Loneliness is tragic.

Walking alone isn’t always easy.

Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, because, well, I’ve been alone for a greater part of the last 14 years. Most of that time, though, I haven’t felt lonely.

After two tragedies struck my friends and family in Indiana over the last six weeks though, I started to feel homesick. I left Indiana at 18, headed South, and really never thought I’d turn back. And yes, I’ve had some great times in these parts, and met some great people – but is anyone ever quite as great as the friends you’ve known since middle school? Doubtful.

I still don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Indiana, or the Midwest, other than for quick visits. Although in times like these, I can’t explain just how much I wish I could hop right on over to Indiana, to spend a Friday night with people who know me; people who make me excited to be alive. Regardless, I’m trying to make the most out of my life in Austin, and I know it’s one of the most entertaining cities in the country.

But my attempts at making friends here have left me feeling more lonely than when I started. People have flaked for things I’ve invited them to do – movies, concerts, brunches – and even things they’ve invited me to do. Everyone is looking for the Bigger, Better Deal (the BBD), and apparently I am not it.

After years of suffering from breakup after breakup, I quickly learned that a man was not going to be the source of my happiness, and I’ve basically given up on that part of my life. I know I can still live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life as a single person.

But I can’t do it alone, can I? I suppose I pictured my life as a single person much like the lives of the women on “Sex and the City” – only, minus the sex and designer fashions. Or perhaps like those on “Girls” only minus the sex and easy-going careers. You get the picture: I need a few friends to do shit with.

Because you know what? No matter how cool I think I am, hanging out with just myself gets old. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to surprise myself with yet another great, home-cooked meal. These days, I’m so over myself that I buy all of the organic, pre-made goods I can because then at least I have time to read or to build a plan to get friends.

During the week, I don’t have much time for social outings given my job, my dance schedule, and this blog. Some weekends, I am busy with chores or writing projects, but other weekends it would be nice to meet up with friends for drinks, a sporting event, or simply a movie.

Holidays, though, those are the worst. I hate admitting this, but I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas by myself last year, and as much as I tried to make it pleasant for myself – baking a pie from scratch & mixing craft cocktails – it was a very depressing time.

Because the truth is, when you’re not close to family, and your friends live 19 hours away, it almost seems as if I’ve built so many walls around myself that my only choice is to be alone, even for the moments when being together is all that really matters.

This is not the first time in my life I’ve felt lonely, of course. In fact, it is during these times when I have fallen into a dark pattern of meeting friends, or sometimes, men, who are terribly wrong for me. Because of this, I am very weary of my actions during these times – I don’t want to fall for the wrong people out of desperation.

But it is also during these times when little things hurt even more than they would on a good day. The cat call of a construction worker (“You have a fat ass”) on your morning walk to the Texas Capitol stings more; being ignored by a crush cuts a little deeper; and getting ditched by a girlfriend calls for a bottle of wine to keep all to yourself.

I struggle with gathering the courage and confidence to do things alone, or to simply just curl up on my couch and accept my fate.

After a week of debate, I braved downtown Austin and went to see Big Freedia in concert, alone. I put on my best twerking outfit, dark lipstick, and treated myself to a beer (or two). As I was standing at the bar alone, a few ladies approached me and asked if I’d come alone. Yes, I did, I said.

So had they. All of our friends had ditched us. And so, we danced the night away, together. It was great, and just the night I needed. I had done it for Freedia – her positive attitude and awesome music got me off my couch, and her presence sent me floating into the night.

I am still trying to make friends; and to figure this whole thing out. Until then, perhaps I’ll just live by a new set of words: What Would Freedia Do?

“All I can do is do what I do and make it do what it does.” -Big Freedia 

BBC: ‘The Unexpected Everything’.

Hey, hey! We made it to the end of the week! I still have a busy day ahead, but I’m a big fan of the Friday energy, so I’ll take it. I’m excited to tell you about this book I read, so I’ll jump right in.

It’s a YA novel called, “The Unexpected Everything” by Morgan Matson. Here’s the book’s description from Amazon.com:

Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in this New York Times bestselling novel about friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie has her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

Dun, dun dun! I’ll be honest, I didn’t even read the description before I put myself on the reserve list at the library for this one. I stumbled across it on a reading list from Lauren Conrad, and since I L O V E her, I wanted to read it right away.

What the book ended up being was a fun, breezy ride through a summer romance amidst clouds of teenage chaos. I’ve been running down memory lane a lot lately, and this book catered to my homesick self. It was a fun read, with a well-crafted plot.

Morgan Matson is also the author of “Since You’ve Been Gone“, and I’m adding this one to my list of books that will be acceptable to read while at the pool. I certainly enjoyed “The Unexpected Everything” so much, that I think her other book would be good, too.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves YA novels, and especially if you liked John Green’s “Paper Towns”.

The next book the Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin“. I just started reading this book last night, and wow am I excited to get INTO it! I hope you’ll read it along with me this week.

And that’s that! I have a busy weekend planned, but I’m looking forward to some fun. I hope you’ve got some good stuff lined up, and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

‘So Cosmo’: Cosmo AF.

Le sigh, Evan looks so good.

Does this week seem soooooo long to anyone else? It’s been super crazy at work, and I’m trying my best to keep my cool, but I’m ready for the weekend!

Leave it to “So Cosmo” to provide a little mid-week relief. The episode is all sorts of Cosmo drama when Tiffany wore a borrowed sheer white skirt out, and naturally spilled red wine on it. The skirt has to be returned stain-free, obvi, so that creates an interesting experimental situation for Tiffany’s assistant.

Meanwhile, in Union Square, Evan is trying to finish up an article for the magazine by getting some 1:1 interviews with women who work out. Pretty much everyone he asks thinks he’s a creep, so he calls Diandra in hopes that if he had a woman by his side, he could actually get some quotes.

But when he calls Diandra, she answers her phone all “new phone who dis?” and the conversation is very short and awkward. And frankly, it’s kind of sad.

The staff is having a little goodbye party for Joana, and Michael Buble stops by, because Cosmo.

Back to the stain! Tiffany’s assistant went to the people at Good Housekeeping and talked to the “stain expert” and got some sort of spray to put on the skirt. While Tiffany is worried it won’t work, her assistant says the owner of the skirt has been harassing her to get it back.

Meanwhile, Joana and Michelle are having a meeting of the minds, complete with champs, and it’s very pinky-up-hauty-laughter; very who is going to SURVIVE?! Ugh.

Back at Stain-Gate 2017, Tiffany’s assistant has a friend who thinks he can get the stain out. So he secretly comes into the office and scoops up the skirt and is out of there, but not without Tiffany seeing and she wants to know aaallll the details about it.

In other news, Joana pulls Leah aside to “talk about her career”, and basically tells her that she’s fucking awesome and she probably needs a new challenge. In addition to her title as Beauty Editor at Cosmo, she’s also going to add four additional magazines under her (in the beauty department). So, her new title is Chief Beauty Officer… and it comes with a hefty pay increase.

