A Reflective New Year’s Eve

I realize, as I sit here about to begin my celebration to ring in 2011, that the past ten years have been on of the heaviest of my life.

New Year’s Eve 2000 was spent with my family, as I was only…in my early teens..and starting high school.  I look back, and little blondie was so ill prepare for the next ten years to pass.  So many life changing events have happened in the past 10 years that I worry the next ten have no chance to compare.

In ten years I have:

*Gotten a drivers license (despite much protest).  I didn’t want to drive, and avoided it as much as possible, but eventually I learned.  And now, ten years later, I drive like it’s nothing.

*I had my first kiss, first date, first boyfriend.  Ahh, it was probably a simpler time before all that mess, too, but in the past ten years  I have fallen in love and have changed so much.  At the beginning of the decade, I predicted that I’d never have a boyfriend, much less have one that I eventually lived with.

*I happily graduated high school

*I reluctantly graduated from college and moved on to ‘the real world’

* I moved in (and out) to my boyfriend’s apartment.  I went from “will I ever be noticed?” to a long-term, eight year relationship.

*Not only did I have sex for the first time in this decade, I had my first affair.  A serious affair.  An affair that changed the course of my life.

*I also lost.  Lost my aunt, lost 100 pounds.  I learned that losing isn’t painful forever, just at first.  I miss my aunt.  I don’t miss my 100 pounds.

I guess what overwhelms me about the past ten years is that I couldn’t have predicted any of these things at the beginning of the decade.  And then as things started to happen, I couldn’t have even predicted their endings.  Eight years is 4/5 of a decade, nearly the entire thing…and the one thing that defined this decade?  It’s gone.

I know, I know.  It’s a good thing.  A really good thing, most days.  But reflecting on the amount of growing I did in this decade makes me question whether I have another 10 years like that inside of me.  Will this decade be as life shattering, self-defining? It’s overwhelming.

But it’s also exciting to know that as I sit here, in ten years time, probably nothing will be the same.  Some good things some bad things.  But it’s going to be different.  And I’m okay with that.

Tonight I plan to have some fun. I am not sorry to see 2010 go, as I have been of other years in the past..in fact, in 2008 I slept through the new year and when someone called to me that it was 2009 all I said was “FINALLY.” and went back to sleep.  But this year, I’m excited for 2011, but will miss 2010.

Be safe everyone.  Good luck in these next ten years.  Nothing will ever be the way it is today!


Vacation–Tha Illest

Greetings.  I should have posted this soooner, but I am taking a brief vacation from blogging this week.  I am on a paid vacation from work, but the true reason for my vacatiob is that I am ill.  SUPER ill.  The worst bug I’ve had in a while.

But I have a giant post planned for Friday, so let’s call that the date of my triumphant return!

See you then, lovies. 

xoxo The Blonde.

Annoying Shit (Potential) Couples Do

Antique Tricycle (Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velora...
With some courage, one of these wheels isn't necessary.

Who knew this would be a recurring post?

Add this to the long list of things couples do that are ANNOYING:  using you as a third-wheel in the early hang out stages.

If there’s one thing I hate more than being an unwanted third wheel, it’s being a wanted third wheel.

I know, I know.  You’re saying to yourself “How can someone want a third-wheel?” but it actually happens!  Maybe this isn’t annoying shit couples do, it’s more like “annoying shit that potential-couples do”.

Do you ever have friends or know two people who want to date but are nervous about it?  And maybe you’re a mutual friend…or maybe just a friend of one of the two potential matches.  Suddenly you’re invited along on random bar crawls and dinner outings or movie viewings just in order to make it seem less like a date and more comfortable for them?  It sort of justifies them hanging out, after all, when a third person is depending on you to go somewhere you can’t beg off!

It’s annoying, to have to sit there, watch them flirt but realize that they’re both so full of shit that they can’t have a real date.  So the third person feels awkward.  Awkward that they’re a third wheel, awkward that they were the catalyst for this little excursion.  Awkward that they’re not at all necessary, but you seem to think they are.

And then, if the non-date date goes well, you become totally irrelevant.  Obsolete.  So you either sit in boredom, or you try to leave and they feel guilty.  The worst of the worst is when they want to continue this date because it’s going well…but aren’t quite sure what to do with the third-wheel.  You’ve gone from wanted to unwanted in the matter of a few hours.  And there is no graceful way to bow out of that one.  Ughhhh.

