It’s Taco Tuesday!!! …And also Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I kept forgetting that Valentine’s Day was coming around this year, which is one reason why I didn’t partake in my semi-tradition of making and mailing Valentine cards. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job, working out seven times a week, and watching lots of TV, per usual.
When I saw it on the calendar as I was planning my blog posts, I pondered for about two weeks on whether I should write something about this holiday or not. Why? Because I’ve written about it for the last ten years – why stop now?
Last year, I wrote about “How History Screwed Singletons“, but I also concluded that although I didn’t have a romantic partner, there were things – material things that I loved – so I also wrote about that. Want to know a little secret? Last year, I was totally, completely heart-broken.
In 2015, I wrote “Even Singletons Have Love“, because not all love has to come from a significant other (which is totally true). In 2014, I wrote “A History of Valentines” looking back at all the ways I’ve spent the holiday (really sad), and I also wrote a “Survival Guide: Single on Valentine’s Day“, because I know there have been some years I really just wanted to be in a black hole for 24 hours.
I’ve written a lot about the relationships of my past, and how my February 14ths ended up because of them – there have been years of complete content, some years have seen love, and others have seen me on my own living room floor, crying, and overeating chocolate cupcakes.
In 2013, though, it was a champion year in terms of Valentine’s Day, when I purchased a $6 heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s and enjoyed it, by myself, with a bottle of wine. You can read all about my philosophy that year in “The Heart [Pizza] of Matters“.
So, this year, I can truly say, I don’t even care. I have finally reached the pinnacle of my existence and am fresh out of fucks when it comes to men, dating, sex, and Valentine’s Day. I do believe this is actually what I’ve always wanted: to not be sad, not be wearing black, not be pretending to be happy and going out anyway, not be celebrating my singleness with wine and takeout… but instead to just be how I am every other single day.
Now could I go for a box of chocolate truffles or a heart-shaped pizza? Yes, because I’m on a hardcore diet and would eat juuuust about anything right now. But instead I will probably eat leftover vegan tacos I made this weekend (seriously delish, recipe here), and drink a sparkling water because YOLO.
On Saturday, I went to my local library for an event I’d marked on my calendar: A Romance Reader’s Social. I didn’t even link the fact that this was probably timed as a celebration of Valentine’s Day, until I arrived and saw all of the red and pink decor.
Nevertheless, I waited in line amongst retired women whom, I imaged to be of the sort that sat in well-worn recliners and read stacks of romance novels week after week.
Attendees were treated to cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies, several craft stations, and tables full of books and their authors available to sign copies. There was also an author’s panel where they discussed writing routines and answered questions from the audience.
I was alone, as I often am, and for possibly one of the first times, I didn’t feel awkward about it. I jumped into the crafts, and made a Valentine card using patterned washi tape, and I also colored a page from an adult coloring book that was of a scene from a romance novel – a hunky dude embracing his lady – and his shirt is ripped off. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s currently hanging on my fridge (you can get your own coloring book here, you know, for your next ladies’ night).
I don’t have a map of how I got to this point, but if I had to guess, it’d be the perfect balance of sleeping with men who don’t care about me, and as a result, learning to take charge of my life via a rewarding career and awesome hobbies. And, well, listening to lots of Drake.
Valentine’s Day is two days away, and I’m single, very single. I don’t even have a crush and I ALWAYS have a crush. I mean, I’ve still got John Mayer, so no worries there. So, what does a single girl LOVE on Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you what:
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I treated myself to the “starter kit” when I got a coupon for the Birchbox store. The face wash itself is kind of like Noxema (hello, 90’s!) in texture, but it gets off ALL my makeup. I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. So, the other part of this system is the muslin cloth you use to remove the cleanser: it’s gentle, but exfoliating so it really gets things clean. Try Birchbox to get exclusive Liz Earle products!
