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‘Famously Single’: Aubrey’s too good.

The ladies of ' Famously Single'.

The ladies of ‘ Famously Single’.

And we’re back with episode two of “Famously Single”! The cast finds out that some of the people they met at the club in last week’s episode were, in fact, their dating coaches – Laurel and Robert. Awkward.

Willis got called out for being too sexual, too fast – and yeah, he told the dating coach he was going to the bathroom and would she like to join him. Woah. And we wonder why these people are single…

It’s coming to light that Josh, the former contestant on “The Bachelorette”, has issues with assuming everyone knows who he is and wants him just because of the fame. I can kind of understand this, but I also feel the urge to slap him and remind him that he was on “THE BACHELORETTE”. Get over yourself, bro!

There is more shade thrown onto Brandi from the other girls on the house – because Brandi “always” has her tits out. Aubrey claims SHE has more of a “sexualized image” than Brandi, but yet she doesn’t show her chest all day, every day. Hmm…

Brandi has her one-on-one with Dr. Stacey (is that her name? Why do I want to call her Darcy?) that is actually pretty emotional. She talks about her relationship with her ex, and says that she found out he was cheating on her because someone called her and said he was on the cover of a tabloid. Wow.

Her and the Doc talk candidly about her dating life and the mistakes she commonly makes – going after unavailable men. PREACH GIRL.

The cast’s next challenge is for each person to find a date on the street before they leave on a sunset cruise; with the help of their dating coaches, of course. FYI – her name IS Dr. Darcy. I’m a jackass.

The real challenge with this is that, these celebs are used to people approaching them because of their status. A problem most of us don’t have.

This was comical to watch – some of them got rejected, some of them tried pickup lines, and Josh was so freaking shy. It was cute! Aaaand Aubrey didn’t even try to get a date, so she was the only one on the boat that didn’t have a date.

Jessica was able to snag a seemingly-nice guy, and they hit it off right away, having deep conversations and all once the boat left the dock.

Brandi’s guy was 25. Really? And then Aubrey walks up and starts talking to Brandi’s date. Like she totally steals the conversation and then got offended when the guy didn’t know who she was. This was not lost on Dr. Darcy, so I’m sure this will come up at the end of the episode.

Meanwhile, Jessica straight up LEFT her date – as in, she “went to the bathroom” and didn’t come back. What the hell? One of the dating coaches catches her, and calls her out – her date probably really liked her and she got too scared. Blam! After the pep talk from the coach, she apologized to her date, and he seemed to accept it.

During the group session at the end, Brandi, Pauly, and Josh admitted that the challenge was very much out of their comfort zone, but they agreed it was something they needed to do more often.

They gave Jessica a chance to explain herself, and she admitted she ditched her date for 40 minutes. The coaches found out that her date sacrificed a visit with his family to go on the boat with her. She seemed to learn a lot – but we’ll see.

Aubrey got called out, and said she already knew the lessons she would have learned if she would have participated in the date. Rolls eyes. Brandi called her out, and it was kind of fantastic.

Then a little bitch fight started, when Aubrey tells Brandi “You’re not my cup of tea, either”. LOLZ. Aubrey’s lecture got interrupted by Dr. Darcy, and it’s obvious the house is starting to turn on Aubrey after she’s shown her true colors. The fact that Aubrey felt she was “above” choosing a “pedestrian” as a date, makes me like her way less than I did before.

Dr. Darcy pulls Aubrey aside for a one-on-one, and calls her out for humiliating Brandi in front of the group. Honestly? Aubrey straight up tells Dr. Darcy that she’s not calling anyone else out on their shit, and she’s not the no-nonsense chick she says she is. Daaaayyyummm.

Then, Aubrey starts crying (although it’s hard to tell because…botox) and Dr. Darcy gives her a hug and gives in to Aubrey’s childish behavior. Aubrey admits she doesn’t have the right tools to succeed in dating, even though she “reads all the time”.

In the clip for next week’s episode, we finally see what we’ve been hearing about: Pauly and Aubrey, kissing.

What’s burnout & do I have it?

Burn out or just straight drop dead?

Burnout or just straight drop dead?

Despite my recent attempts to make Mondays better, I still find that I’ve become that person. You know, the one that is constantly counting down the hours until the end of the day, and absolutely counting down the days and hours until Friday.

I hate being that person.

So, how did this happen? I’ve been at my job for 10 months now; is it possible I’m already reached the breaking point? That can’t be… can it?

I’ve been hearing a lot about burnout lately – as in, “Don’t get burnout”, “Churn and burn”, in reference to typical agency life, which makes me feel like this is how it’s supposed to be.

I can say the past few months have been crazy at the office – we’re short on people and high on clients. It’s a tough balance to juggle, especially during the summer months when we all want a vacation.

My friends have asked me if I’m going to start looking for a new job. No, I say, what’s the point? I’ll end up at another office, doing the same thing, and still barely able to drag my ass to the coffee pot each morning. Is this something everyone goes through or am I just someone who really just hates work? Am I Peter Gibbons right now?

Regardless, I could totally go for some shrimp poppers right now, and there’s definitely no “Chotchkie’s” or other TGIFriday’s equivalent nearby.

So, what the hell is burnout – and is that what I’m feeling? I did some Googling to find out how to spot burnout and possibly…how to fix it.

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as, “a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” They also offer a survey to determine if you’re suffering from burnout:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?

The Mayo Clinic says if you answered “yes” to one of those, there’s a chance you’re suffering from burnout. I answered yes to seven. Whoops.

Okay, so I may be suffering from burnout… How do I get over it? Forbes magazine offers some advice:

  • Take Relaxation Seriously  Whether you take up meditation, listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you’ll do to relax, and designate time for it.
  • Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community.
  • Unplug  While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.
  • Get Enough Sleep  Research suggests that having fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a major risk factor for burnout, not least because poor sleep can have negative effects on your job performance and productivity. It can lead to fatigue, decrease your motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leave you more susceptible to errors and make it harder to juggle competing demands.
  • Get Organized  Often, when people are burnt out, they spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks. Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) then prioritize. That way, you don’t have to keep thinking about those things because you’ll have systems in place to remind you.
  • Stay Attuned  It’s important to tune into the precursors of those conditions, physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset. In terms of mental health, burnout affects depression, and if you’re depressed, that can also affect your level of burnout—it goes both ways. So, if the issues you’re struggling with are really serious and getting worse, you may need to seek professional help.
  • Know When It’s You, and When It’s Them  Burnout is sometimes motivated by internal factors and sometimes it really is a symptom of external ones. In the first case, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” so you can figure out what’s stressing you out, and how to maintain your internal resources to keep yourself motivated, doing your best work and functioning well. Some burnout really is the fault of work. To find out whether it’s time to move on, figure out whether your position is a “mismatch between your needs and what you’re getting working for that particular organization.”

