Valentine’s/Galentine’s Date Ideas

Valentine’s Day (or its alternative Galentine’s Day), is literally hours away! Whether you are hoping for a hot date with your boo or sipping on mimosas with your girls, I’ve compiled a list of cheap date ideas you can try!

Valentine’s Date Ideas:

  1. A Boozy Picnic in the Park
    • Hit up your local market and pick up some wine, cheese, crackers, and chocolate, and Voilà! You’ve got yourself a $20 picnic date in the park! It’s thoughtful, intimate, and romantic!
  2. A Night at a Jazz Club 
    • If you google Jazz Clubs in your areas, they are sure to be a few just a drive away! Reservations are usually not required and cover charges range between $15-30. If you are from the Los Angeles area, I would recommend The Bluewhale. They have amazing live performances, great drinks, and a cozy atmosphere. You are sure to impress your date with this kind of a venue!
  3. A Romantic Night In 
    • Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could have all the ingredients ready for hand-tossed pizza and pasta ($20-30), then watch a movie like Life is Beautiful or Under the Tuscan Sun. You can also have Italian Jazz playing in the background or sing karaoke, finding the lyrics on YouTube. In my opinion, this is the most romantic yet easiest night to plan!
  4.  Whale Watching
    • Take a half day at work and drive your date to the closest coastal town! Groupon has deals for as low as $6 per person. My personal fave is in Newport Beach, California. Kick back and sip some wine while enjoying first-class views to marine life! Same day tickets are available. This is a great way to get some fresh air and experience something different!
  5. Arcade Date Night 
    • Hit up your local arcade or even Dave & Buster’s and have a go at good ol competitive fun! Play the particular games your date gets nostalgic about. $20-30 can get you a solid hour of games! *Bonus* win that teddy bear for her!

 

Galentine’s Date Ideas:

  1. Boozy Brunch
    • Grab your girls, put your Freakum Dress on, and hit the town! Whether you are getting together for brunch or a nice dinner, nothing beats sharing a laugh with your tribe.
    • Last year, (when we were all single), we dressed to the nines, went to this hole in the wall Chinese restaurant, came back home, had some bubbly and just danced around the house for hours. It was hella fun and easy!
  2. Slumber Party
    • Turn up in the comfort of your own home! Add some decor to your living room and cute ballons! Order heart shaped pizza and some board games! Ask that each friend bring over their favorite sweet treat or preferred bottle of wine. Make sure everyone packs their comfiest PJs and favorite playlist. Play games, pamper yourselves, and wind down with a classic chick flick.
  3. Paint & Sip
    •  Sip your favorite beverage and dance to the music while you and your friends enjoy a step-by-step instructional experience with local artists as they help you re-create a featured painting of the night. There are bound to be plenty of local studios in your area, most of which host private parties. I looked around my local studios and still found open availability ranging from $30-$40.
  4. Succulent Extravaganza   
    • Head to your local succulent nursery and enjoy some plant therapy! Grab a glass of wine and start mixing and matching your cart…or consider starting your own collections. My friend and I spent our Sunday there and it was quite peaceful. Smaller succulents start at about $1.50
  5. Collage the Friendship
    • Stop to your local craft store, grab some blank photo books and the works and make actual collages of you and your friends…you know instead of using an app on your phone! Over some wine, these photos are bound to spark up some really good memories! The best part, you can exchange your books with each other once it is complete! $20-$30.

 

*Just remember, the sole purpose of Feb 14th, is to be around the people you love!

Uncensored Guide to Understanding Women

With the surge of mobile dating apps, looking for love in this digital age, can seem utterly impossible. I mean, when there are a plethora of options just waiting at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that we encounter so many individuals who make a piss poor effort in creating real relationships. And although there are plenty of us who aren’t on dating apps, I argue this culture of convenience and the paradox of choice has influenced our dating experiences in some adverse way. On the contrary, when we meet someone who puts forth the effort and time, it likely feels like a breath of fresh air.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying there is this general lackadaisical dating ideology. Why put forth true effort into a person when there will always be more options? It’s almost as if this burden of choice has taught us to treat each other like disposable objects, rather than beings who feel.

My girlfriends and I are constantly sharing our experiences, discussing what we like and don’t like when it comes to dating and often times we find ourselves saying, “If only we could make a PSA about this!”

