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Making friends…as an adult.

Creating lasting friendships as an adult? The struggle is real.

Creating lasting friendships as an adult? The struggle is real.

I was having lunch with a few coworkers last week (read: we were gathered around a rotting picnic table eating from our packed lunches), and we got to talking about how difficult it is to make friends as an adult, particularly once you’ve graduated from college.

My coworkers explained they did have people they called; people they liked to meet up for drinks with, but it was almost impossible to get anyone to agree to nail down a plan – everyone seems to be in search of the Bigger, Better Deal. The BBD.

As I attend more and more dance classes, I meet more people that would make great company. And I’ve thought to myself, “Okay, once I get out of my spending freeze, I should invite that person to brunch,” and then I think, well screw the spending freeze, I could still invite that person over for a pool day or to have wine at my apartment, right? But how do you even approach someone in a way that isn’t completely awkward?

An article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Science of Making Friends” says we are constantly shedding friendships, and the older we get, the less time we feel we have for friendships. The article also suggests to treat new friendships like dating; with intention, but also with caution. Interesting.

One idea I liked from the articles was to be a friend when someone needs one. Perhaps an acquaintance is going through a difficult time; bring them a coffee or simply tell them you’re there if they need someone to talk to. I think these small gestures can go a long way.

An article from Bustle, “7 Ways to Make New Friends as an Adult” suggests using MeetUp – a large networking group that allows people in the same city to create their own “MeetUps” or join one someone else has created. Sounds cool, though there is a monthly fee. Meh. There’s also a similar site for women called “Girlfriend Circles” that looks kind of cool.

Another suggestion was to volunteer. This idea makes me excited, because I DID sign up to volunteer at the Austin Film Festival this year! I primarily signed up because I heard it’s a great way to meet people in the industry… and since I’m working on a script, I’ve got to start somewhere. But now that the event is getting closer, there are events (the first one is Friday) left and right, and I’m excited to start meeting some of the other volunteers. Sure, we’re not saving the world, but at least we have two things in common: film and Austin.

The good thing I discovered in reading all of these articles is that a lot of people feel the way I feel – making friendships past 25 is a challenge, just as anything else can be. And when looking for new friends, it feels really vulnerable putting yourself out there, but it’s comforting to know that scientifically, we can bond with just about anyone.

So, go ahead, and put yourself out there. Invite someone to do something! I know I am going to try… what’s the worst that could happen?

Don’t answer that.

Ditching disappointment.

Always under a rain cloud.

Always under a rain cloud.

I’ve been thinking a lot about disappointment lately. I mean, do you ever get to that point where you’re just not even feeling mad, more just let down?

Disappointment can come from anywhere. Speaking from experience, I’d say recently I felt disappointment when I couldn’t make it to Indianapolis to see the Dave Matthews concert; or when a guy I liked admitted he was only interested in hooking up; or when I discovered a TYPO in my cover letter, or when a wedding date stopped talking to me; or when the last person I slept with actually UNLIKED every single picture of mine on Instagram, as if he wished the memories would disappear.

I mean… come on.

Disappoint happens when your expectations exceed reality. And that is not a good feeling. The best way I can really describe it, is that scene in “500 Days of Summer”…

These are all moments where I just felt like throwing my hands up and doing a lil, “Whatever”. So, how can we handle disappointment in any remotely positive way? Well, I found some great advice on the Tiny Buddha website:

For starters, you’ve got to let yourself feel the emotions. I’ve had so many conversations with friends where they want to do everything they can in order to make the bad feelings go away; and trust me, I’ve been there. But sometimes, you’ve got to just feel all the feels in order to get it out of the way.

Once you give yourself some time to let it all out, it will be easier to look at the situation with more clarity, and you’ll be able to gain some perspective on it. But know that this will ONLY happen if you give yourself that time.

Next, you’ve got to remind yourself who you really are. Don’t let this disappointment take over your personality, or your life. This will help you cope with situations that don’t align with who you are.

And finally, find acceptance. Know that disappointment is a part of life, and you will experience ups as well as downs. And sometimes… guys are just assholes.

But seriously, I was reading another article that said to start by keeping your expectations in check, because then you won’t be as let down. And I get that – how many times have we heard that if we go in with no expectations, then we won’t have anything to lose. But sometimes it’s just too easy to get excited!

And as always, it’s important to learn from your defeats. Maybe the person disappointing you has made it a pattern and it’s something that needs to be resolved further. Or perhaps its a personal issue. Whatever it is, if we continue to learn from our ups and downs, maybe we’ll experience less of the “downs” in the future.

But can we talk about something that has NOT been disappointing lately? Drake lyrics. I mean, I was really loving me some “Hotline Bling,” and I also love “One Dance”, but how about some “Too Good”? I am loving this song!

Years go by too fast, I can’t keep track. How long did we last? I feel bad for asking; it can’t end like this. We gotta take time with this…

‘The Hills’ is baaaaack… for just 1 day!

That's right, she's back for tonight only!

That’s right, she’s back for tonight only!

You’ve probably already heard the news: Lauren Conrad is coming back for the 10th Anniversary of “The Hills” and it airs on MTV TO-NIGHT!! If you’re just now learning this news, then I’m welcoming you to the world of the countdown for this thing to start. I really cannot freaking wait!

I’m not ashamed to say “The Hills” was one of my favorite TV shows, ever. It was the young-adult continuation of “Laguna Beach“, the semi-real life version of “The OC”, and it gave us all a look into life in Hollywood.

Sure, the show lacked real substance, and perhaps that’s exactly what Lauren’s about to tell us tonight; about how the producers set up scenarios for them and texted them what to say, but all of that aside, it was still a fantastic show, and quite genius.

And so, let’s take a look back. I’d like to share with you, in no particular order, my favorite moments from “The Hills”:

The Fight With Jen Bunney

In season 2, Lauren and Brody are kind of… “talking”, and in swoops Jen Bunney like a little skank and hooks up with Brody, which obvi pisses Lauren off. Their fight on Lauren’s couch was quite amazing, but the clip wasn’t on YouTube, so here’s this reenactment, which is pretty close to the real thing.

Ste-Phen Comes to LA

Aw, Stephen.

Aw, Stephen.

In Season 3, Lauren’s old love interest, Stephen, comes back for one episode – a backyard party when Lauren moves into her new house, and another few scenes when he takes her out to dinner. In a way, this episode made me really sad, because it seems like Lauren always liked him so much, but he never really let her in, and I know that feeling all too well.

But, it was almost an episode too good to be true, because it brought part of “Laguna Beach” back, and who doesn’t love that? You can watch the full episode here.

Heidi’s Plastic Surgery

At the start of season 6, Heidi revealed to the world the results of her 10 plastic surgeries, including a breast enhancement, butt lift, nose job, lipo, and back-shaping. She looked like a completely different person, and it made for an interesting few episodes. This was also the season where I’m pretty sure Spencer was playing us all, and was super into crystals (according to his SnapChat, he still is).

When Lauren Chooses Jason… Over Paris

During the season 1 finale, Lauren was tasked with a difficult decision: go to Paris for free with Teen Vogue, or go to a beach house in Malibu with stupid Jason. And MTV really fooled us all, as Lauren was packing her suitcase and driving down the highway looking fashionable, and then she rolls up to the beach house, while Whitney goes to the airport for Paris. As we found out during the season two premier, it wasn’t Lauren’s smartest decision, as the two had a very public-tabloid-filled fight and breakup, in which we saw the aftermath.

