is on back pain. Because my back hurts like every day. About six months before I turned 30, a friend told me that as SOON as he woke up on his 30th birthday, his whole body was in pain — like, he wished for a wheelchair.

Truthfully, I’ve had back pain, and other body pains, for years. Whether it be from the gym, sleeping weird, or simply stress, it’s no real shocker when I wake up and reach for the pain meds.

But many of my friends have said that back pain has kicked in as of late. So, what gives?

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, back pain is more common the older you get, particularly at age 30 and 40. Back pain is also most common in those who are less fit and/or unhealthy. It can also be a part of heredity.

You can avoid back pain by staying fit, and avoiding heavy lifting.

Hmm. That seems like a crock of shit. So, back pain doesn’t just happen? Because I feel like I wakeup on multiple mornings not understanding why I’m hobbling around in so much pain.

Nevertheless, how are we supposed to get relief?

There’s the obvious pain killers, hot and cold packs, yoga, gentle exercise, and sitting in a hot tub. Quick! Where are all my friends with hot tubs?

I suppose my new hobby of hip hop dance isn’t the best solution for my back troubles, but that’s just going to be something I deal with later.

If you’ve got remedies for back pain that isn’t listed, leave it in the comments! And, if you’ve got topic ideas for “Dirty 30,” I’d love to hear them: shoot me a message at:

Meanwhile, I caught up on “Scream Queens” yesterday… what the hell is that show? Seems like Gossip Girl plus Jawbreaker plus Legally Blonde. I dunno…

Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out

The competition is on! I’m lucky enough to live in a city that’s full of different food joints, and don’t worry, I’ve got a list of the ones I want to try (and it’s getting longer by the day). Of course, I’ll be right here to report all of my findings with you.

So, the first showdown is between Shake Shack and In-N-Out Burger, which is really like a battle between east and west, right?

In-N-Out opened in 1945 as California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand. In 1994, In-N-Out opened its 100th location, with location number 200 opening in 2000.

When I found out there was a location in Austin, I couldn’t wait to try it! I thought the famous burger joint only existed in California, so I was pleasantly surprised.

My mom and I went to In-N-Out around midnight on a Thursday night, and the place was hopping. We went through the drive-thru, and all of the employees were overly nice. It was great!

We each got burgers, I got mine protein style (with a lettuce bun) and my mom went for the animal style (special sauce and cooked onions). We also got fries and shakes: one chocolate and one strawberry.

Lit was delicious. Juicy and delicious. How could it not be good?

But, I had another restaurant on my mind: Shake Shack.

Shake Shake started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in 2001. It was such a success, it became a permanent fixture in 2004.

If you’ve hung out with me for a day, you’ll know I love hot dogs. Like, really. Hot dogs are the best thing that happened to baseball (I see you, Skyline)!

So, I ventured to Shake Shake one exit from my apartment a few weekends ago. I swiftly ordered a Shack-cago dog (complete with loads of veggies and relish), crinkle-cut fries, a soda… And… Frozen custard, blended with a slab of pumpkin pie (it’s called a concrete).

Honestly, y’all, there is no competition. Don’t get me wrong, In-N-Out was delicious, and it’s definitely got a cool vibe. But hot dogs? And frozen custard? Dear God.

Now, I haven’t had a burger from Shake Shack, so In-N-Out could win for best burger. We’ll just have to find out!


Addicted to love?

Nothing like a Robert Palmer reference to jump start your Monday, right?

A few weeks ago, a fabulous friend pointed me toward a Modern Love article from the New York Times, “Overcoming Love Addiction: One Apple Martini at a Time.”

The title intrigued me, but the author said things I could really identify with.

My weekend in Pittsburgh turned out to be the worst thing for a love addict: a storybook romance of candlelit dinners and hand-holding in the Mount Washington neighborhood. Two weeks later she came to visit me, and as we walked along a Long Island beach, arm in arm, I felt a high that no drug could ever top.

Two months later she moved west for a bigger job in a bigger market, and her late night “I miss you” phone calls stopped. I never saw her again.

So, I got to wondering… Is there such a thing as love addiction? And, of course, do I have it?

According to an article on, love addiction is a very real thing and it happens when people fall in love with people who won’t return the same love they are giving. Check. And check.

It often happens to those who were neglected or abandoned. And then, this often happens:

This is what goes on with them: First of all, when you are getting neglected and you are spending a lot of time alone, what happens is you don’t know what it means to be connected or relational to other people. You spend a lot of time alone daydreaming and making up fantasies in your head that make you feel better because what you are making up in your head in fantasy will chemically change your body and create a sense of joy or relief. That [chemical change] is what they are actually addicted to. The addiction isn’t to love as much as it is to the fantasy.

Holy. Shit. Holy shit.

So, how do I get treatment? Oh, just like you would with any other addiction, of course: a 12-step program.

Hi, my name is Holly and I’m addicted to love.

I don’t know, the more I read, the less it sounded like me — it said sometimes people who are addicted to love even kill their partner. Uh, no.

