Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The game of risk

My friend sent me this article and I really liked how he talks about minimizing the costs and risks of dating. (Actually, I like a lot of the advice he shared.)

We put SO MUCH pressure on first dates! Is he The One? How long has he been in love with me? Do his last name work with my first name? Why did he ask out half of the Relief Society before asking me out? Is he a player? Am I in love with him? We act as though we have to know by the end of the date whether we are going to marry the guy! Then, we come home from the date, plop down with ice cream and friends and analyze every detail. Then we mention the date to our visiting teachers, co-workers and classmates and within a week, everyone thinks you two are an item, but really, he’s been on dates with two other girls and wasn’t planning on asking you again! Suddenly, you’re feeling like an idiot and he is confused as to why your roommates are snubbing him.
A first date is just a first date. A second date is just a second date. Even a third and fourth date is just a third and fourth date. It’s a chance to hang out with someone, one on one. Nothing more, nothing less.

A huge secret to my dating success came when I finally internalized this critical principle! I actually went through a time period where all of my guy friends were guys I had first gone on a date with. We didn’t have chemistry, but we sure enjoyed each other’s company! During this time, I even went out with entire apartments and one time, a family! (the boys in that family were VERY attractive!) (yes, that was probably the high point of my career).

So what did I do? Okay, this is my personal secret, the method I used to calm myself down about dating. I’m not saying it works for everyone, but it did for me! Every time a guy asked me on a date, I convinced myself that he only asked me out because his first choice girl said no. I was his friend, therefore I was a great backup candidate. After all, he already had plans to go to the movie/dinner/play/bonfire, so why not take a back up? Occasionally (depending on how much I really liked him) I would even select a specific girl I knew and tell myself she was his first choice.

I’m actually pretty good at lying to myself (yet strangely, not very good at lying to others...) Telling myself this lie helped because I learned these incredibly important principles:

1. I wouldn’t talk about my dates with anyone else. I’m kinda prideful, so it was embarrassing to tell people I was only his backup choice! So I just wouldn’t say anything and if anyone asked, I would nonchalantly brush it off. Maybe I would talk and analyze if I was his first pick, but not second and definitely not third!

Years later, I heard a dating coach recommend only talking to 2-3 people about any dates you go on. It minimizes potentially painful and embarrassing moments if things don’t work out. Wait until you are in an official relationship to tell your classmates, hairdresser and random stranger on the street.

2. It helped emphasize friendship first. If I was his backup choice, he obviously trusted me enough to be there for him, even if it was a last minute invite. We were friends! Buds! Bros, even! (Bros of another gender!) When we were on a date, we were just two friends, hanging out and having dinner. After the date, he wasn’t the guy I had gone a date with. He was my friend who I spend time with last night! Our friendship would just continue the next time I saw him at church.

The one downside is I could get carried away with this attitude. He would lose interest because I treated him too much like a friend, instead of a romantic interest. But hey! I still kept the pressure to a minimum!

3. My world didn’t end if he didn’t ask me on a second date. After all, I was only his third choice. His first choice was available the next weekend! I was free to accept another date with another friend!

4. I wasn’t too physically easy. I’m not going to kiss him if I’m only his second choice! When I’m more of his priority, then we’ll talk! In reality, guys don’t like it when girls put out easily. Trust me, I know. When they say they like it, they mean in the way they like food. Taco Bell gets the job done. It’s cheap and easy. Cafe Rio is even better. There is a bit more waiting, it’s more expensive, but so good when you finally sit down! Red Iguana? Well, that’s luxury, right there! The waiting is atrociously long, the prices on the higher range for mexican food, but SO WORTH THE WAIT. Be a Red Iguana kinda girl!
5. I literally was his second choice, and it was easier to accept. If a guy is going on dates with four different girls a week, he isn’t a player. He is doing his dating job. If a girl is accepting three dates a week with different guys, she isn’t a skank looking for free meals. It’s her job to get to know different guys!!! At the end of the day, we have to be okay with that concept. Dating is about getting to know different people until you find one you like. When you kiss someone or agree to be in a committed relationship, THEN you stop dating others. If you continue to date others, then the labels “player” and “skank” become appropriate.

Once I calmed down about dating, it became less stressful. I was a chill girl and the boys noticed. I was still friends with Ryan, so Nick felt comfortable in going out with me. Boys want to minimize the risks just as much as the girls. So make it easy for them! Once you get this kind of reputation, the dates will come rolling in! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Scramble: A Modern Day Parable

got an iPhone at the beginning of this year. 

First off, iPhones are amazing! I have a small list of things that everyone said I need to try and I would just shrug and say, “Hm. I’m fine with what I have. I’ll just stick with it.” Then I try the product and my life is completely revolutionized! I suddenly can’t understand how I lived without the product! It’s amazing and wonderful and I insist on explaining to everyone I know why they are the best! IPhones are on this list. Tampons and cheesecake are on this list.

When I got my phone, my friends told me which games I needed to download so we could play together. One game was Scramble with Friends. Have you played it? It’s fun. Now, I love word games but I’m surprisingly bad at them. Most people assume I would be good because I read a lot and therefore know a lot of words, but they are wrong. I tend to freeze easily under pressure.

I started playing with a few friends and I lost miserably each time. One friend, SL, was especially good at the game. When I played her, it was embarrassing. I lost by hundreds of points. I had close games with other friends, like my little sister, but I could not even come close to beating SL. So it became my goal to beat SL. I asked her for tips and suggestions, which she kindly gave. At any given time, we had about five games going, so I was getting in a lot of practice. At some point, my little sister stopped playing with me because she got distracted by school and real life (wait, what?! Not everyone has time to sit around playing internet games?!).

