It’s Thanksgiving Eve, eve! Tomorrow morning, I’m hopping on a flight to get my travel on for the holiday break, and just perhaps, I’ll get my dose of freezing cold weather for a few days.
I don’t want to get too cheesy here, but the approaching Thanksgiving holiday definitely makes me think about what I’m thankful for, and this year, my list is a mile long.
I am so thankful for my mom, my friends, everyone I dance with, my kitty Blanche, and well, everyone who has a part in creating “The Daily Show” (this year just wouldn’t have been possible without that).
I am also just generally thankful for my health, my health insurance, and doctors, everywhere. I’m really thankful for my job, for all of my freelance clients, for all of the students who’ve taken my blog class, and for everyone who’s shopped in my Etsy shop – all of these jobs and projects have allowed me to clean up my financial mess, pay off a credit card, invest in hobbies I love, and even do some traveling.
It’s not quite the time to reflect on the entire year (we still have another month to go!), but this year, I’ve lost a lot of people. Some literally, some figuratively, some have cut me out, some I’ve cut out – but I know it’s all part of a bigger plan for each of us. If you’re in my life, it’s because I want you to be, and I’m really appreciative of you.
Of course, thank you for reading my blog. I have been in a weird space with blogging these past few months, partially because of time, and partially because I feel like sometimes this blog does more harm to myself than good.
I have started journaling as a way to get my thoughts out in an unbiased, totally unedited way, and it’s helping me in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t know if those words will ever see the light of day, maybe so, or maybe not. I just know that right now, there’s people watching my every word, and I’m not willing to provide food for their fights.
Regardless, this blog is here to stay. And hey, I am, too.
In the past, I’ve put so much energy into maintaining traditions when it comes to holidays, but I’m finally feeling like I’m coming into my own. I don’t have to do the same thing every year for the holidays – in fact, I can do whatever I want!
I’m not chained to locations, menus, houseguests, or expectant family members. I do what I want – it’s not the life I dreamed of, but perhaps that’s just because I didn’t know the option existed.
So yeah, tomorrow I’m bundling up (with the new John Green book in-tow), and I’m heading out for a few days to indulge, and upon my return to Texas, I’m SO happy to have some time off of work to decorate my apartment for the holidays, catch up on some TV, and work on my Etsy shop.
I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving – I’ll be posting this week’s Book Club read tomorrow, and I’ve got a special surprise for Black Friday.
Last week, I took a trip home to Indiana to visit some old friends and family. It had been 18 months since I’ve been back, and I was really looking forward to it.
I had three big things on my to-do list during my six-day trip: 1. Honor my friend Cheryl by participating in a Crohn’s Walk with my mom, 2. Get answers for a romantic relationship in-question, and 3. Visit my friend and her son.
Item #1 happened basically as planned, although there seems to always be secrecy and planning that happens behind my back and then – SURPRISE! – I arrive and it’s not what I thought it would be. Whatever.
Item #2 is a toughie. You see, I have had a little bit of a crush on this person for, well, half of my life. I am really lucky to call him my friend, first, but I know things were starting to inch toward the gray area and I needed to know where we were headed.
Long-distance relationships are difficult, and I have no intentions of getting involved in one unless there was a clear means to an end. One thing I wanted to know was if he planned on staying in Indiana forever.
If so, that would be something I’d have to seriously consider: would I move back to give this thing a chance? I’m happy to report we talked about this right away. I’m not-so-happy to report that his answer was yes, he’ll be staying in Indiana foreevvverrrrrr. Ouch.
Now let me say this, I’m definitely not married to the idea of staying in Austin, Texas forever. In fact, I’m already considering my next move. But I know I’m not equipped to move back to Indiana. I haven’t done all I need to do!
There were other wrenches thrown into the mix as the week progressed – things that showed me, clearly, a romantic future is just not in the cards for me and this guy. I don’t want to say much more than that; I do hope he’ll still be my friend for years to come.
It’s sad, in fact I’m still pretty bummed out about it, but I’m glad I saw things for myself and got the answers I needed before we traveled too far down the rabbit hole.
If you’ve been reading around these parts for awhile, you know that I’m kinda (ok, really) bad at dating. I have a history of ignoring red flags and getting myself stuck in some sticky situations. So, even though this didn’t end in love this time, I have to say I’m really proud of myself for standing up and not just “going with it” when I know something doesn’t align with my values. I know what I want for myself, and I’d much rather be single than try and force something that isn’t right.
So, it’s a bittersweet win.
Now, item #3 just plain didn’t happen for reasons I’m not really sure of.
I’ll say that as much as it pains me to admit it, sometimes people just grow apart, no matter how long or deep a history they have. And maybe that has happened here.
Regardless, my heart is still hurt, and I have been on the mend (read: sleeping way too much) since my return. Loss, of any sort, isn’t easy.
Aside from those things, I spent some quality time with another friend – we got some good laughs, drank delicious wine, and we endured some interesting challenges along the way.
We joined up with some old friends from high school and I laughed until my cheeks hurt over inside jokes that possibly only we think are funny. We went to see Guster and Dispatch in concert, and there were literally fireflies dancing above us, and it was the Indiana I’ve romanticized since my departure 14 summers ago.
As I always say, Indiana will always (!) hold a special place in my heart – I went through a lot of things growing up there. But when I boarded my plan to Texas last Thursday morning, every ounce of me knew that things just weren’t quite the same. Even if Texas isn’t my forever home, I know Indiana isn’t.
I spent 12 years in Louisiana, and although it didn’t necessarily feel like “home”, I accomplished so much there, and it really shaped who I’ve become. Texas, well, hard work got me here, and it gave me a fresh start. It’s an opportunity that I still sort of can’t believe I have.
So, cheers to old friends, but also, to looking ahead, wherever that may be.
Howdy! I had every intention of posting yesterday, but life took over – okay, more like work took over, and I was up until the wee hours this morning finishing things, and packing for my trip to Indiana tomorrow.
I planned this trip months ago, so I could participate in my second “Take Steps for Crohn’s”, which I am still looking forward to, but the trip has also transformed into something else.
It may come as no surprise that I have some pretty strong feelings for a guy in Indiana. It’s not someone new, in fact, he’s been a part of my life for years – but we’ve really been on a roller coaster.
