Saturday, December 27, 2014

The 10 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Songs

If you're tired of traditional Christmas music, here is a list of the best holiday music. They're inspiring and touching, without any of the Ho, ho, ho's or overt religious content.

#10. HOPE WAS BORN THIS NIGHT - Sidewalk Prophets

#9. MARY DID YOU KNOW - Pentatonix

#8. THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS EVE - Trans Siberian Orchestra

#7. WINTERSONG - Sarah McLachlan

#6. GROWN UP CHRISTMAS LIST - Michael Bubble


#4. RIVER - Robert Downey Jr.



#1. SONG FOR A WINTER'S NIGHT - Sarah McLachlan (cover Gordon Lightfoot)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dating: Cell Phone Etiquette

Should you give your number to someone off a social media site? What kinds of messages or pictures should you NEVER send? When is it okay to answer the phone on a date?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dating: Grooming To Get Cuddled

There is something about crisp fall days and chilly winter nights that sends single people out in search of a cuddle buddy.

If you're hoping to find someone special to snuggle with, there are several things you can do to make getting cozy a more comfortable (and probable!) experience.

First of all, remember that when you get up close and personal with someone you want them to notice the twinkle in your eye (not the eye boogies you didn't wash away) and the charm of your smile (not the visible plaque between your teeth.).

You want them to snuggle in close and enjoy the heat of your body (not gasp for desperate breath while choking on your body odor). And you hope that the enjoyment of heated skin and hearts beating as one doesn't get distracted by funky long yellowed toenails and some strange patch of flaky skin you hadn't even noticed til they scrunched up their nose and pointed it out. 

So working down from head to toe, don't figure that since it's winter you can ditch the razors, abandon body sprays and forgo a couple days or weeks of shampoo, just because it's cold and you'll be wearing more layers than usual.

1. Touchable locks at any length.
Wash your hair no less often than every other day. Greasy hair looks gross and adds to skin problems.
Just say no to flakes. Wash with a dandruff specific shampoo and exfoliate your scalp with your fingernails while washing your hair.
A little dab of hair gel or hair mousse mixed in your palm with a little water and smoothed evenly over the top layer of your hair does a great job keeping your hair from getting static-y in the dry winter air. Use less than you think you'll need to keep it from looking greasy.
In a pinch a dime sized drop of hand lotion can take the place of hair gel to keep hair tame.
Buzz cut or razor the back of your neck if your hair is short and use a mirror to make sure you don't end up with a long random strand.

                                                         2. Keep your ears clean.
Ears are often neglected and they need attention too. There are some to caution against putting things in your ears so be sure if you use a q-tip or cotton swab you only clean the very outter part of the ear canal. Some medical specialists suggest using warm olive oil, baby oil or mineral oil dripped inside your ear (and then drained back out again) to pull out the balls of wax your ears make. If nothing else, just wrap the end of a tissue around your pinkie and give each ear a good swab.
Don't shower with earrings in or leave them in for too many days and be aware that earring holes need attention too. 
No one wants to nibble on your ear and taste dead cells, so if you've ever pierced your ears and there is a hole remaining, recognize that it's going to get regularly filled like a zit with a yellowy or brownish, whitish gunk that stinks and is basically gross. Get that stuff gone or this could put all ear licking or nibbling to an abrupt end. Which would be a serious shame since that can be a surprisingly erotic turn on. 

3. Mind the nose.

Keep nose hairs trimmed and out of sight.
Have tissues on hand if you're dealing with a cold, allergies or anything that might bring on moisture in that general area.
If you're prone to excess skin oil use tissue paper or face powder to eliminate the shine.
Use tweezers to carefully remove dry flaky skin.
A dab of mentholatum on chapped skin around the nose can restore normal skin texture in hours. 

4. Keep that mouth kissable. 
Brushing teeth twice a day should go without saying.
Flossing and mouth wash are great additions.
Brush your tongue. If you could see the gunk on that flapper jammer you'd rip it out of your own mouth.
You can exfoliate your lips during a nice warm shower with some rubbing of your fingers or a soft tooth brush. This cuts down on unsightly peeling lips.
And last but not least, chapstick that pucker. 

