Matchmaker, Matchmaker

So….I signed up for Match over the weekend.  Just created a profile, really. 

But, the functionality of the site as well as the seeming quality of men on there – seriously, and we all KNOW my standards are actually getting higher, which makes no sense – got to me.  That plus the 29 emails I had received, but was unable to read or even see who they were from, had me reaching for my credit card. 

Yes, after bitching about money all weekend, I gave in and signed up.  For SIX months, which assuming failure, gives me another six for free.  Match Guarantee, they call it.  Match is actually guaranteeing me love.  And I’m sitting back like a surly teenager, arms crossed, showing them what a challenge they have on their hands.  I should probably read the fine print because I’m not sure what exactly counts.

The 29 emails quickly pared down to 15, but that’s still not terrible. 

I came up with these new rules for this new adventure:

This is about keeping my options open and I’m going to make it fit my life however I want. 

No younger men.

No out of area men, which may even include no west-siders.  Although I may or may not have already emailed a sexy lumberjack from Boise because that’s where I’m currently dreaming of living.

No lame jobs.

Be nice about height.  (Something new I’m trying after realizing how silly these people look.)

Deleting emails without responding is perfectly acceptable.  It’s a freaking smorgasboard, after all.

The emails are pinged to my email address attached to this blog, which is – gasp – a fake email address (well, real, but fake, but, well whatever) that I don’t check too often and that is not sent directly to my phone so I won’t be dealing with constant overload.

Skipping days between logging on is completely acceptable.  If I’m going to be at this for a year and spend an hour or two every time I log in, I could do it once a week and still kill 100+ hours of my life.  Ugh.

There are no dates per week or even month minimum.  And I’m not changing any plans for first or second dates.

Per Patti Stanger, online dating is just 1/3 of my dating search.  I’m still trying to be approachable IRL and asking to be set up – although I never actually have been.  The guys who it didn’t work out with don’t seem too keen on introducing me to their friends.  And the normal people who tell me they have someone for me never close the deal.  I’m not kidding here, folks, I’ll try anything!

No responding to men who lack originality.

No Cowboys fans.  This is not a new rule.  This is a non-negotiable.

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Nothin’ Better To Do

Now that I’m no longer online dating, which at times seemed more like a chore and a task to be kept up with than the fun experience it was supposed to be, what is there to do with my time?

Start in on the stack of magazine I have that date back to last summer.

Have an impromptu Glee-a-thon.  All caught up now!

Remember how to kiss strangers in bars.

Haul ass on the treadmill. 

Master all 100 puzzles at all four levels of Sudoku on my phone.

Drool over foodie blogs.

Paint designs on my nails.  Seriously.  Shit is getting fancy over here.

Bake, bake, bake.

Browse the library.  It’s getting to be an addiction.

Read what I get at the library.

Read travel books from the library and plan fun trips.

Plan an escape.

Contemplate if I need an escape.

RSVP to Meetups. 

Cancel RSVPs to Meetups because the coed ones are just strange.

Forget that the coeds are strange.  Go.  Remember.

Discover YouTube.  Yes, like seven years late.

Sleep.

Be on time to work.

Do puzzles because they’re fun.

Keep up with my guilty pleasure, 16 and Pregnant.  Oh Morgan J. Freeman, you are truly a blessing to society.

Become a yogini.

Shop for baby showers.  Shop for a new bikini.  Shop for dresses.

Go on real dates.  Like with a man I met organically. Like tonight.

SFC6

My goals:

1.  Save $750. ($150/$750)
2.  Write two short stories. (0/2)
3.  Outline my novel.
4.  Take a class.
5.  Run 231 miles. (83/231)
6.  Bike 120 miles. (74/120)
7.  Learn to play a song on the guitar.
8.  Make a dress.
9.  Volunteer four times. (3/4)
10.  Get to 115. (118.8)

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I ran 17.5 miles.

I weighed in at 118.8.  So far in the challenge, I’ve blamed my weight loss or gain on outside factors, but starting in May I have been making it more conscious thing, with good food choices, sensible portions and of course getting back to working out.  Even though throughout April I was all over the board, I consider 120 to be my starting weight, so I’m happy with the loss!

I volunteered on Saturday.  I’ve been getting a lot of really nice comments about my volunteering and I really do like it, but let me just say this time was totally selfishly motivated.  I volunteered at a triathlon to meet athletic men and get a sneak peek of a tri.  It was fun as all my volunteering gigs have been and I was happy to help out the athletes and the organizers.

2.  What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?

Instead of picking something I normally do anyway – painting my nails or getting dolled up, which totally qualify and I totally did – I decided to make an effort to do something more and taking the first suggestion from this wonderful post of 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself  Right Now, I made a list of things I love about myself. 

