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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?

Pic of the Week.

Small indulgences.

Small indulgences.

Whew! These last few weeks (okay, more like MONTHS) have been really rough. If I continue to be honest with you, I have to admit that this has been the most difficult time of my life. I’m overwhelmed with so much confusion, and emotion — there are days I feel fine, some days I feel great, and other days, I barely leave my bed and I cry. A lot.

Last week, I was in a terrible mood and after a few days of wallowing in it, I knew it was time to get out of bed, do a few productive things, and find a way to cheer myself up. Money is incredibly tight right now, so my perks couldn’t be anything costly.

So, I scoured my apartment. My beautiful apartment that I’m starting to resent (because of the high rent), is actually full of luxury items I’ve purchased for myself over the years — things I never use because I’m always working, or perhaps, saving them for a rainy day. No better time to indulge than now, right?

I found a soy candle that smelled like pineapple, a full container of Wen Moist Hair Treatment, a mud mask, a repairing foot mask, some Mary Kay hand lotion, and I drug out my nail kit to give myself a complete mani and pedi (in preparation for a job interview I had Monday morning). And while pampering myself, I watched old DVDs of The Hills.

Aside from making me want to move to California, I did feel better. It didn’t hurt that I also found a sealed bottle of SkinnyGirl Margarita in my fridge. I felt a little renewed, and at least I was looking half-sane in preps for the upcoming interview. And it cost me nothing.

I STILL don’t have a clue what’s in store for me these next few months — I do know that something will change because I’m so not renewing my lease if I’m not in a better job situation. But, whatever change comes I’ll be there, and I’ll report it here, and I just have to be the best me I can be — even if that means I have to spend an entire Sunday slathering creams and masks all over me just to feel slightly less crazy.

What is Tinder Really Doing for Dating?

Will you Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

Will you Swipe Left or Swipe Right?

We’ve all heard of Tinder, the social app that shot to fame as an easy way for tech-savvy single people to meet others in their area. It’s as simple as any dating app can get: you link your Facebook profile and the app populates your photos with your profile pictures from Facebook (decreasing odds of getting catfished). Once your profile is set up, you’re then presented with other Tinder users in your area. You can set the app up to show you members of either sex, and limit the results based on proximity too.

Users can then use the feature that Tinder has become known for: “Swipe Left” for “No” and to move on to the next user, and “Swipe Right” for “Yes”, indicating your interest in the other user, and then move on to the next. If you and another user both “Swipe Right” for each other, you’re a “Match” and can then start messaging each other, presumably to start getting to know each other and setting up dates. In essence, Tinder is speed-dating on a mobile platform, and many agree that it’s made dating easier. But what exactly is the app doing for relationships?

First off, Tinder relies on our growing reliance on social media to actually get anything done. It’s just another one of the hundreds of thousands of apps that rely on Facebook to work. Over the years, Facebook has become tied into everything from online shopping, to trying to find employment, with LinkdIn using Facebook to populate contacts as well. Blog posts from the company that launched mobile social gaming website Pocket Fruity also say that even the online gambling market is trying to move forward with integrating their games with Facebook. This increased reliance on social media has, unfortunately, been proven to be detrimental to healthy relationships. Studies have shown that connectivity via social media might be too much connectivity, and they have not just been shown to accelerate affairs, but elicit jealousy and insecurity as well.

30% of Tinder users are married.

30% of Tinder users are married.

Of course, most of the people who use Tinder are actually interested in hooking up with someone, right? After all, you wouldn’t be on the dating app if you were already in a relationship, right? Well, sadly, that’s not the case. Studies published by the Global Web Index show that 30% of all Tinder users are already married, and 12% are already in a relationship. And because the app shows you potential matches based on proximity, it wouldn’t be surprising to find people you already know on the app, and maybe even be presented with relatives and friends as potential matches.