5. Facial hair beware! 
Beards are in right now (but only for men!) so guys, keep them trimmed, clean and not scratchy, and laddies get out the tweezers to make any longer or noticeable hairs around your upper lip disappear.
Beard hair is different than head hair and it's recommended that you don't wash your beard with shampoo or face soap. If you have a long beard (anything longer than 2 inches) you might want to invest in special beard soaps and conditioner oils. You seriously don't want dandruff flaking off your beard.

If you're clean shaven kind of guy or going for the 5 o'clock shadow look, keep your razor lines straight, tweezer any hair that resists the blade and moisturize that skin. A little scruff can be sexy, but no one wants to get facial road rash from kissing or nuzzling you. 

5. Embrace your natural skin color.
Some people are used to having or getting a tan during the sunny months and are surprised to discover their skin has gone back to it's natural birthday suit shade. Love the skin you're in!
Forget tanning beds, spray tans or bottle bronzers: let your skin be true to itself and relish your ancestry whatever it means your melanin looks like.
If you think your skin tone is shockingly pale and that bothers you, just remind yourself that soft healthy skin is a thousand times better than a fake-bake that leads to skin cancer or old leather couch skin. Honestly whoever is lucky enough to peel of your layers to get to the fun below should be happy with your skin being healthy at its natural shade.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why You Should Be a Tool.

The term "tool" being used to describe someone has gotten a bad rap. Here's why being a tool is actually a GOOD thing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving: A Day of Truth

We grew up thinking Thanksgiving was one thing. As time goes on, information is revealed that shocking points to a very different time and event. So...
What is Turkey Day really about?

As much as Thanksgiving has evolved from a day of giving thanks, it will hopefully continue to evolve into a day of uncovering truth. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dating: What You Learn From Messages

If "location, location, location" is the mantra of real estate, "content, content, content" would be the equivalent for online dating. What a person says and how they say it, speak volumes about who they are and not just who they are trying to make you believe they are.

Some people are better at faking how kind or genuine they are. But with a little time, people eventually can't keep up the charade and their pretend self cracks revealing who they really are. Hopefully you find this out LONG before you ever meet in person.

Case in point: (click on the picture to enlarge it.)

It took a little while, but after a while, the "sweet guy" act fell by the wayside and he got angry and bitter in a hurry. I still have no idea what triggered it. Anyone have any theories?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dating: Douchebag Things To Do On Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are only two of the various social media sites that many people use daily. While they are still fairly new concepts that have quickly been integrated into our lifestyles, there is a lot of temptation to miss-use them. Chances are good you have been guilty of one of the Douchebag things to do on social media sites.

      1. Verbally attack others.
With all the news, opinions, memes, video clips and jokes passed around on social media sites it’s easy to find yourself at odds with someone you may not even know, discussing something you both feel strongly about. Religion, politics, scientific advancements, current events, relationships and multitude of other hot button topics find their way onto a person’s page, along with various family members, co-workers and friend’s commentaries. This is where you find out how truly open minded and diplomatic people are, or are not.

 Regardless of how the conversation goes, it is better to agree to disagree and debate as though you know your boss or someone you want to respect you will later read. Name-calling, threats and making harsh derogatory statements are not only immature and never helpful, you could open yourself up to a potential lawsuit (say something liable), risk of getting fired or having other people on social media retaliate. Be a grown-up about your conversations. If you’re saying angry, hateful things you’ll only dig yourself a hole while throwing all that dirt at someone else.  

2. Emotionally dump.
We all have those days when it feels like we’re being unfairly picked on by the universe and the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Maybe you got some really bad news from your doctor, your vehicle is in the shop for the twelfth time this month, your relationship is on the rocks, your child publicly humiliated you AND your job really sucks. Tough as that might all be, social media sites are NOT the place or way to decompress. No one appreciates feeling like they’re getting your garbage can of unhappy feelings and frustrated thoughts dumped on them when they log on to listen to music parodies and watch cat videos. (We all know that’s what everyone is really there for!)

Find a trusted confidant and share your bad days with them. Spare everyone the trouble of un-following you because they’re sick of hearing about your faulty carburetor, your domineering boss and unappreciative in-laws.  

3.  Over-share.
Over-sharing is a lot like emotional dumping. But instead of being a mental vomit of icky feelings and whiny complaints, it’s more like giving play-by-plays of stuff that quite frankly no one but your personal diary really cares to hear about. We’re talking long descriptions of the infection you got in your blister, a breakdown of how having your gall bladder removed now gives you spontaneous and oily poop, how that thing that happened in your childhood has permanently caused you to have problems with every relationship you’ve attempted, or how the barista screwed up your morning latte and now your life is ruined.