Justin Bobby’s ‘Truth and Time’

“The Hills” brought us the gloriousness of Justin Bobby, and truth be told, as disgusting as he was, the joke was on us, because the dude was living it up, hooking up with Audrina, and making money, while we all cringed at his every burp. But who else could deliver his stellar one-liners, a-la, “Truth and time tells all”?

Heidi & Spencer Get Hitched… Again

It seems like Heidi and Spencer’s relationship was on a constant loop; they had a few engagements, plus a few weddings, but finally, they had the big wedding where Lauren came and so did Kristin, and it was the official handoff, when Lauren left the show and Kristin started.

The Series Finale, Original Ending

The final episode of “The Hills” wrapped up everyone’s story, and had us all believing that K-Cav was heading out of the country to find herself, all because it didn’t work out with her and Brody. She goes out to get in her car, and Brody pulls up to say goodbye, and as she drives away, the Hollywood backdrop rolls away to reveal a set, leaving us all to wonder how much of the show was fake.

I loved and hated this ending all at once, but it really encapsulated the genius behind the show, because we still don’t know what was fake or real. The show constantly received ridicule for its high-production value; making it one of the first reality-shows to appear glossy and produced, right down to its near-infamous glares, stares, and one-liners. Unlike other shows, “The Hills” never crossed the 4th wall, and there was the fact that cameras, paparazzi or fans, was not a part of the show at all. Absolutely phenomenal.

And maybe that’s what Lauren is going to reveal tonight?! We’ll see, but I can’t wait. The chances are likely that I’ll be watching clips and videos all day, and probably listening to Natasha Beddingfield with my windows down, pretending I’m in the cast.

‘Famously Single’: Aubrey and Pauly…?

Are you falling in love with me?

Are you falling in love with me?

Ohhh snap! I’ll admit, I skipped watching “Famously Single” last night because I was watching the DNC – but I’m here this morning, eating my blue-frosted Pop-Tart, sitting with Blanche, and we are READY!

The episode starts with Jessica doing a card reading for Aubrey and Pauly. Somehow, the cards say that Aubrey wants to have sex with Pauly, and Jessica asks him if he’s been thinking about another girl. He denies it, and Aubrey gets a little pissy – shocker.

Pauly says, in his confessional, that he cannot handle another jealous woman, because that’s all he ever dates. But the it’s in the cards, and he says it’s a red flag.

Dr. Darcy sits with Aubrey one-on-one to talk about the argument she had with Pauly. She says the fight with Pauly made her fearful, and that the argument was full of red flags – HMMMM.

Dr. Darcy reminds Aubrey that she’s dealing with someone who has no relationship experience. Aubrey sees his jokes as a safe place, because he knows she needs more than what he’s used to.

Dr. Darcy asks Aubrey why she likes him, and Aubrey says he is sincere, and true to his core, which Darcy agrees with (Darcy! NO!).

After the break, Jessica says Willis asked her on a date, but she’s weary about it after what happened with Maya. Maya says that if she wants to go out with him, then she should.

Meanwhile, she tells Willis she thought about him when she masturbated. What?! What is happening in this house right now!?

Dr. Darcy sets the group down, and says that the goal was to match the group with people outside the house, buuuut everyone in the house is hooking up.

The housemates agree it’s an interesting situation, and they are still learning, despite dating within the house.

Darcy mentions another connection in the house… Maya and Jessica. Maya tells the group about their evening, and Willis is pretty much DYING.

Callum and Brandi get ready to take a hike, and Jessica wants to read their cards. She says he is thinking about separation, but also wants to sleep with her. But Jessica says part of that is because he wasn’t there when she read them.

Brandi admits in her confessional that she knows he’s not right for her, but she does like him, so there’s that. At the end of the hike, Callum had set up a picnic for them (aw!). She is honest with him about what she needs in a relationship, and Callum says he believes he can give that to her.

Back at the house, Aubrey is still trying to understand her relationship with Pauly. She doesn’t feel like he’s treating her like “a queen”, and Willis tells her she needs to give it time. However, Aubrey says she doesn’t have time to coddle someone. Yeessh.

Pauly says he feels a lot of pressure to go faster than he wants to go; and he knows if they have sex he will think about the relationship differently. Dr. Darcy brings him in for a one-on-one, and he says he’s feeling the pressure, and he sees it going faster.

Darcy tells him that he’s got to communicate that to her – that there’s a good reason why he wants to move slow.

The house goes out that night and Callum tells Brandi she is his number one (rolls eyes). Aubrey and Pauly are talking, and Aubrey tells Pauly he’s never going to find love if he keeps shutting down. But instead of taking Darcy’s advice, he is silent.

Willis is openly upset about Jessica hooking up with Maya, but she assures him they’re not together. This still doesn’t seem to settle his feelings.

Dr. Darcy pulls Aubrey and Pauley in to talk. Aubrey says she wants a plan, because that’s how she is, but Pauly says he isn’t like that. When Darcy asks them if they’re exclusive, Pauly says that it’s too fast for him.

Aubrey is, of course, pissed. She admits she wants to be saved, and maybe Pauly isn’t the one to do it. Pauly says he wants to do right by Aubrey, and that even saving takes time.

Pauly takes Aubrey on a date to go go-karting – cute! Pauly admits it’s his first date in a long time – also cute! Pauly tells her he feels a major connection with Aubrey, and that he is used to going from 0-100, and he doesn’t want this to happen between them.

Aubrey finally sees his point and appreciates his willingness to “build the foundation”.

And… next week is the season finale! Whaaaat! But don’t worry, the episode preview still looks to be full of drama – especially between Callum and Brandi. Whoop!

Simple ways I’m tackling life.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve been in the midst of tough times; because, well, that’s the kind of thing that happens as the years pass. We have good times and bad, and getting through the bad times is often when we learn the most about ourselves and the people around us.

I’ve written a lot over the years about happiness – ways to shift your mood and feel happy now, or finding happiness from within (which inevitably fills my inbox with emails about finding Jesus) – but what do you do when the going really gets tough, when you can’t turn to your wallet, or possibly your friends or family, or job, or any of the usual crutches to perk things up?

Several years ago, I read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – the first of her several books on how to make, and live, a better life. The book was highly criticized because Rubin is pretty privileged, but that really doesn’t get annoying until book two. I actually really enjoyed “The Happiness Project” and have turned to it in the recent weeks as I tackle life like a 12-step plan, one day at a time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve really done some searching in my life to discover the small things that make life a little better, and I’m sharing them with you in hopes they help you, too.

Getting up earlier. As nerdy as it sounds, I’ve spent the better part of the last year getting up at least an hour earlier than I need to. Why? Well, truthfully, I really like being able to get things done before I have to go to work. I don’t usually leave important tasks for the mornings – some days I get up to write for an hour, or watch TV, or perhaps I just want to take my time getting ready.

When my life started to turn dark, I noticed right away that I started hitting the snooze button a lot more, to the point that I barely had time to brush my teeth and run out of the door each day. And it took me awhile to realize that it just wasn’t working. So, I got right back into my early morning habit, and it’s amazing how much it helps. I can spend time on my patio drinking coffee with Blanche, or tidy up my living room so it’s clean when I come home, or even just eat breakfast at my counter instead of at my office. I can also do my hair and get my makeup right so I go about my day with confidence. This one little move makes it feel like I have more hours in the day, and that they’re not all taken up by work.

Getting more sleep. This probably sounds quite contradictory to the previous tip, but I realized that I’d been staying up too late, and really for no reason other than to avoid the next day approaching. It was time I invest in myself and the first step toward that was getting a good night’s sleep every night.

