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Guest Blog: Does Cheating Ever Make Sense?

Do women cheat more than men?

Do women cheat more than men?

Shannon Maker is a blogger and freelance writer in Des Moines, Iowa, with a passion for photography and cooking. She has a degree in Journalism and Spanish.

She fell in love with different kinds of authentic European cuisine while backpacking and studying abroad in Spain, France, and Italy during her senior year of college and for two years after graduation. She is willing to try anything from Boudin noir (blood sausage) to ox tongue, but her favorite has to be good old fashion pizza. You can usually find her whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, scouring Pinterest for the latest craft ideas, or playing with her two dogs, Parker and Benny.

I’ve had my fair share of relationships since I reached dating age, but since college I’ve been much more of a passive audience member to my friends’ dating lives than an active player in the game.

During my time as a single gal, I’ve actually learned a lot about relationships. As a bystander, I’ve seen lots of relationships come and go. Like eHarmony points out, they usually end for pretty typical reasons such as incompatibility, each wanting different things out of life, or the love just isn’t there anymore. None of them really comes as much of a surprise. The fights and behavior of the two when they’re together are usually pretty good signs. But when a couple breaks up because one of them cheated, it’s always a shock.

It seems to come out of nowhere. I’ve seen it happen to those who have been married for 10 years and those less than a year into a relationship. It’s heartbreaking no matter how long or brief you’ve been together. If you’re lucky enough to have never dealt with the situation before, you might see it as very straightforward: someone cheated, they’re a horrible person, and you breakup to find someone better. But rarely are the situations that black and white.

There are some instances where people may even side with the cheater, believing their actions were warranted because of the state of the relationship. Sometimes people may even think that the partner is at fault for their significant other being lead astray. In every sense of the word, to be a victim, you must be innocent. Is it possible that the person who didn’t stray isn’t innocent in the situation? Should it really be them that has to reform after the other cheats?

Speaking from experience, infidelity really messes with your head. You feel completely inadequate, betrayed, and naive. You feel as though the person that you were supposed to trust has made a fool out of you. But then, as The Frisky noted, somewhere among the anger and sadness comes the the doubt, and you end up repeatedly asking yourself the same question: Am I at fault?

It’s really a matter of personal opinion, but when someone blames another for the actions they willingly do, it’s really nothing more than a thinly veiled way to justify the act with the misguided notion that two wrongs make a right. The damages that both parties’ actions cause should be individually viewed, not used as a way to justify degrading the relationship further. And that goes for both sexes, both of which I have seen turn the blame to their partner for their own actions.

It’s certainly not just men that are breaking the bonds of trust. In a recent study by Adam and Eve, they found that one third (32.47%) of people in a committed relationship admitted to cheating on their partners. They also found that more women admitted to cheating (34%) than men (30%).

In looking at the survey results, sexologist Dr. Kat Van Kirk said, “These results are somewhat shocking, because we typically hear about high-profile men cheating in the news… But with more women in the workplace, and the ease of online relationship development, the playing field really has been leveled.”

What’s more important than deflecting blame in a cheating situation is figuring out how you both ended up at this point in the first place. Is one person not having his or her needs met? Are those needs rational or do you feel that they’re unreasonable?

Understandably, some people cannot get past cheating and choose to end the relationship, while others feel that it’s something that can be worked through. If you ever end up in the situation, the most important thing to remember is that everyone deserves someone who is going to be faithful to them. If your needs aren’t being met after you’ve tried talking and working on the problems, the solution isn’t to cheat. Remember, whether or not someone claims that his or her significant other is pushing him or her into the arms of someone else, two wrongs never make a right.

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Book #3: Lemon Drops.

My next book, releasing Sept. 22, 2014!

My next book, releasing Sept. 22, 2014!

I’m skipping Fresh Friday this week to make an announcement: MY THIRD BOOK IS COMING YOUR WAY.

That’s right, my third book is on its way — mark your calendars for September 22, 2014, which is EXACTLY one month from today!

At that time, you’ll be able to purchase digital copies through Amazon Kindle (which can also be read on an iPad using the Kindle app), or you can order printed copies, as well.

Between now and then, stay tuned for sneak peeks and giveaways, as I’m really, really excited about this one!

…Or you could read one of my other books, How I fell or How to Make Lemonade… Just saying.

I’m calling this one my third book, because it is my third relationship memoir. However, I do have another book out, that lists and explains 50 blogging tips for beginners (I often use it to teach my blogging class).

Anyway, what is this book, Lemon Drops, all about? Basically, I wanted to release a book that had some of my poetry in it, and I also wanted a chance to be able to explain where (emotionally) the poems came from.