Without going too much into it, I will say that we’ve managed to be there for each other through some very tough times, especially as of late. I’ve had a tiny crush on him since I was 15, and have been fairly honest about my feelings over the years – him, too, even though he hasn’t always felt the same way.
Recently, he quietly admitted he had feelings, too – something I never, ever thought I’d hear him say. And that’s just it: it’s the first time I’ve liked someone so much, I’d accept it if he didn’t like me. I’d rather have his friendship than nothing, and I want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
Strong words, I know.
And that’s the other part of this entire thing: I’m in uncharted territory. I’ve never liked someone who was quite so nice to me; never been able to actually talk to someone on the phone (especially about nerdy stuff, like politics and food); never had any sort of relationship that didn’t involve around sex, talking about sex, or planning for sex. It’s refreshing.
But, it’s also scary AF. What exactly is going on here? I can’t answer that right now. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer it after this trip, either.
Because if you’ve been here before, you and I both know how this ends (read this, this, this, this, and this, and this, for examples). I’ve done this. Of course, this is someone different – biologically, and in many different ways. But it has ended poorly for me before. I’m bracing myself to get on that plane next week with a broken heart, and no need for a phone.
A long time ago, I concluded I like Indiana boys because they are familiar, and because, well, I live 19 hours away and don’t really have to subject myself to the intimacy that would happen in a real, face-to-face relationship.
But what if the distance was eliminated? I always say I have stayed in the South to benefit my career. I’ve banked on the story I’ve told myself that I will always be single. But what if I put something, or someone, else first this time? What would my life be like?
There is a huge part of me that already knows the answer. My life would probably be filled with a lot more love, and a little less stress. I might actually get the thing I’ve always wanted: love. A partner.
All of that just scares me. I don’t know if I’m ready, but on the other hand, how can I NOT be ready?
I don’t want to bank everything on this trip, but I am hoping it will show me a little taste of what my story could have been; what it could be, if I choose that path, instead of the one I’m on now.
PS. The blog will be sparse next week as I’ll be vacationing and mind-questing 🙂 Promise I’ll be back.
I took a road trip to Baton Rouge this weekend. Yes, it’s a route I’ve traveled many times before – however, I haven’t done it in a whole year. Truthfully, because I kept having to make that trip before (because of CASA volunteer obligations), I’m sure I turned myself off of it.
But when a friend announced he was making a big move (13+ hours away), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to hop in the car and go for a drive.
I needed a place to stay for one night, so I slapped in on Facebook, and within one minute I had an offer from a sorority sister whom I haven’t seen in several years. I took her up on her offer, and spent Friday night doing a little baking, packing road trip snacks (fruit, cheese, trail mix, of course), and packing my clothes.
I’d also given my car a little love with an extensive oil and three-filter change, plus a tire repair, and even a tire replacement. I was ready!
I hit the road at 8am on Saturday, which would put me in Baton Rouge around 3pm provided there wasn’t much traffic or bad weather. I’ve made this trip so many times to know it rarely takes the 6.5 hours Google Maps says.
But, I was in no hurry. I didn’t have to be anywhere specific until 9pm, so whatever. I used the car time to catch up on my favorite Radio Andy shows: Reality Checked, Jim Parsons is Too Stupid for Politics, and Dan Rather’s America.
I also listened to some Dispatch I got from the library (I’m seeing them in concert next week), and made it about halfway through an audio book.
The drive from Austin to Baton Rouge is mostly farm land – especially during the Texas half of the trip. Lots of cows, steers, and neatly rolled hay. I am a sucker for these types of views.
I made it to Baton Rouge a little before 3:30, and was so happy to see my hostess, Sarah, along with her son – both of whom had just survived his birthday party. We spent the afternoon visiting, and were treated to pork chops from Iverstine Farms, along with some fancy rose Sarah discovered on Instagram. It was a perfect Saturday evening.
Already buzzed, I headed to the goodbye gathering at a nearby bar, where I took advantage of the cheap, local beer. I do miss Abita!
It was fantastic to visit with my friend and see some familiar faces, I didn’t realize just how much I needed that feeling of comfort – that feeling of home.
The fact is, I wasn’t born and raised in Louisiana. I’m from Indiana, where I’m traveling at the end of this week. And while I have spent years calling Indiana home, I don’t know if that word is the right one.
Yes, I spent 18 years there. But I spent 12 in Louisiana. And you know… I grew up, big time, in Louisiana. I survived a culture shock, had my first serious heartbreak (on top of many others), endured multiple hurricanes, got my first apartment, my first job out of college… it’s easy to say that a lot of things about me where shaped in Louisiana.
So many of my friends there are like family, and when 95% of my family doesn’t talk to me – friends are all I’ve got.
I don’t regret leaving Baton Rouge – it needed to happen, for the sake of my career, my creativity, and still for my sanity. And I know the chances of living in Louisiana again are slim-to-none. But it’s always going to hold a really special place in my heart.
I left Baton Rouge at 10am on Sunday – and was met with some pretty heavy traffic and construction on the drive back. Pair that with a decent headache from my Saturday festivities (when in Baton Rouge…), and it made for a less than stellar trip, but I made it safe, and I even got a Diet Cherry Coke – so we’re putting that down as a WIN in my book.
It was a quick and fun weekend – a much-needed, heart-fulfilling trip. I’ve got another one coming up this week, and well, I’ve been sort of harboring the story around that for awhile. I’ll spill it here later (this week), but I’ve still got to find the words to explain it.
So, cheers to tired Mondays – as long as the soul is full.
Howdy! I’m still recovering from a two-day work trip to Dallas, and the weekend. I didn’t get back from my trip until Friday night, and still had some loose-ends to tie up before it was really the weekend, but I didn’t waste much time drinking a beer and falling into bed. I had to be up at a reasonable hour for Austin’s leg of the “Take Steps” – a walk to raise money for a cure for Crohn’s disease.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this walk. While I am SO, so grateful for everyone who sponsored me (I raised $175 toward the cure), no one agreed to walk by my side. So, I woke up on Saturday morning to find it was storming quite heavily in Austin. Nonetheless, I ate, got dressed, and drove 20 minutes to the expo center.