Many, many people struggle with getting sleep, and it’s an issue I’ve had for several years. Everyone probably has their own approach to getting a solid night of sleep, and even Rubin covers this topic in her book. She goes about it the traditional way, skipping out on work, television, or anything stimulating an hour before sleep.

That doesn’t really work for me – instead, I told myself that I wanted to be asleep at 11 pm on work nights. So, around 10, I started winding things down, washing my face, turning on my essential oil diffuser (with lavender), and sometimes taking melatonin. I also stopped drinking during the week. I still watch TV in bed, or sometimes read, but it usually doesn’t take long before I’m asleep. And if I want to stay up late to watch a certain show (such as a political convention) or read a book or work on a meaningful project, then so be it, just as long as it’s not a daily habit.

Accepting the challenges. When things hit the fan, whether they be a growing pile of bills, burnout from workout, or a broken heart, everyone has two options: 1. starting a diet of NyQuil and sleeping in hopes things get better, or accepting it and figuring out how to kick its ass. I chose the latter, and I can say that while accepting reality does suck at first, it makes me feel more in control of my life, and at the very least, I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Many of my current issues are financial, down to my last dime. So, a challenge for me was creating a budget and then slashing it to live off as little as possible. Once I accepted this challenge, I’ve discovered that I can live on a lot less than I did before, and I’ve made new discoveries, such as how many meals you can get from a single rotisserie chicken, and how to fix a ceiling fan in order to use less air conditioning.

Evaluating. Once unhappiness starts to settle in, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life. For me, this meant looking at my finances and getting control of them. What kinds of monthly bills could I get rid of, or lower? What was I spending my money on and could it be taken out?

A few things, I found, could be eliminated. Some things I miss, but others were expenses I was paying simply because I was too lazy to cancel an account. Some things I couldn’t part with – such as my dance studio membership. Not only is dance my main form of exercise, it’s also a social activity for me, plus it’s creative, and a stress reliever. So, while I didn’t cancel my membership, I decided I’d make the most of it and attend more classes since my membership is unlimited.

I also looked at expenses I couldn’t change, like my rent. What would make me hate paying my rent less? One thing was that if I just got serious about keeping the place clean and tidy, and perhaps got rid of a few things. Turns out, cleaning felt productive, and I even have a box of things I can sell at a local bookstore. Part of my rent expense is a $30/month trash valet fee that is non-negotiable. I’ve never been able to use the service because of its strict time limits, so I talked to my leasing office to make sure I had all of the right information.

Turns out, they’re a little more lenient than I thought, so I was able to use the trash valet service twice last week – I just put my designated trashcan outside between a certain chunk of time and my trash is taken away for me. Now, I feel better that I’m not just wasting the monthly fee, and it saves me dreaded trips to the dumpster, which keeps my apartment even cleaner.

But evaluation doesn’t necessarily mean monetary things; for me, it also meant people. I started to recognize people in my life that were bringing me down – I cut them out. If they were only planning on being with me during the good times, it was time to let them go.

Reading & writing. Whether you’re a creative or not, I think it’s healthy to have some form of escape plan, even if it’s fictional. One of the first things I did when I realized I needed to penny pinch was get a library card. I have always loved going to the library, and there’s nothing bad about tackling a reading list. Now, I go to the library at least once a week, and I enjoy the tiny adventure of searching for books on my reading list, looking for any good DVDs to check out, and adding any of the library’s free activities to my calendar.

I have yet to master the art of journaling, as most things that come into my brain end up on this blog, but I know for some, writing privately is a great way to cope. When I lost my job almost two years ago, one of the first purchases I treated myself to was a thick notebook that had an inspirational quote on the front. As simple as it sounds, I used the notebook to hold my life together – lists of jobs I applied to each week, upcoming interviews, and my weekly work schedule as I juggled three retail jobs. I have since used the entire notebook, but have kept it since it was so helpful to me.

Making the most out of everything. I have always appreciated the small things in life, but now, I pretty much realized they’re all I’ve got. So, when a song I love comes on the radio (“One Dance” by Drake is my recent favorite; along with Justin Bieber’s new one), I turn it up and dance in my car. When I wakeup before my alarm, I get up and take a few moments to enjoy the sunrise.

When I was evaluating my expenses, I considered eliminating my Tuesday night latte ($4.28) from my life. But, I decided against it, as it’s a small expense, but more importantly, it’s an hour I spend each week reading between work and dance class, and it’s a treat to myself; a chance to just breathe. Instead of just grabbing your latte each morning, consider actually enjoying it, and the people around you. The coffee shop I go to is a game house; they host weekly war game tournaments, and Tuesday nights are very popular. And while I have no clue what these games entail, I enjoy seeing all of these people gathering for something they’re passionate about.

Take a break. This could mean a lot of different things for different people. For me, this literally meant taking a break. Before allowing myself said breaks, I’d taken less than three lunch breaks in the last year. I was overworked and burned out. So, I vowed to stop skipping my lunch breaks. Even on days when things felt crazy, I’ve taken a break; gone outside, taken a walk, sat on a bench and read a book. And, it’s pretty amazing how much good it does for the brain. It makes the work day seem so much shorter, and I look forward to it each day.

I also vowed to stop taking my work laptop home. I often took it home even when I had no looming deadlines, and at the very least, I would check my email before bed, or find a 30-minute task to complete. Not anymore. If I had too much work to complete within 9-5, then I was just going to have to tell someone that it couldn’t happen. And so far, I’ve been more efficient at work – probably due to my sleep schedule – and I’ve been way less stressed. Home is for being at home, not for work.

Creating new goals and working toward them. I am a dreamer, so I’m always thinking ahead. What do I want my life to be like in 3, 5, or 10 years? I honestly don’t know. But I know I’m going to keep writing and I am always working to continue my craft. Recently, I’ve discovered a great interest in teleplays and screenwriting, so I’ve set a goal for myself to write a script. I even bought myself a how-to book with a gift card I got for my birthday. Will my script see the light of day? Who knows! But I will work to find out. And who knows what will happen along the way.

 I’d love to know what kinds of things keep you going throughout the week! Maybe it’s your daily food journal, taking the scenic route home from work, or a weekly sewing class – share it in the comments!

Things I’d tell you if I could.

We're goin' downtown....

We’re goin’ downtown….

If we were talking, there’s so many things I’d tell you; but I know the chances of that happening are slim-to-none, and for good reason. I’d like to think that our hurtful actions toward each other came from places we don’t venture often; places of anger and insecurity.

But nevertheless, we are here, apart, not speaking – a scenario that is likely our fate given what’s happened, and despite my attempts to reach out.

There are so many times I wish I could call you – times when I feel there’s really no one I could call, and I remember being able to call you almost every day and tell you about all the little things that happened during my day that possibly no one else would care about.

For example, I went kayaking for the first time EVER earlier this week, and 1. I didn’t flip the watercraft, and 2. it was really fun, and definitely something I want to do again.

I’ve also never tried a stand-up-paddleboard, but I saw several people at the lake on them, and despite my lack of balance, I think I could do it – it’s on my list of things to try.

Surrounding the lake are these giant houses up on cliffs, shaded by thick trees and greenery, and I look at the houses and wonder what life is like inside them. Is it quieter there than anywhere in the city, or are their problems the same inside the walls as we face anywhere else?

It is in these quiet moments when I realize just how alone I feel these days – an amount of loneliness I’ve never felt, and sometimes am not sure how to deal with until I realize I just have two options: 1. cry, or 2. shrug it off and find something to do. My choice depends purely on my surroundings.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about a meltdown I had and explained that I often feel like a majority of my life is just me going through the motions and acting like I don’t hate everything. I got many responses from readers saying that’s pretty much how it is for everyone.