So, there are poems, and some explanations, and there are also short stories. Most of them you’ve never heard before, as I never thought they were monumental enough for a blog, a column, or a book — but they certainly make for good “Lemon Drop” material.

Not only did I work really hard to put this book together, but I am revealing more of myself than ever. I have always found honesty to be the best policy, but at times, some of my experiences are difficult for me to admit, even to myself.

But with this book, I did. I’m putting all of my secrets out there for you to read, and as is my hope with everything that I write — that someone, somewhere can learn from what I’ve been through as I continue on my journey.

September 22 is the first official day of fall, and the special season holds such a big place in my heart that I wanted my book release to kickstart it, and I’ll even share with you the Introduction:

As I kid, I barely noticed the seasons as they changed. There was summer, which meant sleeping in and no school. Spring made way for Spring Break, and with winter, at least there was hope for a few snow days.

But fall, fall has always held a special place in my heart. With the bittersweet closing of summer, fall meant new beginnings — a new school year, with fresh school supplies and new clothes. There were new opportunities around every corner.

I wish though, that as a kid I would have romanticized the falling leaves in Indiana the way I do now. The incredible way they paint the skies and the sidewalks all at once. I remember my parents telling me how people would flock to Brown County just to see the leaves as they changed from green to red, and I thought it was so silly.

But there are no red leaves where I live now, in Louisiana. In fact, there’s not really much of a fall season, but I still add a blanket to my bed, light pumpkin candles, and make cider — call me a dreamer.

But in my 10 years in the South, I’ve romanticized much more than changing leaves. You could say that my imagination has gotten the best of me, often taking flight without my permission.

As you open the pages to my third book, you’ll get a glimpse into my world — it is romantic, but it’s real. And I’m venturing to say that what you’re about to read is my truest self realized; imagination or not.

Once again, thank you for joining me on my continuing journey. Before, I wished for a trail of sunrises, and if I could add another thing to my list, it would be colorful leaves.

Life just isn’t the same without them.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Lemon Drops!

What’s in my Gym Bag?

The dirty details of my smelly gym bag...

The dirty details of my smelly gym bag…

I had so much fun sharing all of the contents of my makeup bag with you last month, I decided to dump out my gym bag and give you the scoop on some of my favorite products I use to get my sweat on!

  1. Thirty-One Duffel (similar): My mom originally bought this bag for herself, but I loved it so much, she was nice enough to give it to me! She turned me on to Thirty-One products, and they are all durable, and so easy to clean. I love this bag because it’s big enough to fit all of my gym needs, and it even holds my giant boots in the winter!
  2. Dove Go Fresh Anti-Persperant: I bought this because I thought it would be funny to have pits that smell like cucumber & green tea! But really, Dove deodorant leaves the skin feeling soft, and it doesn’t ball up like others.
  3. Mission Sweet Vanilla Lip Balmer: This was a stocking stuffer, and it’s one of the few lip balms I’ve got that has an SPF. I don’t know what it is, but I always need to slather on some lip balm before I get started on my workout.
  4. Bic Twin Select Silky Touch Disposable Razor: I’ve never been a fan of having a single razor and just changing the blades, I like disposable ones, and Bic has always been the best for me. I buy about 30, and keep them stashed in my bathroom closet.
  5. Nike Free Athletic Running Shoes: While my usual boxing and kickboxing workouts don’t require shoes, I’ve started lifting weights and riding the stationary bike after class. Even when lifting weights, you need solid support under your feet so you wont injure your knees or lower back.
  6. Dove Hair Therapy, Revival Shampoo: Most of the time, I shower at home after the gym, but on the rare occasion that I get a lunch workout or even a morning one, I hit the gym shower, and I absolutely love the way this shampoo smells!
  7. Aussie Coconutz Conditioner: I know this is a kids conditioner, but I’m a sucker for all things coconut, and this stuff smells amazing. Plus, children’s hair products are often gentle on the hair, which is perfect for my color-treated locks.
  8. Sugar Mint Shower Gel: I got this during the holidays, mainly because I thought the owl on it was too cute to pass up, but I do love a good peppermint scent, especially after a tough workout.
  9. Scunci No-Slip Grip Jelly Ponytailers: I keep a ton of hair ties in my gym bag — they go so quickly, because my cat finds them and hides them for herself!
  10. Under Armor Performance Headband: A fellow gym-goer gave me this headband as a gift, and I can say it really stays in place. The underside is almost a rubbery material, so there’s no way it’s coming off without assistance.
  11. Fleur de Lis Cosmetic Bag (just as cute): This bag was a gift from one of my blogging students, and I keep it in my bag to hold all of my jewelry. I have a bad habit of sticking my jewelry in the bag pockets and then just letting it pile up — the removable bag is helping me to stay organized.
  12. Doterra Essential Oils (Peppermint, Lemon): I got this starter kit for my birthday, and I use the lemon oil in my water all day, including during my workouts. I also rub a little peppermint oil on my chest, as it has energizing properties and just a quick whiff of that stuff jumpstarts my boxing regimen.
  13. Ojon Color Sustain Pro: Not only does this stuff keep my color from fading, it smells like a latte. And I cannot get enough of it!