I continued to get better. My total word count got higher and higher and I started the close the gap of points between me and SL. One day, my little sister started playing with me again. She immediately told me, “You need to get a life and get away from this game. You’ve gotten ridiculously good.” I was surprised to see that she was right! Our games weren’t as close anymore, with me losing every time. I was winning! I was also beating my other friends. But the most amazing part? I hadn’t realized it because I still hadn’t beat SL!

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We find someone to compare ourselves. We become so fixated on beating that one person (or even group of persons) that we forget to be happy. Happy for improvement within ourselves. Happy for the fun we have while we improve. Happy for the beauty around us. Happy for the mind, body and social ability to improve.

I wish I had specific advice on how to stop comparing yourself to others, but I don’t. I’m just as guilty, maybe even worse (Aha! See! Comparison!) Sometimes I make myself stop and think about how far I’ve come in my life, especially since I graduated from high school. I was a frightfully na├»ve and homely little thing in high school. Since then, I’ve done hard and challenging things. I’ve become a better person and I’m grateful for that. I even keep a list of those accomplishments in my planner, so I can always reference them when I’m feeling down.

What if, just for today, we don’t compare? We make a list of what we are proud of and admire ourselves for how far we’ve come? We don’t look at our list and say, “Well, hers is longer and she is younger than me” or “Well, she is earning more money than me.” Let’s just be happy for who we are. I think that is where our true beauty lies.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Birthday Freebies

My birthday is in 4 days! It's the Golden Birthday, turning 28 on the 28th! Eeek!

I have several ways I enjoy celebrating my birthday. Last year, I did 27 service projects and I enjoyed it so much, I want to make it a tradition. I also enjoy presents, getting sung to, setting goals to accomplish in my next year of life and spending time with friends and family.
Me getting sung to at Texas Roadhouse. They sure know how
embarrass you at that place.

But my favoritest birthday tradition of all? FREE BIRTHDAY STUFF! Seriously, who needs a man on your birthday when the stores love you enough to give you free meals and desserts?! (Please note, that was only a joke. My ideal birthday would involve flowers, dinner, and a movie with the man of my dreams. If you have a way of making this happen, I would be eternally grateful!)

But free stuff! Yay! My favorite ones are the ones you don't have to purchase anything else. It's free just because you were born. Those are my first coupons to go. So far I've gotten:

 *A burrito from Rubio's Mexican Grill. They give an entire free meal if you sign up for their club.
The bag and its delicious contents

*Ice cream from Coldstone's. Sign up for their email list and you can get any ice cream, any size with up to four free add-ins.

*A bowl of noodles from Noodles and Co. Sign up on their email list, get any bowl and you can even add meat for free!
They've got this new spring dish with asparagus and spinach.
Duh. Lish. Us!!!!
I also have coupons for Red Robin (free burger), Dairy Queen (buy one, get one free Blizzard), Texas Roadhouse (free appetizer), Marie Calender's (free slice of pie) and Einstein's Bagels (free breakfast sandwich with purchase of drink). Most of them just require signing up for their emailing list, which is great because for the rest of the year, they email you other coupons and free stuff. Seriously, who wouldn't have a happy birthday with all these amazing treats?!

Do you have any fun birthday traditions?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In a parallel universe...

I like to play the what if game. It’s possibly one of my favorite games. I dated a guy who also loved this game and we would have the best discussions. How would things be different if someone made a slightly different choice along the way? We could totally be living in a parallel universe with completely different lives!

I really believe in “meant to be.” I freely and emphatically use that phrase throughout my life. But I don’t believe in “destiny.” In my mind, they are very different. I think it has to do choices. Meant-to-be focuses on the choices we made along the way that results in a certain place, whereas destiny focuses on where we end up, regardless of which choices we made. If it’s destiny, we could have done A, B, and C or E, F, and G and ended up with the same results, either way. Meant-to-be means we chose A, B, and C and got D as a result. But we could have chosen E, F, and G and ended up H and still have been happy. Or maybe not happy. That is the beauty of meant-to-be, we will never know the other options! It’s so exciting!

I recently talked with a friend who is getting very serious with her man. I’m pleased to report that I set them up! (As a side note, I love playing match-maker. If I could make a career out of it, I would!) We marvelled at how meant-to-be their relationship is. What if I had moved into a different ward? What if I had a different home teacher? What if I hadn't broken up with my boyfriend and needed someone to listen to my whining? What if she had moved into my ward like she had originally planned? Would they still have gotten together or would they have completely missed each other because they weren't ready to meet?
I guess my point is we can date and practice dating all that we want. We can go on one date a year or three dates every weekend. We can wonder what we are doing wrong and try to become better. But when it’s meant-to-be, it’s meant-to-be. Nothing can prepare us for meant-to-bes. Meant-to-bes just catch us completely off-guard and it’s only when they are over that we realize how meant-to-be they really were.

I think that’s what people mean when they say, “Oh, you’ll get married when you aren’t looking for it.” That is a lie. If that were true, I would have been married when I was 21. I think what they mean is, “You’ll find The One is a way you weren’t ready for because it will be meant-to-be.”