Origins Active Charcoal mask – I use a mask at every night. I am really trying to up my skincare regimen, and I love trying different things to see what works. My latest purchase is the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins. I get blackheads on my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows, and I use this at least once a week to (hopefully) dry up the suckers.
Green Chef meals – It’s been about two months since I signed up to have organic ingredients delivered right to my doorstep each week. I really love this service more than I expected! The ingredients are always fresh, the recipes are things I’ve never made before, and they are easy to make, but it still feels like I’m cooking. I rarely have to go to the grocery store, so it saves me time, and it even cuts back on my food costs since I’m not loading up my cart with unnecessary purchases. Want to try it? You can get 4 FREE meals using my code! I’d love you know what you think.
Ban.do Drink Sleeve – “Fries Before Guys” is my life motto. I love fries, and fuck it, I’m putting them first in my life, forever. Calories be dammed. The cool thing about Ban.do, is that aside from having all sorts of bad ass goodies, they also have free downloads on their website. So, I promptly downloaded a “Fries Before Guys” phone wallpaper, so I won’t get it twisted. Ever.
Amazon Prime – Who doesn’t love free two-day shipping? It makes me want to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon (and I probably have). But, I also enjoy watching free videos (such as seasons of The Newsroom), streaming music, and getting free Kindle books. It’s a pretty great deal, and another excuse for me to avoid public shopping situations. Are you sensing a trend here? Try Amazon Prime for 30 days, for FREE, and see how awesome it is!
ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – This crazy, cool lip balm adjusts to your unique pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect, just-for-you hue. It also contains mango seed butter to hydrate and protect lips. Another perk? It boasts a lovely minty scent. I like to keep this in my desk drawer at work, because I know I can slather it on before a meeting, and without a mirror, it looks perfect!
DW Home hand-poured candle in Sun Bleached Denim – “Fresh hints of brushed cotton with bright bergamot, zesty lemon, and herbaceous greens over silver sage leaf, earthy patchouli, and cool woody musk.” Holy hell. I don’t know why this is called “Sun Bleached Denim” because it smells like a fine ass man stepping out of a hot shower, and he can’t find his towel ANYWHERE, and I about fainted when I got a whiff of this thing in T.J. Maxx. Get this candle, like, now. It is everything fantasies are made of.
Dexter reruns – A few weeks ago, I discovered FM is airing old episodes of Dexter, in chronological order. Record series. Get popcorn. Binge. Drool. No second thoughts. Who doesn’t love a sexy Mr. Morgan battling crime in his unique code so we all can sleep at night? Count me in.
Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Funny name, but seriously awesome! Each scent uses the power of smell to hack away at your problems: from relationships to struggles at the office, just hit the shower with this stuff. I’m currently using “Liquid Freud“, which smells of mango and coconut, and aims at calming. Next? I’m getting “Bathing with Sharks” to boost confidence in the boardroom. The bonus? It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and is never tested on animals.
SkinnyGirl Popcorn – I have a love/hate relationship with popcorn, but when I saw SkinnyGirl popcorn at the grocery, I wanted to try it. I got the “Sea Salt and Lime” flavor, and it is unique and delish! The box is filled with mini bags, which are good for a low-calorie, delicious snack. I’ve seen ads for the “Rosemary and Olive Oil” flavor, but haven’t seen it in-store yet. I cannot wait to try that one!
…And there you have it; all of my lovely favorites right now, just in time for Heart’s Day. If you’re coupled and have something fantastic planned, hey, I’m happy for you. If you’re single, head up, and pop some bottles (See: my complete guide to bubbly). Me? I’ll be at dance rehearsal for a good chunk of the day. This year, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating strength, and being okay with my #CatLady life! See y’all right here on Monday! xoxo
You probably already know that Valentine’s Day comes from Saint Valentine. But, I need to know how a Saint caused such a giant mess for singletons each year.
I took it to Google.
