My first winter in New York was my favorite one. I was a few months past 22 and a few years away from being slightly hardened by the city. Then – while I was writing the inaugural posts of this blog – I was captivated by every first that I experienced:

My first time seeing snow in the city. The first time I realized I was falling in love in New York. The first time I went home for the holidays, feeling much more grown-up then I actually was. The first time it really, truly felt like Christmas and magic unfolded all around me.

Even though at the time I was actually rather miserable at my job and fighting off stomach-worry-pains over Mr. P and his fleeting fidelity, and even though I barely made any money post-taxes, there was a gentle happiness that I almost always felt. Because I was still new, because the city still had it’s freshness about it, because I knew there was still so much to accomplish and so much to achieve, so much to enjoy and so much to learn – I didn’t think too far ahead. I didn’t miss anything in my past and I though I wondered what was next, I knew I had time to make mistakes. I still had time to figure it all out and come up with an escape route or an alternative direction if I needed it. I had picked New York and yes, it had picked me right back, but I hadn’t conquered it yet. It didn’t belong to me – I was still it’s visitor, waiting to be accepted, waiting to feel like I was at home.

Three years later, Manhattan is my address. It’s where I’m registered to vote. It’s where my dentist and my dermatologist are. My home is lived in and worn, my dog leaves her paw tracks wherever she goes. My most frequently called friends live no more than a few blocks or subway rides away, and I have memories in almost every neighborhood on the island. I can get from point-A to point-B without a map (most of the time) and I have areas that I almost flat-out refuse to go to (looking at you Murray Hill). I am settled and I feel extremely comfortable on these streets, at my grocery store, at the coffee shop where the barista knows my order and invites me to her birthday party. And this winter, I saw all the sights, yet again – from the shops at Union to the skaters at Rockefeller – and though it wasn’t the same simple happiness I used to feel, it was still something.

Something older, maybe. Something jaded, just a bit. Something… new.

There has been so much change, and yet so very little change this year for me. Though I’ve loved my job, I’ve been aching for new challenges. Though I love my city, I’ve wondered what’s next and what else is out there for me to explore. Though I love my friends, we’re all on different pages and listening to different songs, trying to figure out our own quarter-life crisis without belittling each other’s. Though I love the warmth of the Upper West Side, I long for the excitement (but not the pricetag) of downtown. Though I love most of what I’ve created and discovered here, I’ve felt so incredibly bored most of 2013 that everything felt common, uninteresting, redundant.. and just so not like how it used to.

But I think that just means – finally! – I’ve arrived in New York. It’s actually my home now. My life is firmly cemented here. My roots have started to spread. Because after all of that hard work of moving here, applying wildly for a job, looking widely for a man, smiling pretty and joining clubs to find friends, locating an apartment and saving money since March of 2010…

…I get to do it all over again. And again.

And I’ve been fighting it. Hard. Because it was so much work to build friendships, to meet Mr. Possibility, to get my first job and my second one, to explore a new part of town, to find new groups and new clubs and new things to try. But I was happier when I was open. When I put myself out there and I challenged myself to do something different. When I wasn’t afraid of failure, when I wasn’t terrified that I was running out of time.

Because that is what time is: always circular, always moving, always changing. That’s the part everyone forgets to tell you: your 20s are for learning the good, hard-working skills that you’ll use the rest of your life.

You learn how to make friends so you can enrich the friendships you have, and make new ones as the old ones fall and grow apart. You learn how to find a job so you know how to hire new people, how to keep your current one and how to make a move when the time is right. You learn how to date so you know what you like and what you don’t, with the hope that someone will one day fit your bill. You learn how to cook, manage your money, manage your time, manage your expectations and everything else, so you never forget your independence.

You don’t just learn things once – you keep learning again and again so you can keep growing.

And so, even though this winter isn’t my first and won’t be my last in New York, it’s the first one in my new cycle. My new beginning in the city I fell in love with so long ago. It’s time to go back to where it all began, so I can remember how to move forward. It’s time to find that drive that made me do everything I could to get a step ahead or at least a toe into some door. It’s time to find that energy that was rich and powerful. It’s time to find that softness again that made me see the good in people, and especially in men. Especially in my friends. Especially in me. It’s time to find that beauty in the process, not in the destination.

It’s time to walk away from everything that fell apart, so I can start building an even better tomorrow… again.

The Best of the Worst Pick Up Lines From 2013

It’s true -I’m a little hard on men.

It’s not that I need a giant gesture or the perfect everything to be interested, but a clever — appropriate — message online or on an app goes a long way. Or dare I say it – in person? The easiest way for a man to steal my attention is to be sincere, say something intelligent and be a gentleman. More often than not, I’m reminded that these three things rarely coexist together – and when they do, you find one hell of a person worth going out with.