So don't worry when you feel like you just messed things up with the cute guy at the party because you rambled on about how buffet is a terrible word and he kept staring at your like, "Why am I talking to this lunatic when there is a cuter girl over by the cookies?" The meant-to-be will come along, someday.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Interwebs dating

I approve of online dating.
If you haven’t given it a try, you should.
Back in 2011, I was scared of online dating. I felt like only losers used it because they had been rejected by every other boy in real life. Then, my group of friends (there were six of us who were very close) went through an online dating phase and convinced me to join them. One friend went on an average of two dates a day (she was a little bit boy crazy and only had a part time job in order to help her focus on man-hunting. True story.) Another friend met an awesome guy who took her out on amazing dates and brought her flowers when she got back from a trip. Another friend got into a relationship with a guy she met.
Excitedly, I started an account and waited for the messages to start pouring in. I got a message from a 64 divorced man who live in Iowa. He had no schooling, no job and looked like he hadn’t showered in a week. He sent me a very tempting offer and it was hard to refuse, but I somehow managed.

The next guy who messaged me told me that if I was pretty cute, but he doesn’t date Mormon girls. If I ever decided to renounce my religion, he explained, he would be willing to go out with me. I sent him a scathing letter reminding him that I’m not a member of my church because my mommy told me I had to or because I wanted to get married in a pretty building like all of my friends. I told him he insulted my intelligence and even if I did renounce my religion, he would be the last man on earth I would date. I really did say all of that (except the dramatic, last-man line).

Then I got a series of messages from creepy, weird and generally dreadful guys. My self-confidence shot down. Was there something so wrong with me that my friends would get amazing guys and I got the losers? Were these the type of guys I was supposed to be with while my friends got the cool, smart, nice guys? For the sake of my self esteem, I closed that account.
A few months later, my friends convinced me I just had a bad experience and I needed to try again. They suggested a different website, ldslinkup.com. After much coaxing, I gave it another try. Much. Better. Results. I ended up messaging some really cool guys and I went on a few dates (one guy will get his own post someday, it was such a funny date). I’m still friends with a few of the guys I met through the experience. I enjoyed talking to different guys and learning how to flirt online. It even built my self esteem! 

I tell you all of this because I want you to know online dating isn't for everybody, but give it a try before you completely knock it. Here are my tips:

*Don’t pay for an account. That was my mistake the first time around. When you pay, you get people who are a little more desperate or shallow. Normal, average guys will set up a free account because, why not! It’s a free way to meet more girls and there is no commitment. Don’t you pay either.

*Close the account if it’s hurting your self-esteem. There are some creepy and weird guys out there. You deserve better than that, trust me. Try another site or use the good old fashioned method of meeting people in person.

*Be safe. A good guy won’t be offended if you ask for his name first so you can facebook stalk him before giving your contact info. He will know there is more danger for you than for him. A good guy will have plenty of information on his profile. He will be willing to meet you in a public place. He won’t make you feel guilty for not giving information.

*Don’t stay on all the time. Go on for a month or two. If you aren’t succeeding, cancel the account. Then come back in a few months and try another website. People use different sites, so you never know who you’ll meet.

*Pay attention to the pictures and information you put up. Are you using cute pictures? Ask a photographer friend to take a good picture and use that. Online dating can be a bit shallow initially, deal with it. Also, read through the information you put up. Don’t give away personal information (your address, your first and last name, etc) but don’t be so vague that you come off as boring. For example, everyone says, “I’m fun and smart.” That is vague and tells guys nothing about you. Try something like, “I enjoy sitting on the porch during the rain while reading a good book.” It’s specific enough that he can comment on and it shows your interests.
*Believe that success can come from online dating! I had one friend who got married in December from online dating. Another friend will be getting married this July from her online dating encounter. It isn’t the only way, but it is a great way!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Such a sweet body

Original source

This totally made me smile! Why are we so hard on ourselves?! I'm not just talking about our bodies (though heaven knows we can be so unforgiving with that topic). I tend to be really hard on myself with my expectations of where I should be in life right now. I should be in a successful career by now. I should be married with a few children by now. I should own my own place by now. I shouldn't be hung up on my ex-boyfriend. We get so focused on what we don't have that we don't realize what we do have. The positive things that God has blessed us with.

So for today, here are a few positive things in my life:

1. Spotify and unlimited access to happy music.
2. Yellow flowers on my computer background and in my office.
3. A sunny day.
4. Moab trip in one day!
5. Friends.

What are five positive things in your day?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dating apps

Have you heard about dating apps? Maybe I'm just behind on the times, but my friend encouraged me to download Tinder this past weekend. It's my first dating app and since then, I've heard of a few others.

An inside look at the app
The app will pull up other Tinder users your area and you can decide if you like the person or not. If you do and if the person likes you back, then you can message back and forth. The comforting thing is the app is designed to be sneaky. If you like a person and they don't like you back, they won't ever know you liked them in the first place! I've been using the app for a week or so and I'm so entertained with it!  I've chatted with a few boys, but nothing has happened...yet! It's such a fun way to meet new people.

What about you? Do you know about any fun dating apps out there? Would you be willing to try one?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do Unto Others

Here is one of my most fundamental rules when I'm first getting to know a guy. Ready for it?

Do unto them as you would have done unto you.

Sounds a bit familiar, right? Good! Just so you know, I didn't come up with it.

For most of my life, I was brainwashed by chick flick movies that had the same plot: Boy and girl meet. Boy is smitten, girl is not. Boy attempts to woo girl, girl is a total jerk. She often insults him, ignores him, or dates other boys while he watches. Boy keeps trying and eventually, she changes her mind, they fall in love and live happily ever after. (see The Notebook)

Yeah, I'll publicly humiliate you just so you fall  more in love with me!

In real life, this does not happen. If you are mean to a boy, he will stop pursuing you. True story. Guys don't have limitless self-esteem available for every girl to cruelly crush. They hate being rejected just as much as we do. So help a brother out! Here are some of my niceness tips:

-Smile at a boy who looks like he is trying to get the courage to come talk to you. It makes it SO much easier for him.

