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Saying goodbye to ‘Girls’.

Saying goodbye to one of my favorite shows!

While most of America was gorging on honey ham and chocolate bunnies, I was waiting for the series finale of HBO’s “Girls”. Don’t worry, I whipped up stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce and some crescent rolls for the occasion.

I know “Girls” took a lot of shit – for making millenials look bad; for highlighting self-absorbed characters; for a lack of diversity; and well, often because of Lena Dunham. But I really, really liked this show.

Let’s be clear: it is/was not “Sex and the City”. Instead, it was the story of a group of friends living in New York city, post-college. It involved shitty boyfriends (and husbands), crap jobs, Brooklyn apartments, and the underlying sting of figuring out how to navigate life.

Before the final episode aired, I was a little nervous! But the episode flew by and it was a little surreal. Basically, it was a look into life after Hannah gives birth – 5 months later.

Soo… she actually named her baby Grover, which I was surprised by, and Marnie moved in with her to help with the baby. Naturally, they’re getting on each other’s nerves, and Marney is still navigating how to properly be single.

I was sad to see that the only characters in this episode were Hannah, Marnie, and Hannah’s mom. We were left with the same questions we started with this season: What would happen with Shosh? Did she actually get married? Would Desi ever get clean? What about Hannah’s dad? And Adam – he’s going to stay with HER?

The end just didn’t seem to fit for me, and I know I’m not alone because Twitter.

Everyone was saying last week’s episode was the real finale, which was probably true. All of the ladies found themselves at Shosh’s engagement party, and basically decided they weren’t meant to be in a room together.

Nonetheless Hannah and Jessa ended up dancing the night away, judgment-free.

Regardless, the finale tied a bow on the six seasons we’ve come to love. Hannah grew up and is somehow raising a child without the help of a man. Her mom has found peace, and Marnie, well, she’s learning to find her own way.

No, it’s not an ending that answers our questions, but truthfully, this season was for the books. I’m sad to see this show go – the reason I got HBO in the first place – but I know it was time.

Farewell, “Girls”!

Comparing cosmetic primers.

What’s the best primer for you?

Over the last few months, I have been testing several different primers under my daily makeup to see which one I like best.

Primers seem to be all the rage, given that basically every cosmetic brand has one – but how are we supposed to know what’s going to work for us? Because I have a Birchbox subscription, I have been able to sample three great options that I’m going to share with you here, today!

But first, what the heck IS a primer? The Huffington Post offered a great, simple explanation: Makeup primer is a base for foundation or face makeup that allows it to go on smoother and last longer.

Primer can come in the form of sprays, gels, creams, and even powder. While most users apply primer prior to applying tinted moisturizer, concealer, and/or foundation, it can also be worn alone.

I have been applying my primer after my moisturizer, but before my concealer and foundation, which seems to work. The three primers I want to share with you today are all creams and gels. Personally, I’m not sure I’d trust a spray or powder primer.

Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer – Sephora Collection

Smoothing primer.

According to Sephora.com, this is a makeup primer that perfects the appearance of skin and prolongs the wear of foundation. This primer softens the appearance of imperfections, prolongs the wear of your foundation, and keeps you looking flawless longer.

Infused with hydrating ceramides, this formula moisturizes and smooths, while protecting with antioxidant-rich vitamins E and A.

This product is not tested on animals, and does not contain parabens. This primer can be used on the eyes to smooth and enhance wear of eyeshadow.

This product is dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, and comes in an airless pump bottle for freshness.

This is the primer I’m currently using, and I really like it. It goes on very smooth, and leaves a matte look that feels very soft and light on my skin. It’s clear, so you don’t have to worry about which shade to choose.

$29.99 for .5 ounces 

Prime Time – Bare Minerals 

Prime Time!

According to Ulta.com, this primer helps to combat enlarged pores. Uneven texture. Flaky dryness. We’ve all had complexion problems. That’s why we created Prime Time, which prepares your skin for seamless coverage with bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation. Apply it first for the smooth, evenly textured complexion you’ve been waiting for.

Benefits:

Combats rough patches, flaky dryness, fine lines, excess oil, uneven texture and enlarged pores so that your foundation goes on flawlessly.

Extends the wear of your foundation, keeping you looking fresh for longer.

Soothes and nourishes with plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins C and E.

Free of preservatives and irritants so that your skin feels great.

Silky formula glides on without any stickiness.

