You’re Missing It

You’re missing it.

Your youth. You’re missing it. You’re missing it because you’re worrying too much. You’re missing it because you aren’t living in the moment. You aren’t fully in today, in the right now, in the present. You’re missing it because you’re not realizing your growth or your worth.

Linds, wake up.

Stop worrying. Look around: you’re a healthy, pretty, 25-year-old who has made her greatest dream come true. You’re living in New York City. There are girls around the world who would kill to be in your shoes right now. You are a subway stop away from Times Square. You have a favorite coffee shop in the West Village. You work in Meatpacking and live next to Central Park. One day you will live in suburbia and you will remember your life in the city, and you will think of how silly you were to worry away your early-20’s.

Stop worrying about your career.

Yes, you wonder what’s next. Yes, you question what you want. Yes, you get so incredibly frustrated thinking about what you should be doing and if you’re moving at the right pace and if you’re staying relevant. You question if your resume is as impressive as it can be at your age. Just remember, you’re growing your skill set. You’re expanding your contacts. You’re improving your writing. You’re meeting people who will one day be instrumental to your career path. You’ll figure out what you want. It’s not that far away. You’ll publish that book and it will be a best-seller. It’s all going to fall into place -so keep grinding in the 9 to 6 (or 7 or 8) groove, and work your little butt off. It’s going to pay off in big ways. Your name will be known. Women will benefit from your writing and buy books that will help them realize their value. You’re going to change lives.

Stop worrying about your apartment.

It’s old and dusty. You would have probably melted if you didn’t buy that air conditioner. You would freeze if you didn’t have sets of comforters to pile on top of you when the heat doesn’t work. Or the hot water doesn’t actually get hot. It’s not glamorous and your landlords are not the brightest. But one day, when you’re old and gray and telling your grandchildren about your New York adventure -you’ll tell them about this place that you decorated with cheap charm and made it feel just like home. You’ll tell them about how you never kept food in the fridge and you waited weeks to clean your dishes and do your laundry. You’ll tell them how you were scared about living uptown, but you sucked it up and you made friends with the hood. They will giggle and you will smile a smile that only belongs to you, and the memories of your youth. One day, you’ll move into a nicer apartment. One day, you will live alone with that little dog. The next move will help make you feel more established in a new New York, and new chapters will start to unfold.

Stop worrying about how you look.

Those zits that seem so worrisome now, will be nothing compared to the wrinkles that will grace your forehead, your cheeks and your eyes. Those extra five pounds that make you feel like you’re gaining weight, won’t seem as important when you’re 60 and enjoying stretchy-pants every single day. Those clothes that just don’t seem good-enough, trendy-enough, chic-enough, expensive-enough, or New York-enough, won’t be as important when you buy your daughter jeans and try to remember where your old clothes are so you can pass them down to her (even if she will never wear them). Your dirty feet that are constantly destroyed by the pavement and the heels or running shoes you insist to wear, won’t seem so gross when you ache in your bones and you can’t wait to get home to soak your feet. That hair that doesn’t corporate and never looks as silky or healthy as every other girl, will seem beautiful and stunning when you see yourself in the morning with gray hair that you’ll need to highlight with blonde again, just as your mother does. That skin of yours that doesn’t like to retain a tan or take well to self-tanning lotion, leaving you pale unlike the other girls, will seem heaven-sent when everyone else is pruning worse than you, and your skin is still healthy. Stop comparing yourself to others and cut yourself some slack. Beauty comes from the heart, and your kindness and compassion will take you farther than those toned legs you have.

Stop worrying about money.

You’re self-sufficient, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Even if you feel the need to save more and spend less, and to ask for a raise or figure out if you really need to take that weekend job -you’re doing just fine. And you’re only going to make more money as your career progresses. Stop beating yourself up for a splurge here-and-there, and keep putting a little money away each pay check. But, Linds, go for that drink with your friends. Buy those shoes on sale down the block. Keep booking trips like you did to Europe this year. You can’t hold your savings so close that you keep yourself from having experiences. That’s what you’re saving for anyway. Keep budgeting, and you’ll see how it will pay off one day. One day, you’ll pay for things like a house, a new car and college tuitions and those monthly-rents of the past and tiny paychecks won’t seem like much.

