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BBC: ‘The Arrangement’.

Hello, hello! I’ve had a pretty good week over here – hope you all can say the same! I DID take three dance classes last night though, so I’m definitely sore today. However, I needed it!

But let’s jump right into the book review, because this one is a GOODIE. Here’s the official description from Amazon for “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn:

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

I saw this on a Pinterest list (ugh, guilty) and I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I’m really sensitive to any entertainment/pop culture that doesn’t respect women, or even discusses ideas that would degrade a woman.

But, it says the woman makes the decision to have an open marriage! So, I read it and I’m so glad I did. This book really takes a look at modern relationships, and how they might really turn out.

This was a quick, easy read, and it had just the right bit of sex appeal, while still highlighting some good writing. I’m recommending this book to anyone who loves a good romance novel – with a twist, of course.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Some Kind of Happiness“, a YA novel by Claire Legrand.

I have got an entire weekend of NOTHING planned – although I do need to work on my queso skills. You might recall I entered myself in a queso contest and it’s officially two weeks away and I have done nothing to prepare. Yikes!

Other than that, it might just be me, in bed, watching made-for-Hallmark Channel movies. I am not ashamed! I hope you guys have some fun out there; I’ll be right back here on Monday!

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The other side of heartbreak.

Keep away the lonelies.

I promised I’d fill you in on my love life as of late, and well, I’m a woman of my word. And yeah, I’m going to somehow try and explain this as honestly as possible, without going off the deep end. Here goes.

I’ve known this guy for 16+ years (ugh, I’m so old), and over the years we’ve developed one of those friendships I’d see in a romcom and be completely jealous of. We have SO much stuff in common, from politics and television to food and writing.

There’s been spots in our friendship where we’ve talked and texted every day, and there’s been times we haven’t talked for months. For years, even though I was romantically interested in him, I never wanted to force it – I liked him in a way where I felt like I wanted him to do what made him happy, even if that meant not being with me.

But these last few months felt different. Our talks were different. His gestures were different. He was very kind, and I’ll be honest here: I was feeling very vulnerable. Almost scared shitless.

He lives states away, and I needed to know where this was headed. Was he planning on staying where he is currently, or was he open to moving? Is he the type of guy looking to get married and have a family (I mean we are 32)?

These are questions I’ve never really had, and they are DEFINITELY questions I’ve never felt comfortable asking. I was in 100% new territory here, and quite nervous.

When I went to visit him though, my fantasy was not quite what I’d dreamt (imagine that, because this always happens to me). On the surface, he said some things that were sweet – that he felt vulnerable, too, that he didn’t like going a single day without talking to me, and that he ultimately wanted me to be happy – these are things no man has EVER said to me before… and well, frankly, I wonder if I’ll ever hear them again.

But despite the kind words, there were… actions… that happened that didn’t back up these words. Actions that made me wonder if he even liked me at all – ever. I felt a little tricked, and I felt like a fool (per usual). And to top it off, he wasn’t open to moving.

On the one hand, yes, I got answers. They certainly weren’t the ones I wished for, but I got them. I really hoped to keep our friendship, but we haven’t really talked since – granted, I haven’t reached out either, because I’m just not really sure how, or if I should, or if it’s worth it.

There’s a part of me that feels really proud of myself for seeing red flags and knowing that I want better for myself; that I cannot settle at this point, and there’s something in my blood that’s telling me I need to continue my adventure as a single woman.

It’s a weird feeling because – as silly as it sounds – I kind of thought this was it! He was so different than the men of my past; there was so much actual connection, and very little talk of sex and that was refreshing to me. But it still wasn’t right in the way I need it to be.

I don’t have any hard feelings, but I’ll say that being on this side of heartbreak – a place where there was no betrayal or lies (as far as I know) – it was just simply a misalignment – it really isn’t that much easier. Okay, so I’m not dragging ass, eating ice cream from the carton, but… There is still a lot of loneliness. I went from talking to someone every day to hardly even looking at my phone.

I all of the sudden have tons of extra time (which explains why I read two whole books last week).

And I know this is just another something I will get over – I’ve done it many times. These experiences, although painful, are important as I continue to figure out who is going to be the right one for me. In the meantime, though, I make pretty awesome company for myself. And I’ve been on my own for so long, I’ll admit I’m getting verrrryyy used to it – not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but it’s happening!

That’s where I’m at now, and I’m just trying to keep things moving. I’m also thinking about the future. I got a good reminder that I don’t really have anything holding me down, and things are wide open for my. It’s a very freeing feeling, and I know that’s something a lot of people can’t say.

Cheers to what’s coming next, even if I don’t know what!

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.

Are we… (gulp)… ‘Millennials’?

Always with the iPad.

Always with the iPad.

