My Favorite Ways to Stay Positive

I am a firm believer that attitude is everything, and that maintaining positivity in your life can bring you some of the best gifts the universe has to offer. Over the past several months, I know that it has been hard for a lot of people to stay positive given the circumstances and uncertainty that has been surrounding so many of us, myself included, so here are some of my favorite ways to stay positive, no matter what.


1. Gratitude.

For me, gratitude is one of the most grounding things and it always immediately puts me in a better mood to take a moment and remind myself of all of the amazing things that I do have. Every morning before I get out of bed, even before I check my phone, I say three things that I’m grateful for and three things that I’m looking forward to that day. 

Even if it’s something simple, like being grateful for my extremely comfy bed, or looking forward to watching something on TV, the little things count, too. Also, I keep a gratitude journal and at the end of each day, I write down one specific thing from that day that I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an event, sometimes it’s something about myself. 

The point is, remind yourself everyday that you have at least SOMETHING to be grateful for – because you do.

2. Start and end your day on a good note.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles to get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes loses motivation halfway through the day, so to combat that, I like to plan my day so that I do the two things I’m most excited about first and last. 

I love to workout first thing in the morning – it gets my blood moving, I already feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I have more energy in the day. Plus, it’s my time to completely zone out and focus 100% on myself. So, every morning right after making my bed and having my first cup of coffee, I workout. Sometimes it’s just a 15 minute yoga video, but it’s better than nothing and it makes me feel good for the rest of the day. 

Especially right now since during the day I’m busy with LSAT prep, law school applications, job hunting, and blogging, I like to have one thing at the end of the day to look forward to. I’m like a little kid, and I need to always have something to be excited about. Even if it’s just a new episode of “The Bachelorette,” or making my favorite mug cake recipe, I make sure to do one nice, fun thing for myself to reward myself for all the work I’ve done that day and to end my day on a good note. I also find that I sleep better when I do this.

3. Surround yourself with positive things.

Your environment can absolutely dictate your attitude. Personally, I’m a brat when things are cluttered or not clean so I know that my area needs to always be clean and organized for me to be able to focus. 

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

Also, I make sure to have things that I like around me. I have a little “hippie tray,” as I call it, on my dresser that has all of my crystals and sage spray. My desk organizers are all in my favorite colors. My bookshelves are full of books and photos and other random things that make me happy. I don’t keep things that make me think of bad times, or moments where I was sad, or that just don’t make me feel good. When I’m surrounded by things that make me happy, I’m happy!

4. Affirmations.

I absolutely love affirmations and they have changed my life in so many ways. When I was on my second College Program at Disney and spending the entire drive to and from work every day, and most of my breaks, sobbing because I was so miserable, I would pull down the visor in my car or go to the bathroom and stare at myself in the mirror while I recitd my favorite “I am” affirmations until I could regain focus and was able to make it through the rest of the day. 

I have so many apps on my phone that are dedicated to affirmations and I start every single day with them. Before I check social media or anything else, I read my affirmations for the day. When I get sad in the middle of the day, I go back to them. If I can’t sleep, I say them to myself. There are so many places to find good ones that help you with whatever you need to focus on, and they really have helped me stay positive even in the worst times.

5. Maintain perspective.

It really is a cliche, but it is true that someone always has it worse. But that’s not to say that you’re not allowed to be upset about something, or that your feelings or experiences aren’t valid. They are. Besides, I absolutely think that honoring your feelings – even the bad ones – is necessary.

But whenever I want to throw myself a pity party for something trivial, I think about if whatever that problem is will matter in five days, five months, or five years. That’s something a teacher in high school taught me, and it really does make a difference. It helps me to reframe my problems and realize that most of the time, they’re extremely temporary situations that I’ll get out of soon. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. When I realize that something isn’t going to impact me forever, it helps me realize that I can get out of my funk and go back to being positive sooner.

6. Do something nice for someone else.

I like helping people. That’s why I worked at Disney, and that’s why I want to be a lawyer. When I do something nice for someone else, without a secret agenda or hopes that I’ll get some sort of reward for it, it makes me feel good and instantly improves my day.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking home from the grocery store when a woman walking a bit ahead of me was struggling to hold her daughter and her plastic bag of groceries when the bag broke. Her things went everywhere, so after helping her collect them, I gave her one of my reusable bags. That bag cost me about 10 cents and it took me less than three minutes to help her out. But it made me feel better to know that I did something to make someone else’s day easier, even if it was just with a reusable bag.

So buy someone a coffee, hold the door for the mom you see struggling to push her stroller through, or give someone a reusable bag. Reminding yourself that you matter, that your existence has value, and that you’re able to make the world a better place – one small step at a time – should always cheer you up. I know it does for me .

7. Take care of yourself physically.

You can’t feel good emotionally and mentally if you’re not feeling well physically. So, hydrate! I am never without my water bottle. Eat good foods. I don’t believe in diets or clean eating, but if you know you’re lactose intolerant, don’t have lactose. If you know that having too many french fries makes you bloated and unable to move, don’t eat too many french fries.

Also, make sure that you’re moving your body every day – even if it’s just a short walk – and get enough sleep. When I was going through my insane doctor visits trying to figure out why I had vertigo for six months straight, the one thing every doctor could agree on was that I needed to sleep more. Sleep is key. Take care of your body – it’s the only one you have.


I know there are lots of other great ways to maintain a positive attitude, but these are my top seven! Ever since I got out of the toxic situations that were holding me back, I feel much more like my old self – the self that was obnoxiously optimistic and always able to see the silver lining. I like being positive and I like being able to look back at a challenge and say to myself, “I made it through that and I did it with a smile.” So, whatever your methods are, stay positive. 2020 is almost over and 2021 is almost here – we can do it!