I really like the first suggestion on this list about taking relaxation seriously. About two months ago, I vowed to not take work home, whether after hours during the week or on the weekends (provided I was not on any type of deadline with a client).

It was time I take weekends seriously, and get back to doing the things I love, like reading while laying out at the pool, cooking, sleeping in, and binging on tacky TV. And, pestering Blanche, of course.

And since then, I’ve kept true to my word. Honestly, it makes the weekends way better. I still get really sad on Sunday nights, but at least I feel like I’ve got a few days of freedom to do what I want and not worry about things at the office.

The second suggestion, I’ve always been pretty good about getting involved in things that are non-work related. But, recently my motivation has been drained on that front. I still go to dance classes after work, but I never have that stay-up-late drive like I once had.

And I don’t mean stay up to work; I mean stay up to read a great book or to paint my nails, or write fiction stories that no one will ever see… and that’s the thing that’s worrying me the most. Did I lose my hunger?

I’m starting to wonder if any “day job” out there is the one for me, or if I’m just not cut out for it. I’ve tried the freelance thing, and the stress of the constant hustle, sans-insurance, is not my thing either. But is it possible I could get the job I dreamed of – one where I do have steady work, but it’s at home, or in an office that has way less bullshit?

There’s a few projects I’ve been wanting to start regarding this blog, and just writing in general, and I sit in front of the TV every night and thing, “Damn, wish I had the energy to get THAT done…” Well, it’s time to stop thinking and start actually doing – because right now, the only way I’m going to find a lick of happiness in my life is to make small moves, outside the hours of 9-5, like this guy:

It’s a tough juggle, I know. But I don’t know how else I’ll find my way – and get to do what I have always dreamed of doing. So, if you see a bunch of new stuff around these parts, I hope you’ll participate – all we’ve got is each other, and one life to get everything we’ve dreamed of, done.

Single Girl Recipe: (Paleo) Lemon chia seed muffins.

Mine didn't quite look this cute...

Mine didn’t quite look this cute…

Over the weekend, I was in search of simple – and cheap, if not free – joys. I’m sure I’ll talk more about this at some point, but I’m currently in a personal budgeting crisis. At the same time I lost two of my good freelance gigs, I owe a massive tax bill,  like now.

Money stresses  me out more than anything, and every extra penny I’ve got must go to paying off this bill. So, I needed to have a weekend full of free stuff (I see a lot of weekends like these in my near future).

On Friday night,  I hit up the laundromat, which didn’t cost me anything since I had money loaded up on my Washatopia card. Score! I did go to the grocery store afterward, as I needed eggs and something to drink at the pool on Saturday. I found this organic cucumber-lime and chile Italian soda that I figured would go perfect with some tequila I had in my freezer. I escaped the store in $7.

On Saturday, I spent a little time looking for freelance work, and then I hit the pool. I packed a small cooler with some snacks – chips, hummus, cheese, and grapes – and enough tequila and Italian soda for three large drinks.

For two hours, I was the only one there. I sat, and I read – finishing one book and starting another. I stayed out there for almost five hours. Cost: $0 and I even improved my tan.

I came home and tended to my plants, replanting some grass for Blanche, watering all the other plants, and sweeping the patio. I also made dinner instead of going out – I made brats and fries – and had a few beers that were already stashed away in my fridge. I watched a few episodes of “Dexter” before I was sufficiently freaked out (I only have a few more episodes before I’ve watched the entire series twice) and had to switch to “The Vanilla Ice Project”.

On Sunday, I slept in, enjoyed some coffee, searched for more writing jobs, and then I went to a library that’s pretty close to my house. I’d been there once before to tutor someone, and it’s really nice. I decided to get a library card and spend a few hours hunting for more good reads for Blanche’s Book Club.

The library is really nice, but I will say they checked my address twice to make sure I actually lived within the district. I had no clue libraries were so exclusive. After about an hour of searching, I got “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs and “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating” by Carole Radziwill.

I spent the remainder of Sunday reading, looking for writing gigs, cooking, and I baked these paleo lemon chia seed muffins to eat for breakfast during the week. I found the recipe on The Iron You, and I’ll say that even though he calls them Coconut Lemon Chia Seed muffins, there is no coconut flavor in them.

They were pretty easy to make, and for paleo muffins, they turned out delicious – better than anything I tried to bake when I was actually on the paleo diet. The only other thing I’ll say is that my batch didn’t rise that much, so they look like “half muffins”. I will probably make another batch, and I think I’ll use the mini muffin tin to make them look more muffin-y.

The good news? One muffin is 92 calories, with only 3g carbs and 3g of protein! Yes!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of milk of your choice (I used coconut)
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, chia seeds, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, milk, honey, coconut oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix very well until fully incorporated, the mixture has thickened, and there are no clumps of coconut flour left. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, 3/4 the way to the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Carefully remove from muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins.

Let me know if you make these muffins, or have any other great healthy recipes!

‘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!

27 questions in hopes of justice.

Standford University... home of sexual preditors.

Standford University… home of sexual predators.

I was really questioning whether I should post anything about this case, but the more I’ve seen and read about it, how could I not? This case – The Stanford Rapist (I will not glorify his name or former accolades here) vs. The Victim – and its ruling affects women everywhere, and it has made me incredibly angry and emotional over these last few weeks.

In the last year, the general conversation over rape culture and sexual consent has finally started to come out from the bottom shelf, and it’s made me think a lot about the men of my past and the experiences that have shaped my views on sex. While I am lucky enough to not have been in a situation quite like The Victim’s in this case, I will say that it’s not been a bed of roses.

To explain one instance among many, my best friend and I attended a frat party during our freshman year in college. We were drinking, and dancing with many of the different fraternity brothers, and one in particular was swinging us around, laughing with us.

Less than one month later, his name was in the paper as he’d been charged with sexual assault, in a very similar situation we’d witnessed that night. He was accused of drugging a woman at a party. That very well could have been my friend, or me, or someone else I knew. And I know I’m not the only one who’s been that close to being The Victim.

And so, I’ve got 27 questions surrounding this case – because I’m truly left dumbfounded.