Among the gems:  I make people laugh, I’m a good driver and I’m photogenic.  Hey, it’s the little things.

I also took down her other suggestions that spoke to me and am going to make sure I do them all during my beautiful summer (sorry, I KNOW this is a spring thing, but we are breaking 100+ degrees and it looks like it’s staying that way until October now…but, on the bright side, I LOVE summer)!

Okay, I’m going to sneak one more in…in Gala Darling’s list, she included “evaluate your life and cut out the things that aren’t working” and I realized dating like a mad woman wasn’t fun and wasn’t working, so I cut that out!

3.  What goal are you having the most difficult time with? Do you have a plan to make it better?

There are quite a few – writing, guitar and dress – that I have put zero effort or even thought into.  I’ll put some time aside for them on my calendar, but then totally blow it off!  That usually works for me, but since it hasn’t, I might need a new plan, but I’m not sure what that is yet.

4.  What goal are you rocking? Do you plan on keeping up the momentum?

Volunteering!  I have one more event scheduled for next weekend, which will make it my first officially completed SFC goal.  I’ve definitely caught that bug, so I’m going to keep seeking out opportunities and participating in them.  I’m even looking for a recurring gig for consistency.

5.  Fun Question: What’s your favourite board game?

Love this question!  I am such a board game nerd and if I could stay at home on weekend nights playing them, I would pick that nine times out of ten but I have few friends who share my excitement.  My favorite is Scrabble.  I had a boyfriend a few years ago and we would literally have all-night Scrabbleathons, but I haven’t found anyone else willing to play with me since.  At first I resisted Words with Friends because I’m mad it made Scrabble “cool” when I thought it was ALWAYS cool, but I recently started playing, so at least I get my fix that way.

Love this picture and message!


{from}

WANT.

I sat down the other day and wrote on a piece of paper:

What do I WANT?

Kinda like manifesting 2011 back in December, but manifesting at least Q2 and 3 2011 (gosh, I’m so financial now) in an afternoon. So, what did I come up with?

I want to be at the ocean this summer.  More specifically, I want to listen to Van Morrison at the ocean this summer.  This was not in the travel plans, but I want to make it happen.

I want to use my personal training certification.

I want to write a lot.

I want to read a lot.

I want to run fast and far.

I want to surround myself with people who make me laugh.

I want to make people smile.

I want to see live country music.  Something perhaps in between the house band at Toby Keith’s and a sold-out worldwide tour at the arena.

I want to be too busy and tired to drone about how busy and tired I am.  I want to be so in love with every second of my life that I don’t care that I’m busy or tired.

I want to luxuriate in my down time.

I want to create a good day every day.

Now, that’s not asking too much, is it?

SFC2

My goals:

1.  Save $750. ($0/$750)
2.  Write two short stories. (0/2)
3.  Outline my novel.
4.  Take a class.
5.  Run 231 miles. (23.5/231)
6.  Bike 120 miles. (16/120)
7.  Learn to play a song on the guitar.
8.  Make a dress.
9.  Volunteer four times. (1/4)
10.  Get to 115. (117.2)

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I ran 23.5 miles and biked 16 miles.

I volunteered at a culinary festival – sold beer to the Arizonans braving it at the picnic despite the rain and low temps (40s + wind).  It was so awful that it was fun.

I made my monthly budget with room for savings.  I usually sock away money after pay days, so the 15th and the end of the month, so nothing saved yet, but soon!

I finally saw 120 on the scale after a long time of being over that and felt in control of the weight situation again.  It was on my crappy Friday morning (but I felt “thin” so I pulled the scale out) and I realized I had the power to either make it drop more or allow it to hike up again.  Crappy morning or not, I packed a good lunch, leaving the mini peanut butter cups in the freezer instead of taking them to work like I had considered, emotionally eating them all day and feeling bad about it. I guess I did okay because on Sunday, my official weigh-in day, I was 117.2.  I was really surprised by it and will see how it sticks in the coming weeks.

I decided a few songs I might want to learn – Jewel or Miranda Lambert – and looked at my guitar.  Haha.

 2.  What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?

I learned a skill all women should have – how to untangle a necklace!  And because I untangled, I was able to wear one of my favorites I haven’t worn in so long and felt like a hot mama headed out to the picnic with my lady friends.  It was forecasted to be chilly, but I risked it with a sundress and it was perfect temps, so I felt totally cute!

3.  Is your mindset future-oriented or living in the now? How does this impact you when you are working towards a goal?

I’d love to say it’s a balance, but I am thinking ahead more often than I would like.   Coming up with lists of goals (something I’ve been crazy about for about the last two years) has helped me think more about now.  It’s allowed me to think about the things in my future that I want and realize thinking about them won’t do much of anything.  So I get to the future and have those goals as a reality by living them and working toward them now.