Some of the other departments are seeing similar shifts – such as the fashion department. Basically everyone is taking over Hearst. I’m envious.

Later, Leah tells her husband about her promotion, and she also slips in that even though it’s not a great time for them to have a second baby, she miiiight be pregnant. What?! Her husband doesn’t seem worried – he’s all “it’s never really a good time; everything will work itself out.”

Evan comes into the office and tells Adam that he’s thinking about quitting because he feels so strongly about Diandra. WHAT?! Evan says he hasn’t felt this way in a long time about someone, and Adam is like uhh hey, you worked really hard for this… and lowkey Adam doesn’t think Diandra is that into him.

Adam runs over to Diandra and tells her what’s about to go down, while at the same time, Evan is in Holly’s office telling her he might not be staying at Cosmo. NOOOOOOOO!!!

Holly is all, “You would be crazy to leave”, and she refuses to accept his resignation. Diandra races into Holly’s office and stops the conversation. Basically, Holly is a class act and says, look, I know what’s going on between the two of you, so please take a walk, and figure this out, and we’ll follow up in a few.

Adam runs over to Tiffany and tells HER what’s happening and Tiffany is all “WHAT THE FUCK”, and she’s ready to knock some sense into these youngins.

Diandra and Evan lock themselves in the lounge, and she flips her shit. She’s like, “I don’t know what you want from me!!!!” and it’s super dramatic. Then he blurts out “I love you!” and she’s crying and he starts sniffling and heads back upstairs.

It’s at about this time I realize a little clump of words in the corner of the screen: “Season Finale”. NNAAAAOOOOOO.

So basically there’s no damn resolution and we just watched 8 hours of “So Cosmo” for nothing more than a view of Evan’s abs.

…I’ll take what I can get, let’s be honest.

 

#FAIL: ‘Beauty & the Beast’.

The Beast and Belle step onto the dance floor.

Although I was ready to see the remake of “Beauty and the Beast” during its premier weekend, I somehow stuck things out and saw it last night at the Drafthouse.

I’ll just get this out of the way now: it’s not worth rushing to see. That’s right, it’s mediocre, at best. Honestly, where do I even start?

I’ll start with the fact that Disney needed to decide whether or not this was a movie for children. Originally, this fairy tale (created long before Disney) is probably not safe for children. After all, we’re talking about a woman falling in love with a BEAST.

But the cartoon version Disney created made it much easier for us to suspend reality and possible even look at the Beast with gentle eyes. Not in the remake. He’s a hairy, matted beast, with a nasty attitude. But don’t worry, because Disney tossed in a fuck ton of slapstick humor (think: the Beast in makeup), for the kids.

And I get it, many real-life movies ask us to suspend reality before the movie even begins. Heck, that’s why we love going to the movies so much! But in order for a true escape to happen, all of the details must be in order. I’ll come back to this in a second.

The cartoon version of this flick is a musical, so I guess the formula was to keep the same song and dance numbers in this version – I mean you have to have “Be Our Guest” – but none of it was good. The singing was weak (sorry, Emma Watson), and there was no dancing. Even “Be Our Guest” had a more serious tone to it.

In general, this film lacked magic. Despite all of the special effects Disney has their grubby paws on, they didn’t use much of it for this film – minus one scene where gold is sprinkled onto Belle’s dress (probably an ode to Donald Trump, for the Republicans in the audience). It’s weak – especially in the age of “Fantastic Beasts”, which had my jaw on the floor the entire time.

Finally, I’ll mention wardrobe. All of Belle’s outfits were disappointing (that yellow prom dress from 1999 deserves a Joan Rivers’ rip on “Fashion Police”), while the Beast showed out in his winter coat and his ballroom blue – but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he was wearing a shredded afghan for half the film.

Riddle me this… so Disney wanted to update the cartoon version, but they actually didn’t update it. They just made it with actual people, who lack stage presence. Yes, they added a few different scenes, but they added nothing to the point or entertainment of the movie.

Disney made the ultimate mistakes of amateur writers: they give us no reason to like the Beast (he was a dick before turning into a beast and he’s still a dick AS the beast), and they didn’t keep up with consistency in details (such as, why is Belle complaining about her provincial life when she isn’t living one?).

The two things I liked about this movie? Lumiere’s shoes, and the storyline among the “objects” – they were much more aware of their lifespan as the rose petals fell, than what we saw in the cartoon. It made for an interesting twist.

I am also really happy I saw this at the Drafthouse because they had a themed milkshake called “Pudding en Flambe”, which was vanilla ice cream, chocolate pudding, and flambeed strawberries, and it was DELICIOUS. So good. It was worth the $12 I paid for the ticket and the $10 for the shake and tip. Hey, be our guest!

I know so many people who loved this movie, and I know that I’m critical when it comes to films and writing, and even song and dance. I was sad to be disappointed by this one, but I can’t ignore mediocrity, especially when it’s a film that’s going to make a ton of cash.

Even Roger Ebert’s site agrees with me and says the additions did little for the story, and that it lacks performance. But, they still awarded it 3 stars because no one wants to be on Disney’s bad side.

Meh, I’ll be the first. And I’ll bring my “Pudding en Flambe” shake with me when they banish me to the Beast’s dungeon.

Countdown to Vegas, baby!

The famous scene from “Ocean’s Eleven” in front of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino.

In just a few weeks, I’m heading to Vegas for an extended weekend of sun, relaxation, and well, lots of massive drinks. Because, Vegas! I have been to Vegas before, but it was several years ago, and I’m excited to revisit some of my favorite spots (the Paris Hotel & Casino, and Hash House A-Go-Go), while trying some new spots (fishbowls at the Sugar Factory and the Neon Graveyard Museum).

In order to make the most out of my fun-filled days out West, I’m planning a few things in advance, packing strategically, staying on my diet, and hyping myself up. So, I’ve put together a list of my favorite movies that feature Sin City in all its glittery glory.

Ocean’s Eleven 

George Clooney + Brad Pitt… Yes! 2001 really served it to us in this action-packed movie that involves 11 dudes ready to take down Vegas, by robbing three casinos at the same time. You go boys! And it makes visiting the Bellagio fountains that much more iconic.

Swingers

When I suffered my very first breakup, my dad introduced me to the 1996 cult classic, “Swingers”. I’m so glad he did, because I can’t get enough of Trent and Mike and their ways with the ladies, especially once they hit the Vegas strip. Everything is “Money, baby”, and frankly, this movie is one of my all-time favorites.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

No self-respecting writer can turn his or her back on Hunter S. Thompson and his beloved book-turned-movie, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. When a unique journalist (played by Johnny Depp) and his lawyer head to Vegas, deciphering reality from illusion becomes the challenge. It’s a must-see.

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I’ll admit it, the book (“Busting Vegas”) was better, but the movie adaptation was on-point. The movie tells the true story of six MIT students who learned how to count cards, and took millions of dollars from the Vegas casinos. It’s a thriller, that’s for sure, and Kevin Spacey is perfection.