I’ve used this third-wheel action before, taking advantage of a friend who knew us both so it wouldn’t be terrible.  So, I totally want to take this time to apologize to my good friends who I did this to before I understood fully.  I was young and stupid, and I’m sorry! I don’t ever want to be a part of annoying shit couples, or potential couples, do. And in the end, it should have been a warning sign that we weren’t mature or comfortable enough to hang one-on-one.

And to the tricycles of the world–take off the training wheel and date already!

And me slowly walking down the aisle

Wedding Photography

I was all dressed up in a gorgeous white dress.  It was strapless, but fit well.  I wondered to myself why I had settled for a strapless dress when, my whole life, I hadn’t ever envisioned a strapless dress for myself. The crinoline crinkled as I shuffled back and forth across the floor.   I felt my hair lightly with my hands and noted that it was up, curly, and sprayed with enough Aquanet for a rainstorm.  Suddenly I remembered that I had much to do, and rushed toward a reception hall, fully clothed for a wedding, carrying too many bags that were full of things I didn’t recognize.

I slammed the bags down and started decorating the table, but nothing was looking right.  Everything seemed yellow, butter yellow, and beautiful. Again, I questioned myself with the butter yellow color-choice, but didn’t think too hard because it was better than I could have planned. Butter yellow? I hate yellow.  But this was pretty..

The weather outside the window looked unseasonably warm.  The thought of walking down the aisle brought a tear to my eye.  As I was rushing to decorate the table, my uncle and my father appeared, and I knew that it was time.  I slipped my arm through each of theirs and the last thing I remember is smiling one huge smile.

And then, early this morning, I woke up on the couch.

To date, this is the most vivid wedding dream I have ever had.  I don’t recall who I was marrying or where it was happening. There was a peaceful feeling about the dream…there was a calm and beauty despite the rush.  And the only thing I’m concerned about today is the fact that two nights ago, I dreamed that The Boyfriend was marrying his current girlfriend. Two wedding dreams in two nights.  Vivid wedding dreams.

Something must be happening that is causing me to subconsciously prepare for a wedding.  I’m guessing it’s not my own, though.  I think my subconscious is preparing for the fact that The Boyfriend may get engaged during this engagement season that is upon us.

The good news is that I handled the news fairly well in dreamland.  And the idea isn’t making me hyperventilate as I sit here typing it out to the great internet unknown.  And maybe I dreamed of my own wedding so vividly last night to remind myself that…it’ll happen for me, too.  Maybe not as fast.  But it will happen.

Who am I kidding though? The day that it happens, expect a giant post here.  And there’s no guarantee that it’s this year.  It’s just a possibility.  A real possibility.  One that even my subconscious wants me to be aware of.

Here Comes Santa Claus

‘Tis the season of awkward gift giving.  I’ll confess something…I’m a terrible gift-giver.  I don’t know what it is, but I tend to wait until the last-minute, but something you clearly stated that you wanted recently, and then I’m done with it.  But I admire the art of thoughtful gift giving.  Gifts that are classy, given with thought, and just have that je n’est ce pas….they make me gaga!

One of the hardest things to do is buy a gift for someone you’ve only recently started dating.  So I decided this year to pretend for just a moment that I’ve been dating someone for six months and have to buy them a Christmas present?  What would I buy? And I also asked my friend Micah from Heels and Hiking Boots to contribute a part on what to buy for the ladies..so without further ado I’d like to present a list of “OH MY GOD THERE’S LESS THAN A WEEK LEFT TIL CHRISTMAS” ideas for gift-giving to significant others 😉

For Him:

1.  The Art of Shaving starter kit on www.theartofshaving.com for $25.  I like this kit because it’s relatively inexpensive, but very nice.  What’s better than a finely groomed man?  The kit comes with oil, lather, a brush, and aftershave as well as a $25 off coupon for the full-sized kit, should your guy decide to master the art of shaving!

