Blog Archives

The Real Girl’s Kitchen.

My newest cookbook!

My newest cookbook!

Given that I did about ZERO reading in 2015, I only asked for one book for Christmas, and it wasn’t even a novel. Instead, I asked for a cookbook, particularly Haylie Duff’s “The Real Girl’s Kitchen,” which serves as a companion to her TV series on the Cooking Channel.

Upon getting with the times and treating myself to DVR in September, I know I mentioned my slight obsession with her show. I kept seeing plugs for it on Hilary Duff’s Instagram, and wanted to check it out.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what “Real Girl” kitchen she’s referring to, because I don’t usually find myself in the situations that Haylie does: cooking up late night eats for hot Los Angeles bar owners or throwing impromptu Texas Barbeque parties in my Hollywood backyard, but I’ve got a big imagination and I’ll take any excuse to dream. Maybe one day, Haylie, maybe one day.

But seriously, the 30-minute show usually features some sort of adventure where viewers get to see inside the kitchen of a restaurant, see how a dish is made, and then Haylie replicates it in her kitchen, and/or puts her own spin on it. Plus, she’s got lots of little kitchen hacks that are pretty cool.

The cookbook features several meals and appetizers she’s made on the show, but of course, there’s a slew of other recipes in there. Upon first glance, I was really impressed with the beautiful photos for the book, as well as the amount of actual writing – there’s lots of stories in there behind the recipes and the cooking in her family. Very cool.

On Christmas Day, I’d already planned to make a recipe I saw on the show, “Short rib stew” and it was very, VERY delicious! It was hearty, warm,  and full of flavor. The recipe called to cook it in a Dutch oven, but I don’t have one, so I just slow-cooked it in my crockpot for around six hours. It was fantastic!

I also whipped up a batch of organic dog treats that I saw in the very back of her cookbook. I’ll write more on these another day (they’re super easy) and delivered them to all of my puppy loves when I went to visit my friends in Indiana over the weekend (and yes, they are now puppy-approved).

I’m so excited to explore the cookbook some more and see what other simple, yet fabulous and delicious meals I can whip up a la Haylie Duff!

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Speak my Love Language.

What's your Love Language?

What’s your Love Language?

A good girlfriend of mine introduced me to the Myers-Briggs Trait Indicator test years ago. She knows the different types so well, a night out with her often results in discovering what personality traits people in the room have.

It’s fascinating.

Her knack for these traits have made her a beneficial matchmaker for me in the past, and last week, she introduced me to a new type of “trait” test.

She sent me a link to the “Love Languages” test after I told her I felt I was being misunderstood with men I meet.

The Love Languages were created by relationship counselor Gary Chapman, and you may be familiar with the term because of the popularity of his book surrounding the subject.

There are five love languages, and for some people, they coincide with the Myers-Briggs traits.

I’m a solid INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging) on the Myers-Briggs scale, but when I took the Love Languages text, I scored the highest possible – a 12 – for “Quality Time.” This makes the ole QT my top Love Language, meaning this is how you really get to my heart.

Quality Time is all about undivided attention (guys on their cell phones when we hang out really irk my nerves), and I do admit, this is super important to me.

My second highest language, an 8, belongs to Words of Affirmation; meaning, I value compliments and validation from my partner.

The other languages are Acts of Service (helping out at work or around the house), Physical Touch (pretty self-explanatory), and Receiving Gifts (also pretty straightforward).

So, what does all of this mean?

While the Myers-Briggs letters helped me discover my different personality traits, and how I work and interact with others, the Love Languages help me understand what makes me happy, and on the other hand, what really ticks me off, in my relationships with others.

Receiving Gifts only scored a 1/12 for me when I took the quiz. I’m not big on getting gifts. I’d rather spend time with my special someone than open a gift, which is why Quality Time was my number one. But, I know everyone is different.

The key is to understand your partner’s language, so you can cater to that and make them happy in a way they truly value.

When I really sit and think about it, the Love Languages make a ton of sense.

In order to find your Love Language without taking the quiz, you can observe the way you show affection. You can also take a look at what you complain about most – that thing you’re missing in relationships might be the Love Language you’re missing.