I checked in, soaking wet, and got all sorts of free swag because of the amount of money I raised. I still had an hour before the actual walk started, and there wasn’t much for me to do – there were plenty of things for kids to do, but I sort of slinked away and tried to kill time listening to podcasts and staring off into the rain.
I thought about Cheryl, my friend who died after fighting with Crohn’s. She was my reason for walking on Saturday. Truthfully, I felt like a jerk. She did everything with a smile, and there I was – a grouch. But, I wondered if she was with me in spirit then, and possibly laughing at the fact that this walk was indeed inside a barn, and I was about to embark on a dusty, dirt path in brand new sneakers.
I also wondered why I’d never walked before; why had I not supported my friend when she was alive to see it? The truth is, she made Crohn’s look easy when it probably was not. I know everyone’s experience with it is different, but I know her battle was difficult at times.
As my hour-long wait came to an end, they invited everyone over to the stage. They called up some of the big donors, introduced doctors in the area to help those with Crohn’s and similar diseases, asked those diagnosed to come to the stage, and introduced their “Hero” – a boy who was probably 14-ish, and had been undergoing treatments for years. He spoke, and said his doctor found a treatment that worked for him and put his Crohn’s in remission… until his body developed antibodies to it, and now he was on something new. And while this treatment helped, he said, it was not an eliminator. Our money is working to possibly create an eliminator – and together, Austin raised $62,000+ for the cause.
And with that, we walked. It was a short walk, but I’m glad I did it – for Cheryl, but also for myself. I often take my health for granted, and it was very eye-opening to see others around me who have to work hard and take lots of medications to even try to feel normal. I can’t imagine.
But, my fight for Crohn’s isn’t over. I’m walking again, in a month, in Indianapolis, to raise more money and honor Cheryl once again. And if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join me. To join my mom’s team with me, please click here. I hope to see you there!
Can I just say that Monday nights are pretty awesome – I’ve got two of my favorite dance classes to take, and then I come home to some great TV, plus there’s that whole feeling that at least Monday is over. Right??
I was extra excited to see last night’s episode after last week’s craziness with Craig and Naomi. So, let’s get into it. At the top of the episode, Shep’s doctor calls and tells him the results of his labs. Turns out he has an elevated enzyme in his live and needs to cut back on the drinking, and will be tested again in two to three months.
At another house, Cameron is waiting on Craig (typical). She’s showing him some investment properties so he can fulfill one of his many dreams! Turns out, he’s pretty picky about what he wants in a rental home, and Cameron asks him if Naomi is supportive of this financial decision. He says he can’t continue to do things JUST for her, or else he’ll come to resent her.
Meanwhile, Patricia is at the pool with Chauncey and Whitney stops by and tells her about the conversation he had with Thomas about dating. Patricia suggests Landon as a possible match for Thomas, and of course, she decides she should host a casual dinner party and she can seat Thomas next to Landon (how Charleston of her).
Then, Chelsea and Austen go on another date – beer tasting (perfection). They get to talking about Shep and Austen tells Chelsea that Shep was a little disappointed that he was the last to know about the two of them talking. However, Austen assures Chelsea that he’s squashed it and he has no questions about it, and he does not feel like he violated Bro Code.
Remember last week, when Cameron had the witch doll made for Shep? Well, she takes him out to dinner: a table for Cameron, Shep… and Mama Estelle (Cam’s doll). She explains to Shep that she had a doll made for him because she was going to cast a love spell on him but she’d since changed her mind. So, she gave him the doll and said he could use it when he met someone worth falling in love with.
Later, Patricia’s is putting the final touches on her dinner party, and she says, “With these kids, I can just go to Costco and buy all the liquor.” Seriously? I would PAY to see Patricia in a Costco. The dinner party goes fine, but it doesn’t seem like any crazy sparks are flying. However, Thomas sniffs out that it’s a setup pretty early in the evening.
Meanwhile, Craig is on the sewing machine, embroidering tiny images of his cat, Gizmo, onto pillowcases. Naomi is not impressed by this at all, and when Craig casually mentions that he put an offer in on a house, she’s not really interested in that, either.
Later, Shep joins Kathryn for his first ever yoga class, as he continues his journey to detox. He’s struggling pretty hard throughout the class, but afterward tells Kathryn that he’s trying to see what it’s like not to drink every night. There’s a few clips of Shep at home, taking vitamins, and making a fruit smoothie in a Vitamix. He then calls his mom and says, “I just made a smoothie!” …It’s probably one of the cutest TV moments, ever.
Speaking of parents, Austen has dinner with his parents, and they are REALLY fired up about him starting a business. They don’t see his work as a beer salesman as anything serious; they want him to settle down, get married, and have a 9-5, and they really want him to make a business plan to show them he’s getting serious. Whoa.
And finally, the gang heads to Jennifer’s sip and see, where Thomas and Landon are flirting pretty heavily, and Naomi and Craig continue their fighting in front of everyone. Basically, she’s calling him out on his bullshit and he sees it as her not being loyal…which doesn’t really make sense.
But at the end of the episode, it doesn’t look like things between them are getting cleared up anytime soon, because she leaves the party without him. Bloop, bloop! Guess we’ll find out next week!
Hey yo! I’m starting this week off with an apology – I know I only blogged twice last week, which was not planned. Vacation kicked my ass!
I got back to Austin Monday night around 9:30, and by the time I got home, showered, got myself ready for bed, and watched “Southern Charm”, it was after midnight. When I arrived at work on Tuesday, there was all sorts of unnecessary drama that I did not need.
By the time things were starting to feel back to usual around the office – I even got things organized there, and started catching up on all of my podcasts again – the power went out and completely jacked up our internet, leaving us to work from home for a day and a half. Ugh!
It took me much longer to get back to my “normal” life than I thought. And I wondered… is this vacation after 30? I’ve always heard people complain about jet lag and adjusting back to regular life after vacation, but never really experienced it. Whew, not until now!
But, I did take a few dance classes last week, and then used my weekend to help get myself back in order.
After all of the junk (but very delicious) food and drink I had on vacation, I was excited to clean out my fridge and hit the grocery with a list of fresh produce. I am happy to report that my fridge is now full of Naked Juices, fruit, raw veggies, boiled eggs, and soda water. I’ll be living off that until I feel skinny again.