Pic of the Week.

This tiny meal is diet-friendly.

This tiny meal is diet-friendly.

 Last Thursday night, my friend Marcy and I tried a little something different for our usual girls’ night — a try at the popular “Poppin’ Cookin’.” In particular, I purchased the hamburger set (that looks eerily similar to that of McDonalds).

What is Poppin Cookin? It’s a Japanese phenomenon, in which people like myself get great pleasure out of not only making very tiny food, but cooking it from packets of powder. No, seriously.

My obsession with Poppin Cookin started months ago, when one a popular video blogger posted a series of videos of her and her friends making all of these tiny concoctions — there were mini donuts, little sushi (made of candy, mind you), a teeny layer-cake, baby gummies, and microscopic waffles.

I was mesmerized.

It's supposed to look like this...

It’s supposed to look like this…

I immediately ordered the burger/fry kit, and it took nearly six weeks (!) for it to arrive. Once it arrived, I waited for Marcy to come over before really taking a look at the package… and once I did, we discovered that indeed ALL of the instructions were in Japanese. Stupid me, I thought there’d be a cheat guide on the inside, but nope.

So we had two options: wing it, or learn Japanese in an hour.

Okay, so there was a third option: watch a YouTube video. And that’s what we did. Meanwhile, we still got some of the powder packets mixed up, which left us with buns made of the potato and fries made of bun bread.

But hell, it all still tasted EXACTLY like McDonald’s, which was cool, until I started picturing the employees dumping giant bags of powder into a vat to make fries. Blech.

Anyway, even though it didn’t turn out exactly like the picture on the box, I give us props. It was our first time poppin cookin, and I think we did a pretty stellar job.

Next? I think the donuts are in order.

Things I’ve Learned From “Sex & The City”

Hello, lover.

Hello, lover.

The first time I watched Sex & The City, I was a junior in high school, visiting Miami of Ohio, staying with my ex-boyfriend’s sister (oddly enough, we share the same birthday). At the time, I didn’t think much about it, and I know I drifted off to sleep without realizing that I’d just witnessed a cultural phenomenon.

Sex & The City premiered on HBO in 1998, and ran 94 episodes until 2004. Based off the book, Sex & The City by Candace Bushnell, the series followed four women as they lived, worked, and dated (and sexed) in New York City.

If you can recall, ’98 was the year of Clinton-Lewinsky, and sex was still pretty taboo. Aside from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I’d venture to say that Sex & The City is the move that made it okay for women to openly discuss their wants, needs — in and outside — of the bedroom.

So yes, even a television show has taught me a couple of things:

  • Everyone has a Mr. Big. Okay, so maybe it’s not someone who breaks your heart multiple times, proposes to you, stands you up on your wedding day, and then finally decides to marry you… but I do believe everyone has someone who was a great love — maybe it worked out, maybe it didn’t — but they remain somewhere in your heart, forever.
  • Friendships can (and should be) judgment-free. This is probably one of my favorite things about watching Sex & The City; the women are (for the most part) pretty open to each other, and are non-judgy. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s taught me to be more open with my friends and in return, I’ve learned that they really do accept me for who I am.
  • Bald guys CAN make good husbands. Call me crazy, but I seriously love Harry. Trey was such a loser (aside from that fabulous apartment), and it makes me so happy watching Harry and Charlotte fall in love. She wanted a perfect guy, and she certainly got him!
  • Even the fabulous, fight. I don’t just mean fighting in relationships or friendships, I mean in life. All of the characters go through their own, personal journeys — specifically Samantha, when she battles breast cancer, and it’s inspirational to see her do it with bravery, and style, of course.
  • Smith Jared is fine as hell. Okay, so this isn’t really a lesson. But DAMN is Smith Jared (real name: Jason Lewis) the hottest thing you’ve ever seen or what? Sure, there were some hotties that we saw on Sex & The City, but he takes the cake. Duh, he’s the Absolut Hunk!
  • Paris doesn’t always mean love. Even though Big swoops in and saves Carrie in the end, those final two episodes when she’s in Paris with the Russian. Ugh! I die. Every. Single. Time. I watch that! When she calls Miranda?