-Separate yourselves from your girls every so often. It's so intimidating for a guy to call out one girl from a group. Food is my great excuse. If I've been standing with a group of girls for too long, I "get a drink of water" or "grab another cupcake." Throwing away trash is another great excuse. Also, don't be afraid to attend events alone. It forces you to make new friends!

-One thing I like to do is think about how I want to be treated, then do those exact things to him. So, for example, if I'm standing alone at a party, wishing a guy would come over and tell me I look amazing, I find an amazing looking guy and start up a conversation by complimenting him. Or if I just started talking to a guy and I want him to tease me a bit, I start teasing him.

-Flirt, flirt, flirt! In addition to letting him know that you are interested, flirting just makes people more comfortable. It makes them feel special and wanted. Those girls who get asked out on a lot of dates? Yeah, they are master flirters.

-Say yes if he asks he you out. Unless you absolutely know it is completely going no where. Then, the nicest thing to do is say no.

-If you really aren't interested, it is SO mean to lead him on. If you say, "I'm busy this week" or "I have to wash my hair" he might not get the point. Try instead, "That is so nice of you, but I'm not really interested. Thanks so much for thinking of me." It may be awkward, but you are being nice enough to let him move on to a girl who is interested.

What about you friends? Any other tips on how to be nice?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Because I don't always talk about dating...

The view from my kitchen window

I had a very quiet weekend. Unusually quiet. So I took advantage of my freedom and did some spring cleaning. I rearranged my bookshelves, which is a huge deal for a book nerd like myself. I left them in color coded order (based on the order of the rainbow colors)(and yes, it does mean that the Harry Potter books are not together) but I pushed them to the back, against the back wall of the shelves, then put my trinkets in front of the books. It's not a big deal for most people, but I was very excited with the end results.

I also spent some time sorting through my stuff I have in storage. I got rid of SO. MUCH. Stuff. Seriously, who carts around that much crap? I'm only one person! Books, cds, an old jewelry box and a vacuum cleaner (maybe someday I'll post about my strange love of vacuuming). DI and the library benefited greatly from my spring cleaning!

Friends, it was a lot of work, but when I was done, I felt so free! I move a lot and I had some items that should have been donated two moves ago. Eek!  Also, I'll be moving again in a few months and it's nice to know I have one less carload of junk to worry about. While I was sorting through some boxes, I found a bunch of my old journals and I had a quick read. I laughed and cried. It felt good. Overall, it was a productive and enjoyable weekend.

Anyone else in spring cleaning mode?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Don't ask.

One of my top dating rules is this: never, ever ask a guy out on a date.

It's a very controversial rule.

But I've stood by it for many years now and I've never suffered from it.

Here's why: if they wanted to go out with you, they would ask you out! It's that simple. They don't really like being asked out because men like to compete and work hard. By not asking him out, you remain the challenge. Asking him out makes you a little too easy.

Your guy friend might say, "No way! We like being asked out!" But what they really mean is, "Of course I like being asked out! Who wouldn't want a free activity that I didn't have to plan? But yeah, if I liked you and was genuinely interested in you, I would have asked you out awhile ago." I promise you, that is what they mean. Don't believe me? Ask around. How many relationships or even second dates (where he asked her the second time because he was interested) resulted from her asking him out the first time? It's abysmally low. Much lower than the success rate when he asked her out the first time.

Some potential exceptions?

-You aren't interested in actually in productive dating (the kind of dating that leads to a relationship). You just want to test your flirting skills. By all mean, ask and practice! Just don't be disappointed when you are going on dates and nothing ever seems to come from it.

-You really, really need a date. I mean, really really really really need a date. As in, it is too awkward to go alone and it would be weird to bring a girl friend. In this situation, DO NOT ask a guy you are interested in or hope something will happen. Ask a guy friend who you've already established that nothing will happen with.

-You're a modern woman in a modern world and asking out men is now acceptable. Well, okay then. Good luck with that. Good luck going against thousands of years of evolutionary psychology. If it works and you end up marrying him, let me know. I always like being proven wrong.
My point is, don't ask guys out on dates. Flirt so that they will be comfortable enough to ask you out. But don't you dare ask him! If it seems hard at first, you'll get better at it. Trust me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Have you seen this?

This is a super cute video a friend showed me awhile ago. It's very similar to the Pixar short Paperman, except this one came first!

I love her boldness and creativity, initiating a creative conversation, but she still lets him take the lead when moving to the next level. Such a cute video!

What do you think? Would you have started a conversation, if you were her?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Brief Touch

In case you are like me and missed the Dating 101 for High Schoolers (I'm pretty sure it was held in the mall on the weekends, which explains why so many teens hang out there), I have a very basic tip today. The days of showing a boy you like him by ignoring him are over. Instead, you need to need to break his personal bubble space and touch him. Touching is the new ignoring!

Cartoon Girl gives a good example!
Have you never tried this flirting technique? Start simple!
-As you are laughing at the funny joke he just told, put your hand on his shoulder for a second or two.
-When you are excitedly sharing a story with him, put your hand on his arm briefly.
-If he shares an profound insights, quickly put your hand on his knee and say, "That is a really good idea!"
-If he teases you, push him slightly in the shoulder.

Already tried those basics? Take it up a notch!
-As you are telling him a story, put your hand on his arm and leave it there.
-Put your hand over his hand for a minute as you are talking. Or, if you are talking to him and someone interrupts to speak with you, put your hand over his hand during the interruption. It'll keep his attention, trust me. Keep in mind, this shouldn't be holding hands! It's more of an encouragement to get him to hold your hand!
-When you talking and put your hand on his arm. Leave it there for awhile or rub his arm as you talk. Not longer than a minute. You wanna keep it in teasing mode!

