Blog Archives

Pic of the Week.

Time to get clean.

Time to get clean.

I really thought I was going to have something cool for my first Pic of the Week for 2015, but truthfully, this is as exciting as it gets right now.

This is the first week that I actually have time to tend to other things aside from work — I’ve been averaging 50 hours a week between my three jobs, and I hate to admit it, but my apartment has been in a constant state of chaos for at least a month.

I go between those stages of wanting everything to be neat and tidy, and then thinking that spending my time off cleaning is SUCH a waste of my time (and really, a waste of my life). The result is that my bathroom and kitchen maintain cleanliness, because come on, I’m not completely disgusting, but most other places in my apartment are covered in clothes (some clean, some dirty), mail, or DVDs.

So, when my schedule went from 50 hours of work to 20 — I realized all of these things I wanted to do with my time: read, hit the gym (finally), apply for jobs, sleep, vlog, and yes, clean.

So, yesterday I didn’t have to be at work until 3pm, and while I really was hoping to workout, I decided that the cleaning must come first. And so, I sucked it up and did a ton of laundry (I even washed all of my bedding), and put it away (ta-dah!).

I swept, mopped, and vacuumed, put away any remaining Christmas gifts, cleaned all of the mirrors, did the dishes, caught up on bills and filed them away, and I even made a pot of red beans and rice. Success!

Part of my problem is that there’s just too much crap in my small apartment, and I started a giveaway box a few months ago, that I’ve been adding to — every time I come across something that I don’t like, into the box it goes.

Now that everything is neat, clean and fresh, I’m feeling good and a little less cluttered, but truthfully, even though I’ve been out of my usual work routine for two months now, I can’t get used to this new routine. Everything always seems out-of-order, and there’s always so many things on my to-do list — it seems like I can never catch up.

I know a ton of you guys have loads of work, and families, and long to-do lists, so if you’ve got any tips on helping me stay organized or at least keeping my apartment somewhat neat from day-to-day (I’ve already have to tell myself to ‘put that in its place’), I’d love to hear them!

And, just in case you’re wondering, my Christmas tree is still up, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Paper Towns.

Great quote from Paper Towns by John Green.

Great quote from Paper Towns by John Green.

Shocker: another fantastic book by John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns is addicting. No, seriously, I read it in one day.

Set in Orlando, Florida, Paper Towns is the story of Quentin Jacobsen — a less-than-popular high school senior, who has spent a majority of his life being obsessed with his next-door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman (the legend).

“Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in its entirety with a kind of quiet reverence. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose stories of epic adventures would blow through school like a summer storm…”

Quentin has only admired her from afar, until she steps into his room one night in need of his help with a revenge mission. He’s as close to her as he’s ever been, but before his ultimate dreams come to fruition, she’s off on one of her adventures, leaving the town wondering where she went.

But just like before, she leaves clues behind. Quentin and his friends go in search of her clues, heading on a man hunt across the country to find their six-syllable, legendary classmate.

Favorite Quotes from Paper Towns:

And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

Chuck Parson did not participate in organized sports, because to do so would distract from the larger goal of his life: to one day be convicted of homicide. ‘Hey, faggots,’ he called.

She had the kind of fingers you want to interlace with your own.

We bring the fucking rain, Q. Not the scattered showers.

Here, at night, it looked like a real place — but for the first time, a place I could see.

…The pleasure was in seeing our strings cross and separate and then come back together.

RHAPAW ran not on gasoline, but on the inexhaustible fuel of human hope.

It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.

The book is set to be released as a movie on June 5th of this year (let the countdown begin!), starring Nat Wolff as Quentin, and Cara Delevingne as Margo.

The funny thing is, I ran across an FAQ on John Green’s website, where he said he didn’t think the book would ever become a movie: “The people who worked at the studio that optioned Paper Towns and paid me to write the screenplay were not particularly pleased with my first draft, and they really hated my revision. They felt the first draft was ‘literary,’ which is an insult in the world of filmmaking, I guess, and my attempts to address their concern watered down everything they’d initially liked about the script, and after that, I was pretty pissed off at the head of the studio and it’s safe to say that he was very pissed off at me.”

You just never know what’s going to happen!

