You Can Do Anything

I wondered if everyone who warned me about the dangers and lasting effects of forcing my wide little feet into heels every day had some merit in their concern as I hobbled back into my Harlem apartment in 2010. It smelled like marijuana and though I bought the cheap air fresheners from the Duane Reade around the block (a pharmacy I had never heard of), the scent was far too overpowering to ignore. The big box my mom sent me from North Carolina sat in my “kitchen”, or rather the furthest left portion of my 400-sq-feet room that amazingly cost $850 a month. I had spent the day going to interview to interview, scouring through every possible magazine masthead I could, emailing to meet up for coffee and praying to the job gods to give me their blessing. I had only lived in New York for two and a half weeks and most of my savings were gone thanks to a security deposit and first months rent. I started my hostessing gig in a week if I didn’t find employment before then. My parents couldn’t help. I was 150% on my own. I was terrified. And I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted the city to welcome me with the open arms I always thought it had somewhere buried underneath it’s tough exterior and soiled streets. But instead of falling apart, I repeated my mantra:

You can do it, Lindsay. You’re a Tigar. You can do anything.

Putting the dirty details of my existent and non-existent dating life on the internet was rather a bold decision, I told some girl I met through a new friend I didn’t know well enough yet. The girl was “obsessed” with my blog and I felt a little naked in front of her – considering she knew about my last one night stand the boy who broke my heart in college, and yet, I had no idea what she told me her name was 10 minutes ago. I should be thankful for my job, I reminded myself the next morning while writing a blog about taxes for small business owners. It was a challenging subject matter, and my salary (barely) covered my expenses, but I longed to do what I already did for free: write things that will help women feel less alone. I knew how to get from point A to point B, but the thought of keeping up a popular personal blog, working 9-6, dating, attempting to make friends and applying for a new job seemed daunting. I had done it before when I moved here a year ago, I reminded myself. My drive didn’t seem quite as high but I knew that passion could never really be put out. After all, I repeated:

You can do it, Lindsay. You’re a Tigar. You can do anything.

It was as if the city knocked the air out of me on the ride up Broadway to the Upper West Side. The cabbie had asked if I wanted to take the highway, but I said I preferred to pay a little more and watch New York wind down on that Sunday night. We had been broken up for six months then, but never stopped sleeping together. Even though I acted like I wasn’t seeing him drunkenly or haphazardly, dangling my heart in front of him as he pushed it away. As always. But then the last shoe dropped and something inside me woke up – was this really the love I wanted? Was this the type of relationship I would encourage my friends, my readers, the strangers in the street to have? It wasn’t – and I gave him the choice to make it better. Pick me and work on it, or get out of my life. He wouldn’t decide – per usual – so I made the choice for him. But as I cried silently and the driver ignored my sobs, I felt the fear building up. What if that’s as good as it gets? What if I don’t meet anyone? What if I can’t feel it again? To keep from sobbing from that pit in your heart few people ever touch, I sang my song:

You can do it, Lindsay. You’re a Tigar. You can do anything.

Your knee doesn’t really hurt, you’re just listening to the pain instead of focusing on the finish. Remember philosophy class? What you give your attention to grows – focus on something else to distract yourself. I decided to think about complicated things as I pasted mile 8 on the West Side Highway last Sunday. Only 5.1 more miles to go to complete the NYC Half-Marathon that I didn’t have time to train for with everything. With my dad’s 5th surgery in one year. With the uncertainty surrounding my future. With my dire need to get laid after quite the dry spell. With a trip to Europe so close I can see it, but can’t get excited about just get. Not until my dad is fine. Not until my finances are balanced and my taxes are paid. Not until I finish this race, with my ears freezing and my joints aching with every step. But if I can just keep moving, I know I’ll be home napping before I can think. I know what to tell myself:

You can do it, Lindsay. You’re a Tigar. You can do anything.

Just when you think the sunshine that always defined you was withered away into the clouds that just keep surrounding you, a little ray shines it’s way through. People always warned me that finding my way on my own would be hard. That dating wasn’t easy in this city. That careers are flaky and my industry is shaky at very best. That friendships would require work and diligence, patience and understanding. That loving yourself and believing in the good gets easier and harder as you get older, as you experience more things and question, well, everything. And at times, it all seems impossible. It seems stagnant and unreal. Scary. Like all that you worked so hard for, all that you wanted, all of those magical things that you imagined growing up would never come true. And sometimes, they don’t. Other times, they do. Most of the time, they work out just how they’re supposed to – without you realizing they ever came to be at all.