For Christmas, I got a sample pack of Bare Minerals makeup – I’d never tried it before and the kit contained this primer, the mineral veil foundation, an eyeshadow duo, and a lip gloss. I have quickly come to love all of it!

This primer is very, very similar to the Sephora mentioned above: it’s clear, has a gel-like consistency, and offers a smooth, matte finish. While in some stores, it is a little more pricy than the Sephora brand, it takes about a pea-size drop to cover the entire face, and has a very light feeling.

$19.30 for 1 ounce

Radiant Primer – IPKN New York

Radiant primer.

According to Birchbox.com, great foundation requires, well, a great foundation. This creamy SPF 15 primer creates a smooth, radiant canvas for makeup, refining pores and enhancing skin tone. And thanks to the blend of nourishing fruit extracts and shimmer pearl powder, your skin will glow whether you’re wearing this under foundation or under nothing at all.

This was the first primer that I tried and I loved that it was lightly tinted. I have red areas on my skin and blemishes that I’m always trying to cover up, so why not start building the mask with a primer?

I also appreciate that it has an SPF! The only reason I didn’t make this my favorite was because it has more of a glossy finish – and I prefer the matte. However, if matte isn’t your thing, this is a great starter.

It’s light, great for the skin, and could be worn alone. And it’s got a great price!

$22 for 1.3 ounces. 

I am still trying additional primers, so perhaps I’ll report back with something even better! If there’s one you’re using that you love, tell me about it in the comments.

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.

 

‘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!

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.

‘So Cosmo’: Is He Truly Into You?

Joanna and Tiffanyyyyy.

Hey, hey! We’re on the downside of the week, and I’m feeling good. And yep, last night was episode 5 of “So Cosmo”. Honestly, the more I watch this show, the more I like it… so let’s get into it!

The episode started with some of the staff members doing a sexy workout – literally a workout that was supposed to work the sex muscles. Naturally Evan was there, as was Diandra, where it was also announced that Cosmo has a house in the Hamptons just for the weekend – so, that should be REAL interesting.

Later, Evan and Tiffany go indoor rock climbing. Alone. And this bugs the shiiiiit out of Diandra. Later, the boys on Fire Island were talking about it, and they conclude that this was Tiffany’s idea, despite the fact that she doesn’t ever workout. #Shade

At the rock wall, Evan is topless. Tiffany claims Evan promised her 1-on-1 workout sessions and that she needs to work on her ass. Hmm.

Later, Diandra is at a friend’s house having wine and sushi while wearing a silk robe. Because what else? And as she is scrolling through Instagram, she sees the picture of Tiffany rock climbing. And this is not a happy mood.

That weekend, some of the staff heads to the house in the Hamptons. Steven, Tiffany, Leah (who weirdly brings her husband and 2-year-old), James…and Evan and Diandra. THIS is awkward.

Tiffany and Evan decide to workout (ugh); naturally, Evan is topless, and Diandra is back in her silk robe looking pissy.

Adam decides to have a photo shoot with Diandra, and some bubble bath… and as they are filling the tub, here comes Evan and Tiffany on their way to the steam room together.

Outside at the pool, Steven arrives with a box of sex toys… and then Tiffany makes this big show about how she’s going upstairs to put on her “pajamas”, and she makes certain Evan knows it. Umm girl…

Tiffany and Evan are now the talk of the Hamptons, and I am actually more upset about this than I probably should be. This is just shadyyyyyy.

The next morning, everyone wants to know where Evan was to host the AM workout. When Tiffany comes downstairs, everyone is all, “Was Evan in your room?” And she simply says, “Yeah, I needed a cuddle buddy.”

Later, Diandra is chatting it up with the fashion assistant, and basically says this Evan shit is driving her crazy, and that she really just wants to KNOW what is going on between him and Tiffany.

Tiffany acknowledges the awkwardness in a confessional – she basically says she knows Diandra is starring her down and going crazy, but she doesn’t care because Diandra had so many chances to get with Evan, and she didn’t. Damn, ok.

After dinner, Tiffany and Evan head into the steam room. Diandra goes insane, and storms up to the steam room, and listens outside the door and can hear Tiffany talk about how it’s so hot she might not even be able to wear a swimsuit.

Soooo Diandra busts open the door, and the two aren’t in the steam room, but rather just standing in the bathroom, fully clothed, and the entire thing was a prank to make Diandra realize just how crazy she is about Evan.