The drink: Pom-cosmo.

Kona Grill's Pomegranate Cosmopolitan... Yum!

Kona Grill’s Pomegranate Cosmopolitan… Yum!

The classic Cosmopolitan — a tart elixir focusing on cranberry — will never go out of style. But leave it to Kona Grill to give this cocktail more than just a lime twist.

Kona Grill offers the Cosmopolitan in watermelon, grape, and pomegranate flavors. I opted for the pomegranate (don’t worry, watermelon, I’ll be back) and I was pleasantly surprised.

Made with vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, a squeeze of lime, and pomegranate syrup, this cocktail is light on the tongue and dangerously easy to swallow.

The extra perk? During happy hour, it’s only $5, which means you can try all the flavors for under $20.

There’s a twist you can’t refuse — bottoms up!

Grab a seat in the bar or on the patio for Kona Grill’s happy hour, Mon-Fri 3pm-7pm, Mon-Thur 9pm-11pm, Fri & Sat 10p-12am, Sat 1pm-5pm, and all day Sunday.

Fresh Friday: Nirvana (white).

That's what we all look like sleeping.

That’s what we all look like sleeping.

Eeek — it’s the first Fresh Friday of 2015! I promise I’ll stop getting over the fact that it’s a new year; I think part of my shock and awe is from the fact that I’ve been working every single day, so I have no idea what day it is most of the time.

But! None of that matters today, because it’s FRIDAY, and I’ve been wearing Nirvana by Elizabeth and James all freaking week — it smells fantastic!

For Christmas, I got one of those awesome perfume sampler boxes from Sephora, and it has eight great scents to add to my collection. I have been dying to try the Nirvana duo by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, so I finally got my chance.

As described by Sephora, “Elizabeth and James Nirvana White is a captivating blend of delicate peony, chic muguet, and tender musk for a feminine scent with dark sophistication.

Launched in 2007, Elizabeth and James embodies the duality of sophistication and feminine detail balanced with downtown edge and masculine tailoring. The fashion brand’s contemporary-yet-timeless aesthetic offers the modern girl clothing and accessories that make stylish everyday dressing effortless.

Ashley and Mary-Kate wanted the signature fragrance for Elizabeth and James to embody the same sense of duality inherent to their partnership and the brand. The result was not one, but two blends—distinctly different, but undeniably connected.”

Nirvana White is light, but complex. My only complaint is that it’s so light, it doesn’t last all day. But overall, I really love this scent — it’s good to wear to work, where I don’t want to wear something overbearing.

Happy New Year!

Party hardy.

Party hardy.

YASH! I made it to 2015! I swear, there were times when I didn’t think this day would ever come — I have never been so excited for a new year, in hopes that it will bring new opportunities, new memories, perhaps new places, and new people. I am so excited!

Last year, I mentioned I was going to try and shake this blog up by being more open and personal, and by also offering a bunch of new posts, such as the Celeb Crush, Single Girl Recipe, Boyfriend Recipe, Woman You Should Know profiles, Survival Guides, and a Pic of the Week.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I did just that!

This year, I am going to keep all of those features — because they are so fun to write — and of course, continue my promise to always be open and honest. Aside from possibly adopting a new blog design, I’m not planning on shaking things up too much, but I do want to up my YouTube game and offer a video companion to The Bitter Lemon.

So, why not start now? Introducing The Bitter Lemon: The Vlog!

Check out the video to hear all about my goals and resolutions for 2015. And with that, I’ll just leave you with this: I hope you have a happy and safe new year. Make some goals that are worth working for, and I look forward to celebrating your successes (and sharing mine) this year!

Let’s do this, 2015!

Pic of the Week

The last issue of House & Home

The last issue of House & Home

Wow, it’s the LAST pic of the week for 2014! It’s hard to believe I actually have 52 pictures that represent my year — one full of nothing and something all at once. I really thought I was going to have something representative for this last one, but when this magazine came to my mailbox, I knew it had to be a part of my picture collection.

The magazine itself was no surprise, as it comes every month. The surprise was that on the cover, it said it was the “Farewell” issue. What?

Inside, sure enough, was a goodbye letter from it’s Founder and Editor, Nancy. I swear I’m not emotional about all publications (although print publication DOES hold a pretty big place in my heart), but this is one that I wrote for… for a few years.