And you know what? That made me feel really sad for this life. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about eternal life, but if we only have one shot at this physical being, then I certainly don’t want to spend my years faking my happiness. Right?

 After the kayaking adventure, we went to this BBQ place – and it seemed like a place you’d like, given your willingness to try just about any food, plus it had its own beers on tap. I only had one, mainly because I started noticing the more I drink, the sadder I get, and those are just dark places that I’m trying to steer clear of.

My route home took me through the heart of downtown, and I realized two things: 1. All of the downtowns I’ve seen remind me of each other – and Austin is no different. It reminds me of downtown Dallas, Cincinnati, and even a little bit of Chicago.

When times get tough for me, I have a history of reaching out to those who may not have the best intentions for me. And I hope that’s not the case here.

I suppose that’s what they mean about timing, and possibly fate, too. And perhaps the silence between us will eventually sink in, and I’ll have my answer.

But I do know that wherever you are, whatever is happening in your life, I do hope it’s something good.

‘Famously Single’: Love is in the air…

L is for the way you look at me...

L is for the way you look at me…

Episode six! I am pretty sure THIS is the episode we’ve all been waiting for – I type this post as I’m watching each episode, but the previews for this episode showed the scene in the kitchen with Aubrey and Pauly where she’s asking him if he’s falling love with her. Bloop!

The episode kicks off with Brandi still pissed at Callum from the group talk – when he agreed to go on a second date with someone he met during one of the challenges. If there’s any silver lining to this event, it’s that it brought the girls closer together.

Aubrey and the other girls come to Brandi’s aid, and offer her “anything” – which translates to ears to listen with and buddies to drink with (sounds good to me!).

Aubrey admits in a camera 1-to-1 that watching what’s happening between Brandi and Callum makes her worried about what could happen between her and Pauly. Good point.

Brandi confronts Callum one more time, and he backs up a little on his decision for the second date, claiming that he thought he HAD to take the date (um, bullshit). But, he does apologize, and they agree it’s all good, but you can tell Brandi is still not fully onboard.

Next, Callum has a one-on-one with Dr. Darcy regarding the Brandi situation. She asks him for his perspective on what happened, and he does admit to flipping the script on Brandi to make her feel like it was her fault.

Dr. Darcy does remind Callum that the situation is weird since they are already living together, things are probably going to escalate faster than they would in “real” life. However, Darcy reminds him how defensive and reactionary he is – which remains his greatest challenge when it comes to relationships.

Willis and Jess seem to be getting along swimmingly, and it is beginning to look like something could happen there.

Dr. Darcy has a one-on-one with Jess, and Jess admits to being a loner; that she has to force herself to socialize with others (been there). Jess explains that she grew up in a large family and has never lived with a boyfriend because she has anxiety about not being alone.

Jess traces these issues back to a giant fear of abandonment – that if she’s not connected to anyone then no one can leave her. Whoa. She talks about losing her father to Lupus when she was just 8 years old, and that her mom basically checked out and hasn’t been the same ever since.

Darcy explains that every relationship is a crapshoot – there is no guarantee that it will work, so you may as well just take the risk, if you’re looking for real intimacy. Wow, wow, wow – this shit hits home!

The group is outside talking and they ask Will when he’s going to take Jess on a date – meanwhile, Somaya admits to having a crush on Jessica, too!

Somaya is bisexual, and she says that in a relationship with a man, then she won’t be the one to persue it, but with a woman, she will…hmmm… this should get interesting!

Aubrey tells Pauly they should get married – go to Vegas and get married. Laaawwd. Aubrey starts talking with the guys about when is a good time to have sex with someone, too – the vote is mixed.

Later, the housemates go on dates with the people they met in the previous challenge, minus Aubrey and Brandi, who go out with Pauly and Callum, respectively. It should also be noted that Somaya and Jessica weren’t interested in their options for a second date, so they went out together.

While Jess and Somaya are out, Jess asks her if she thinks Will would be a good match for her. Somaya says no, and then admits to liking her…and shockingly, Jessica says immediately she was attracted to her.

Meanwhile… Willis’ date is nowhere to be found, so he’s sitting in a booth taking selfies, Ha!

Then there’s Jess and Somaya, who are all of the sudden in luurrrve, and Jess suggests they order shots and then kiss. It’s a pretty steamy kiss, and they hold hands as they leave the bar to head home.

Eventually, Willis’ date shows up (45 minutes late), and apologizes, and things seem to move pretty smoothly afterward.

When Somaya and Jess get back to the house, no one else is there, so naturally they have a bubble bath together, however they jump out before everyone gets home.

The double date with Aubrey, Brandi, Pauly, and Callum goes great… until Callum has a few drinks and starts getting pissed off again, and Brandi goes home in tears.

Then, the kitchen scene happens between Pauly and Aubrey, and when he didn’t admit to loving her, she claims he’s playing games. Pauly continuously claims he never said that, and the episode ends. GAAAHHH! Till next week…

BBC: ‘The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating’.

One woman I’ve really come to admire over these last few years is Carole Radziwill. Sure, there’s a possibility you recognize her name from “The Real Housewives of New York” – that’s how I have come to know her, too – but, of course, she’s much more than a reality television personality.

Radzi, as she’s often called, started her career in journalism at ABC, where she covered stories on abortion, gun control, foreign policy, and war. She’s won three Emmy’s for her work. On August 27, 1994, she married fellow ABC News producer Anthony Radziwill in East Hampton, New York. Anthony Radziwill died on August 10, 1999 at age forty after a five-year battle with cancer.

Radziwill went on to write a book about losing her husband, along with stories of her work at ABC, called, “What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love“.

…I really wanted to read that book first, as it was the first book she wrote. But the library didn’t have it, as in, they don’t even have it in their system, so I went with her second book, “The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating“.

Truthfully, I was excited to read it – it sounded really good! Here’s the description from Amazon.com:

“A deliciously smart and funny debut novel about loss, libido…and true love. A decade ago, Claire Byrne, now thirty-two, put her biggest career aspirations and deepest personal desires on hold when she became the wife of Charlie Byrne, the famous sexologist and man about town. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is charming yet pompous, supportive yet unfaithful, a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist. When Charlie is killed one day, in an absurd sidewalk collision with a falling sculpture (a Giacometti, no less!), his death turns Claire’s world upside down. She misses Charlie. She needs to reinvent herself. As unseemly as it may be to admit it, she longs to lose her ‘widow’s virginity.’ And she wants love.”

Right off the bat, this book reminded me of Candace Bushnell’s “One Fifth Avenue”, which I absolutely LOVED. So, Charlie is killed by this falling sculpture, which is tragic, but also oddly comical, and there is a brief investigation surrounding the event – which involves interviewing all of those who live in the building where the sculpture fell.

Speaking of Candace Bushnell, on the cover of the book there is a quote from her regarding “Widow’s Guide” that says something along the lines of Claire being a “Modern day” Holly Golightly. Umm, I love you Candace, but no. Ms. Golightly was a straight up hooker, though classy as shit, but Claire Byrnes is not… not at all! She’s a modern woman trying to find love after loss – I’d venture to say the character of Claire wasn’t straying too far from Radziwill’s very own experience in dating post-loss.

In the book, the reader gets to follow Claire along in her adventures of dating, which seems a little more fabulous than how it really is – or perhaps dating in New York is just fabulous in general. But the men sound hot, and there’s lots of fancy restaurants with dressy cocktails. Yum!

