I’m Smitten With Being Single

5 Things I'm Smitten With
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Tell most people that you’re single and they’ll get a, “poor thing” look on their face immediately. Society puts value in the power of two. Two is better than one. Find your other half. Table for two. We are programmed to fill the space next to us with that special someone from the time we start playing at the jungle gym. In the past I was just as guilty of this as the next girl. I’ve been a self-proclaimed serial monogamist since my 20s, which left me being single for the last time back in my high-school days! Sure, I’ve had pockets of alone-ness but always fraught with twitchiness and melancholia for something I was sure I was missing out on. Now I’m single again at 37, which can strike fear even in the most heroic of hearts. Never married. No children. To some my life would seem bleak and doomed, but I have found being single this time around electrifying. Here’s my 5 things I’m smitten with about being a lone wolf:

 

Being Alone and Not Lonely

I’m an only child and spent countless hours playing alone and imagining a sister to share secrets with. I won’t lie- I was lonely. My parents worked a ton and I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. This translated into my adulthood with the fear of being left alone by a man. In short, I had abandonment issues big time. I can honestly say that I stayed in relationships longer than I wanted to just to have a plus one for so-and-so’s wedding reception. NOT a good enough rationale to stay when you should go. This time around, I’ve learned to do the solo thing comfortably, and being alone really has it’s perks. I don’t have to negotiate on my movie choice, and no one is going to tell you how much butter to put on your popcorn. I’ve gotten a reserved stool at the bar of my local haunt, DiWine. Everyone who works there knows my name, so it’s like my own personal Cheers. I’ve taken train trips to the Hudson Valley solo and enjoy creating my own private dance club in my living room. Being alone doesn’t mean lonely and I’m loving it.

 

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Online dating

Part of my fear after my last breakup was, “how the hell am I going to meet someone?!?”. I own my own business and don’t want to date one of our clients so meeting someone at work is out of the question. Unlike in my 20s, I don’t spend time trolling the local bars or clubs, which always seemed like a shit-show anyway. So how does a successful, attractive, NORMAL girl like me find someone to pay for a dinner and take her out on the town once and awhile???? Enter the world of online dating. Admittedly, when I first thought of doing the online dating thing I threw up a little in my mouth. Yuck. Online dating is for creepy sex offenders and the socially awkward recluse right? Wrong. Like everything else in our world, technology is king and the dating scene is no exception. Developers and companies are taking full advantage of the market and now a days there are TONS of options to meet a Mr. Maybe right from the comfort of your couch. One of my dear friends saw me lamenting about my last heartbreak and promptly grabbed my phone to download the hip and trendy dating app Tinder. Tinder is dating simplified. Linking with your Facebook profile, it automatically adds pictures and your interests to your profile. There’s not a laundry list of questions about dogs, cats, and favorite colors, just a space to write what you want the “Tinder-sphere” to know. Swipe left if you’re not into him, right if you want to know more. If you have friends in common via Facebook, Tinder will tell you. If you both give a thumbs up you’re allowed to text through the app. It’s immediate like regular texting and not confusing like some other dating sites that have options to “wink”, “favorite”, or “email” someone. After a short text exchange you can pretty much tell if a guy is worth giving your number to, and possibly meeting for a beverage of your choice. Afraid of penis pictures and hook-up trolling slime balls? I proceeded with caution at first. While there are definitely questionable guys on there, I’ve met a handful worth more than one date. Bottom line- it’s like a dating video game where you’re in charge. I’ll tell you it’s super empowering to to say “nope” over and over again to those who will never know. Much easier than shutting down that dweeb at the neighborhood bar. Not just for snakes, Tinder is modern and easy to use plus in the end you’ll at least have some good stories to tell at your wedding.

 

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Killer Party Stories

Just recently at one of my many 37th birthday celebrations, I was holding court in front of 8 women who were utterly transfixed by my dating anecdotes. Let me tell you I have a LOT of them. Most of the girls I tell that I’m surveying the online dating scene either roll their eyes from experience or wince in horror. Dating, like life, has it’s share of ups and downs, and in my opinion it’s all how you look at it. Living in NYC I relish in the things I see everyday on the street, on the train, next to me in the cafe. I fancy myself as a urban anthropologist and find the truth waaaay stranger and more interesting than fiction. So far I’ve had a great laugh at SO many of the ridiculous profile pictures I’ve found, accidentally been involved in a sexting exchange, and been stood up after doing my makeup and donning a dress and everything! Sure- I could get frustrated by the scene or I can instead choose to laugh and move on. Taking anything too seriously will be the death of you, plus now have enough material for a book. Making fun of what’s absurd will not only make you feel better but just may make you an accomplished author or at the very least the life of your next party!