I applied for a contributing writer position to House & Home several years ago when my then-job was doing lay-offs. I had no financial stability, a very tiny savings account, and I was scared to death. I was looking for any work that would help me save some money. Luckily, House & Home answered my call.

While I’ve always had an interest in homes and interior decor, I didn’t know much about it. So, when I had my first interview with homebuilders, I didn’t even know what to ask! I got humble and told them the truth: that I wasn’t sure what I was doing.

They were polite and helped me, and before I knew it, I could tell the difference between concrete slab flooring and tumbled travertine. I came to admire various veins in marble countertops, and learned to write 2,000-word stories out of bathroom designs.

It was the first time I’d ever seen my stories on the cover of a magazine, and it was a beautiful, glossy one. It was really a pleasure writing for House & Home, and I was lucky enough to do it for many years. It filled my portfolio with more stories, and the paychecks helped me save money during a time of financial stress. I am really grateful for that job.

While it’s saddening to see the publication go, I admire Nancy for making such a tough decision. I’m learning every day how to let things go as gracefully as possible. I feel like I’ve said a lot of goodbyes this year — ones I didn’t necessarily want to. But I’m hoping that 2015 will show me that saying goodbye isn’t always a bad thing.

Bubbly basics.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Ah bubbly, champs, champers, pop bottles, sparkling… whatever you call the stuff, it’s delicious. And while most people reserve the fizz for special occasions and New Year’s Eve, I’ve come to enjoy it all year ’round, just when I’m in the mood for something fantastic.

So, I’m taking it upon myself to share what I know, in hopes that you can find yourself a fabulous bottle of bubbly, whether it’s to celebrate 2015, or just to enjoy whenever — because this is a treat for the masses.

The titles: Champagne, Prosecco, & sparkling wine — what’s the difference? 

Champagne comes from grapes in the Champagne region of France — this is strict. It cannot be called Champagne if it didn’t come from Champagne! Because of the strict rules, Champagne is considered to be high brow, above all other sparkling wines.

Prosecco comes from the Northeast region of Italy (Venice, Verona). Prosecco is one of the main DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines in Italy, meaning their labels must state their zone of origins and those wines must meet a certain standard when it comes to planting, cultivation, fertilizing, and even production.

Everything else is usually called sparkling wine — doesn’t mean it’s any less tasty, it was just grown in a different region of the world.

The prices: Is all bubbly going to break the bank?

Heck no! Champagne tends to be expensive (at least $30 per bottle) just because of its high standards. But, as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be Champagne. You can absolutely find a fantastic bottle of sparkling wine for $12.

I wouldn’t recommend going much cheaper though. While it may taste great, or be good for mixing a cocktail, you (or your guests) are going to suffer the following day. Cheap bubbles (which usually equals more sugar) lead to killer hangovers.

The pairing: What should I enjoy with my champers? 

Perfect pairing.

Perfect pairing.

This part is kind of up to you. Many “experts” say bubbly should only be enjoyed with delicate foods, but hell with it — there’s way more food to be enjoyed next to a glass of fizz.

Modern wine enthusiasts say buttery, rich foods that are high in fat are really what we should be eating with our bubbly. Don’t mind if I do! Here are some ideas:

— Rich greens: avocado, asparagus, mint

— Seafood: scallops, clams, oysters, smoked salmon

— Berries: fresh, cakes, pies, tarts

— Nuts & cheese (includes fried mozzarella)

— Game: duck, rabbit

— Salty snacks: potato chips, fries, popcorn

The pop: What’s the right way to open a bottle? 

A majority of the sparkling wines you’ll encounter will have a cork, along with a wire cage and a foil cover. Start by removing the foil and carefully removing the wire.

Next, point the bottle away from everyone and any valuables (you never know!), and hold the cork in place while twisting the bottle. I’ve heard that it helps to have your other thumb under the bottle in the center’s groove.

Remove the cork with ease. Contrary to popular belief, there should be no pop — a pop sends a shock throughout the wine, and often ruins the bubbles! If possible, let the air out by tilting the cork to one side.

Serving & storing: How do I get the best out of my bottle(s)? 