  1. Why are we referring to someone who was removed from a University as a University athlete?
  2. Who cares about his athletic statistics?
  3. Why did the judge play favorites?
  4. Does the judge have a daughter?
  5. What would the ruling be if the rapist were black?
  6. What would the ruling be if the rapist never went to college?
  7. Why is the rapist getting away with, not only rape and assault, but also underage drinking?
  8. Why isn’t Stanford addressing their fraternity culture?
  9. Why aren’t we talking more about how the rapist lied about using drugs in the past?
  10. Why are we okay with blaming this on alcohol?
  11. Why do we assume that women are more likely to lie about being raped?
  12. Why didn’t he take ANY blame for what he did?
  13. Why is his father referring to rape as “20 minutes of action”?
  14. Why did the rapist treat The Victim like literal trash?
  15. Why is the rapist already getting out of jail early?
  16. Why was the judge worried about what happened to the rapist?
  17. What would the ruling be if it was the same judge, same rapist, plus a murder?
  18. Why are women taught how to stay safe against rape but men are not taught to stop raping women?
  19. Why do men think women were put on this earth for only their enjoyment?
  20. Why do we celebrate rape in pop culture (I’m talking to you, 50 Shades)?
  21. Why did the rapist use “she agreed to come back to my dorm room” as an excuse?
  22. Why would we accept that as consent?
  23. What is keeping the rapist from doing this again, again, and again?
  24. How does the rapist’s mom feel about this?
  25. How would the rapist’s mom feel if it had happened to her in college?
  26. What does this teach prestigious frat guys everywhere?
  27. How are we supposed to live without fear when this is our justice system?

Unfortunately, the judge in this case began his new term on Tuesday, as he ran unopposed. To get involved in his recall, click here.

Life: Is this where you thought you’d be?

Time flies...

Time flies…

I mentioned on Monday (in my review of “What Alice Forgot“) that I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. I was thinking about it before I read the book, although I’m not entirely sure what brought it on – it very well may be the fact that my 31st birthday less than one month away, or it could be that I just have this feeling that time is going by so, so fast.

And I don’t say that in the whole… conversational way of saying, “omigosh I’m just soooo busy, time flies!” It’s more as if, the days just go by soooo fast. One day it’s Monday, and before I can even realize it, it’s Friday. And then, Monday again, and the next thing I know, it’s 9 months later, and my lease is up, and my one-year review at my job is coming, and here I’ve lived in an entirely new place for legit almost a YEAR, and I still get excited when I don’t have to ask Siri for navigational assistance.

Like, what the hell is that about?

I know part of this whole time thing is Facebook, and I’m also fully aware that I blame Facebook for most of the world’s social problems, including but not limited to, cyber bullying, interpersonal communication skills, dating and relationships, and self-esteem. I sort of hate Mark Zuckerberg, and I kind of like hating him.

But anyway, I think Facebook is what’s brought to my attention just how fast time is passing by, and it’s made it hard and clear, that I’m getting older by the hour.

Many of you, my readers, have connected with me on Facebook, and I’m very thankful for that. But because of our online connection, I’ve literally been able to watch your lives from afar. I’ve seen you graduate from college, get engaged, married, have children, perhaps gone through divorce or relationship turmoil, and now, your children are not babies anymore, they’re actual humans who look like you and speak the same language we speak.

And me? I’m still sitting behind a laptop (the same exact one I was nine years ago), writing about the same things (my hatred of all men aside from John Mayer), and posting pictures of my cat anywhere I can. And I just have to wonder, is this where we’d all be if we’d asked ourselves ten years ago?

You know when you go on an interview, they’re likely to ask you where you see yourself in five to ten years. I’d venture to guess that 90% of the answers to that question are complete bullshit, because most people don’t have a fucking clue. Sure, we’ve all got hopes and dreams – where we’d like to see ourselves in five or ten years.

Ten years ago, I was going into my senior year at LSU. I had to take summer classes in order to graduate in a decent amount of time. So, I took classes from 7-12 each day, I had a two hour break to eat lunch, study, and crank out any writing (I was a news stringer for the university paper). Then, at 2 pm, I had a shift at the mall,  at Abercrombie. My shift was 2-10, Monday through Friday, and that’s what I did every day. On the weekends, I studied.

If you would have told me that in ten years, I would have changed careers, working an entry-level job with a bunch of 23-year-olds way smarter than me, I would have dropped dead. I would have never believed that I’d moved to Austin, a place that ten years ago, I’d been to twice: once for SXSW, and once to meet up with a guy I had a crush on.

I also would be saddened to hear that ten years later, I’m still not at that point where I feel like I’ve got it together. While I am lucky enough to have a salary and benefits,  I’m not financially organized. My apartment is rarely clean, and I spend every other Friday night at the laundromat. I’m single, and have grown quite fond of doing most things alone. I’m not well-traveled; instead, I teach night classes at the University of Texas.

Honestly, what on earth led to this life? It’s not a bad one, I’m not saying that; it’s just not the one I thought of, or planned for – I kind of feel like things just fell this way. And I wonder that about all of you – the ones I’ve seen over the years. Is this the life you created? The one you’ve dreamt of? Planned for?

My current job is tough – the toughest job I’ve had yet, and I think it’s also a big reason I’ve been thinking about time. I do more work in a week now than I think I did in a month at my previous job. It’s more high-pressure, very fast-paced, and I think it’s part of the reason why the weeks fly by as fast as they do.

The nature of my life right now makes me think a lot about who I am. Am I cut out for this environment? Was I meant for this job? Am I meant to be involved in something more creative? Given that most things in my life haven’t changed over the last decade: my relationship status, my checkbook,  passport, available free time, etc., I kind of wonder if I’m living in the past.

Should I have given up this blog when it proved to not be a smashing success? Should I have stopped writing books when none of them sold? Should I stop pitching publications when I’ve yet to get a piece accepted? Should I stop taking dance classes when even the beginning ones leave me breathless and sore?

I mean, of course not. I am still very much navigating this life. It’s certainly not where I thought I would be – but I mean that in both good ways and bad. I know I was led to Austin for a reason; even if I’ve yet to discover it. And I know there’s a reason I’m still hunkered behind this ancient laptop (my last visit to the Genius Bar claimed it’s “vintage”), clacking away on a blog that, to a data analyst, would be worth nothing.

Tonight, I’m teaching my last blog class of the summer semester at UT. It was my first semester teaching in Austin, and I was refreshed to find my students were very eager to tackle the blogosphere. Last week, one of my students raised her hand and asked me the truth about being successful in blogging.

“It takes someone really extraordinary to make it,” she said.