Next time you are at a social event, try one or two of these moves. Pay attention to how he reacts. If he seems uncomfortable, he might not be interested. Most likely, he'll smile and get more into your conversation. 

Friends, what other moves do you use when flirting and touching?

Friday, March 1, 2013

No more excuses!

Picture it. It's Friday morning and you realize you have yet another weekend without a date. Well, you reason, it's fine. I didn't want to go on a date anyway. I'm....

*Far too busy.
*too intimidating because of my brains/skills/looks/amazing testimony.
*not interested in the guys in my ward/apartment building/classes.
*waiting until I move/graduate
*just not good enough for boys to ask out. (Ugh. If I ever hear you say this, I will personally come over and yell at you).

Here is an important tip: STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR YOURSELF! We often make those excuses to cover up insecurities. Too often, what we really mean is, "I wanna date, but no one is asking me out. So I'll pretend like I didn't want to go out in the first place." What we should be saying is, "How am I going to get a date this weekend?" Admit to yourself you want to be dating. Then go about dating! If you want to date, then you should be dating. It's that simple. As long as there are single boys and single girls, dating will happen. No excuses.

While we are on the topic of excuses, let's talk about making excuses for boys. I would like to introduce you to a little movie that literally changed my dating life:
He's Just Not that Into You. A book and movie. I like both.
In the movie, our main character Gigi is stalking some guy at a bar, hoping that if he sees her again, he'll ask her out again and fall madly in love with her. The cute bartender, Alex, tells her she is stupid. He then gives this profound piece of wisdom (and I'm paraphrasing a bit here): If a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a crap, he genuinely doesn't give a crap.

Friends, the first time I heard that line, it was like a light bulb went off in my mind. I was Gigi! I had spent so much time making excuses for guys. He's busy with school work. He is out of town. He's shy. He needs to figure himself out. If I'm patient, he'll eventually call me or ask me out. Well, NO MORE!

Psychologically, men love to face challenges, compete and win. It's why they love sports and video games so much. If he wants you, HE WILL MAKE IT WORK. Believe me. One of my guy friends knocked on several doors in an apartment complex until he found a girl he had met at the pool. My last boyfriend stalked me at several parties because he was so nervous about talking to me. Then he broke his rule of talking to a girl at least twice before getting her number. When a guy is interested, he will make it happen. No exceptions.

If he doesn't seem like he cares about you, he truly doesn't care. He just isn't into you. As hard as it is to hear and accept, you need to move on. Don't make excuses. Don't wait. Don't hope. Just move on. It will save you time and heart ache.

But you really, really, really like him and maybe he will change? Okay, I get that. So anytime he contacts you, flirt your little heart out. Do everything in your power to help him feel like he is the most special man in the world. But do NOT contact him. Let him come to you. When he's not around you, flirt with other guys and cultivate other options. If it works out with Dream Boy, great. If not, there's always Hottie from last Friday's party.

But he really is super shy! Great. So one day you'll get desperate enough and ask him out (a move I do not approve of) and then he still won't say anything. He still won't take inititive. Someday, he is going to meet Mrs. Right, who he is so captivated by that he will move past his shyness and they will live happily ever after. He will make it happen. But if he is too shy to ask you out, you aren't Mrs. Right. Move on. Still can't? See steps in previous paragraph.

My one warning in all this is to be careful when he DOES act like he cares. Then you should help him out! Some poor boys get super frustrated when a girl is difficult, even though he is doing all he can. Then, he won't ask you out. Don't be that girl. My advice? Reciprocate his interest. More on that later. For now, remember this simple mantra: If he acts like he doesn't care about you, he really doesn't. He's just not that into you. Move on, find a man who is.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tilt and Smile

Friends, have you ever met a guy, talked for for at least an hour and he STILL didn't get your number? You walk away frustrated because you have no idea why! It seemed like everything went so well! I have news for you: you might have talking, but he had no idea you were interested. You never used the right body language.

Remember how we talked about body language awhile back ago? I hope you all have been working on your tone! Today, I have another body language tip for you! It's called the Tilt and Smile. Here is the scenario: you're sitting there, looking amazing, talking to the man of your dreams. He teases you a bit. You tilt your head and smile. He falls in love just a little bit more.

Need some photographic explanation?

This is a little too much tilt. You don't wanna look like your neck is broken. 
Hermione's almost got the move down. It's the perfect bit of tilt, but not enough smile. Come on, girl! Don't you want steal Ron away from Lavender?!

Awww yeah! Aria's got it down perfect. Notice her head is tilted ever so slightly. She smiles gently and looks down. No wonder Mr. Fitz is willing to be the creepy high school teacher hitting on a student! Just look at her!

Why is it so attractive? A recent study says it's because it makes the women seem smaller. I personally think it's because you just look so darn adorable.Whatever the reason, it works! I suggested this a friend who tried it on her recent crush. She was in a room as he walked by and they met each other's gaze. She went all out by tilting her head, smiling and then giving a gentle wave of her hand. You better believe he came back and got her number! Those are the kinda results I like to hear about!

So give it a try. Tilt when he says something funny. Tilt to catch his attention from across the room. Tilt whenever you feel the conversation getting a little too friend zone-ish. Then give him a little smile. He'll like it, trust me!

All right, friends. I wanna hear about your success with the tilt and smile? Additions that worked? Sad fails?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Missed Connection

Maybe you've seen this going around the Internet already, but I'm so charmed by it, I just had to share!

Here is the original link!