This year hasn’t been the best for dating, but it has been rather entertaining in terms of terrible, awful, no good dates — and even worse pick-up attempts. In the spirit of a New Year to come, I say let’s go out with the bad so we can bring in the great in 2014. From my experiences to yours, let’s get a final laugh at these sorry guys and move onto… the men!

My Worst Ones…
Wrong Bar, Wrong Time
While standing at a classy, expensive, upscale lounge, a well-dressed man came up to me and smiled. I smiled back, thinking he might be a good connection. He looked me up and down (blatantly) and then said, “I think we should just go ahead and fuck somewhere, let’s skip the introductions.” To which, I replied, “Hmm. I’ll pass” and ordered another glass of wine.

Ew. No Eye Contact
While staring directly at me for several minutes, sweating, he mutters: “I want to go there.” I promptly run away.

No Hot Chocolate For You
“How you doing so lonely and complaining of being cold?I am NAME and I wonder if you are ready to share a cup of hot chocolate with me….I promise I will not bite lol so don t e afraid to answer back.”

Noah is a 45-Year-Old Man in Florida Trying to Pick Up a 25-Year-Old in NYC
Message one:
“Hey, something about your profile caught my eye. I think it was the fact that you seem like you might be more three-dimensional than your photos, which appears to be a rare quality among the attractive women on this site…

Anyways, I’d like to learn more about you. I noticed you also enjoy travel, so tell me… if someone offered you an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the world leaving tomorrow, where would you head?


Message two:
I realize that you’re probably in the middle of writing me a long, detailed response, but I just wanted to let you know, you don’t have to take that much time with me. You can just copy and paste one of the following:

1. Yes Noah you’re very hot, and unfortunately your email got lost in the sea of jackasses, but I would love to get together with you.

2. You’re very hot but you’re not my type, and good luck with your search.

3. I don’t think any of this is funny, and I take myself way too seriously, and I actually have to go now cause I have a therapy appointment… but yes you are very hot.

Wait, What?
“Quite shocking modesty and overwhelming eloquence apparently indicative of a fascinatingly eclectic persona… And what did you dream last Sunday by the way?”

At The End Of Our Date…
…that was going well (in my opinion), he asks: “So my place isn’t far from here, I’d really like to have sex with you.” I blankly stare back and him and say something like, “Um, I don’t think so, but thanks for the drinks.” He shrugs his shoulders and go, “Oh well, I have a date tomorrow night, too.”

Not a Chance For a Friend
After having a mediocre date with a guy, he texted me the next morning to ask me for another date. I politely respond (instead of ignoring) that I actually saw more of a friendship connection and his response: “I definitely have enough friends, but I thought you’d make a good sexual partner. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

Your Worst Ones…

Did He Really Just Say Breast Milk?
“I can see you breastfeeding my kids one day.” Fortunately, I was quick enough to come back with, “Um, I think my milk just dried up.” – Jess

Cheesy Baseball
A former baseball player came in and said “I know you can fix broken bones but do you have anything to fix a broken heart?” –Courtney, an athletic trainer

No Sir.
I was 19 years old and waiting for my flight in the Salt Lake City airport. A 40-ish year old guy sits down next to me and says, “Hi. My name is Dave. I have 6 children, am recently divorced & looking for a new wife. Are you dating anyone?” – Angela

Glove Size?
“Do you know what they say about penis length? You know that it is directly related to glove size. Check out my gloves? So what are you doing tonight?” I WISH I WERE KIDDING. –Ryn

Sexual Misconception
“I know you’re sexually attracted to me, and that’s okay because we’re human and it’s natural.” –Allison

Christmas Misfortune
“No lie, heard this from a super drunk guy who approached my group of friends one night: “I bet you taste like a candy cane on Christmas morning.” – Jennifer

Would Rather Be Lost
“Hey girls. Are you lost? I have a compass.” Said to my roommate and me shortly after moving to NYC while looking at a map, trying to find a bar that we had visited before and she wanted to return to for her birthday. Sadly… I dated that guy. His pickup lines didn’t get any better. Neither did he. Live and learn. – Whitney

Not Romantic At All
“You’re a writer? How interesting because my favorite genre is romance, and I’m looking to romance you, pretty.” Vomit. –Gigi

He Said What?
“Heyyo, how you doing? You know that if you were the gas in my butt, I would never fart for fear of losing you, cause you’re the shit.” –Danielle