Meal Prep Tips

On Sundays we meal prep.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen my meal prep photos pop up in my story, for which I only kind of apologize. 

I absolutely love meal prepping. It saves me time during the week, it saves money, and I’m much more likely to eat healthy meals if I already have a bunch made. I also think it’s a lot of fun – I enjoy planning out my meals, I like grocery shopping, and then I just put on a good playlist or podcast and get to work!

Since I know that meal prep, or really cooking in general, are not everyone’s favorite things to do I figured I would share some of my tips and tricks to maybe make it a little bit easier to get into it. They say it’s easier to form new habits than it is to break them, so why not start to get into a habit that will help you save money and time, and keep you healthy?


Preparing for Prep

  • To start, it helps to have good resources that you know you can go to to find exactly what you want to cook. My brother and sister-in-law got me an InstantPot for Christmas last year (which I HIGHLY recommend investing in if it’s within your budget) so lately, most of my recipes for dinner have been coming from this book: Ultimate Instant Pot Healthy Cookbook
    For lunches, my dietitian recommended this book and I’ve been loving it so far: Whole Bowls
    Of course, you can also use Pinterest or Google if that’s more your speed. I find a lot of recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie, SkinnyMs, and random Pinterest boards.
  • Choose simple recipes to start, this way it won’t seem so overwhelming and you can work your way up to the bigger things. Don’t try and tackle something that will take 50 steps and 4 hours your first time – it’ll just discourage you. I love to cook, yet no matter how hard I try, I cannot make a good meatloaf (ask my brother) so I’ve just learned that it’s not something I should have on rotation. 
  • Mix it up. If you’re having chicken for lunch, don’t have it for dinner. If you made Mexican last week, make Chinese this week. You’ll get bored too soon if you do too much of the same thing and it’ll be harder to stick with it as you go on. Trust me, I’ve been there. 
  • I also recommend having a meal prep planner to help you organize what you’re planning on eating throughout the week, especially if you aren’t going to have the same thing every day. I also just feel like it looks very “adult” to have it hanging on the refrigerator, and it makes it easier for me when it’s time to go grocery shopping. Right now, I have this one: Knock Knock What to Eat Pad. but I’m almost out of paper so I have this one coming from Amazon soon: Bloom Weekly Meal Plan Pad.
  • Make sure that you have enough Tupperware and containers to store everything. There are lots of meal prep containers on Amazon, but I actually got some really good glass ones from TJMaxx that are a great size, good quality, microwave and dishwasher safe, and affordable. Just find what works best for you and the types of meals you’re planning on making. I typically make salads for lunches, so just one compartment is good for me, but if you’re more into other types of meals, it would be helpful to have at least some containers with more than one compartment. I also like having little glass bowls for breakfasts. Now that I’ve been home more, I just have a bunch of big containers and I put each part of the meal into that and serve it up on the day. Just do what works best for you.
  • Be willing to go to more than one grocery store if possible. Sometimes I end up needing some super random item that I can only get at Whole Foods, but no way am I buying EVERYTHING there because I cannot afford that. I like doing the bulk of my shopping at Trader Joe’s and then getting the meat and most produce at the grocery store by my apartment building because I think it’s better quality. It’s a bit more time consuming, but worth it for me to spend money and make sure that the money I’m spending is buying quality food. 
  • Finally, pick a day to go grocery shopping and then another day to do the actual prep. I like to split it up, personally, but totally your call if you like to do it on the same day. Make sure you have everything you need on your grocery list before going – I’ve totally made that mistake before. I also find it really helpful to always have certain staples in my pantry (which I’ll list below) so that I don’t have to get them every time I need them. 

Prepping

  • My number one tip for meal prep is to clean as you go!! It really does help SO much! I also like to take everything that I need out right away and then put things away as I use them. Have a scraps bowl nearby as you chop fruits and veggies, and while one thing is cooking, clean up the prep from it before you start on the next thing. 
  • Turn on a good playlist or podcast to keep you entertained. Meal prep can take a while, so music or some sort of audio helps me to pass the time. For me that’s usually Crime Junkie, but you do you.
  • Read all the recipes first and pick the longest things to make first. This way, you can make your dressings or whatever while the veggies and meat are in the oven or on the stove, and everything gets finished around the same time. 
  • Whether you pre-portion into individual containers to pull out at meal time, or you like to put everything in one big container and serve it when the time is right, make sure that you let things cool to room temperature before storing them in the fridge. This is not only proper food safety protocol, but it keeps things from getting mushy or soggy. 
  • Organize your fridge so that things in the front are what you’ll be eating first. It’s a silly thing, but it makes it easier to remember to grab things in the morning. 
  • Take a picture of all your hard work! Meal prep can be tough, but it’s so worth it. Go ahead and brag about yourself.

Pantry Staples

  • Canned chickpeas. I use these ALL the time so I always have a bunch on hand!
  • Canned black beans.
  • Grains – quinoa, whole wheat pasta, rice, and couscous are my favorites. I also recently discovered that I might be gluten-intolerant so I might be updating this list soon. 
  • Oils – avocado, sesame, olive, and flaxseed are my go-tos. 
  • Canned coconut milk and coconut cream. Great to make a recipe dairy-free/vegan if needed, and also much easier to constantly have than heavy cream. 
  • Balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. 
  • Nut butters. I am addicted to peanut butter and find a way to incorporate it into at least one meal per day, but whatever your favorite is is always good to have on hand! I do like to have some sort of natural nut butter as well to help make marinades or dressings.
  • SPICES! Garlic, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika… whatever you like, just make sure you have spices!
  • Canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, and/or diced tomatoes. 