Man, Millennials get ssuuuuch a bad rap, but really, why? Several month’s ago, I started listening to the podcast “Millennial“, and I found myself really being able to relate to the concepts being talked about. Although I’ve never identified myself as a Millennial, I started to wonder, wait… am I one?

Oddly enough, there’s no exact date range to classify as a Millennial or not – many research groups and news outlets have different dates. The term “Millennial” was coined in 1987 by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe.

The term didn’t quiet stick, and this generation was often referred to as Gen X, Gen Y, or the Echo Generation, or even the Me Generation, or the Peter Pan Generation. “Millennials” has become a more popular term for this group of people as of late.

Generally speaking, a Millennial is someone born in the early 80s – the mid-90s. Technically, I fall into that category, as I was born in 85. Instead of age, Millennials have been categorized by their traits, their work habits, their political views, and the way they consume… well, everything.

On the negative side, Millennials are said to be lazy, narcissistic, and job-hoppers. On the other hand, they have been described as open, liberal, fans of equal rights for minorities and LGBT, self-expressive, and upbeat.

While Millennials have been pegged as job-hoppers and made fun of for their desires to find purpose in their work and make a positive impact, research shows that Generation X and Baby Boomers want that, too! Millennials still have goals to master work-life balance, become senior leaders, and become experts in their field.

Politically, Millennials are the biggest group of independent voters than any other generation. Typically, they support bigger government, they are split on abortion, but very passionate about allowing immigrants into the United States.

In general, Millennials are known as trendsetters and influencers, so business want to know exactly what they want so they can create just THAT. The one thing that’s really got marketing experts a buzz is that Millennials see right through advertising. They are more likely to buy a car than a house, they read extensive reviews before making a purchase, and they value authentic companies.

So, are you a Millennial? I took this Buzzfeed quiz and it says I’m 80% Millennial – because I will probably never own a house, never have a family of my own, the internet is essential to my daily life, and I before recorded TV binges over live television. Cheers!

On the Pew Research quiz, I got a 78 – how’s that for consistency? Consider how often you watch TV, use social media, your political views, how you were raised, what you’re looking for in a career, and how you view different societies of the world. I’d love to know if you consider yourself to be a Millennial.

I’m honestly not really into labels, but if you want to call me a Millennial, sure, go ahead. I certainly hold many of the traits and characteristics of a Millennial. Now that I’ve done a little bit of research, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

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What did you do for fun… in 5th grade?

What can we learn from our 10-year-old selves?

What can we learn from our 10-year-old selves?

I was listening to an episode of “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin a few weeks ago, and she was talking about an interesting study. The study said that whatever you/we were doing for fun at 10 years old, is what you should be doing for your entire life.

Hmm!

Naturally, I got to thinking about what exactly I was doing when I was 10. It was 1995, and it was the summer between 5th and 6th grade.

During those times, I wore a lot of funky clothes, and I painted my nails all sorts of different colors at least once a week. I loved Gwen Stefani, reading, drawing, a making magazines using printing paper, crayons, and a stapler.

So, perhaps my dream of working at a magazine wasn’t so far fetched after all.

I did a little digging to see what else I could find about this theory. I stumbled across an article from Mark Manson, “7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose“. Question no. 2 in the article is “What is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?”

Here is Mark’s answer:

When I was a child, I used to write stories. I used to sit in my room for hours by myself, writing away, about aliens, about superheroes, about great warriors, about my friends and family. Not because I wanted anyone to read it. Not because I wanted to impress my parents or teachers. But for the sheer joy of it.

And then, for some reason, I stopped. And I don’t remember why.

We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I rediscovered how much I loved writing. And it wasn’t until I started my business that I remembered how much I enjoyed building websites — something I did in my early teens, just for fun.

The funny thing though, is that if my 8-year-old self had asked my 20-year-old self, “Why don’t you write anymore?” and I replied, “Because I’m not good at it,” or “Because nobody would read what I write,” or “Because you can’t make money doing that,” not only would I have been completely wrong, but that 8-year-old boy version of myself would have probably started crying.

Even though he’s talking about his 8-year-old-self instead of his 10-year-old self… I’m totally buying into this concept. It makes total sense!

Of course, sure, we all have to accept the fact that perhaps our dreams aren’t going to be the things that pay the bills or make things happen the way we really hoped. But if what we did at 10 truly defines what we should do for the rest of our lives, then at least we’ve already discovered our life’s purpose, and can now work to fulfill it in some way.

So, what were you doing when you were 10? It might be worth exploring a little more if you’re not already.

When the timing is all wrong.

Cute picture from Filler Magazine.

Cute picture from Filler Magazine.

Timing is something I hear a lot about in all aspects of my life: when to find the right job, when to talk about certain subjects, when we’re “supposed” to reach certain life milestones (all of which have surpassed for me), when to get married, when to have a baby… there’s a whole lotta scheduling happening.