Stop worrying if you’ll have children.

Those little girls with braided hair and pretty smiles who point to your high heels in the subway, admiring them -are like your future children. You’ll have them. Your kids are beautiful. They are smart. They are healthy. They are able and they are dreamers. They are go-getters who will know more than you do by the time they hit high school. They are loving and they will be your whole world one day. Don’t rush that. The moment they come to this planet, you’ll wish time would come to a stammering standstill. They will grow up faster than you could ever imagine.

And, dear younger-me, stop worrying about love.

This one is a tough one for you -harder than any other part of your life. Take a deep breath and let it go. Let all of it go -the heartaches, the disappointments, the not-quite-enough, and the let-downs. Stop hanging onto old relationships. Stop thinking about the idea of what you thought previous lovers would become. Look at people for who they are. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Forgive others for hurting you or for leading you on. Give yourself more credit and change your negative mindset. Go out to dinner with someone new. Accept a date, even if you don’t think he’s exactly your type. Smile at the stranger who sits next to you every morning on the train and is cute, but you are too tired to care. Put that extra pump in your step and swivel of your hips.

One day, you and your husband will talk about this time in your lives. You’re going to love him, Linds. You’re going to love him in a way that shakes and soothes your soul all at once. He’s going to put a light and love into you that you can’t even begin to feel. He’s truly wonderful, charming and handsome. You’re going to get that great story that you’ve dreamt about, wrote about, and thought about for so long.

So stop worrying.

He’s out there. You can’t speed up the process and you can’t make time go backwards once it gets here. Stop being jealous of the couples walking on the street -one day, there will be a young single gal like yourself who will look at you and your hubby, and feel exactly the same way. Stop getting discouraged and blaming yourself -all of life is part of a magical plan and a blueprint that you can’t fill out completely on your own. Love is out there, and I promise when you’re ready -it’ll be here. So go kiss those frogs -there will come a day when you miss the anticipation of a first date, and the surge of the first time you hold someone’s hand or see them laying next to you as the sun peeks through the blinds.

Don’t miss it.

Stop letting it pass you by. Your youth won’t last forever, and neither will the sharp twang of loneliness in the big city. The puzzle is just starting to fit itself together –so let it. Go live your life. Go get that drink. Go for a run.

Go be you. Your future awaits.

I’m serious, don’t miss it.

Love ya,

Lindsay

PS- Go back to Macy’s and get those shoes that were on sale for $24 -you’re not going to find a better nude heel this summer. I promise. And call your dad!

Originally written July 16, 2010 before you started this lovely blog. It’s funny how little you had to edit to make it relevant four years later… Food for thought. No matter where you are – don’t miss it. Stop missing it. Live it, instead.

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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.

Falling in Love on Fridays: I Am Not My Hair

This week’s Falling in Love on Friday’s post is by one of my dear friends from college, Allison. Though I haven’t seen here in years — since her last layover in New York for a night — she inspires me every single day via Gchat and witty Facebook statuses. She’s one of those people who feel and care with their whole heart, and as this blog will tell you, with her whole head of hair, too. Her post goes to show the bigger meaning behind Falling in Love on Fridays: you don’t just fall in love with men or people, sometimes you fall in love with things as simple, and yet as necessary, as… hair. She’s doing something ridiculously awesome and brave that I’m totally supportive of – but you have to read to the end to find out what it is. Learn more about the beautiful Allison here, and to learn how to submit your own Falling in Love on Friday story here

I Am Not My Hair

July 8th, 1986

I emerge from the womb in a Long Island hospital, screaming bloody terror at 10:35 in the morning. The doctor who delivers me declares “It’s a girl! Look at that hair!”

Kindergarten, picture day

The school photographer calls me “Curly Sue,” and would continue to do so until the fifth grade.

Every morning of my childhood

sassyMy dad gets me ready for school, and lacking any knowledge about little girl’s fashion or hair, lets me wear whatever I want. To do my hair, he makes me lay upside down on the couch and bunches all the crazy blonde curls into something vaguely resembling a bun. Sort of. I look at the Disney princesses. Their hair is flat and pretty. I look at the villians. Theirs is messy and curly and wild. Princesses never have to have their wild hair stuck up on their head.