An article I found on History.com says the Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine or Valentinus. There is a legend that one of the Valentines was in prison, and he sent the first “valentine” to his jailor’s daughter. He signed it, “From your Valentine,” and the phrase has stuck around ever since.
According to some, the celebratory day of Valentine corresponds with his date of death, but some say the timing has more to do with the start of birds’ mating season. Put that in your champagne and drink it.
Today, 1 billion Valentines are exchanged each year, making it the second-best day for the greeting card companies.
The history is interesting, but it doesn’t explain why singletons are left in the dark on this day of love. I’ll say this: when February rolls around, I never know how I should take it.
Some people, coupled or single, hate Valentine’s Day, and some people love it. And there are some people who don’t care about it at all.
I’ve noticed though, that there’s no right way for a singleton to acknowledge Valentine’s Day. If we hate it, then we’re seen as bitter; if we love it, then we’re stupid for celebrating a “fake” holiday. What gives?
I just started watching the HBO series “Newsroom” a few weeks ago (I know, I’m late to the game), and in the first season, Maggie instructs Jim to treat her roommate to a fantastic Valentine’s Day because every February 14 has been terrible for her.
Naturally, Jim gets caught up at work on the big day, and the roommate comes storming into the office, screaming about how another Valentine’s Day has ruined her life. I don’t think that’s how most single people act on Valentine’s Day, but I can’t speak for all of us.
However, I’d venture to say that actual Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the day. Most singletons don’t care about an over-priced bouquet of roses, a mushy card, or a themed dinner. I left out chocolate, because I do care, greatly, about chocolate.
It’s about not having a partner. Sure, we’ve got friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues, but we’re tackling the struggle on our own.
Some of the most joy I’ve gotten from a man came from simply having someone to talk to at the end of the day. Whether it’s sorting out the challenges, or laughing about the happy times, going it alone is a battle in itself.
And while every holiday has its “couple-y” aspect, a holiday such as Valentine’s Day just drives it right on home – that flashing billboard that says, “YOU’RE SINGLE.” Trust us, universe, we already know.
Don’t think we aren’t aware of the idyllic jewelry commercials, and the date nights just for couples. We see it.
It’s not like I just forget that I’m single. It’s pretty easy to remember when I go to bed alone, when I’ve got no special guy to call for great news or a bad day, no kissy-face emojis to start my morning, and worst of all, no one to snuggle with when I’m on the couch watching shitty TV.
No, I’m not moping around all day, every day, I’m just saying that single people don’t need a big, red and pink, hoopla of a holiday to make us feel better or worse.
To my fellow singletons, at the very least, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so no gawking over giant flower displays at work. However, beware of every half-decent restaurant on Saturday night. If you need me, I’ll be on my couch with champagne. The upside? I don’t have to share.
Welp, Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and hopefully by now, some of you have started to receive goodies from me to celebrate this holiday I’m really coming to loathe. But, we’ll talk about that more tomorrow.
Aside from the handmade cards, I also mailed out gifts, and for some, I mailed Valentine’s-themed tins of homemade snack mix! I love a good snack mix while I’m sitting at my desk sorting through Excel sheets, paired with a nice, crisp LaCroix.
While there are many delicious snack mixes out there, I knew it would be pretty easy to make my own, plus I could customize it to have all the things I like! So, here is what I threw into my Valentine’s Day mix:
- Macadamia nuts
- Honey roasted peanuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Wasabi peas
- Peanut butter pretzel nuggets
- Dried fruit: cranberries, golden raisins, cherries
- Annie’s Cheddar Squares
- Annie’s Sour Cream & Onion Bunnies
- Multigrain Cheerios Dark Chocolate Crunch
It’s a lot, I know! I got the almonds raw, so I roasted them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Everything else was roasted, salted, or sugared as it came, so I just left it as is. I mixed every ingredient in one at a time so I could make sure things were getting evenly dispersed.