Frankly, I’m still figuring out what’s a good time to get to bed each night, how quick I can slap on my makeup in order to sleep in as much as possible without being late to work, and what time to eat my afternoon protein bar so I’m not hungry during dance class.

But of course, there’s that timing in a relationship that everyone is always talking about as one of the vital factors in whether or not the relationship is going to withstand the test of time. Again with the time!

However, when I think about that – you know, when people say, “It just wasn’t the right timing” – what I took that to mean was that it has to be the right time in each person’s life. You’ve each got to be where you want to be in your lives in order to make things work – and this can mean different things for each person.

Factors of timing for me include:

  • Being free (or as close to it) of baggage
  • Feeling confident on my own
  • At an okay place with my job/career
  • Feeling as if my life is full without a partner to avoid neediness
  • Feeling emotionally strong in other areas of my life

…And there’s probably a few more things that I just haven’t thought of yet. I’ve definitely had relationship moments that failed because of timing; many, in fact.

But what if the timing doesn’t have anything to do with those things? What if you actually like each other at different times?

I’m currently experiencing this, or was, I suppose, a few months ago.

You see, I really liked this guy about two years ago, and he said it wasn’t the right time for him. He’d gone through a breakup, and wasn’t ready, which I respected.

We stayed friends – despite having a pretty big fight and not talking for several months – and recently he told me he liked me; that he thought I was cool.

While I appreciated his gesture and thought it was sweet; it felt also like a little bit of an insult. I felt like…wait, a second! I liked you YEARS ago, and I wasn’t cool enough then, so… it finally took you two years to come around?

I know he didn’t mean it like that, but I feel like as soon as a guy says he likes a woman, she’s expected to fawn all over him and treat him like a god.

Meh. That’s not really my style.

Since he told me he liked me, all of the sudden it became important that I reply his texts right away, and when he texted me around 1 am one Sunday morning, I was asleep, so I didn’t respond until around 9:30 later that morning.

And he’s been salty to me ever since – in fact, we really haven’t talked since then.

There’s always the chance that his distance has nothing to do with me, but it sure seems pretty immature, not to mention controlling, and a bit manipulative.

On the one hand, it sadly may mean that it just wasn’t meant to be with this guy that I thought I liked so much. But on the other hand, I’m proud of myself for spotting something like this early – because these are tricks I’ve fallen for in the past, and have ended very poorly for me.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in a relationship, and a big reason for that is because the last one was so, so terrible. It has taken me years to find myself again, and gain enough confidence to even think about dating again. While I’m finally starting to feel ready, I also realize that I’m really sensitive to any possible sign of control and manipulation – as that’s something all of my exes have in common.

 I suppose it doesn’t matter exactly WHAT kind of timing we’re tallking about, if fate is in control here, then whatever is meant to be, will be, right?

So… fate… I’m waiting.

‘Famously Single’: Initial thoughts…

The cast of 'Famoulsy Single'.

The cast of ‘Famoulsy Single’.

Last night, E! network premiered their latest reality TV installment, “Famously Single”. I’ll admit, I have been counting down the days…and hours… for this to begin. “Famously Single” brings a group of single, B-list celebrities (mostly from other reality shows) into a house, along with a doctor, to find out exactly why they are single and how they can “fix” it.

There are two reasons I was chomping at the bit for this show to start: 1. I love anything to do with dating/being single/celeb couples, etc., and 2. DJ Pauly D is part of the cast. Who doesn’t love that guy?

Despite being a reality TV junkie, I’ll admit that a lot of the cast members are new to me. So, here they are, you know, for reference:

There’s Jessica White (model), who you may recognize from the pages of Sports Illustrated; the popular DJ Pauly D from “Jersey Shore”; singer for Dumblonde, Aubrey O’Day, who was previously on “Making the Band” as a member of Danity Kane; Willis McGahee – former running back for the Buffalo Bills; Brandi Glanville – the infamously firey ex-wife and former castmember of “The Real Houswives of Beverly Hills”; Calum Best, who is fine as hell, is a model and an actor; Somaya Reece, former star of “Love & Hip-Hop”; and Josh Murray (also fine as hell), who was on “The Bachelorette”, and actually won during Andi Dorfman’s season – obviously that didn’t work out…

And finally there’s Dr. Darcy Sterling, who has been sent to make some sort of sense out of all the crazy… and of course she’s got some weird tricks up her sleeve, like sending the castmates on dates with an earpiece in, of course.

When the episode began, there was a short intro with each celeb, in which they talked about why they think they’re single, which was interesting. I’d say Brandi and Aubrey have the same problems I have – a fear of guys cheating, and general committment phobia.