But of all the struggles and the dilemmas your adult life puts you through, of all of the trouble, and all of the unanswered questions left spiraling in your mind, if you can remember one simple truth that’s true for you, that’s true for me, that’s true for everyone:

You can do anything.

That is, my dear, if you never stopping believing that you can. That you already have. That you always will.

My New York: Measure Lounge for First Dates

I always prefer that a guy picks the first date spot. My good friend K once said that where a guy invites you can give an interesting perspective into he is. I’m not a fan of a sports bar (or a guy obsessed with sports) but I also don’t want to go to a place so pretentious that I feel uncomfortable and can’t be myself (which is so important!). I wish I could send vibes to men who ask me out to take me to a place like Measure Lounge. It’s quiet enough that you can hear someone talk, the crowd is professional and eclectic, but the ambiance is still romantic enough for a date. See my fun experience below and if you’re in New York, stop by – especially if your date is paying!

Where it is: Midtown, 400 Fifth Avenue
What we ate: My friend J came with me and we split: the raw kale salad, the cheese platter, the fig crostini, the Korean-style boneless chicken, the grilled Creekstone sirloin and the bread pudding skewers.
What we drank: the Pisco Inferno, the Ginger Blossom and a dark and stormy.
What we thought: The Pisco Inferno is a must-try – but their cocktails are pricey ($16!). While the Korean-style boneless chicken was amazing, the grilled Creekstone sirloin arrived cold. The bread pudding skewers are light and a perfect portion for a dessert.
What it’s great for: A fun, relaxed environment. There are several couches and comfortable chairs, plus there is live jazz every night with no cover. It’s great for getting to know someone.
Cost: $$$$
What I loved: J and I both agree the Pisco Inferno and the soft jazz were the winners of our evening.
What I learned: The restaurant manager says he sees tons of dates every night of the week in the lounge, of all different ages. He says he can always pick out when it’s an online date (he’s single himself, so he should know!) because of how they interact with each other – a little offbeat until the drinks and the conversation starts. The location is also perfect if you live on opposite sides of the island since it’s right in midtown and near both Bryant Park and Grand Central.

Enjoying the jazz!

Enjoying the jazz!

J enjoying the jazz!

J enjoying the jazz!

The Pisco Inferno!

The Pisco Inferno!

The bread pudding skewers

The bread pudding skewers

The Korean-style boneless chicken

The Korean-style boneless chicken

The fig crostini

The fig crostini

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.

I Found Myself a Diamond

My friends know me as the daughter of a fiery, intelligent, mystical, mother.

Though she’s paid the bills with accounting and massage therapy, she spends her free time focusing on those untold ways of the universe. She investigates how the different planets and their position in the skies above us affect our daily decisions, the path we take and the one we choose. She believes  things in nature can mean more than a passing glance and in the perfect, yet incredibly frustrating, timing of everything.

It’s because of the way I was raised to believe in myself and in everything around me that I notice what I consider messages from something higher all the time. When I’m worried or anxious about something – anything – I’ll often find a penny at my feet or on the seat in front of me, and I take it as a reminder to have more trust. On nights I can’t sleep, staring out into the city lights, I remind myself that often when my nerves are high, something really wonderful happens the next day – and I’m almost always right.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to me that even when I’m not in the most sober of states, I’ll remember my mom’s precious words of advice to keep my eyes (and heart) open to the world and see what it says, but I woke up on January 1, caught off guard.

And yes, terribly hungover.

Much to Lucy’s demands at 11 a.m. to take her for a walk before she barked my head off, I stumbled out of bed, staying far away from the mirror. After the shortest walk ever to retrieve coffee, coconut water and a very-needed, very-greasy, cheese-and-ham croissant, my roommates and I lounged in the living room, all nursing our excruciating post-25-years-old heads that don’t recover how they used to.