We don’t need to see pictures of your food. We don’t need to know you went to the gym, then the dry cleaners, then then grocery store by way of your favorite car wash. We certainly don’t need to see selfies of you at each location. We don’t care if you’re jumping on the isn’t-it-funny-my-socks-don’t-match or I-just-discovered-if-I-don’t-shave-I’ll-grow-a-beard bandwagon or whatever sheeple thing that everyone else is doing, since crowd following is apparently the only thing you aspire to more than shocking people with your dull and deeply intimate life details.  STOP already.

4.   Demand attention.
We’ve all seen those annoying status updates that all but scream “Not enough people are noticing me and liking my stuff… TALK TO ME!!” You know the childish ones that insist you leave a comment or say something nice about that person or they’ll un-friend you? It’s the adult equivalent of standing at the top of the playground slide yelling over and over to your parent: “Watch me! Watch me! See what I can do?” No one likes that. No one respects or appreciates you more for crap that is tantamount to emotional blackmail.

“Let’s see how many people are really reading my page. Write one word in the comment section about how you feel about me.” Or “Do you remember how we met? Tell me how and what you thought of me we first met.” “If you could get away with it which one of these would you do? A. Kiss me B. Sleep with me C. Slap me D. Tickle me. Blah, blah blah.” There are so many of these things going around it’s a joke.

Are you honestly that insecure? And if you are, why are you advertising that you have the backbone of a squid and apparently the emotional maturity of a potato? Just don’t. Let us fool ourselves into thinking we’re friends with or related to someone who doesn’t need to demand attention online to feel like a worthwhile person. And for the record? Yes, it would be C. I’d slap you. Hard.

5.  Change your profile photo/ relationship status daily.
Just more ways to demand attention or seek the approval of others, constantly changing your profile pictures and updating your relationship status are cheap and cheesy ploys. You don’t look much different one day from the next. And if you are going to do something interesting that means you’ll be sporting very different looks in a short period of time, create a folder or album for them and upload them to there. This is the social media version of constantly adding more crap to your front yard which went from being “eclectic” and now could be mistaken for the city dump.

No one needs 38 profile picture changes a month. That’s ridiculous. And even if you go from “single” to “in a relationship” or “engaged” to “married” in two weeks, for the love of god, if that all unravels in the next two weeks or two months, don’t make everyone in your friend list have to watch that updated again but in rewind.

6.  Baby / Pet Pride on Steroids
Children and pets are often a person’s pride and joy. But then being a good parent or pet owner is your responsibility and privilege. And while the people close to you are often curious to see how your offspring are sizing up as they grow, they don’t need (or want) or know absolutely everything. But there is a huge difference between posting pictures for the typical birthdays, holidays and special events and going nuts with “My angel is the most darling thing that ever lived on the face of the earth!” updates. Getting on the honor roll in grade school doesn’t deserve a collage. Learning to tie their shoes doesn’t need a poem written in your child’s honor. And your puppy or kitten or cockatoo eating a treat doesn’t need a Youtube video.

There are literally thousands of pets and children being promoted online for just being average. It’s awesome their parents think the world of them, but let’s give attention online to the ones doing truly remarkable things. Like dogs that can identify cancer, rats being trained to find land mines and toddlers that can play complex songs on musical instruments. Your child and pet are cute but they’re not so extraordinary that we need to take time out of our own busy days to watch them doing normal, daily things. Let’s keep things in perspective shall we?
7.  Tattle on your loved ones.
 Relationships are tricky. People make mistakes and sometimes make bad choices. But don’t use social media to tell everyone how they did something that offended you. Pretend like you know what privacy means.

Here is hoping that you'll learn your lesson and cut it out before you make a terrible reputation for yourself!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Love For Less Than Cheap Dates

Since my article about how to date inexpensively, it has been brought up that I should come up with a list of alternative dating ideas for people who have a little more disposable income to play with.