Serve sparkling wine in a wine glass or a flute. If you don’t have a flute, go for the standard wine glass. Store it away from light, in a climate-controlled fridge, if possible, or just the fridge. Hold the glass from the stem as to not warm the wine with your hands.

Don’t purchase bottles that have been displayed near a window (even 30 minutes of sunlight can turn a sweet rose into a garlic buffet, seriously).

If, and this is a big IF, there is any wine leftover, store it using a spring-loaded cap to keep the bubbles in-tact.

Recommendations: What should I look for? 

Popular & delish!

Popular & delish!

Of course, we’re going to have differences in taste when it comes to wine and bubbly, but I’ll share some of my favorites. Perhaps my all time favorite is from Ponte Winery in Temecula, California (which I had the pleasure of visiting).

It’s their Moscato, which has very light bubbles and refreshing flavors of apple, and even a hint of lemon. A real treat!

I also love the Almond Sparkling Wine from Wilson Creek Winery (another one I’ve visited) — though it’s rich, and sweet, so it is meant to be enjoyed in small amounts.

Any Prosecco I usually love. Zardetto is actually one of the first companies to distribute Prosecco in Italy and has really smashed the market. You’ll probably recognize the bottle and would be able to find it in your local liquor store for under $15.

If you’ve got a good wine shop nearby, keep your eyes open for a bottle of Passione Brachetto d’Acqui — sounds fancy, runs for about $28/bottle. Completely delicious.

I was lucky enough to taste this in a wine class I took years ago, and it turned out to be one of the recommended wines of 2009 by the Washington Post. It is a red wine, but still features fizz, and although it has a berry flavor, it is spiced with nutmeg and clove. Yum!

If you’re looking for a bubbly that meets the expectation of any occasion, look for etoile Rose ($45/bottle). It’s basically a sparkling wine with a hint of pinot noir added in — hence the name. A very good, exclusive wine that’s definitely worth the extra cash.

And for my final recommendation, it’s got to be the Royal Cuvee by Gloria Ferrer ($27/bottle). It has a unique, crisp mix of berries and apple, which results in a long, delicious finish.

…Well, that does it for my Bubbly Basics! I know it was a long read, but I hope you learned something about one of my favorite varietals. May you have a year full of fizz and fun! Cheers!

Do you know what Dom Perignon said after inventing champagne? He called out to his fellow monks, ‘Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.’

—The Fault in Our Stars 

Fresh Friday: Guilty.

Hello hotness.

Hello hotness.

I’ve only got a sample bottle of Guilty by Gucci, but I’ll say it’s lasted me quite awhile — the bottle is substantial.

Now, this is going to sound really corny, but every time I get a good sniff of this scent, it makes me think of everything luxurious (particularly diamonds). I’m not sure why, of course… perhaps I knew someone in a former life that wore it and she was dripping in gold and diamonds.

As described by Sephora, “Made for the woman who shatters expectations, this fragrance imbues with a feeling of power, a sense that she can attain whatever she wants — even the thrill of the forbidden. A sheer, floral-oriental fragrance, it opens with a bright burst of citrus and a dangerous hint of black pepper. This arresting introduction gives way to full-throttle femininity as its heart pulses with fruity and floral notes. The fragrance dries down to a rich, ambery base with notes of patchouli. The overall effect is young, stylish, and eminently wearable—a daring edge of sexiness and sensuality that captures the essence of Gucci.

The stunning bottle fuses glass and metal, a feature revealed through Gucci’s signature interlocking ‘G’ characters. At the center of the iconic logo’s letterforms, the bottle’s gleaming metallic surface is elegantly cut away to expose the bottle’s glass interior.”

Looks like me and Sephora are on the same page! Be sure to dabble a little Guilty on if you get the chance (find the tester bottles…) and let me know if you get that whole diamond effect.

Pic of the Week.

Pretty sure they weren't supposed to be THIS ugly.

Pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be THIS ugly.

Late last week, I decided to bake some holiday cookies from a kit I bought a few months ago — an Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit. It was just too cute to pass up.

The kit had nearly everything I needed: dry ingredients for the cookie dough, a sweater cookie cutter, food coloring for red and green icing, piping bags, and various bags of festive sprinkles. All I had to add were the eggs, butter, milk, and powdered sugar.