Without much to say – or energy to say it – we all aimlessly searched online and scrolled through our phones, laughing at drunken photos and half-hazy memories of ringing in 2014. After a photo of hundreds of balloons lining the ceiling of a West Village bar (I was trying to be artsy, apparently), I saw this photo:

aceAt some point in between toasting the New Year and falling asleep in my party dress, I must have found these two cards, recalled my mom’s instructions, snapped this shot and put them back where they were. Nope, didn’t even bring the cards home. Nope, my roommates had no idea either. Nope, don’t remember seeing them – or where I saw them. Nope, don’t know why I deemed them important, but that’s my painted New Year’s nails and hand, recording my first message from the universe for 2014.

So of course, my first call was to my mom:

“Hey mom! Happy New Year! Love you. Something strange happened.”

“Oh no honey. Are you okay? What happened? Where are you?” She calmly freaked out.

“I’m fine, mom. I found two cards last night, I think. And I took a photo of them. And I think it must mean something, right?” I asked.

“That is really strange. Text me what they are and I’ll email you the meaning as soon as I can. Just have to dig out the Tarot cards. JIM!!! Have you seen my Tarot cards? Where did I put them? Getting old sucks, you are always forgetting things, Lindsay…” she trailed off.

Two hours later, when said Tarot cards were located, here’s what she said:

Ten of Spades (black card): Conflict. Destruction. Loss. Breakdown of relationships. Slander. Hurt. Misfortune. Plans that seemed promising end in failure. Disillusion. Grief. Temporary alliances. Being forsaken. A sacrifice. Withdrawing from the world due to trauma. The apex and end of a matter. Does not represent violent death.

Ten of Diamonds (red card): Freedom from financial concerns. Prosperity. Strong, established family setting. Protection and stability within a clan. Family traditions and gatherings. Having the time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour. Achieving of worldly dreams. Benefiting from the work of one’s predecessors. Gifts. Inheritance, archives. Celebrations and reunions.

Turns out, I was holding 2013 and 2014 in my hands. Or at least, what I hope 2014 will be (and frankly is so far).

Last year was full of so much hardship, change, struggle and endings. And honestly, I let it get me down for a while: I stopped working out as much, put on some weight, became severely negative (and probably not a great date), felt uninspired by everything, wrote really sad posts and ultimately, thought nothing good was ever, ever going to happen again.

But as the close of the year crept closer, I decided I had two choices: I could either let the baggage and pain of 2013 follow me into 2014 or I could change my life instead of waiting for my life to change.

I picked the latter – and already, 2014 is bringing much more happiness than 2013 ever offered. Instead of counting the things I don’t have, I started valuing the things I do. Instead of thinking a man is going to waltz in and take away all of the hurt from my past relationships and make me believe there’s someone magical out there, I started focusing on myself and doing things that I like to do, the arrival of a man, be damned! Instead of taking seconds and always agreeing to chocolate, I started picking my health, not my cravings. Instead of seeing the bad, I started looking for the good.

It’s always there.

Though I can’t say if the planets came together to bring those cards to me somewhere in this city as the clock struck midnight, I will say that it sure feels that way. Then again – signs can only mean something to us if we believe in them.

And this time, maybe I do. I do believe that 2014 will bring happiness and adventure and security and love and strength. Why?

Because this year, I’m not waiting around for it. I’m creating it.

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

When You Suddenly Feel Lonely…

This weekend was one of those perfect ones in New York: full of celebrating, wine and laughter. I bounced between birthday dinners and themed parties, had long walks with Lucy and long talks with my closest friends. After two full days on-the-go, I was excited about a relaxing Sunday to check off my to-do list for the week.

I started with a light brunch with my friend A, catching up about her European travels and then grocery shopped for my new diet, weaving in between the crowded aisles at the (cheap and totally worth the hassle) Fairway on the Upper West Side. I even held true to my unspoken New Year’s resolution to make more eye-contact and small talk with attractive men, casually asking for help reaching the salad dressing and where to find the frozen chicken. Neither conversations resulted in anything, but did boost my ego for .05 seconds. After trekking on the train and cuddling with Lucy, I looked out the window by my bed at the blue, wet city below and I…

…suddenly felt very lonely. 

Instead of giving into the random sadness, I took a deep breath and analyzed the situation: I’ve had a full weekend of fun and excitement and even relaxation, I have nothing to be upset about, so why do I feel this way? I took another deep breath (they truly help with everything) and counted just a few things I’m thankful for (this apartment, this puppy, my family, my amazing friends, this banging booty that helped me pull off a Beyonce costume on Saturday night) and got myself up out of bed with determination: I was going to distract myself and not let myself fall into a funk like I did in 2013. Not this year, not this time.