Many of the castmates said that they can’t date someone within “the industry”, because of the schedule issue, and if they date outside of the industry, the other person is usually in it for the wrong reasons… fair enough. Although, when it came time for Josh Murray to give his lil intro he failed to mention the rumors that his relationship with Andi failed because he’s a woman-beater. But, yeah.

Their first challenge was to speed date – with each other. This is when Brandi reveals that Callum has slept with “everyone of” her girlfriends. Aubrey also states that she has no interest in Pauly D because “there’s no substance there” …hello, kettle!

Then, each castmate meets with Dr. Darcy one-on-one, so she can get to the root of WHY they are single. In this, Pauly D reveals he hasn’t had a serious relationship since high school. Woah. He also says he’s never been in love. He also explained an interesting, celebrity dynamic that I’ve never considered – he said that he doesn’t get out anymore. The gym is in his house; tanning bed is in his house (GTL, baby!), food is delivered, and when he’s at the clubs, he’s working. Real talk.

There’s soooo much shade thrown on Brandi already – Aubrey is all “I have to reduce my brain around her”…again, with that. Sorry, Aubrey, but you’re not exactly the sharpest crayon in the box. Amiright?

The gang gets ready to go out for a night on the town, and little to they know, Dr. Darcy has planted two dating coaches at the club to interact with the group and test them. Dun dun dunnnn. The group, obviously, acted like they’d never been out before – all got pretty drunk and acted a fool.

Somaya picked a fight with Brandi, and the guys had to split them up – I predict tension here the ENTIRE season. Somaya was all, “These crazy white bitches…”, and Brandi was all, “I will beat the fuck outta her”. Lawd.

Toward the end of the episode, the cast met with Dr. Darcy (this will probably happen for every episode) and rehashed the night before. It is here Dr. Darcy reveals that she laced the club with dating coaches – but the episode ends before we see exactly WHO the coaches are.

There is a season preview, and there are MAJOR clips of people within the house not only hooking up, but falling for each other. Because what’s better television than a bunch of damaged, beautiful people hooking up with each other. Nothing, my friends, NO-THING!

I am pretty pumped to watch this season unfold, and if it’s okay with you, I’ll probably be reviewing it, episode by episode. I hope you’ll watch the crazy unfold, right along with me!

Am I lacking ‘girl game’?

I'm losing my cool and just going straight NERD.

I’m losing my cool and just going straight NERD.

Last week, Forbes magazine published an Instagram post revealing the top five downloaded podcasts, which included one called “The Art of Charm”.

I checked it out, and noticed the description was geared toward men and how they could improve their lives in all areas, including work, friends, family, and dating, all by the tips in the podcast.

Dating? Count me in.

I started binging on old episodes right away.

One episode was dedicated to learning how to “win” at speed dating. The two hosts had been on several speed dating adventures and were sharing their tips.

One of their pieces of advice was to steer the conversation in your favor – speaking to the men.

“If a woman just asks you ‘What do you do for a living’, it’s because she’s got no girl game,” one host said.

Girl game?

And here I thought asking someone about their career made for interesting conversation.

The more they talked about it, they explained that often women don’t have game because they don’t have to; women are used to being approached instead of having to do the work themselves.

It sounded a little annoying at first, but then I got to thinking about it, and they were right.

I went on a date a few months ago and I was so nervous, I found myself unable to rely on my usual crutch of self-confidence.

I was finding it hard to maintain eye contact and hold up conversation, which was very unlike me. Do I lack girl game?

During the date, I kept catching myself looking away or picking up nervous habits, but I couldn’t stop myself.

I hate to admit it, but I kind of think I need help with my dating game.

When we refer to men who have game, it means they’re not only good in the dating world, they’re super smooth. These men have loads of confidence, they know what they want, and they go after it.

For women, having said “game” might be a little bit of new territory; we’re still learning how to steer the dating ship and be treated proper in a relationship, simultaneously.

I have always wondered if a girl comes across as aggressive in the beginning, will the man still take the lead later, or will it always be up to the woman?

But the truth of the matter is, you can only be good at dating – actually going on dates – if you practice.

And, you lose practice one of two ways: 1. Spending your Saturday nights on the couch with Netflix, alone, or 2. Getting into a serious relationship.

Most women straight out of a relationship find it difficult to date because they’re ready to just pick up (emotionally) where they left-off, even if it’s with someone new.

It sounds silly, but mastering the game means conquering every day skills, such as holding great conversation, maintaining eye contact, and keeping an open mind. Overall, just be cool, right?

At the end of the podcast, the guys suggested everyone try speed dating because it’s a good way to put yourself out there, even for just a short time.

I’ve been considering checking one out – I often seen them advertised in New Orleans – and maybe I should. It’d be a good way for me to “practice” dating and hone my girl game.

Dating in my Past Life.

I did have a soulmate... in my past life.

I did have a soulmate… in my past life.