If you’re one of my long-time readers, you’ll know that I always try to cut calories when I can, even when it comes to Christmas cookies. So, when I stopped at my local market that morning, I quickly snatched up sticks of coconut oil.

It said on the package that it could be subbed for butter, one-for-one. Sweet! But once I got home and started mixing all of my ingredients, I don’t think the coconut oil was my brightest idea.

It made the dough very sticky, so I kept having to add flour to it in order for it to even roll onto my counter. It took me nearly an hour to cut a mere seven sweater cookies and get them onto a baking sheet. Once they got into the oven I started mixing my icing — coconut oil, milk, food coloring, and powdered sugar.

Please note that I didn’t even have butter in my fridge or else I wouldn’t have continued using the coconut oil. Naturally, the coconut oil made the icing a tad runny, and when I put it into the piping bags, it was separating under the warmth of my hands. Drats!

Runny icing resulted in sweater cookies: the Dexter edition, because it looked like they were smeared with blood. By the time I got icing on all of the cookies, I barely felt like messing with the sprinkles, and basically tossed random candies on all of the cookies.

Well, they ARE supposed to be ugly/tacky sweaters, I thought, and it felt justified for a few minutes. The ones on the box looked way cuter.

I’ve mentioned before that baking cookies with my dad is one of my fondest childhood memories when it comes to Christmas. But of course, he made the dough, and all I did was add icing and red hots. And I’m sure it was about the company we had, not about the activity.

Each year, I try to recreate those memories by vowing to bake dozens and dozens of cookies that I ice and decorate. And every year, I get really excited as I unpack all of my ingredients from the store… but I quickly get frustrated once the dough isn’t right or the cookie cutter sucks.

Then I wonder, WHY did I decide to do this, again?

But nevertheless, it felt really nice to be doing something festive — I’ve been so busy with work and job hunting that it’s been difficult getting into the Christmas season.

Later that night, I took my festive little sweater cookies over to a friend’s house. Like true friends, they were excited, saying how intricate and cute my hideous creations were. After we feasted on fried turkey (okay, so I’m not always tight on calories), we all sampled the cookies, and to my absolute delight, they were some of the best sugar cookies I’ve had.

They tasted like my childhood Christmas cookies — and I’ll never forget it.

The Column: Single Bells.

All by myyyyself...

All by myyyyself…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? The holidays are often associated with cheer, get-togethers, and gifts, but for singletons, the holidays can be a lonely reminder of what we’re missing.

Blame it on the chilly weather or the party invitations, but it often seems like the holidays are made for couples. And hey, good for the couples. But where does that leave the rest of us? Out in the cold, hanging with Frosty?

If there’s vodka and candy canes, it actually doesn’t sound half-bad.

Think about it: there’s Thanksgiving, followed by Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. If that midnight kiss doesn’t send you over the edge, don’t worry, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

But these next few weeks don’t have to be couples-only — it’s time we take December by the reins. Move over, Santa!

My very first boyfriend and I broke up right before Christmas (many years ago), so I returned his gift and bought myself some nice makeup instead.

Side note: his last name was Garland, and I used to wonder what it’d be like if we got married (Holly Garland).

Anyway, this started a personal tradition: spoil yourself a little this time of year. When you’re out shopping for everyone else, pickup a little something for yourself.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t purchase a few gifts for myself each year, wrap them, and write “From John Mayer” on the tag (excuse me while I hide now).

A few years ago, I suffered from a much more devastating breakup in November. I was not in the mood for Christmas cheer.

But instead of pouting, I told myself I would say “yes” to every holiday event I was invited to. In return, I went to several parties, a brunch, and baked dozens of cookies. I was too busy to be sad, plus I met new people and had fun.

It was also the same year I discovered alcoholic whipped cream. Put that in your cocoa and let me know how it turns out for you.

If nothing else, think of it this way: you’ve only got to buy gifts for family and friends. No need to stress over finding the perfect gift for that special someone. And to top it off, no judgment from a significant other when you get too drunk on New Year’s Eve.