Have you seen it?! Missed Connections is a website where people post ads looking for someone they met, were interested in, but failed to get contact information. The original meetings happen everywhere: on the train, in the park, at a store or even at Walmart! In a recent article in Psychology Today, a researcher compiled statistics from the website and made the chart above. It shows where the most missed connections happen, by state. Notice how almost fifteen states list Walmart? Ha! Also noticed how Utah lists college campuses? What does that say about our great state?!

I think it's a romantic idea, trying to find someone you had an instant connection with. I skimmed through a few ads for my local area and it put a smile on my face. Have you ever met someone and known in an instant that they were your Someone Special? I have! It's delightful to read about others going through the same process. Such sweet stories!

On a practical note, it is interesting to notice the attributes that first caught the seeker's attention. Sometimes it's looks, sometimes it's personality. You never know what it is about you that will turn someone's head! Dating is interesting because you can make it as scientific as possible. You can become the best flirt, know all the right tricks and frequently go on dates. Yet the endpoint of dating, marriage, requires a miracle that we cannot control. It is a miracle that two people can meet and things just click. The rules are broken and love happens. We have to do all the work we can, by dating and becoming a better person, then sit back and trust that God will bring Mr. Right into the picture. It is a perfect example of faith without works is dead. 

So what do you think about Missed Connections? Sweetly romantic or just plain weird?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bend and Snap

Do you remember the Bend and Snap from the movie Legally Blonde?

In the movie, Paulette has just had a terrible interaction with a man she's been crushing on for awhile. She is so nervous, she barely speaks to the guy! Elle Woods patiently tells her, "You have all the right equipment, you just need to read the manual."

So Elle teaches Paulette the Bend and Snap. It has a 98% success rate of getting a man's attention and when used appropriately, it has a 83% rate of return on a dinner invitation. Do you know why it has such a high success rate? Because that little maneuver sends all the right messages via body language!


There are so many moves, tricks and principles that fall under this truth. Body language is so critical for any relationship, especially dating. I'm so excited to share them all with you, but today, I just want to talk about your tone of voice. The way you say a certain line can take it from a cutsey-we-are-just-friends statement into a I-want-I-need-you-oh-baby flirtatious statement.

Personal example: The other day I was at a party and I met a guy. We had been flirting, but it was time for me to go. I turned to him and said, "Well, I gotta go, but it was a delight to meet you." He stared at me suspiciously for a minute. Then he said, "That sounds a bit sarcastic." I laughed and said, "I really didn't mean it sarcastically. Let me try it the way I really meant it." I paused and in my most seductive voice, I said "Well, I gotta go, but it was a delight to meet you."

Thankfully, this guy and I were comfortable enough that he could call me out on my tone. But how many guys don't call you out? Instead, he silently feels like you must not like him because of the way you said it. Then he never asks you out. I know, I know! It's not fair to be judged on what you aren't saying, but it's human nature. This principle goes both ways. Think of the number of times a guy thought you were into him, but you weren't. What kind of tone were you using? Happens all the time.

So practice! Try out the line, "You look really good tonight." Say it in front of mirror (don't feel foolish! We're all improving here!) and listen to your voice. Try saying it as if you were talking to your sister, trying to build her confidence before she goes on a date. Now try saying it as if you were giving a compliment to some girl you met last week in Relief Society. Now try saying it as if you were talking to your dream man and what you really mean is, "I wanna run my hands all over your chiseled abs and then make out with you." Do you see and hear the differences?! What words were emphasized each time? Did you pause at different points? Did you sound super excited, then frank and straight forward, then seductive? Most importantly, what tone did you use the last time you talked to your crush?

Keep practicing! Try out some of your more common lines like, "It was a delight to meet you" or "Your major/job is so interesting!" When talking to your crush, your tone should be somewhere between the talking to your sister and the chiseled abs bit. Practiced a bit? Here is the next step: Talk to your crush. Say things you would normally say, but focus on your tone. Watch him react. Now he knows you are interested in him!

Guys rarely come out and ask if you like him. Instead, they are looking for little cues like your tone. Is he in the friend zone for you? Do you want him so badly it's causing tension? Remember, guys can be a little thick, so when you think you are laying it on too strong, you probably are not. (Hint: you're coming on too strong when he doesn't even bother to get your number and instead just ask if you want to make out, right there and then).  It's hard at first to know when to use a certain tone and if you are using the right tone, but practice makes perfect! You can do it!

Anyone have success and failure stories with using correct tone of voice? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Friday, February 22, 2013

In the looking glass

I wish I could say appearance doesn't matter, but it does. Anyone who says otherwise is in denial. Today, I'm going to be talking about cake decorating, or the importance of your outward appearance.

Why are you not going on dates? Maybe it's because of your face! Just kidding! Okay, I'm only slightly kidding. Whether we want it to or not, our outward appearance is a reflection of who we are on the inside. Please note that I said reflection. Our looks should not create our self worth. We should create our self-worth and then appropriately display it to others.Think about the times you were sick. You spent all night throwing up and you are running a fever. You feel terrible on the inside, so what do you wear? Sweats and a t-shirt. Then you curl up in bed and moan until your roommate finally comes in to comfort you.You feel crummy and you want comfy clothes. Your appearance reflects how you feel.

So begin with an honest evaluation of yourself. Do you feel like a 10? No? Then start there. Yes? Then does your appearance reflect that feeling? No? Why not? (Honestly, I feel like this needs to become a flow chart or something. That might be forthcoming...)

I did this evaluation a few years ago. I'm a pretty confident gal, but I was unhappy with my style because it was so plain. I wore nice clothes and even got an occasional compliment, but I still felt boring. Solid shirts, solid cardigans, no colored pants, and no scarves or hats. My outside did not reflect how I felt. What are your issues? Consider the following reasons:

-Your clothes. Maybe they are too big or too small. Maybe you dress too casually or too dressy. Maybe you are getting older and need to try a new style.