My Favorite Recipes

If you feel like you’re ready to start, but need some inspiration, here are some of my favorite recipes to begin with. I should say that I tend to eat like a vegetarian most of the time just because it’s difficult to cook meat for one person, so feel free to substitute any of the plant-based proteins, or just add in some chicken or whatever it is you like. 

Breakfast

  • Chocolate Chip Breakfast Squares – I LOVE oats and could eat oatmeal every day and be happy, but these things are so fricking good. I’d make a big batch and then portion them out (and freeze the leftovers) and mix up my fruit and spread combos (strawberries and Nutella, banana and peanut butter, pear and almond butter) and have a perfect little breakfast to bring with me to work. These things kept me full until lunch time every time.
  • Overnight Oats – There are a million ways to make them, but for me, my favorite recipe is: ½ cup rolled oats, ¾ unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, ½ mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon mixed up in a mason jar. Then top with the other half of the banana (sliced), melt 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle on top, and finish with a bit of honey. So, so good. 
  • Smoothies – I’m weirdly obsessed with smoothies, no matter the weather, and it’s so easy to just bag up some of your favorite frozen fruit and a handful of spinach and throw it in a blender with whatever liquid base you like when you’re ready to have it. 

    Lunch
  • Salad with arugula, roasted chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, and kalamata olives topped with Greek dressing. 
  • Honey sriracha glazed meatballs.
  • Turkey & hummus pinwheels (just a wrap sliced into bite-sized pieces), with carrots & celery, grapes, and cheese slices. 

    Dinner
  • Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – I’m also a huge fan of sheet pan meals – they’re so easy to make and very minimal clean up afterwards.
  • Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna Soup.
  • Pasta e Fagioli – I added zucchini to mine to get some more veggies in, and also because I’ve been on a weird zucchini fix lately.

Other Tips

On weeks when I don’t feel like eating the same thing every day, but I do want to have some easy-to-make things on hand, there are a few things I do on my meal prep day just to get a headstart on being healthy and prepared for the week.

  • If you have a slow cooker, one of my favorite things to do is get some chicken breasts (between 1.5-2 pounds, I just buy them wherever they’re on sale that week) and place them in the crockpot, season, and cover with chicken broth or water (just enough to cover completely), and then cook on low for about 6-7 hours. Once they’re done cooking, I take them out, use two forks to shred, and then after it’s cooled, portion out the chicken into freezer Ziploc bags and store them until I’m ready to use them. They defrost in less than an hour, and I’ve made quesadillas, burrito bowls, chicken salad, and more with this.
  • Chop up a bunch of fruits and veggies (again, I usually buy what’s in season and on sale) so that you can easily grab them for snacks or to add into your lunches and dinners. There’s also nothing wrong with frozen vegetables!
  • Cook up a big batch of quinoa or rice, and make a homemade salad dressing or marinade (like one of these) so that if nothing else, you can mix some with some arugula or kale, whatever veggies you chopped up, some defrosted chicken or shrimp (I also always have cooked frozen shrimp on hand for a quick defrost), and toss some cheese and dressing on top to make a good lunch or dinner. 

I hope that this helps! Enjoy!

Chapter 26: I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

Just because it’s spooky season…

How to survive being ghosted, and why I don’t ghost

You meet someone, most likely on a dating app, you go out and have a great time, talk a bit after, and then as soon as you ask them to hang out again, they seem to have suddenly disappeared into a deep abyss, never to be seen again.

We’ve all had it happen to us. And worse, a lot of people have done it completely unintentionally.


So, how do I survive being ghosted, and why do I not ghost myself? I’m glad you asked. Since quarantine has kind of put a damper on my dating life and I’m currently working with a small pool of stories I haven’t already told (don’t worry, I’m working on getting more soon), I figured that this would be a good time to address the one aspect of modern dating that is probably the absolute worst. 

I honestly would love to know who was the first person to ghost someone and make all of this a thing, because I’d like to have a serious talking-to with them. Let’s all establish right now that ghosting someone, whether you’ve been on a first date or not, is rude, inconsiderate, and unnecessary.

I have been ghosted – and trust me, it’s happened a lot – and at every stage of a relationship (including the infamous ghosting by The Cheater at literally the most cruel moment a girl could ever be ghosted) so I know that it sucks and sometimes it hurts, a lot, at first. 

But then I just tell myself that clearly this person was just way too intimidated by my beauty and general amazingness and that’s why he disappeared.

Just kidding, that’s not what I do. 

First of all, I give myself one day to have a mini pity party. Even if you haven’t been out yet, or you’ve only been out once, it is still definitely a blow to your ego and confidence to have someone that you really thought you were vibing with just disappear. Also, just throwing it out there, that most of the time when I give myself a day to just be sad about it and focus on making myself feel better – wine, bubble baths, face masks, the works – they usually end up texting me the next day.

But for those who don’t, I move on to stage two. I do like to give people second chances – clearly this is a pattern of mine, and it’s up for debate whether or not this is a good quality – but after my pity party day, when most of my negative emotions have already been drained, I reach out to them one more time. Here’s the key, though, you have to reach out CALMLY. Listen, I have gone from my slow simmering level 2 of craziness to a straight up 10 in about 30 seconds flat before, I get it, it’s hard not to, but again, this is why I give myself a day to just feel the feels so that when I try one more time, I’m not going full on psycho. Also, sometimes people do have genuine reasons to disappear for a bit – family emergencies, work, etc. 

Photo by Ryan Miguel Capili on Pexels.com

First of all, if the person is extremely rude, makes you uncomfortable, or this is not the first time you’ve tried to break things off, then I give you permission to go full on ghost mode. However, if none of those things are true, then I recommend using my line.