When I was 16, I went to see a palm-reader. She lived in a semi-sketchy neighborhood, and when my high-school friend and I knocked on her door, she quickly snapped off an episode of “Full House” before tending to us.

As shady as it seemed, she told me a few things that proved to be true: my parents would divorce, and I would end up with a hunky blonde with the initials of “J.S”.

Okay, so that second part has yet to come true, but here’s to hoping.

It’s been a very long time since that reading, and I wanted to get a better idea of where things might be going for me.

So, I booked an appointment with an astrologer; she is also the founder and CEO of the New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts.

For my reading, she went over my natal chart, which is a map of the universe calculated for the time of my birth (including day, year, and location).

She talked a lot about my life; my childhood, and my personality given the alignment of the universe according to my chart. It was eerily true.

She also discussed my dating life in three different ways:

  1. The men attracted to me/those I usually date
  2. Upcoming romantic forecast
  3. A man from my past life

She quickly picked up on the fact that I usually date douche-y, arrogant guys. She even knew the day of my most-recent fallout with a guy I was talking to.

According to my chart, I should be expecting a “summer romance” beginning around June 23. This is awesome news; and means I have around two months to get a great tan for my summer guy. Expect written news regarding this fling.

And finally, she asked me about a certain someone who’d passed away during my college years. Of course, I knew who she was talking about: he was the first person I met at LSU, he was my friend, and we often went on dates.

I liked him very much for just meeting him.

“When you meet someone and feel like you’ve known them your whole life,” she said. “It’s because you have.”

She said we knew each other in our past lives; and that in that life, we were soulmates.

The tears started forming in my eyes. It was emotional for me, because ever since his unexpected death, I wondered if he WAS my soulmate. But I always talked myself out of it, because then that would mean fate wasn’t real.

Her theory explained everything.

According to her, he was watching over me, and asked if I had a picture of him in my house. I do, framed, I told her.

“That gives him permission to watch over you, and put luck on your side,” she said.

I cannot tell you how oddly satisfying that was to hear. She also said I could give him energy to continue protecting me by lighting a candle by his picture.

So, I’ve been doing just that – garden scented.

The reading was also insightful in the areas of my career, travel plans, and upcoming instincts I may encounter. I loved the reading so much, I’m definitely going to make it a regular occurrence.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to that summer romance. In all honesty, I can’t say I’m disappointed that she didn’t mention anything serious.

Given my rocky dating experiences recently, I think I just need a little fun to remind myself that all guys aren’t terrible.

Seen, not heard.

Men want a woman who listens to their every word...

Men want a woman who listens to their every word…

“We’re selfish, so all we want is a girl who’s going to listen to everything we say and act like it’s the coolest thing ever.”

A guy friend of mine was trying to explain the inner-workings of the male brain to me.

I’d just heard on the radio that the #1 reason a man will dump a woman early in a relationship is if she doesn’t listen (according to survey results).

Um, come again?

I was shocked by this, so I turned to my male friend to see if it was true.

It took him less than a minute to say yes, it was true, and expand with the aforementioned.

This surprised me for two reasons: 1. I didn’t think men really cared about much else outside of physical appearance or the ratio of sexual activity to nagging, and 2. I feel like I’m a great listener, so what gives?

I agreed with my friend that yes, men are egotistical, so of course they want someone who’s obsessed with their every move.

On the other hand, how many times have you been obviously into a guy and it sends him running for the hills?

Personally, that’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. Everyone knows you’ve got to play hard to get to not appear desperate, and to keep the guy somewhat interested.

In general, I’ve got a curiosity for people and I love stories. Because of this, it’s not unlike me to ask lots of questions no matter who I’m around.

But this clearly hasn’t had any benefits for my dating game.

I decided to share this information with my hair stylist, because she’s obviously the person I go to for all of my needs.

“For years, I’ve sat there and listened to all of their dumb shit,” I told her, referring to past boyfriends.

Of course, at the time, I was really into just about everything they told me, no matter what it was.

And that’s the other part of this equation that rubs me the wrong way. Dear men, if you want us to hang on your every word, then let’s start by saying something interesting.

Here’s the truth: rarely (and I mean about twice) have I met a guy who’s got something cool to say.

A majority of the guys I meet have three topics to discuss: work stress, sport matchups, and it’s a tossup between the weather or what happened on XM radio.

Riveting.

The other half of this equation is the woman, you know, that human who’s listening to the words coming out of your face, is someone who wants to speak, as well.

Coincidentally, a conversation is a two-way street. If it were a one-way street, you’d eventually keep circling, and you’d never get anywhere.

Aside from this whole “listening” rule making absolutely no sense, it amazes me that no matter how far we think we’ve come, we’re still in an environment that wishes women would keep quiet.