I spent a majority of my Saturday volunteering for the Austin Film Festival – an event that’s become very special to me. There was an opportunity to earn some hours by passing out fliers for their kids’ Summer Camp… I ended up walking 12,000 steps going door-to-door, and even ran from a couple of roosters on my route! It did nothing for my vacation fatigue, but it was an interesting way to spend a Saturday.
I also finished reading a book – so look for that review right here, on Friday for Blanche’s Book Club.
I did a few chores around the house, and have, at the very least, prepped my laundry for a trip to the laundromat tomorrow. And finally, I got word that my Blog Class at UT was confirmed for this semester, and it starts on Wednesday night! I’m so excited to be back teaching, and am looking forward to meeting a new group of students. Teaching is such a thrill for me and I’m excited to share my love of blogging to a new set of students.
So, I’m hitting the ground running this week – I’m back at work, back to dancing, blogging, teaching, and eating healthy (I even made veggie “sushi”) for awhile – at least until my next vacation, which is planned for the end of June. Summer is here, y’all, and I love me some summer adventures!
Isn’t it true, that when you take a vacation, you just want to keep taking them? I feel like whenever I go on vacation, I try to think of ways I can adjust my current life so that I can take more vacations and/or travel to more places. Then I just simply WISH that my life was a vacation, but I suppose it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case… or would it? I’m willing to be the guinea pig.
And so, I’m back – and I’m finally feeling refreshed. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for the blog this week (“Southern Charm” recap, a John Mayer review, Blanche’s Book Club, etc.), so I hope you’ll stick around. It’s good to be BACK!
Howdy! I’m still very much in recovery mode after a fun-filled trip to Las Vegas over a long weekend. I am tired, and completely off-schedule given the time difference, and in general I feel like I need to do a juice cleanse and/or eat a bunch of acai bowls until I feel clean again.
But of course, life doesn’t stop, work is nuts, my apartment is in shambles, and my calendar is full. Whew!
However, I was so excited to take a look at ALL the pictures I took (it’s a lot, just look at my Instagram @OrangeJulius7), and definitely wanted to post my favorites here – in no particular order.
I landed in Vegas late Thursday night, checked into the Palms, and promptly made myself a drink and hit the slots – losing $20 nearly immediately.
On Friday, it was a little chilly outside so we skipped on the pool and ventured to The Strip to partake in street drinking, gambling, sight-seeing (particularly the fountain at the Bellagio), and overeating at Wahlburgers.
Friday night was the Backstreet Boys concert at the Axis near/in Planet Hollywood, which was difficult AF to find. But, the hunt for the venue was worth it, because BSB pretty much made all of my boy band dreams come true. They played ALL of their hits, danced a lot (they even did the same dance from some of their music videos), and even wore glittery suit jackets for a few songs – and I about lost it. It was fantastic!
After the concert, I was on a mission to find two “secret” gems in Vegas – the Moet champagne vending machine and the unmarked pizza spot. We found them both, met a few cool people along the way, and saw some great views of the city. And, that pizza was some of the best I’ve ever had.
On Saturday, we hit the Palms pool (which was laced with security), shelled out the cash for a giant Palms Punch (nearly $50 for a souvenir cup filled with rum and champagne), and relaxed until it was time to get ready for the John Mayer concert. We even enjoyed a yummy dinner outdoors along the strip, before screaming our faces off at Mayer’s last show before meeting up with Dead & Co.
He mixed things up, singing several songs from “Room for Squares”, and of course, several from “The Search for Everything” – but I think he shocked everyone when he brought out the John Mayer Trio for a few songs.
After the concert, we noticed the roller coaster at New York, New York was eerily close to the T-Mobile arena, so we rode that… which was pretty terrifying, and thankfully was a drunk decision.
On Sunday, we had another day of adventure, hitting Linq for the delicious, huge plates at Hash House a-go-go (I got the Indiana pork tenderloin). Then, we checked out the Linq promenade for the Sprinkles cupcake ATM (I got the chocolate marshmallow), and to check out the High Roller.
Then we caught a ride to Fremont Street – Vegas’ original strip – where there are lights covering the street, live music, and several old casinos (some even spit quarters). To close the night we headed back to the strip for a nice dinner at Hexx – a bottle of wine, impressive charcuterie, shrimp pasta, and a sunset view of the Bellagio.
On Monday morning, we headed out for one last adventure: the Neon Museum. Neon signs are a signature of Las Vegas and have been since it was born, but many casinos change their names or simply lease their signs, so many of these signs end up in a “Boneyard”, which is what we got to tour. It was dozens upon dozens of neon bones, complete with a tour guide who told us all sorts of great history, and we even talked about the history of fonts and how neon is made. It was fantastic!
I flew home to Austin Monday afternoon, and although I felt my body was ready to get back to my usual life, I was sad to leave. That was my second time in Vegas, and both times I’ve just had SO much fun. I always feel like I need to make massive life changes once a vacation is over. I sure was sad driving the country roads home – with no neon or flashing lights to guide me.
But, who knows what’s in store for me over the next few months! I know I’m going to try and keep things exciting. I hope you enjoy my pictures 🙂
Tonight, I’m hopping on a flight to Las Vegas, ready to spend most of my dollars on drinks and slot machines, wear some of my tackiest clothes (a cactus bodysuit is packed), and eat sinfully delicious food until my stomach hurts.
It will be my second time in Vegas, a place I’ve come to associate with good times. But how did Vegas, as we know it, come to be? I looked up a little info.
Las Vegas was incorporated in 1911, and its first claim to fame was its railroads. At the time, gambling was illegal, that is until 1931 when casinos began to takeover Fremont Street (the city’s only paved road), joined by showgirls.
In just 10 years, “The Strip” was born, and served as a second home to casinos and huge, glittery signs running off hydropower. By 1966, small casinos turned into massive ones that took their design cues from escapes around the globe – Paris, Rome, Egypt, and New York.
I remember years ago, before I’d ever been to Vegas, a family member went for a work conference. Upon his return he said he didn’t like it – “It’s just excess in every single way.”
And that’s exactly why I love it! Want a casino? How about one that’s 171,000 square feet, like at the MGM? It’s the biggest casino in the world.