Usually, I’d say something like, “Hey [name], I really don’t want to assume anything, but I haven’t heard from you in [insert general time frame, we don’t need the seconds]. I hope everything is okay with you, but also, if you’ve just lost interest I would appreciate it if you could just be upfront with me about it.”

I do tailor this to the person a bit if needed, and let me just say this – while I have not had the misfortune of being ghosted by someone just after sleeping with them for the first time, if that happens to you – DO NOT TEXT THEM. At all. I don’t care if he/she was the hottest person ever, best sex ever, or had amazing Ninja Turtles bed sheets. Sorry, but anyone who does that is scum and doesn’t deserve even one more ounce of your attention or energy. No excuses. In that case, call your best friend to come over, eat lots of comfort food, and watch some good movies until you feel better. 

Overall, the point is not to be rude. You know the phrase, “You kill more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? This applies to being ghosted, too. I get it – you want to be a bit sassy/petty/bitchy, and of course I have felt the same way on occasion. But they are not worth it. Not at all. And people who ghost like that probably want a reaction and when you give them any level of sass they’re just going to be like, “Wow, glad I ghosted that one.” Think of Juan Pablo after Clare told his ass off on the finale of “The Bachelor.” While that was amazing, this is not the time to do that. Just be the bigger person and let it go. Say something, and don’t be a doormat, but be nice enough that they feel a little guilty about what they’ve done.

This is something I used a lot at Disney, actually. When guests were yelling at me about how I ruined their vacation, I would just give them my best Bambi-eyes and then smile and put on my super over the top customer service voice and it was hilarious how quickly they would start being nice to me. People don’t like being mean to nice people. 

The next step is to remember the most important of all of this – it is nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. You didn’t do anything wrong, and even if you did, adults should be able to talk about that sort of stuff, not just storm off and disappear. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy, or unlovable, or that you aren’t good enough. In fact, it means the opposite. Why would you want to be with someone who ghosts people? Personally, good communication skills are a major turn-on and I can’t imagine a relationship with someone who’s unable to talk about and work through issues, so someone who ghosts really isn’t worth my time. Lacking the courage and decency to tell you that they lost interest is a them problem, not a you problem. I promise. 

So, after you remind yourself of all of these things while you wait for the text back from them that in all honesty, will probably never come, it’s time for the last couple of steps. First, get your girl or guy friends together and hang out – I don’t care if you just watch Netflix or if you go out to a club (remember when we could do that?), or if you just Facetime your best friend while drinking a glass of wine, the important thing is to not spend too much time alone with yourself and be in your own head. Let your friends build you up and tell you how great you are (you are pretty great) and just have fun with them.

And finally, get back to dating. Don’t ever let someone who’s too immature to use their words get to you or keep you from finding someone who does deserve you. They’re out there, I promise. 


I feel like it’s pretty easy to sum up why I don’t ghost people unless I have a safety concern or I’ve tried to tell them to back off and they haven’t so I was left with no choice – I’m just not a crappy person. 

But, it’s more than that. Admittedly, some of it is a bit selfish in that I hope that by making sure I do not ghost people, I won’t get ghosted or have my heart broken anymore. So far that has not proven to be a good tactic, but I still try to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do!

Really, most of it comes down to the fact that I know how it feels to be ghosted. It’s aggravating, frustrating, upsetting, disappointing, all of the above. It’s hard to not feel like it’s a personal attack or wonder what’s wrong with you. I know how it feels to be on that side of it, I would really never want to make someone else feel that way if I can avoid it.

I have talked about my “go to” line before, but I’ll say it again. Whenever I realize that the person I’ve been talking to isn’t the one for me – which I usually try not to do until after at least one date – I say, “Hey! I had so much fun [insert date activity or “talking to”] with you. You seem like a great guy/girl, but I wanted to be upfront and let you know that I just didn’t feel the spark that I’m looking for. Best of luck!” 

You can add more if you feel like it, but I believe that less is more and for the most part, I’ve had good success with saying just these short three sentences. Most guys have appreciated the honesty and responded pretty well. It’s just a good, concise way to send the message that you had a good time (even if you didn’t, again, just be nice) but you didn’t feel it – but still wish them luck in their future dating endeavors, because if nothing else, you can at least offer them that.

Moral of the story, be nice. Do unto others as you wish to have done to you. And whether it’s spooky season or not, don’t ghost. 

For an upcoming post, I’d love to do a Question & Answer piece! So, ask me your questions in the comments – no topic is off limits! 

19 Things I’ve Learned During Quarantine

2020, am I right? 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has used the pandemic as a chance to reassess certain aspects of my life, learn new things (I was baking bread before it was cool), spend more time with family, and get back to the basics, more or less. So, in honor of 2021 being less than 3 months away, I wanted to share 19 things that I’ve learned during the pandemic and quarantine.

Some of these are pretty general, some are more personal, and some are things I’ve already known that were further proven over the past several months. But, I think that pretty much all of these are things that just about anyone can relate to.


1. Family is the most important thing.

I feel like this one should be a given, but, just in case. Part of why I wanted to leave Disney and hospitality in general is because I was tired of missing birthdays and holidays, and I needed a job that allowed that. I am so lucky to have a mom that loves me so much that she pretty much forced me to come down to Florida the second that things started to get bad because she didn’t want me to be in Boston alone. I would have gone CRAZY if I’d been up here by myself! As much as I missed Boston sometimes, I had so much fun spending time with my parents and family. I got to see my niece’s first steps, and hear some of her first words. I got to take my other niece on our first aunt/niece date night which was easily the best “date” I’ve ever been on, and such a fun night. I binge-watched like five shows with my mom, and got to spend more time with my dad. At the end of the day, jobs are temporary, but family is forever.