2.  Collection of every issue of National Geographic since 1888 for $45 available at Amazon.com  I think this is a neat gift, and it’s something your S.O. probably wouldn’t think to buy for themselves.  1,400 issues, 8,000+ articles.  There’s a subject for everyone, and at that price, it’s actually less than a yearly subscription to a magazine in most cases.  I’m actually dying to get my hands on this myself, imagine reading Nat. Geo from the 1800s…

3.  Ice bucket and high ball glasses from Tervis.com (prices vary). A bar set is a classic gift, and I think buying a set from Tervis is actually a great idea because you can personalize both the ice bucket and the high ball glasses with nearly anything you’d like.  Sports teams including NFL, MLB, and most colleges are included as well as other designs like John Deere logos, Coca Cola logos, etc.  But my favorite feature of all on Tervis.com is that you can monogram the bucket and glasses with letters, names, etc.  A great personalized gift that is also very functional!

4.  Unique cufflinks I find cuff-links to be one of the only things in mens fashion that I find appropriate to be a little ‘silly’ with.  Ties can look so cheesy, but a unique pair of cuff-links can really be a conversation starter and a nice little remind of who bought them for you.  This website varies in prices, but most are under $50 and of course they have a huge variety.  My personal favorites, though, are the Beatles collection that include the HELP! album cover and, of course, Abbey Road. If your guy is a ‘techie’ more than a music lover, they have a cute set of ‘usb’ style cuff-links too! Very, very cool.

5.  Dirty Jokes Every Man Should Know a humorous book full of dirty jokes, only for the good sports out there! It’s relatively inexpensive and I think I’d give this to someone I’m friends with, not someone I’m serious with (unless I paired it with something else that is nice!).  Anyway, I think this book is hilarious…but I’m special like that.

So that takes care of the men.  But what about buying for a woman? Well, since I’ve only dated men…here comes Micah’s piece on buying for a girlfriend!

Anyways, I have been currently dating a girl for almost three months now.  We’re not “boyfriend and girlfriend,” but we may be on our way. What’s going through my mind regarding Christmas is to  get her a gift that says “I think you’re an incredible person, enjoy sharing life with you, and find you cute”  No more, no less.  I don’t want something too romantic or too plutonic.

If you want to buy a great Christmas present for your “we’ve recently begun dating” lady, you have to pay attention.  Girls drop gift hints all the time and you can pick them up if you’re diligent in paying attention to her and what she says. Guys, think really hard back to when you first started dating your girl.  If you can get her a gift from something she mentioned months ago, the extra thought will go a long way and she’ll really appreciate it.

It’s not so much about what exact gift you get her, but really about how it fits into her story as a person.  Personally, I prefer to give experiential gifts.  I think most people dating in their twenties who have a job and can likely afford to buy something they want so they just go an get it.  With an experiential gift, its something that adds to the person’s life story.   It’s not something that sits on a shelf that can be forgotten or sold on Craigslist when you move.

So, here are a few ideas I have on how to find that great gift.

1. Perfume.  Your lady has a particular smell (hopefully its a good one).  That smell got there intentionally.  You should know what she likes to wear and what she’d liked to wear.  Buy her a small bottle of something she’s been wanting to try.  If she ends up not liking it, well, it’s just a small bottle.  If you end up not dating anymore, well, it’s just a small bottle! (and she’ll likely give to a friend).

2. Music.   What does she listen to when you’re in the car?  What do you hear in the background when you’re on the phone with her?  Ask her who she listens to and why.  It’ll be a great conversation and you’ll end up getting lots of hints for a great Christmas gift.

3. A hobby item.  Does you’re girl paint, crochet, cook, hike, or take pictures?  Get her something to support her hobby.  Who knows, she might use what you give her to make something for you in return.

4.  Tickets to a smaller event. I’m talking like a small, intimate acoustic show at a local theater or something like a small local art gallery.  Going to a big concert is fun, but not really an event where you can chat and get to know each other better.

5.  The last resort gift.  If all else fails, I’ve been told by several reliable sources that if you walk into any Bath & Body Works store with a blindfold on, fumble your way to a random aisle, and then reach out and grab something, you can’t lose!

Well gentlemen, good luck and Merry Christmas.

So, there you have it folks.  A concise list of gift giving ideas.  Is there something we’re missing? Something we’re wrong about? Feel free to leave other ideas in the comments and maybe we can help each other out!

Season’s Greetings from The Blonde! xoxo (And Micah!)

11 Things I Don’t Need So I Can Breathe


December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life

Ugh.  I am no good with clutter.  I collect junk, hold on to it, for reasons unknown.  I watch a lot of Hoarders and Buried Alive tv shows, so it’s nothing like that at all..it’s just that I do have clutter that I am reluctant to get rid of.  And I’m just starting to recognize that it’s not just tangible junk that I keep, it’s the intangibles up here in my (beautiful, blonde) head.  And it’s probably impacting my dating life and quest for dating in a negative way when I keep tossing these things around. So, I’m going to try my best to come up with 11 things.  I’m making no promises, though.

