Stop Wondering What You Don’t Have

There was a period of time last year when I basically refused to go out.

I wouldn’t say I was depressed – that’s a bit of an exaggeration for me – but I wasn’t happy. There were a lot of things going on, from my family to my non-existent love life – and no matter how hard I tried or how much I damned myself to be more hopeful, I just couldn’t get there. And when my friends all made fun plans to go bar hopping in Brooklyn or hit up a gimmicky club in the Lower East Side, I politely joined them for dinner and weaseled my way out of of the late night excursions.

Logically, I knew that staying home snuggled up with my pup wouldn’t get me closer to finding The Infamous Love of All Loves – but emotionally, I couldn’t stomach standing in some crowded place, having drinks spilled on me and drunken guys attempting to hit on me while slurring their words. I wasn’t in the mood for it and frankly, at the time, I didn’t believe it would actually help me meet anyone worth meeting (I’m still not convinced it will, for the record, but I do go out more now). But more than the immature 24-year-olds hitting on me or the blaring pop music…

…it was all of those girls.

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23 Things I Love About Being Single (in GIFs)

There are some things that really suck about being single. But then there are some awesome benefits of flying solo. When I start thinking about how annoying it is to go on bad date after bad date, wishing for my single days to end already and wondering where the hell is this guy I’m apparently going to end up with… I remember all of the reasons I actually love being single.

Here are just a few… (add your own in the comments!)…

1- Peanut butter and popcorn for dinner? Occasional glass(es) of wine with hummus, carrots and a hard-boiled eggs because I just want it instead of cooking? Grub from the food truck late at night? Ain’t nobody that’ll be laying next to me… so…

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And the Winner of the Self-Love Giveaway Is…

Thank you to everyone who wrote their self-love letter for Valentine’s Day. Remember, you can write these all year-long and I’ll publish them here. The page is already updated with this year’s entries.

I’m excited to announce that Kelly from Ohio and the blogger behind Eternally Single Kelly has won my very first giveaway! Kelly was selected at random and will be sent a prize pack with everything below. You can also read Kelly’s amazing love letter, too:

“You are beautiful. Take those special moments when you realized that you are just a glimmer of that person that used to think so many negative things. You have been through more than most people can say, and are a confident and strong woman. Remember that moment at the lake when he had to stop and what he was doing just to say how beautiful you are and know you deserve it. Remember all those little moments where you looked in the mirror and all that hard work paid off. You are smart, you are beautiful, and you are a force of nature all by yourself. Being with someone only improves you by making each one of you want to be even better person, and that is always your goal. “

I’ll be hosting my second giveaway in a few weeks, so keep a lookout. And congratulations Kelly! Keep self-lovin’!

Giovanni Flight Attendant Hair & Body Kit – $9.99
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Masque – $10 each
Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Toxic– $20
Wet n’ Wild MegaLast Mega Last Nail Color – $2 each
Vidal Sassoon Color Protect Shampoo, Conditioner and Color Protect Creme – prices vary
TRESemme Keratin Infusing Smoothing Serum – prices vary
bliss Pout o Matic – $48
HomeGoods $50 Gift Card
A Love Addict-themed clutch from Stich803.
A Love Addict-themed card and mug from Freckled and Joyful

Introducing My New York: Butterfly Studio Salon

As much as I write about my relationships with men (and handsome strangers) and of course, myself, a big love of my life is this city. I’m not the only writer to feel like New York is this tangible, actual person that you have a relationship with – it’s difficult and confusing, inspiring and welcoming, all at the same time, off and on, again and again and again.

When I was doodling skylines and imagining what my New York City life would be like, there are so many things I never considered I would love. Like the calmness of the streets before the bodegas open and the school buses prepare for pick up and drop off. Or the conversations you have with taxi drivers, bartenders, baristas, subway strangers and waiters that not only teach you something, but stay with you. Or how neighborhoods become more than a tangled web of streets and numbers, but areas that are rich with memories and feelings that are almost nearly indescribable. Or how when the city knocks you to the ground, messes with your head and destroys every last piece of hope you ever had – the next day, it reminds you why you worked so hard to move here. Why of all the places in the world, you’d still choose to struggle here than to rest comfortably somewhere else.

And so, just as I share my  romances with you, I’m letting you in on the other part of my heart: My New York. The New York that is familiar and wonderful to me. So should you ever visit or decide to take a chance on the Concrete Jungle, you’ll at least have a list of things to try.