Just Look at the Ring, Bud
“So, are you and your husband serious, or no?” –Nikki

Go Away Fratty
I was dancing and singing along to “I Knew You Were Trouble” with a friend at an NYU bar, when two guys managed to swoop in between us, effectively ending our dance party. “I know why you’re singing this,” one of them told me. He was cute in a preppy way, but my TSwift jams are NOT to be interrupted. “Why?” I said. “Cause you knew I was trouble when I walked in.” Dude, your shirt is from Vineyard Vines! I didn’t know frat guys were edgy now. –Carina

The Expired Metro Card

Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…I repeated, watching my silver high heels cascade down the subway stairs. Logically, I knew the rest of my body was with me, too – but my New Year’s champagne intake made it difficult to actually feel it. One of my dear best friends J, who kindly invited me out with her and her boyfriend D, grabbed my arm and together we finally made it into the tunnel below.

Of all the nights in New York — there are really only two that it’s a better idea to take the train than to attempt to get a cab: Halloween and New Year’s. Though you may be wearing a dress that has little to it and heels higher than appropriate to ring in a new beginning — those assets won’t get you a cabbie unless you have some magical stroke of fate. We weren’t that lucky, so we braved the great underground at Union Square, along with hundreds of others.

In the hectic maze, I realized that on 01/01/13, my subway passed expired, and I needed to buy a ride to get me home. Just a few more steps and your toes will stop pinching. You can do it, you can do it! I encouraged myself as I wobbled over carefully, wondering if anyone else could detect my buzz or if they were equally intoxicated and uninterested in the drinkers around them.

As J and D waited, I went through the clicks on the screen, something I have memorized after buying subway cards for the past 34 months (wow!), to receive my golden ticket uptown. The pass flew out — and though it looked totally different than it normally does — I accepted and went with it. Within an hour, I was pushing the button to the 7th floor, excited to see my fluffy white bed and fluffy white dog.

The next morning, after some much-needed coffee and sleep, I took Lucy to the puppy park to get some energy out (and to feel less guilty for leaving her alone for so many hours). As I watched her spin around with the other pups and the cute couples who always hang out at the dog runs, holding hands and watching their “child” frolic, I reached into my coat pocket to find my expired subway pass.

Once the New Year came, this sucker wouldn’t grant me new rides or travels. It wouldn’t get me anywhere at all actually. And though looking up at the guy who was now placing his hands over his girlfriend’s ears to keep them warm, I thought about the love I miss having. And I considered the New Year as my new subway card — valid in 2013 to get me anywhere I wish to go. But that old one in my hand? It doesn’t work this year and it no longer can give me access to memory lane.

I can’t go down the “what if” trail that only leads to anxiety and making phone calls or returning text messages I really shouldn’t. I won’t even entertain the idea that the best love is behind me or that the intimacy I once shared with certain someones isn’t possible again. I won’t let thoughts of what I once had or the future I once envisioned keep me warm at night when my bed is just a little too cold for my tough skin. I won’t believe that I’m destined to wear these single shoes forever — but while I have them.. I better rock them.

Though I spent the New Year with couples and gladly took pictures of their New Year’s kiss instead of having one of my own, another single gal and I toasted to each other and smiled. And it was a genuine one — I’m happy with where I am. I feel the most beautiful, the most in shape, I’ve ever been. I’m fulfilled by things outside of relationships, and though everyone could probably use a little more loving, I don’t find myself aching too badly.

That being said, I spent a good portion of 2012 really working to get over Mr. Possibility. Though for half of it, he was overseas, he continually sent emails. Flowers. Macaroons from France. Paintings from Prague. Gifts and tokens of admiration — making sure he had a spot in the back of my mind, a sore spot on my heart, some kind of hold on me, even though he wasn’t  and isn’t ready to be anything in my life but a bittersweet, no-strings-attached memory. And while I really hate to admit it, I loved the attention. I loved knowing that some man did care about or miss me — even if I know he’s not right for me. So, before 2013 got here, I took all the steps to leave him in 2012 where he belonged. I cut off all communication and asked him (nicely) to do the same — and though I received a New Year’s text I didn’t respond to, I hope he’ll listen. I hope he’ll love me enough to let me go.

Because I don’t want to live in memory lane or with fear that I’ll never find someone to be in love with. I don’t need a place in yesterday or in the days I’ve already had. I don’t need to know what comes next because it’ll get here all on its own without help from me — but I know what’s in my past. And I know it needs to stay there — where I can learn from it, where I can grow from it, where I can move on from it. So that my bright shining future that I know in my heart-of-hearts is waiting for me in 2013 — can actually get going. Once the anchor is up — the sails will just fly out of the harbor, right?