And when you do find someone you aren’t related to or don’t already know and looks attractive enough, you’re presented with a choice to “Swipe Left” and never hear from them again, or “Swipe Right” and get chatting. And what do you have to go on? Not much, other than a few handpicked photos, and a short description authored by the user as well.

Does Tinder make us shallow? Willard Foxton thinks that there’s a chance it might. Having tried out the app, he found himself being largely ignored before a female friend told him, “You’ve used your Facebook profile picture, haven’t you? The one with you looking fat and quizzical? Also, in your bio, you say you’re looking for a relationship. Chubby and looking for a relationship? That’s a bad Tinder combination”. Once he’d switched to a more flattering photo and changed his bio to a witty one-liner, the matches came pouring through.

But the only date he managed to arrange was with a lady who met people on Tinder for fun, without really looking for anything special. Caroline Kent echoes the sentiment, saying that she found herself swiping through photos and discounting potential matches based on “weird fringes” and on being the shortest person in a group shot. And when she did manage to meet up with a stranger that a shared acquaintance assured was “a safe bloke,” it was for nothing more than sex, and neither she nor the guy made any effort to hide it.

Caroline also presents one of the most compelling observations about Tinder: “Tinder isn’t a dating app, it’s the Yellow Pages for ego-boosting one-night-stands.” Many of the people who go on Tinder aren’t there to actually meet someone who can change their life and begin a relationship with. Rather, they’re there to boost their own egos, and see how many people think they’re attractive enough for a Swipe Right. If that’s what you’re looking for, and you’re really just DTF, then you might have a good time on the app for a few days, but if you’re after an actual relationship and want to date someone seriously, you’re better off staying off of the app.

Closing the Door.

Closing opportunities for awkwardness.

Closing opportunities for awkwardness.

“This is a bit out of nowhere but I may be homeless in Baton Rouge tomorrow…”

It was a text I got a few weeks ago from a fellow writer friend who was coming in town from states away.

He went on to ask if he could stay at my apartment the following night.

It was, as he said, completely random, and although I’m happy to help out anyone who needs it, I wasn’t even going to be home the night he suggested.

But when I asked him what he was in town for, or how long he’d need a place to stay, I didn’t hear from him for another day.

He was really busy getting drunk in Lafayette, he said.

While I did consider this guy a friend, we also have a deeper history than that.

Years ago, I had a huge crush on him. He is one of those people that’s so passionate about what he does, he’ll do anything to do it, even if it means sleeping on people’s couches, apparently.

We hooked up one summer — after getting drunk and reading passages from “The Great Gatsby” — but everything ended abruptly when he decided to get back together with his ex.

Things were awkward for awhile, and then he moved away to be with her, and I haven’t seen him since.

We talk on the phone or via text maybe once a year, but it’s nothing more than that.

Over the next few days, he persisted on staying at my place. But the more I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt.

Was he planning on staying on my couch? Or in my bed? I was afraid it was a situation that would lead to something bad, given our past.

Sure, I’m single. But I’m trying to avoid putting myself in situations that are going to leave me hurt, even if it means being a stickler over houseguests.

That Saturday, a coworker showed up at my apartment with his pillow and a rice cooker. He’s in college and had asked to sleep on my couch weeks before and I agreed.

I remember being broke and in college.

I swear I don’t usually get people begging for my couch. My apartment is small, as it’s just me living here.

With my college pal on the couch, there was really nowhere for the visiting writer to sleep.

Unless, of course, I gave up my bed and got a hotel. By the text messages I was getting, writer guy would have been happy to kick me out of my own bed.

“Have you no mercy?” he texted.

I eventually stopped responding because I felt like it was going down that manipulative road I am too familiar with.

If he just wanted to see me, or visit, why didn’t he ask me for coffee or lunch? Why did it have to involve an overnight thing?

And frankly, if he was that desperate for a place to stay, why didn’t I get more than a day’s notice?

I don’t like to assume bad things about people, but all signs were pointing to red flags.

I just couldn’t even deal with it. So I didn’t.