All in all, this was a great book to read; very fun and flirty, and it made me like Radziwill even more than I already do. To read more about “Widow’s Guide”, check out the official review from the New York Times.

I actually spent a few hours this weekend searching two used book stores trying to find Radziwill’s first book (picture me, literally digging through bookshelves), but had no luck. It’s not at the library, as I mentioned, so I might just have to hit up Amazon.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Paris, He Said” by Christine Sneed. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the blog comments, email (holly@thebitterlemon.com) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.

A history of attitude & badassery

"Gentleness does not get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs." - Coco Chanel

“Gentleness does not get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.” – Coco Chanel

My attitude has come into question lately, when I had an honest reaction to something that happened in a moment of stress. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten a talking to about wearing my heart on my sleeve.

And in all honesty, it is never my intention to hurt someone’s feelings or come across as being rude. I consider myself to be a caring person; I’m very giving, and in general, I think I’m pretty fun!

But, I do have opinions and I’m not afraid to share them. I also was not blessed with the gift of being eloquent – my strength is writing, not speaking, so if I have a response or a look that’s less than stellar, it comes across as an attitude problem.

Like I said, I’m not out to hurt anyone, but I’m also not in the business of walking on eggshells. So, I got to thinking about attitudes, and really, what IS the big deal with my attitude? Do I have an attitude problem? Maybe. And so what if I do? Maybe it’s time to GET OVER IT.

After having this little revelation, I was in traffic the other day, when I noticed the car in front of me had a couple of interesting bumper stickers on it. One said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Bloop!

And I know I’m really doing nothing to change history, so I thought about the women who have. Where are the ladies who’ve broken a few rules, said a few honest things, pissed a few people off – and in the end, they prevailed at something they’re passionate about?

So I found a few – and trust me, not all, because there’s a ton of women who’ve been badasses and have paved the way for us. Here are a few of them:

  • Kathrine Switzer: the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (1967), when the race;’s organizer realized a woman was running in the marathon, he attempted to tackle her! Switzer started training to run in the Boston Marathon when a male runner told her that no woman had ever ran it, and no woman could. She trained hard, paid her entry fee, and on the day of the race, she wore lipstick (refusing not to wear it). When she was attacked by the organizer, he told her to “get the hell out” of his race and attempted to rip the number off her shirt. After four hours and twenty minutes, she finished (read about her entire race experience).
  • Amelia Earhart: Many of us have heard the story of the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1928), but Amelia Earhart was passionate about flying for her entire life. Earhart set several records, including the highestaltitude for autogyros of 18,415 feet that stood for years; on January 11, 1935, she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, California. Later that year, she was the first to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark (read more about her accomplishments).

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart

  • Rosa Louise Mccauley Parks: This is a story I’m sure you learned in grade school, but the work of Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks is worthy of repeating. On December 1, 1955, Parks had finished a long day’s work, and boarded her bus home, sitting within the first few rows. As the bus began to fill with white people, forcing many of them to stand, the driver started asking black passengers to give up their seats. When Parks refused to give up her seat, the driver called the police, and she was arrested. That same night, bus boycotts were being organized. This event became The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which emptied city buses, and filled black-cab companies. The boycott continued, crippling city transit, forcing them to desegregate the buses just one year later.

“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” – Rosa Parks

  • Anne Frank: Born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank lived in Amsterdam with her family during World War II. Fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews, the family went into hiding for two years; during this time, Frank wrote about her experiences and wishes. She was 15 when the family was found and sent to the camps, where she died. Her work, The Diary of Anne Frank, has gone on to be read by millions.
  • Princess Diana:  Princess Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. She married heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, on July 29, 1981. They had two sons and later divorced in 1996. Diana served a strong supporter of many charities and worked to help the homeless, people living with HIV and AIDS and children in need. Diana died in a car crash after trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris on the night of August 30, 1997.

“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.” – Princess Diana 

  • Marie Stopes: Marie Stopes was a campaigner for women’s rights and a pioneer in the field of family planning. Today, Stopes’ legacy lives on in the form of one of the largest international family planning organisations in the world. Millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women trust Marie Stopes International to provide them with quality family planning and reproductive healthcare.
  • Coco Chanel: Fashion designer Coco Chanel, born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits and little black dresses. Chanel was raised in an orphanage and taught to sew. She had a brief career as a singer before opening her first clothes shop in 1910. In the 1920s, she launched her first perfume and eventually introduced the Chanel suit and the little black dress, with an emphasis on making clothes that were more comfortable for women. She died on January 10, 1971.
  • Margaret Thatcher: Born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s Conservative Party leader and in 1979 was elected prime minister, the first woman to hold the position. During her three terms, she cut social welfare programs, reduced trade union power and privatized certain industries. Thatcher resigned in 1991 due to unpopular policy and power struggles in her party.

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher

  • J.K. Rowling: While struggling to support her daughter and herself on welfare, Rowling worked on a book, the idea for which had reportedly occurred to her while she was traveling on a train from Manchester to London in 1990. After a number of rejections, she finally sold the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for the equivalent of about $4,000. By the summer of 2000, the first three Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban earned approximately $480 million in three years, with over 35 million copies in print in 35 languages.

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling

  • Hillary Clinton: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American politician and the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election. She is the first female candidate to gain that status in a major American political party. She served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, the junior United States Senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, First Lady of the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, and First Lady of Arkansas during the governorship of Bill Clinton from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992.

And so, perhaps this can serve as a little Monday Motivation for you – not to have an attitude problem, but to do YOU, to stand up for yourself when you need to, and to keep your chin up when the going gets tough.

See what Holly is up to today by following her on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – the chances are likely she’s just hanging out with Blanche, but you never know!

‘Famously Single’: Hey, jealousy.

Brandi & Callum sittin' in a tree...

Brandi & Callum sittin’ in a tree…

We are already FIVE episodes into “Famously Single” and I feel like there’s all sorts of emotions flying around – and you know what that means: DRAMA. So, let’s get this started!

Right off the bat, the roommates continue to be frustrated with Josh because he’s focusing on only physical aspects of the women he’s about to meet. Dr. Darcy explains that Josh is very obsessed with perfection, including physical appearance.

Brandi and Callum are on an official date – and they are holding hands on the ride there. They both love to cook, so Callum sets up a date for them to cook something with a chef. Cute!

Right when they’re getting into the cooking, Callum accidentally calls Brandi Aubrey – Whoopsie!

Meanwhile, back at the house… Aubrey asks Pauly if she can “pen” her name on him…and even though he says no repeatedly, she did it anyway, and it’s super annoying. I am really not understanding why I ever thought she was cool.

The cooking date seems to be going successfully – the meal looks delicious and they talk about being “free flowing” with their relationship; but that they do want to date exclusively during this process.

Josh is meeting up with the chick he went on a date with in the last episode, when he had the earpiece in. Right away, he tells her he was impressed with her on their last date, but that he did have an earpiece in during it.

She didn’t seem to mind his little secret, and they get on with their date at the batting cages (yikes). She takes it pretty well though, and she is able to joke around about some of the weird things he said on their last date. They really seem to get along, and I am hoping they go on more dates.

However, he tells Brandi he’ll probably see her (his date Dianna) again after the season is done taping, which pisses Brandi off. “He’s having girls thrown at him and he’s saying no because they’re not good enough,” Brandi says in her confessional. Yikes!

Dr. Darcy pulls the house together for a talk about looks vs. personality. Josh says he is into more than just looks, but the housemates aren’t buying it.