2. Life rarely goes the way you planned.

Oh man, at the beginning of this year, I was done with school, I had accepted an amazing job that was going to allow me to travel and give me more autonomy, I had just met a guy that I was convinced was the one, and I was happy with where things seemed to be heading. Now, I’m unemployed and single, but guess what? I’m still happy! I thought that everything at the beginning of the year was a set-up for all the things that I had planned for this year, and now pretty much none of them have happened. And that’s okay. The universe has other things in store for me. I just need to go with the flow.

3. Never be loyal to a job that isn’t loyal to you.

This is something that my dad has told me for years, and is why I once quit a job that was just destroying my mental health after about three months of working there, but I feel like in light of recent events that some of my friends are going through, it needs to be said again. Again, jobs are temporary. EVERYWHERE is a business. No matter how much you love a company, or how great they seem when you get hired, things are not the way they used to be.  Your #1 job should be to take care of yourself – if you can’t do that, you’re not in the right career.

4. Make pursuing your passions a priority.

I’ve told myself for years that I wanted to get certified as a barre instructor, that I wanted to learn lettering, and that I wanted to blog more. It took the quarantine to get me to start doing any of those things, and I feel more fulfilled now than I have in awhile! Make the time to do the things that you just WANT to do, not what you need to do. It’s so rewarding, and maybe you’ll find what the next step in your life needs to be through that. 

5. Self-care is ALWAYS important.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Y’all know that I’m the self-care queen, so of course I had to throw this in! I don’t care if it’s a five minute meditation, a bubble bath, journaling, or just lighting your favorite candles while you eat dinner – I want you to do some sort of self-care every single day. YOU are the most important person in your life. You can’t help others, you can’t do your job, and you can’t do your other tasks if you aren’t taking care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be much, just do something to take care of yourself. Make the time for it. It is vital.

Chapter 25: The Scientist and a review of EHarmony

Just because someone’s a scientist doesn’t always mean there’s chemistry.

I have always sworn to myself that I would never sign up for a paid dating app. No, I don’t have anything against using them, and I think it’s amazing how many people have met their significant others on an app – it just isn’t for me.

I blame Disney for a lot of that, because in my head any relationship I have that does not involve some adorable “how we met” story is illegitimate. Which is probably why I decided it was a good idea to fly across the country to spend a weekend with Tony after one meeting. I didn’t like that we met on Bumble so I wanted to up the romance factor a few notches to make the story better. 

In any case, my parents – mostly my mom – disapprove of my aversion to paid dating sites. Especially after the excitement and novelty of swiping through my Bumble choices with me wore off, they started to see how extremely slim the pickings are nowadays. My dad, who has teased me for years about being single, finally told me that he gets it. 

While I was in Florida social distancing with them, they kept trying to get me to agree to sign up for any paid dating site – Match, Eharmony, whatever. Their reasoning was that right now, it’s impossible to meet people in person so everyone will be on dating apps, and the kinds of guys I’m looking for (you know – not assholes, have their shit together, that kind of thing) are more likely to be on a paid service than a free one. I still refused. 

Finally, after much back and forth my parents literally offered to pay for me to go on one of these if I’d agree to do it just to give it a try, and I relented. So, I signed up and made a profile on EHarmony because it seemed to align the most with what I was hoping to get out of this. I’ve seen all of the commercials, and it’s been around for a while, so I figured it was a good place to start.

I was able to start chatting with people in Boston from Florida, which was pretty cool, but if my first dozen or so connections were any indication of my future success, I don’t have very high hopes for it helping me to meet the love of my life. In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of it, and I’ll get into more of why in a bit.

The Scientist

The only person that I’ve met on EHarmony and actually gone out with so far has been The Scientist, whom I’ll call Rick. 

Rick is a few years older than me, a research scientist/teacher for standardized tests. We had a pretty high compatibility score, 108, so when he messaged me about how we both got our grad degrees at the same university, I figured I’d give him a chance. After looking at his profile, I realized that he probably would not have ended up on my Matches list, but I wanted to give it a try. 

We started talking, and he seemed nice enough. The one thing I remember sticking out to me was that his profile lists him as “very Liberal.” Political party is not a deal breaker, but let’s just say I lean a little bit to the other side and wasn’t sure how much we’d mesh in that area at least. But again, I wanted to be open-minded and give him a chance, so I let it go. This is also important to note because at one point when I said something about it, he said he isn’t really “that” Liberal, and that was just one of many times I felt like he was saying what he thought would make me like him more.

The conversation was pretty good, he definitely initiated more than I did, and he was also the one to ask me for my number. As I’m sure you know by now, I don’t usually give out my real number right away so he got my Google Voice number. I also like Google Voice because I don’t have notifications turned on for anything except text and phone calls, so I don’t feel like I’m pulled to it as much.


But Rick really likes to text… a lot. I will admit that I have definitely been the one who is a bit “clingy” in the early stages of getting to know someone, but it’s definitely only okay when I do it. The more someone expresses too much interest in me, the less interested I am.

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on Pexels.com

This is probably why I go for assholes, if I’m being honest. I am trying to get better about this, but I just like boundaries – I’m working on it myself, not getting too invested too soon – and I need space, especially when I’m first trying to figure out how I feel about someone. If they come on too strong, I feel like I’m being backed into a corner and forced into something and I don’t like it, and usually, I push back. I also just like having to work for it, at least a little bit. I should also mention that, while he is a test prep tutor/teacher, I learned quickly that his spelling and grammar are not quite up to my standards which is also a big deal for me.

In any case, Rick and I kept talking while I was in Florida, and he was very eager for me to get back to Boston so we could go on a date. He even got tested for COVID, but it was a couple of weeks before I was even planning on being back so I’m not sure why he did it when he did, but it’s the thought that counts. 