From restaurants and bars to salons and hot spots, every Thursday, I’ll review a new destination. If there’s anything you’d like to me write about or try, let me know.

First up, the lovely Butterfly Studio Salon:

I’ve recently started dying my hair brunette – even though I’m a natural brassy blonde. It was at the request of many of my friends that I go darker to make my eyes pop. Though I hate to be persuaded, they were so right! It’s a nice change that not only makes me feel more confident but sexier too. I’ve noticed that people take me more seriously, too as a brunette: they make eye contact, the type of men who hit on me are of a classier crowd and overall, I feel a bit more mysterious. But when you’re making a huge transformation to your hair, it’s important to go to a professional. And for me, I really trust Butterfly Studio Salon to take amazing care of me:

Where it is: Flat Iron district
My treatment: Single-process color, hair cut, style and blow out
What it’s great for: They use all L’Oreal products for their color and give a great Keratin treatment (Cezanne Perfect Finish) for frizzy fly-aways
Cost: Pretty pricey – but worth it for the expert experience
Atmosphere: Relaxing – they’ll offer you wine, tea or coffee upon arrival, no extra charge
What I Loved: How friendly the staff is! Sometimes at fancier salons, you’ll find the staff to be a bit pretentious, but everyone was welcome and helpful. My colorist, Aneesa really listened to what I wanted for my hair and made my color rich without going overboard.
What I Learned: I asked my stylist (Nicole) about the most important thing about hair when it comes to dating and she gave the best advice: you should feel beautiful for yourself, not for someone else. And it starts from within: once you are comfortable with who you are and feel really gorgeous -not for a man, but for you – that’s when you’ll attract the best mate.” Also – never, ever get a haircut or color right after a breakup!
Discount For Readers:  Visit the salon and receive 15% off your first color service – valid till 2/28!

 

Salon Collage

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This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize pack of beauty products and a Home Goods gift card! Learn more here. Submit here.

My Very First Giveaway!

You’ve all been giving me so much love in the past three-and-a-half years and finally – finally – I’m able to return the favor with some goodies. Thanks to the kindness of some awesome brands, one reader will win everything you see below (yes, everything!).

Here’s how to enter:

1Submit your own self-love letter that will be published (anonymous or not) by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13th. There is no limit or minimum to what you write and regardless if you choose to use your name or not, you’re still entered. You can see some examples of past self-love letters here.

2– Read all of the self-love letters – including your own!- on Friday, February 14 at 7 a.m.

3– Check back on the blog on Monday, February 17 at 7 a.m. to see if you won!

It’s really that easy. Share the love… and maybe you’ll win this:

unnamedWhat’s included:
Giovanni Flight Attendant Hair & Body Kit – $9.99
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Masque – $10 each
Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Toxic– $20
Wet n’ Wild MegaLast Mega Last Nail Color – $2 each
Vidal Sassoon Color Protect Shampoo, Conditioner and Color Protect Creme – prices vary
TRESemme Keratin Infusing Smoothing Serum – prices vary
bliss Pout o Matic – $48
HomeGoods $50 Gift Card
(Not Pictured) A Love Addict-themed clutch from Stich803.
(Not Pictured) A Love Addict-themed card and mug from Freckled and Joyful

15 Beauty Products for Single Ladies

I distinctly remember the day my mom let my buy real makeup for the first time: I was 11 and had my very first zit (big and terribly red, center of my chin). It was in the middle of summer, I was wearing khaki shorts and a red polo (don’t judge) and I walked out of Wal-Mart with three things: Neutrogena Face Wash + Acne Creme duo, Covergirl concealer and blue glitter eyeshadow.

Because it was the 90’s, y’all, okay?

I was amazed by how easily it was to hide an imperfection and how fun it was to make my eyes brighten or get bigger with makeup – and honestly, I’ve been hooked ever since. After 15 years of having a really poor complexion that broke out constantly, I’ve been (mostly) acne-clear for a year now. Though Accutane is some serious stuff (and you should only take it if you commit to keeping yourself healthy), it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Having the option of wearing foundation or skipping it has been a life changer and huge confidence booster. Feeling beautiful in my own actual skin is something I always wanted and never had.

But, I still love my beauty products, they’ve just changed a bit.

My mom has always worn the same lipstick, same perfume, used the same lotion – but I like to try things. There are a few staples that I swear by (you’ll see them below) and other ones that I’ve recently tried and loved (also below).