Many of the women in the house agree they’re into personality more than looks, while the guys agree looks are very important – but they know looks fade over time. Aubrey calls bullshit (and I have to agree).

Because most of the house said personality is more important than looks, Darcy tells them all they are going to have a mixer at the house, but all of the housemates will be blindfolded (these blindfolds allow the person to see shapes, but no details).

Aside from the initial hilarity of the entire house being blind – knocking drinks over and not being able to shake hands – the concept seems to get the point across.

And then there’s Aubrey, in the corner, saying she doesn’t want to participate, because she just wants to be with Pauly. Anyone shocked? No? Okay, moving on.

Josh, being the lil jerk, cheats, and asks the woman he’s talking to to describe herself. I’m rolling my eyes over here…

The guys actually seem to be doing really well with it, and they are having some fun conversations. Some of the guys have even figured out how to blindy hug their dates!

Pauly seems to really like his date, so I’m curious how this is going to fly with Aubrey.

The girls all hated the activity, while the guys were laughing and admitted they didn’t want to hang out with the girls in the house because they would bring the mood down (aw, snap!).

Pauly admits he has chemistry with Aubrey, but he wants to participate in the dates and learn while he’s having this experience.

Dr. Darcy has a one-on-one with Willis and she asks him about his experience in the house so far. He tells her that the coupled up guys in the house still want to experience the dates, but they’re afraid to branch out because of the women.

She asks him about his dating past and he tells her he’s been cheated on, and that even in those situations he’s stayed with the person. She talks to him about standards and being truthful with his intentions and feelings while he’s in relationships.

At the end of the episode, Darcy pulls the house together again and they talk about their blind dates. The deal is, if someone agrees to go on another date with a person, they get to see a picture of them.

Willis says yes, and his date is super cute! It’s Pauly’s turn, and he says he would rather go on a date with Aubrey. WAMP, WAMP. Next is Callum, and he picks his blind date over Brandi. She’s super cute and smart, and I feel for Brandi, because you can tell she’s sitting there trying to be happy for him. Awkward.

Josh is next, and he says he actually liked the same chick as Callum, so then Callum backs out and says, hey Josh you can have her, I’ll take Brandi!

Brandi seems obviously pissed, so it’s back to Josh, and he picks another girl he was talking to – who is cute and seems really sweet. He blushes and agrees to another date with her. Aw!

Meanwhile, Callum literally shakes his finger at Brandi, and she says “Oh, I’m no one’s back up plan” – FUCK yes girl! Callum blows up and says this is just part of the process. Dudes, I swear.

After the group, he is kind of chasing her through the house asking her why she’s mad; she explains how it appeared that she was the backup plan, and he accuses her of thinking he’s a scumbag. He does the whole manipulative thing of “that’s your bad, not mad” blah, blah, blah…

All of the other girls are listening in and they take Brandi’s side, that he’s a shithead. He finishes the convo by saying “If you don’t believe me, that’ your bad”.

Pssshhhhh, boy bye.

Next week? Looks like some steam for Somaya and a decent fight between Pauly and Aubrey. See y’all there!

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.

Podcasts I’ve been listening to, Part III.

Happy Thursday, y’all! With all of the podcasts I had loaded up on my phone (see them here, and here), it took me quite awhile to listen to them all – I go all the way back and start from episode 1. But, eventually I ran out of things to listen to and have discovered a good little set of things that can get me through the day.

Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People – To be honest, I’m not sure HOW I found out about this one. Once I was really desperate to find things to listen to, I looked through my trusty little notebook for possible ideas. And, sure enough, I found a list of podcast titles I was apparently saving for a rainy day. One of them was this one, and I am so freaking happy I listened to it!

Here’s the official description of the podcast from its website: “1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred. That’s the premise behind Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, hosted by comedian Chris Gethard (the Chris Gethard Show, Broad City, This American Life, and one of Time Out’s “10 best comedians of 2015”). Every week, Chris opens the phone line to one anonymous caller, and he can’t hang up first, no matter what. From shocking confessions and family secrets to philosophical discussions and shameless self-promotion, anything can and will happen!”

From what I understand, Gethard puts the phone number on his Twitter feed, and just starts taking anonymous calls. Of course, I love hearing all of the random stories from these people – but I think the show has been such a success because, it’s not often we hear real things anymore. Think about it; pretty much everything is scripted or staged – even the things we think won’t be like documentaries or Instagram. I think the fact that it’s anonymous allows the callers to be honest about things that have happened to them; it’s really relatable and inspiring. I listened to the first 15 episodes (which are a little more than an hour each) in about a week, and as I write this, I’m seeing there are two new episodes, so guess what I’ll be doing later?

Slumber Party With Alie & Georgia – This podcast was recommended to me by a coworker; we are both constantly looking for new material, so we are always swapping podcasts to fill our ears. Here is the official description from the website, “Alie & Georgia (Cooking Channel, HelloGiggles.com) are two best friends with a knack for entertaining. The notorious creators of the “McNuggetini” now invite you to their slumber party for some quick witted and intimate podcasting from a real life pillow fort!”

Of course, the schtick is that these are grown women hosting a slumber party, complete with wine coolers and candy. They have uncensored conversations with each other, but usually they will feature a guest on each episode and interview them. For the most part, the tone is upbeat, and it’s not too serious, so it’s a good one to work to (doesn’t require much concentration).

My Favorite Murder – Sounds sick, doesn’t it? This one was also recommended to me by the same coworker, but I have a feeling I would have eventually come across it, given that one of the hosts for this podcast is also one of the hosts for “Slumber Party”.

But, here’s what the website says about it, “Ready yourself for a murder adventure hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, two lifelong fans of true crime stories. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. Check your anxiety at the door, ’cause Karen & Georgia are dying to discuss death.”

I will admit, some of the episodes are kind of creepy, but if you’re into true crime, you’d probably like this. It’s two women and they are basically talking about the cases we’ve all heard about, and how we/they felt about them. It’s not newsy, but it’s still based around facts. It’s interesting!

Got a podcast you think I should hear? Tell me! Leave a comment, email me at Holly@thebitterlemon.com, or Tweet me @OrangeJulius7 – Happy listening!

The makings of a meltdown.

Shutting the world out.

Shutting the world out.

It began with tears on the drive home. “It” meaning the realization that I was, indeed, losing my shit – the meltdown itself probably started two years ago.

But, there I was, uncontrollably crying on my drive home from work Wednesday night; attempting to hide behind a pair of aviators I’d purchased months before at the Dollar Tree. I don’t enjoy wearing sunglasses, but I also don’t like thinking about perfect strangers staring at me ugly-girl crying in 5:30 traffic.

As the tears fell, I was thinking about the stories I’d heard on the news – that someone was throwing rocks at vehicles on I-35, and perhaps one of these drives would lead me to my ultimate “Final Destination”-type of end, with a rock shattering the only thing in front of my face.

Yes, I had just had a pretty shitty day, but of course, it wasn’t just about that. Because it never is. Before making it home, I had to stop by Walgreen’s to refill my prescription for birth control. And every time I go to pick up said birth control, I remember that it’s pretty pointless to keep refilling it, when it’s been a solid seven months since I’ve even talked to a human with a penis.

I’d venture to say this meltdown probably started when I unexpectedly lost my job in late-2014. What followed that event was a series of mini-meltdowns, because let’s face facts: my life was shit. I was working my ass off, and still had no clue how my bills would be paid, how I would eat, and not get evicted.