One tradition I always look forward to is baking on Christmas Eve. It’s something I started doing several years ago as a way to get into the spirit; plus, it looks like I’ve really got it together when I show up to the next gathering with a festive, homemade something.

It also doesn’t hurt if you want to eat the entire thing yourself — no one around to witness it, yet another perk of the single life.

So, cheers to being single this holiday season. May you have an electric blanket for warmth, a stocking big enough for Santa’s visit (or John Mayer, in my case), and one of those wine glasses big enough for an entire bottle.

Solo Survival: Enjoying the Holidays as a Singleton

  1. Better Not Pout — Don’t feel sorry for yourself; it’ll just make it worse.
  2. Get Festive — Peppermint cocktails, ugly sweaters, whatever you love, enjoy the perks of the holiday season on your own (or with friends, of course).
  3. Rule It- If you’re miserable at the Christmas party, then leave. Want more pie? Eat it! The perk of being single is getting to do whatever you want, so do it.

Fresh Friday: Fan di Fendi.

Hawt.

Hawt.

This week’s Fresh Friday profile is Fan di Fendi… by Fendi — say that entire phrase five times fast. I’ll admit that I’m kind of loving this scent, and not just for the winter months, but for the entire year!

It’s got warm base notes of leather and patchouli, middle notes of jasmine, tuberose, and rose, and top notes of tangerine, black currant, and pear. The overall effect is this solid scent that has many layers upon its first spritz.

As described by Macy’s, “Fan di FENDI is the object of pure desire. A glamorous piece of sensual gold; a sexy scent on the skin; and a radiant, sensual, and addictive fragrance. Notes include pear, black currant accord, tangerine, pink peppercorn; the heart is comprised of damascena rose and yellow jasmine; and the finish is of soft leather accord, patchouli. Experience the sensual fragrance by FENDI, Fan di FENDI with the Fragrance Collection for Women.”

If you get the chance to at least get a whiff of Fan di Fendi — do it! I think you’ll like the complexity of this feminine fragrance.

Pic of the Week.

Hoping to rise from the ashes... with my trusty notebook.

Hoping to rise from the ashes… with my trusty notebook.

In the first volume of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring), J.R.R. Tolkein wrote a poem:

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.

For the last month, I’ve mentioned that times for me have been tough, and I finally feel like I’m able to put some words together to share my story with you.

Five weeks ago, I lost my job. At the end of a Thursday, I went to a scheduled meeting, equipped with my iPad (to take notes), and upon sitting down, I was told that my services were no longer needed.

This was the job I took right after graduation, so I’ve worked there for nearly seven years. It’s the reason I stayed in Baton Rouge. Just four months prior to this meeting, I’d received the highest raise in the office, because I was told I’d gone above and beyond what I was asked to do — and I’d done so with (mostly) a smile on my face.

Quickly, I was told that I needed to turn all of my work belongings in, I was given papers to sign, and I was told that I should pack my things immediately, and would then be escorted out of the building. I was also told that I could never work there, or at any of their associated offices, and in return, my blog class was also taken away.

“Do you have any questions?” Someone asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Why is this happening to me? I’ve never even been in trouble.”

I was told it was an “at-will” termination, meaning they didn’t have to tell me a reason. With that, I was watched as I packed seven years’ worth of my crap into boxes (they even had those ready for me), and I carried them to my car (wearing my slacks and high heels) as my coworkers watched.

Losing my job is something I never expected to happen to me; and it’s been an incredible ebb and flow of emotions since that day.

Of course, I started applying for jobs immediately. So far, I’ve applied for 36 jobs that range from seasonal work, to part time and full time positions. I’ve learned that Baton Rouge isn’t really THE place for someone like me — a writer, editor, blogger, digital media awesome-sauce.

So, I’ve applied for a few jobs that fit my talents and degree-field, but most of the work has been retail just to get some work while I decide what’s next for me.

Around Thanksgiving, I accepted a part-time sales associate position at the mall. On my first day, I worked a shift from 9am-11:30 pm (14 hours). I cried on my short drive home.

I worked really hard to get a degree; and I (think) I worked hard at my job… but it was taken from me. And now, my punishment is a tunnel with no light at the end — long shifts at $8/hour, standing on my feet, smiling at hundreds of customers as they shop.