1.  The Boyfriend and The Friend Stories–I flat-out just need to make it a resolution to stop saying their names in 2011 unless it’s relevant blog material.  My personal life is peppered with stories about The Boyfriend and The Friend. For a while, I was okay with that because they were a part of my life and part of my experience and it’s what I had to share.  But by now, surely I’ve done and seen a lot more and can bring more to the table than what happened way back when–even though the stories I tell are always humorous and never serious! I need less of that in my life in general to make my dating life better. This is all part of letting go and moving on and getting something new!

2. Guilt–guilt over what happened, what I did, and what people think of me.  I sometimes still get hung up on the idea that there are probably 3 people out there that thing I am just the worst person ever. So what? If I could turn back time (and suddenly turn into Cher!) I wouldn’t change a thing.  Who I am is who I want to be.  So, when I think of the guilt or the other person, I want to send them love and light and wish them the best and then drop it.

3. Feeling behind–I’m tired of feeling like I am lightyears behind my friends.  It’s easy to stalk Facebook sometimes and get the sense that I’m doing nothing because I’m not doing exactly what others I know are doing.  It’s hard to look at engagement updates, wedding photos, and birth announcements and not feel like I am missing out on something.  But it’s time for me to quit comparing my personal life to other’s and start living in the moment. And all the rest of that will come out in the wash.

4.  Doubt–My dating life needs an injection of faith, and with that, an elimination of doubt.  I hope to quit doubting that I am enough for someone, that I can meet someone, that I am a wonderful catch.  I’m good enough, I’m blonde enough, and gosh-darn-it..PEOPLE LIKE ME! There is a lid for every pot, including this blonde.

5.  Quitting–I keep starting these books and stopping halfway through.  I need to read the books about dating I bought and work through them.  I also need to put more effort in to my online dating profiles and actually contact some people I am interested in.  I want to eliminate the quitting in my dating life!

6.  Boy-clutter–While we’re on the subject of clutter, I want to eliminate the boys I keep around just ‘just in case’.  You know, I shouldn’t be Facebook friends with Facebook Boy, and I shouldn’t let Married Guy tweet me so much.  And The Friend.  I’ve got to stop responding to his texts (even if I am not initiating that contact!).  And then there’s Highschool Friend.  He’s got to go too.  They’re just clutter, leaving little room for new growth.  A wise person once said that if you create a vacuum, the universe will fill it.  If you want more money, clean out your wallet.  If you want new clothes, clean out your closet.  I’d like to think this same principle applies to boys.  If you want more dates, clean out your text message inbox.

7.  Setting my sights so low–I’ve got to get rid of this idea in my head that some crappy person on OKCupid is the only person on OKCupid that will ever message me.  And what I’ve had in the past isn’t exactly something I’d qualify as great…so surely that’s not the best I can do either.  I am worth a lot, and it’s time I start acting like it. If I see a hot guy, I need to talk.  I’m worth it. What’s the worst that can happen?

8.  Compromised Values–I’ve got to eliminate the stretching of values I’ve done in the past.  Recently I’ve noticed not a lot of men I know have good values..treating women the right way, having sex outside of relationships etc.  I really, really don’t like those characteristics.  But I’ve done it in the past.  I want to be a better person…no more compromising values!

Now, clearly I’ve been working on this post since December 11.  It’s now the 17th.  I’m afraid I’ll never get this posted if I try to think of 3 more things before I post it.  So, yes, you’re getting an incomplete list.  But I promise to update this list when I think of three more things.

The Quickest Way to the Heart is Through the Stomach

The little lady featured in this post is actually a Jim Shore Heartwood Creek collection ornament, but she is as large as some of my Jim Shore pieces anyway, so she’s currently sitting on my living room table, mixing up a bowl of love next to a Jim Shore Heartwood Creek beagle statue. I dug her out of the Christmas ornament box today; I haven’t gone through that box since Christmas 2007.  When I moved, I threw it in the closet and made myself forget about it.