You also may be able to discover your partner’s Love Language by paying attention to how they show you love; people often give love in the way they wish to receive it.

I don’t think one Love Language is better than another, or that particular languages “match” well with others.

It’s more about understanding the way you wish to receive love, and providing your partner with love in the way they wish to receive it, too.

As a singleton, I currently don’t have a romantic partner to test my theory on, but I’m ready for the next one to come along.

Before you know it, I’ll be speaking all five Love Languages like a pro.

Pic of the Week.

Traveling hooommmme!

Traveling hooommmme!

I really don’t have any great pictures that represent my travels this weekend – it’s very likely that I was having such a good time, I didn’t pick up my phone. But I traveled north and visited some friends from high school, and got to meet my best friend’s baby (cutest baby ever, seriously). It was a rather quick trip, but a much-needed one.

Truthfully, I planned the trip for a few reasons: 1., I really wanted to meet my friend’s baby. I was able to come in town in the spring for her baby shower, but wasn’t able to make it back when he was born, due to my awkward employment situation. I’ve just recently been able to get my finances together to travel. 2. Because of my job, I now have paid vacation days, and with the holiday, there was a built-in day-off that I thought I would take advantage of. And 3., I have tried my best not to mention it, but there’s someone I have a pretty big crush on back home. Until this weekend, I hadn’t seen this guy in 8 years.

If you’re new to these parts, I’ll admit that I’ve got a bit of a weak spot for Indiana guys. I don’t know if it’s a familiarity thing, or just something about the way they are, but I easily fall for their charm, I guess.

Of course, that whole distance thing really sucks. It’s not like it’s a few hours, it’s like a day-drive, or a half-day of flying. It would take planning and a lot of will power to make something like that work.

Personally, I think the distance has its advantages. But it definitely makes for a different relationship dynamic (not saying that we are in a relationship). Let’s be real: I’m probably only good for the casual stuff.

Okay, that’s a lie. I just don’t think he’s into me quite as much as I’m into him (but he was a complete gentleman over the weekend), and I’ll spend the next two weeks convincing myself that I’m good being single for another decade… or two, in order to avoid getting attached and heartbroken.

If I’m being REAL honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve traveled home to see someone I liked. In college, I went back to visit my then-boyfriend. We had a great few days together, and when he took me to my mom’s house at the end of my trip, it was the last time I ever saw him.

He pretty much faded me out instead of formally breaking up with me, but he said something about how the distance was just too difficult. And, like I said, I am aware that it sucks, but I’m also a die-hard romantic. I’d do just about anything to be with someone I cared about; even if it meant taking the plunge and moving, or whatever was on the table.

I want that kind of love so bad, that I’d hate to throw away something good just because we live in different places. Is that part of the whole fate thing? Am I destined to fall in love with a Texan just because that’s where I live? It’s all overwhelming to me.

A trip home is always an interesting one; it brings back a lot of good memories, and it makes me think a lot about how far I’ve come. Right now, I’m at the complete will of my job and career. That’s why I live where I live. In a few years, I could probably live wherever and do what I do.

But for now, I’m still a Singleton in Texas.

#Goals in 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Whoop — first blog of 2016! I thought it would feel more weird writing that number, but I feel like I’ve had my eye on 2016 for awhile now. Perhaps it’s just because a majority of my 2015 totally sucked.

But it’s a fresh year, and although I feel like I make New Years goals/resolutions and never pay attention to them again, here I am setting a few things up for myself.

For starters, I’m really working to figure out how to manage my time better. I got a new planner for Christmas and I’m getting in the habit of writing everything down that I need to do, and the places I need to be.

I feel like, by the time I get home from work, it’s already time to get to ready for the next day, and start winding down for bed. And that makes me feel like all I do is work. That can’t happen. So, I’m going to manage my time better to have more time for myself. Even if I’m watching TV, I’m usually on the computer or searching for things online with my phone. I rarely just relax.

My biggest goal this year is to clean up my finances. I’ve still got some credit card debt that I’m working to pay off; it’s something that’s been holding me back for years, and I’m ready to finish it off and close a few of my high interest cards. If you’ve got any budget tips (aside from Dave Ramsey – I’ve got books on books on books), let me know!