I suppose, in several cases, that could be said about most hobbies and professions. But just like there are hundreds of thousands of food bloggers and mommy bloggers – there’s hundreds and thousands of doctors and authors.

The difference, I told her, is you. No one has the same outlook on this world as you. You have something that no one else has. As cliche as it sounds; that’s what it is. It meaning drive, passion, opinions, style, ability; whatever makes you the cream of the crop – that’s what determines your next ten years; your next twenty.

So, what is it? I’d love to hear from you about where you were ten years ago, where you hope to be in the next ten; twenty, and perhaps what you’re doing to get there. Let’s do it, and by it, I mean… something extraordinary.

PS. UT has already asked me to return for the fall semester. Cheers to the future!

Me VS. Alliance Property!

I hate my apartment complex!

I hate my apartment complex!

That’s right, I have declared WAR against my apartment complex! On Friday, I posted about the terrible noise above my apartment. Well my friends, things have gotten worse.

Shortly after filing the second complaint against my neighbors, I came home from work to find a notice on my door. It was a “Friendly Reminder” to remove my patio lights, along with some plexiglass I’d installed on my patio to keep Blanche from plummeting to her death.

Umm, what? Friendly reminder? Because I’ve had the glass and the patio lights up since I moved in, in September and no one has ever said anything to me about it.

Fuming, I went to my filing cabinet to pull out my lease. After reading every little sentence, I found that the rules regarding the patio were so vague that basically the complex could say anything they wanted and you’d have to oblige. They could say, “no plants” or “no chairs” on the patio and the lease offers no protection.

So… I completely blew up. I felt like 1 of 2 things had happened here: 1. that my upstairs neighbors were pissed about the complaints and fired back something like, “Well, she’s got those stupid lights on her patio,” or 2. The complex management was trying to prove a point to me that I’m not the perfect tenant.

In a fit of rage, I called the leasing office, knowing full-well they were closed at 10 pm, and left a voicemail, screaming about how my noise complaints were valid and this “Friendly Reminder” was absolute BULLSHIT, and if “You want to start a WAR, then let the games begin!!!!”

I then took to SnapChat, Instagram, and Twitter to express my true feelings about the complex. I also logged onto Yelp.com and wrote a poor review of the complex outlining all of the negative experiences I’ve had thus far living here. And then, I went outside around 11 pm, and ripped down the lights and the plexiglass.

The following day, I got an email from the leasing manager, addressing my Yelp review, basically denying everything I said:

Good Afternoon Holly-

I wanted to take the time to address your issues with our community.

1. Mice – there are not mice in everyone’s apartment. I apologize if someone may have said that to you, but that is incorrect. We had a couple of issues with this last year because the property is located near the grassy field. We have since added traps around the buildings and haven’t heard of any issues since. If there is something we failed to complete, please let me know and I would be happy to have my Service Supervisor check. We were not aware there was a service issue that still needed to be completed.

2. Rent is due on the first, but you have until the third to make the payment. You have other options to make the payment including by certified funds or personal check. (You are not required to pay online.)

3. Our billing company, Conservice should be sending you an itemized bill every month. If you are not receiving, please let me know and I can check in with them. We pay for this service, so this bill should be mailed to you monthly. I believe you can also set up an e-bill, so it is sent electronically, but you would need to call them to verify.

4. I am truly sorry you’re neighbors have been noisy and caused a disturbance in your unit. We have contacted them and sent them a lease violation. They called about their lease violation and again stated they would keep the noise down.

5. As previously discussed, we checked our log and no one has been into your unit. We have a Keytrak system that logs this info and I can send you a picture of this report if that makes you feel more comfortable. This is the only way they are able to gain access into your unit. I also offered to have your locks changed.

6. The patio lights really aren’t a major concern, it was primarily for the plastic sheeting covering the patio rail.

I hope this information helps to clear up any confusion. We try to make our resident’s experiences as enjoyable as possible, but unfortunately sometimes there are external factors which are out of our control.

If there is anything I can to do help, please don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime.

… Riddle me this, why ON EARTH does she keep telling me to email or call her, when all she fucking does is deny, deny, deny? So, I wrote her back:

Amber,

I appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns with the community, even though it is very pointless at this time to continue with the back-and-forth. I very well understand that apartment living is, in general, pretty crappy, and every complex is just trying to make the best of it.

My review on Yelp was simply that, a review of my time here. It was not stating that I currently have a mouse in my apartment, but yes, that is what I was told, and I hired outside help to take care of the things in my apartment that Alliance did not.

Honestly, I can deal with a little noise, but when it starts to affect my daily life, it gets old really quick.

The patio lights are less about patio lights and more about the demeanor of the community. I am no leasing agent or property manager expert, but when people move into places, they want to make their rented space feel like a home. The plastic sheet was simply to keep my cat from running off the balcony, but I’m sure that is no concern of anyone on the property but mine, and don’t worry, I ripped it down around 11pm last night to avoid a fine.

If the patio lights weren’t an issue, then I shouldn’t have gotten a “reminder” (when I was never told in the first place) to remove them, because I was on a ladder last night taking them down. I also noticed that several of my neighbors enjoy having patio lights on their balconies as well, and some of them are actual holiday lights (icicles in fact, right by the entrance to the complex), so it’s pretty upsetting that I was targeted and blamed, when no one else was. That’s just plain unfair.

But don’t worry, no plastic sheets, no lights, and I won’t complain about the noise anymore. And you’ll get your rent on time – I know Alliance cares about numbers. I appreciate you offering help, but it seems like all I get in return is excuses, or notes on my door.

Thanks.

She didn’t resond and I’m fine with that. Talking to her, or anyone on the Alliance staff, has proved to be a dead-end.

But when I got home from work on Friday, there was another note stuck in my door. Turns out, my lease is up for renewal! Great. Oddly, Alliance offers very strange lease terms – my current one was 11 months and three days.

The lease renewal offer also offered no incentive to stay – no discount on a month’s rent, no complimentary cleaning, nothing – which I’ve honestly never experienced. And the offers for the different months were randomly more and less expensive. The 9-month lease was the cheapest option, and it was still $30/month above my current rent.

The sad part of this story is that I honestly cannot afford to move. I chose this apartment because I could actually afford the rent, even though I had to giveup many “luxury” items that my apartment in Baton Rouge had. I traded my real wood and granite for access to a pool and a bigger closet.

And as a bonus, I got shitty neighbors and bitches for property managers.