I had a 1590 on my SAT. I got a 44 on my MCATs. And I have a 4.0 GPA from MIT. I thought I had my life mapped out. But then I remembered what my Nonlinear Equations professor once told me, always account for variable change.

The Hangover 

In 2009, we were blessed with the start of “The Hangover” trilogy. Although the entire franchise puts me in giggles, the first one is my favorite. This movie is what Vegas is all about: Wolf packs, strippers, cocaine, and partying so hard that you lose your memory, and the bachelor. Think: “Dude, Where’s My Car?” only in Vegas, with a bottomless budget. It’s hilariously fantastic, and I love going to Cesar’s Palace to look for a payphone 😉

…So, don’t be shocked if you see me Tweeting (@OrangeJulius7) about these movies in the coming weeks. What movies about Vegas do you like to watch?

Attitude is everything.

One of my favorite quotes.

Very rarely in my life have I been praised for my attitude. Since I can remember, I was told I have an attitude problem. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about attitude, and how it affects the makings of my days.

When I got my first job post-college, I was one of the youngest people there, and I was coming in with fresh ideas and I was really excited to implement them. But, I was up against a really old and traditional way of doing things, and many of my coworkers weren’t interested in change. I pushed back as much as I could – I got side-eyes, and stern conversations, until I was eventually fired after seven years.

After that, I got a dose of reality, and worked like I’ve never worked before. Over the course of the past few years, I feel like I’ve tried to have a better attitude; a more positive outlook on things, because sometimes that’s all I have.

When I started my current job, I met someone – a coworker – with possibly the worst attitude I’ve ever seen. I mean she HATES everything, including but not limited to, In-N-Out, California, the Midwest, shepherd’s pie, Trump, everyone who voted for Trump, reality TV, Fox News, Megyn Kelly, protestors, anti-choicers, slow internet, border patrol, blue states, going to work, planning ahead, big trucks, flying, traveling, being tired, traffic, and the layout of Austin.

I’ve only been at this job for a few months, so I’m sure I’ll learn more about her least favorite things, but you see my point. Eventually, I understood that we weren’t going to have much in common, which is okay.

But what’s not okay is how she treats me. On several occasions, she’s ignored me when I’ve said hello or tried to speak to her. She’s slammed the door into my desk, tossed the company credit card at me, and said racist comments about white women in front of me.

So, I started trying to limit my interactions with her. I wasn’t sure how to maintain my professionalism while still talking to her. But even then, she went to our boss and told her I didn’t talk to her. My boss asked me what was going on between us, but before I could answer she said, “I know she’s really rude and racist toward white people.”

Uhhhh, ok? What more did I need to say? How is this okay?

About two weeks later, the problem hadn’t been addressed, and instead of directly addressing it, my boss simply told our entire team that whatever was happening needed to stop and we were not required to be friends at the office.

Uh, what?

Sure, I agree, we don’t have to be friends. But isn’t there a standard for the way we treat each other, as humans? I’ve never worked at a place where it’s totally acceptable to be blatantly rude to your coworkers.

My boss said if we have problems with each other, we need to address them directly. Ah, so there’s the catch: the ole it’s all on ME game.

Basically this takes the pressure off the leader, and puts the responsibility on the employee. If you have a problem, you figure out how to resolve it. If you don’t resolve it, then you must be okay with it.

So, what’s the best way to approach someone and say, hi, it hurts my feelings when you ignore me?

In all honesty, this entire ordeal has really made me look at myself and reevaluate. Am I someone who needs friends at work? No, but I do like to be friendly to those around me. Am I too scared to speak up when someone is disrespecting me? No, but I probably need to figure out a professional way to handle it.

No matter what, though, I’ve realized just how much it sucks to show up to work in a decent mood, only to discover that even just one employee has a bad attitude. It can bring down the entire team, for the whole day – and for what?

But I know it’s up to me to try and maintain a positive attitude. And just when I thought that wasn’t possible, I met up with one of my blogging students for a tutoring session. As we parted ways, he told me how much he appreciated my patience and my help with his blog.

He’s a retired professor, looking to write for leisure now that he has the time, and I was able to help, and without realizing it, I’d made a difference. At least I know things aren’t all bad.

And so today, Monday, I’m going to try to keep things positive. It may mean lots of coffee and podcasts in my ears, but I’ll be smiling.

BBC: ‘Settle for More’.

Hey there! This week’s read from Blanche’s Book Club might be a little unexpected, or at least that’s what my friends were telling me when I told them what book I was reading. It’s “Settle for More” by Megyn Kelly.

Before I get into WHY I wanted to read it, I’ll give you the scoop from Amazon.com:

Whether it’s asking tough questions during a presidential debate or pressing for answers to today’s most important issues, Megyn Kelly has demonstrated the intelligence, strength, common sense, and courage that have made her one of today’s best-known journalists, respected by women and men, young and old, Republicans and Democrats.

In Settle for More, the anchor of The Kelly File reflects on the enduring values and experiences that have shaped her—from growing up in a family that rejected the “trophies for everyone” mentality, to her father’s sudden, tragic death while she was in high school. She goes behind-the-scenes of her career, sharing the stories and struggles that landed her in the anchor chair of cable’s #1 news show. Speaking candidly about her decision to “settle for more”—a motto she credits as having dramatically transformed her life at home and at work—Megyn discusses how she abandoned a thriving legal career to follow her journalism dreams.

Admired for her hard work, humor, and authenticity, Megyn sheds light on the news business, her time at Fox News, the challenges of being a professional woman and working mother, and her most talked about television moments. She also speaks openly about Donald Trump’s feud with her, revealing never-before-heard details about the first Republican debate, its difficult aftermath, and how she persevered through it all.

Deeply personal and surprising, Settle for More offers unparalleled insight into this charismatic and intriguing journalist, and inspires us all to embrace the principles—determination, honesty, and fortitude in the face of fear—that have won her fans across the political divide.

So, there you have it! I didn’t know much about Ms. Kelly before all of the publicity Trump gave her, but I saw a feature on her on “Sunday Morning”, and I really appreciated the fact that she’d come up through the journalism ranks in an honest way. Many journalists you see on TV didn’t earn their spot.

The book indeed dives into Kelly’s issues with Trump, which started well before the primary debate she moderated, and continued for nearly an entire year afterward. The book also covers her personal and family life, her initial career as a lawyer, and how she transitioned into the world of journalism. It also (briefly) touches on the her allegations against Roger Ailes for sexual assault.

Kelly left Fox news in January, also leaving her nightly show “The Kelly Files”, behind for NBC. However, there is no official start date for her (per an article in the Washington Examiner dated March 15).

The only thing I don’t like about Kelly? That she’s very clear on NOT being a feminist, especially when she doesn’t seem to even understand the concept, and she’s in the perfect position to be one!

But, I’d still definitely recommend this book if you’re at all a fan of journalism, or if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what happened between her and Trump (she has scanned emails in there).

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Unexpected Everything” by Morgan Matson. Read it with us by simply reading it and hitting me up on social media @OrangeJulius7 and/or commenting right here on the blog!