 

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Fresh Friday: Peace, Love, & Juicy Couture.

Perfume ads love a giant bottle...

Perfume ads love a giant bottle…

I’m so glad that it’s Friday, for obvious reasons — the weekend is about to get started, AND, it’s another scent profile, this time for Peace, Love, & Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture.

More realistic size.

More realistic size.

You may have already known that Juicy Couture knew how to make a damn fine velour tracksuit, but did you know they can also craft a perfectly layered scent to suit any outfit? Let’s get the scoop.

This scent has been described as hippie, free-minded, with touches of lemon (shout out), wild hyacinth, sweet apple, and black currant buds. There are also notes of Sambac jasmine, star magnolia, Malibu poppy, honeysuckle, iris root extract, patchouli blossom, sensual musk, and linden blossom.

As said by Nordstrom, “The world’s juiciest message is all about peace and love. And couture, of course! The eternal quest for joy and happiness has been achieved with Peace, Love and Juicy Couture, a whimsical eau de parfum to bring out your inner flower child.

Drenched in florals, this juicy treasure is an aromatic revolution. Savor the fusion of freshly cut blossoms soaked in natural accents and wildly feminine wood harmonies. Liberate your senses and celebrate the freedom of being both hippie and chic!

Top notes: Meyer lemon tree blossom, wild hyacinth, sweet apple accord, black currant bud absolute. Middle notes: sambac jasmine absolute, star magnolia, Malibu poppy, honeysuckle, linden blossom. Drydown: orris extract, sheer patchouli flower, enveloping musks.”

Of the Juicy scents I’ve tried, I’ll say I’ve always been impressed with their ability to mix different notes together for something unique. This one is definitely worth a try!

Other cool ways to purchase Peace, Love, & Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture: Body lotion, Perfume rollerball, Cosmetic bag & body creme set

Starstruck.

"LC" & her book.

“LC” & her book.

Another summer read: down! But I will have to admit, I read this book, Starstruck by Lauren Conrad, out of its proper order. You see, this Fame Game series is the second series (I’ve already read the first set), but Starstruck is the second book in the set of three.

However, no offense to Ms. Conrad, but these books don’t really take any brains to read, so I don’t think I missed out on any major details.

All of Lauren Conrad’s fiction books are based around a group of girls that are stars of a popular reality television series — sound familiar?

The first series (L.A. Candy) was from the point of view of the “nice girl” (ahem, Lauren), while the second series (Fame Game) is from the POV of the bad girl (Heidi), or Madison.

From Amazon.com:

“In Starstruck, Madison isn’t getting much screen time on The Fame Game, the reality TV show following three girls trying to become stars in L.A.

She’s too busy doing community service after stealing a necklace. Kate, on the other hand, is getting huge amounts of publicity now that one of her songs has become an overnight sensation—and it’s going to her head.

And aspiring actress Carmen, the daughter of Hollywood royalty, is finally making a name for herself.”

From Goodreads.com:

“In the second novel in bestselling author Lauren Conrad’s Fame Game series, friendships are tested, lines are crossed, and fashion crimes are committed—and that’s before the cameras even start rolling.

Anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to make it in Hollywood will love this fun, addictive series written by someone who has seen—and lived—it all. Full of dishy details about young Hollywood that only an insider can reveal, bestselling author, fashion designer, and television star Lauren Conrad shows that the real drama happens behind the scenes.”

While it’s no brain-buster, I’ll say this was a great book to read while laying out on my roof, sipping on wine spritzers (my latest guilty pleasure) and getting a good, summer glow.

Pic of the Week.

Poolside tools.

Poolside tools.

It took all week for me to recover from my trip to the midwest, and of course, I had to work — it wasn’t easy getting back into the swing of things. So, when I got home Friday night (after an 8-mile bike ride and an hour of boxing), I wasn’t ashamed to tuck myself into bed early.

Per usual, I wasn’t thrilled to wake up early Saturday morning and get back to the gym, but that’s my story every Saturday, and I went, putting in two solid hours of sweat. The light at the end of the tunnel? A day at the pool with my friends.

After the gym and a protein shake, I packed my beach bag, and headed to the pool equipped with a book, my iPad, a magazine, sunscreen, and a cooler full of raw veggies and guacamole (Tone It Up, approved).

We spent the day in the sun, mostly in the pool, as the Baton Rouge temps were the hottest of the summer, so far. There was a fantastic briket on the smoker, and a pitcher of fresh lime and agave nectar margaritas in the fridge. It was a perfect Saturday.