And, speaking of books, I really didn’t read at all last year, which is really unlike me. So, I bought a few new books recently, and I’m pretty amped to crack them open.

As for my love life, it should come as no surprise that I’m getting tired of being single. I know that I’m supposed to be waiting for this possibly imaginary guy to come my way, but I at least need to get out there and go on a date. So, that’s my goal this year. I want to meet some people in Austin, maybe they’ll just end up friends, but I think I need to make a real effort to get back out there. It’s been way too long.

So, what are your goals/hopes/dreams/resolutions for 2016? I’d love to hear them!

Let’s Fight, Right.

Fighting is inevitable, but can you do it right?

Fighting is inevitable, but can you do it right?

Last week, I got into a bit of an argument with the guy I’m seeing.

Okay, so we haven’t gotten into the logistics of our relationship yet, but we are basically seeing each other.

He’s very easy going, and while I’d consider myself comfortable in that same category, I’ll admit it, I’m not quite as easy going as he is.

And so, we had a little fight.

You see, he really wanted to go to this party, and well, I pretty much didn’t.

I was half-okay with attending the party, as long as he was cool with us leaving early. It didn’t mean we were actually going to leave early, I just like to have options.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: he’s pretty social, and I partake in hermit-like hobbies, such as sitting on my couch, alone.

Enter: the disagreement.

Yes, I know the premise of this argument is incredibly stupid. But it happened, and I’ll tell you what, the way someone fights in a relationship is very interesting.

In typical girl mode, I took his dire need to attend this party as an out for spending quality time with me. I legit thought that he would rather go to the party than hang out alone, and possibly fool around.

Of course, that is not what he meant. He wanted to introduce me to his friends, which is sweet, right?

Yes, it is.

But sometimes I get so inside myself, and I get insecure, and there’s just no coaxing me out of that zone. I was upset and I just wanted him to apologize.

But, he didn’t feel as if he did anything wrong, so he didn’t know what to apologize for.

While I have no training in fighting fairly, I know you’re not supposed to attack each other, so I tried to explain where I was coming from and why I felt the way I felt.

I really do like this guy, a lot, so I wasn’t trying to attack him and make the problem worse.

I ended up crying right in front of him (embarrassing), but he started to understand my side, even though I had it totally wrong.

And he apologized, many times.

While I just kept going around in circles, repeating and analyzing over things we’d already said, he finally just asked if we were going to resolve it.

And that’s what you have to do: make peace. Because in the end, the reality comes down to one question – do you want to be with that person or not?

Of course, it’s too early to tell if forever is the game, but I certainly would hate to ruin our potential relationship over a simple misunderstanding.

But not all arguments are easy, and I’m sure that one won’t be our last.

It’s a matter of knowing how to fight in a way that’s not going to haunt your partner for eternity.

I can recall fights with past boyfriends, where it seemed like they’d waited months for a fight to spill their best insults on me.

And those are some words I’ll never forget.

Truthfully, I hate conflict, and sometimes that blows up in my face. Since I just want to make things better, I just apologize before I even know the problem.

A professional fighter knows his opponent’s battle style before stepping into the ring, and they’ve trained with it at the forefront of their mind.

In relationships, we’re going at it blindly – but we’ve still got to let our hearts lead the way.

Give a Little.

Giving, in relationships, is what it's all about.

Giving, in relationships, is what it’s all about.

Is it just me, or has it been incredibly difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year? I feel really old when I say, “It’s crept up on me this year,” yet I keep saying it.

I blame my Scrooge-like spirit partly on the weather, given that it’s going to be in the 70s on Christmas Day; how am I supposed to feel all wintry when I haven’t even had a chance to break out the boots?

I blame the other half of my Grinch-ish attitude on the fact that my car was broken into and my iPad was stolen (not to mention the $350 it cost to replace the shattered window).

It got me thinking about my favorite movie (all year), “Home Alone“, when Harry and Marv are scouting out the houses they want to rob before Christmas. Marv is in the McCallister home, dressed as a police officer, talking to Mr. McCallister.

“It’s Christmas time,” he says. “There’s always a lot of burglaries around the holidays.”

Is that why someone busted into my car? In hopes of giving their child an iPad for Christmas? Maybe.