First day of seventh grade

Standing at the bus stop in a plaid flannel shirt and JNCOs, with my hair still dripping wet, I press my hands against my hair and hope and pray it stays flat. It doesn’t. I will try this every day for many years.

Summer, 2003

I dye my hair so many different colors it turns orange. It gets huge and poofy and damaged. I look like Bozo the Clown, if Bozo the Clown wore green chuck taylors and punk tshirts. I cry on the way to my senior portraits, which will be someday documented in textbooks under the “worst hair in human history.”

Spring, 2006

I move into my first apartment with a fellow curly haired girl. She tells me to throw away my shampoo and my hairbrush and shares her products with me. I start getting real haircuts. The frizz starts to look like real hair again. A friend flatirons my hair once and I hate the way it looks.

Summer, 2007

Men love my hair! This assumption is based solely on a handful of weird dudes touching my head in bars, but I can only extrapolate to entire male population. More importantly, I love my hair. For the first time ever.  My personality becomes an extension of my wild curls, or vice versa – I’m not actually sure. I cut it short and wear big earrings. I grow it out and wear it in an updo on any day of the week. I tease it up and out and put on too much lipstick. I weep when fellow curly girls straighten their hair. I weep harder when a friend’s three year old curly headed daughter says she has “bad hair.”  What have we learned of princesses and villains and what it means to be wild?

January 11th, 2014

weddingI have some drinks in an arcade with some cute boys in the middle of a storm. We joke about shaving our heads. I tell them I would never. I love this hair too much. I make them all touch it. It’s so soft! It’s so pretty! It’s my thing, I tell them. A few hours later, my best friend asks if I wanted to participate in St. Baldrick’s with her, in which we will shave our heads to raise money for children’s cancer research. I say yes. She makes sure I am sober. I am. I use the word “YOLO” anyway. I send a text to my mom that says “Don’t freak out, but I’m shaving my head in a few weeks.” (It’s less permanent than the previous two “Don’t freak out” text messages, which have been followed by “….but we all got matching tattoos,” and “I got another one, and it’s pretty huge.”)

In the three days since we’ve committed to shaving our heads, we’ve raised $900 to help fund research for childhood cancers, which are severely underfunded and under researched.  Our goal is $2500 by March 1st, when she and I will publicly get our heads buzzed and the thing that has been so linked with my identity will lie in a pile on the ground. For three days I’ve been looking up scarves and wigs and hats and imagining all the dramatic ways I can now get away with doing my makeup. I’ve tried to figure out how long my hair will be for the wedding I’ll be in later this year.

I’ve also been thinking about what it means to be bald. This is a choice, for me. I get to dictate what happens to my body, and what I claim to be linked with my identity. I get to find it liberating and freeing and I get to think about how much time and money I’ll save. But for so many people it is not a choice. Children with cancer don’t get choices, and I hope you’ll join me in changing the odds. To make a donation, visit here.

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

Champagne & Pretty Things

Tonight is a New York wonderment – Fashion’s Night Out. It’s the brainchild of the iconic Ms. Wintour and the headache of every editor who had anything to do with fashion or beauty. The idea is that everyone should have access to fashion, and while we can’t all be front row at Chanel’s show, we can go to the Chanel store in Soho and drink the bubbly and admire things we can’t afford. Last year, I met Vera Wang and my desire to meet a fashion designer was fulfilled.

This year, I’m taking it easy – only hitting a few places with M, including a Barbie Bus that I’m super-duper excited about. This season FNO holds a special place in my heart, reminding me of the fun I’ve always had in New York and giving me a break from the melodrama that’s been my life the last few weeks.

Tonight is only about two things: champagne and pretty things. And for the next few hours, that’s all I really need.

PS: I’m looking for other Love & Sex bloggers to participate in an exciting thing for my REAL job. Email me your deets.

All Hyped Up on Love

Though I may only be a 20-something, I’ve been through quite some pop culture and trends.

I grew up on everything from TGIF, Sister Sister, The Adventures of Mary Kate & Ashley, Full House, The Secret World of Alex Mac, Figure it Out, Clarissa Explains it All, and Rugrats to All That, Hey Arnold!, Saved by the Bell, and Boy Meets World. By some strike of fate or stupidity, my mother eventually allowed me to watch MTV and Friends (where I appropriately flooded her with questions), and some ex boyfriends introduced me to shows like Alf, long after they were off the air.