At one point, he asked me how I was feeling about him so far, and I was honest. I said that he seemed nice and he had a stable job which is good, and it had been nice getting to know him so far but I usually don’t know how I feel until I’ve met someone at least once. He told me that he liked that I never respond right away because it lets him know that I have a life. Really, it should also be a sign that I just don’t feel the need to be in constant communication with ANYONE, so to maybe not text me every hour, but I went along with it. I remember a couple of weeks later he said that he thought that, “I liked him more than I did when he asked me last time,” but also that “he could just be grasping at straws.” My response was, “Let’s just say I don’t like you any less than I did last time you asked.”

If you haven’t been able to tell so far, I hate when people fish for compliments. I don’t do it myself and I don’t like it when someone puts themselves down or tries to hint for someone to compliment you instead of just using your words, or just being confident enough to not need practically a stranger to tell you on a weekly basis if they like you or not. 


In any case, I finally got back to Boston and pretty much since the day I got back he was asking when we could go out. My mom was there for a while so we didn’t go right away, but finally we made plans to go to Regina’s Pizza in the North End. Overall, we had a nice time, more fun than I expected honestly. But for me, having a good time does not equal a relationship and I was pretty much convinced by about an hour or so in that this was going to be a “friend-zone” situation, which is totally fine with me – I love making new friends.

Unfortunately, it does not seem like Rick picked up on this because after he offered to walk me back to my place, which was very nice but unnecessary, and when I went to give him a hug goodbye he gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was quite awkward. But of course I’d already agreed to maybe hang out with him again soon, so I was already kind of invested and had to just hope that a bit of distance would make things better.

It did not. Rick continued with the excessive texting, especially if he wanted to complain about something at work. That’s another thing, if you have a problem at work, fix it! Don’t text me about having to fix it! Just do it! I started to do my usual tactic which is to just kind of be cold and detached and give unenthusiastic answers because I hate rejecting people that I don’t think are trying to make me uncomfortable or anything, so it’s easier to just be a bitch and hope they leave me alone after getting tired of dealing with me. It’s better to be the bad guy that way, in my opinion. But also, I don’t hate the guy and would like to be friends, but in my experience, guys don’t like being “friend-zoned” and I’m not interested in dealing with someone taking that poorly. So I was just kind of putting it off, I guess.

I’m not going to provide too much context for this in case he reads it, but for future reference for him and anyone who enters my life, let’s just put it out there that my favorite Bible verse is Matthew 6:3, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” Basically, your left hand should not know what the right is doing. In other words, if you do nice things for people, do it and forget about it – don’t brag about it or try to use it as an example of how “empathetic” you are when I bring up that EHarmony seems to be very off in saying that we have identical Empathy scores, which actually just further proved my point. 


Our latest excursion brought us apple picking, which was my first time apple picking ever. He drove us there, we picked a ton of apples, it was really hot – which he kept reminding me of, there were a lot of hills – which he also kept reminding me of, we ate some apple cider donuts, and I got some honey and apple cider. He drove me back, and we went upstairs to my apartment to distribute the apples (that’s not a euphemism, that’s exactly what happened), and then he left. We’ve still talked here and there since then, but ultimately, neither apple picking nor any texts since then have changed my mind about him. 

I think another big thing with him is that because he teaches classes about standardized tests, a lot of the time he would act more like my LSAT tutor than a friend or anything. If I was excited about a score on a practice test, he’d tell me, “Let’s see how you do next week.” He would act like I didn’t know what I was doing in terms of studying, too, and while I appreciated the tips and resources every so often, he was talking to me like I’m sure he talks to his students and I really didn’t like it. He also got kind of condescending when I told him the topic of my personal statement, which is about my eating disorder, so that was not very cool either. 

Actually, as it’s now my editing day, the latest with The Scientist is that I did recently remake a profile on EHarmony, just because I feel bad that my parents are kind of wasting their money if I don’t at least try, and I had discarded all of my contacts except for him when I first deleted everything off of it a few weeks ago. This morning, I woke up and decided to check it to see if I had anything new and I saw that he had discarded me as a contact, with the reason he selected being that, “He found love and hopes for everyone else to find it,” which is one of the choices. 

I am happy for him if that’s the case, because he is a nice guy and I have no problem with him as a person, we just aren’t compatible romantically, so I texted him and said I was really happy for him and wished them all the best, and so far I’ve received no response. He might have blocked me in retaliation for me unfollowing him on Instagram, which honestly is not personal, I’m just very picky about who I follow and only want to see certain things in my feed. Who knows.


So, The Scientist is another name on the list of dating misadventures and men who are not meant to be my husband. Now, I’ll tell you all about why I’m convinced that I’m not going to meet the man of my dreams on EHarmony. 

A Review of EHarmony

I have a lot of feelings about EHarmony, but I’ll try to condense them into a few paragraphs. Basically, you take a test and it asks you all these questions and then after you make your profile, you can see who you “Match” with. You can update your preferences to exclude certain heights, education levels, etc., but only some features are unlocked. But much like other apps and sites, just because you have certain parameters and standards for what you’re looking for does not mean that you won’t show up in other people’s match list. So, most of the people I talked to were people who did not fit what I was looking for but messaged me because I fit what they were looking for. Honestly, thinking about who I had messages from I would say MAYBE one or two of them would have shown up on my list, if that.

Also, even though I had set up a search parameter to only look for men in my area, this is also optional. Again, most of the men contacting me were not in Boston. Most were not even in the state. I had men in Texas, Illinois, California, and Maryland messaging me. Even better, I got contacted by men in India more than anything else.


Once someone messages you, if you don’t want to continue chatting or have the message thread visible anymore, you have to “Discard” the contact and you have to choose one of about 5 or 6 options for why. It’s super awkward, especially when someone did it to me and I realized that the person gets a message with WHY you’re taking them off your list.