I was going on job interview after job interview, and if that doesn’t test your confidence, I don’t know what does. After eight months of that, I was offered a job, and moved seven hours away to accept said job. I was flooded with a mix of emotions – this was cool! Exciting! A fresh start!

But now, today, nine months after that, I’m here, and my emotions have packed their shit, and moved to Mexico. And not Puerta Vallarta, either. They’ve migrated to the bowels of the boot where there are illegal drugs and warm tequila.

Moving to a new place has proved itself to be tougher than I expected. I’ll admit it, I haven’t really made any friends. And that’s embarrassing. It’s difficult, as an adult, to get out there – even just for friendship’s sake. Sure, I have made a few acquaintances in my dance classes, but that’s about it. And I’ll accept fault where it’s due; I’m probably not the most social of people, and that bad habit of mine is only getting worse as I travel deeper into the comforts of introversion.

Also, nine months in, my finances are still incredibly fucked up. I saw this opportunity as a chance to clear the slate, and actually STOP working on nights and weekends – I was no longer going to be so financially strapped. But, I soon figured out that even my new salary was not enough to survive in Austin, let alone make a dent in my credit card debt from the prior year.

So, a few months ago, I made a spreadsheet, and a budget, and I got back to hunting for side jobs. Sometimes, I’ve been lucky, and have gotten a few well-paying ones, and I’ve at least been able to start paying things back. And then it came time to file my 2015 taxes.

I quickly calculated that in 2015, I made around $20K the entire year – the least I’ve made in my entire adult life. Sitting here, right now, I cannot tell you how the fuck I ate last year.

But having a low income does not skirt me from having to pay taxes. In fact, I owe more taxes on that money than I have ever owed: $2,100. I couldn’t pay it all in April, so I sent what I could: a check for $300 and an application for a payment plan, offering to pay $300 each month until it was completely paid off.

And two weeks ago, the IRS responded, denying my request for payments. I owe the remaining $1,800 on July 4. In the two weeks that I made my promise to pay $300/month, I’d also lost two regular-paying freelance gigs, both of them together paying me $400/month. So, on top of being denied a monthly plan, I was also short on my budget – my budget for regular bills, gas, and food.

Money stress is the worst for me, I know it’s bad for everyone, but it just kills my buzz. I took a hard look at my finances, and found a few things to cut out: I cancelled three of my monthly subscription services, vowed to stop shopping online, and would no longer treat myself to my weekly burger and fries at P.Terry’s. I questioned cutting out my Tuesday night hazelnut latte ($4.28), but have yet to opt out.

I also decided to drag out my box fan, clean it, and go easy on the air conditioning. I know it sounds insane, but this is my attempt to do anything, when I felt completely hopeless. I have been cooking all of my meals at home, and made all of the portions extra small, to stretch every possible dollar.

I also kept applying for freelance jobs; searched online for publications that may be willing to pay me for my writing; entered a few writing contests that had prize money; and toyed with the idea of selling Melaleuca memberships.

I had originally planned to travel to Indiana in a few weeks to see my friends, and to go to a Dave Matthews’ concert. It’s a trip I’ve been dreaming about for almost a year. But the flight prices were a minumum of $500 – money that I know should go to my taxes. So, no trip.

And honestly, I know this is a first-world problem. Boo-hoo, I can’t take a vacation! It’s not about that; it’s about the fact that I’ve had about zero communication with anyone in-person since I moved here, and I don’t like my job, and I want to see my friends, and my birthday is Saturday and I’m going to spend it with my cat, and even at 31 years old, I still can’t fucking afford to do things I want to do because I am an entry-level data monkey with no end-game!

Just breathe. 

It’s fucking embarrassing to admit when you can’t afford things. I feel like everyone my age, or even 5-10 years under my age, is living it up, going on exotic vacations, when my passport is coffee-stained and about to expire.

So, after I came to this sad realization about the trip, I was still sitting at my desk at work on Wednesday, attempting not to cry. When I relayed the message to my mom, she told me to throw myself a pity party.

In truth, I do not want anyone’s pity. I don’t want anyone’s money (unless I’m doing fair work to earn it). I was merely looking for an OUNCE of compassion. A recognition that despite the fact that it’s been almost two years since I lost my job, I’m still – STILL – cleaning up the mess from it. I’m still budgeting my income down to the last dime, and hoping to God that when I open my mailbox, there is not an unexpected bill waiting for me.

Yes, I am still working nights and weekends, and still hoping that maybe one day I won’t have to; maybe one day I’ll make money from this blog, or not feel guilty when I take a long, hot shower, or maybe ONE day, I won’t have to use a calculator at the grocery store for fear of overdrawing my bank account on organic eggs.

As I drove home from Walgreen’s that night, I saw a plane flying over Metric Blvd. It was leaving the Austin airport, and I wished I was on it, no matter where the fuck it was going.

I had skipped dance class, despite knowing damn-well that it’s one of the only things in my life right now that brings me a little happiness. Instead, I did exactly what you’re NOT supposed to do in times like these. I went home, cried to my cat, got my quilt, and watched hours of TV in the pitch black.

I wokeup in the middle of the night when my apartment lost power. I wondered if I’d remembered to pay my bill. Yes, yes I did. I used my phone to make my way to the patio to find that there were no lights for miles. It was dead silent, and hot as hell. I secretly hoped the power would come back on soon, if only to make sure the food in my fridge didn’t go bad – I can’t afford to refill it.

On Thursday, this blog became a warzone with comments. Note to self: don’t talk shit about Beyonce. Queen crap aside, the commenters made sure to let me know that I am a nobody; I haven’t been in a relationship in forever; I’ve never been married; I am in fake relationships with celebrities via SnapChat; I am not self-aware; I’m not good at arguing; I overreact; my blog is full of my dirty laundry; I’m not consistent – blah, blah, blah.

And what the fuck do you want? Do you think I don’t KNOW that I’ve never been married? You think I don’t fucking know that I haven’t been in a relationship in a very long time? That I don’t find myself goddamn pathetic for dreaming about dating celebrities?

How many times have I had to remind myself that this blog is not meant for you? It is a place for me. It is a place for me to document my life, and if you don’t like it, then stop fucking reading it. Do not act like I benefit in any way from trolls reading my words, and then leaving comments cutting me down. That’s the kind of shit that makes me want to drive into the ocean.

Maybe I’m not self-aware, maybe this blog is full of shit, maybe I do suck at arguing – and you know what? Maybe I am a terrible person that doesn’t deserve shit in this life. And if you knew a thing about me, you’d know that I take things hard. That I’ve been in therapy. That I only have two friends I talk to on a regular basis. That I haven’t talked to my father in years. That I’ve had an abortion. That I live with guilt and shame, daily. That I fucking know, that I will probably never be in a relationship. That marriage is not going to happen for me. That I struggle with things most people find easy.

Yes, I know that the last person I slept with was so utterly embarrassed that we hooked up, he had to lie about it to save face. And yes, I know, that not a single fucking man I have ever slept with will ever talk to me again. Because I’m insane, chubby, and insecure, or all of the above.

I know, that every day, I put on an act, and pretend not to hate every thing that happens to me; not to despise every moment I live in. I have to listen to podcasts for eight hours each work day to avoid reality; dance each night to pretend that maybe I can shake out my sadness; blog what’s on my mind so that I don’t slap graffitti all over my apartment complex.

But thanks, thanks for pointing it out; thanks for reminding me that I am alone. And it kills me a little inside to know that a bully, a troll, has someone to go home to. I hope you consider yourself really lucky. In fact, anyone that has a partner, a group of friends, or even just insurance that covers therapy and a prescription for Xanax – you’re really lucky. #goals.