Perhaps that is one of the many reasons why I’m single. If there’s an outlet for my voice, I’ve used it, and I’d venture to say that’s never going to change.

Yes, I like to listen and learn about the person I’m talking to. But I also like contributing to conversation, whether it’s just talking about my day, or even politics and pop culture.

If you’re a guy looking for someone to listen and not speak, I’d suggest starting a podcast. If it’s at all groundbreaking, maybe I’ll pick up a pair of headphones.

Baby, you should go & date yourself.

I want that top.

I want that top.

I’ve been single for almost three years. Of course, during these three years, I’ve gone on several dates, and had many flings and crushes.

But recently, I’ve found myself in a situation that rarely happens: I don’t even have a crush.

As pathetic as it sounds, this thought disappoints me greatly. While I’ve never considered myself to be boy crazy, a crush gives me something to be excited over; something to work toward (you know, before I ultimately get crushed).

Given that this “zero crush” situation is rare for me, I realized I probably need to do something else I’ve never done: date myself.

That term sounds incredibly weird, but it’s something that needs to happen.

You see, I will admit I have a habit of filling the void of one relationship with another, and this is an unhealthy pattern I’ve been working to break.

Between relationships, you’ve really got to focus on yourself to heal, and to avoid ruining your next relationship because of the last.

Dating yourself doesn’t mean sitting at home alone all the time (as fun as that is), it means truly being in a relationship with yourself.

Some days, that may mean pampering yourself and being kind to yourself, while other days that could mean jumping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.

The reward? You’re going to learn a lot about who you are, and ultimately what you want out of life, and out of a relationship.

It also solidifies the fact that you can spend time alone, and enjoy it, not because you have to, but because you want to!

I put this to the test last weekend when I made it a goal to eat alone at a restaurant I’d been wanting to try.

Normally in these situations, I’d just get takeout, and enjoy the feast alone, within the privacy of my apartment.

But no, I put on something I felt confident in, went to the restaurant, and I sat by myself, with no book or shield to protect me.

I even ordered a giant beer, and watched a basketball game before mowing down a messy burger and cheese fries.

And you know what? I felt like a million bucks when I walked out of that restaurant. I’d done what I thought was impossible, and it was actually fun!

I know you think I’m nuts. But everyone has their thing that seems scary to do alone. I have never minded going to the movies alone; in fact, I prefer it.

Coffee shops and errands are fine, hell, I’ve even gone on vacation by myself. But for some reason, tackling the restaurant scene alone seemed untouchable.

Now that I’ve at least tried it, I’m kind of excited to go out again. It means I’ve got more control over my life, and that I don’t have to miss out on things I love just because I’m not coupled up.

Okay, sure, I’m not getting a goodnight kiss at my doorstep when I date myself, but I also don’t have the anxiety of fumbling for my keys, wondering if a kiss will even happen.

Building the relationship I have with myself is going to prepare me for whatever’s to come. I’m going to be my very best self, and when the next guy comes along, I’ll have to decide if he’s worth breaking a date with myself.

I don’t even know who he is yet, but I can tell you this: I’m a pretty cool girl, and it’s going to take someone really awesome to get me to share my Saturday nights with someone aside from myself.

And because Justin Bieber has a song for all of my feelings:

Lose Control in Dating… & Love it.

Learning to let go...

Learning to let go…

People often say, “When you’re not looking, that’s when it’ll happen.” These people are usually in a relationship.

I get it – just when you’re busy getting your life together instead of obsessing over dating, Mr. or Mrs. Right could be eyeing you from afar.

It makes sense, but the most difficult thing for me to wrap my brain around when it comes to dating is that it’s one of the only things in our lives that’s completely out of our control.

Think about it: in general, when you work hard, you know at some point, you’ll get a promotion. When you put extra time and effort into a hobby, the chances are likely you’ll get better at it.

But when it comes to romantic love, there’s really nothing we can do to ensure it’ll happen in the way we hope, or that it will even happen at all.

I wouldn’t consider myself a control freak, but when I think about all the things I try to control in dating, there’s a chance I might be.

For example, controlling where we meet someone. No one wants to meet in a bar anymore, and even online dating is considered taboo for some (I’ve done it, no judgment). I think meeting someone in a grocery store would be cool – we could bond over organic produce.

Once we meet someone, we try to control our feelings to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We also try to control who has the power in the relationship. But in the end, none of these efforts really work.

So, how can we stop trying to control one of the potentially biggest aspects of our lives? There’s a few ways, although they may not be easy.

For starters, stop wanting a relationship. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you want something, your brain automatically starts thinking about what you don’t have; in this case, a significant other. This leads to you think you’re not enough on your own, and you are!

Next, it’s time to invest in yourself. I don’t mean Botox or plastic surgery, I mean those hobbies you want to spend more time on. Take yourself on a date, treat yourself to an afternoon of something you like, take a class to improve a skill, or plan an outdoor adventure that will soothe the soul.