I hope you all have a fantastic, fun weekend. I am thinking about seeing “Beauty & the Beast”, and I know I’ve got loads of “Big Little Lies” to catch up on. Catch y’all on the flipside!

‘So Cosmo’: Woman Up.

Diandra at “Fun Fearless Money”.

Hey, hey! It has been a bit of a doozy of a week – so bad I almost had to go out and buy myself a bottle of wine, but I didn’t, because 1. I’m too lazy, and 2. I’m really serious about not messing up my “sleep study” (please read Tuesday’s post for clarity). Either way, I’m happy we’re on the downside of the week, and coasting right on into the weekend.

Which means one thing: A new episode of “So Cosmo” was on last night! The episode starts with Diandra and Evan on a D-A-T-E – she gets a helicopter to take them over the city. Seriously? THIS is the type of shit I need to be doing? Where have all the cowboys gone?

It was super romantic until Evan was all, “Is there a Mile High Club for helicopters?”

Meanwhile, Tiffany has a girlfriend over for a little champagne and she just casually has the “Cosmo Karma Sutra” book on her coffee table, because it’s “pretty”. So the ladies are flipping through the book and they get to talking about guys they’ve dated and it comes up that Tiffany actually went through a recent breakup with a guy she thought was “the one”.

In work news, Adam got a great opportunity to shoot the “Tips and Sips” shoot – remember, it’s the spread about manicures inspired by cocktails? Basically he is flipping the fuck out over it, and trying to get help from other coworkers and they are having none of it.

Later, there’s a Facebook Live event where Evan has his shirt off and is holding a puppy (I mean, dear God). The readers are allowed to ask questions and of course, they want to know if he is single. He says Diandra wants to keep things secret, so yeah, he’s single! And heeereeee we gooooo.

The day of the “Tips and Sips” shoot, and Adam is really nervous to show his skillz in front of Leah. And right off the bat, the first look he chose is just too much (think: red sequined jumpsuit with Sangria-inspired nails).

But as the shoot continues, his style picks are right on-point. Leah tells him he did a great job, and he’s really, really relieved. Yay!!

At Diandra’s apartment, her friend is over, and she also invites Evan over, and her girlfriend is like freaking OOOUT over how how Evan is. He does seem flattered that Diandra has at least told one of her friends about them.

At a work event, Diandra gets a text from Evan – a pic of him with his shirt off and damn it looks FWINE – and Tiffany happens to be looking over her shoulder and sees the picture. Naturally, she freaks out and starts asking a ton of questions about what happened in Miami. Diandra plays coy and is now afraid she’s going to be labeled as “The office slore”. Well, yeah. Probably so.

Another night at the office, I’m not sure how, but Diandra and Tiffany are having glasses of wine at their desks, and Tiffany tells Diandra this story about how she ran into her ex- the ex – the night before. I guess he left Tiffany and got married right away, then divorced soon after and already had another girlfriend – who he was with when he ran into Tiffany. Yikes.

Later, a second coworker tells Diandra that she knows about Evan and Diandra needs to “watch out” if she’s thinking of dating someone at work. Diandra says she loves her job, but she also doesn’t want to sacrifice a relationship, but she stands Evan up for their next date, and man does he look sad. Like, real sad.

She eventually tells him they need to cool it because she can’t handle people at work talking about it. And he is sad! Like it seems really sad – I didn’t even know guys cared, at all. So… this has kind of got me hooked because obviously the episode was over after that. Next week, y’all! It goes down!

Finding pride in the soles of shoes.

Nice collection, girl.

**The following is a piece of original writing I entered into an essay contest. It didn’t win, but I like it, and I thought you might, too. Happy Humpday, y’all!**

Each employee was to schedule a meeting with our new manager to discuss our job roles, challenges, and goals. My meeting was set for a Thursday afternoon, and I’d taken a few notes on my iPad before heading downstairs to her office.

But when I entered her mahogany kingdom, I was met with an employee from Human Resources. My new manager and I weren’t going to be discussing my job, but rather, the fact that my “services” were no longer needed.

For nearly seven years leading up to that day, I’d served as the Web Editor for a large, state university. I’d written stories for the website, reorganized departmental sites, led national advertising campaigns, and created social media strategies for the brand. I’d just received the largest raise in the office due to my hard work over the years.

That day, my previous work, all of my experience – it meant nothing.

“Any questions?” my boss asked.

There were papers to sign in front of me, and I was given strict instructions to pack up my office (do not touch your computer or any other university property, they said), and would be escorted out of the building and was never to return to campus.

“Yes,” I said, working to move my jaw. “Why is this happening?”

I was told that it was an “at-will” termination, which meant that according to state law, I could be terminated for any reason, at any time, without warning, and without being told of the reason.

So, I went to my office where there were empty boxes waiting to be filled. I was watched as I packed, and escorted to my car, walking past the offices of my former fellow employees.

I’d built my life around my job, which had become my career. I’d stayed in the city, 15 hours from where I grew up, for this job, and had little intent to leave. I lived in a coveted loft, a place I would soon come to resent given the high rent and my lack of funds.

The next day, I started applying for jobs. I applied for jobs like my life depended on it – because, in a way, it did. I applied all over the country, for all sorts of positions that sounded remotely interesting. When weeks passed without so much as a phone call, I started looking for short-term work as well.

The holidays were approaching, so I applied for retail positions that would at least get me out of the apartment and I could earn a paycheck.

Around Thanksgiving, I accepted a position as a part-time associate at a shore store near my apartment. My first shift was scheduled for five hours, but a few hours in, I was asked if I could stay until the store closed, making it a 14-hour shift. I said yes.

It was hard work; I was on my feet, and I only got a 30-minute break. The store was constantly busy, and I quickly learned shoe style numbers, sizing, and how to reasonably make a sale. The pay was only $8 an hour, so I’d packed a peanut butter sandwich in order to avoid the food court.

That night, I cried on my short drive home. I was fairly certain my feet had never hurt quite so bad, and I wondered how long this was going to be my life. My next shift at the store was scheduled to start in just eight hours.

I quickly missed the comfort of my desk, my office, and the luxury of simply knowing how to do my job. But I kept on, working as many shifts as I was allowed and picking up extras for fellow employees when they needed time off. I wasn’t going home for the holidays that year, so I could just keep working.

As the days passed, I sometimes saw friends or old coworkers in the store. It was awkward having to explain my situation. Even a few family members turned on me, making condescending comments about how I was “just a shoe salesman at the mall” now.

For a moment, I hung my head in shame. But, my friend who worked in Human Resources for an ad agency and often served as my workout partner, offered some wisdom.

“Head up,” he said. “Everyone has a job to do.”

He was right. There are all sorts of jobs that are less-then-glamorous, and they are held by employees doing what they need to do to get by in this life. It doesn’t really matter if it’s part of their passion or their intended journey, it was a job that needed to be filled in order for the ways of the world to keep going.

No, I didn’t go to college to work at a shoe store, but I was making an honest living, and I was applying for other jobs during my time off. I also accepted two additional retail jobs, and got a promotion at the shoe store, making my work week at least 60-hours.