 And I know this all sounds nuts, but mid-meltdown, I don’t really give a shit.

I don’t know what’s next for me; and I don’t really know how to properly handle my feelings at the moment. I assume there will be some sort of light at the end of this. But for now, I’m just going to play this on repeat and hope some inkling of positivity gets into my pores.

If this post didn’t turn you away, guess what? The Bitter Lemon now has a newsletter! Subscribe here to receive exclusive, fresche content right to your inbox, and no, we won’t spam you! 

BBC: ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’.

I was really excited when Blanche’s Book Club decided to read “The Andy Cohen Diaries” by Andy Cohen, because I’m going to SEE Mr. Cohen LIVE, along with Anderson Cooper tomorrow night, right here in Austin! And… I’m SO excited! You can definitely expect a recap of the event right here next week.

So, the book! “The Andy Cohen Diaries” is Cohen’s second book, and I sadly have yet to read the first one. In “Diaries”, Cohen explains the book was meant to model “The Andy Warhol Diaries“, which was released in the early 90’s, and was considered to be shocking and controversial, given Warhol’s commentary of the celeb-elite.

A description from Amazon.com, “A year in the whirlwind life of the beloved pop icon Andy Cohen, in his own cheeky, candid, and irreverent words. As a TV Producer and host of the smash late night show Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen has a front row seat to an exciting world not many get to see. In this dishy, detailed diary of one year in his life, Andy goes out on the town, drops names, hosts a ton of shows, becomes codependent with Real Housewives, makes trouble, calls his mom, drops some more names, and, while searching for love, finds it with a dog. We learn everything from which celebrity peed in her WWHL dressing room to which Housewives are causing trouble and how. Nothing is off limits – including dating. We see Andy at home and with close friends and family (including his beloved and unforgettable mom). Throughout, Andy tells us not only what goes down, but exactly what he thinks about it. Inspired by the diaries of another celebrity-obsessed Andy (Warhol), this honest, irreverent, and laugh-out-loud funny book is a one-of-a-kind account of the whos and whats of pop culture in the 21st century.”

Of course, Cohen is no Warhol, but one thing I definitely noticed about Cohen’s book – he is out and about every single day/night! He’s always heading off to a party, dinner with friends, or pool-hopping in the Hamptons. Frankly, his life sounds pretty damn fabulous! And you can’t forget his almost-daily massages he gets before bed, right in his apartment. I need a job at Bravo, or wherever will pay me that much cash.

I also realized that Cohen is really close with Sarah Jessica Parker, so there’s some dish on her (nothing bad, of course), Kelly Ripa, and… drumroll… John Mayer! I was really happy to hear that when John invited Andy out to Montana, he cooked him breakfast everyday. I would die. D-I-E.

The book is written diary-style, in that there is nearly an entry every single day for the course of one year. Of course, there’s a decent amount of Real Housewives dish – which I found entertaining, and it also felt like I was getting let in on a big secret.

A large part of the book is also about Cohen and his journey in adopting a dog – whom we eventually come to know as Wacha! Their relationship is really cute, and it’s funny how serious Cohen takes his moments with Wacha, and his Instagram posts.

When writing this post, I came across an interesting article from Time magazine, “Andy Cohen’s Memoir Is the Frankest Book About Gay Life In Years”, which talks about Cohen’s documented struggle with fitness and weight loss:

It’s in the latter category that the book becomes resonant and sadder than the author may even realize. Each day is either a victory or a defeat for Cohen, measured alternately in hours at the gym or hors d’oeuvres eaten and drinks consumed. At one point, he meets his goal weight, and then revises that goal weight yet again lower; a litany of fattening foods he is ashamed to have eaten at a party hilariously and tragically includes the addendum “and a Popsicle.”

Many readers might not treat ice pops as a shameful indulgence. And yet many readers aren’t trying to prove their value in a marketplace in which superheroic body proportions win the day. Cohen’s obsession with his appearance — endless documentations of squats and the inevitable “two-hour massage” that follows — are of a piece with a wealthy, urban, privileged gay life that more intellectual or explicitly political novels are loath to expose in such detail. Cohen’s world is not that of most or even of many gay people, but it’s one that really exists and that hasn’t recently gotten this much attention in print.

In the beginning of the book, Cohen talks about feeling pressure to lose weight, and struggles with his lifestyle – it’s tough to lose weight when you’re in a culture of going out to eat and having cocktails with celebs on the daily – in order to drop a few pounds. He does hit the gym pretty religiously, which does not seem to be an issue for him, even when he’s admittedly hungover.

I had no idea his stories were, in any way, representative of “privileged gay life” – and it kind of makes me love him that much more! If you’re at all a pop culture junkie, or a fan of Bravo, and/or, Andy Cohen, I would definitely recommend this book.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Girls In White Dresses” by Jennifer Close. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the comments, email (holly@thebitterlemon.com) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.

Why are we okay with ‘Lemonade’?

Gurl, bye.

Gurl, bye.

Disclaimer: Beyonce annoys the piss out of me.

I think she’s overrated, has taken advantage of a lot of people to get where she is, and I’ve thought that from day one, her marriage to Jay-Z was a total sham.

But, ALL HAIL, right?

Riddle me this: why are we okay with the queen letting her king walk all over her?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch or listen to “Lemonade”. For starters, I do not believe that Beyonce was ever handed lemons. She has a life that many of us would dream of – of course from the outside. If she WERE handed lemons, I’m sure she’d drop them into the hands of a staff member and push them toward her kitchen, made of marble and gold.

When “Lemonade” was dropped, I heard all the chatter and rumors, and what I gathered was that, the things we all thought were true: Jay-Z cheated on Beyonce, many times, with many women. And she smashed shit with a baseball bat in an HBO exclusive.

…And then she forgave him, and now things are fine.

So, you’re telling me that Beyonce, the Queen of “Independant Women” lets her man act like that? Not only is she essentially fine with it, but there was no consequence – instead, she used it to make money and share it with the man who did the harm to begin with!

Huh? How is it possible that women everywhere idolize this person? Are those the values she’ll be teaching her daughter; that it’s okay for a man to run wild?

It’s come out that Beyonce didn’t write most of the songs on “Lemonade”, which is fine, as she doesn’t write most of her songs, ever. And many successful singers don’t, and I’m fine with it. But I do draw the line when you’re pretending to live it.

If you didn’t write the song, then don’t act like you did, ahem “Single Ladies”. Why was she acting high and mighty like she got a ring from Jay-Z? Because she didn’t (they agreed no rings) in the beginning.

So why are you preaching to women everywhere, to demand diamonds and committment from the men, when that’s not how you run your game?

Oh, because it’s catchy and it sells concert tickets. It sells a dream that you, too, can be an independant woman and get a man.

A man that will cheat on you and you’ll forgive him because you’re too weak to stand on your own off-stage.

The other thing that kills me about this, is that we’ll (meaning Beyonce fans, not me personally) stand by women like Beyonce and Rihanna when their men treat them poorly, publically, but we’ll publicly bash women like Hillary Clinton, who has stood by her man over the years after infidelity.

Is it because Hillary rocks the pantsuit and not a leotard? Is it because Jay-Z makes more than Bill Clinton? What is it?

I’m not saying one is better than the other, but it doesn’t add up for me. But don’t teach women to be independant, and then tell them to “cater to” their men – SURFBOARD – and then be weak when they screw you over in real life.

Beyonce is bullshit. #LiveYourTruth

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