The point is to fill your life with things that are going to make you happy and help you feel complete. It’ll serve as a good reminder that you don’t need to be in a relationship, and when you meet someone, you won’t come across as desperate or needy.

Once you do meet someone special, because you will, stop attaching meaning to every single thing. Try to just be in the moment; be in the relationship. We spend so much time analyzing every little text or action, and not only is it exhausting, but you miss the opportunity to just get to know the person.

Finally, and this is a tough one for me, stop fantasizing. It’s time to see things for what they are. Your mind may wonder to that fantastic kiss, but stop yourself before you’re mentally walking down the aisle. This will help you stay present, and if the relationship doesn’t work out, you won’t be working through a mind-created divorce.

Some of these are going to be difficult for me to grasp, but I feel like a weight has been lifted. If love is out of my control, then I’ve got to just throw my hands up and leave it to fate. Hey, this whole “fate” thing gives me an excuse to wear sweats more often, right?

Pic of the Week.

Just a few of my handmade Valentine's Day cards.

Just a few of my handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

Last week, I was under the weather. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been sick; I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been really good about taking my vitamins, eating healthy, getting rest, and using my essential oils.

But, lots of people in my office have been sick, so despite all of my efforts (and slathering my body with antibacterial gel), I got sick and was out-of-commission, no matter if I wanted to admit it or not.

By the time Thursday rolled around, my sick coworkers were all, “Oh, you just have to get through one more day!” But… I use my weekends to get SHIT DONE! I didn’t necessarily hope to be chained to my couch for days (even though that’s what I usually do while writing blogs and editing freelance work).

Either way, I woke up Saturday morning feeling stuffy and exhausted. Luckily, I’d equipped my apartment with cold supplies (did you know there’s such a thing as Kleenex with Vicks?!), and after a few hours on the couch under my electric blanket, I was feeling much better.

And thankfully so, because I knew it was my only chance to craft up some cute Valentines for you guys! I got out all my supplies – some leftover from last year’s batch, and lots of new fun stuff.

After 5 or 6 hours of crafting, and watching rom-coms, including Sleepless in Seattle, Paper Towns, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Longest Ride, I had crafted about 30 Valentines. I’m really proud of this batch, if I do say so myself! I cannot wait to send them to you guys!

Sunday, I was feeling much better, and was ready to venture out of the apartment (I’m suuuuch a recluse). I went shopping for books, a new moisturizer, and other Valentine’s goodies for care packages I’ll be putting together in the coming weeks. I also changed my turn signal and washed my car, inside and out. Like I said, I get shit D O N E on the weekends.

I know all of this Valentine’s hoopla probably makes it seem like I’m obsessed with the holiday. Truthfully, I’ve hated it for years. But, I’ve been a relationship writer for 10 years. Each year, when February rolls around – and each time I’m single – I wonder how to approach it.

There’s been years I’ve tried to ignore it; years when I’ve tried to just be cool about it; times when my girlfriends and I have worn all black and drank ourselves stupid; and times when I’ve been really, really sad over it. But the honest truth is, none of that makes me feel any different about the holiday.

And now, I just feel like the only thing to do is embrace it and celebrate the love I do have in my life. It is not romantic love, but it’s still meaningful and it makes me smile. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know that everyone – single or not – could probably use a little more love every now and then. So, that’s why I’m sending the cards and care packages.

I love you all, and I cannot wait for you to see tomorrow’s post!

Rescue me: Hangover cures!

Don't wake up like this...

Don’t wake up like this…

It’s Thirsty Thursday (uh, so what if I’m 9 years out of college…), so let’s be adult about one thing and NOT have a hangover tomorrow! That’s what we call t-e-a-m-w-o-r-k.

For years, my girlfriend and I have been hosting “Ladies Night,” which basically means we eat delicious food, watch trashy TV, and drink multiple bottles of wine every Thursday. This also means that Fridays are usually particularly rough for me.

But, there’s easy things you can do to make that morning after a bit LESS rough.

Of course, the only surefire way of avoiding a hangover is to NOT drink. But that’s like saying the only surefire way to avoid STDs, babies, and fun is to never have sex. We’re human. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

  • Skip the grease. I know, this sounds crazy. But according to Health.com, the grease may upset your stomach, so it’s good to go for foods that are easy to digest, such as toast or cereal.
  • Alka-Seltzer. This fizzy tablet settles the stomach and neutralizes stomach acid. I’ve never tried Alka-Seltzer, but people swear by it!
  • Multi-vitamin. These make me ill, but if that’s not the case for you, pop a vitamin to get some goodness back into your bloodstream.
  • Fluids. If you’re a coffee drinker, try a little coffee, but it’s generally a bad idea to pound coffee after pounding beers. Instead, go for hydrating drinks like electrolyte water or Gatorade.
  • Pain relievers. As I get older, my hangovers are less about my stomach and more about my splitting headache. Pop some ibuprofen (I use Counter-Act).
  • Sleep. Contrary to popular belief, exercise and sweat can be deadly depending on how dehydrated you are. So stop getting excited about going to the gym… if you’re able to sleep it off the next day, do it.