-Your makeup. Do you wear too much? Too little? The wrong color? You don't know how to put it on correctly? (That last one was me and eyeliner for awhile).

-Accessories, like earrings, scarves, hats and necklaces. Did you know you can wear too many? My stylish friend Heather once told me that most girls should get ready for the day, then take off one accessory. They wear too many. But maybe you are like me and you don't wear enough and you feel boring.

-Natural causes. Do you have bad acne? Do you wear glasses and it makes you feel frumpy? Do you not wear glasses and wish you did? Do you want to lose weight? Should you gain weight?

Identify what makes you unhappy and then...are you ready for this.....get a pencil and paper to write it down....CHANGE IT! You are in charge of yourself! Change whatever makes you unhappy. In the case of my plain wardrobe, I learned how to mix in prints, patterns and accessories. Now, I love how I dress! Here are some of my specific suggestions:

-Ask stylish, honest friends to take you shopping. I have one friend who is a model and makeup consultant. I have another friend who has given several makeovers and she is brutally honest. They were more than excited to help. Keep in mind there are stylish people out there who don't know why they are stylish. They just are. Don't ask for their help. Ask someone who knows why. They can teach you rules and principles that will guide you when you have to make choices alone.

-Don't have stylish friends? You can borrow mine. They love giving makeovers! It helps them feel control in a world of chaos. Like going shopping solo? One time, I was shopping alone and I needed new heels to match a red dress. I couldn't decide and I noticed there was a super trendy girl also looking at the shoes. She looked like my ideal style. So I stopped her and asked her what shoes she would buy if she had a red dress. She pointed to a pair that I had not even considered. Three years later, I still get compliments on those shoes.

-Be willing to pay a lot the first couple of times, then go with cheaper substitutes. Take makeup for example. If you want to change your makeup, go to the MAC counter at Nordstorm's. They will match the your color and give you a makeover. They will teach you how to use makeup. Even though it's expensive, buy what they suggest. Then do it again, until you feel comfortable. Then buy cheaper Target substitutes. This way, you know how to use the product and you'll know when the cheaper blush looks wrong because you've used the right one.

-Pinterest and Google. You might feel kinda weird researching these topics, but I promise you there are so many good ideas out there. Fashion blogs. Weight loss programs. Color wheel diagrams (for matching your clothes!). 1-800 contacts. Save pictures of outfits, hair and make-up ideas you really like. Oh! You know how mannequins in stores always look great? Take pictures and copy their outfits.

-Don't be afraid to try new things! For the longest time, I was afraid of colored pants. I thought they would look weird on me. But every time I went shopping, I took a pair into the dressing room and tried them on. One day, I got the courage to buy a pair. Now, I have several! But everything deserves at least one try on. No commitment, just give it a try (this is also an excellent dating principle).

Remember, the point of changing your appearance is so you look as confident as you feel. Ask your friends and family for suggestions. If they say, "You are awesome! Don't change for anyone! " call them a liar and walk away. Everyone needs to change. No one is perfect. At the same time, if you genuinely don't like their suggestions, don't change. Over time, you might realize they are right and then you'll want to change. But it will be for yourself.

Okay, got it? Change whatever you must in order to look as confident as you feel. Guys will find you so much more approachable. However, if you don't feel confident, you must start there! But that is a topic for another time!

The Parable of the Cake

Let's pretend that it's your friend's birthday tomorrow and you want to bake him a cake. So you grab all the ingredients and start mixing. Except you don't really care about how it tastes, so it's no big deal when you add in an extra five tablespoons of salt. Then you think it doesn't really matter how much flour you use, so you leave out a cup. Then you get busy watching Downton Abbey (and if you aren't watching this show, you should be) and the cake gets burned. You know it's a terrible cake, but it's the thought that counts, right? Should you be upset when he takes a bit, makes a face and refuses to eat anymore?

So you know it's a terrible cake, but you decide that if you decorate it well enough, he won't notice the terrible inside. After rummaging through Pinterest, you find a recipe for an amazing homemade frosting that is sweet yet light. You add colorful fondant that tastes better than it looks. Even Buddy Valastro would approve of this decorating. Should you be upset when he sees it, gets excited, takes a huge slice, then makes a grossed out face when he takes a first bite? How could he be so rude, after all the effort you put into this cake!

But let's pretend you actually made an amazing cake. You hunted down your grandma's world famous chocolate cake recipe. You spent several hours measuring and stirring. You constantly checked the cake as it was baking, to make sure it didn't get too brown. Heaven itself wouldn't prohibit such a perfect cake. However, you have an odd sense of cake decorating, and with your hands you grab huge chunks of the cake and toss it into a bowl. Then you toss in some chunks of cheap store-brand frosting on it and call it good. At the last minute, you find some year old Christmas sprinkles and add a bit of color. Should you be upset when he glances at it, mutters a polite thanks and then sets the bowl aside? Why can't he see the cake for what it is on  the inside?!

I hope you see where I'm going with this. Making a cake is like dating. Both the inside and outside need careful attention. You can't get upset with guys when they ditch you if they realize you are a pretty but selfish, gossipy brat. Don't be too hard on them when they automatically flock to girls who dress well and use the right amount of makeup. Don't you do exactly the same thing to guys? No girl wants to date a jerk, but every girl has a crush on the boy in the ward who looks like he just stepped out of an American Eagle catalog. No girl wants to date the kid who smells like B.O., but every girl wants to date the nice guy who smiles a lot. 