I packed the mix in the tins lined with tissue paper and plastic wrap, and mailed them off. Of course, I saved some back for myself and I plan on shoveling some down the hatch while I watch Valentine’s Day movies on the Hallmark Channel this weekend.
If you get a Valentine’s Day card in the mail from me, I’d love for you to post a pic of it – perhaps a selfie, if you’re so daring! Let’s share the love, y’all, or at least just fake it until we make it.
In other news, did anyone watch the premier The People vs. OJ Simpson last week? I definitely did and it’s RIVETING. I cannot wait to catch the second episode tonight (10pm/9pmC on FX)!
The show stars John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian.
Now, I was really young when all of this went down, but I vividly recall watching CNN with my dad as the Bronco chase happened. It’s probably one of my first memories of watching CNN, which is special to me.
I knew it was a big deal, but of course I was too young to realize just HOW big of a deal it was. So, a few years ago, I read, “Evidence Dismissed: The Inside Story of the Police Investigation of O.J. Simpson” by Tom Lange, Philip Vannatter, and Dan E. Moldea (the detectives on the case).
The story begins when the detectives get the 4 a.m. phone call that there’s been a double murder at, what they think, is the home of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown. At the time, detectives had not identified the dead male as Ronald Goldman.
The work of the murderer seemed sloppy—blood everywhere, after Brown was nearly decapitated. However, the murder weapon (from wounds appeared to be a large knife) was never found. Detectives headed to the home of Simpson to tell him the news, but when they arrived at his estate, the case thickened.
Detectives immediately noticed a white Bronco parked oddly, straight off the street as if it was parked in a hurry. They buzzed to get inside the gates, but no one answered. They then wondered if there was trouble inside the home. After several attempts to get inside, detectives jumped the gates—a move that would later ruin their case.
Once inside the gates, they met Brian “Kato” Kaelin, who offered part of Simpson’s alibi: he went to his daughter’s dance recital, then accompanied Kato to McDonald’s. After McDonald’s however, Kato said he didn’t see Simspon but he heard three loud thumps outside, but he saw nothing.
Simpson said he was asleep during the time of the murders, but later, his attorney Johnnie Cochran said O.J. was inside packing for his flight to Chicago and was later hitting golf balls outside, which accounted for the three thumps Kato heard.
Although the prosecutors had no murder weapon or witnesses, they thought they’d win the case on blood evidence alone. The bloody footprints at the crime scene didn’t rule out Simpson as a match. Matches were found in blood splatter on Brown’s gates. A match with Goldman’s blood was also found on a glove at at Simspon’s home — enter the gloves.
At the crime scene, one dark leather glove fit for a male was found. Its match was found at Simspon’s home, along with blood inside and outside the Bronco. Both gloves had DNA evidence, linking Simpson to the crime scene, including strands of Brown’s blond hair. At the trial, Simpson was asked to try on the gloves, which were too tight a fit after being soaked in blood, tested, frozen, and thawed several times.
Other evidence from the prosecutors included : DNA blood matches for Brown on a sock at Simpson’s home, Simpson’s hair found on Goldman’s shirt, previous records of abuse from Simpson, reported to police by Brown. All signs pointed to yes…except two: 1. the issue of race and 2. media coverage.
During a cross-examination, detective Mark Fuhrman denied being a racist or using the n-word in prior years. However, the defense unleashed a tape of Fuhrman using the word more than 40 times in a interview he did about female police officers. While everyone was shocked, including the other detectives, it certainly didn’t help the case, which had a more than half black jury.
From there, the case wasn’t about Simpson anymore. It wasn’t about the murders. It became about proving that the detectives were racist and they planned the entire thing—from sprinkled blood to faulty police work. In closing arguments, Cochran compared Fuhrman to Hitler and also pointed out the detectives lived in the same area of Los Angeles where the Rodney King incident occurred.