During my last trip to Vegas, we stayed at the MGM hotel & casino, not knowing how historically huge it is, and I was stunned every time I went downstairs. You could actually never leave if you wanted to – or you COULD leave and step outside to see the lights, huge fountains, ceiling-high strands of crystals, a near-replica of the Eiffel Tower – it’s all so much to take it, but it’s a treat for the senses!
This time, we’re staying at the The Palms and I’m just SO excited! The Palms is owned by a very famous Vegas family, the Maloofs – which may sound familiar to you if you’ve watched “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, as Adrienne Maloof is one of the heirs to the throne.
The Palms was, at one time, home to the only Playboy club in the world. It has since closed, but it was quite iconic with crystal chandeliers, magazine covers throughout, and Roberto Cavallie bunny costumes.
The Palms is also home to a few famous suites, including the Hardwood Suite, which runs a cold $25,000 per night. Here’s the scoop from CNN Money: You don’t have to be a professional basketball player to enjoy the hardwood suite at the Palms, although if you are, then this is the room for you. In addition to the half basketball court, electronic scoreboard and extra-long beds, there’s also a locker room that can be stocked upon request with basketball jerseys and or cheerleading outfits — heck, you can even get your own cheerleaders if that’s what you want. As a general rule, most special requests will be gladly filled by the hotel staff. The two-story suite, which has a full bar as well as plenty of room for a DJ booth, is as well suited to partying as it is to playing games; in fact Russell Simmons and Paris Hilton have both hosted lavish affairs here.
If you’re a fan of MTV’s “Real World”, you may remember the cast of “Real World Las Vegas” resided at the Palms, and their suite still stands as the “Real World Suite”, minus all the cameras. It’s 3,000 square feet and even houses the original “confessional” room if that’s what you’re into ($10,000 per night).
…So, there’s that. I’m ready. It’s been a minute since I’ve had a vacation and I’m looking forward to a long weekend of glitter and adventure!
Well, I’m heading to Vegas on Thursday and aside from seeing the Backstreet Boys, the excitement of the Strip, the relaxation of the Palms’ pool (and bar), I’m also seeing my soulmate, John Mayer.
I’ve loved John Mayer since the first time I saw him live, when I was 16. If you do the math, that was almost 16 years ago – a very long time to be in love. But, like most relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs…
Almost exactly five years ago, I made plans to cross an item off my bucket list: Go to a city I’ve never been to and see a concert.
That city was Las Vegas, and that concert was John Mayer. I bought the tickets, lined up to meet a friend there, and we were SO excited. But about six weeks before our trip, John Mayer cancelled his tour because he had to have surgery on his vocal chords, and would be on rest.
Needless to say, I was crushed. But, my friend and I still decided to go to Vegas, and we still had a lot of fun. It would be another long while before John Mayer went on tour. And when he did, I saw him three times, in three separate states. I’d seen his tour so many times that year, I’d nearly memorized his set list, and could often tell by his guitar choice or chord tuning, what he was about to play.
But that was, like, three years ago – and now the guy is finally back on tour. I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure about this album, “The Search for Everything“. Yes, there’s some songs I like, but it’s no “Paradise Valley” – I absolutely love that album.
When he released “Love on the Weekend“, he promised he was going on tour, and he also said it would be everything we’d ever dreamed of. Whoa, whoa, whoa – big promises! It’s really okay, John, you don’t have to put on a nationwide tour just to finally profess your love for me.
Kidding aside, I got to thinking about what a perfect John Mayer concert would look like. After seeing him at least a dozen times over the years, I’ve heard him play some of my favorites. But what if there was a concert full of them?
I’ve refrained from looking up the setlist for this tour, but I’ve put together my own – what would be the perfect John Mayer concert setlist for me? This was tough, but here it is:
If I Ever Get Around to Living
Moving On And Getting Over
Waitin’ On The Day
Split Screen Sadness
Born And Raised
Love On The Weekend
On The Way Home
Stop This Train
In Your Atmosphere
…What do you think? We will see how his concert compares… I have absolutely NO idea what to expect! I’ll definitely let you know… (you could also follow me on SnapChat and see for yourself @OrangeJulius7).
In just a few weeks, I’m heading to Vegas for an extended weekend of sun, relaxation, and well, lots of massive drinks. Because, Vegas! I have been to Vegas before, but it was several years ago, and I’m excited to revisit some of my favorite spots (the Paris Hotel & Casino, and Hash House A-Go-Go), while trying some new spots (fishbowls at the Sugar Factory and the Neon Graveyard Museum).
In order to make the most out of my fun-filled days out West, I’m planning a few things in advance, packing strategically, staying on my diet, and hyping myself up. So, I’ve put together a list of my favorite movies that feature Sin City in all its glittery glory.
George Clooney + Brad Pitt… Yes! 2001 really served it to us in this action-packed movie that involves 11 dudes ready to take down Vegas, by robbing three casinos at the same time. You go boys! And it makes visiting the Bellagio fountains that much more iconic.
When I suffered my very first breakup, my dad introduced me to the 1996 cult classic, “Swingers”. I’m so glad he did, because I can’t get enough of Trent and Mike and their ways with the ladies, especially once they hit the Vegas strip. Everything is “Money, baby”, and frankly, this movie is one of my all-time favorites.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
No self-respecting writer can turn his or her back on Hunter S. Thompson and his beloved book-turned-movie, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. When a unique journalist (played by Johnny Depp) and his lawyer head to Vegas, deciphering reality from illusion becomes the challenge. It’s a must-see.
I’ll admit it, the book (“Busting Vegas”) was better, but the movie adaptation was on-point. The movie tells the true story of six MIT students who learned how to count cards, and took millions of dollars from the Vegas casinos. It’s a thriller, that’s for sure, and Kevin Spacey is perfection.
I had a 1590 on my SAT. I got a 44 on my MCATs. And I have a 4.0 GPA from MIT. I thought I had my life mapped out. But then I remembered what my Nonlinear Equations professor once told me, always account for variable change.