In “Home Alone“, it’s essentially the Wet Bandits and their taunting that send Kevin back into the arms of his family members, with an understanding of what Christmas is all about.

When I saw my shattered window, I was already on the phone with my pseudo-boyfriend. We’re in that stage where it’s pretty obvious we like each other, I’d be pissed if he went out with someone else, but we haven’t had any serious talks about the future of our relationship.

And I’m fine with this, for now, anyway (he is really, really handsome).

But as any good man would do, he did what he could to help me in my time of distress, and has been there to listen to me whine when I have fits of rage over the incident, even weeks later (I miss my iPad, y’all!).

While our bond has taken years to form, it’s safe to say that our sometimes-gloomy pasts have deepened our connection. We’ve both had rocky relationships that have shown us exactly the type of person we’re looking to be with, whether that’s each other or not is to-be-determined.

Over Thanksgiving, my best friend asked me if I ever get on Facebook and look at my exes’ profiles to see just how much better we’re doing than them. I hadn’t, until she asked, and then I did. I’ll guiltily admit it was quite nice to see my exes looking plump and loser-like.

But neither of those reasons are why the relationships of my past have failed. When I really think about it, it comes down to how much a person is willing to give.

And I don’t mean material things, I’m referring to the general spirit of giving and someone’s ability to compromise. Outside of general compatibility, if a person is selfish, a relationship isn’t going to work, period.

Some of the most giving people I know are the ones who don’t have much. But they’ll give their ear to listen, their time to talk, a sip of their wine, or a couch to sleep on.

And that’s what I’m most thankful for this holiday season. I’ve got people around me who care enough to give, even if it’s something small. My hope is that you feel the same way this holiday season, and all year ‘round.

Looking to start a blog and join me in the blogosphere? Take my 4-hour class on Blogging for Beginners using my discount code ‘Hurray’ for 60% off, making it just $25! Check it out!

Pic of the Week.

I know I’ve mentioned a few times that it’s been difficult for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year — and hey, I’ll probably mention it at least once more before Friday. Deal with it.

But, I think this happens to me every single year. Sometimes, I’ll go the entire season without feeling “Christmassy” and then BAM, on Christmas Eve, when I’m baking a nice little pie, I feel festive. I suppose it doesn’t matter when it happens, so as long as it happens.

Over the weekend, I made it my MISSION to watch pretty much nothing but Christmas and holiday stuff on TV. Here’s a little rundown of what I saw (or at least listened to while I did my chores):

Yeah, it was a lot. But even watching these movies (hearing all the Christmas songs) got me in the holiday spirit. It didn’t hurt that I was burning some of my favorite holiday candles as well: Mountain Lodge, Vanilla Bourbon, and Frasier Fir.

I also watched the Christmas episodes of one of my favorite shows, “Will & Grace”, including the Christmas Eve episode in season five.

I finished up my Christmas shopping Friday night (where I got to see lots of Christmas lights), so I wrapped all of the gifts on Saturday while I watched said movies. I also hit the market to pick up all of my holiday food (and okay, lots of wine).

My mom flew into town yesterday, so we’ll be spending this afternoon doing all sorts of festive activities — including ice skating and the Trail of Lights (you should really check it out on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7) — and tomorrow we are treating ourselves to “Merry Mani-Pedis,” which consist of peppermint scrub. Sweet!

I hope you’re finding the holiday spirit within, and that you’re able to spend this week with close family and/or friends. I’ve got some more holiday goodies for y’all in tomorrow’s blog, and some extra thoughts on the season for Thursday’s post. Happy holidays, my fabulous readers!

PS. Treat yourself to that CUTE Kate Spade thermal travel tumbler, or one very similar, right here. Cheers! 

P.S.S. My class, Blogging for Beginners, is FINALLY live on Udemy.com — check it out here — and I would LOVE to offer it to you for $25 instead of the usual $59 using code: Hurray 

All the info for the class is on the site, but it is a 4-hour class with 33 lectures, and you get to know everything you EVER wanted to know about blogging! I really hope to see you there!

Single Girl Recipe: Holiday Cocktails!

It's Christmastime, cheers y'all!

It’s Christmastime, cheers y’all!