From day one, this case has been the most popular case in history. While reading this book, I’ve heard stories from my co-workers saying they watched the entire case unfold, or school stopped and the verdict was announced over intercoms. The popular news made finding witnesses difficult. Many locals stepped forward to say they had a story, they saw something, but most of the time they had just been paid off from a tabloid.
When the verdict was announced, that the jury found Simpson not guilty, the nation was racially split. While he walked as an innocent man for awhile, today he is in jail for armed robbery and kidnapping.
The first episode of “The People vs. OJ Simpson” ended right before the Bronco chase is about to start – so, it’s about to GO DOWN tonight! I realize I’m getting way too excited about a TV show, but for now, this is my life, folks.
Last week, I was under the weather. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been sick; I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been really good about taking my vitamins, eating healthy, getting rest, and using my essential oils.
But, lots of people in my office have been sick, so despite all of my efforts (and slathering my body with antibacterial gel), I got sick and was out-of-commission, no matter if I wanted to admit it or not.
By the time Thursday rolled around, my sick coworkers were all, “Oh, you just have to get through one more day!” But… I use my weekends to get SHIT DONE! I didn’t necessarily hope to be chained to my couch for days (even though that’s what I usually do while writing blogs and editing freelance work).
Either way, I woke up Saturday morning feeling stuffy and exhausted. Luckily, I’d equipped my apartment with cold supplies (did you know there’s such a thing as Kleenex with Vicks?!), and after a few hours on the couch under my electric blanket, I was feeling much better.
And thankfully so, because I knew it was my only chance to craft up some cute Valentines for you guys! I got out all my supplies – some leftover from last year’s batch, and lots of new fun stuff.
After 5 or 6 hours of crafting, and watching rom-coms, including Sleepless in Seattle, Paper Towns, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Longest Ride, I had crafted about 30 Valentines. I’m really proud of this batch, if I do say so myself! I cannot wait to send them to you guys!
Sunday, I was feeling much better, and was ready to venture out of the apartment (I’m suuuuch a recluse). I went shopping for books, a new moisturizer, and other Valentine’s goodies for care packages I’ll be putting together in the coming weeks. I also changed my turn signal and washed my car, inside and out. Like I said, I get shit D O N E on the weekends.
I know all of this Valentine’s hoopla probably makes it seem like I’m obsessed with the holiday. Truthfully, I’ve hated it for years. But, I’ve been a relationship writer for 10 years. Each year, when February rolls around – and each time I’m single – I wonder how to approach it.
There’s been years I’ve tried to ignore it; years when I’ve tried to just be cool about it; times when my girlfriends and I have worn all black and drank ourselves stupid; and times when I’ve been really, really sad over it. But the honest truth is, none of that makes me feel any different about the holiday.
And now, I just feel like the only thing to do is embrace it and celebrate the love I do have in my life. It is not romantic love, but it’s still meaningful and it makes me smile. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know that everyone – single or not – could probably use a little more love every now and then. So, that’s why I’m sending the cards and care packages.
I love you all, and I cannot wait for you to see tomorrow’s post!
It’s FRIDAY! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week, so it’s been a struggle to keep up with work, dance, and well, all the other writing shenanigans I’ve got up my sleeve, but I freaking made it!
Monday night was the first OFFICIAL dance practice for my performance at the end of next month, and our group (the Video Vixens) were informed that we’re dancing to two songs, and one of the songs is a remix of Ludacris’ “Get Low”. Umm, YAS!
Despite feeling like absolute shit, I banged out a pretty good practice and am looking forward to learning another section of the dance next week. This week, I also discovered FM is replaying episodes of Dexter, so why not re-watch them all? Nothing cheers a girl up like seeing her favorite serial killer analyze blood spatter.
I cooked (and ate) all of my meals from Green Chef this week, and I’m looking forward to today’s delivery, which includes ingredients for Greek flatbread. Green Chef clearly knows the way to my heart!