It’s less about the rent, and more about the fact that in general, moving is expensive, and I’m currently spending every last dime cleaning up credit card debt from my near-year without a salary in 2015. It’s one of those moments I know I’m just going to have to suck up and sign that lease renewal.

On Saturday, I’d come to terms with it, although I don’t have to say anything to the complex until August. I do like my actual apartment, and maybe I can learn to deal with the noise above me – or maybe they will move out over the course of the next 10 months.

But on Sunday, I awoke to the immediate fear that a body would come crashing through my bedroom ceiling. When it didn’t, I looked at my phone for the time – 7:26 am. It was sunny out, with not a cloud in site.

“I’ll just get out of here, and hit the pool,” I thought.

By 10 am, I had my suit on and was ready to lounge by the pool with my wine and watermelon. I walked to the pool.

The gate was locked. And that was the day I learned that on Sundays, the Alliance pool opens at 1 pm. Because of course it does.

WTF are my upstairs neighbors doing?

Pleeeease, schtaaap!

Pleeeease, schtaaap!

About three weeks ago, I started noticing a lot of noise coming from the apartment above mine. It sounded like a combination of dragging heavy furniture across the faux wood flooring and a small bear running on its hind legs from the kitchen to the living room.

The noise was constant from around 8am on a Saturday until 10pm that night. And, it hasn’t stopped since.

About a week into the noise, I did a little rap-a-tap-tap on the ceiling with my broomstick, accompanied by my loudest “SHUT AAAPPPP!!”

But that did nothing, of course. So, I reached out to my apartment’s leasing office to find out what to do. They said I could file a complaint and the first would be a verbal warning.

Okay, filed the complaint.

Maybe it’s just me, but apparently my upstairs neighbors thought that was pretty funny because it appears to have gotten worse ever since. It could also be coincidence, as I’m kind of certain my complex probably didn’t say anything, because that’s the kind of complex this is.

It is at this time that I’d like to inform you that I live in a property owned by Alliance. It would be my personal recommendation that if you’re in the market for a new place, don’t go with Alliance. They own many properties around the country, and if the rest are anything like the one I’m currently living in, they’ll nickel and dime your ass, their maintenance men will enter your apartment illegally, and they won’t do anything you ask.

Now that that’s out of the way, back to the neighbors. I didn’t want to be a total bitch and file a noise complaint every day, but it was starting to get a little ridiculous.

I even came home for lunch one day during the week and the noise was still happening! So, that leaves me to believe there’s at least two people living there and they now take shifts to move the furniture back and forth across the floor, as the energy they’re creating must be powering Round Rock, Texas, in its entirety.

“I’ll take the night shift!” one of them must say to the other; one sleeps while the other stomps, drags the couch behind him, and occassionally drops a bowling ball on the ceiling right above my TV.

One of my favorite blogs, ManRepeller, hosted a writer’s contest about what your upstairs neighbor could be doing. But, at the time, I didn’t have this problem (ah, those were the days). The winner of the content wrote about how her upstairs neighbors were rock musicians without day jobs.

I would be so lucky. Sure, it would get old and probably piss me off from time to time, but at least there’d be some sort of rhythm or reasoning to it.

And I think that’s exactly my problem. When I filed the initial complaint, I was kind of hoping my leasing agent would reply back and say, “Omigosh, we are actually doing construction to that unit!”

Because then, at least I’d know, I wouldn’t really be getting anyone in trouble, and I’d have some sort of answer to my question about what the hell they’re doing up there.

When I’m laying on my couch, attempting to watch TV, and I hear a body roll across the ceiling – I wonder about what this could possibly be. So, I’ve come up with a list:

  • Indoor bowling
  • Bratty child playing tag with himself
  • Dog held in slavery dragging a wheel barrow
  • Cross-fit junkie performing multiple WODs using furniture
  • Amnesia patient rearranging every single day
  • Someone with OCD moving the furniture to clean the baseboards each day
  • An artist covering bowling balls in paint with the floor as the canvas
  • Two old men, with canes, racing across the living room

… the options are endless here. And so is the noise. So, two weeks after filing the first complaint, I’ve filed the second one, which my leasing agent says, is a violation on their lease. I do not think that will make them stop, but the world can only hope, because I could use a little peace and quiet.

I’ll be peace.

…Have a great weekend guys! See you right back here on Monday!

Living Singlish!

I am so excited to share a new book with you guys today! I actually had the opportunity to read this a few months ago, as I worked with the author, Marne, to edit and polish the final product. Many of you know I do lots of editing on the side, and while I love getting to read and edit pretty much any book, it’s even better when it’s a book about empowering women – and that’s exactly what “Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way” is about!

From the back of the book: “Embrace Singlish living and live your best life! Modern life is daunting. It’s easy to see why many young women feel overwhelmed and unprepared for making decisions about their relationships, career, family, and future. Though it’s easy to fall victim to the belief that you need someone beside you as you make important life decisions, author Marne Platt, VMD, MBA, knows that single women can not only survive – they can thrive! Like a great conversation with a good friend or older sister, Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way will empower you to figure out who you are, what you want, and how to get it – without replying on a romantic partner.”

While the book is full of tips and tricks on how to live Singlish (from “How I got here” to “Presence and Style”, and even “Personal Finance”), I want to share some of my favorites with you:

  1. The Singlish AttituteHaving a Singlish attitude means taking control of your own life and taking responsibility for how much enjoyment you get out of it. Singlish women choose the life they want , and then take the steps to build it. I love this because being Singlish isn’t about whether you’re with someone or not, it’s about doing what you want, and living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
  2. Fun and Entertainment – This section of the book is all about venturing out to do the things you want, whether with friends, or even by yourself (love it!) – from going to the movies, a museum, or even traveling around the world! There’s also tips on entertaining at your home.
  3. It’s Not All Wine And Roses – This part of the book talks about how, invetably, there will be some days that won’t be as great as the others, and how to cope with them. It discusses how to deal with loneliness, how to tackle the more difficult things alone, and dealing with the sometimes awkward comments people make about Living Singlish.

Aside from all of this great advice, the book also holds tools to help you get started Living Singlish – there’s a template for a budget, and a template for planning for your first home, and there’s even a few recipes for your at-home entertaining! Who doesn’t love that?

Why wait to get started? Sitting and thinking about how scary the future is will never make you stronger. Don’t let life get ahead of you. Start living the Singlish way. Make your own decisions, create the life you want. Start now…join the Singlish world!

So, perhaps you’re interested in Living Singlish, or you know someone who could use a pep in their single steps. I absolutely love what this book stands for and I’m going to continue Living Singlish…well, forever!