I convinced myself I could sing just like Mandy Moore – breathy and incredibly too dramatic and all. Outside, with that same recorder I used to interview people with, I’d belt out a Mariah Carey with the neighborhood kids, who at one point, all got together and formed a band, The Butterflies. I always wanted to ride places in my dad’s truck because it had one of those new CD players and if I was careful not to scratch them, I could listen to The Beatles, the Beach Boys, The Temptations, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Jim Croce while we were driving around town. He’d always serenade me with “My Girl” and hearing it still makes me smile today, though I’m positive I prefer his voice over the original. With my belly button visible, I danced in front of the mirror to Britney Spears, I cried over a Backstreet Boys song when Mr. Curls didn’t show up to my seventh grade birthday party, and I lost my virginity to “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boys II Men.

Being an early bloomer who sprouted out of training bras and into the real ones the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I was amazed with my new curves and unsure of what to do with them. I did, however, notice the looks older boys gave me. So did my mother. I can’t count how many times she left me at home because I refused to change into something more age appropriate, and then I’d call her on her cell phone that was the size of my forearm, and beg her to come back and get me in my jeans and unflattering t-shirt. I wore the platform shoes like The Spice Girls, I braided my hair with a colored strand, I wore glitter on my eyes, and though I thought Abercrombie was cool, even at a young age, I realized how ridiculously overpriced it was. I also didn’t enjoy being choked to death by cologne ten steps before the store front.

I lived, breathed, and loved all of these hypes.

They came, they served a purpose, and they left. I was onto the next band, the next technology, the next style that would fade faster than I could begin to afford it. It took until junior year in college for me to stop caring so much about hypes or what’s hot and to focus more on what I wanted instead of what was new.

This week, to keep my spirits up and to lower my peeking stress level, I’ve been listening to 80’s music. I wasn’t alive in the early 80’s, but some of my youngest memories involve my mom dancing in hot shorts to Michael Jackson or Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy” while cleaning. Because my office is in the process of moving, we’re all packing up and my “You Make My Dreams Come True” Pandora station proved to be exactly what we needed. As the songs were playing, I’d notice how certain songs remind me of men I’ve loved or guys who have introduced me to a band I didn’t know. Some of the other women in the office would start singing and then proclaim who they were dating when that particular song came on. Somehow, the best of the 80’s translates into the best and the worse of men of the 80’s for those who lived through it – or discovered the music later on.

Listening to the stories while pouring what I owned into a large Staples cardboard box, I wondered if love is one continuous hype.

We’re sucked in early with fairytales and if we’re lucky, by watching our parents verbalize their admiration for one another. I didn’t really go through the “boys had cooties” phase, I was more concerned with my kindergarten boyfriend, but all of my friends were repulsed by the opposite sex (funny thing is, they’re all married now, and I’m happily not). Once that period comes to a close, we transition into middle school where holding hands and doodling our names with hearts and “forever-ever-and-ever-and-always” seems like the only important thing in the world. High school introduces us to sex, college we have a lot of sex, and in our 20’s we discover what great, incredible sex is, and wonder what we were thinking (or who we were doing) the years previous.

For most, it is one date after another, one relationship after another, one bed and then another, one romance and then ten more. The personalities change, along with the clothes and the mannerisms, but the men essentially are all the same, each time – we get ourselves all hyped up on love. And when it’s good, when it has promise, we’ll go as far to think we’ll never feel it again. That this feeling, whatever it is, is impossible with another man. We’ll get so dead-set on this hype that we’ll become depressed thinking he is the end-all-be-all and we’re doomed if this doesn’t work out…or worse yet, if we screw it up.

If that was the case, Buffy the Vampire Slayer would still be making shows. So would Dawson’s Creek. We’d all still be listening to LFO, eating Dunkaroos, and wearing those god-awful acid-wash jeans (keep in mind Williamsburg is excused from this analogy). We’d all carry mobile phones that don’t fit in our bags and our dial-up internet would greet us with “You’ve Got Mail!”