Check out my picks for the best beauty products if you’re dating, looking, loving — or just enjoying the single ride:

Shampoo That Makes Your Hair Smell Amazing

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I hate spending a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner (it just washes down the drain!), but I love when you can get salon-quality product for a very cheap price.  Vidal Sassoon Pro Series (I always get the jumbo-sizes at TJ Maxx for $3.99 each!) has tons of different options – moisture, repair, hydrate – but I love the color protect if you dye your hair like me.

Face Wipes That Wake You Up

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It takes 30-days to form a habit and I’ve been doing this one for 25 years: wake up, brush my teeth, use a cleansing towelette to wake up. I’ve tried lots of them, but these are soft, smell like cucumbers and great for travel. Giovanni also has tons of other products, like travel kits and makeup, check them out. (I love their Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub, too!)

Best Nail Polish Color for a First Date

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One of my good friends – a dating expert – once said: wear a red dress, but never wear red nails on a first date. I was confused by this at first, but it makes sense: you want to dry attention to yourself (and men are distracted by color, it’s science), but not to your hands, necessarily. I always go for a clear polish or a lighter color and Wet N’ Wild has a nice collection that dry fast and available basically everywhere.

Masque to Use Before He Sleeps Over

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Some say three dates, others say five – I say whatever feels right to you. For me, when I’m ready to let a man stay the night at my apartment, I want to seem like I’m this radiant, glowing creature in the morning, even if that’s not exactly true all the time. The night before your adult sleepover, try the Amore Pacific refreshing masque to deep-clean your skin and leave your face soft.

The Easiest Way Ever to Curl Your Hair

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My hair isn’t naturally anything: it’s a dull, boring light-brown color. It only looks pretty and wavy when it wants to. It doesn’t like to be straightened. And yeah, it’s kind of frizzy. Though this Rusk Curl Freak is a complete splurge ($200!) it will save you so much headache if you want really pretty, really easy curls. You clamp at the top of your hair, push a button, it beeps at you and voila! You have the most beautiful curls, ever with basically no effort.

If You Hate Getting Your Eyebrows Waxed Like Me

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I’ve had my eyebrows waxed a few times but it’s not my favorite past time. The wax breaks me out, I flinch when they do it, I have a red area around my brows for a week after. I opt for old-fashioned tweezing but prefer a slanted tip like this Tweezerman set.

For Lashes You Can Bat

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I’m a big believer in eye contact – on a date, at the bar, when you see someone cute on the subway, at work, while listening to your friend. And if you want to use those babies to pick up someone, pretty eyelashes help pronounce your beauties. I’ve used L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Mascara since high school and refuse to use anything else. It’s seriously the best. (For blue eyes, try black/brown instead of black – it looks more natural!)

The Best Way to Use Oils

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I never understood what you were suppose to do with fragrance oils – where do you dab them? Why do you need them? Then a friend spilled her secret with them: put a little bit on your neck, a little behind your ear (and in other places if you plan on getting naked) and they work their magic. I love the magnolia scent from The Body Shop – and love that their bottles last forever because you use such a little amount each time.

Perfume for Falling in Love (Or At Least Hoping You Do!)

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Unlike my mom, I try tons of different perfumes all the time. I even mix them together to create a new scent if I’m feeling extra creative. My latest obsession is this new perfume, Philosophy’s Loveswept. It smells fresh and citrus-y, with subtle undertones.

For Covering Up Those Pesky Pimples

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If there is a concealer at Sephora, I’ve tried it. Literally anything and everything I could get my hands on, I would try to cover up all of my annoying acne that made me feel so ugly. The best concealer I’ve found – isn’t a concealer at all! It’s actually foundation from Dermablend (with 20 SPF!) and it goes a long, long way. I’ve had the same 1.0 fl. oz bottle for more than a year. No joke. Just put on a problem area, let dry and cover with powder foundation….

Foundation That Doesn’t Look or Feel Like Foundation

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I never liked mineral foundation or makeup until post-Accutane days because I never felt like it was enough coverage. Now, right before runs or heading to work, I dab the Dermablend under my eyes and smooth over with bareMINERALS Ready Foundation. It’s exactly the amount of coverage you need, but not too much.

Because Every Girl Needs Red Lips

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I’m a big believer that everyone looks great with red lipstick. It’s an everyday staple for me, and especially on dates. (I mean, just look at the top of this blog!) Dolce & Gabbana’s classic cream lipstick goes on easy, lasts forever, and is available in fun shades – including my personal favorite, “Fire.”