I’m sure I looked like an asshole, and in this situation, I think I’m okay with it.

Perhaps it wasn’t my nicest move, but in the end, I got to sleep in my own bed, and avoid any awkward breakfasts.

And just in case you’re wondering, I’ve been sleeping just fine.

Stepping outside the lines.

Simply gorgeous!

Simply gorgeous!

Last week, social media was ablaze with one thing: Caitlyn Jenner made her stunning debut.

For me, Caitlyn’s transition isn’t about fame (dare I say it) or fortune; it’s not about TV ratings or the Kardashians; forget the Twitter records and the courage awards; it’s not even about sexual orientation (whom Jenner decides to sleep with).

It’s about the freedom to just be.

In April, when Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer, I sat in front of my TV, indulging in some takeout beef and broccoli.

A part of me thought this was all a bunch of shit — Jenner just wanted attention. But right off the bat, it was clear that wasn’t true.

Call me emotional (because that’s what I’m supposed to be, as a woman, right?), but I was nearly in tears at the end of the two hours.

Here was a man, a praised man, who’d essentially gone through the motions of life for 65 years.

His body is physically that of a man; but his identity, his soul, is that of a woman.

I cannot imagine what that’s like. Sure, I do things every day I don’t want to. But I can’t begin to picture what it feels to live a lie — an unwanted secret — for nearly my entire life.

Over the past few years, the cameras have hounded Jenner for his physical changes, and he revealed in the ABC interview that he contemplated suicide as a result.

But upon Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair coverage, there was an overwhelming display of support; something most transgenders don’t get.

Prior to writing this, I curled up with A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which states that 90 percent of those surveyed experienced harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job, 19 percent were refused a place to live due to their sexual identity, and 53 percent said they’d been verbally harassed in a public place.

Maybe I spent too much time with the hippies at Hangout Fest, but can we get a little peace and love ‘round here?

Sawyer touched on one question I keep hearing about regarding Jenner’s sex life: will Caitlyn go to bed with men or women?

The buzz (mainly insults) I hear regarding this makes me sick. For starters, whom anyone chooses to go to bed with is none of my business.

It seems like we’re only comfortable inside the lines, as we force people into boxes we can understand. From ethnicity to income, political stance to diet restrictions, and apparently whom we choose to love, are all things that must be defined in order to walk the streets.

These labels — white, democrat, middle class, carnivore, straight — make it easy for us to judge each other in a single word.

I’m over it.

I don’t care who Caitlyn Jenner, or any person, chooses to sleep with, or what they wear, or how they live their life.

We are all humans.

No one owes me an explanation for being themselves. I never had to tell my parents that I’m attracted to men, so I’m not sure why we make this huge deal about having to tell everyone the details of our sexual orientation.

I’ll shout it from the rooftops, “Let us be free! Let us live!”

Of course, Caitlyn is no ordinary transgender, with reports saying she’ll potentially profit $500 million from it all.

But in any case, she got the bottom-shelf conversation started, and that’s priceless.

So for that, I say, you go, girl.

Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover hits newsstands tomorrow; or check out a preview on Vanity Fair’s website

Status: Emotionally Unavailable.

There's an EUP in New York I kinda like...

There’s an EUP in New York I kinda like…

A few weekends ago, my friend and I ventured to Gulf Shores for our second Hangout Music Fest.

I’d been looking forward to the sun, sand, music, vodka, and naturally, all the hot guys without shirts.

The fine creators of Hangout Fest announced that this year, they were offering weddings. That’s right, you could get married on the beach, complete with a Ring Pop and a three-day marriage license.

I was determined to find someone that I could call my husband — even if only for a weekend. Then, society would accept me given that I’d been married at least once, right?

So, I was keeping my eyes open.

The sun was really hot, and I get super thirsty, so I spent a lot of time at the bar. I was averaging around 10 vodka-sodas per afternoon, when I realized my bartender was sheer perfection.