Evan and Diandra have a talk and she admits she was jealous of Tiffany. And then they make out, and it’s pretty cute.

And then every single person in the house puts on a sheet mask, because Cosmo.

On life, time & the woman of grace.

Life is short, and time moves so fast.

Life is short, and time moves so fast.

It has been said that time is the true teller of things (and people) that really matter. After all, things or moments or people that withstand the test of time – those are the keepers.

A few weeks ago, I realized I’ve done something in my life for the first time: I lost track of time. I don’t mean I let a lazy Sunday go by after floating on a self-made raft of mimosas and pancakes. I mean I stopped counting all of the years, months, weeks, and days it had been since monumental things happened in my life.

In general, we’re obsessed with numbers. We keep track of everything – not just the time on a clock or the days of the week; we have holidays, anniversaries, countdowns, and remembrances. We count calories, calculate bank accounts, and even track the steps we take.

And until recently, I kept track (mentally) of everything. How long it had been since I talked to him, or how long it’s been since I kissed someone; how long has it been since I’ve had a drink; when was the last time I ate red meat…blah, blah, blah.

But what about, when was the last time I just lived my life? Had a blissful moment? Took a second to relax? Told someone I loved them?

Keeping track of the moments or things that don’t really matter, is exhausting. Perhaps, enough time has put a distance between the moment and my memory, so much so, that I’ve all but forgotten the dates and reminders of the things that essentially broke my spirit. And I’m happy to let that go.

This weekend, news from my hometown served me a different reminder of just how precious time is. A woman who attended school with many of my friends lived her last moments in a tragic accident.

She, Jackie, was the type of woman we all wished we could be. Although my conversations with her were limited, I can say with complete confidence that she was sweet, selfless, intelligent, and bright. She was beautiful inside and out, and I know she had an overwhelming love for animals, and for her husband, Michael.

The moments leading up to the sad news seemed like forever. I stayed awake, on the phone with friends, as we hoped and prayed that this would end with Jackie at home, safe. I know we all wanted answers, but now, I’m certain the world could use more time, more days filled with her bright light.

When I suffer a loss, I immediately feel this sense of time and how little we have of it, and the pressure is on to rearrange my priorities in order to fill my time with moments I can look back on with pride and happiness.

Sadly, I’ve felt this pressure twice in just a few weeks – instead of prioritizing, I’ve spend lots of time in tears, moments asking why, and doing anything I can from afar to comfort those in pain.

I don’t know the moments that may have awaited Jackie; her hopes and dreams, but I do know she used her time wisely. She loved purely; she smiled a lot, and she spent hours upon hours caring for animals in need. In these last few days, her close friends and family have posted so many pictures of her with bunnies, dogs, friends, family, and her husband.

She was here for a short time, but her kindness made this world a beautiful place. For those that knew her, I truly think we’re better for it; she has a spirit that will withstand time, and may very well inspire us to use our time here a little differently.

I know I get caught up in the day-to-day madness, and when that happens, I lose sight of the bigger picture. There’s a reason we’re all here; a reason why things happen; and a reason why some of us have slower clocks than others.

For those who knew Jackie, I know the days ahead aren’t going to be easy. I’m wishing you strength and peace. Because of the nature of Jackie’s story, there were questions and speculation. In all honesty, there are some answers we may never get.

But what I do know is that we can honor our lost loves by loving even more; by giving more; by sharing kindness; and possibly by simply showing up – making time for those we care about. I know that’s something I need to get better at.

None of us know how much time we have left, which is why it’s important to make every moment count. But I’m not down with all the counting and numbers, so here’s to simply living with purpose, and doing so beautifully.

If I ever get around to living, it’s gonna be just like I dreamed. I’m gonna take the love I’m given, and set it free. 

If I ever get around to living, I’ll take the end of every day and tie it up to every morning, and sail away.

-John Mayer, If I Ever Get Around to Living 

If you’d like to make a donation in Jackie’s honor, IndyClaw Rescue is where she helped so many fur babies. May her sweet legacy live forever. 

‘So Cosmo’: Fun Fearless Money.

It's Steven vs. Diandra.

It’s Steven vs. Diandra.

I was actually looking forward to last night’s episode of “So Cosmo” – not that I haven’t enjoyed previous episodes, but at times, I just wonder where this is all going. However, I was feeling really curious about this “Fun Fearless Money” event.