Future bf: My top 4 list.

I'm makin' a list...

I’m makin’ a list…

This has been on my mind a lot lately – here’s how it started. I was listening to a podcast (big shocker, I know), and they were talking about how important it is to date someone that has the same needs in a partner as you do.

Let me explain. If I remember correctly, the podcast was doing a sort of “Dear Abby”-type format, so they were answering a listener’s question about a dating issue. Their advice to the listener was to be true to yourself and date someone that’s got the same outlook on life as you.

For example, the host explained that he is very close to his sister, and he dated someone that viewed their sibling relationship as competition, and it caused a huge problem in their relationship. So, he challenged the listener to come up with a “Top 4 List” – or a list of those couple of things that are non-negotiable/that someone you’re dating must understand or else it won’t work out.

Despite ALL of the thinking I’ve done on dating over the last 14 years, this is something I’ve really never considered. Sure, I have things I’d like to see in a significant other – honesty, trust, blah, blah – but I’ve never thought about these in terms of, uh, tangible things, I suppose? I’m at a loss for words here.

Anyway; here’s what I’m thinking for my Top 4 List:

  1. Family & Friends – I’m really not close with my family, aside from my mom (who I talk to pretty much every day), however, family and my friends are really important to me. If you date me, my family and friends come with it, like it or not, and you probably better like it. On the flip side, I have always wanted to date someone that had a big family, who is willing to let me be a part of theirs, too! I think it’s really important when a guy has friends that have stuck by him for years; if it’s just new friends all the time, that’s a red flag.
  2. Career Ambition – Goals are good, and I really think it’s unattractive when a guy is just in a job because it’s a job. Have some dreams; be good at what to do and strive to be better. This does not mean I’m looking for a workaholic; been there, done that, and it straight sucks. See: #4. I have drive and I need someone who, at the very least, respects that, so they’d understand if something at work came up and I had to attend/put out the fire, etc.
  3. Passion Outside of the 9-5 – My day job is one thing, but my passions outside of work are another thing. I love going to dance, at least three times a week – it burns calories, it’s fun, and it makes me feel good. I also write this blog, five days a week. In the past, I’ve dated guys who do not find these things important; sometimes they’ve said they’re silly, but these are like air to me. So, I’m not going to skip dance to have an early dinner date, and I’m not going to not write a blog post because of something you want from me. Ain’t happening. I think because I’ve dated guys that have wanted me to stop going to the gym or stop blogging, I associate dating with having to give up the things I love. And I’m not willing to do that.
  4. Understands the Importance of Having Fun – Like I said, I’m not looking to date a workaholic; I am definitely of the mindset, work hard, play harder. I want someone who understands that balance. I work when there’s work to be done, and I also think relaxing is just as important as working. I like to binge on TV shows, check out new restaurants, and go to hockey games. Hell, as you’re reading this, I’m on my way to the beach for Hangout Fest for three days. And you know what? I paid for my entire trip with money from freelance gigs – jobs I’ve completed on the weekends or late at night in order to spoil myself this weekend. It’s the first vacation I’ve taken this year, and it’s very much needed. I need a guy who understands that, and will have fun with me, instead of judging me for it.

So, there you have it, my Top 4 List. I’m sure these may change as the years pass and I continue to be a singleton. But I’d love to hear your list as well – and it can be more or less than 4, but… not too long!

Road test: ModelCo Gradual Tan Everyday Body Mousse.

I wish it looked like that...

I wish it looked like that…

As many of you know, I’m currently on the road to getting tan… or at least, I’m trying to be. Awhile ago, I tried St. Tropez’s gradual in-shower tan, and that really didn’t do much (get the full scoop here) for me. So, I have still been on the hunt for the perfect sunless tanner.

Two Sundays ago, I went on a little adventure across the street and treated myself to a cup of frozen yogurt (I love the original tart flavor…yum!) with rainbow sprinkles, because I am a child, and I gazed longingly at the flourescent sign for DARQUE TAN, that is right next to the yogurt shop.

I was a long-time tanning bed addict, and quit cold turkey upon my move to Austin in September. Even though I know it’s bad for me, I really quit just to save a few bucks. But here we are, in the early stages of skirt season, and my legs are shockingly white. And it is just not a good look.

After my disappointment with the St. Tropez, I looked online for something else to try and I settled on ModelCo’s Gradual Tan Everyday Body Mousse. It had good reviews on Birchbox’s website, and it was $17 for a decent-sized bottle.

For now, I’m only worried about tanning the lower half of my legs, and my arms and chest, so I figured I could get several applications from the single bottle. I also purchased a tanning mitt for $6 to help with streak-free application, since I’ve never used a tanning foam before.

This foam is meant to be used post-shower; so I have been using it every time I shower. I get out, dry off completely, and then apply the mousse to desired areas. The bottle’s directions say to wait 10 minutes before getting dressed, so that’s what I do. I often stand in front of the fan I have in my bedroom, but it’s more out of sheer boredom than anything.

For the most part, this goes on really well and it has a pleasant scent. I never had any issues with streaking or an uneven look, but it does come off when you sweat. A plus is that the foam is brown so you can see where you’ve applied it.

My only complaint is that I wouldn’t consider this a gradual tan. I felt like it rinsed off every time I showered; which for some people is probably good, but I was hoping for a darker tan. This would definitely be good if you just need a quick tan for an event or a night out.

It was definitely better than the St. Tropez, but not something I’m dying to buy again. I actually bought something else over the weekend (since my apartment’s pool is STILL closed), so I’ll be reporting back on that shortly.

‘Dig’ gone glossy!

You may or may not know this, but usually my Wednesday blog posts are a replicate of the column that is published in a weekly magazine, “Dig”, which is distributed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I’ve worked as a contributing writer for Dig since it was born, a little more than five years ago. The column, also called “The Bitter Lemon” has been around for a little more than two years. And I have loved being able to share the “wisdom” from this blog, to print readers in Baton Rouge for this time.

I know this probably sounds like a goodbye letter, but it’s not! Actually, I’m so excited to say that instead of being printed weekly, on newspaper texture, Dig is now becoming a monthly publication on flossy, glossy paper! And, The Bitter Lemon gets to stay!

You can check out letters from the editor and publisher to get the full scoop here. When I got the email from my editor explaining this, I was worried that this was it, maybe The Bitter Lemon had run its course…but nope, we get to stay!