Cute? Kind of. Attentive? Yes. He memorized my order, and called me “Sweetheart.” That’s all I needed on a weekend like this.

His name was Barton; Bart for short.

But Bart was working all weekend and I knew he wouldn’t have time to pull himself away from the bar to get married to a patron.

I moved on (not from the vodka, of course).

On the final night of the fest, my friend and I were heading to see My Morning Jacket, when we ran into a group of four guys all wearing the same baby blue t-shirts.

They were from New York, in town for a bachelor party, and they had thick accents.

Doug was the one getting married; then there was Chad (married); Tim with a broken wrist (married); and Dan (single).

Hello, Dan.

They supplied us with more vodka and we traded words to laugh at each other’s accents.

They joined us for the final show of the festival, Beck, and then we hit up The Pink Pony for shots and karaoke.

When it was time to head home, Dan and I exchanged numbers. We’ve been texting off-and-on ever since.

I realized the other night, during a text conversation with Dan about the lyrics of “Blurred Lines,” that I’m a little bit of a sucker for guys that live far away.

I’m not quite sure why, as I never think long distance relationships workout.

After all, there’s no physical relationship when there’s an entire wing of the country between us, but I like having someone to text with before I fall asleep or, perhaps when I’ve had one too many vodkas.

I wonder if, on some level, I’m really not ready for a full-fledged relationship, so I go for a guy that is unattainable.

So, I Googled, and I came across an article entitled, “12 Signs You’re Involved With Emotionally Unavailable People (EUP).”

It even has an acronym.

Upon reading the 12 signs, it appears to be true, as I’ve fallen for all of them: married, can’t commit, emotionally distant, mainly interested in sex, prefers long distance, abuses substances, are narcissistic, makes empty promises, etc.

Mind = blown.

I don’t necessarily think I’m emotionally unavailable (though that’s not out of the question), but I do believe I fall for men that are.

And there it is: I’m not quite as ready as I thought.

Perhaps I’ve just got too much going on right now — work seems to take up most of my life.

But, when will things ever be in perfect condition for me to be in a relationship? Will the right guy coddle me into feeling emotionally ready or do I need to work on my issues first?

I think the real question is this: does my health insurance cover therapy?

Guide to coffee.

I love me some coffee!

I love me some coffee!

Every night, I set my coffee pot to start brewing early the next morning — 5:47 to be exact — it gives me enough time to hit the snooze button once (okay twice) and still have the coffee brewed and ready for me to drink.

When I finally get out of bed, I shuffle to the coffee pot, pour my cup, and then I can do other important things like pee, remove my mouthguard, and feed Blanche. Coffee comes first. Always.

But I got to thinking, that sure, I know a little about coffee — enough to buy a good bag and make a decent pot of it. I know what I like to order at Starbucks. I know what to drink when I really need to get my blood pumping. But certainly theres tons to know about the good stuff. And so, I present: my guide to coffee.

ROASTS

Light — According to Red Rooster Coffee, there’s been a rumor since the 70s that says there’s a caffeine difference when it comes to the roast. Not true! All roasts have the same amount of caffeine (thank God). The difference is lightly roasted beans are smaller, because the roasting process hasn’t expanded them as much. There’s also the taste. Light roasts are milder in taste than medium or dark roasts; think about light beer vs. dark beer.

Medium — The National Coffee Association (NCA) states that, “Medium brown in color with a stronger flavor,  and a non-oily surface. This roast is often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.”

Dark — The longer the coffee bean is roasted, the more flavor it develops. However, Zagat says, “When you approach the darker side of the roast, beans start to lose their origin distinction. A dark roast coffee will have flavor notes that rely more on the roasting itself than the unique character of the bean. It will also lose brightness, and gain bitterness, along with a fuller body.”

Breakfast Blend — This is usually a lighter mix of coffee. Here’s what Starbucks says about their Breakfast Blend, “A shade lighter than most of our offerings—more toasty than roasty—it was the result of playing with roast and taste profile together for a flavor that appealed to a wider range of palates. Perfect if you want to wake up to a less intense coffee but still want a lot of character, it’s lively with a citrusy tang that gives way to a clean finish.”