Things change, so do people. We fall in love and we fall out. We think he’s The One and then we want him to be the one who never comes back. We are addicted to our pair of skinny jeans until our bodies grow some curve, some place, and they don’t fit anymore. We buy into something until it becomes a commodity and we got for a cheaper alternative. Much of life is a hype – but the one thing that remains consistent is me. I’ve been through all the hypes, all the love, all the coming and the going, and I’m still who I am. I’ve adapted and learned, grown up and become a woman, and while I don’t forget the trends I trended through, I realize I’m always going to trend through something.

And if a particular style doesn’t look right on me or a musician doesn’t get me moving, or a man doesn’t hit the spots I need him to hit – I rest easy knowing the next hype is closer than I think.

Becoming a Luxurious Dater

A few days ago, I took myself shopping in celebration of some recent accomplishments. For the most part, I’m a penny-pincher, but every once in a while I will go out to a big, fabulous dinner or buy myself something elegant, expensive, and beautiful…just because I deserve it.

In today’s economy and especially in a competitive marketplace, there is this idea behind commodity vs. luxury. Consumers, like me and you, are questioning the value and the worth of what they purchase. Do I buy the super cheap coffee pot because I just need my morning java, even though I know it’ll break in a year? Or should I make an investment in something more pricy, so I have the piece of mind that it will last me longer?

While I don’t need to eat a meal that is overly-priced, but tastes so rich, fresh, and gratifying – giving myself the luxury of experiencing something out-of-the-norm and away from Guy & Guillard is a privilege for me. And that same goes for the $70 red sweater dress that hugged me just right.

But what price tag do I put on myself? How much worth do I show the world and especially in terms of relationships? Do I come across as a commodity girl-next-door that’s a dime-a-dozen, or a luxury lady that’s commendable of the best manners, the best dinners, and the best love? Am I treat or something you can find on every corner any day?

Do I settle for less than what I deserve because I’m accepting second-best or third-shelf instead of aiming for first place?

I’ll admit I haven’t always given myself the credit that I deserve and in times past, and I’ve played down who I am in an effort to satisfy, allure, and retain a man. But with this on-going journey and gradual climb in self-confidence – I think I’m due more than the average girl and my presence in a man’s life or on his arm…is a luxury.

And I know I deserve and now will demand, to should be treated as such.

If I’m always settling for Mr. Non-Committal or Mr. Good Enough or Mr. Yeah, Alright, He’s Okay – am I putting myself in the right areas and pointing myself in the correct direction to meet a man who will actually recognize all that I’m worth? And lowering my standards for the pure reason to not be alone is not only a silly idea but it is far from what I know I’m capable of having.

And this idea of being a luxurious dater or woman doesn’t translate into gold-digging. Frankly, I really don’t care what you do for a living (just needs to be legal of course) as long as you do it with passion. If you don’t make a ton of money, that’s fine by me, I have my own paycheck – but do something that brings you that independent fire. Something that gives you a reason for getting up in the morning and doesn’t involve me at all. If I determine myself as one-in-a-million, you should feel the same way about yourself -without me having to constantly remind you or toot-your-horn.

With love I give or love I share or love that I receive – I want it to be special. Out of the ordinary. Ridiculous even, if the time calls for it. Because unless it’s mad or extraordinary – what’s the point? It’s the relationships and the love we really put our investments in that make the long haul. If you’re not willing to invest yourself, invest in me, and invest in our relationship – I’m not so sure I want to take a risk with you to being with. My stakes are far too high.

By giving myself a high price-point that’s determined by all that I have to offer – I may not weed out all of the men who fall short or break my heart, but the quality of who I’m dating will hopefully rise. Remember, it must be about quality instead of quantity in the competitive landscape of dating. And in return, the investment I make in myself is different from the prices I’ve paid in the past because instead of making myself a commodity offer, who will go on a date with anyone, I’ve turned myself into a luxury dater who knows any old Joe, just won’t do.

In the meantime before I do happen to stumble upon a man who will realize my value or if I never meet him at all – I will continue to splurge and provide for the most important relationship I’ll ever have: the love for myself.

And the cost of that is immeasurable – regardless of any Harry Winston or exclusive dinner I could go to or receive. You can’t afford the value of falling in love with yourself as a single, happy, confident, luxurious woman. Because simply put – it’s priceless.