When I left Indiana last weekend, I was really sad — as I usually am. I love seeing my friends, and my family, and I often miss Indiana. But this week has been a good reminder that what I’ve got here in Louisiana is nothing to snub.

Sometimes, I don’t love my job, but other than that, things are good. And in general, my life here is pretty easy. My work is rarely stressful, my friends are drama-free, and my apartment… well, I love it. And let’s face it, when you can show up at the gym and throw sledgehammers with the guys, that’s a good place to be.

I keep thinking that I’ve finally reached my quarter-life-crisis, and maybe I have. I’m not so certain what tomorrow brings, or what the next five years will look like — but I’m starting to realize that whatever happens, everything is gonna be alright.

Are All the Good Ones Taken?

He's great, but... he's got a girlfriend.

He’s great, but… he’s got a girlfriend.

About a year and a half ago, I was on-assignment for the magazine I write for. I watched a performance, and then hit up the after-party to interview some of the performers.

While I was there, I met this guy… Mark. He was incredibly attractive, funny, and was wearing one of those blazers with the elbow patches — love those.

We chatted about casual things; work, life in Louisiana, favorite foods… this went on for a solid hour, before he just mentions, “Oh yeah, my girlfriend and I did that…”

Ahem, excuse me?

There I was, getting this awesome, flirtatious vibe, plus that amazing conversational click, when he decides to let me know he’s in a full-blown relationship? That’s fucked up.

As most of you probably know, this was not the first time I’ve been approached, and/or attracted to a man who was in a relationship. What’s the deal with that?

I’ve heard before that men in relationships are more attractive to single women, because then you know the guy is at least capable of dating. Really? That seems kind of sad.

But naturally, Mark and I kept in touch via Facebook (which never leads to anything good) for a few weeks post-meeting. While he never totally crossed the line (there was no sexting or anything), he probably shouldn’t have been talking to me, and vis versa.

Eventually, we both realized it was best to drop it, and just move on. That was that.

Through the grapevine, I heard he was single about a year later, and shortly after that, I received a text message from him. I was really excited — perhaps something could happen in our favor; after all, we’d had such great chemistry.

So, I went out on a limb and invited him to join me at a friend’s birthday party in January. He gave me a weird excuse, and I backtracked, feeling embarrassed, and asked another friend to be my date.

Shortly after Mark rejected me, he mentioned something about coming over to watch a show on TV with me. Wait… so you’re more than willing to come over and hang out just the two of us, but going to a casual party with me is too much?

I spy a red flag. And an asshole.

I met Mark for coffee a few days later and was honest with him — he was playing me and looking for a fuck buddy. He, of course, denied it, but hasn’t talked to me since then.

It’s interesting how, when I met him, I was so convinced a greater power needed to step in and put us together. But when that’s what actually happened he turned out to be the person I pretended he wasn’t: that guy who talks to a woman for an hour before mentioning he’s taken.

No, thanks. I’m looking for a solo man.

Fresh Friday: Gold.

This is how I snuggle up, too.

This is how I snuggle up, too.

The scent this week is Gold by fashion designer, Michael Kors. He has a ton of different perfumes (I’m guessing to go along with his many clothing styles), so I’m sure you’ll be seeing his name on these posts quite often.

Cool bottle.

Cool bottle.

I’ve got a sample of Gold, and have been spritzing it on every morning for the past few days in preparation for this post — it’s a good scent!

It has been described as floral, tuberose (perennial plant related to the agaves), white floral, a little animalic, with a touch of amber. Gold was Michael Kors’ fragrance, launched in 2011, that features notes of freesia, violet, and magnolia, along with African orange flower, peony, musk, and woods (you know I love a little woods).

According to Makeup Alley, 90 percent of buyers would buy Gold again, describing it as sexy, sweet, big, and fresh.

From InStyle magazine in 2011: “Tuberose – Intoxicating. Loud. Sensual. Sexy. That’s how perfumers describe this heady white flower that can lend a creamy, almost coconut-like aroma to a fragrance, says perfumer Frederic Malle. If you love being in the limelight, this could be your calling card. “You can’t miss a scent with tuberose in it — it’s like saying, ‘I’m here, watch me!'” says perfumer Bruno Jovanovic. Michael Kors Gold. Mixed with magnolia and freesia, this blend offers a slightly lighter take on the classic scent. “It’s for the woman who perhaps hasn’t worn tuberose before because she thinks it’ll be too much,” says designer Michael Kors. “This is her entrée into a white floral.”

After wearing this perfume for a few days, I really do like it — I am a sucker for Kors — but I will admit that the scent fades around mid-afternoon.

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