OTHER

Espresso — This is the intense experience of coffee that most Europeans prefer and believe Americans are too scared to try. Proper Espresso is served in small demitasse-style cups and consumed promptly after extraction (GoCoffeeGo.com).

Macchiato — This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the nectar of the Gods. I order it so often, my Starbucks barista has educated me on it: Macchiato, pronounced “mah-key-ah-toh,” literally means “marked” or “stained” in Italian. Traditionally, a Caffé Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato is a shot or two of espresso, with just a small amount of steamed milk that “marks” the espresso, though in some regions, the steamed milk comes first and the espresso makes the mark.

Cafe Latte — A coffee-based drink made primarily from espresso and steamed milk. It consists of one-third espresso, two-thirds heated milk and about 1cm of foam.

Mocha Latte — Like a caffè latte, it is based on espresso and hot milk, but with added chocolate, typically in the form of sweet cocoa powder, although many varieties use chocolate syrup. Mochas can contain dark or milk chocolate.

How do I usually drink my coffee? Every night, I set my coffee pot to brew around 8 cups the next morning. Right now, I’m drinking a red velvet blend, so it’s got hints of chocolate in it. I usually go for medium roasts. I drink my coffee black, but if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll toss in a tablespoon of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (Trader Joes’ is the best). How do you take yours?

Learning to Forgive.

Free the heart with forgiveness.

Free the heart with forgiveness.

“I definitely miss talking to you,” his text read. “I have some things in my past I need to work on. I took it out on you and I sincerely apologize.”

Those were the words I’d wished for, for months after this guy told me he didn’t want to talk to me again, with no explanation as to why.

I spent weeks wondering what I did to piss him off so much that he’d never want to speak to me. And there it was: I’d done nothing.

In a way, I was completely relieved to read this, but in another way, the damage had already been done.

One of the worst feelings in the world is having someone you trust turn on you, especially with no reason or closure.

When he did it, my heart broke. I felt insecure for weeks. I questioned whether or not I was even ready for a relationship.

I asked him why he did this to me and he said he has commitment issues and a habit of pushing people away.

Having “issues” is definitely something I understand, but I wondered what happened to him that made him so scared of a relationship.

Perhaps it was a previous breakup; or something with his family, though I’m fairly certain his parents are still together. It’s a question only he can answer.

As I get older, the odds of meeting people dealing with baggage or issues gets more likely. And there are things I’m working on, too.

But I hate to think that even at 30, some of us are dealing with things so difficult, we can’t even talk to people.

One of the most difficult things for me is learning how to forgive. I’ve got a lot of hurt in my past, and I’m really bad about holding onto grudges.

I don’t claim to be bitter for nothing, folks!

There is a huge part of me that wants to forgive this guy and let him back into my life — assuming he even wants to be back, of course.

After his apology, he mentioned all the times he thought of me and wanted to message me, but was too afraid.

We shared a decent number of good memories together in a short amount of time. And that’s something that doesn’t happen often.

But who’s to say he wouldn’t go cold on me again?

And that’s the catch in every relationship. Love is always a gamble; one of the biggest bets you can make.

After a bad breakup several years ago, I sought the help of a therapist. I needed to know why terrible things kept happening to me — especially in relationships.

My therapist explained to me that everyone’s life moves in cycles. You may meet someone at the top of their mountain, or you may meet them as they fall.

How we treat others is in direct correlation to how we feel about ourselves, or our situation at the time.

So much to say that when people hurt others, it usually has nothing to do with the “victim” at all.

I don’t know what the future holds for this guy and me. Of course, I hope he can learn how to move past his issues and find a way to accept people into his life.

Perhaps we both just need to forgive those from our past and face the future with open arms. Sure, the house usually wins, but you just never know when the odds are stacked in your favor.