I learned how to operate three different cash register systems, memorized the opening and closing procedures for each job, and started to find joy in the little things – greeting and helping customers, getting to know my coworkers (despite our 10-year age difference), and going to bed each night knowing I’d done everything I could that day.

That year, I spent Christmas alone. In fact, Christmas Day was my only day off in weeks, since it was the only day all of the stores were closed. I found comfort on my couch, with my heating pad, and my decorated tree that I’d reluctantly pulled from my closet in November.

It took me eight months to find a job that fit my career path and offered a salary with benefits. The job was in another state, and I worked my retail jobs until the day I moved.

There’s no doubt that it was the most difficult eight months of my life – there were very few days off, no health insurance, and a very tight budget I had to follow. But, I’d somehow made it work. I kept my loft until moving day, never missed a bill, and I learned how to juggle the schedules of three jobs.

I also learned a lot about pride and hard work. At most job interviews, they ask how you’d describe yourself. I’d said I was a hard worker before, but now I’ve truly lived it. I’ve worked when I thought I couldn’t even stand, I’ve done jobs that some people wouldn’t even consider, and I’ve smiled when people from my career-life would whisper, “What are you doing here?

There are days when even my current salaried gig isn’t all I dreamt of during my long shifts in the retail stores. But no matter what job I have, at any point in my life, I know I’m going to do it with my head held high.

Take pride in the ability to get up each day, and do whatever it is you have to do to keep going. Find joy in the walk to the office, the people you see each shift, or the discovery of all the new things you’ve learned.

Almost two years after unexpectedly losing my job, I still carry fears that it will happen again, but then I remember that I made it work. Sure, it wasn’t easy, but I did it, and I found some good in that chapter of my journey.

Looking back, my job at the university had its perks, and it looked really good on my resume. But it wasn’t challenging, and there was no room for growth, meaning I would have had to leave eventually. How it happened wasn’t any sort of dream scenario, but it forced me out of my comfort zone, and into the reality of another person’s shoes.

An update on my fatigue…

Who needs sleep? THIS GIRL.

It’s been a few weeks since I told the world (yes, that’s the power of this blog) about my case of extreme fatigue – read all about it here – and I figured it’d be a good time for an update.

Just a few days after the post, I decided to spend that weekend getting some relaxing in. Naturally, it was the same weekend that Daylight Saving time happened, so that was dumb, but whatever. I read, spent lots of time on my couch, and caught up on TV.

The thing is, my fatigue could be a result of many things, including: lack of sleep, allergy medication, increased workouts, lack of protein, or stress. So, I vowed to tackle two of those things for at least one entire week, to see if my energy improved.

In order to get more protein into my diet, I did a lot of research to find out how much protein I need each day (46 grams) and I shopped accordingly. I made “egg muffins” with spinach and cheese for breakfast, and I had grilled chicken breast for lunch. Protein? CHECK.

I also bought a fuckton of bananas to try the latest craze from Dr. Oz: Banana “tea”. Here’s the scoop on naner tea from the Dr. Oz website:

Did you know bananas are a sleeping pill in a peel? If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try this banana-infused tea as a bedtime snack. Studies have shown that magnesium can be helpful in preventing you from pulling yourself out of sleep, and the potassium and magnesium help your blood vessels and muscles relax.

You make the tea by simply cutting off the ends of one banana, and boiling it (peel and all) in a pot of water for 10 minutes. Pour water into a mug, and I added cinnamon, because, why not? I also ate the banana, because a warm banana is the closest thing I’ve had to dessert in awhile.

I’ve heard the sleep that comes post-tea, is the deepest sleep ever. So, I gave it the ole college try and I drank this tea every night before bed, for 7 nights in a row. While I cannot say I had the best sleep of my life… it was better sleep than I’ve had in probably two years. The downside of the tea is the time it takes to make it, then wait for it to cool, then drink it all – I had to really plan for it, and by the time I drank the tea, I was so bored I could have probably fallen asleep without it.

But when I slept Friday and Saturday night sans-tea, I slept like SHIT. I woke up, tossed and turned, laid awake for hours. Fuck that.

The real question is, did the protein and tea help me feel more awake during the day? Yes. I wasn’t wired, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was about to pass out at my desk. So, that’s promising.

This week, I’m still eating protein: cottage cheese for breakfast and baked chicken for lunch. And, I’m taking a natural sleep aid at night. I’m going to test this for a solid week and see which works better for me – and of course I can always switch it up.

On the one hand, yes, I feel hopeful that I just need to keep up with my diet and a good sleeping schedule and I may feel back to normal without something seriously being wrong with me. But, on the other hand, I may have to always be really serious about what I eat and the amount of sleep I get. And while I know it’s petty – it’s a problem lots of people would love to have – it’s difficult for me (even just in this last week) to turn off the lights hours before I actually want to; to skip reading into the late night; to have random TV marathons… it means giving up a lot of fun things just so I can function at work.

But, we’ll see! My self-science experiment isn’t over, and hey, getting solid sleep is kinda nice… zzzz…

‘Will & Grace’: The best of…

The gang is BACK!

You may recall that around election time, the cast of “Will & Grace” was doing us all a giant favor and posting on social media pictures hinting that they miiiight be reuniting. And it’s true – they are! At first, it was rumored the gang was getting back together for just one episode, but when everyone freaked out (because why wouldn’t we?), they decided to come back for 10 WHOLE episodes!

Here’s the official statement:

“We’re thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back,” said NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt in a release. “This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs.”

An official air date hasn’t been released yet, but I’m guessing it will be in the fall. Regardless, “Will & Grace” is by far my favorite TV show of all time, and I still watch the repeat episodes each week (WE TV has a “Will & Grace” binge-a-thon every Friday, FYI).

So, I got to thinking: what is my FAVORITE episode of “Will & Grace”? Uhh, this is just too difficult a question to answer, so my mom had the smart idea of figuring out which episode was the best, for each season. Yes! So that’s what we’re doing on this Monday, the first day of Spring! Here goes…

SEASON ONE (1998-1999)

Best Episode: “Secrets and Lays”. Grace organizes an apparently spontaneous weekend getaway for her, Will, Jack, and Karen to the mountains at Karen’s cabin, but the real reason is more emotional: the trip coincides with what would have been Will and Michael’s anniversary. Problems arise when Grace runs into an old friend named Campbell, and she finds herself torn between pursuing him and supporting Will, who eventually admits that he does still miss his ex-boyfriend. Seeing Karen attempt to cook, nonetheless survive without her staff, is what makes this my favorite of the season.

Runner-up: “Will On Ice”. It’s Will’s birthday, and everyone goes Champions on Ice–even though he doesn’t want to (but pretends that he is okay). Grace and Jack find a mutual interest in figure skating. I was OBSESSED with Champions on Ice, and Rudy Gallindo (spelling?) makes a guest appearance in this episode.