My first week in retail, I worked more than 40 hours. I also accepted two additional jobs, mainly because $8/hour is about 1/3 of what I made before, and I’ve got bills. So, I am currently juggling three part-time retail jobs.

In these last few weeks, I’ve learned so much information I never thought I’d need to know, and in a way, I’m sure that’s some sort of blessing. This entire journey has been a branch of soul-searching. I’ve really had to dig and figure out what I’ve got to offer an employer, aside from my obvious strengths.

I now know that I can learn three different cash register systems, often working two of them in one day. I am really good at bagging trash and mopping floors. I can memorize shoe style numbers and organize towers of candles. I can also tell the difference between a matte finish and a shiny finish on red, vintage Christmas ornaments packed in dusty boxes. My coworkers also tell me I “don’t look old” — most of them are 19 — and that I’m “silly.”

Above all: I know I will do anything to keep my head above water; will only take what I deserve; and will never, ever accept a handout (or pity, so please, no).

I was out Christmas shopping last week, and I came across a sale bin of notebooks. I found the one in the picture, and I loved the quote so much, I bought it for myself. Ever since, I’ve been using it to keep notes for my various jobs, write to-do lists and grocery lists, and keep my schedule and hours-worked/money-earned. I usually use my iPad for such tasks, but on my first day of work, I caught someone going through my purse, so… notebook it is. And this trusty notebook has been my LIFE, and has given me a little motivation as I go through my day.

The parting with my old job is like a messy breakup; it’s got no closure. I am constantly wondering what I did to piss someone off enough to kick me out. I know I had the Twitter issue, but as far as I know, it was resolved. Some of my coworkers have speculated that it was things I said in my column.

And I know, that this blog and the column can be viewed as a gamble to an employer. I also delayed posting this, because I’m terrified that saying all of this will keep me from getting a job. Of course, I don’t want that. I don’t want someone to ever think that I’m not a professional, or more importantly, that I’m not a hard worker. I am. I am not a liability.

Instead, I hope my future employer can look at it differently. That I’m brave for putting myself out there. That I’ve managed to find a way to turn my passions into a salary, and that I’m disciplined enough to stay on deadline, keep people interested, and manage a blog and all of its corresponding marketing and social media, all on my own!

Someone asked me why I didn’t just write with a pen name from now on? My heart sank. Because that isn’t honest. And honesty has always been my biggest promise. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed that I write about dating, and drinking, and sometimes (very rarely, might I add) sex. Those are all things most people do, they just don’t publicize it. Why should I have to hide it?

Working three jobs, plus hunting for one full-time job that I will actually kind-of like, has taken up so much of my time, I haven’t been able to do the things I enjoy, like go to the gym, hit up the spa, or even sit down with a book. I spend a lot of time in bed, with my feet on a heating pad, working on my laptop (my “vintage” one, I had to give my swanky one back to work) between shifts. I have also come to enjoy eating a peanut butter sandwich in my car as I drive from one job to the next.

And then there’s this blog. Like a best friend, it’s always there. I wanted to make CERTAIN that this blog did not waiver during my time of distress, so I made sure to never miss a post, and hopefully, keep things interesting. I hope I’ve done that for you. This blog, along with my cat Blanche, are often the only things that keep me smiling lately — and they’re not going anywhere. Well, unless Blanche decides to hightail it out the window.

I know these next few months are going to have ups and downs. I really have NO idea what’s on the horizon — aside from the certainty of filling out unemployment every Sunday. I do know that this happened to me for some reason. Something great is out there, I just have to find it. And I might not find it without tears and confusion, but if I stay true to myself, good things are going to come.

I’m waiting on the day.
When my life on the run
Bleaches out in the sun
And shows my age.

—John Mayer, Waiting on the Day

When you’re not invited…

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride...

Here comes the (bitchy?) bride…

Over the years, I’ve been to some really great weddings… and I’ve been to some not-so-great weddings, of course. But now that we live online — we can see everything anyone we even slightly know does — it’s easy to see when someone gets married.

Which, in turn, makes it easy to figure out when you’re not invited to a wedding. Now, I know a lot of people who’ve gotten married in the last five years, most of whom I don’t know well-enough to be considered on their guest list. But there have been a few weddings I was disappointed I didn’t get to attend.