And why? Well, for one thing, it was held on a Saturday and, as I mentioned last week, the higher-ups at Cosmo were all, “Thanks for giving up your Saturdaaaay”, and it got me thinking about something: these people are so glamorous, do you think they really ever spend their Saturdays just laying in bed, eating Oreos in their pajamas, and binge-watching Bravo? Cause I can’t picture it.

Anyway, let’s get into the episode!

Diondra runs into Steven at the end of the day, and despite the fact that they talked last episode, he is still sooooo cold to her. She makes a comment to him about them being friends, and he’s all “no, we’re coworkers”. DAMN.

When Diondra explains this entire situation to Amy, she’s like, “What is this, the ‘Devil Wears Prada’?!” We had to know that reference was coming, no?

Meanwhile, Tiffany goes to a fashion show in Milan that’s titled “Alice in Ghettoland” – she feels guilty being there, because of the controversial title. Although the show is awesome (Fergie and Paris Hilton were on the runway), afterward the Twitterverse is blowing up over the title of the show and how offensive it is, putting Tiffany in a sticky situation.

James is in Milan, too, and has to leave early to get to the “Fun Fearless Money” event, as he will be paired with Tyra Banks for the day.

James also notices that Steven has been really stressed and he suggests a “girls’ trip”. Steven agrees and they decide to go to a spa after “Fun Fearless Money”.

FINALLY, it’s time for the big day, the day that Joanna Coles refers to as “Cosmoltan” because it’s like Cosmo’s “Hamilton”.

How about no?

Despite all of the work the staff has put in, the event is set to start in 15 minutes and there’s a slew of empty seats. And, just in case you were wondering, the Cosmo staff is wearing shirts that say “FEARLE$$”.

At the last minute, the seats are full, and Diondra is happy.

Matthew Hussy takes the stage and Diondra asks him some questions, including how to handle a workplace romance. Evan is in the audience and he takes note of this question. Meanwhile, Matthew’s answer is basically, don’t shit where you eat.

Dionda also makes a sly little comment about how maybe she needs a promotion and Steven gives her complete side-eye, right from the audience.

Later, the boys head to the spa weekend, where they’re sharing a room under the condition they have separate beds and full-coverage pajamas.

Back at the office, Joanna wants to talk to Tiffany about her trip and the fashion shows. Tiffany tells her that she felt uncomfortable about the fashion show, and she also felt conflicted, being that she’s black but also very into fashion and artistry.

Diondra stops by Joanna’s office (where we discover she has a treadmill desk) to tell her about the conflict with Steven. She doesn’t name that it was Steven, but instead she just wants to know how Joanna would handle the situation. Interesting approach. Joanna basically says to keep it professional, and to try and avoid conflict.

I also realized I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time: it’s Diandra, not Diondra. Apologies.

The boys head back from their trip, and they’re really quiet, because they totally hooked up on their last night after getting a little tipsy. James doesn’t know what to do, especially since they work together. Yikes.

When Leah asks Steven about it the next day, he denies it completely. Even when James comes in the office, Steven is just nonchalant about it, and says nothing happened.

And then James admits he’s lying just to be funny. Oookkaaayy.

They do agree they’d be a good couple despite not having any feelings for each other – they decide to get together if they are still 78 and single.

The staff has a little happy hour to celebrate the success of “Fun Fearless Money”, and Steven raises his glass to Diandra, and apologizes to her in front of everyone. Nicely done.

At the end of the episode, there was a preview for what’s still to come on this season – lest we forget the fact that Evan is about to hookup with Tiffany AND Diandra, and we still have the new editor coming in. Wow. I know I’ll be watching!

I want to live in ‘Summer House’.

The cast of Bravo's "Summer House".

The cast of Bravo’s “Summer House”.

It’s true… I am obsessed with the show “Summer House”, and I just want to BE them. It’s very “Hills’-like to me, and I cannot get enough. Here’s the description of the show from Bravo.com:

Affluent New Yorkers have been fleeing to the Hamptons for generations to get the ultimate luxurious experience, but Montauk, a breezy beach town on the easternmost point of Long Island, has become the summer playground for young professionals who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. “Summer House” brings together a group of nine friends who work hard making their money and building their résumés during the week, but on the weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they share a summer house to let loose in a big way that speaks to their exclusive, high-end lifestyle. 