The most basic principle of how to get a date is focus on yourself first. I like this because I can control me. I can't control who asks me out, how often he asks me out and whether we end up getting married. But I can make myself better, which means I can expect a better man in the long run. I can love myself more, which means happiness even when I'm home alone on a Friday night. The next couple of posts will focus on how to change your inside and outside, but for now, focus on the cake. Are you the best possible cake you can be?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I started this blog

I don't have a lot of talents. I don't play an instrument, unless you count the guitar I started strumming about a month ago. My singing is best when I'm in the car alone. I don't decorate cakes and I definitely don't sew.

But I won't lie, I'm good at dating. Give me a boy and an available weekend and I can make it work. But I wasn't always like this. Growing up, I had exactly zero guy friends. I went on my first date when I was eighteen and looking back, I'm pretty sure it was a pity date. When I started school at BYU, I thought for sure I would start going on a ton of dates. Hah! From 18 to 22 I went on a total of ten dates and most of them I asked him. Then I went on a mission. There was definitely no dating during those precious eighteen months. When I got home, I barely even socialized, let alone date.

Around this time, I started getting really frustrated. Why were there girls who could go on multiple dates a week and in my 24 years of life, I had gone on 11 dates? I wondered what kind of secret magic these girls possessed. Had I just missed the Dating 101 class in high school that every girl got?

So I embarked on a quest. A quest to figure out this game we call Dating. Turns out, dating was something I could practice and get better at! Eight months after I got home from my mission, I went on my first official date. Since then, I've been on a lot of dates and I've even been in a few relationships. It's been a lot of fun!

I started this blog because I want to share what I've learned. What worked for me and what didn't. It breaks my heart to see my beautiful friends crying because they spent yet another weekend at home, without a date. All because they are awesome, but they just don't know how to show it to the boys in their life.

Ladies, it's not you. It's your technique. My blog is here to show you the correct techniques. Better dating can be learned. Trust me when I say, if I can go on three dates in one weekend, anyone can go on three dates in one weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goal: Accomplished

Today I started filling out my my planner for 2013. My friend Nina makes planners and I buy one from her every year. Above is a picture from one of the pages, as you can see, there is tons of room to write and I love it!

There is room in the back for notes and I filled one page with a list entitled "Things I Have Done". The next page is a list entitled "Bucket List". As I copied my bucket list into my new planner, I was amused by the things that were left off or added to my new list. For example, left off the list was "get lost in a city where I don't know the language." I added this one earlier this year, when I went out with a cute guy who had that goal on his list. I'm pretty sure he was the only motivation for adding this to my list. Now, I look at that goal and think, "Um, no. I'm much too much of a planner to really want to do something like that."

I'm excited for the goals on my list. I'm currently working on "read all the Newberry award winners" and "learn to play the guitar." I'll need more planning for "attend an Olympic event" and "work in a field that is white and ready to harvest." I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting goals!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Games I Play

I love Srabbble. I really do. I love all word games because they are such an intellectual challenge. But I'm horrifically bad at them, which is surprising, considering how much I read and how much I love the English language. Take a recent Words with Friends game I started:

I'm playing against myself. And I'm cheating. Yet notice the low point totals. Take note of the high number of three letter words. I also have three other games currently going where I'm losing by a minimum of 100 points. Will I give up? No! Not only am I really bad at these games, I'm persistently bad. That should count for something.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Movie love

Ever since I was a little kid, I loved watching movies. I have such strong memories and emotions mixed with movies. When I was six, I can remember running out of the room during Dumbo to hide and cry because Dumbo and his mom were separated. My mom found me and comforted me. I remember watching The Lion King in the theater and having to sit on the steps in the auditorium because the only seat left was in the very back against the wall and my little nine year old self couldn't see the screen. I remember watching Catch Me If You Can and days later still getting excited over the feats Frank Abagnale pulled off. Or even watching Remember the Titans in the movie theater three times (my first time going to a movie in the theaters repeatedly) because it was fantastic and because Ryan Gosling was super cute. (The second reason may or may not have held more weight!)

When I was a teenager, I told my dad I wanted to be a movie critic someday. He laughed at the idea, and told me everybody is a critic. As the years went by, I ultimately lost sight of that goal, but I never stopped loving movies and I never stopped analyzing them. When I was in college, I took a class called American Film in History. It met once a week, for four hours each time. We began class by talking about a specific decade, starting with the 1910s and ending with the 1960s and the events that shaped that decade. Then we would watch a top box office earner for the decade. Then we talked about what that movie said about that decade, why moviegoers chose to pay for that movie time and time again. My professor for that class was James D'Arc, a man who knows everything about movies. I mostly admired him, but partially just wanted his job.

One thing I took away from that class, what I still look for in the movies I watch today, is the ability of movies to hold up a mirror to the viewer and then invite them to be a better person. Really, isn't that the point of all art? I'm delighted to start this blog because it will be my little way of fulfilling a childhood dream. What a way to make 2013 a little bit better than last year!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome New Year

When the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2012, I was thrilled. The year had been bitter and challenging. I cried a lot. At some points during the year, I felt like Bella Swan in "New Moon" when she sat huddled in a chair, staring out a window for months on end because she was so broken and defeated.

As the balloons came down and Martinelli's cider sprayed through the air (after all, I was at an LDS stake party, where Martinelli's is the drink of choice), I knew that this fresh new year would be better. It HAD to be better. I resolved right there to make 2013 the best year yet.

This blog is a result of that resolution. Goal number three on my list is to start a new movie review blog. Goal setting and why movie reviews are topics for another post. Suffice it to say, I won't stick solely with movie reviews, because I also have a fascination with reading, fashion, eating and myself. Original, no? I'm just excited to get this project started!