So, there is no column this week. Instead, the first monthly, glossy issue will be on stands (and online, of course), June 1st. In the meantime, you can STILL get your fix of The Bitter Lemon… I’ve put all 90 columns (yes, 90) in one spot, right here, for your reading pleasure.

If you’re new here, that should last you a bit. If you’ve already read them all, perhaps you could take a walk down memory lane – I know I did looking back at nearly 100 pieces!

It’s crazy how looking back I can tell exactly what was going on in my life just by looking at the first few sentences of each column.

Some of my favorites are:

Lose Control in Dating… And Love It (January 27, 2016)

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. Read more…


Discovering that dating is ultimately out of my control was one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had. It really took the pressure off, and it helped me to stop analyzing every single thing that happened to me – because ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I wear, or if a guy calls me after one day or one year; whatever happens is going to happen and there’s nothing I can do about it. As James Bay says, “Leave it to the breeze.”

Searching for Unicorns (November 4, 2015)

What's this crazy talk?

What’s this crazy talk?

At least a year ago, a guy named Daniel invented the “Universal Hot Crazy Matrix,” and presented his findings on YouTube. It went viral, because guys love to call women crazy.

According to the matrix, all women start off at being “at least a four” on the “crazy scale.” If you’re between a 5-8 on the scale, under the crazy line, that’s what Daniel calls the “Fun Zone.”

If you’re an eight hot, and below crazy, that’s the “Wife Zone.” Anything above an eight hot and still below crazy is considered a unicorn and does not exist.

While I know this matrix was created by a 46-year-old white guy with a cell phone clip on his belt, it gets on my nerves. Read more…


This is a column I’d been wanting to write for a very long time. Men calling women crazy really drives me… insane. Not only is it rude and dismissive, but it’s hurtful, and I’m saying that as a woman who’s been called crazy a lot, despite the fact that I’m not, in fact, crazy, nor am I on mind-altering pills. The guy I mentioned in the column, my then-crush, was obsessed with this Crazy-Hot matrix, and now that I no longer talk to him, it’s no wonder he takes his dating advice from a guy on YouTube wearing a cell phone clip.

I’m Single, Stop Asking Why (March 4, 2016)

Single, sexy, and sweet.

Single, sexy, and sweet.

“So, have you found anyone yet?”

It was a question from my coworker whom I’d just met.

“What does that mean?” I asked her.

She found it difficult to believe I was still single. I told her to believe it, because I am very, very single.

“That’s good,” she said. “Wait until you’re like, almost 30 and then settle down.”

Aside from the fact that I’ll be 30 in four months, I don’t understand why coupled people think that being single is a life decision. Read more…


Writers have this ability to turn really small moments into metaphors and symbols and make it seem meaningful to life as a whole. That’s what happened before I wrote this column – it was a simple, rainy day conversation between two coworkers that really got my gears grinding. Single people are, and probably will always be, the outcasts of society given that we didn’t follow that Biblical path everyone seems to follow. Because, why not? But I’m not in a position to follow that path, and I may never be, but it’s not up for judgment.

…And with that, I hope you enjoy looking back at some of the older columns! Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging five days a week, sometimes it’ll be on dating stuff (or my lack of), and sometimes it’ll be about TV or my devil-cat Blanche, or cooking. Who knows – I’m giving up planning right now.

And thank you, as always for reading! See y’all tomorrow!

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.

Some-kinda wonderful weekend.

No alarm clock: the definition of freedom.

No alarm clock: the definition of freedom.

Last week at work was quite a doozie – I don’t want to go into details, but let’s just say our staff is dwindling. All for respectable reasons, but it’s always a little sad, and hectic, when people move on.

I always look forward to Friday, but last week held an exceptional urge to get to the end of the week. And BTW, I did try some of my “tips” for not hating Monday last week, and I think it helped some. It will be an ongoing process.

Another process is the weekend itself. I want to have this balance of doing fun and relaxing things, but being productive as well, whether it’s cleaning my apartment or working on upcoming blogs for the week, or even just hitting the grocery.

Somehow, this last weekend, I felt like I was able to hit that balance. It was a simple little weekend, nothing too crazy, but I’m coming off it feeling good, and like I have a little energy to conquer the week. Here’s a little bit of what I did:

Friyay

6:00pm – Laundromat. Raced through two loads of laundry. I don’t have a washer and dryer, which is something I’ve always been provided at the apartments I’ve lived in. I thought I’d see how long I could last going to the laundromat before I hated it and bought my own units, but I actually don’t mind it. It only takes around an hour and about $5 to get all of my clothes and linens clean. I’ve found Friday evenings are the best time to go because there’s about no one there, except losers like me. Plus, it’s a good excuse for me to read; which is exactly what I did Friday evening.

8:00pm – Hip-Hip Master Class. I signed up to take a Hip-Hop Master Class with the very talented Dylan Cheek. I definitely got worked, but it was pretty cool. He was a really nice guy and taught us an advanced hip-hop routine to Future’s “March Madness“. It was a tough routine, but it made for a good challenge (and a good workout), and it was a switch from the things we usually learn in class. Expanding my horizons one dance at a time!

Saturyay

8:30am – Finally got up after my devil cat had been bothering me since 7. Made coffee and eggs. Ate breakfast on the patio with said devil cat. Decided to thoroughly clean the kitchen while catching up on an episode of “The Real Housewives of Dallas”. Still not really liking this show.

10:30am – Folded laundry. Conquered three baskets of laundry while watching episodes of “Watch What Happens Live”. Realize that in order to put laundry away, I’ve got to clean my wreck of a closet. So, I do – even vacuuming and then decide to hang my nail polish organizer. I got it for Christmas; it’s like the ones you see in nail salons, with the little clear shelves. I hung it, and loaded it up with all 100 bottles of my nail polish, in color order. I then continue the cleaning sesh to clean the bathroom and take out the trash.

Perfect for cocktails.

Perfect for cocktails.

12:00pm – Feeling accomplished. Make a grapefruit margarita (Hornitos silver + grapefruit juice + grapefruit LaCroix + squeeze of lime) and watch a few episodes of “Jersey Shore” – the ones when they are in Italy.

3:00pm – Head out. I started at Goodwill, just to see if they have anything interesting. Found a pair of blue and white polka dot shorts, a plastic mason jar cup with an “H” on it, and a Christmas coffee mug that has gold foil stars and matching lettering on it. I cannot pass it up for $.99. If you’re new here, just know that I love to bargain shop. I head next to Big Lots (a place that always makes me happy). I find a beach-themed jarred candle collection that smells exactly like it sounds – buy the “Sun Tan” and “Beach Bonfire” scents. No, seriously. These smell amazing! I also found a bubblegum pink pair of aviators for $6. Win.