In 2009, we were blessed with the start of “The Hangover” trilogy. Although the entire franchise puts me in giggles, the first one is my favorite. This movie is what Vegas is all about: Wolf packs, strippers, cocaine, and partying so hard that you lose your memory, and the bachelor. Think: “Dude, Where’s My Car?” only in Vegas, with a bottomless budget. It’s hilariously fantastic, and I love going to Cesar’s Palace to look for a payphone 😉
…So, don’t be shocked if you see me Tweeting (@OrangeJulius7) about these movies in the coming weeks. What movies about Vegas do you like to watch?
On Tuesday, my mom delivered the news to me that a dear family friend of ours had less than a 10 percent chance of surviving.
I wept behind the closed door of my office. This was not just any person – it was Cheryl, my mom’s best friend, a woman she’d known for 34 years, and someone who had influenced my life in many great ways. I wept for my mom, for Cheryl’s daughter, for her husband, for her family, her coworkers, and for anyone who’d ever knew her – even if just for a short moment.
Cheryl was a ray of light in the darkness – she always found a way to laugh at pretty much any situation, which is a trait I’ve always admired. I can recall so many fun times with Cheryl and her daughter, Sarah – times I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I know Cheryl meant so much to my mom, and to her family. To me, Cheryl was South Carolina sweet grass. She took her daughter and I on a rode trip one summer, from the middle of Indiana to the shores of South Carolina, where we stayed, for what seemed like a month.
It was my first time really discovering a new culture – we went to the market, bought handmade jewelry, tried homemade ice cream, walked cobblestone streets leading to plantation homes, and chased crabs in the sands of Folly Beach. It was heaven.
I’d nearly forgotten that Cheryl and Sarah had also joined my mom, dad, and I for a trip to Disney World when I was 10. Sarah and I met as many of the Disney characters as possible, having them all autograph pages in little journals we kept.
Although Cheryl divorced from Sarah’s father when we were very young, later she rekindled with a high school sweetheart whom she married and he became an integral part of the family. I always admired their love story – it was a fairytale.
But the entire time, Cheryl was battling Crohn’s Disease, which affects the digestive tract. The cause of Crohn’s is unknown, and even determining if you have it can be a complicated process. There is also no cure.
Personally, I know very little about Crohn’s, and have only known two people who’ve had it, including Cheryl. I know it affects each person differently, and I know I often forgot that Cheryl was fighting the symptoms of her illness.
But Crohn’s is eventually what took her body from this earth too soon – a move I know she didn’t let happen without a hard fight.
Yesterday, her body was laid to rest in its final place, and my mom was able to say her goodbyes to her dear friend. I couldn’t make it to Indiana for the funeral, which I feel terrible about, but I’ve already had a few talks with Cheryl’s spirit and I hope she understands.
I plan to honor Cheryl in a few ways, aside from just daily “What’s ups” and singing along to some John Mellencamp (she LOVED him). I have registered as a team to do the “Take Steps for Crohn’s” event in Austin at the end of May, so if you’re in the area and would like to join my team – Cheryl’s Southern Belles – or donate to my personal goal of $500, I would really love that.
I have also set up a GoFundMe campaign for Cheryl’s immediate family, as they are stressed about covering the costs of her funeral and her remaining medical bills. Although she had insurance, we all know that isn’t going to cover everything.
I am offering homemade baked goods and free blogging and Twitter courses for the higher donors, but if you would like to donate any amount, or share the link, it would be greatly appreciated.
I know the next few months will be emotional, and that we all deal with loss in our own ways. I wish my mom peace, and I hope everyone that loved Cheryl finds comfort in the fact that she touched so many lives and that we are all better people because of her.
Life goes on, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.” -John Mellencamp, Jack and Diane
Every other Friday, I take an alternate route home from the office. It’s a few miles west of where I live, toward a place Texans call Hill Country. And it is beautiful. The road overlooks dozens of homes made of stucco, usually sitting under a colorful sunset.
If you’re new here, you should know that sunsets are one of my favorite things about living. Ever. But as I took my alternate route Friday, there was no sunset. This was probably partly due to the time change, and partly due to the thunderstorm rolling in, putting dark clouds over those tiled-roofs.
As disappointed as I was to have missed the sunset this time, it paired decently with my mood. Last week was ROUGH. The chances are likely, you probably saw that last week, I published a 5-part series based on my most-recent dating experience.
One thing about having a blog like The Bitter Lemon is that I get to write about the everyday happenings of my life, sometimes it’s simple things, like my alternate route home in order to swing by the laundromat. Other times, it’s a steamy, sexy story that ends in great disappointment.
But the other part of publishing real life stories is that, often, people react to those stories. And last week? People reacted in a way that I have never experienced. And while I have no interest in dragging out the drama any longer; I feel like it sort of can’t be ignored. This shit was crazy.
On Sunday night, before the blog series even published, I talked extensively about it to my mom. I always get a little nervous when things like this publish, because frankly, it’s embarrassing to tell the world that yes, I fell for an asshole once again, I slept with him, and I got sad about it.
However, I feel like that’s a way of coping for me. It’s a way to deal with what’s happened, and make some sort of sense of out my sadness. And so, the words I’d thought of for months, finally published on Monday around 1 am.
By 9:30 am, I already had a text message from the subject of these blog posts:
“Holly, I know your job is write and you’re great at it. And this may make things worse, but if your goal is to embarrass and cause problems for me with your articles, then it’s working, and I probably should’ve seen it coming based on how badly I hurt you. Anyone that reads your posts knows that’s me, based on the way that’s written you’re going to smash me on there. Please know my intent wasn’t to have it go the way it did. I know you don’t believe me, but it really wasn’t. It’s probably way too late, is there anything that can happen here for you to not just obliterate me? I clearly really hurt you and you’re definitely going to really hurt me with this series. I’m sorry (was before your post today and am now).”
Let’s unpack the facts here:
- My job is not to write; it’s my calling, my life’s mission, my way of life
- My goal was not to embarrass anyone or cause problems for anyone
- Not everyone that read my posts knew it was him
- Intentions lead to actions and actions lead to reactions
- Nothing can happen here, there, or anywhere
The interesting thing that’s important to note here, is that part 1 of the series says nothing negative about anyone. It’s simply background information about me, where I grew up, and how I met this person. So, he was shitting his pants before the party got started.