For years, this group of friends has summered in Montauk with a variety of people, but this year they’ve put together the perfect group to share a rental for an epic summer filled with drama, boozy brunches, beachfront thrills, rosé parties, charity galas, bonfires, and jaw-dropping hookups. This close-knit group includes Kyle Cooke, the life of the party who must decide whether it’s time to grow up or to remain the quintessential bachelor; Ashley and Lauren Wirkus, fun-loving identical twins who have reached a crossroads in life; group newcomer Carl Radke, a flirtatious ex-model who has caught Lauren’s eye; longtime friends Everett Weston, an ex-Army Iraq war veteran, and Lindsay Hubbard, the ultimate alpha female, who throw everyone for a loop with their newfound love; Cristina Gibson, Lindsay’s roommate, a freelance reporter who grapples with her friendships; Stephen McGee, the wild card of the bunch who isn’t afraid to speak his mind; and Jaclyn Shuman, a flirty, newly single girl-next-door type who is looking to be distracted from a broken heart.

The show focuses on these incredible weekends in Montauk – the house is huge, beautiful, and has all of the amenities for a great party: pool, beach access, hot tub, bar, and lots of room to crash. This group of friends (and probably most New Yorkers) live for the weekends, leaving early on Friday to get to the house and sometimes not leaving until Monday morning to head back to the city.

Of course I’m super jealous of anyone who has a summer house, a weekend house, a winter cabin – whatever – that is the life. Secondly, of course everyone that lives in this house is pretty hot and successful. This leads to hookups (and drama) within the house, but I’m still jealous!

On the one hand, I feel so grateful that my single life has lead to a life of very little drama and no heartbreak. But seeing all the fun at “Summer House”… makes me want to jump right into the pool with Karl and say oh well, I’ll deal with the consequences later, amirite??!

There probably aren’t many episodes of “Summer House” left, but I hope this show gets a second season; because between this and “Below Deck” – I’ve pretty much got my bucket list set.

Goodbye, to you.

The pier at Folly Beach, South Carolina.

The pier at Folly Beach, South Carolina.

On Tuesday, my mom delivered the news to me that a dear family friend of ours had less than a 10 percent chance of surviving.

I wept behind the closed door of my office. This was not just any person – it was Cheryl, my mom’s best friend, a woman she’d known for 34 years, and someone who had influenced my life in many great ways. I wept for my mom, for Cheryl’s daughter, for her husband, for her family, her coworkers, and for anyone who’d ever knew her – even if just for a short moment.

Cheryl was a ray of light in the darkness – she always found a way to laugh at pretty much any situation, which is a trait I’ve always admired. I can recall so many fun times with Cheryl and her daughter, Sarah – times I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I know Cheryl meant so much to my mom, and to her family. To me, Cheryl was South Carolina sweet grass. She took her daughter and I on a rode trip one summer, from the middle of Indiana to the shores of South Carolina, where we stayed, for what seemed like a month.

It was my first time really discovering a new culture – we went to the market, bought handmade jewelry, tried homemade ice cream, walked cobblestone streets leading to plantation homes, and chased crabs in the sands of Folly Beach. It was heaven.

I’d nearly forgotten that Cheryl and Sarah had also joined my mom, dad, and I for a trip to Disney World when I was 10. Sarah and I met as many of the Disney characters as possible, having them all autograph pages in little journals we kept.

Although Cheryl divorced from Sarah’s father when we were very young, later she rekindled with a high school sweetheart whom she married and he became an integral part of the family. I always admired their love story – it was a fairytale.

But the entire time, Cheryl was battling Crohn’s Disease, which affects the digestive tract. The cause of Crohn’s is unknown, and even determining if you have it can be a complicated process. There is also no cure.

Personally, I know very little about Crohn’s, and have only known two people who’ve had it, including Cheryl. I know it affects each person differently, and I know I often forgot that Cheryl was fighting the symptoms of her illness.

But Crohn’s is eventually what took her body from this earth too soon – a move I know she didn’t let happen without a hard fight.

Yesterday, her body was laid to rest in its final place, and my mom was able to say her goodbyes to her dear friend. I couldn’t make it to Indiana for the funeral, which I feel terrible about, but I’ve already had a few talks with Cheryl’s spirit and I hope she understands.

I plan to honor Cheryl in a few ways, aside from just daily “What’s ups” and singing along to some John Mellencamp (she LOVED him). I have registered as a team to do the “Take Steps for Crohn’s” event in Austin at the end of May, so if you’re in the area and would like to join my team – Cheryl’s Southern Belles – or donate to my personal goal of $500, I would really love that.