Of course, there are reasons a bride and groom can only invite a certain number of people to their wedding. Such as:

  • Finances. Small budget = small guest list.
  • Wishes for a small wedding. Intimate wedding ceremony means only close friends and/or family are invited.
  • Location. Destination weddings are often planned for a small amount of people, unless the couple honestly thinks a bunch of people will be flying around the globe.
  • Tit for tat. You didn’t invite them to your wedding (or other events). This is debatable (more on this later).
  • Acquaintance. Are you just an acquaintance of the bride or groom? A coworker? If you’re not talking to/hanging out with this person/couple on a regular basis, you might not make the cut.
  • Past issues. Have you gotten in a fight with this person and they’re holding a grudge?
  • Party animal. Maybe you’re a crazy loud drunk and you’ll cause a scene. Just saying.

According to Martha Stewart Weddings (!), you don’t HAVE to invite someone to your wedding just because they invited you to theirs. However, if it was a recent wedding and you are close friends, of course you should.

So, what do you do when you’re not invited to someone’s wedding that you felt you should have been invited to?

If you’re really upset, you could ask the person why you weren’t invited — no, seriously, New York writer Chris Chafin did.

I think it depends on the situation. If you’re REALLY close, then hopefully the person will be able to tell you upfront why you can’t attend their special day. If you don’t feel close enough to discuss the matter, then perhaps that’s why you weren’t invited.

In the cases where I’ve felt upset that I wasn’t invited, I brushed it off as thinking me and that person just aren’t close enough. And that’s okay.

After all, Justin Timberlake didn’t invite ANY of his NSYNC band mates to his wedding. Rude much?

Fresh Friday: Dior Addict 2.

Looks like cotton candy... no?

Looks like cotton candy… no?

Dior is so hard to resist, so I’m tickled they’ve got a scent called “Addict” — or formally, Dior Addict 2.

As described by Amazon, “Dior Addict 2 was introduced in 2005 by the design house of Christian Dior. Free spirited, fresh and invigorating blend of verbena, with a heart that is a perfect blend of fressia, lily of the valley, lotus, rose and fruits. Finishing down with tangy fruits and more florals.”

I thought it also had a touch of that powdery-scent, but perhaps it was just me.

The only downfall? It doesn’t have staying power. I wore it yesterday and definitely put it on in the morning, and again in the evening.

Survival Guide: Solo and Sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

If only I looked that good while sick.

It’s that time of year, and by that I mean: cold and flu season. Yuck! If there’s one thing worse than being sick, it’s being sick with no one to care for you.

When I’m sick, which is at least once every fall/winter, I throw a massive pity party for myself. Let’s face it: getting out of bed for food or Kleenex is a giant pain in the ass — don’t even mention leaving the house.

This is why being single and sick is terrible. No one to tuck you in, bring you soup, change DVDs in the player, etc. But it IS possible to get through it, and here’s how:

  1. Actually call in sick. At least, if you have that luxury. Being at work while sneezing your head off is not attractive, productive, nor is it efficient — you’re not going to get well soon if you’re at work.
  2. Stock up on goods. I keep a stock of stuff I like to have while I’m sick. Sounds a little dramatic until you venture to Wal-Mart mid-fever. It ain’t fun. Some of my favorites are: Alka-Seltzer Cold & Flu day/night tablets, Theraflu, cough drops, canned soup, and popsicles.
  3. Pamper yourself. Now’s the time to pull out your favorite pajamas, fluff your pillows, pop in a season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and guzzle Gatorade from a wine glass. Chances are, you’re sick because you’ve been running like crazy, and your body needs rest (and proper hydration).
  4. Don’t touch the phone. If you’re anything like me, being sick sometimes leads to a pity party, and within 15 minutes, you feel like one giant failure, and no one has ever or will ever love you. Do not take this opportunity to text others and invite them to your pity party. Probably a better idea to drink some Theraflu, and sleep all day.

Sure, having someone to deliver you goodies while you’re sick sounds nice, but let’s face facts, there’s a lot of other crap you’d have to put up with in return. What are you favorite ways to comfort yourself when you’re feeling feverish?

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