 

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Ego Boosts

I started dating to help heal a broken heart on advice from a dear friend. She soothed my fears by assuring me that the male attention would be like a antidote to my sadness and she was right. Getting a match, text, or email is like a little boost to my fragile damaged ego. Everyone wants to hear that they’re beautiful, smart, and amazing, especially if you’ve been deprived of the good stuff for as long as I had. You realize how awesome you are and what a catch you will be. It helps you be selective in your dating choices when you realize that others do think you’re so special. Suddenly you start dressing cuter, wearing makeup voluntarily, and strutting when you walk. Confidence is catchy and a little male attention can go a long way, so get out there and get yourself some!

 

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Girl Time

Look, I was never the girl that would ghost her friends as soon as a new boy entered her life, but let’s state the obvious- when you have a relationship it takes up a darn lot of your time. I had girlfriends in my life, but never seemed to have the time to dedicate to growing an enduring relationship. In all honesty, I tried to make my partner be my everything. Wanna go shopping? Come on man, rally! Can’t you just let me cry it out without trying to fix it????? The truth is no man, or woman for that matter, can be someone’s everything. It’s just not humanly possible. So when I was finally footloose and fancy free the first thing I did was grab my girls and hold them tight. Spending time with my friends has resulted in some of the most fun and intense connections I’ve ever had. Just like a boyfriend, one girl doesn’t fit all. I have my BFF who lets me cry uncontrollably on her shoulder when my heart gets blown to bits. I have my spiritual sister who can turn any darkness into light. I have my no-nonsense Chica who will call me out if I’m being too wishy washy, overly emotional, or just need to get over myself. I have my lovely friend who brings me gifts every time I see her and loves to adventure to new restaurants and NYC finds. I even have the great fortune to have a married couple that I aspire to be like when I grow up. She cooks me homemade dinners and he hangs the shelves in my apartment. Being solitary has it’s benefits and some are greater than any one man can give.

 

5 Things- I’m Smitten with Paris

5 Things I'm Smitten With
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Le Bon Choses– You know you’ve heard about it. The Parisians enjoy a joie de la vie. Unlike the type A worker bees of NYC, the French are more concerned with living life rather than conquering it, and it’s palpable. Just walk the streets and your senses are flooded. Shop windows are merely showcases for the artistry of the pâtissier and his creations. Then there’s the boulangerie where each baker has their secret baguette, croissant, pain au chocolat, and brioche recipe. Flower shops aren’t contained to the square footage of the store, but instead spill out onto the street. Flowers abound in every color imaginable and the blooms are more fragrant  than any you might find at a bodega in the New York City. I spent a good 20 minutes in awe of a boutique de fleurs that JUST HAD ROSES. Mind-bogglingly beautiful. There’s shops for every individual part of your meal- the meat, the vegetables, the fish, the cheese. The cheese. There is absolutely no replacement for French cheese. The stinkier the better and lack of pasteurization creates flavors that invade your mouth. There’s no doubt that you’re experiencing something otherworldly. Just about any food shop you wander into will blow your mind, but make sure to ask which are the “best” in your arrondissement. Be aware though that there’s a chance it could be closed on a Tuesday or unexpectedly at 4pm instead of 5 or 6. In typical French fashion the Parissiens value getting home and enjoying the deliciousness of their endeavors more than making money selling them to you.