I think that’s super weird, especially that they make you give a reason – maybe because they’re creepy? Or because you said you don’t want to date a smoker, and one contacts you? Maybe because they’re not what I’m looking for and I said that in my quiz? Or, most likely, because I had men in other countries proposing to me like this was some sort of 90-Day Fiance situation? I don’t like that I had to give a reason other than that I just didn’t want to talk to someone that shouldn’t have even been able to contact me based off of my search requirements, and/or I just didn’t feel safe talking to them.

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

I also felt like the men there fall into one of two categories. One, they think that any woman on there is desperate to find love so they just act like they aren’t as sleazy as they clearly are to take advantage of vulnerable women, or two, they’re so desperate to find love that if you express even an ounce of interest in them they start planning the wedding.

Seriously, I had a guy I also gave my fake number to which I immediately regretted when he sent me about 70 unrequested photos of his trip to Las Vegas, and when after a few weeks of mostly one-sided conversations because we just had nothing in common I told him I wasn’t interested in pursuing it any further and he got so butt-hurt! Then he kept saying that “we can be friends and see what happens” and I had to say AT LEAST three times that “friends” means “friends” not “hope I change my mind about you” and if that’s not something he was willing to respect to forget about it. Besides which, I didn’t even want to be friends because the conversation was seriously lacking. But he acted like we had this insane chemistry (we didn’t) and the most amazing talks (we didn’t) and got so pissy when I ended it. There are plenty of fish in the sea, y’all, calm down. 

My other complaint is about the quality of men on the website. Like my parents, I did agree that there would probably be a better caliber of men than what I was finding on Hinge and Bumble and all that. But boy, was I wrong. Even in the men that are showing in my Matches who are supposed to satisfy the search filters I have set up, I’m getting guys that are not on par with what I’m looking for.

I’m not trying to be vain or mean or classist/elitist in any way, but I mean, I have a Master’s degree and I’m getting guys who still live in their mom’s basements. It’s not about money, or status, or anything like that but many of the guys I just cannot imagine having an intellectually stimulating conversation with. Especially not after taking a look at how their bios are worded, their occupation sounding like something a Bachelor producer would come up with, and their interests sounding like those of a 19-year old frat boy. For how much EHarmony charges, they should screen a bit better. 


I’ve tried complaining to EHarmony Customer Service about not only the lack of quality options and failed Match system, but also how much I dislike the “Discard” feature and my general safety concerns considering how many men from other random countries it seems are trying to wife me up to get a green-card. I mean if I wanted guys who just want to marry me because I’m pretty and they want to come to America, I could go into my “Message Requests” on Instagram and pick one of them. Every time I complained to them I got the same generic copy/pasted response about how “nothing is guaranteed.” No safety concerns were mentioned nor did I get any solutions, and I’ve basically been told to suck up the dissatisfaction and creepy messages for the remainder of my membership because I signed a contract. 

That’s the other thing – they give you like two or three days to decide if you want to cancel, and that is absolutely not enough time. 

For a while, my profile was mostly blank except for my Bio where I wrote that they won’t let me cancel and get a refund, and how unhappy I am with the service, in hopes that I would get reported enough for them to just kick me off and give me (my parents) a refund. I’m not trying to waste their money at all, and that’s why I just want to get out of it. I’ve also read hundreds of reviews now with people in similar situations and they all talk about what a rip-off and scam it is that they suck you in the way that you do then you get no good contacts or anything but you’re forced to stay in a membership you never use anymore because it sucks so much. Very, very sketchy. 

Now, I did redo my profile but I was just very honest and vocal about not wanting certain things and expressing what I am looking for. Again, not trying to make it sound like I have a whole list of requirements, but it’s not even about appearance or having a certain salary or anything like that. It’s just about knowing what I deserve, and knowing that I’m not okay with long-distance, nor do I want to date a smoker or someone who already has kids. 


If I had to give them a rating, I’d say maybe a 2/10. Overall, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and I sincerely wish I’d spent the money on a different service, or just packed a suitcase and gone to Greece or something and found a husband there. At this point in my dating life, Greece is sounding like the better option. 

Chapter 8: The Bartender

Shortly before I eventually ended up leaving Orlando, I was going through a bit of a dry spell and decided to get my booty back on Tinder. I was looking for a reason to stay, or another reason to go, and figured that if nothing else, maybe Tinder would give me a good story to leave with. It did.

I matched with this guy, who I’ll call Diego because I honestly couldn’t even remember his name when I started writing this chapter (I did remember it later, though), who was a bartender at a place in Downtown Orlando. And let’s just say that he was VERY aggressive. Not in a gross way, just very upfront with his attraction to me and what he was looking for. And, I liked the attention. We matched not too long after I had officially cut off and blocked Christian and returned the sweatshirt I’d had for years to a mutual friend that ended up being collateral damage in the break-up, had my roommate sit with me while I shredded all the birthday cards and letters, and defriended anyone who was his friend. So, I was ready for something new to take my mind off of things. 

By the way, if you’re wondering what sparked my FINALLY ending that relationship, I said “no” to him coming over one night and then after he ignored me for three days, he finally told me that I wasn’t worth his time or his friendship if I wasn’t going to sleep with him anymore. Lovely, right?

Anyway, enough about him. Diego and I started talking, and he started asking me to come over to his place very quickly. But being the Law and Order: SVU lover that I am, I knew there was no way I was going over to some stranger’s home without meeting in person. So after talking for awhile and getting to know each other more, and starting to feel more comfortable with meeting in person, I kept feeling myself be more and more tempted to take him up on his offer, but ultimately the part of me that does not want to end up as the inspiration for an SVU episode kept winning out.