And of course, there’s today’s scent profile: My Burberry! I’ve been wearing it all week; frankly, it’s my favorite kind of research, and I absolutely LOVE this one!
According to Sephora.com:
Inspired by the trench coat and its heritage of British design and craftsmanship, My Burberry captures the fragrance of a London garden after the rain. The scent is a contemporary British grand floral and features a delicate heart of rose woven with an unexpected touch of geranium leaf.
Notes: Sweet Pea, Bergamot, Geranium, Golden Quince, Freesia, Patchouli, Rain-Tipped Damask and Centifolia Roses.
Style: Effortless. Personal. Timeless.
Notice the mix of the masculine (Patchouli and Bergamot) with feminine (Freesia and Roses) – this is my favorite kind of mix, especially when it comes to fashion and style. Leave it to Burberry!
What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’m hoping to get well, while continuing my adventures at the Laundromat. I will probably go on a food truck adventure, and I’m definitely planning on crafting some of my famous homemade Valentine’s Day cards – if you want me to mail you one, PLEASE send me your address to email@example.com – I already have a decent list going, but I would love to add you to it! Catch all the crafting on my SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – see you there!
I don’t know about you, but I’m just glad last week is OVER. That first week back to reality after a vacation was rough (and I only had a 3-day week!).
After spending such a great time with my friends in Indiana over New Year’s, I was really feeling in the dumps last week. I was feeling homesick for Indiana and Louisiana all at once, and truthfully, I just wanted to curl up under my electric blanket and sleep for days (which is kind of what I did this weekend).
I will admit, though, that I was happy and relieved to see Blanche waiting for me when I returned to Austin. It was the longest I’ve left her home alone and not only did I miss her, but I was worried. She was fine, and happy to see me. She’s been by my side this entire week (if you’re following me on SnapChat, you’ve probably seen some funny ones featuring my fuzzy sidekick).
Although I was in the dumps, I’ve got my New Year’s goals fresh on the brain, and I think I did a good job of getting right to it! On Wednesday, I faced my fears and went back to dance class. I hadn’t been since my car was broken into, but I’m committed to a monthly membership, and let’s face it: dancing makes me happy and burns calories. I need it.
So, I went to two classes last week (Wednesday and Saturday) and we danced to TWO Justin Bieber songs. I loved every second of it. I’m looking forward to going back for more this week.
I also heard from two friends this week who want to meet up soon in Austin. I’m really excited to do a little exploring with some people I haven’t talked to in awhile. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how long I’ll be a Texan, but I want to give it a fair chance, and at least do some fun things while I’m here.
As for my goal to pay off debt, I took on a few small freelance jobs that I completed over the weekend and sent the funds DIRECTLY to my credit cards that I’m trying to pay off. Even though it was a small dent, it felt good to throw in an extra payment without even touching my checking account.
While I did sit behind my computer for a majority of the weekend (I also had my TV on and made a massive dent in my DVR recordings), I took a little bit of time for myself and indulged in some at-home facial treatments (this is my latest favorite face mask) and I even painted my nails with my first Essie polish (in “Cocktail Bling”).
One of my friends and I get each other small gifts for New Year’s Eve instead of for Christmas, and she got me an Essie box that has 4 mini bottles in it. She also got me an E.L.F lip kit with five colors, and you’re going to hear about it all year long, because it’s fantastic!
I also did a little grocery shopping (not much, because my first shipment from Green Chef comes this week), laundry, and watched a few episodes of Newsroom (no spoilers, I’m only on season one). I indulged in a large order of spicy chicken ramen (even added the pickled veggies) and a bottle of bordeaux – what can I say, it’s in the 30’s in Texas!
Sure, I was productive, but I’m really admiring people who travel for a living. It takes a lot out of a person, living from a suitcase sucks, and I feel like it’s taking me awhile to get back into the swing of things. I’m sure this week will be better – but I’m already eyeing my next few trips: Louisiana and Floribama are on the horizon!