4:30pm – Walk to Half-Price Books. Start search looking for a book I heard about on a podcast a few weeks ago, “The Coincidence of Coconut Cake”. Realize I forgot the little notebook where I keep everything, so I Google the title to find the author. Find it, get to the right aisle and start my search. Crouch down to reach the “R” authors, and simultaneously get hit by a 3-year-old girl running full-speed down the aisle. Fall over, drop my phone. The mom, who was chasing after her, drags the brat back over and says, “Apologize to her, she dropped her phone”. “I’m sorry,” says the girl. Roll my eyes, and collect myself. She hit me pretty hard, and I feel like her mom is equally a shit bag for not also apologizing. Find the only copy of the book I’m looking for. Hit the checkout and wish I would have flipped that little shit off.

5:30pm – Head to the grocery. Grab my weekly needs: organic apples, almond butter, yogurt, and protein bars. Okay, and wine. Checkout, and head next door to the sushi bar. Order $30 worth of raw fish to go. Read more of “The Silkworm” while I wait. Get food, head home.

7:00pm – Decide to eat sushi dinner on the patio with Blanche. Pour a glass of wine. The weather is beautiful, my patio is nice and clean (and has a working little fountain thanks to last weekend), and I’m just taking it all in. I listen to the latest Manrepeller podcast, “Monocycle”. It’s one of those moments that just feels great. Isn’t it crazy how these little things can just completely change your mood? It’s not like I went out and bought a car or saw an inspirational movie. I just had a simple little day, where I got lots of things done but also had a little bit of fun.

Sunyay

2:30am – Wake up to an armful of mosquito bites (I’m allergic). Find Caladryl and Benadryl. Spray myself with bug spray; turn on all the lights looking for the blood-sucking bastard. No luck. Watch two episodes of “The Vanilla Ice Project”. See the little sucker fly by the TV. Kill it. Back to Vanilla Ice until I fall asleep and let the West Nile Virus spread throughout my veins.

9:50am – Wake up and get up. Coffee. Eggs. English muffin. Hit the couch for hours of TV and blogging.

2:00pm – Drop-off rent check & head to P.Terry’s for fries and chocolate shake, despite the fact that I looked absolutely horrible in shorts the day prior.

4:00pm – Nap. 

6:00pm – Meal prep for the week/cook a few Green Chef meals.

10:00pm – Back to the couch for all the wondrous Sunday night TV until my eyes close…

Sorry don’t make it right.

Childhood games lead to the ones adults play.

Childhood games lead to the ones adults play.

When I was in elementary school, I had this board game called “Forbidden Bridge”.

The concept was pretty simple: get your plastic hiker safely across the tattered bridge and, in return, you were rewarded with red, plastic jewels.

The catch? The bridge was controlled by an evil statue that came to life at the unlucky drop of the dice – his anger shook the bridge in hopes of keeping his precious gems for himself.

It’s been about six weeks since I published a series of blog posts that described, in great detail, the last…sort of, dating encounter I had.

Before hitting publish on those posts; that was life on the safe side of the bridge.

The posts, publishing day-after-day turned my life into a frenzy, with inboxes full of messages-some hateful, many thankful.

But although quite some time has passed since I weathered the storm, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder if I handled it the right way.

Whatever glimpse of a relationship had budded over the course of our 14-year friendship was solidly shattered way prior to the publishing of these posts, and I used the blog like I always do: as a place to share my unedited thoughts, and in this case, my broken heart.

I could have very-well lived my life like most people without a blog, and ignored what happened to me, what happened to us, and moved on with a very similar outcome – him and I never speaking. And he would continue his life choosing to believe that what he did to me was perfectly okay.

But I’m not most people; and I am the CEO of this blog, and blog that revolves around the relationships we have with others – romantic and platonic.

Our “fling” did not warrant a label, and it’s probably taken up more bandwidth on this blog than it deserves, though today, and probably tomorrow, I don’t and won’t feel any better about the situation than I did prior to testing the rickety bridge.

It has less to do with the fact that I suck at dating, and more to do with the number of lies I was fed throughout the course of us knowing each other.

When the first few blog posts were published, I was presented with two things: 1. An apology, and 2. An offer to “fix this”.

There’s no doubt in my mind the apology was delivered out of fear, and for no other reason than to serve as a plea to save-face. Regardless, it was an apology.

It was the offer to make things up that’s got my gears grinding today. Because guess who I haven’t heard from since? HIM.

The simple fact that I haven’t gotten so much as a message from him, proves my original theory to be true: all of the “I hope I can make this up to you” lines were his dangling carrot, his red plastic jewel, rewarded to me if, and only if, I stopped posting the blogs.

I didn’t stop, because I did not believe (and I still don’t) that there was any reason not to post them. Despite him gathering a team of people to rally against me, I kept on, because my story deserved a home.

During a rather heated conversation one night amidst the postings, he made a comment that I can’t get out of my head: “You are loving this,” he said.

He was referring to the fact that I said on Facebook “#twirl” in regards to people trying to keep me from publishing the blog.

My reference was a Beyoncé lyric, not anything else. I’m not someone who revels in the downfall of others; and there wasn’t even a reported downfall.

So why do I feel like I’m to blame for the fallout? Calculated manipulation, if I had to guess.

It was more than a metaphorical game of “Forbidden Bridge”, it was a series of them: Twister, Pretty Pretty Princess, Trouble, and the oldest game in the book, Telephone.

At the end of the day, he’s got me blocked in every way possible, as if even the idea of having the digital communication lines open between us would set the road from Texas to Indiana ablaze.

I’ll be honest, there have been nights post-wine bottle drain, where I’ve stared at the phone and wished for something to happen that would make things feel fixed – like I was promised.

But it doesn’t and morning eventually comes.

There is a saying, “The hell you know is better than the one you don’t”, and it is the fuel that’s kept me mentally attached to so many of the wrong men of my past. I find comfort in dating failures, because that’s all I know.

But when did we decide to cut people off at the first sign of crossed opinions? Are we stronger for weeding out the weak, or are we heartless and cold?

I don’t want to be the woman who’s stuck on that one situation, that one heartbreak; especially when I’m sure he’s moved on to someone else, continually replacing a void from decades prior. One red jewel in the ocean after the next.

Time is my only option at this point, and I’m guessing I’ll need another six weeks to forget about 14 years. Okay, perhaps a case of rosé and my John Mayer records, too.

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