Whether you’re spending the holidays with family, friends, or both, the chances are likely you’ll need a cocktail to get through one more round of dominos with the grandparents or flip through that dusty photo album with your mother-in-law, for the 11th time.

Or, maybe you’re like me, and looking for any excuse to get a sip! As a kid, my dad used to make special drinks for the holidays — drinks we could all enjoy — that simply consisted of cranberry juice and 7Up. We called it a “Cran-Up,” and I always felt so special drinking it out of a festive glass.

The holidays are always so hard on any healthy diet, but they don’t have to be. Earlier this month, Shape Magazine released a list of “Low-Calorie Holiday Cocktails” and they are absolutely fantastic! Below are some of my favorite twists on this year’s list:

The Pomegranate Mojito

1/3 cup light pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 ounce rum
1/4 teaspoon Stevia or sugar
1/2 cup champagne
Pomegranate seeds

In a glass, add pomegranate juice, lime juice, rum, and sugar. Mix well. Fill the glass with ice cubes and top it off with champagne and pomegranate seeds.

Note: I’m not sure how they can call this a “Mojito” given that there’s no mint in the recipe. Add a fresh kick to it by muddling a few fresh mint leaves and stirring them in.

Rosemary Gin Fizz

3 sprigs rosemary
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 ounces gin
3 ounces club soda

In a small drinking glass, muddle the fresh rosemary, lemon juice, and honey. Fill the glass with ice, then pour with gin and top with club soda.

Not a gin fan? Replace it with vodka (lemon vodka would be delicious, too).

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

2 ounces ginger flavored vodka (but plain will work too)
2 ounces apple cider (we love homemade!)
1 small lime wedge, juiced
Ginger beer to top off, to taste
Cinnamon to sprinkle

In a copper mug, add the vodka, apple cider, and lime juice. Fill the glass with ice, sprinkle cinnamon over the ice, and top off with ginger beer. Stir well and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

…And there you have it! What are your favorite things to sip on this holiday season? Follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see what’s in my cup at any given moment.

Recipe for Monogamy.

Am I built for monogamy?

Am I built for monogamy?

“It’s only ever happened one time in my entire life.”

My hip-hop dance instructor, Dimitrius, was trying to explain to me that he’s been in a serious relationship for most of his life.

For the sake of this column, we’re going to assume that he was single at birth, but probably found another cute baby in the hospital parking lot.

I guess you’d say he’s a serial monogamist; always in an exclusive relationship.

But now, he’s single, and says he meets people through Grindr and during his shifts dancing at a bar.

“Dating is… interesting,” he continued. “Some of the people out there are just so…weird.”

No shit.

I know a few people who seem to always be in a relationship, and it makes me wonder if they know something I don’t. Are they holding on to some kind of secret that makes them eligible for staying with the same person for months, or even years?

As I get older, I feel a little bit of pressure to be involved in more serious relationships. And when I really think about my past, there’s not a single relationship that reflects your typical definition of “serious.”

In fact, my relationship past is mostly made up of glorified f*ck buddies, and… that’s it.

How am I supposed to go into any sort of meaningful relationship having no real experience in one? Sure, I know there’s a first time for everything, but I’m 30. It’s about time I get with the program.

But instead of punishing myself for my past, I’d say it’s time I start appreciating it for what it is. And I’ll say that I’ve learned a whole lot about types people, dating, and sex.

So maybe I don’t know the key to a lasting relationship yet, but I do know how to hold great conversations on dates, how to spot a red flag from a mile away, and I’ve had some fun experiences in the bedroom.

I suppose my problem isn’t in those beginning, fun stages of a relationship. The issues arise when things get to that point of going serious, or staying in the “friends with benefits” zone.

There are times when I just wonder if I don’t come across as marriage material; or perhaps I’m just simply not.

Living in the South, it sometimes seems like those old relationship stereotypes hold true: be seen, not heard, and do everything you can to be a housewife.

I look ridiculous in pearls, and as a relationship (ok, sometimes sex) columnist, I can’t go without being heard. Housewife? Sure, I’ll stay home, cook, clean, and start drinking martinis at 2pm. No problem.