I do think it’s safe to say that I’m addicted and/or obsessed with the idea of love. And I’m always very fascinated when I meet couples who truly seem like they’ve found their match. And I wonder how it happened, will it happen for me, and will it be just as magical?

Isn’t that what we’re all asking?

Dating through mutual friends.

Is it possible to meet your match through mutual friends?

Is it possible to meet your match through mutual friends?

Last weekend, my fantastic and beautiful hair stylist (and friend) Lydia (she’s at the Garrett Neal Studio, you should call her!), reminded me that the BEST way to meet someone special is through mutual friends.

I do think it’s a smart move, but there are even studies behind it, saying that it’s statistically how most married people have met their partner.

According to a 2,373-person survey conducted by Mic in March using Google Consumer Surveys, more 18- to 34-year-olds met their current significant others through mutual friends than through any other means, including dating apps — close to 39% of respondents said they met “through friends in common,” closely followed by 22% who said they met “out in a social setting.”

In the article, it also mentions that 40% of those people in relationships started off as friends first (meh, I’m not really a huge fan of this idea, but… science).

Okay, I get it, meet through mutual friends, but WHY is this such a great idea? Turns out, there’s a few reasons:

  • You trust your friends. Your friends aren’t going to lead you astray, right? Plus, your friends know you and they probably know the type of person you should date.
  • It’s more casual. Meeting in a group setting, when you already have at least one thing in common (the friend) is a little easier.
  • It’s long-lasting. Of course, this may not be entirely true, as things can always go south. But, the study showed that dating apps like Tinder still have their place in the world for quick hookups, while dating a mutual friend has more potential for something long-term.

So, there you have it! And now, I’m ready for y’all to introduce me to all of your amazing guy friends… ;)

Fall is for Lovers.

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu...

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu…

We’re less than two weeks away from the official start of fall! And yes, I know, Baton Rouge doesn’t really get a fall season.

Instead, we get “slightly less hot,” and the leaves start to turn brown instead of that burnt orange color I saw growing up in the Midwest.

But still, we wear hoodies and go nuts over pumpkin spice… everything. Fall is the first sign of the holiday season, and when I think about the holidays, all I can think about is cuddling up with a cute guy.

I’ve survived many, many years being single during late September, and all the way through January. Trust me, it has its perks.

While the cooler months definitely seem prime for finding a match (see: body heat), it also seems like every season has found a way to make singletons feel a little left out.

There’s a John Mayer song, “St. Patrick’s Day,” from his debut album, “Room for Squares,” that explains my theory.

In it, he sings about how everyone wants to be in a couple for Christmas, then right around the corner is New Year’s, followed by Valentine’s Day, therefore every relationship is safe until St. Patrick’s Day.

But in Baton Rouge, St. Patrick’s Day means you definitely need a date for the parade and funnels of green beer, right? And you can’t leave out Mardi Gras or baseball season. After that, we’re on the fast track to summer, and who doesn’t want a summer love? I know I do.

At the close of summer, we’re right back where we started: football season.

Of course, there is much more to a relationship than the season it falls in or the weather surrounding it, but I think there’s some weight to it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but it seems about right to say that any time of year is a good time to jump into a new relationship.

An article on, “Seasons of Love: When is the Best Time to Fall in Love?” proves my idea wrong, on the account of science.
According to the article, winter is the most difficult time to fall in love with someone because we are less sociable and spend more time indoors. The spring season that follows gives us more confidence, but not enough to start a new relationship. And while summer love seems like a hot idea, we’re often traveling and too “on-the-go” to get involved in anything serious.

However, according to the article, the summer months prep us for the perfect time to fall in love: autumn. Fall is the best time for a new relationship because we’re getting into the swing of things; we’re back in our normal routines.

In 2012, Facebook Data Science published a study on what times of the year users’ relationship status changed. Across all age groups (under 25, 25-44, over 45), the month of February saw the biggest change from either “Single” to “In a relationship” or from “In a relationship” to “engaged.” Every age group also produced a massive trend of relationships ending during the months of June, July, and August.


Not to overwhelm you with data, but the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology published a study that proves the need for bodily warmth during the cooler months actually makes us crave romantic comedies. No, seriously!

Apparently, romantic comedies provide us with psychological warmth, which fulfills our need for physical warmth. Who knew?

This news makes me even more excited to stock up on the pumpkin products (are dudes into that?), break open my stash of rom-coms and perhaps cozy-up to someone new.

Birthday Perspective.

Cheers, it's ya birthday.

Cheers, it’s ya birthday.

I turned 30 last week.

I’ve never been big on celebrating my birthday. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little shy at times, or because having a birthday so close to July 4th made parties as a kid nearly impossible (everyone was always out-of-town).

I never thought age would bother me — it’s just a number. But since my 25th birthday, each year the number has bothered me more and more.

I thought I’d be married with kids by now. Is single “okay” at 30?

For my 26th birthday, I flew to Chicago to meet up with my best friend.