Secondly, a lot of the content of the posts talks about how much I LIKED this guy, talks about how hot I thought he was, how much I was attracted to him… am I that hideous of a person that having people know he hooked up with me is worth a Trumpertantrum? Please, child.
I did not reply to this text message because I didn’t want to open up that can of worms – this person is the type of person that will never take no for an answer.
About an hour later, he sent his PR team of 1 over to my Facebook inbox. It was a girl I went to high school with, and she told me she saw both sides of the story, but this guy was just SO upset, and she didn’t want to see anyone else get more hurt. And then she sprinkled in that he was thinking of suing me for defamation of character.
Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha. This post had been published for about 10 hours and I was already being threatened.
Let’s unpack the facts:
- This girl does not know me
- The blog post, or the situation, had nothing to do with her
- She didn’t know the end of the story
- Defamation of character is the legal term for harming someone’s reputation by making false statements
- The things I said actually happened; I know, because I lived them
So, then I really did get into it with the guy. I told him to stop having his PR team threaten me, and that our attorneys could talk if he really felt like that was the best way to end everything. He begged to talk to me so maybe we could work things out; he said ‘everyone’ knew it was him in the blog, and the fact that I said it was a “5-part series” really bothered him (still not understanding this).
I asked him what he was so afraid of and he said he was afraid his mom would see it (he’s 31, BTW). He also told me that “everyone” was taking it to heart and that what people think DOES matter (not to me). I stopped responding because I don’t like talking to idiots.
The next morning, part 2 was published around 1 am. By lunch, he’d already sent me another long ass text, and called my best friend at work to see if she could stop me (I’m so evil). His text read: “I know this won’t matter but I have heard from my boss today Holly. It got to both of them on social media. Both articles. Too many personal descriptive details to not know that you’re talking about me. I’m being asked to go into the administration offices when we return from break. Please don’t publish anymore this is putting my career in question. You said yesterday you just want it to be over. Please Holly, my boss said people have been let go over less. This is my whole livelihood here. Please don’t do this. My mom called crying today because of what someone at work said to her about me.”
Let’s unpack the facts:
- He’s right, he doesn’t matter
- He did not hear from his boss
- It did not get to his boss on social media
- Neither of the articles got to his boss
- Not everyone knew who I was talking about
- He is not a celebrity
- His mom did not call him crying
- No one at work said anything to his mom about him
This guy spent his entire day building on this story. He offered three times to show me the email his boss sent him, and backed down three times saying he had to respect the boss’ privacy. So, I looked up the boss’ email address and phone number, and told him there was no need for privacy. He still refused. I called him. He still refused. Finally, he agreed to show me the email, with the names covered.
Let’s unpack the facts:
- It was not a real email
- He wrote the email
- It was full of typos and misspellings
- The email address domains were incorrect
- It was in “edit” mode, within his “Work in progress” folder
- There was no signature
- He is full of shit
- He spent his spring break making up lies and crying
When posts 3 (password is drake), 4, and 5 were published, he said nothing. Because what other lie was he going to make up? Was he going to say that he was losing custody of his dog because of my blog? That he’d grown fatally ill because of it? It was truly the pity party of the century. It’s also really sad that someone that pathetic works in the education system.
Sure, I’ve gotten reactions from people pissed off about things I’ve written. The last guy I dated got an entire book written about him (How I Fell: Love, Lies, & Cocktails), and he told me my blog ruined his life. Really? Did my blog grow a body and walk itself to his place of business and put him at gunpoint to steal money from the register for three years before ultimately getting fired? Nope. No, it didn’t. Because if it, then I wouldn’t have to go to work everyday.
So, I’m pretty over people saying my blog does things that it, in fact, cannot do. My blog has not ruined anyone’s life. My blog did not make up a story about this guy and tell the world. He did things that he shouldn’t have, and those things were now being outlined for him to see. When he slept with me, and stopped talking to me, he knew it would be easy to never talk to me again. Until the truth was laid out, in black and white.
And in the end, nothing happened to him. He didn’t get in trouble. He didn’t have to answer to his mommy. He didn’t lose his job. And I’m fine with all of that. Because, it is not my responsibility to punish people for their wrongs. I believe the universe does a fine job of that on its own.
It’s one thing to learn that a guy you like is a douche. But it’s another thing to learn that he’s a complete psychopath and a pathological liar.
When I’m left to pick up the pieces of my relationship messes, I always try and figure out something I learned so it won’t be a complete waste of time. In all honesty, I keep learning the same lessons repeatedly, but I’ve learned a lot about red flags and gut instincts. If things seem off, they are, no matter how much glitter is clouding my view.
I learned more about just how complicated relationships can be. I learned that no matter how successful, smart, or nice someone seems – the truth eventually reveals itself. I also learned that not all women are interested in sticking up for other women. I later found out that the little PR team? She was the one responsible for suggesting he sue me. And while it was a stupid idea that never would have seen it’s day in court, it disgusts me that she jumped to his side without knowing what I went through. What if I was about to reveal in post #4 that he hit me? Sexually assaulted me? Disrespected me? And she’d rather have a dishonest prick on her side than that of a brave, honest woman.
Part of it is sad, and the other part? It’s so high school.
I left Indiana a few days later around 6 am. It was Eric’s birthday, and I’d left him a note on his nightstand wishing him a great day. I missed him already. I tried to text him between flights, but he wasn’t too talkative.
I looked up flight prices so I could get back to Indiana and see him soon; but my mention of that didn’t warrant a great response from him. I got home to my apartment, and was glad to see my kitty, but felt lonelier than ever.
The truth is, I’d played this game before. It was not the first time I’d gone to Indiana to see a boy, and it definitely wasn’t the first time I was getting the cold shoulder after having sex with a guy. It was actually becoming more common than not.
After a few days of it just being awkward with Eric, I made attempts to clear the air. I asked him if he felt different with our friendship.
“Of course I feel different,” he said. “But I’m trying to find a way to show you I’m interested without it being anything serious.”
I told him that we should just agree that it won’t be anything serious. We lived far apart, and he was getting over a divorce and I had just moved to a new city. But I did want to keep that door open, so maybe something could happen between us in the future.
Things between us seemed back to normal for a few days, but eventually they fell back into, what I call the “Ice Age”, where a guy is just icing me out. We went about a week without talking, and we hadn’t talked on the phone since before I made the trip.