Bye, bye, I said to that expired metro as I threw it in the trash. Lucy looked up at me with a big puppy grin that still makes me melt. Alright Lucy girl, let’s go! And without the old pass — and heavy past — the path and the year ahead somehow seem a little easier (and much more inviting) to trek.

Confessions of a Love Addict is hosting a 5K Remote Run for the Families of Sandy Hook. To learn more, click here

One Very Fine Day

The air felt bitter and cold, matching my mood on a snowy December evening. I had boots on my feet, gloves on my hands and everything in between the two, including this heart of mine, felt lonely. In a city where so much happens so often, I always thought that someday, I’d meet someone for me.

And the odds are that one faithful afternoon somewhere in this boisterous place that is still so much of a mystery to me as it was when I was a child — I will. I used to think I had an idea of what he would be like: tall and handsome with piercing eyes of some shade, working in a job that he loved (and hopefully paid decently), a man of character and of charm, someone who can hold his own while holding my hand. I still hope to meet that person but after meeting so many people and figuring out they weren’t worth the $2.50 subway ride it took to meet them for a drink, I feel my spirits sinking a little more every day.

I try not to let them get to me because I’ve always felt my everlasting, forever enduring, endlessly sparking hope for love is something that attracts people to me. My mom has always told me that I’m just so full of love I have to give it to someone and she’s right. I can see that in myself but it’s something that’s always felt like a double-edged sword: too much to keep to myself and never enough, it seems, to give away. Or when I do, I just end up being the one with the scar.

I’ve spent a year wishing for something to happen, I thought as I watched the lights blur outside my cab window, mustering up the courage to keep my tears inside. I didn’t want to be that girl yet again, coming home from a could-be romantic encounter that turned into something more like an encounter with the third kind. I pressed my fingers up against the glass that was fogging from the heat I turned up when I hailed the car — and I remembered when I’d draw hearts in the condensation, thinking of the life I’d one day have. The man I’d one day meet. One day. Doesn’t it always seem so far away?

Or does it?

When I was seven, I played make believe with my friends using my mother’s 80s-wardrobe leftovers that I wish I wouldn’t have ruined because I’d wear them today. We would believe that a prince from far away would come down and rescue us from the hollow of the tree swing we swung on. He would ride up on a chariot and demand our hand in marriage — even if marriage to us was merely a fancy white dress and a big kinda-icky kiss. It would be so because the game of MASH determined it to be — and who could argue with a piece of notebook paper that spelled out your destiny? Or a Magic 8 ball who gave you the answers you wanted if you shook it enough? It said it’d happen one day. And to us, one day would be when were were sweet 16 — just like the Little Mermaid and Cinderella.

When I was sixteen and a junior in high school, dating Mr. Faithful, I had thoughts of the college guys I’d one day meet. I thought that everyone met who they would marry in college. In the library while studying for some exam that neither would end up prepared for because they spent too much time canoodling in the archives. Or as she walked by he in the middle of the commons — and he saw the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. Maybe it would be in a class during second semester when they were put in the same study group. So many boys and girls collected at the same age at the same place with the same raging hormones — it only made simple sense to me that I’d surely meet that guy one day at the college I went to. And one day after we graduated he’d propose and we’d get married that summer.

When I was finally mailed that Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Appalachian State University, my bags all packed to go to New York, I couldn’t have been more excited. That one day I’d been thinking of — it was definitely on it’s way. Of course, one day in Manhattan — the island of all islands not tropical — I’d meet that possibility. It’d be soon after I landed everything I wanted, it’d be when I was looking my absolute best in my best pair of heels, turning heads and curving lips as I pranced the streets. It wouldn’t take long because there are so many attractive, eligible bachelors in such a busy, populated place. I didn’t have to worry about that one day — I was heading to it. I was going to live in it. It was going to find me.

When the cab pulled up to my door just a few nights ago, I paid my tab and turned the key into the home I’ve built. That one day has turned into three years of many days that produced many opportunities and one great, impossible love that I’ll always cherish. It has brought days of complete joy and ones of utter despair. Days that I didn’t think I’d get through and ones that I wish I could freeze in time to relive whenever another sour day comes along. Days where I met people who I’d only know for a month or two, days where I made big decisions that affected my life from there on out. Days that gave me the dream job, ones that left me thinking I was the worst writer that ever typed.

So many days I’ve lived, so many days I’ve done nothing but hope. They’ve come and gone, like the men I’ve known, and there will be more. There will probably be many more. But one very fine day — I don’t know how far away from now — will finally be my one day.