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L’histoire- I’m admittedly somewhat of a history buff and France’s rich past does not disappoint. I love my current city for it’s history and handsome architecture, but New York City is a mere 400 year old blip on the 10,000 year old French city of Paris. Prehistorically there were settlers as early as the middle Neolithic period, Bronze, and Iron ages. Later the Romans lead by Julius Ceasar marched on what is now the Saint Germaine-des-Pres. There’s only a feel left of those ancient eras but evidence of Medieval times still abound. The cathedral of Notre-Dame and the charming Ile de la cite where the royal palace once stood invite visions of kings named Henry or Louise as well as the tragedy of Marie Antioinette. The moats and towers of the Louvre during the dark ages still stand and in 1534, King Francois I was the first French King to make the now museum his residence making it one of the most beautiful “homes” I’ve ever been to. There are pages of history that would be too long to list here, but Paris’ past is everywhere. In the Jardin de Tulieries, the Bastille, as well as Napleon’s Arc de Triomphe. Haussman architecture marks the work of Napleon III’s series of public works to improve Paris. It was his doing to erect landmarks like the Gare de Nord and the Gare de Lyon as gateways to the city, as well as the sensational Paris Opera. During the Belle Epoque, the Basilica Sacre Coure was erected in what is now the hills of Monmarte. The most well known French poet and novelist Victor Hugo (Les Miserables ring a bell?) laid the way for generations of writers and artists such as Renoir, Picasso, Modigliani, and later Hemingway, Yeats, Pound, and Gershwin to create here with abandon. You can’t go two feet in this city without stumbling on a cafe, hôtel (home), or cemetery where the artists that flocked to the city lived, slept, or died. Paris survived the Nazi occupation during WWII and Hitler’s sinister plan to demolish the city, so it’s beauty still stands today. Turn a corner in this city and there’s a story or hint of bygone days. Breathe it in and grasp why the city is so cherished by it’s people and visitors alike.

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Le Tennis- As I started planning for my big departure, I made sure to grill everyone that came through the doors of my studio for any recommendations à Paris. One of my teacher’s particularly stylish clients said that I MUST get a pair of Bensimmon sneakers since all the French girls flaunt them. I pride myself in a somewhat decent short-term memory (big mistake) so I didn’t jot down the brand name and found myself scouring the internet for “simmone sneakers French” to no avail. Luckily, my American friend living in Paris and I tracked them down and voila, there happened to be a pop-up store right near her place in the 11th arrondissement. Can we just say that it is sneaker heaven? THE cutest, most feminine, little kicks I’ve ever seen. They come in a rainbow of colors and styles, like grey wool with velvet laces for winter, and lemon striped or flower printed for spring and summer. They have a couple different styles like ballet flat and high-top, but the regular four laced sneaks are perfection. Just slip them on and off and look tres chic running errands or with a sunny dress. As comfy as they are stylish even my cranky feet don’t complain. My only regret is that I didn’t get more than one pair!

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Le vie de Cafe– Cafe culture resounds en Paris. The seats of the brasseries, bistros, and cafes all face out to the street. This is not just so you can people watch, and the people watching is supreme in this city, but so you too can also be seen. On a Friday night the patron’s overflow into the streets with glasses of Aligote or Bourdeux Rouge in one hand, and cigarettes in the other preening like peacocks and scrutinizing everyone that might pass. The concept of “to-go” hasn’t yet contaminated their culture so if you want a coffee you must sit and savor. Order a cafe creme (espresso with milk in a larger cup), a cafe elongee (our americano), or a un café noisette (espresso with a dash of milk or a spoonful of foam in a small cup). Coffee here is an art in which quality is much more important than quantity. If you want a big honkin’ cup of joe like you get at the ‘bucks you’re out of luck. Some cafe’s may have cafe filtre or cafe americain which is the stuff that percolates out of your Mr. Coffee at home, but it’s considered weak and flavorless and then you’re sure to be pinpointed as a touristique and who wants that? When in Paris you should do as the Parisians do, and get a solid cup of java. Taking time to savor your coffee or glass of wine while gawking at passerby’s is the savoir faire of the French, don’t miss out.

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La Communication– The rumor that the French are rude can be well, somewhat true. They are abrupt, to the point, and fiercely proud of their language and culture which is probably why it’s survived thousands of years. I studied French in high school and four years in AP French left me with just a whispering of the depth and beauty of this language. Learn to communicate basic phrases to show your appreciation, but don’t be surprised if the quick tonged waiter at your brasserie skips over your well intended, J’voudrais…. and speaks in accented English. Don’t be offended, he’s just trying to keep you from butchering his hallowed langue. If you’ve never taken a subway in your life, navigation is pretty simple and the ride terrifically civilized. Make sure you lower your tone to a French decibel- they speak mostly in whispers. If you’re used to the subway in NYC the Metro will feel like a spa vacation. It’s gloriously clean (although grown men in business suits have a lovely habit of peeing wherever they please), and incredibly on time. I guess if you don’t have to run 24/7 you have time to keep things in working order. The city is circular like a snail. Each arrondissement or district is distinctly different with it’s own appeal. There are no street signs so street names are artfully scrolled on the sides of buildings which helps preserve the charm of the cobblestoned streets but can slow you down while navigating the neighborhoods. Get your phone’s GPS working unless you know how to take directions en français. Hey, if there is anything better than getting lost in Paris I can’t think if it, so get a little lost. You won’t regret it.