I was upset, and having trouble thinking about anything else, so I finally texted him on a Friday night. He was in Chicago, so I felt like an idiot for bothering him, and vowed to just let him have his weekend with his friends.
But the next day, he texted me asking if we were going to start talking again or what was going on?
I tried to explain my side in the nicest way possible, and tell him that I felt like ever since I’d gotten back, he’d gone cold, and I didn’t know why or how that happened. Was I bad in bed? Did I say something offensive?
He explained that no, I was not bad in bed or offensive, it was just him, and he genuinely apologized. “I’ve never really been single and I’m just really bad at this,” he said. “I want to get back to normal.”
“Normal” to me meant we were back to texting each other often, but my text that night went with no reply. I was up until around 3, and still never heard from him. Even when I awoke the next morning around 9, still nothing. It wasn’t like him, and I started to panic.
“Eric, is everything okay?” I texted him.
He replied an hour or so later.
“Yeah, just trying to leave the city,” he said. “Was out until 7 am.”
And my gears were grinding. Out until 7 am, but he couldn’t text me? Okay. Takes two to tango here. I told him he was shady, but whatever, do what you please.
“hahahaha” he replied.
I didn’t understand what the fuck was so funny.
“So I don’t have to answer to you but I’m shady?” he said.
You got it, mother fucker. I didn’t know what his problem was. Was he trying to prove to me that yes, he was single, and he could do whatever he wanted? I didn’t appreciate him acting that way toward me. Was he trying to make me jealous of him? Of girls he was with?
I stopped replying to his texts and got on with my day. I wasn’t going to bother with that train I couldn’t control.
Later that night, he called me.
“Are you mad at me?” he asked.
“Nope,” I said. I was determined to stop caring. Easy breezy cool girl, right here.
“Okay, well you didn’t reply my text,” he said.
“Well, you never reply to mine,” I said. “I was busy.”
Oh, how the tables have turned. Pulling out the same lines he used on me. Our chat was over quickly.
You make me feel like I did you wrong.
What I now refer to as the “Chicago Conversation”, bothered me more than I can properly explain. The truth was, I really didn’t care if he was out with other girls, or hooked up. But I did care that he was trying to flaunt it in my face. He was trying to make me feel bad about myself, and that is a feeling I’ve felt from men for my entire life.
For the next week, I cried myself to sleep multiple times. I needed some resolve. I already know I’m bad about seeing the red flags and running from them; but I thought I picked a good guy this time. But that is what I thought every time. And every time, it ended like a Taylor Swift song.
I got to thinking about control and how it affects our dating lives. There were things we all tried to control in relationships – who has the power; who cares less or more – we were trying to control the uncontrollable.
As simple as this idea sounds, I finally got it: dating was out of my control. It didn’t matter how nice I was, how thin I was, how pretty I looked, how much beer I could guzzle, or how funny I was, a guy was going to either like me and treat me right, or he wasn’t.
This idea, alone, made me feel so much better. It took the pressure off. Okay, so it didn’t workout with Eric, handsome Eric who I thought had potential for something serious, but it was no big deal. He wasn’t the one for me. If he texted me, great, if not, great. Chalk it up to a fun weekend, and just be done with it.
But my new outlook didn’t bode well with Eric. I had finally stopped chasing him, and he noticed. About a week later, I heard a statistic on the radio that said the #1 reason men will dump a woman is because they don’t listen.
This shocked me, so I texted Eric, and asked him if it was true. He said it was.
“We’re selfish, so all we want is a girl who’s going to listen to everything we say and act like it’s the coolest thing ever,” he said.
While I agreed with him on the selfish front, I’d just assumed men were not concerned with whether a women listened or not.
But, what a man wants was no longer a concern of mine. I was without a care, I’d gotten a new haircut to reflect my carefree ways, and I was feeling good. I’d spent years listening to and being interested in every detail of men’s lives, and it had resulted in too many notches on the bedpost and a bitter attitude. Fuck it.
From that point forward, my interactions with Eric were so negative. It was just constant saltiness; like we were gearing up for our next go ‘round in the ring. It made me sad. I knew, and I know, that neither of us wanted to be the people we were being.
I was heading to Baton Rouge a week later, and Eric sent me a sharp text message about me being MIA. I was already kind of over the bickering.
“Are you mad at me?” I asked him.
He said no, but if that was true, what was with the attitude? I decided to just call him and hash this out. Let’s be adults. He ignored my call, and texted me that he was “at a bar. Can’t talk. What’s up?”
I wasn’t going to resolve this over text. I also wasn’t going to deal with these games. Fucking step outside the bar and answer the phone, asshole. But, I didn’t reply. I left my phone in my car, and was on with my weekend.
As the weekend came to a close, he was quick to tell me he was going back to Chicago. Riddle me this: why bring up something that is obviously a sensitive subject? We were back to ground zero, with him trying to prove to me he could do whatever he wanted, and he was going to, and then he would toss the used condom in my face.
And with that, I had to hang my white flag. I was not going to participate in negative energy any longer.
With that, I deleted him from all of my social media channels. And yes, I know this appears like a lame move on my part (he asked me if I was 12 years old, for doing this). But, it was creeping me out that we weren’t talking, yet he was watching my SnapChat feed. I was grasping at straws to try and gain some sense of control in a situation that had gone so wrong.
We went about three weeks without talking, when I reached out to him, and told him I’d been meaning to talk to him, but I just didn’t know what to say.
“I have no explanation for why things fell off,” he said. “They just did. It’s probably because I don’t know how to be single, and who knows if I’m ready for anything. All terrible reasons and I’m sorry if they affected you.”
While I did appreciate him trying to explain his side, and it was nice to know I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t like his backhanded apology.
Of course I was affected. I was heartbroken. I understood that he didn’t mean to hurt me on purpose, but that’s what happened and I felt like I deserved a real apology. When I told him this, the world pretty much blew up.
“I wish instead of sending me these messages and jumping to conclusions, you would call me and see what I’ve been going through lately. I had no intention of being this way to you and yes we did get close. I have pretty much cut off everyone, unfortunately, not just you.”
Please return tomorrow for the final installment of this five-part series, complete with red flag alerts and Drake lyrics.