SEASON TWO (1999-2000)

Best Episode: “Acting Out”. When a scheduled kiss between two gay TV characters doesn’t happen, Jack gets very upset and convinces Will to protest at NBC with him. When they are rebuffed by the president’s office, they see Al Roker doing “The Today Show” on the streets of New York, and go to talk to him. When Al ignores Jack asking how long he will have to wait to see a gay kiss on TV, Will grabs Jack and kisses him. Grace can’t find a way to break up with her very sweet but very annoying boyfriend, Josh. She finally takes Karen’s advice and tells Josh that she’s in love with Will… right before they see Will kissing Jack on national television.

This episode is definitely meta, since it’s about two gay men kissing on prime time TV and that’s what we end up seeing – “Will & Grace” was the first network TV show to feature gay men as its main characters, so this was a monumental episode!

Runner-up: N/A. 

SEASON THREE (2000-2001)

Best Episode: “Husbands and Trophy Wives”. When Grace joins Ben at the yacht club and sees Karen there, she finds out from Rosario that Karen is insecure because she is reaching the age of Stan’s first wife. She tries complimenting Karen to boost her failing ego, but Karen just thinks Grace is a lesbian, so Grace asks Ben to flirt with Karen. Ben successfully does so, but when Stan sees him he gets jealous and has Ben thrown out of the yacht club. Will and Jack go to what they think is going to be a crazy gay weekend in the Hamptons, but what they find is that all of their crazy friends have settled down and are raising babies. Will volunteers himself and Jack to babysit for a night and is disappointed with the results, concluding that he’ll make a terrible father. Jack reassures Will that he’ll be a great father someday because he’s already a great father to Jack.

This episode is HILARIOUS. Karen is, by far, my favorite character, and her accusing Grace of being a lesbian is truly laugh-out-loud funny. Plus, I love Karen’s style when she’s at the yacht club.

Runner-up: N/A. 

SEASON FOUR (2001-2002)

Best Episode: “He Shoots, They Snore”. Jack is upset when Will takes Elliot to a basketball tournament in Connecticut and counsels him on what his first kiss means. Jack feels cheated out of a fatherly moment, but later on in the tournament Jack gets to help Elliot get over losing the game for his team. Meanwhile, Will becomes friends with three beefy dads who are fascinated to get to know a gay man. Grace teaches an interior design seminar at The New School and is a big boring flop. She gets her students to come back for a second day by promising them that they’ll get to visit a famous person’s apartment, and then tries to intimidate Karen into making her empty promise a reality. Karen tells her she’ll get her into Katie Couric’s apartment, but then double-crosses her and admits that she doesn’t even know Katie Couric. Grace’s disappointed students leave for good this time. Any scene with Jack and Elliot wins in my book – and this one is really funny.

Runner-up: “Fagel Attraction”. Will’s laptop is stolen from a coffee shop and a friendly detective, Gavin, is on the case. Gavin is also a member of Jack’s new gay therapy group, and he admits to the group that he’s nervous about asking out guys so he makes up stories to spend time with them. He also has a big problem when people have food stuck in their teeth. Gavin tells Will they have to go undercover to a gay club to bust the gay laptop stealing ring, and Will starts to catch on that something strange is going on. When Will runs into Jack who tells him all about Gavin, he then brings Gavin home and purposely gets food stuck in his teeth to wig him out. Will gets Gavin to admit the “undercover” scheme was a ploy to go on a date, and hopes Gavin will ask him out for real, but Gavin runs away because of the stuff still in Will’s teeth. Grace’s crazy neighbor Val tries to be friends with Grace again, but when Grace isn’t interested she tries to become a designer and steal both Grace’s ideas and Grace’s client. Michael Douglas guest stars. I love that this episode takes something semi-serious (a stolen laptop) and tackles it like a murder investigation.

SEASON FIVE (2002-2003)

Best Episode: “Bacon and Eggs”. Grace takes a pregnancy test and she and Will are disappointed when it comes out negative, but plan to try again in two weeks. Leo hunts Grace down at her office and continues to pursue her. Grace pushes him away because of her promise to Will. Karen sends Rosario to break up with Lionel for her, but Rosario is seduced by him as well. Karen finally gets up the nerve to break up with Lionel herself, and then Rosario comes back for round two. Jack stalks Kevin Bacon, and then accidentally gets hired as his assistant. Jack is sad when he finds out being Kevin’s assistant doesn’t mean he gets to dance with him, it actually means he has to hunt down his stalker. Jack brings Will stalking with him next time, and Kevin busts them. Jack fingers Will as the stalker and runs. It turns out that Kevin is actually excited to meet his stalker, because having a stalker means his career isn’t dead. Jack is horrified when he finds Kevin and Will dancing together. Grace finally gives in and calls Leo, leaving a message on his machine for him to call her.

Truthfully, season five is FULL of great episodes. The Kevin Bacon episode ranks near the very top (of all) for me, because, well, Kevin Bacon plays himself hilariously. And seeing Will dance with him is priceless.

Runner-up: “May Divorce Be With You.” When Karen finds out that Will is representing Stan in the divorce, she hires her own hotshot attorney, Jason Towne. Will worries about Karen’s judgment when Jason turns out to be a young snot-nosed kid that doesn’t know pro bono from a fidelity clause. Will tries to help Jason, and then advises Karen to get a new lawyer, but when Karen confronts Jason it turns out that he’s not as bumbling as he seemed, that it was all an act to make Will slip up. Jack brings in a new client for Grace, his latest boyfriend, Cam. Not only is Cam rich, but Grace loves his taste in home decor, and when Cam dumps Jack the next day, Grace is loath to give into Jack’s demands and drop Cam as a client. Grace goes to tell Cam she can’t work for him anymore, but Cam talks her into remodeling his enormous country house instead. Jack busts them and Grace finally quits entirely, valuing her friendship with Jack too much to betray him. Then, of course, Jack gets back together with Cam. Macaulay Culkin and Clark Gregg guest-star.

I love Macaulay Culkin. Period.

SEASON SIX (2003-2004)

Best Episode: “Me and Mr. Jones”. Jack gets a one-line part in an off-Broadway play starring James Earl Jones, but when the director likes Jack’s delivery better than James’s, James Earl Jones finds himself studying in Jack’s acting class. Grace trails after a woman and her trainer at the gym so that she can make use of the trainer without having to pay for it. Will and his mother are both sick of living together, but neither wants to say it to the other. Finally, they admit their feelings, and Marilyn decides to move back home that night, but in the process of moving she twists her ankle and Will finds himself having to care for his wheelchair-bound mother for a few more weeks. This episode involves a scene where James Earl Jones is acting a few lines from “Sex and the City” – worth every second.

Runner-up: “Fanilow”. Will is excited to be first in line for Barry Manilow tickets, and asks Grace to hold his place while he runs across the street to use the bathroom. Grace is shocked to see her mother, who cancelled their annual Hanukkah shopping trip, having dinner at a nearby restaurant with Jack. Grace calls Karen and gets her to hold Will’s place in line while she confronts her mother. Meanwhile, Will snubs a guy who is hitting on him only to later find out that he is Barry Manilow’s tour manager, and can get him backstage to meet the man himself. Will does some serious ass-kissing, and promises to go on a date with the guy in Philadelphia, in order to meet his idol. Grace realizes that she actually does want to spend time with her mother, and is jealous that her mother is choosing to spend time with Jack instead. Karen realizes she likes Barry Manilow’s music.