So I meal-prepped for the entire week. Then I swept and mopped all of the floors. I gave Lucy a new chew bone. I made myself some hot tea. I emptied out my inbox. I wrote down ideas for blog posts. I hung a fun sign on our front door that encourages happiness. I responded to some messages on OkCupid. I took out the trash. I tidied my room and made my bed. (And I would have gone running if it wasn’t raining and very cold.)

And at the end of all that, I came out to the lemon-y smelling living room with my chamomile tea while Lucy slept on the dog-hair-covered futon, and I still felt a little sad. I took yet another deep breath and admitted what was bothering me: I wanted was someone to cook dinner with, watch something on TV, snuggle in bed, maybe have some lazy sex, perhaps split some wine and fall asleep. I’ve gone on many dates, but I haven’t had that level of comfortability in quite some time — nearly two and a half years, to be exact. I do long for that, I do want that, I won’t settle for less than that, but on rainy Sunday nights, it’s easy to feel cold and alone.

What helps (for me) is remembering that I’m always exactly where I’m supposed to be, that I’m always the person I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I remember that I’m so very lucky and most of the time, so happy with the life I have. I remember to write down my dreams and to remind those I love just how much they mean to me. I try to do a good deed (even if it’s just letting Lucy run in the rain). I try to remember that most everything is temporary, and that this feeling will pass and another one — splendid or terrible — will come. I change something small or I make sure my living area feels homey with a candle or some tea. I take a long bath or close my eyes and think of things that make me smile without hesitation.

So as I write this blog on Sunday night, texting my friends for their advice, I do feel a bit lonely. Somewhat sad. But I’m riding the wave of lonely – and so can you. Here are how my dearest do it:

“I try to do something nice for someone else… write a surprise card, send an encouraging text message, or just call someone I haven’t talked to in awhile. I go for a long run. I write it all down for me — not to share. I mindlessly surf Pinterest. I succumb to the glory that is retail therapy. And sometimes, I watch a documentary about people who have it worse than I do.” -M

“I do a lot of self-care. I clean everything – up and out. I throw away a lot of things. I do yoga, take long deep breaths, and  long walks where I just pay attention to every detail. I guess my big thing I do (thanks therapy) is trying to identify the source of the problem, and then I try and cut myself some slack and decide how and what I’m going to work on. It’s all about the process.” – A

“I have a music playlist or have a mental pep talk with myself in a quiet (but public) spot… like in a park, on the river, outside on my stoop. Or I go to this bar where I’m a regular, it’s my happy place. But… going to a bar is not the most constructive…” -E

“I exercise. I read uplifting material. I remind myself that this is just one day and that everything works out in the great divine order. I also go to bed. I look at nature. I think about how big God really is and how much we are loved and taken care of. Also count my blessings for all of the good in my life. Just takes practice.” -Mama Tigar

“I try to do something productive, something that gets at the cause of that loneliness, which is really just fear that I’ll never have a full life unless I meet someone. Putting extra money into my IRA or finally comparing my health insurance options isn’t exactly a feel-good experience, but it reminds me that I’m a capable adult who is going to be fine no matter what. Not to mention, my white knight’s arrival is a lot less urgent if I have medical coverage and enough money to pay for my own retirement.” -K

“I pray and I read the Bible.” -N

“I think about how lucky I am for the things and people in my life.” -J

“I kinda just let it ride out until the mood or the thought passes, like what the little girl says in The Tree Grows in Brooklyn: ‘Let the hurt waves pass through.” Also, I take a hot shower, ride out the thoughts and listen to some happy pop music.” -K

“I get my nails or hair done, buy a new dress or something pretty to make me feel good. I also change something as simple as the curtains or the pillows or do something that I’ve been meaning to do. You never want to over-analyze. If I feel down, I do something that brings a little joy. I think the key is getting your mind off of it.” -M

“I have a photo album on my phone that I call my ‘Be Happy’ file. They’re pictures of quotes. Quotes I found on Pinterest or see on Instagram or statues I like on Facebook.  Quotes about uncertainty and fear and bravery and being vulnerable or other things I’m lacking or I’m afraid of or that inspire me.” -R

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