And, before I forget, we’re like a month away from the most depressing holiday ever (read: Valentine’s Day). I’m totally planning on sending out a slew of homemade Valentine’s again this year to spread some love, so if you’re reading this (yes, YOU) and would like a Valentine (or know someone who would), please send me your address! You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org – seriously, no shame! I want to send as many as possible. You can check out last year’s Valentine’s by checking out the post here. See y’all tomorrow!
When I think of a Valentine, I think of a nice dinner, wine, maybe even a box of chocolates. And, when I put it that way, I can quickly tell you that I’ve never had a Valentine.
But when I stop being so goddamn bitter, I know that’s not the entire truth.
As a child, Valentine’s Day was a great excuse to host a classroom party that involved “mailboxes” crafted from white paper bags, Valentine-card collections that came in sets of 24, and sugar cookies with pink icing.
Now, that’s a party.
At one of these parties, I received my first special Valentine from a boy named Dustin. It was a small, white teddy bear, decorated with shiny red hearts on his paws. I was embarrassed.
In the years following—call it Karma—I didn’t get any special Valentines.
Exactly four years ago, I had a serious boyfriend for the first time during Valentine’s Day. The holiday coincided with Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, where he lived. I hoped that we could order a (heart-shaped) pizza, get some beer, and see the parades that weekend.
The thought of getting some solid hours with my man was better than any fancy dinner I could dream up. I packed an overnight bag and I baked a batch of red velvet cupcakes to bring along.
But he never called.
And so, I sat on my living room floor that Friday night, watching the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. I shoved one cupcake down my throat at a time, feeling the cream cheese frosting on my tongue, as tears rolled down my cheeks.
Actual Valentine’s Day that year fell on a Sunday. On that day, I found myself in the mechanic section of Walmart, buying new tires for my Explorer. As I waited, I watched men pass me, carrying red gift bags.
“I don’t know why I did that to you,” my boyfriend told me later.
The following year, we were still together. After the previous disaster, I didn’t even want to mention Valentine’s Day. But that night, we sat side by side on the back steps of his home.
We drank red wine from an oversized bottle until I thought it was a good idea to try and climb the privacy fence in order to check out his neighbor’s sugar kettle. I wasn’t successful.
When I woke up next to my then-boyfriend (my then-love), I remembered something that I had in my purse: chocolate covered fortune cookies. I retrieved them, and we ate them in bed before he made us a proper breakfast of cinnamon raisin toast—a favorite.
It was, and still remains to be, a set of hours I hold dear.
The following year, I only had one man in my life: John Mayer. He was oh-so-kind-and sent me a vase of beautiful flowers right to my office.
And last year, my mom sent me flowers, along with all kinds of chocolate goodies. I treated myself to the heart-shaped pizza that I never got. I also took myself to go see a movie.
All of those decisions were great, except for the one I made when I texted D—the text message that started our entire (horrible) relationship.
It’s really hard for me to understand that it’s been a year since all of that began. But at the same time, I can’t help but really think about the headspace I was in a year ago.
What a difference it is.
And this Valentine’s Day? While I do not have a traditional Valentine in my life, I know there is love.
And for the first time, at least in a long time, I feel like things are good.
The shitty thing about being single on Valentine’s Day, is that you’re supposed to have an opinion about Valentine’s Day.
So here’s mine: Screw. You.
I’m reminded every day that I’m single, you know, when I wakeup alone, when my phone never gets any text messages, and when I realize that I’m not annoyed 24/7—yep, I’m single!
I actually enjoy being single, especially lately, however this holiday that is so exclusive, makes me feel like I’m without.
And so, that survival guide…
- Avoid scenes like this:
Oh, did I just make it worse? It’s never fun to do your regular grocery shopping and find yourself lost in what I like to call, “The Aisle of Red.” Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but unless you’re planning on buying yourself a pound of heart-shaped chocolates, I suggest you order takeout until February 15.