SEASON SEVEN (2004-2005)

Best Episode: “Back Up, Dancer”. Jack must compete in a dance-off so he can be a back-up singer for Janet Jackson. Meanwhile, Will has to decide whether to go out with his boyfriend or help Grace cope with her failed marriage. I know a lot of my favorite episodes involve guest celebs, but this one is quite funny. Janet Jackson plays herself – a huge diva, and a ridiculous dance off ensues.

Runner-up: “Queens for a Day”. As Thanksgiving approaches, and Will and Vince plan to bring together their respective “families” for the event, Vince warns Will that his mother never likes his boyfriends. To get a jump on Vince’s mom liking him, Will takes her out shopping, but accidentally causes her to break her toe while trying on some very high heels. To make it up to her, Will decides to cook her usual big Italian Thanksgiving dinner, even though she spends the entire time trying to put him down. Vince’s sister, Ro, admits to Jack that she’s a lesbian and wants to break up with her fiancé. Jack tells Ro she should come out at Thanksgiving dinner, but Will, wanting everything to be perfect, convinces her to wait. Karen and Grace, who have both been single for a while and haven’t had any recent sex, find themselves fighting over Vince’s hot cousin Sal—who they later find out is only 16 years old. Vince constantly feels put down by his dad, even though the slights are only imagined. Finally, as dinner is served and Will is giving the toast, he can’t take Vince’s mom’s bad-mouthing anymore, so he lets her have it, outing Ro and embarrassing Grace and Karen at the same time. He prepares to leave, but Vince’s mom realizes how much Will loves her son, and asks him to stay.

SEASON EIGHT (2005-2006)

Best Episode:”The Finale”. In the first part of the series finale, Grace and Leo have a baby girl, and Will and Vince have a baby boy. Grace has a weird dream about the gang’s future. Karen’s arch-enemy Beverly Leslie makes an offer to Jack that changes his life.

In the second part of the series finale, Will and Grace have a falling out that lasts for years. They eventually meet up when their children meet in college (who eventually get married) and make up.

Runner-up: N/A.

But now we know that it wasn’t reeeaally the series finale since we’ve got more to come! are you a “Will & Grace” fan? I’d love to hear what episodes are your favorites.

 

BBC: ‘Two by Two’.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I almost ran out and bought a box of Lucky Charms last night so I could eat it today for good luck – but I know I legit just wanted anything sugary because sometimes you just have to treat yourself. I didn’t (I had egg whites and spinach instead), but the day isn’t over.

In other news, my latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks! This book came out in October of last year, and I’ve pretty much been on a waiting list at the library ever since – that’s how much everyone loves Nicholas Sparks. Here’s the scoop:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

…Sounds basically like every other Nicholas Sparks’ book, right? Kinda. I’m being serious when I say I love Nicholas Sparks. He’s obviously found a formula that works, as he has published what – 20 books – or so? And I also like that I pretty much know what I’m going to get when I settle in with one of his stories.

The chances are likely that it will be the story of a man and a woman, and will involve a third-party of some sort. The main characters will be too good to be true – nice, gorgeous, hard-working, etc. The third-party will be an asshole, a drunk, a gold digger, or an abusive prick. The story will be punctuated with homemade dinners, wine, and late nights, and yes, there will be a sad part.

“Two by Two” meets this mold to a degree. But I’ll be honest, at first, the lead male was really ticking me off. He was definitely not perfect, and he painted his wife out to be a whiny, superficial B. But why?!???!

I present to you, Exhibit A: an excerpt from a People magazine article, dated January 6, 2015:

There will be no storybook ending for Nicholas Sparks and his wife Cathy – the woman who inspired so many of the best-selling author’s novels.

The king of the love story, who has penned 17 romantic novels – nine of which, including The Notebook, have been made into movies – is splitting from his wife of 25 years.

So, bitter much?! Now that Sparks is single (or, no longer married), he’s going to paint the women in his books to be greedy whores!

In all honesty, this was probably the lengthiest book in Sparks’ collection, and I read 95% of it one day. So, it still makes for a laid-back, easy read that moves quickly. And yes, it would make a great movie.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Settle for More” by Megyn Kelly (oohhh ahhhhh…). I hope you’ll read it with us!

And to all, I hope you have a happy and safe weekend. I’ll be… trying not to eat an entire box of Lucky Charms in a single sitting.

‘So Cosmo’: BAHAMADRAMA.

Another installment of ‘So Cosmo’.

Austin is hopping from SXSW, and I partook in a little bit of the fun yesterday (read: I broke my diet to drink a frose – frozen rose – and eat a Frito pie)! I also stopped by an iconic Austin spot, Jo’s Coffee, and had their signature drink, an “Iced Turbo” and it was fantastic. But, today I’m reminded of my age, as my back and legs hurt tremendously. But, it was worth it.

So, last night on “So Cosmo”… now the relationship is on like Donkey Kong between Diandra and Evan. Oh la la! Diandra is working on an article for “Cosmo” about how she posed nude for the first time. Note: when she posed was when she was in the Hamptons – and she’s not nude, it’s implied (bubbles are covering her bits).

Regardless, she shows Evan the picture, and in return, he rips his shirt off right in the office (WHY do I not work at Cosmo?!).

In other news, there is a scheduled photo shoot for the magazine in the Bahamas, and a massive hurricane is coming. The backup plan is Miami, even though that doesn’t really look promising, either. So, now the team has to come up with a third plan, which is Coney Island.

However, Diandra and Evan are already in Miami… so that’s interesting. But even when the boss calls them to hop on a plane ASAP, the chances are pretty high that they’ll stay another night.

They hit the night scene, and it’s pretty cute, not gonna lie. They do have separate rooms, but it appears they only used one…

The only other question about the shoot is… who is going to do it? Because the best fitness shoots involve a fitness model, and Diandra was supposed to do it, but can she? Can she hold a squat in the proper position? Guess we’ll have to see.

Part of the shoot is on the beach, meaning Evan and Diandra are literally doing single-handed planks in the sand. Ouch.

The other part of the shoot is a fashion spread on the boardwalk, and it looks cute with all of the retro rides and bright colors.

Back at the office, some of the editors take a look at all of the pictures. They are feeling the pressure because this is the first photo shoot they’ll be showing their new editor. Steven takes a hard look at the pictures of Evan and Diandra, and it turns out they look really great.

James jokes that they’ll probably be putting D on the cover next year… but who knows!

The preview for next week’s episode looks like more drama between Evan and Diandra, and I think this whole thing is getting tired. Le sigh. Come on, Cosmo!

Is my single life… boring?

What is life?!

Last week, I mentioned that I’ve been suffering from extreme fatigue lately. As promised, I spent the weekend, and each night this week really making an effort to get quality sleep in hopes of pinpointing the problem (you can expect a progress report next week).