A friend of mine told me he didn’t feel very “experienced” in the bedroom — he’s like Dimitrius in that he’s always involved in something serious.

I started thinking back, and the truth is, I’ve had a lot of sexual adventures (more than I’d like to admit).

I’ve always heard that people in serious relationships don’t have much sex, but I didn’t want to ask if he was admitting that.

If that’s part of the “secret” to being monogamous, then I don’t want to be it!

Although my rocky past still weighs me down at times, when I think about Dimitrius — out there in the dating world for the first time — I’m sort of glad I’ve had the experiences I’ve had.

They’ve shaped me in a way, whether it’s for the better or worse, and I’m still holding out hope that there’s someone out there who’s going to put up with me.

Pic of the Week.

My glittery kitty ornament in all her glory.

My glittery kitty ornament in all her glory.

Is it just me, or is this holiday season just FLYING by? I feel like everything is coming up so fast and I’ve got so much to do before it’s over!

Nonetheless, it all starts with putting up the Christmas tree, right? Yes. I think every year, that maybe THIS year, I won’t put up a tree. Because… it’s annoying. You’ve got to dig it out, put it together, untangle the lights, and slap on the ornaments in some sort of organized fashion.

It takes forever, and it never really looks the way you’d hoped, yet we do it year after year without question. Well, my mom acted like I was crazy for not wanting to put up the tree — and given that she’s coming to visit me for the holiday, I supposed I should probably not act like the Grinch.

So, I got the tree out, but was scared shitless that the mouse in my apartment (who is either gone or still chillin’ in the lap of luxury), would be waiting for me in its branches. So, I basically dumped the tree parts onto the apartment floor and left it sitting for two days in a pile.

The weird thing was, I only saw 2/3 of the tree. So where the fuck was the 3rd part? I called my mom, asked her if she recalled seeing a rogue Christmas tree during my move. Nope. I was convinced I got so drunk when I took the tree down last year that I’d thrown the 3rd part — the tree top — down the chute. That’s when you know you party; you just assume you got drunk and did something WAY stupid.

But after hours of searching my 600-ft apartment for the remainder of a 9ft tree, I threw the other parts of the tree across said apartment in a rage. And out flew part number 3. Ta-da! Time to get this party started!

Per tradition, I turned on the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting special, and let Al Roker kick off my cheer (did anyone else catch it when he accidentally said “breast”?). I put the tree together, got the lights on, and basically threw the ornaments on in no order whatsoever. I wanted it done and done.

In two hours, my tree was done, I’d hung the stockings, and put a wreath on my tree… and I even put out a festive centerpiece on my island. It’s Christmas, y’all… now, if I could only get my shopping done…

Dirty 30: cellulite.

If only my legs looked that good...

If only my legs looked that good…

That’s right, I’ve got cellulite. While it has an oddly nice ring to it, I freaking haaaaate it!

I’ll be honest here, I’ve really never had body issues until the last year or so. Part of it came from being a gym rat, and getting obsessive over what I ate and how often I hit the gym (at one time, I was there everyday), and don’t get me wrong, I looked great. But there’s got to be some sort of balance, and honestly, I’m not ashamed to admit that there’s a slew of other things I’d rather be doing than hanging out at the gym.

Over the summer, it had been a minute since I worked out, and I definitely wasn’t eating my best. But, my friend invited me for a day out boating. I put on my swimsuit, and for the first time, I really felt embarrassed. There were dimples all over my thighs and ass. NOOOOOOOoooo!

I kept my shorts on all day in hopes of hiding at least some of it.

I’m sure it’s been there for awhile and I’ve just never noticed it, or have never been bothered by it. But yeah, it makes me self conscious.

So, what the hell is this cellulite, anyway? It’s basically fat right under the skin. The dimples are caused by the fat pushing against connective tissue (WebMD). Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t happen because you’re overweight. It’s genetic, and it’s more common in women than it is in men.

While you can’t necessarily prevent cellulite, there are factors that determine how visible it is, such as diet, fad dieting, slow metabolism, lack of physical activity, hormone changes, dehydration, total body fat, and thickness and color of your skin.

So, what can we do to combat cellulite? Well, aside from eating a healthy diet, and getting some physical exercise, I’ve taken a small obsession to using fat creams.