Well….this post is by no means intended to bash on men, but rather a guide into women’s dating preferences.

I can’t even count the amount of times, I’ve heard men say, “Women are so complicated, what even pleases you guys?”

So, I conducted a small survey to gather varied responses from ladies my age.

The question posed: Based off of your dating experiences, what male behaviors do you appreciate/can do without?”

Appreciated behavior:

  1. When plans are made 
    • Whether it be a formal dinner date or even a casual hang out, taking the initiative – shows us that there is interest and direction in the “relationship”
  2.  Manners, chivalry, compliments
    • “Please” and “thank yous”  – aka basic etiquette can go a longgg way.
    • It’s actually quite refreshing when doors are opened, the meal is paid for, and when pleasant comments are given.
  3. Tons of eye contact/ not easily distracted
    • It is especially appreciated when phones are kept tucked away during the date
  4. Remembering the little things 
    • This is just a simple indicator that you’ve taken the time to listen.
  5. Reciprocity 
    • Returning the kindness in any capacity is so attractive!
  6. Common courtesy/open communication
    • MAJOR KEY!!!
    • Letting us know if you can’t make it out for dinner or whatever the plans are, totally okay!
    • Expressing your feelings and intentions towards the “relationship”…yaaas!
    • Being vulnerable and open in sharing personal details/struggles

Behavior we can do without:

  1. Surface level conversations
    • Regardless of the extent of the “relationship,” this is a huge red flag. If you’re not concerned with getting to know who your “partner” is on a deeper level, then that’s a clear indicator of your intentions.
  2. Flakiness
    • Don’t be that person who commits to something, then changes plans last minute. What is especially infuriating is when it is done without notice. If you can’t make it, don’t commit.
  3. Not responding in a timely manner 
    • THIS! THIS! THIS! The way you communicate with someone is very indicative of how you prioritize them in your life. If you’re into someone, you’ll find the time to respond to them, appropriately.
    • And if you’re going to be tied up throughout the day, a simple text will suffice.
  4. Lack of self-awareness 
    • This can be so apparent in literally the first minute of a conversation.
      • (e.g.) Mentioning your ex on the first date
        • Taking up the entire conversation
        • Speaking as if you’re hanging out with the boys
  5. Insecurities
    • We all know that people who are insecure tend to sabotage a healthy relationship…
    • I’ve met multiple men who have openly admitted to suddenly ending a “relationship,” solely because “it was going toooo well.”
  6. Social media etiquette
    • If you are single and dating, there is no reason why you should still have posted pictures with your ex…not cute
    • Liking and commenting on other girls’ photos while actively seeing someone else

Whoo! Fellas! Now that you’ve heard the ladies’ input, my hopes are that you’ve somehow been enlightened. You may disagree with some of the points listed, and that’s totally fine, but the aim of this post was to visualize the dichotomy of dating behaviors. Hope this helps 🙂

DIY Wine and Cheese Date

Not too long ago, my girlfriends and I headed to our local winery in hopes of unwinding over a few glasses of wine. Turns out, everyone else in LA had the same exact idea! There was a wait of over 2 hours long with a minimum purchase of two bottles per group. This seemed pretty ridiculous to us so we decided to create our own picnic by the beach.

We stopped by Trader Joe’s and picked up a ton of finger foods and of course, WINE.

What we bought:

Cheese: Brie, Blueberry Goat Cheese, Cheddar, and Gouda

Fresh Fruit: Strawberries & Grapes

Carbs: Crackers, Pita Chips, & a Baguette

Meats: Calabrese Salami & Italian Dry Salami

Sweets: Chocolate Almonds

Wine: Red (Merlot) & White (Pinot Grigio)

[Previously to heading out, we packed our own cutting board, utensils, napkins, cups, and plates]

We drove around until we found the ultimate spot to set-up shop.

We parked our car in a turnout road which overlooked the surrounding mountains and ocean. It was literally an ideal place for taking photos plus we were also able to get away from all the crowds. We opened the doors, blasted some music, and feasted!

This was the perfect alternative to wine and cheese tasting, at a fraction of the cost. If you’re indecisive on what to do with your weekends, I hope this date idea comes in handy!