Pic of the Week.

His and hers.

His and hers.

I’ve had a houseguest since Saturday. He’s a coworker, and needed a place to stay for a month while he works to save money for his apartment rent come July. He’s 19.

Welcome to Hotel Holly. Well, Hotel Holly & Blanche.

When my friend said he needed a place to stay, I wanted to help him. But I told him we’d have to set some rules. After all, my place is small, I’m used to living alone, and I didn’t want us to hate each other at the end of June.

So, he agreed, and here he is. So far, he’s insisted on being my “housewife” and has put away my clean dishes from the dishwasher, folded my clean clothes from the dryer, and shared his homemade pasta sauce. As I type this, he’s pulling a tray of homemade cheese bread out of the oven for us.

We’ll see how long this lasts, right?

I’ve never had a houseguest for an extended period of time, and although it’s a new experience for me, I think it’ll be a good one. When I was prepping my place for his arrival — dusting, mopping, sweeping, putting things away — there’s things I really started to appreciate about my apartment.

Sure, it’s small, but at least it has 10ft ceilings so we don’t feel cramped sitting in the living room. I also have plenty of tupperware for my houseguest’s leftover food needs. And I have a stock of candles, toothbrushes, and other toiletries for his use. And above all, my place is safe and quiet. At the end of a day’s work, those are the most important things, at least to me.

So far, it’s been kind of nice having someone around when I come home from the gym or from work. But I also have to pull myself away from impromptu cheesey bread and conversation when I should be doing freelance. Like anything, it’s a balance.

Maybe this experience will teach me something about living with someone. It’s not a romantic relationship by any means, but it’s already made me realize some things about myself — like I should do a better job at cleaning my dishes.

Setting up friends, for a date.

Whoa, they look happy.

Whoa, they look happy.

A post on my Timehop app the other day reminded me of a few dates I went on with a guy who was introduced to me by a mutual friend. For some reason or another, our relationship didn’t work out — but the dates we had were absolutely fantastic!

Being set up by a friend can be a really good thing. It can be a nice surprise; let’s face it, getting set up is basically the laziest way to find a date. But statistically, a setup is how many people find their matches for life, probably because the person setting them up knows them well and thinks they’d get along-slash-have something in common.

The risk is… what if things go wrong? Then the friend might be placed in the middle — never a good place to be. So, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of becoming the next Patti Stanger.

  1. Make sure it’s okay. Don’t just spring the news on your single friend. Ask first. A simple: would you be interested in me setting you up with another friend of mine? Because sometimes single people just want to be single, alright?
  2. Have some reason for the match. Make sure the two folks you’re setting up have something (or maybe a few things) in common. Don’t just set them up because they’re both single. Not going to work.
  3. Don’t oversell. Don’t pitch the date to your friend with any false information, don’t embellish, really, I don’t even think you should discuss it too much. Just let the person go on the date and make opinions for him/herself.
  4. Figure out the logistics. Is he going to text her? Are they just going to meet in public first? Work out the details so the date can be low-stress.
  5. Try to stay out of it. Once the date happens, sure, be there to clear up any confusion, but make sure you’re not the one adding to the complicated mess. Leave it up to the daters — remember, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle.
  6. Don’t take it personal. If things don’t work out, don’t get upset or think it’s your fault. On the other hand, if things DO work out, be happy for them!

Boyfriend Recipe: Green Eggs & Ham.

Yes, I like Green Eggs & Ham, even in a house with a mouse… okay, so not really. When you actually think about it, green eggs and ham sounds super disgusting. Amiright?

I know I’ve been a little slow to add to my collection of Boyfriend Recipes lately, and that’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve got NO man in my life to cook for! Considering that even the smallest of crushes I’ve had in the last six months have gone running for the hills, or in any direction that’s opposite of me, I’m sticking to my Stranger Love crush (see: yesterday’s post) and John Mayer for now.

Anyway, there was of course a time when I had a man in my life, and when that happens, I’m in the kitchen. I’m no fool.