I have also set up a GoFundMe campaign for Cheryl’s immediate family, as they are stressed about covering the costs of her funeral and her remaining medical bills. Although she had insurance, we all know that isn’t going to cover everything.

I am offering homemade baked goods and free blogging and Twitter courses for the higher donors, but if you would like to donate any amount, or share the link, it would be greatly appreciated.

I know the next few months will be emotional, and that we all deal with loss in our own ways. I wish my mom peace, and I hope everyone that loved Cheryl finds comfort in the fact that she touched so many lives and that we are all better people because of her.

Life goes on, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.” -John Mellencamp, Jack and Diane

‘So Cosmo’: Big New Future.

Cosmopolitan's fitness contributor, Evan Betts.

Cosmopolitan’s fitness contributor, Evan Betts.

Howdy! So… I totally tuned into “So Cosmo” late because I forgot to record it, was not willing to wait until it aired again at midnight, and was clearly REALLY busy eating quinoa to even check my life. So, I missed the first 15 minutes. Apologies.

When I tuned in, Evan is now officially hired and he attends his first staff meeting with Joanna – there is still talk about her leaving, but I’m assuming she didn’t walk out that same day as she had said she would in the previous episode.

Evan invites Diondra to lunch, but she declines even though she knows it would probably be innocent. She is determined to set the boundaries on this relationship (we’ll see about that).

Evan later strikes up a meeting with Danielle, who is the editor of the fitness department. They are going over the workout he is thinking of for the issue, and Diondra sees this through the window and is getting pretty jealous. So naturally, she busts in to see what’s happening. Lord.

Later, Tiffany throws a decent fit over clear hangers. The rack must have clear hangers. Not black ones. Okay?

Meanwhile, the head Beauty Editor, Leah, is really worried about the new editor coming in. She has worked with other magazines before when this has happened, and every time, the editor has cleaned house and brought in an entirely new staff.

So, apparently Joanna did announce who the new editor would be, and the team is seeing her -Michelle – while they are out at fashion week. Awkward!

Leah finally meets with Joanna to talk about her concerns. Joanna basically tells her to just stop worrying about it, do the best she can and stop crying.

But all the while, Fashion Week goes off swimmingly, and things are all pretty good in Cosmo world. In the previews for the next episode, it’s more drama between Evan and Diondra, making me think that THIS is going to be the main storyline for the season. Ugh.

But hey, who’s watching with me next week?!

Obligatory Valentine’s Day post.

These are the right kind of candy hearts.

These are the right kind of candy hearts.

It’s Taco Tuesday!!! …And also Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I kept forgetting that Valentine’s Day was coming around this year, which is one reason why I didn’t partake in my semi-tradition of making and mailing Valentine cards. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job, working out seven times a week, and watching lots of TV, per usual.

When I saw it on the calendar as I was planning my blog posts, I pondered for about two weeks on whether I should write something about this holiday or not. Why? Because I’ve written about it for the last ten years – why stop now?

Last year, I wrote about “How History Screwed Singletons“, but I also concluded that although I didn’t have a romantic partner, there were things – material things that I loved – so I also wrote about that. Want to know a little secret? Last year, I was totally, completely heart-broken.

In 2015, I wrote “Even Singletons Have Love“, because not all love has to come from a significant other (which is totally true). In 2014, I wrote “A History of Valentines” looking back at all the ways I’ve spent the holiday (really sad), and I also wrote a “Survival Guide: Single on Valentine’s Day“, because I know there have been some years I really just wanted to be in a black hole for 24 hours.

I’ve written a lot about the relationships of my past, and how my February 14ths ended up because of them – there have been years of complete content, some years have seen love, and others have seen me on my own living room floor, crying, and overeating chocolate cupcakes.

In 2013, though, it was a champion year in terms of Valentine’s Day, when I purchased a $6 heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s and enjoyed it, by myself, with a bottle of wine. You can read all about my philosophy that year in “The Heart [Pizza] of Matters“.

So, this year, I can truly say, I don’t even care. I have finally reached the pinnacle of my existence and am fresh out of fucks when it comes to men, dating, sex, and Valentine’s Day. I do believe this is actually what I’ve always wanted: to not be sad, not be wearing black, not be pretending to be happy and going out anyway, not be celebrating my singleness with wine and takeout… but instead to just be how I am every other single day.