- Steer clear of all things red. Either you’re in or you’re out when it comes to Valentine’s Day. So, either avoid everything associated with the holiday…
- Or…get obsessed with it. If you can handle sitting amongst the couples this Friday, whether it’s at a restaurant or a movie, go for it. Throw on a hot pink shirt and go out like you mean it. Or stay inside and sleep until this awful holiday is past us.
- Do you. Ultimately, I try not to say things like “Do You,” because aren’t we always doing that? But, I’ve found that on a day like February 14th, it’s best to do whatever you want. Want to wear all black with your middle finger up? Do you. Want to bake pink cupcakes for your coworkers and wear an entirely red outfit? Do you.
Last year was the first year I really abided by that last rule. I ordered myself a pizza, lit my digital fireplace, had some wine, and relaxed. And it was definitely the best Valentine’s Day I’d had in awhile.
So, take this Valentine’s Day as a chance to remind yourself just how awesome you are—you don’t need to be in a relationship to recognize that fact. Besides, if you WERE in a relationship, you’d probably get something dumb, like:
For what it’s worth, happy Valentine’s Day!
I was in first grade, and a boy in my class, named Dustin, gave me a small, white teddy bear with a red bow tied around his neck. At 6 years old, this was a lavish gift among the ritual of passing out store-bought cards with flat suckers.
I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what it meant. I certainly didn’t want Dustin to be my boyfriend (whatever that means in first grade).
I can remember Valentine’s Days at school in the years after, carefully choosing cards for each classmate, making sure none of them were too flirty. Didn’t want to risk someone thinking the pre-made cards were from my heart.
As I got older, Valentine’s Day had some weight to it.
In college, I told my fellow students to take Valentine’s Day like a man, in the inches of my weekly relationship column:
“It is the lonesome man who looks above this dreaded day and treats it just like any other. He doesn’t wear black, cry, eat chocolate or hate himself.”
I tried to take my own advice, and joined some girlfriends at a martini bar. I remember wearing a silky shirt that was printed with green and blue hearts.
That night, I watched as the bartender poured a long row of Patron shots. Little did I know that the very bartender would be in my life years later, and we too, would share a few Valentine’s Days.
But before that could happen, I was on the tail of a bad relationship. It was a constant back and forth that wasn’t healthy. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I got stood up, and finally I was free.
And then, I fell in love with that bartender. While there were good times, the bad weighed heavier. For Valentine’s Day, all I wanted was to see him. I fantasized about it—I wanted to order one of those “Heart Baker” pizzas from Papa Murphy’s, sip on beer, and sit with my guy.
But he didn’t want that.
Instead of pizza and beer, I sat alone that night, eating the red velvet cupcakes I baked for him.
It wasn’t one of my prouder moments.
Truthfully, I’ve never tried to put too much pressure on February 14. I know it’s a bit of a silly holiday; I want a relationship where we constantly show our love for each other, not just one day.
But terrible Heart’s Days aside, this year I really wanted to give myself a break. My stock on bad dates is currently up, and I needed a little cheering up. So I looked back on the 2-14s of my past.
I never did get that pizza.
So, I drove across the street to Papa Murphy’s, marched in a told the gentleman I wanted “the heart pizza.” A mere $6.30 later, I drove home with a fresh pepperoni pizza, shaped like a heart.
Because I deserve it…along with a bottle of wine.
My journey to the heart (pizza) hasn’t been an easy one, and it’s certainly not over, but every now and then I need a reminder that the journey (and the pizza) is all mine.
I was excited this morning when I heard a sweet story on the news: the story of Mrs. Bieber.
Mrs. Bieber, or Avalanna, is a 6-year-old who is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. She is a huge Justin Bieber fan, so much so, she had a fake wedding to him. When the Biebs heard this, he surprised her yesterday with autographs and kisses!