A few years ago, I made breakfast for my then-boyfriend in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day — I made an updated, delicious version of Green Eggs & Ham. You may have read a little bit about it in my first book, “How I Fell: Love, Lies & Cocktails.”

It was festive, and absolutely impressive, but the best part is — it’s super easy to make. Father’s Day is fast approaching and maybe the man in your life is a dad; surprise him with breakfast in bed. Or perhaps you’re single and you just need a slow morning to treat yourself. Do it, girl!

INGREDIENTS

  • Eggs (2 for 1 person, or as many as you/they wish)
  • 1 package of prosciutto ham (about 8 slices)
  • English muffin (1 for each person)
  • Pesto (homemade or jarred)
  • Olive oil or non-stick spray

DIRECTIONS

Slice and toast the English muffins, and have them open-faced on the serving plates. Add slices of prosciutto to each side of the English muffin — two slices on each muffin side is good, but I love the stuff, so add as much or as little as you like. You can substitute Canadian bacon here, too.

Next, prepare the eggs. If you want to poach them for a traditional benedict style, go head. I prepped them sunny-side up, using some of those silicone rings so they came out perfectly round on the edges. You’ll want one egg per English muffin side. Use the non-stick spray or olive oil in the pan with the eggs.

Place the eggs on top of the Prosciutto, and then spoon 1-2 tablespoons of pesto over each egg. Jarred pesto is completely acceptable, but of course, make the homemade version if you wish. You can even make it the night before to quicken the morning process. If the yolk is visible, put the pesto over the yolk — hence, green eggs and ham. And voila!

Don’t be afraid to add more pesto to the eggs or on the plate. You can also add a slice of cheese under the ham, or maybe a few asparagus spears there to crank up the green factor. It’s an easy dish, so make it yours!

I served it with coffee and a side of home fries, just the frozen kind that I threw into a skillet with some olive oil and cajun seasoning. Nothing fancy, but it sure was scrumptious! Take that, Sam-I-am!

Stranger Love.

Could I find love at the gold kiosk?

Could I find love at the gold kiosk?

A 10-minute drive gets me to work for my part-time job at the mall. I take the same route, park in the same area of the lot, and I walk the same path to the shoe store where I work 4-5 times each week.
On my way into work, I walk by one of those kiosks that sell gold jewelry. Nearly every single time, the guy working the kiosk says hello to me.

Well, it’s more like, “Hey…’sup?”

At first, I didn’t register that it was a regular occurrence until recently. Some days, I’m hustling in, walking as quickly as possible in order to clock in on time.

Other days, I’m taking a leisurely stroll, carrying my pink owl lunchbox, because I’m just a little childish.

No matter what, the guy — let’s call him Goldman — says hi to me.

It was a rainy day when I started looking at Goldman a little differently. I didn’t feel like being sociable and the last thing I wanted to do was go to work. I shuffled my usual path and made an effort to avoid Goldman’s gaze.

But he’d gotten out of his chair and into my path, to deliver his greeting.

According to my estimate, Goldman stands about average height. He’s mastered the art of the scruff, and he’s usually wearing a hat, a white tee, and jeans.

But he’s got that swag. He seems effortlessly cool.

Enter: the stranger crush.

According to Urban Dictionary, a stranger crush is, “a crush on someone you see all the time, but do not actually know personally. Their name may be known, but they are usually referred to by some sort of nickname.”

There’s no way I’d notice Goldman if he didn’t force his kindness upon me nearly every day. Not because there’s nothing to notice about him, probably just because I’m usually stuck in my own world, with earbuds in.

When you think about it, stranger crushes happen quite often; it’s what makes waiters and bartenders attractive for an hour (I’ve been both, so don’t take offense to it).

I’d argue to say there’s plenty of stranger crushes happening in college classrooms, apartment complex hallways, and vacation spots, worldwide.