Now could I go for a box of chocolate truffles or a heart-shaped pizza? Yes, because I’m on a hardcore diet and would eat juuuust about anything right now. But instead I will probably eat leftover vegan tacos I made this weekend (seriously delish, recipe here), and drink a sparkling water because YOLO.

On Saturday, I went to my local library for an event I’d marked on my calendar: A Romance Reader’s Social. I didn’t even link the fact that this was probably timed as a celebration of Valentine’s Day, until I arrived and saw all of the red and pink decor.

Nevertheless, I waited in line amongst retired women whom, I imaged to be of the sort that sat in well-worn recliners and read stacks of romance novels week after week.

Attendees were treated to cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies, several craft stations, and tables full of books and their authors available to sign copies. There was also an author’s panel where they discussed writing routines and answered questions from the audience.

I was alone, as I often am, and for possibly one of the first times, I didn’t feel awkward about it. I jumped into the crafts, and made a Valentine card using patterned washi tape, and I also colored a page from an adult coloring book that was of a scene from a romance novel – a hunky dude embracing his lady – and his shirt is ripped off. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s currently hanging on my fridge (you can get your own coloring book here, you know, for your next ladies’ night).

I don’t have a map of how I got to this point, but if I had to guess, it’d be the perfect balance of sleeping with men who don’t care about me, and as a result, learning to take charge of my life via a rewarding career and awesome hobbies. And, well, listening to lots of Drake.

 

Creating a self-care plan.

It's time to take care of ourselves, first.

It’s time to take care of ourselves, first.

The term “self-care” has been swirling around the interwebs since at least the end of 2015, which makes me a little late to the game, per-usual. The truth is, I never really gave it much thought until recently – and for good reason.

I know I’ve been alluding to “tough times” lately, and I’ll explain. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m a democrat in every single way. I try not to make this a political space, and I won’t go too deep here, but yeah, shit has been pretty rough these days.

When things happen, as in things that are reported in the news, I debate to myself whether or not I should say something on this blog. Some readers say this blog IS their news, so I don’t want someone to miss out on anything big. Do I do a little, “Uh, hey, Trump has fuuuucked things up again, TODAY” – memo?

Let me back up a little. I have always loved watching the news, keeping up with things, and in general, just being informed. And I know the 24-hour news circuit has haunted our world since the Jon Benet case, but I really didn’t feel the effects until last week.

You see, I work in a political field, and I do digital communications, i.e. I monitor Twitter, a lot. So, I’ve seen alllllll the Trump Tweets many times over. At the end of the work day, I was starting to feel really heavy, like my shoes were filled with cement.

To combat this, I have been watching “The Daily Show” every single night. I need someone to make light of this, of anything, something to make me laugh and tell me that I’m not going to blow up while I sleep.

But the night that Trump fired Sally Yates, “The Daily Show” didn’t touch on it, because obviously it’s taped during the day, and the Trump administration is so entirely insane, that even in just two hours, the world can be completely flipped, border patrol and protestors with handmade signs, included. How the hell does this happen?

I decided right then and there that I’ve got to do something to take care of myself. Because I see things going on, and I’m trying to make the change during my 9-5, and although I want to jump into my car and protest the shit out of pretty much every damn thing coming out of that White House, I must take care of myself first.

And so, I need a self-care plan. For many, part of their self-care plan is to stay off social media, or to only stay on for certain chunks of time. I don’t have that option when it comes to my job. Luckily, there are other things I can do to avoid going insane.

Here are some ideas I came up with:

  • At-home manis and pedis
  • Intentionally schedule “me” time
  • Clean out the closet and donate the unwanted items to a place that does good things
  • Spend less time with the phone/iPad/computer, etc.
  • Take a cooking class
  • Take more walks – even if it’s just around the neighborhood
  • Attend a local high school sporting event
  • Take an online class (I’ve still go to learn screenwriting this year)
  • Get crafty/artsy (hello, Pinterest)
  • Listen to this song more often:

When I was looking up ideas for self care, turns out, I actually do a lot of these things already: write a blog, spend time with a pet, cook, dance, sleep in on the weekends, write letters…

I’d love to know what you’re doing for your self-care plan – perhaps reading this blog is part of it, which is another reason why politics are generally not invited here. So let’s hear what you’re doing for self-care; or ideas you have for those of us who need it.