Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First Date High Five!

Alright I realized I just grazed over having had a first date (see last post) and never did say anything more about it. So here it is, YES I went on a first date and with someone in my timezone (technically he isn't in my state but just over the state border - maybe 20 minutes).

Okay back up....and yes I'm going to make what was months of unhappiness, broken promises, false restarts and finally an anger filled break up story ridiculously quick (this is after all a post about a first date not a break up). Mr. NJ and I broke up. After two years of being together I just couldn't do it anymore (see above rant). So I ended it during the holidays....there was a few weeks of "trying to make it work" but when you then stop hearing from someone for over a month (again) you just get fed up. ...So exit Mr. NJ.


It was one of those break ups where there was swearing and screaming and name calling...but all behind his back, because after all the jerk wad wouldn't return phone calls. So it didn't take long for me to decide I needed to get back in the game and try to find someone local. Because after all it doesn't matter how special a bond is, how good a relationship seems, at the end of it all I want someone who will take me out to dinner on a Friday night or who will curl up on the couch and watch an old black and white movie with me.

Since I'm not one for singles night at the local biker bar and (despite what people seem to not want to believe) I AM an introvert, I once again turned to online dating. This time I signed onto a site that a gf of mine met her beau (now fiance) through. I emailed with a few local gents and then a few weeks back got an email that the "Graphic Designer" had Favorited my profile.

Trying to be the me that exists everywhere else except in dating (read: assertive, going after what I want) I wrote to him. We haven't stopped writing since. Emails multiple times a day every couple of days has turned into text messages every day (some days it seems we text from morning to night). Then about a week and a half ago we finally went on our first date.


It was the quintessential first date - talking over coffee.

He drove from his place down to my work, through traffic just to catch me between meetings. Sat at a corner table and talked for 45 minutes straight. No uncomfortable silence. No awkward questions trying to fill space. At some point in the date he even took my hands across the table and we held hands through the rest of the date.


Finally I had to head back to the office, damn those students. But he walked me from the bistro over to my office and we stood talking for a few more minutes before we parted ways. (Okay yes, there is more to that story but I don't kiss and tell). Within 30minutes of leaving me he had texted asking what I thought, if I enjoyed myself, if I wanted to see him again.....

It was perfect....now to try and find time in our schedules for a second date.....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Never Had a Second Date

I've never had a second date. Okay, I realize that sounds crazy and weird and unrealistic...but in many ways it's true. 


I am a serial monogamist. I've never done "casual dating" (or at least very well) and my 'relationships' either are my own version of a one-hit-wonder or we go from "how do you do" to "will you marry me" (okay so there hasn't actually been proposals but you get the idea).

Because of this I can't really remember a time when I had an official second date. I've never had the experience of a kiss good night, having him tell me he'll call me later and us actually going out for a second round of getting to know one another better. Or rather I should say a second date with someone who I hadn't already slept with, or considered to be "in a relationship" with.


I guess that's why I'm so nervous this time around.  Starting over is never easy, no matter how old you are or what you're past dating life has looked like. But for me it's been years since the person I've been interested in has lived in the same timezone as me (let alone having us be within driving distance from one another).

So the fact that I have found an attractive, funny, artistic, gentle man who (appears to) wants to go on a second date just baffles me and I feel like I'm back in Junior High folding letters into hearts and asking him to check yes or no.


I'm trying to find that balance between just having a good time ("finding Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right" as my BFF says), wanting to see what happens/where this goes (because let's be honest my biological clock ticks louder with every friends' baby announcements and wedding invitations) and not wanting to rush anything and find myself right back where I've been for the last ten years (being blinded by life hopes and oblivious to the jerk in bed next to me).

I'm not even sure anymore what the proper 2nd Date protocol is!!

The last decade or so I've become this independent woman who goes after what she wants and doesn't often take no for an answer. So how is this forceful woman supposed to ask for a 2nd date without seeming pushy or too assertive (and yes, OMG I realize that is all modern society's bullshit they've instilled into me. I realize it, don't like it but still have to process within it).


All I want is a walk in a park, a picnic under a tree, stargazing maybe (although yes, in the PNW I realize I've just reduced my 2nd date options to the few weeks between July 4th and Labor Day when the weather isn't wet and drizzly). That's not the point though. I just want to figure out how to balance going for what I want without jumping into the deep end head first.

I always thought dating was supposed to get easier the older you go. You knew what you wanted. They knew what they wanted and it was just a matter of finding someone whose interests intersected....damnit!



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Currently.....

I while back I pinned this blogging idea around posting what you are currently doing/drinking/wearing/feeling, etc.

I've toyed with the idea of creating my own, something for readers to get a personal inside into my life, feel they know me beyond just recipes and complaining my dating life (or lack thereof depending on the day).

So here it is. 1:45AM on a Saturday...sleep doesn't appear to be coming to me anytime soon so why not!?