I was in an on-off relationship with a guy that, looking back on it, really treated me poorly. Now, he’s married to one of the women he cheated on me with.

During my layover in Houston, I got drunk and missed my connecting flight as I was chatting with a cute guy.

He was on the same flight heading to Chicago, and when we tried to get on a new one, the airline told us we were stuck until the next morning.

So, I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do in this situation and hopped in a cab with a perfect stranger.

We went to a bar, played darts, and took birthday shots. My flight was at 6 am the next morning.

He offered his place for me to sleep, and said he’d take me to the airport.

I had no luggage, so he let me borrow his phone charger, a shirt to sleep in, and we ended up hooking up.

While I would never recommend anyone doing that, I was starting to wonder if my now-30 self would ever be that spontaneous and daring.

I was certain I would not — I find myself getting less excited over potential boyfriends, and I do a lot of telling myself that it’s going to be okay even if I never get married.

But, then my 30th birthday happened.

My friend stuck with tradition and offered to take me to dinner. We went to City Pork Brasserie & Bar, where we had wine and a Grand Board (the salmon pate is delicious).

We closed down the place, bought the kitchen a six-pack, and were ready to hit the town.

Next, we went to Pelican House where we met a slew of pretty cute guys, and drank too many beers.

And somehow, we ended up at The Penthouse Club around 1am with said guys.

Naturally, my friend got a stack of dollars and we proceeded to give the Penthouse ladies some love.

Being that it was my birthday, I got a lap dance and ended up in a private room with Lauren, from New Orleans.

She got most of my dollars.

Just when I thought turning 30 meant giving up my fun card, I had a night like that.

Sure, I felt like absolute crap the next day, but it was completely worth it.

Age is all about what you make it.

At 30, I’m starting to see the world really is my oyster. I’ve got options — sometimes too many — and I can basically do whatever I want… Even if it means lounging at The Penthouse Club on a Thursday night.

On turning 30…

Make a wish!

Make a wish!

I turned 30 last week.

It’s one of those things I sort of never thought would happen — much like winning the lottery or meeting John Mayer — but, it turns out, the unbelievable can happen, and we’ll all grow old and turn into our parents.

Well, maybe.

I grew up believing that age was just a number; life is completely what you make it. And I really did feel that way until my 25th birthday… 26, 27, meh, okay, then 28 hit and I was really starting to feel old. When I turned 29 last year, I was REALLY feeling it.

I was feeling so old, in fact, that I used the space in my weekly column to talk about it:

And it’s not about crow’s feet or what’s on my driver’s license (I still get carded, so that’s a positive), it’s more about what I’ve accomplished.

In Baton Rouge, we judge people on where they went to high school, and then we judge them on their wedding, their spouse, and their kids.

With none of those things (I didn’t go to high school in the South), I start to wonder about my checklist. [Read the entire column here.]

In the weeks leading up to my 30th, I was really feeling the pressure — more than I’ve ever felt it. There were days when I woke up hopeless. It was difficult getting out of bed (more than usual) at times. I felt the regret from financial woes that I felt should have been resolved by 30.

I felt embarrassment that I still haven’t found a good “career job,” and often, I still feel like a kid. I wish I had more in my savings account and less debt. I wish I could actually get a fucking handle on doing laundry and keeping up with the dishes. I long for a day when I can actually relax; perhaps read more for fun or work on the tan (it was looking great last summer).

At 30, I pictured myself living in a place that was at least put together — you know, where the things match, the dishes aren’t from Wal-Mart, and my house wouldn’t be in complete shambles every single day.

But that’s not my life, and sometimes, I don’t know if it will ever be. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t breakdown and cry more in the 14 days before turning 30 than ever in my life. I questioned a lot of things about my journey, and was really looking for answers about the turns I know are coming.

I get a lot of flack for being a diehard John Mayer fan, but the truth is, I feel such a connection to his music. I started listening to his debut album, “Room for Squares” when I was 16. He was 25, and his stories about high school, college, and finding himself hit home for me.

With each album of his, I feel we’re aging at the same rate — so many of his songs hit my heart right when they need to. And no, I don’t need any religion other than that. So, while right now I’m incredibly living by his track, “Stop This Train,” one from his latest album, “Born and Raised” is also describing my life right now:

“If I ever get around to living, I’m gonna put my things away, in the drawers and in the closets, and there I’ll stay… If I ever get around to living, it’s gonna be just like my dreams” (If I Ever Get Around to Living)

In my head, I know that my life is taking the course it was meant to take. But I just have to get that through my heart and soul. I know I can’t compare my life to that of my parents’, my colleagues, my friends, or really… society in general. My path is my own.

Each week for me brings new adventures, new challenges, though my schedule is always quite packed. This week, I’ve got 40 hours of my retail job, two “career” interviews, and three freelance deadlines. Perhaps I’ll hit the gym; maybe I’ll get some sleep, or read a few pages for fun.

So, what did I do for my 30th birthday? I’ll save that adventure for a post later this week. But I’d love to know how YOU felt at 30, or what birthday made you get the FEELS?


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