 

Louie Doesn’t Lead the Way

While the last few weeks have been absolutely amazing and overall, very positive – they have also been quite stressful. We’re approaching the close at the mag, my next-door neighbor (and great friend) is moving back to the countryside, and a few opportunities have me biting my nails in anticipation.

And on top of all of it – it’s that inevitable time when bloating and breaking out are the norm.

So, on Tuesday, as I entered the subway, my hair frizzed up due to the rainstorm, my arms tired from carrying my gym bag, purse, and work to bring home with me – you could say I was a little annoyed. Even though I didn’t technically have to go to the gym (we never are forced, ya know?) – I knew running would help me release stress and I’d feel so much better about the spinach pasta I was anticipating making later.

When the 1 train arrived, I waited for all of the people to exit and then quickly boarded to catch a seat because standing up for 12 stops isn’t fun in four-inch stiletto heeled-boots. I sat down and started to read over an interview I was writing the story for in the December/January issue, and as I usually do, my attention inevitably turns towards the characters on the train. This is especially when I’m not in the greatest of moods. People watching, even as silly and stalkerish as it may seem, gives me inspiration and food-for-thought. This time was no different.

As I studied those around me – a homeless man, a child and her mother, an older man, a business man, a fashionista, and a sleeping woman – my eyes caught a girl, probably just a tad bit older than me in a red jacket.

She was tall and slender, with curly blonde hair, black tights, and peep-toe flats. I knew they were designer, but couldn’t pin-point which one (not a gift of mine). Her skin was beautifully flawless with just the hint of natural coloring and her silk sweater dress hugged her in all the right places. I’m as straight as a gal gets, but she was sincerely beautiful.

While I was watching her, I started comparing myself to her. I immediately thought: She has better hair. Prettier skin. Nicer clothes. She’s more cool and collected. She looks more like she belongs here than I do. She probably has a fabulous job or doesn’t work at all. And look, she’s married. She’s probably madly in love too, and never had to go through a self-made 12-step program to be happyily single and love herself. She’s probably already in love with herself – I mean, who wouldn’t be? Every man in this train is probably one flip-of-her-hair away from drooling.

Now, part of the path to self-love is shaping the language I use to talk to myself. Instead of self-defeating, non-progressive words, I’ve been attempting to use encouraging phrases and boost myself up as my mother or my best friends would. But for this day, no matter how secure or happy I am about certain parts of my life, seeing the lovely lady in the red jacket made me feel down-right awful.

When the train reached my stop, I gathered my bags and started to get up, conscious of the older man with the cane to my right. I hesitated to let him get a lead and make sure he was okay, and out-of-nowhere the pretty red jacket girl shoved her way out of the subway – using her Louie Vuitton to push away those in her path.

She nearly knocked down the poor old man and when someone huffed at her, she shot back at them an incredibly rude pout, and continued walking. I followed behind her, after letting the trembling man get off, and headed towards the stairs. Not only did she use her Louie to get down the stairs ahead of everyone, but she almost sent someone fumbling down the stairs. And again, when someone said something, she acted as if everyone was else was merely a cockroach on the subway getting in her way.

I get that people in the city are notoriously rude or in way too much of a rush, but most people I’ve encountered have been nothing but kind and gracious. While they may not be friendly, they haven’t ever been as ridiculous as Ms. Red Coat. And just because I moved to the North, doesn’t mean I forgot my Southern manners – and I try to shine as an example to those around me by being courteous, forgiving, and thoughtful.

After witnessing the complete disrespect for other people by this woman, it hit me how silly it is to compare myself to someone I don’t know. No matter how sophisticated or gorgeous or put-together someone may appear – there is no way to get underneath their skin. Just by looking at me, no one would ever guess all of the things I do, the things I stand for, or the things I feel. Looks are really just that, an image sent out that isn’t necessarily true or false.

But one truth that I’m sure of – is that Louie doesn’t lead the way. Love does.

And not romantic love – but compassionate love. That love that we give to another person simply because they are a fellow human being. Because they are breathing and they are alive, they deserve the same respect and courtesy as we give to someone we love or adore. That’s a part of love addiction that doesn’t need fixing.

Even though I may dream of the day that I can afford a real-live Louie (not a Chinatown one) – a bigger part of me longs for the day when I can be rich enough to write a check to help that innocent old man on the train have a safer life, far away from impolite women in red coats.