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*Malibu, CA*

Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Indeed, an Instagrammer’s dream, this vast land is made up of a mix of Joshua trees and dramatic rock formations. This oasis of sorts, transports you into what (in my mind) would look like another dimension. There is this eerie feeling to this colossal landscape. It is peaceful, it is lonely, it is unbothered by the city chaos we are surrounded by.

Visiting all 59 U.S. national parks is for sure an item I’d love to check off of my world travel bucket list. So far, I have been fortunate enough to explore Yellowstone, drive through Zion and camp in Yosemite. For the longest time, I had been wanting to take a trip to Joshua Tree, especially considering how close it is to Los Angeles.

This past weekend, my bestie and I were feeling mentally worn out from the week and felt this getaway would be the perfect remedy (& we were right).  Expected highs were 114°– 117 ° so we planned on arriving mid-afternoon to try to beat the heat. But boy, were we wrong here, we arrived at 3pm and it was still 115°! Luckily, we had a full cooler stocked with water, foot-long subs, superb air conditioning, and tons of snacks to keep us fueled. There is an entrance fee of $25 but for some reason there was not an attendant on duty so everyone enjoyed their stay fo’ free (yaas).

We made our first stop at the visitor center (Black Rock Campground) to get assistance in mapping out the certain landmarks we wanted to hit along our drive. This seemingly endless span of land offers a plethora of routes and pullouts you can choose from. But if you plan to make this a day trip, I’d suggest confining your sightseeing to the main park roads.

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Due to the extremely high/dry temperature, we decided to take a more scenic route vs hiking our way through. I did bring my pup but I would only suggest this if you are planning a scenic visit (at least in these temps).

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Start at the North Entrance (Twentynine Palms). This area reminded me of Radiator Springs shown in Disney’s “Cars.” Again, untouched and beautifully lonely. Only about 15 minutes into our visit, a Coyote approached our car. So, do travel with caution.

As the sun set, we took some beautiful shots.

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We decided to set-up shop at the east side of the park for stargazing. We opened the hatch of our truck and laid out. Slowly but surely, a crowd of people began to form with their telescopes and professional cameras. Little did we know, it was prime season for Milky Way viewing. We met some awesome people and together watched the sky light up. By 9-10pm the sky was litttttt. I had never seen so many stars at once in my life…it was magical. Our friendly neighbors agreed with me in that out of all the national parks we have visited, Joshua Tree offered the best celestial show.

Whether you are looking for a weekend escape or a quick turn-around trip, 10/10 would recommend Joshua Tree. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and become one with mother nature and her starlight.

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Who Rescued Who? How Adopting my Dog was the Best Thing I’ve Done

Meet Troy aka @troytheshihtzu

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God bless this little boy for putting up with me for the past year. Troy is absolutely the light of my life. The amount of joy he has given me is indescribable but man, is he something. He’s basically a social introvert: he loves people, but at a distance. He doesn’t give kisses and when he decides to cuddle, he’ll do so with both arms fully extended for personal space (what a brat)… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He goes everywhere with me: he brunches, he bar hops, shops, flies, & the worst part of it all, has a choice between three strollers, each in a different color.

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I get shit allll the time for how ridiculous I am with him but honestly, I owe him for so much…

(Will explain later)

Visiting the local shelter was basically a hobby of mine, prior to his adoption.

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*I knew I had an obsession, when this was me with any and every dog, (even the not so cute ones) that I saw*

His adoption: It was sort of fate that brought Troy and I together. I had a random Monday off, so what did I do with my time? Visited a shelter, duhh. Growing up, the family dogs were all Shih Tzus so I had a type. Long and behold, in the very first cage was a scruffy, matted hair, tan, Shih Tzu named Troy.  I was in love. My luck, he was reserved for a kid’s carnival/adoption fair that following Saturday. So I left broken hearted, without him. That Saturday was my birthday and as expected, I woke up with the worst hangover of my life. Out of curiosity, I reached for the adoption flyer in my purse and saw that the event went from 9-5pm. Yeah, no…by this time it was 4pm and I was still in bed. Finally, I was convinced to get up and we decided to see if for some odd reason he was still there. I really tried not to get my hopes up but the thought of him going home with me made me soo entirely happy. It was literally 4:58pm when we pulled up to the park as I saw Animal Services placing this tan thing into the back of their van. I freaked! “That couldn’t be Troy, could it?!” He then turned his head and looked right at me. He was the only dog of twenty that day that did not get adopted!!! LIKE, WHAT?!! As soon as we opened the car door, he jumped right into the seat, and I knew right then, that this shih’ was meant to be.