5 Things February 2014

5 Things I'm Smitten With
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The Conversation

I don’t know about you but if you’re at all like me, one of my favorite things to do is to gather together my girlfriends and well, talk. That’s exactly the idea creator, Amanda de Cadenet had when she developed The Conversation. Imagine a place where we can come to recognize that although we are all a little different (different shapes and sizes, ethnicities and backgrounds) we are at the heart gloriously the same. A virtual spot where women all over the globe can come and listen in a judge-free zone, where they won’t be interrupted by ads trying to sell them face cream and tampons. Star studded, executive producer Demi Moore and de Cadenet have wrangled some of the biggest names like Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda, Arianna Huffington, Gwyenth Paltrow, and Chelsea Handler to name a few. Watch one and feel part of something bigger, then just try and stop yourself from watching two, three, or more!

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ByBoe Earrings

One of my chicest clients is always her most stylish-self, when she shows up for her Pilates sessions. Lisa (the same one who told me about these fashion-forward footwear), constantly has the BEST earrings. In perfect classic fashion, she dons charming little studs so as not to interfere with her work in the studio. I too have adopted the polish of minimalist earrings that still pack a punch. As holiday goodies, lovely Lisa gifted me two pairs of ByBoe studs. Designer Annika Inez hails originally from Sweden, but now calls NYC her home. She draws inspiration from unique materials and incorporates vintage components. My little ornaments were fashioned from antique buttons, but she also made these simple leather bows very popular. Definitely within most budgets get a couple pairs of ByBoe earrings and you’ll be set to go from Pilates to parties without fuss.

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Blackfish

I grew up in Southern California and have two aunts that live in the San Diego area. As far back as I can remember, we spent time at the zoo and of course, Sea World. It was Shamu himself that inspired me to become a dancing marine biologist (no, there aren’t any of those, but I was gonna be the first)! Everything about being under the sea was magical, but it was the whales that really moved me. I started a save the whales club, studied them incessantly, and vowed to make a difference in these caring beings. Because the Shamu show and stuffed animals all seemed hunky dory, I never thought deeper about the killer whale’s existence. I’m ashamed to say, that it was very “American” or naive of me to believe that wild animals could be happy in a cage working for their supper. So when I first heard about the documentary Blackfish, the profiles of the lives of these Orca whales in captivity, I was curious. Admittedly, I was nervous about bloody scenes or unforgettable violence, but what it had instead was a sobering effect on me. Why had I never thought about this? Like any good documentary, Blackfish starts a discussion that needs to be had. SeaWorld still denying their part makes this an even more important watch. Smiley Shamu will never be the same, but probably for the better.

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Homemade Almond Milk

Not officially lactose intolerant, I abhor all the nasty chemicals and hormones that make it into today’s milk cartons. Not to mention the poor cows that have to supply us with this endless reserve of creamy white stuff that are chained to one spot serving the church of milk their entire life. Whether you are in favor of more humane animal conditions or just get a tummy ache after a milkshake- Almond Milk is for you. Turns out though that commercial made Almond Milk can have preservatives that are not as fabulous as the milk itself. Never fear! Almond Milk is stupid easy to make and WAAY better than the version you can get at your supermarket. Below are two ways I make my “milk”. Enjoy!

 Almond Milk From Scratch
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Instant Almond Milk
click here to see the cheater’s method, almost as good as the scratch version;)
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FaceTime

My boyfriend recently flew off for a four month stint in Germany with his theater company, Parallel Exit. While good jobs in the theater are nothing to sneeze at I was secretly stressed about how I was going to keep the communication and closeness when he’s 3,000 miles away. Enter Apple’s FaceTime. Now, I’m no stranger to Apple products – I own a laptop, desktop, iPhone, and iPad, but had never really had the need for FaceTime. I’m an only child and my parents aren’t exactly what one would call “tech-savvy”. So, when my man was saying, “don’t worry, we’ll just FaceTime” I wasn’t soothed. I was so wrong. For those of you living in a cave, FaceTime allows you to do face-to-face phone calls with live video from anywhere. In Germany he uses the WiFi but I can FaceTime right off the NYC streets. There’s something about being able to see the person you miss, their reactions and expressions, in real time that makes the distance fade away. It has REALLY helped with the distance, and is one of the most amazing inventions of our time. Remember when we thought a video phone was something only the Jetson’s could have? Well, Steve Jobs has made it a reality and a relationship saver at that. This is what technology is good for.