I love Jim Shore.  It’s a sign that I’m getting older, I guess.  At any rate, I love looking at his pieces in Hallmark stores and am lucky enough to have a couple.  I got this ornament in 2007. My parents and I exchange ornaments before Christmas every year. We try to find ornaments that encompass something the person loves, or a hobby they enjoy. If there is an appropriate ornament that celebrates something that happened during the year, that’s fair game too.  Last year I got a cool “Welcome to Vegas” sign that plays slot machine sounds from Mom and Dad got me a digital ornament that I can load up to 100 pictures on, and it changes. Pretty sweet. I digress.

Anyway, in 2007 I got this ornament. It’s two things I loved that year:  Jim Shore and cooking.  I had moved in with The Boyfriend that year and I had finally started doing what I am certain I was meant to do my whole life:  keep house.  I was a cooking, cleaning, housewife with a day job machine.  My real passion was cooking though.  I was learning to make the classics, as well as putting my own spin on things.

That’s also the year I got a set of All-Clad cookware from The Boyfriend, I got some expensive cake pans for myself.  I haven’t used either in quite some time. I even forgot I had the All-Clad.  That’s some nice stuff.  I have a lot of nice stuff, actually.  Patterned casserole dishes, matching trivets. Spoon rests I’ve collected.

But it’s all collecting dust.  For some reason, when I moved out from The Boyfriend, that new passion I had found was dead on arrival at the new place.  I have my excuses.  It’s hard to clean up after myself, it’s hard to prepare meals for one. I mean, really.. who wants to cook after work just for one person, and then have to clean up after yourself on top of that, and then finally you have to eat that same thing at least 5 other times in the same week.  It’s unpleasant.   

I eat a lot of Subway now.  There’s not much joy in it.  It’s simple and healthy.  But I think in 2011 I don’t want to do that.

Today when I found my Jim Shore ornament it reminded me that it was something The Blonde loved.  Not The Boyfriend.  I loved cooking.  Dad didn’t buy that because The Boyfriend loved eating. He bought it because I loved cooking! I loved bringing things to work to share with colleagues.  I got a kick out of baking for the holidays.  That didn’t have to die.  I am sick of things I was interested in going by the wayside because other things in my life changed .

My pledge for 2011 is that I will find the things I loved and try them again.  And when I find that One Boy To Rule Them All, I’m not going to forget about the things I loved before, nor will I give up things I love in the aftermath.  Because it’s who I am.  There is an identity here. And that’s okay!

I think instead of treating Mrs. Butterworth up there as an ornament, I’m going to keep her in my kitchen year-round.  That way, she can watch me get back to experimenting with the things I loved.  And it can remind me that even if something was part of the “we” that I had with The Boyfriend, it can still be part of the “me” that is The Blonde.  And I can still enjoy it!

Q&A Tuesday: Blind Dating for the Blind Blonde?

It’s that time of the week again….Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.

Have you ever been on a blind date?

I have to resist the urge to start every answer here with ‘interesting’, but I do find questions that you all ask of me so very interesting!

I have never been on  a true blind date.  By ‘true blind date’ I mean, of course, that I’ve never been set up by a friend or relative to meet someone who I’ve never met before for drinks, dinner, or anything else. The closest I’ve come are the last two dates I’ve been on where I have met the person either online or in person before our dinner.  I don’t count this as a blind date, though, because some of the thrill and fear of a blind date is the mystery!

I am very interested in trying my hand at a blind date.  Most of my friends, though, don’t have eligible men in their life that are near my age.  I often wonder if the art of the blind date is gone, given the various dating sites that are on the internet.  If you’re looking to be set up with someone now, instead of consulting your network of friends and relatives, you take it into your own hands and go online.

I see some benefits of blind dating.  Namely:  1) there has been no Facebook stalking/googling/first impressions made, and therefore you can show up with no expectations.  There will be no feeling of “He looks fatter in person” or “Her eyes don’t sparkle like they do in that profile picture.”  You can simply take the person as they are, and they should be doing the same for you! 2) If you know relatively little about your date, you’ll have more questions to ask.  You’ll need the basics “Where do you work?” “Where did you go to school/grow up?” in addition to all the other subjects you can talk about on a date.  It gives you some peace of mind that you’ll have something to talk about if you don’t already know all the answers! and finally 3) its practice.  Practice dating, practice meeting people, practice being yourself.  Nothing can be more stressful than meeting someone new, but the more you do it, the better you’ll be!

So.  Anybody have someone they’d like to introduce to The Blonde?