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter with the Kiddo

This past weekend I got to spend most of the weekend with my five year old niece. We hunted for eggs....


...played with bubbles....


...picked flowers....


...and went for Chinese food where she used chopsticks for the first time.


I don't care what holiday it is....they're all better with kiddos.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Potato Hash

I'm not sure if I stumbled across the recipe through Pinterest or through a web search but The Kitchn had such a great recipe I've made it a few times now. Each time it varies a little and I've put my own spin on it (the first time I baked the eggs but they were too cooked, so the next time I just did an over-medium egg on the side).

Peel and cube four sweet potatoes

Mix potatoes, fresh rosemary, garlic and a little olive oil

Cook ground sausage and diced onions until 1/2 cooked

Mix sausage mix with potatoes, and roast in oven until potatoes are cooked thru

Put into cast iron and cook for a few more minutes with eggs

This is for sure a new family favorite!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Starting Over

I've never necessarily believed in the concept of there only being one person out there for everyone. There are too many people in the world...too many different personalities, values, chemistry sparks, etc to have there only be ONE person out there that may match what you're looking for in someone.


I also don't believe that we should limit our hopes or expectations for a partner just because of where someone lives; because there are many "ones" out there who knows where they could be living. I think that is why, when I first started online dating, I didn't restrict my search to men "locally".

However, my last two (serious/long term) relationships have been long distance. While they both lasted two and three years (respectively), and during the good times were filled with love. There were somethings that I just missed too much...cuddling on the couch, spending the weekend together, date nights.


Recently I joined the dating world once again. This time I tried a different site (one that a gf of mine met her fiance on) and focused my search on men that were local.

Now, aside from the number of FAILS that I came across (and don't worry I will be writing about those at another time) I actually have emailed with a few guys that have promise. I've only gone out with one of them (I'll admit I just am not the multiple-men or "go out just for a free dinner" kinda girl) and he's sweet.


It's still early and I have no intention of rushing into anything. And while starting over can be scary it's also exciting.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reflections on the Body Love Conference

Jess Baker introducing Tess Munster
I can't believe how fast time flies. Doesn't seem that long ago that I was counting down the days until I got to jump on a plane and head down to Tucson for the Body Love Conference. Now that was over a week ago! Time flies when you're loving yourself I guess.

I first heard about the Body Love Conference through The Militant Baker (who I am advertising with this month - give a shot out if that's how you found Curves and a Camera). As the founder of the BLC, Jess Baker did such an amazing job not only recruiting volunteers but spreading the word and making sure that a wide range of people heard about the conference (while I was there I met locals and ladies traveling as far as from the East Coast).

Sonya was the first to make me cry with her
presentation on This Body is Not an Apology
I went with an old HS girlfriend of mine who "twisted my arm" into going with her. This was my first time going to a conference (or something along those lines) just for me. I worked all week long, flew out to Tucson after work, didn't arrive to our hotel until nearly midnight, only to get up and spend the day with some amazing women.

Body love is something that I've struggled with for many years. I never grew up being told I was pretty...it was always my makeup, my hair or my outfit that was cute/beautiful. Never just me.

Now I'm sure some of you will say "but isn't that the point? to teach our girls they are smart and more than just their looks"?

Tess's keynote made me cry the 2nd time.
TRUE! However, growing up with a body that didn't look like my classmates. Becoming a woman, and trying to find myself, in a society that believes I am "less than" and not "worth as much" because I am "over" weight.....creates the trouble on the other end of the spectrum. No, I wasn't a girl who grew up believing all I had to offer the world was my looks....but I also was never taught that I could be pretty, could wear fashionable clothes, could have a boy fall in love with me, want me....that I should love my body.

So fast forward many many years later. I'm 23, haven't had a "boyfriend" since high school, and was tired of being the funny/smart bestfriend/like-a-sister character in my own life's story. So I said FUCK IT! I'm just as worthy of love....just as beautiful as anyone else. I started dressing how I wanted, stopped (trying to at least) say hurtful things to myself and started trying to change the way I approached life.

Jess is such an inspiration to kick some ass!
Now here I am. Thirty one years old and, while there are still some harder days than others, I'm loving who I have become. So being able to travel to Tucson and share this concept of self-love with over FOUR HUNDRED other men and women was just life changing!

Thank you to everyone at the conference, all the volunteers, the speakers, Sonya Renee Taylor, Chrystal Bougon from Curvy Girl Lingerie, World Famous *BOB*, Liz Denneau from Candy Stike, Ida Tapper, Tess Munster, Jess Baker and my friend Susan for making this a weekend I will never forget! I laughed, I cried (a few times), I developed major girl-crushes, I found new heroes and I made new friends.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Semi-Homemade Scones

I found these Lemon Poppyseed scones at Cost Plus World Market the other day... I'm sure they would have been delicious by themselves but I can't help but try to doctor up pre-mixes.