Yesterday, as I approached Goldman’s kiosk, I told myself that I should just stop and ask him what his name is. At least then I could address him properly.

But I opted out of it.

That’s the whole allure of the stranger crush: there’s so much unknown.

I don’t even know his name, how old he is, or any part of his story. Right now, in my mind, he’s perfect. Knowing any fact about him could shatter that fantasy, and it’d make going to work that much shittier.

Perhaps Goldman has a stranger crush on me, too. He doesn’t know my name or where I work, although I’m sure he’s narrowed it down to our wing of the mall.

On the other hand, maybe he’s a complete psycho who’s playing the numbers game to get laid by passersby in the mall. That’s the thing about stranger crushes — you just never know.

A coworker of mine stopped by Goldman’s kiosk to buy some studs for her boyfriend. I told her about my nano-attraction to him.

“He seems really nice,” she said. “I mean, he gave me a $30 pair of earrings for, like, $10.”

Pic of the Week.

My pic(s) of the week this time just HAD to be about Hangout Fest, since I haven’t even been back home from it for 24 hours! It was a weekend in Gulf Shores, full of fun, sun, sand (it was even in my hair), fried food, drinks, and of course: music!

I will admit, I was really, really sad when Sam Smith didn’t end up making it for his time slot because of vocal chord surgery, but I still enjoyed the acts I did see. Some of the most impressive ones were Paramore, Tove Lo, Skrillex, and Beck.

Aside from the music, Hangout Fest is always full of cool, super-nice people. My friend and I met lots of people on the shuttle rides to and from the festival each day, and we had some particular fun with a group of guys we met that had traveled all the way from New York for the weekend. So, shout out to our new friends Dan, Tim, Chad “JC”, and Doug from New York (with fantastic accents), and also a HELLO to our people from South Atlanta, Jill and Cam! I can’t forget the groups from Buzz in Kansas City! You all made the weekend a great one.

As it goes with these types of things, I get really caught up in the moment and I don’t want to be “that person” with my phone glued to my side. So, unfortunately there aren’t a ton of pictures — but I’ve posted the ones I’ve got. If you’re on Instagram, head on over to my page @OrangeJulius to see videos from the Beck and Skrillex performances.

I made my fellow Hangout Fest-goer and I my custom “Koncert Kits” (available in my Etsy Shop), and they pretty much saved us, from the spare sheets of toilet paper to the hand sanitizer, and okay, the glow sticks and glitter! If you’re heading to an outdoor music fest this summer, I’d highly recommend getting yourself one.

At this point, I feel like I need to post this blog so I can face reality and get back to work — it’s not easy going from the good, beach festival life to the one sitting in front of a computer, but I suppose it’s got to be done. Hope y’all have a fantastic week!

Celeb crush: Nick Jonas.

Well, helloooo!

Well, helloooo!

Good morning! If you’re in need of a “Hot Guy” does, I’m your gal. If you’re new to the blog, welcome. The Bitter Lemon has been providing pictures of hot dudes for those in need since 2010.

My latest celeb crush is Nick Jonas. Truth be told, I never aid a bit of attention to this guy (I think Joe was originally my favorite Jonas Brother… he’s the one with the long hair??), until pictures from this photo shoot surfaced.

Can I just say…. DAMN THAT BOY IS FWINE.

Nick started his solo career in the last year, after the Jonas Brothers split in 2012. He’s since release two singles, “Jealous” and “Chains”… which get stuck in my head very easily.

He’s remained in the positive spotlight, for the most part, but check out this little ditty I found on Wiki:

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus has stated that she dated Jonas from June 2006 to December 2007. Cyrus claimed they were “in love” and began dating soon after they first met. The song “Wedding Bells” by the Jonas Brothers was written by Nick. It was rumored that the song was based on his past relationship with Cyrus who, at the time of the song’s release, was engaged to Liam Hemsworth.

Umm, what?

He’s currently dating Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, and they seem to be completely in love. Aww.

Meanwhile, I’m obsessed with this song:

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