 So, here you go:

Rent a Ride 
  •    Rent a limo for the day/night. Not just for celebrities, prom and wedding related events, riding in a limo to your schedules events adds some serious glamour to whatever else you end up doing.
  •  Rent a yacht, and if your boating skills are not exactly sea worthy, someone to drive the boat for you.
  •  Rent

Take a Ride
  • If you want to give your date a new vantage point, take a ride in a hot air balloon. Remember to pack some sparkling bubbly and your camera.  
  • Trains offer a view of landscape you won’t see from your car and an overnight trip on a train could seriously jumpstart some romance in your life.
  • Small engine planes are the epitome of luxury. Not much says you’re special and someone important than taking a ride in a small plane, especially when it’s on its way somewhere beautiful with reservations. 

Stay Somewhere Luxurious
  • Make a hotel reservation somewhere you've never been or even in your own city. Get the honeymoon suite and enjoy the jacuzzi and room service. 
  • Bed & Breakfasts can be a lovely alternative to staying in a hotel. They have a very homey feeling and some offer some really nice amenities. 

                                     Travel Date 
  • Pick a destination and pack your bags!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fight & Flight vs Fright & Might

Why do some people enjoy scary movies and others don't? Is there a difference between being brave and enjoying gore? Exploring a few ideas about what makes a person tough and what is just personal preference.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Online Dating Disasters Adverted: Safety First

Like most things, online dating can be a wonderful resource. It opens new opportunities for meeting people who live near you, but who move in different social circles and who you might never otherwise meet.

While statistics vary, it's said now that 1/3 of all relationships are now formed from online (social media) sites. That included online dating sites.

But with those new opportunities opening it, if people are not careful they might also inadvertently invite into their lives people who's intentions are far from honorable.

This is one of the reasons following certain common sense rules are so important.

It's also important to present yourself online in such a way that people won't assume the worst about you.

There are words and phrases you should avoid so you other people don't get the wrong impression. 

You should refrain from contact with people who obviously won't be a good match

Be aware that some people will use social media sites to scam people but you can protect yourself from that.

Don't write messages to people online that will make YOU seem like the freak job.

Keep a handle on your feelings and opinions and don't spread angst to other people.

Figure out what you want and what you have to offer before you start trying to meet people.

Make sure your expectations are realistic and you're not over-reaching when what you are offering isn't equal to what you think your date should be like.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let It Go: Snarky Online Messages

So it sometimes happens that someone will write me online and it gets heated fast. And not in a nice way.

But it's like the yellow jackets that I'd try to capture with a jar by the rotting fruit at the base of the apple tree in my grandparent's backyard as a child. Sometimes I like to see what will happen when going to toe-to-toe with a creature with a stinger and a short temper.

It's nice when someone will indulge me. After all, I never start the fight. I just don't back down from it once the gantlet has been thrown. Especially when the attacks become personal.

I knew this wasn't going to go well. Like I said...I may be guilty sometimes of deliberately trying to get a rise out of someone. But catching a tiny predator in a container is fascinating. I don't think my intentions are malicious. I don't keep it indefinitely until it starves to death. I just hang on to it for a bit. Poke it with a stick and toy with it a bit before I release it.

I just can't help but feel that certain types are a little too arrogant and need to be reminded now and then that they're not infallible. God only knows I get reminded of that often enough. Just spreading the reality checks.

And then you have to wonder if they even understood what you said...Does this guy know that my comment was laced with sarcasm and dipped in pretentiousness? I suspect not. I'm guessing that by my use of vernacular and vocabulary he thinks I was actually paying him compliments. That is funny.

I'm sure it would be best if I would just be an adult about it. Just leave well enough alone. Wave the pesky little stinger away instead of gauging it's reactions to my curiosity. But again, I'm not here to make enemies or stifle others even with their arrogant stingers. I just play for a while. And let it go. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Worth the Wait. 15 Things You Shouldn't Rush in Dating

You're tired of being single and impatient to move onto the cozy cocoon of being a couple with a special someone. But before you jump into a relationship with the first (or even second or third) possibility that comes along, there are some very good reasons why you should take your time.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What You Do Determines What You Get

The effort you put into something is usually directly connected to the results you get. And the effort you put into something usually starts with what your intentions are. The is certainly the case at the start of a relationship.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Online Dating With OK Cupid: Questions and Answers

I don’t typically tailor my articles here to any specific dating site or organization. But anyone following my blog like a Bible (or even occasionally stumbling across it for a few laughs) will see periodic screen shots of actual conversations I have with other users on the distinitive blue and white online dating site. Obviously I am a regular user and advocate of OK Cupid.