So finally, one day while I was at the mall and he was teasing me about not coming over yet, I  asked him what he was up to. He was at Best Buy. Perfect, I was at the mall not far from Best Buy. So I told him to stay there and I’d meet him in the parking lot. And that’s exactly what we did. 

He was a bit shorter than I expected, but cute. Very buff, and he had very nice eyes. He was very confident but didn’t seem to take himself too seriously, so it kind of balanced out. We talked for a bit, and I felt more comfortable around him having seen him face to face and getting a better feel for him. I told him that I would like to get tacos or something before hanging out alone, so we decided that at some point, that would eventually happen. But, I wasn’t planning on staying in Orlando for too long since I’d put in my two weeks, so I told him it would have to be sooner rather than later.

The night of my last day of working at Disney, one of my best friends invited me out with her boyfriend and some friends to a bar downtown where during certain hours, you paid $20 for all you could eat and all you could drink wine, beer, or their signature drink. Coincidentally, this was the same bar that Diego worked at, so I told him I’d be there that night. If you know anything about Orlando traffic, you won’t be surprised to learn that it took us about 45 minutes longer than expected to get there. So by the time we arrived, all the food was gone. Which meant that if I was still paying $20 to get in (which I think is ridiculous), I would be getting my money’s worth in drinks.

Photo by Christian Fridell on Pexels.com

This was a bad idea for many reasons. First of all, I’m a lightweight. I have one glass of wine and feel tipsy (despite my stories on here, I really don’t drink often so when I do, it hits me). Secondly, I hadn’t eaten dinner because I was expecting to eat there. And thirdly, because I knew the bartender – and he was desperately trying to get in my pants – the small cup given to me at the door when I handed over my $20 was quickly replaced by the larger cup he gave me and was most likely spiking with more alcoholic beverages than the Pinot Grigio and sangria I requested. So I went quite a bit harder than I anticipated.

My friends and I left and went to another place, where Diego began incessantly texting me telling me he was off work and could take me home if I wanted. Unfortunately for him, no matter how much I’ve had to drink I always know how to take care of myself and keep my head about me, so I knew going home with someone I’d only met once when I was in that state was not a good idea. I was also too busy throwing up straight liquid at this bar (once on my friend, I’m still so sorry about that) to respond to him right away so he eventually got tired of waiting for me and left on his own.

The next morning, I texted him to apologize for not responding and told him I hadn’t been feeling well so my friend’s boyfriend (our Designated Driver) had driven me home with them and dropped me off late, where I went right to bed. I was finishing up moving out that day before my family came up for a quick visit, so I pretty much knew it was never going to happen. Considering he got pissy when I told him that no, going home with someone I don’t know well when extremely drunk does NOT sound like my idea of fun, that was more than okay with me. We followed each other on Instagram for a bit before I did my next purge, and that was the last I ever saw or heard from The Bartender. 

Introduction

When your therapist asks you if you’ve ever thought about doing something to potentially monetize off of your dating life, you know it’s crazy.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Madeline. I’m 28, from North Carolina, just finished grad school in Boston, unemployed because of Covid-19, and single. I’m a Sagittarius (and yes, that is important), an Enneagram Type 8, and an ENFP (formerly ENFJ). I have an amazing older brother and incredible parents, my best friend lives in Australia, and I quote movies like it’s my job.

If I’m being perfectly honest, which I always am (part of being a Sagittarius), I could go on about myself for ages. So, to make this a bit easier, and a lot easier to digest, here are some things you need to know about me before starting to read this:

  • I was a late bloomer. My first kiss was in a play – The Crucible – when I was 17. I didn’t technically kiss anyone else until I was 21, and I didn’t even go on a date until my Sophomore year of college. And let’s just say (for now, at least) that everything else was pretty delayed, too 
  • My friends call me the Queen of It’s Complicated relationships, because I somehow manage to always be in that weird middle-ground between friends-with-benefits and actual boyfriend/girlfriend (who needs labels anyway, right?).
  • Going back to my first point – growing up, I struggled with my weight a lot, and I had extremely low self-esteem. I never felt pretty or hot, and felt like I’d always just be “The Cute One” or “The Smart One” to guys I liked, because I was never the one they wanted to date. That messed with me a lot until I was in my 20s.

While some of that might seem sad, and at times, it was, now that I’m grown up, I realize that as cheesy as it sounds, all of that has made me who I am. I’ve still had some amazing experiences, and I like who I’ve become because of the fact that I did a lot of things a lot later than my friends. Even better, I think because of my delayed entry into the dating world, it’s somehow given me SO many more hilarious, crazy stories to share.

So, that’s me. Here I am. While most of these blog “chapters” will revolve around one specific guy in my life, there are times where some might overlap, and yes, you’ll learn a bit more about me along the way, too. 

As my friends already know, I tend to give every guy who has played some sort of role in my life a nickname that I use more than their actual name. I’ll tell a story and say, “The Narcissist and I went to eat pancakes,” or, “The Cheater never understood my pop culture references,” etc. It’s nothing against them, (just kidding, it is, for most of them at least) but I’ve just always found it easier and honestly, much more entertaining this way. So, each chapter will be titled after the nickname my friends and I dubbed upon that specific guy who will be the subject of that entry.

If you don’t enjoy reading about a 20-something year old girl and the sometimes mildly terrifying experiences she’s had navigating dating apps and IRL dating, then this isn’t for you. But if you find dating horror stories humorous, and want to know the best way to subtly get back at the guy who cheated on his girlfriend with you, or hear more about the time I got sent a Snapchat of a 9” dildo at 6AM, then, this blog is for you.

Hope you enjoy.

PS: All first names have been changed to protect the individual’s identity and privacy.