The foursome.

The foursome.

Right now, I use Bliss’ Fat Girl Slim line — a body scrub, two creams, a little tool called a “slimulator,” and a gel. Writing it all out like that really makes me sound like a nutcase.

But! You can get almost all of these products in a single kit, if you’re interested in trying them out. Alright, how it works — you start with the scrub to get all the dead skin cleared away, then stimulate the skin with the Slimulator, and follow up with the FatGirlSlim cream that reduces cellulite visibility. Before bed, slather on the second cream, FatGirlSleep, that soothes the body and helps repair your cells while you sleep (and it smells like lavender).

I also started using Bliss’ Love Handler, which targets the mid-section using caffeine, and it’s amazingly cool and tingly.

I’ll be honest, none of these products are going to make me look like Kendall Jenner, but they do a really great job of tightening the skin and making it incredibly smooth. And let’s face facts, when a guy runs his hand up your thigh, it better be smooth!

What products are you using to get smooth skin?

Of Mice and Men.

There's a mouse in my house!

There’s a mouse in my house!

I was going to write about lies — how often we lie and why we do it, and of course, how it affects our relationships.

But as I type this, I’ve locked myself into my bedroom and am impatiently waiting to hear a victorious “snap!” of a mousetrap.

Let me explain.

I am expecting company this weekend, so I came home from work, ready to clean my apartment.

After awhile of sweeping and putting things away, I realized I hadn’t seen my cat in awhile.

I went into my bathroom, and she was in the bathroom closet, eyes locked on a corner.

I couldn’t see anything in the corner, but she was meowing at said corner.

I groaned, figuring it was a roach. So I took my broom handle and smacked on the wall to hopefully scare it out and start war.

But nothing happened.

My stomach dropped — if she wasn’t meowing at a roach, thenwhat?

And before I knew it, a decent-sized mouse came flying out of the closet, leaping for safety, as I ran sprinter-style into my living room, screaming bloody murder.

I sought refuge on my couch (standing on top of it) to call the only guy who could help me, my lifetime friend (who I also like to make out with).

“THERE’S A MOUSE IN MY APARTMENT!!” I screamed when he answered.

“I’m at the bowling alley, get a trap, I’ll call you later,” he said.

He lives in Indiana. Which certainly seemed like worlds away when I wished he could just do that guy thing and take care of the mouse without me having to freak out.

But I took his advice, and went to the nearest store, and bought their stock in mousetraps (the no-mess kind). I filled them with peanut butter, designed a maze of them in my laundry room (where the mouse was last seen), and am now locked in my bedroom.

My single status forces me to face my fears in situations such as these, when I’d really rather have a guy around.

But, the real question is why are women more afraid of mice, and spiders, or just more afraid in general?

It can’t just be a stereotype or a gender role, right?

Enter: Google.

Turns out, there really is science behind it.

The Daily Mail reported in 2014, that according to a study performed by McGill University, mice are more distressed by the scent of a man. This means, mice are more likely to confront a woman, especially when a man is not around.

So, now the mice are targeting single women (not part of the study). What the hell, mice?

Now I don’t feel as guilty about that alluring peanut butter right before Mr. Mouse approaches his death.

The fact of the matter is, the single life means you face a lot of things alone.

Some of those things are kind of nice, such as watching endless reruns of “Vanderpump Rules” or conducting an at-home spa day.

But other things, like dealing with intruders or facing the holidays, can be more difficult to walk solo.

The thing is, though, that at the end of the journey, you’re better because of it.

When you walk the road alone, having a partner at the end of it all is just the icing on the cake.

Or, in my case? It’s the snap on the mousetrap: victory, at last.

Sale alert! It’s the LAST day to download my 3rd book, Lemon Drops: Poems & Shorts, for just $.99 before it goes back up to its original price of $3.99 — get it while you can, loves! 

The Turkey Stands Alone.

Turkey for one!

Turkey for one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really cannot wait.

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

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

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

Red flags got me like…

Wait, let me take a selfie.

Wait, let me take a selfie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First comes marriage, then divorce?

Welcome to Splitsville.

Welcome to Splitsville.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And sometimes, things just don’t workout.

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

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

Smart!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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