Say Good-Bye to Dry Skin

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The best tip my dermatologist ever gave me is always, always exfoliate (and moisturize!). This keeps your skin clean, fresh and free of bacteria. One of my favorites is from bliss – just dab on a Clarisonic (worth every penny!), all over your face (especially the t-zone) for really glowing, bright skin. It’s great to use right before you apply makeup for a date.

If You Don’t Want Wrinkles

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My mom started using anti-aging cream at 22, and I started at 21 by her recommendation. It took me a while to find a system that I really liked, and after Accutane, I realized just how much I needed a great moisturizer with SPF and collagen. I was given a Palladio Beauty set as a gift and I fell in love: I used the UV Defense Daily Moisturizer, the Revitalizing Night Repair Cream and the Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream every single day. Best part? It’s totally affordable.

Lotion That’s Not Too Much or Too Little

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It’s hard to find something in between Bath & Body Works and Cetaphil. You might want a little bit of fragrance, but not too much that it gives you a headache, right? I’m a big fan of Ahava’s Mineral Botanic Honeysuckle & Lavender Body Lotion. It’s scented just the right amount and also really hydrating for your skin.

Want to win some of these products? Here’s how: 

This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize pack of beauty products and a Home Goods gift card! Learn more here. Submit here.

The Little Red Dress

After my interview with the New York Post on Thursday about what makes me the most desirable single in the city (Disclaimer: I still have no idea!), the reporter sent me an email about the photo shoot.

Now, I’ve had photo shoots before (thanks to many photographer friends in college) but the idea of having my photo taken for all of the five boroughs to see with a headline about being the most eligible single – that just felt like a whole lot of pressure I wasn’t quite ready for.

Or rather, my closet wasn’t prepared to handle.

Quickly, I texted my friend E, who is  a sassy, talented designer for a small label that sells to big labels, like Anthropologie, begging for her expert advice. We met post-work and scoured the racks of H&M, then the sale section of Bebe and just as we were about to brave the mayhem of the Times Square Forever 21, we stumbled across Cache – a store I haven’t been in since my pageant days in the deep South.

And there it was: the red dress.

E and I both spotted it instantly and I hesitantly looked at the tag, hoping and praying it’d be under $50 and thus, on budget. When the numbers almost quadrupled that, I sighed and reminded myself there was always the wear-once with the tags and return option, should the dress be exactly what I was looking for and I couldn’t resist.

And it was exactly what I was looking for: it hugged in all of the right places, showed a little skin but not too much, a sexy back opening, past my knees and looked great in heels. As I stood in front of the mirror in the terribly hot dressing room while E took a picture to see how it would look in print, my anxiety started to build.

I knew I needed to save money for Europe and watch my spending before I leave. I knew I was making every effort to spend as little as I could during the week so I could splurge on the weekend. I knew there were so many more responsible, reasonable things I could buy with nearly $200 but if there was ever a dress that was made for me, this was it.

Forget a little black dress -I rarely wear one. My color has always been (and let’s be honest, will probably always be) red. I handed over my card, caught my breath and vowed that I wouldn’t keep it – I’d just wear it for this special shoot and I’d always have a newspaper page to remember it by.

Or, so I thought.

When I walked out of the studio to show the photographer my selection, she said two words: “Wow. Perfect.” And as I stood in front of many bright lights in six-inch heels, sucking in what I could, standing up straight, trying to hold Lucy so she faced the camera, smile and pop my foot all at the same time – I did feel rather gorgeous. (And a little uncoordinated.)

I could hardly sleep Saturday night, anticipating the arrival of my first big feature in a daily paper, wondering what the article would say and what I would look like.  I raced at 8 a.m. on Sunday, unable to sleep a wink more to the newsstand a few blocks down. When I saw it, I couldn’t help but jump up and down in the street and buy 10 copies, excitedly showing the not-English-speaking vendor my photo.

After updating every social platform I could, I went back to the red dress, hanging up with pride in the front of my closet, the tags still on, the receipt hanging from my bulletin board. And even though I probably can’t afford it – I decided to keep it. Off with the tags and goodbye to my proof of purchase – I wanted this beauty as a staple.

Because everyone needs a little red dress.

Or a little yellow one or blue one. A little something to make them feel a little (or maybe a lot) good about themselves. Besides – red is a great dress to wear on my next great first date…

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This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize! Learn more here. Submit here