 
Instead of the straight 3/4 of water and be done with it. I did 1/2 cup of water and another 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 tsp of lemon extract and finally 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.


I did drop scones and baked according to the package.

Really I bought them because I found this jar of lemon curd I just had to try. I'm such a fan I could eat the curd just by the spoonful! The scones are a perfect delivery vessel for the curd though. Haha.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

7 Wonders of Oregon

You know it's time of year when people start planning summer vacations by the number of tourist videos you see. Commercials advertising the attractions and reasons to visit a particular state or city. Lately the two that I've noticed appearing on my Hulu streaming the most are for San Diego (the city where I was born and raised) and Oregon (the state I currently live in) ....


I do love playing tourist where I live and also am a fan of Bucket Lists and Check-off Lists.So when I saw The Seven Wonders of Oregon tourism video it made me curious what the state thought of as the top seven places to visit....

Here is the list:

  1. Mount Hood
  2. The Oregon Coast
  3. The Columbia River Gorge
  4. Painted Hills
  5. Smith Rock
  6. The Wallowas
  7. Crater Lake
Well after living in Oregon five years I've gone to Mount Hood (once):


The Oregon Coast (half a dozen times):


and The Columbia River Gorge (more times than I can count).


Now I suppose I need to plan some trips out to the other four....anyone want to join me?!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Body Love Conference!!

Today is the day! The Body Love Conference begins in just a few minutes.

I'm both excited to be participating in the flagship conference but also that I'm getting to reconnect with an old grade school friend who is also attending the conference.

I've signed up for a number of great workshops and discussions including:

Hot Sex and the Curvy Girl with Chrystal Bougon

Beginner Burlesque: The Art of the Tease with Ida Tapper

Staples and Stitches: Discovering Fashion and Personal Style for all Body Types with Elizabeth Denneau

Stripping Down to Open Up: Why Boudoir? with Liora K

I will be tweeting all day (along with many of my co-conference attendees) and posting pictures on Facebook. If you want to see all the fun we're having make sure to follow along.

And to end this post and wish you a weekend full of body positivity and self-love here are some fantastic pins!






Have a beautiful weekend gorgeous!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Must Haves for Spring

I've never been one to necessarily "follow fashion". I have always felt I either seasons ahead of my time (doing messy buns and ballet flats seasons before they hit the red carpet) or I'm decades behind (falling in love with 40s style curls and Americana classic lines). 

I've been a lover of fashion for years though. I'm not sure what the transition was or why it happened when it did. I just remember being a strictly jeans and tanks girls in high school (it was what was easiest during theater rehearsals) and a tank top and sarong skirt freshman year of college.

Somewhere between my junior and senior year of college I found a love for stilettos, color coordination and stylish handbags (maybe it was because I knew I'd be going out into the "real world" soon enough). 
Here I am now, 31 years old with knees that can't handle high heel stilettos, still exploring and finding my "style". 

As I said I'm not necessarily someone who feels whatever is "in" must be followed religiously...I still am interested in what trends are around this season (mostly to see if I'm going to get to go shopping in department stores for new finds or thrift stores for last seasons rejects). 

This spring seems to be pretty in line with my already existing fashion tastes. According to Elle magazine the top 10 must haves this spring are:

  1. The tiny lady bag (yea....not going to happen. I have a few small purses but usually they're inside a larger one!)
  2. The trench coat (I have a black and red one already)
  3. High waist jeans (not sure I understand this so I'll stick with the jeans I own)
  4. White shirt dress (Shirt dress - yes. White - not for me! I'm too messy haha)
  5. The Stripped Something (see this post. I own a number of stripped shirts, skirts, etc)
  6. The ballet flat (I own a number of these already....but I prefer pointed toe flats)
  7. Moto Jacket (I've been looking for a black motorcycle style jacket for a while. Maybe this season I'll find one I like)
  8. Lightweight sweater (I live in the PNW....I own a small handful of these)
  9. Sundress (I love sundresses and own a number already....doesn't mean I won't be buying more)
  10. The baseball hat (Soooo not going to happen. I'm not a hat person let alone a baseball hat kinda girl)
Which of these top trends are you most excited about?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Roasted Asparagus with Feta

I served it with salmon, rosemary potatoes and salad.
Ingredients

1 3/4-2 lbs fresh crisp asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon, zest of
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt ( to taste)
fresh ground black pepper ( to taste)
1 -2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 -4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 lemon ( juice of, no seeds)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small pan over low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil becomes fragrant; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point and discard ends.
  4. Toss asparagus pieces with infused olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet (one with a side edge).
  5. Season asparagus with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle asparagus with crumbled feta cheese.
  7. Roast at 400F for 12 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and squeeze the lemons over the asparagus, being careful to catch the seeds.
  9. Serve hot.