It’s one of the few true “free” online dating sites. By “free” I mean that you don’t have to provide any payment to the site or any company to create a profile, contact other users, read/ send messages and use all their basic features.

A couple years ago when they were bought by the company that owns they added an “upgrade” option with additional perks and features (adding more photos, seeing who read your messages, additional levels of screening who contacts you, etc. ) for a fee. It is entirely possible though to have success with the site without it costing you anything more than your basic internet/ wifi fees.

I have also used POF (formerly known as Plenty of Fish) but I have found OK Cupid to be cleanest and classiest free online dating site and it comes with lot of free additional features. I think the amount of effort that OK Cupid encourages it’s users to put in, help weed out the people who are just looking for pictures of local potential mates and the option to say “let’s hook up”.

I particularly like the questions and multiple choice answer options about opinions, lifestyle choices and personal preferences that give you match percentages. The founders of Ok Cupid initial started the questions and then opened up site so that users could create their own questions. Sometime after the new owners of the site took over, they took away that option. Possibly the decided that of the thousands of questions already posed by users, there was never going to be any need for new ones to be added to the list. (I respectfully disagree, but whatever.)

In the on and off four years that I have been using the site, I have answered 1046 questions. If that seems like a lot to you, I should mention that I’ve viewed other users pages who have answered literally double that number. Talk about putting me to shame!

While I may be a female (as a rule women get more page views than men) and a decent looking one (no false modesty but also no inflated ego here) I have always had a standard of never posting any pictures of myself that are immodest as a way to get cheap attention. And by that I mean by wearing a swimming suit, showing off skin in the boob/ butt areas, wearing revealing clothing or posing in sexually provocative ways. (Well, there might have been one photo where I leaned over to get my entire body in the mirror I was using for the selfie shot…)

Either way, I’m not using “Look at me I’m HOT and horny” photos to attract attention. Nor am I in the most heavily searched age range (22-32) and YET, I pull in between 115 and 155 views a week. (I get more around the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day and the beginning of summer when people especially want some companionship.) And typically 1-10 messages a day. I’ve had a couple days stacked together where I didn’t get any mail, but it’s rare and I usually find it’s because my inbox is full. Oops. Sorry.  

I attribute most of that traffic to my taking the tests and answering questions. If you take the number of questions I have answered and divide it by the number of years I’ve been on the site, and then that number by the number of weeks in the year you get this. 1046/ 52=  20.1

That means that I answer about twenty questions a week. Not only do I answer the questions, I write a couple sentences with some comments about my answer. This not only gives a little insight into my thought process behind my answer, but it has opened countless doors for conversation by people who then write me to talk about my answers. And it works.

Every time you answer a question, the site puts your picture with a link to your page, and your response on the home search page of the opposite gender (or whatever demographic you said you want to be found by). This means that instead of your randomly being found by the people you want to look for you, you’re on their home page smiling out from the screen with your answer there tempting them to send you a message.  

The beautiful thing about the questions is that the answers are all your own opinions and preferences. That means aside from the few that ask things like “Which is larger: The sun or the Earth?” or ask Intelligence Test like questions, there are no wrong or right answers.

By answering the questions they also slowly build up a “personality” on the site about you. From time to time that data changes based upon your collective answers to reflect the overall picture of who you are presenting yourself to be. This is very helpful in showing you not only how you may look to others, but possibly guide you if you’re answering too many questions on the same topic that might make other users think you are only interested in one thing (sex, drugs, politics, whatever).  
This is my most recent personality list.

 The list is only created after a user has answered 100 questions. Obviously the more answers you give and by covering a variety of topics, it gives everyone a more well rounded view of who you are. When looking at a prospective date, I always check this.   

A guy may be concerned if his personality says something he might consider negative (like more arrogant or less experienced in love) but I consider it a bigger mark against them if they don't have a personalty profile at all. 

If you are new to online dating, I would recommend you forgo the paid sites and try a free one. Like OK Cupid (no, I’m not getting paid to say that.. I wish!).

If you are already an OK Cupid user, I would encourage you to regularly answer the questions and add a few comments in the section provided. Even if you don’t answer questions every day or ever week, when you do it will absolutely drive more traffic to your page. And isn’t that what online dating is about? Find someone and being found?

Answering questions (and reading the answers other people give on the main page) will help you cut through some of the challenges in this online game of find and seek. 

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! Cheers!