In September, the internet was ablaze with a recent study suggesting Asian pear juice was THE hangover cure, provided you drank a cup of it prior to drinking alcohol. GQ did a fantastic article on it, where they truly put it to the test.

Boarding the train Saturday morning with two close friends who were staying in the house, I opened the Korean pear juice and guzzled down a cups worth, as the study suggested I do. When Colin, my good friend from Wired, asked why I was drinking pear juice, I explained. Immediately I could see his interest piqued in the supernatural powers this juice potentially contained. After a few minutes of discussion, it was set: Since Colin and I were approximately the same height and weight, we would go drink for drink all day and night on the island. The only difference being that I would drink the Korean pear juice, and he would not. We decided our diets needed to be identical that day as well, so, in the name of science, we devoured our morning bacon, egg and cheese bagels on the commute into Fire Island.

You’ll have to check out the article to see how the pear juice worked out. Truthfully, I know we all have our own needs when we’re suffering from a hangover. I like to take a pain pill, guzzle coffee, and eat a hearty breakfast. Sorry, doc. Research be damned, I’ll cure my own hangover! Cheers to that!

So, I gotta know, what are the hangover remedies you LIVE by?

Celeb crush gone too far?

Everyone knows I’m obsessed with John Mayer and Justin Bieber – it’s not like I’ve made any sort of effort to keep that a secret. I was riding in the car a few weeks ago when they said on the radio that Mr. Mayer was spotted getting into a car with Katy Perry on New Year’s.

By now, I’m used to their ridiculous back-and-forth relationship, but people always ask if it bothers me. For starters, it should already be a red flag to myself that people are asking if I genuinely give a fuck about a celebrity and who he is dating.

But, for the record, I have happened to like all of the ladies Mayer has surrounded himself with (minus Swifty. I just cannot). I like Katy Perry. I find them to be an interesting match, but I sort of wish they would just make up their minds.

However, none of this really scratches the surface when it comes to my obsession with Mayer himself. I’ve been a fan since I was 16. He was a whopping 23 at the time, so I felt like he was singing my SOUL – and, I’ve felt that way ever since.

In a sick way, I feel like we’ve sort of grown up together – even though he’s writing songs through a lens of fame and celebrity, and I’m just coming from, well, a single, creative girl’s perspective. I’ve been lucky enough to see him more than a dozen times over the years (one year seeing him three times in under 6 months), and I’ve heard the songs so many times, I can tell which one is coming up by the way he tunes his guitar.

While I don’t have a John Mayer shrine in my apartment or at my office, I do have a framed poster and a framed album cover in various parts of the apartment… okay and the shirtless Rolling Stone cover is in my kitchen (whoops). In my defense, I feel like this is the only time I’ll be able to feature such glorious gems in my home. If I’m lucky enough to get married, I’ll have to hang them… in my closet? We’ll see, and I’ll report back.

On one hand, I of course, would love to meet him, and we could finally fall in love and all of this nonsense I go through with other guys (you know, the pedestrians) would make total sense: because I was meant to be with John Mayer all this time!

But… there’s also another part of me that knows if I actually met him, he’d just disappoint me. We’ve all heard how he’s a douche, and weird,  and probably cocky. And, there’s always that risk with people who are REALLY, REALLY good at what they do – there’s a chance they might be awkward in other areas of their life.

And, there’s one more creepy part about my obsession with John Mayer. Every time I get into a semi-serious relationship (which has been what, two times?), I think, “Well, this could be it…” and in my mind, I’m breaking up with the idea of being with John Mayer. NO, SERIOUSLY.

I know it’s unlikely, but hey, a girl can dream. And you know I love to dream. I guess when Mr. Right comes along we’ll just have to agree that John Mayer is my celebrity “out.”

As for Justin Bieber, yes, I still love him. And I am rather obsessed with the Purpose album (“Comfortable” is my favorite song). But, I had a serious conversation with my friend the other night, the topic being this: if I were given the choice of sleeping with John Mayer or Justin Bieber, and I was forced to choose… I’d pick John.

Don’t get me wrong, this was NOT an easy decision! I weighed the pros and cons, and chose John given that there’s a chance he’d be more of a selfless lover. While Bieber would be selfish, and possibly into Jack-rabbit sex.

So there you have it. I’m obsessed. But I gotta know… who’s your celebrity out?

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