In the past, I’ve seen dog-owners post the saying, “Who Rescued Who?” And low-key thought that was pretty dramatic. But honestly, finding Troy at the time I did, was truly God’s timing. Literally a couple of months into us being a little family, the ex and I went through our break up and BAM, shit really hit the fan. I needed to find a new living situation, like ASAP. For an entire month, Troy and I were hotel hopping, Air B & B’n, and couch surfing. The worst feeling was not knowing where we’d sleep that night. Finding an apartment, seemed utterly impossible! Many of those nights I would cry and cry but little Troy would do everything he could to help me feel better. I didn’t have my family out here and I did not want to burden my friends, so it was him and I who hit the pavement for hours every evening desperately looking for places. I felt horrible knowing we were basically living out of my car. There were days that I wanted to say, “fuck this” and move back home…but I knew I moved out to LA for a greater purpose. Finallly, we found a place and everything felt right again. Troy was thriving and in retrospect, I don’t know how I would’ve gone through that ordeal without him.

Mom life: It can be exhausting but sooo worth it. His precious face literally gives me life.  There’s never a dull moment with him. He is the most expressive dog I have ever met, not to mention the sassiest! Sure, there are moments that he annoys the hell out of me, but I’ve been blessed with the most chill dog. We joke that hes a cat, b/c he’s so low-maintenance, its amazing. For those who have asked me how I do it or on the cusp of owning a dog, its simple… just love them and they will enhance your quality of life infinitely. He lifts my spirits every single day and even though he doesn’t give kisses, (clearly salty about this) just his presence alone makes all the difference.

The best feeling in the world is…

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&

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But man, if Troy could talk, I’d be in troubbbleee. He judges sooo hard…

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A few months later, Troy and I booked a flight to see la familia for Christmas weekend. But unfortunately, my dad’s health turned for the worst and for 14 days we were in a hospital/hospice room, day-in & day-out. Considering the chaos we were in and how little attention Troy received, he was a freaking angel. Troy was our light and did not leave my dad’s bedside.

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You know how they say dogs have a sixth sense? I truly believe it. In the few moments leading to my dad’s passing, Troy went ballistic: howling, pacing back and forth, whining…but as soon as my dad took his last breath, Troy relaxed and laid back at his feet. This literally shook me for obvious reasons.

In the darkest year of my life, Troy gave me so much. The least I can do is continue to feed him all organic, grain-free, fresh meals, add more outfits to his section of the closet, and throw in a new stroller to the collection.

He is the one constant being in my life and I’ll forever owe him for that. Shout out to you, @troytheshihtzu, you da real MVP, bud.

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The Pertinence of Memes

God bless the curators of 2016-2017 memes. These viral phenomena have literally touched my soul in ways that even Chinese food, can’t.

You bored? Look at memes. You sad? LOL at memes. You angry? Tag yo’ friends in the comments.

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Have you ever been told “you’re too dramatic,” “you procrastinate too much,” or  “you laugh at the dumbest things,”? If so, memes are for you! 🙂 If you find yourself a reputable meme page, I guarantee, that you have just tapped into a goldmine.

Seriously though, memes have literally helped me through the most painful time of my life.

I experienced a break-up (was notttt fun). BUTTT let me tell you, there were memes for that! Figuring out how to do this “single” thing – there were memes for that!

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Come 2017,  My dad passed away and I literally went numb. That my friends, can not be alleviated by any photo/vid + caption… but I will say, after some time, I was able to laugh again. Like laugh to the point where I’m in tears.

 And it is in those moments when I have to give thanks to the social media Gods,  b/c I’ve found the remedy to shitty times.

Quality memes brought me back to life, literally they giveeee me life. If you are ever having a bad day, do yourself a favor and refer to this gem. xo! (IG: jstlbby)

 “Better enjoy life now before its too late!”(*Que lollipop suck*)