Part of solving the problem involves taking a solid look at how I spend my time, and if I can devote any extra time to rest. The conclusion thus far? My life is… kind of plain.

I know I sound like Coolio (see: “Gangsta’s Paradise”) right now, but I’m starting to wonder if this is it for me. I’ve been religiously watching this season of “Girls”, and Sunday’s episode involved a laundromat, Hannah’s mom, and a giant bag of weed gummies.

After choking down several of said gummy worms, Hannah’s mom is trying to set the record straight on her future: “I’m alone. This is it. For the rest of my life.”

I swear everything but that line was ringing in my ear for the next hour – hell, I’m still thinking about it. Because this is the most single I have ever felt.

Ever since I can recall, I’ve had some sort of guy in my life – even if only in “crush” form. And it’s been a long time since even that has happened.

My new job has come with several opportunities to travel, which means I’ve had lots of time to bond with my coworkers. “Holly, why don’t you date??” They ask. “You’re cute!”

As flattering as it is, that’s part of the problem. A majority of the men I’ve dated haven’t seen beyond that – and it’s resulted in a lot of relationships that aren’t trusting or healthy. It’s left me so cold, that at times, I don’t even want a male waiter.

Monday morning, a guy called me. I was washing dishes and missed the call by accident; but when I saw it on my phone, I thought certainly it was a mistake. I hadn’t talked to a guy on the phone in six months (yes, six months), and I didn’t even know if I’d have anything interesting to say. After all, I was cleaning my kitchen at 7 am on a Monday morning.

I took a leisurely drive across town Sunday morning and I got to thinking about dating. Most of the people I know who are my age are married, many of them have been married for years, and have children. I look at their lives from afar and sometimes it seems as if they’ve lived entire lifetimes while mine is just strolling along, very similar to how it was three or five or even ten years ago.

Maybe once you hit a certain point in life, you just end up single, I thought. Because the thing is, I don’t ever put myself in situations to meet a suitor. I’m very aware of this, partially because I don’t think I’m ready to date, and partially because my hobbies: dancing, reading, blogging, and cooking aren’t really conducive to meeting straight men.

Every week, I go to work, the dance studio, the library, and the grocery – give or take the laundromat, and that’s pretty much my life. And I have a feeling I’m not alone in that routine (or rut, you make the call); we’re not in college anymore, not really hitting the night scene, or not putting ourselves in new social situations on a regular basis.

Obviously, I never planned on being single at this point in my life. I honestly thought I was going to be married before I was 25. I’ll be 32 in July. However, I have always believed that my life can be fulfilling even if I don’t have a partner.

But what exactly will that life look life? You know when you first start a relationship and everything is so exciting and nearly perfect? I definitely miss that feeling.

The sad part is, much of the excitement I’ve experienced in the latter part of a relationship is the fear of losing it entirely. The last relationship I had was turbulent, I hardly slept, and it thrived on abuse of the alcohol, sexual, and verbal variety.

I’ve never really known what a real, healthy relationship looks or feels like, which leaves me to often associate dating with a sense of weakness within myself. That if I even have the desire to date, then I must be feeling weak, as if I’m not enough on my own.

Somehow, I survived watching every minute of Nick’s season on “The Bachelor”, and in the finale episode on Monday, Vanessa had a heartfelt conversation with Nick’s father. She asked him if love was enough to make a marriage last, and he told her no. That outside of love, it takes sacrifice, compromise, and the realization that you will no longer come first.

I am certain that show is scripted, but DAMN. #TruthBomb

Maybe that’s it – maybe I’m just not willing to put anyone else first just yet. But I have always imagined being in a relationship where I get to do things for my partner; even if it’s just the little things like bringing him coffee or baking his favorite dessert.

Sure, I’ve done those things. But they went unnoticed and I was often taken advantage of.

There are days I feel really strong and proud of myself for building a life where I’m generally happy, and I’m making things work. But I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t very, very cognizant of that fact that I slip into bed each night alone; with no one beside me, no one on the phone, and often, no one on my mind.

There is no path, or standard, for how a single person lives a fulfilling life – because everyone is just waiting for your “Save the Date” card to arrive. I suppose this is a path I’m going to have to make, on my own, of course, and I’m probably going to have to stop for naps along the way given the current state of things.

Don’t worry, I’ll make my own coffee.

Watch: ‘All the President’s Men’.

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward are cracking the case!

On Sunday, I vowed to myself to spend lots of time in bed and/or on the couch, just relaxing, and doing a little bit of cleaning out my DVR. This included watching one of the best journalistic thrillers ever: “All the President’s Men”!

“All the President’s Men” is based on the true story of Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and their investigation into the Watergate scandal in the early 70’s.

I saw this movie for the first time at Columbus North High School (Go Bulldogs!) during my very first journalism class. Oh, the memories! While I enjoyed watching the movie then, I didn’t cherish the details of what I saw when I watched it on Sunday: the typewriters, the newsroom with landlines and rotary phones, reporters in ties and jackets, and the mere fact that to reach a deadline, you physically had to be present in the room to drop the typed draft into the editor’s basket. That is some classy shit.

The Watergate scandal started with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in DC, and it was later discovered that the Nixon administration was involved – after lots and lots of attempts to cover it up, naturally.

Part of this coverup meant the Nixon administration went to great lengths to figure out who was on to them, including bugging offices of their opponents, and anyone who seemed suspicious. The administration also used the FBI and the CIA to investigate activists and political figures. Hmm… sound familiar?

All of this drama from Nixon was actually a violation of the constitution, which lead to impeachment, and eventually, his resignation. And Bernstein and Woodward had a lot to do with uncovering all of the coverups, basically following the money that was given to the “robbers” back to the Nixon campaign.

We’ve been hearing a lot of references to Watergate lately, especially with President Trump’s blind accusation of former President Obama of wire tapping Trump Tower. Why? How? Really? Nothing has come out yet, and if I had to guess, it won’t.

But what I do know is that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in the Trump administration – a lot of tricks to get the opposition to look one way, while there’s a shit storm in the other direction, and frankly, it’s creepy.

The thing is, Woodward and Bernstein used two very old-school journalism tactics to get the information they needed: charm and trust. They were able to get solid sources, and their sources handed over valuable information without fear of being named and getting caught.

This is one reason why Trump’s “Fake News” is the most terrifying thing out of his mouth, perhaps ever. Because he’s already insinuating that when (not if) the news reports something dangerously true (RUSSIA), then, well, it’s simply “fake”.

We’re what, two months into the Trump presidency, and shit is already super questionable, so I’m certain these comparisons to Watergate won’t stop anytime soon. The cool thing is, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward are still around to comment on it, like the bad asses in chinos they once were.

“Trump’s attacks on the American press as ‘enemies of the American people’ are more treacherous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press,” former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. You can read the full story here, and you should probably go ahead and watch “All the President’s Men”, at least for the indoor cigarettes and parking lot shots of Deep Throat.

“Nothing’s riding on this except the first amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of this country.” -All the President’s Men