Confessions of a Love Addict is hosting a 5K Remote Run for the Families of Sandy Hook. To learn more, click here

Learning To Say Yes

Last year I vowed to learn how to live — with a list of 50 things I wanted to accomplish and intended to write about. But as it often does, time ran away from me, with weeks and months that moved far too quickly.

But it wasn’t a complete failure — I did do a few things on that lofty compilation. After getting up the courage to take Accutane (yikes!), my skin is finally clear enough to grace the streets bare — and my give-a-damn meter is frankly a lot lower than ever, making me less concerned with strangers I pass. With my friend M, I threw my hair up in a SJP-bun and walked through the village, pretending to be the gritty hipster I’m definitely not. And my friend A and I saw OAR, while M and I went to a Christmas spectacular of sorts that would have been much more fun with a few more glasses of wine. I succeeded at many difficult recipes, much to the delight of my friends and co-workers who got to be my taste testers. This summer, I got over the fear of spending money quite easily and then resorted back to my old ways after purchasing a very expensive fur ball.

I did have a serendipitous encounter with a Puerto Rican cardiologist I’ll never meet again and never know the last name of. I made friends with girls at a bar instead of flirting with guys, and though not intentionally, I went on many dates with guys under 5’10”, though they claimed otherwise on their online dating profiles. I’ve gone a few weeks without drinking alcohol, thanks to the potential alarming side effects of Accutane, but pre-skin-clearing-miracle-drug, I danced on more than a few bar tables with the best group of gals Manhattan has ever known.

I’ve planked in a public place, though the trend quickly faded into Tebowing, which I admittedly have never done. I signed, sealed and delivered more than a handful of sweet notes to my friends and family over the year — just to let them know how much they mean to me. My mom and I had an amazing time in New York and I’m looking forward to her second trip here this May. I think I’ve been a better friend and hopefully was a great bridesmaid to the new Mrs. in my life. I continue to donate to charities I love and my room is in a constant redecoration state because I simply can’t make up my mind.

I’ve tried to keep a budget through Mint, through apps, through spreadsheets and though nothing has really stuck, I’ve somehow stuck with a budget of sorts that’s allowed me to save… sorta. I’ve bought several people coffee for no reason at all, and every month I always buy something for someone else, even if it’s just a drink for a friend having a rough time or celebrating a new victory. My roommates have forced me to recycle and I thank them for it, and my dad thanks me for calling him way more than I used to. I’ve regained my workout schedule — running five days a week — and with it, lost ten pounds that has made a world of a difference in how sexy I feel.

I had a fantastic trip to Puerto Rico all by myself that I’ll never forget and can’t wait to tell my children about one day, but I’m looking forward to going to Costa Rica with M this year. Thanks to a little pup named Lucy, my apartment is way cleaner and organized than it has ever been before. My gay hubby has forced me into karaoke and staying out until 4 a.m. several times, and I’m proud to be the new owner of at least half a dozen more heels. I’ve also found a certain peace in myself that continues to grow each day.

30 out of 50 isn’t so bad but it’s also not A+ student behavior that I usually hold as my standard. So instead of making a list of little things that I hope will make me a better rounded and more fun girl — I’m just tackling one of the leftover 20 resolutions I had from last year.

Saying “yes” more.

Like agreeing to a date with a guy that I’m not exactly into because of petty reasons. Booking a trip to Chicago for a weekend at the spur of a moment. Going out with my friends to Brooklyn even though it’s so (so, so, so!) far away from my cozy Upper West Side apartment. Tackling a new project at work that I wasn’t sure I could accomplish or not, but want to really give it my best shot. Painting the walls of my room without worrying if it’ll all be the wrong shade. Giving in to buying that dress that I think is too expensive but honestly looks so fabulous on me. Making out with a handsome stranger outside of a bar because it feels right, even if he isn’t right. Staying out a little too late and having a little too much to drink on a Saturday night because I’m young and still can for a little longer. Taking that hot yoga class instead of sticking to my normal routine. Trying a new food that sounds — and probably looks — quite disgusting, but I’ll be glad to add to my roster of things I’ve tasted. Signing up for that half-marathon in April that I’m worried I won’t be able to finish, but going to give it my best go anyway. Writing blogs even if they aren’t perfect because I’ve missed this space so much in the past year. Giving myself freedom to do the things I’ve always refrained from because I wanted to feel safe. Because I wanted to stay in a warm bubble until I figured everything out…

…but I’ll turn 25 this year.

And many things aren’t exactly how I thought they’d be while other things are much better than I ever imagined possible this early into my life. So instead of worrying if I do everything right — as I always have before — I want to make a commitment instead to just do… everything I can, by saying yes to it all.

Happy 2013!!