4.  Is there someone in your {real} life that inspires you to strive for the best?

When it comes to wellness, I don’t have a big real-life fitness-focused community I’m a part of (but I am working on it).  A lot of it is self-motivation, but I also am inspired to work hard and achieve my goals in hopes of becoming an inspiration to my family, if that makes sense. 

My dad wants to lose some weight and my mom wants to become a little more toned.  My sis and I can still share clothes even though she’s mostly inactive (which drives me crazy!) and her fiancé is hoping to lose 40 pounds (the weight he’s put on since meeting my sis!) before the wedding.  I hope by hearing about me going after my health goals and seeing me make good choices, it inspires them to realize it’s not just about hoping to lose weight and wanting to lose weight, it’s about working and making it happen.

5.  Fun Question of the Week: Do you read blogs on the individual websites or via Google Reader?

 I had a blog roll when I started blogging and clicked through my favorites daily, but then I learned of the amazingness that is the Google Reader!  I have way too many blogs on there, but there’s always something new and entertaining to read.  I even have a “Challenge” category now!  Sometimes I’ll click through to the actual site if there’s a link that intrigued me or something!

 Positive picture of the week: 

My tri is not for five months, but this week I set up my training plan for that (will start in July) as well as a training schedule for all the other races I’m doing (I’m assuming it’s going to change, but it’s a good base).  Further proving that I really am future-oriented! I got really excited about the idea that I’m going to rock out all these training seshes and continue to improve as an athlete.  That’s my motivation!

248 Days of Awesome

This post from Amy at Just a Titch about her life by the numbers motivated me to make my own. 

And then it was depressing.

I made a list of 14 things I am excited about long-term.  Let’s go into those by the numbers:  six are friend things,  five are wedding things, four are races, three are family things, one is work-related and one is lurve-related.  These categories aren’t mutually exclusive obviously, some events hit multiple categories.

That’s a good disbursement.  So, why am I bummed?  Beyond the obvious that I hate that other people’s wedding have hijacked my year and bank account because even I’m sick of hearing myself complain about that. 

(But BTW, when it’s my turn to play dress up in a fluffy white gown, remind me to spend time with and show appreciation to my bridesmaids.  You know, the girls who mean so much to me that I want them up there with me on the biggest day of my life and who are doing me a huge favor.  Okay, bridesmaidzilla rant over.)

The issue is that the closest thing (lurve) is this weekend (because you can’t look too far down the road in such a new relationship-thing-not-a-relationship-we-are-totes-just-hanging-out-and-it’s-cool-ugh-labels-suck-and-trying-to-be-cool-when-I’ve-had-26-years-of-experience-being-not-cool-also-sucks).

AND, moving on, the last thing is a half-marathon in December, 248 days away.  Just 14 things in 248 days?  Not enough!  I am looking forward to a family trip over Memorial Day weekend and then my birthday in August.  They are 67 days apart! 

Um, excuse me, summer?  You’re supposed to be awesome!

There’s literally NOTHING in June and July.  Well, there is a baby shower in the works.  And who doesn’t love wrapping toilet paper around a hormonal [single] mommy-to-be? 

Now, I’m the first person who will tell you that if you’re bored then you’re boring, so it’s actually good that I looked ahead and realized my summer was veering into less-than-awesome territory. 

This is how I spent last summer:

That ain’t not happening again!

This might be a great time to dive into my 101 list.  Time to start planning!

BTW, it’s supposed to be 97 degrees on Friday…summer is here now.  Oh joy.

WWW9

Life's Journey with a SmileMy 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week’s questions:

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I made two real dinners last week – an indulgent brie and apple grilled cheese on Thursday (after a cancelled date, boo) and a baked potato with broccoli (the dinner of my vegetarian youth) on Friday (after a cancelled GNO, boo).

I cancelled Match and signed up for eHarmony.  Like paid for it and everything and now I can see pictures and communicate and find the love of my life.  Or practice my flirting and get free dinners.

I started back in with a work out plan and feel like I’m making better food choices (okay, maybe not the grilled brie) and am slowly seeing the numbers on the scale go down.

2. Today’s the last day of the month – how do you feel you’ve done in February?

I got two goals – hiking and eHarmony – crossed off and I feel good!  I also made a lot of headway on a third and am so almost there.

3. What is your go-to favourite meal to cook? Share the recipe if possible!

This is embarrassing!  My favorite is breakfast burritos.  I scramble two eggs, top with cheddar and Cholula (not just any hot sauce, must be Cholula!) and roll up in a tortilla.  Lately I’ve been putting in spinach and/or turkey bacon as well.  It’s been my go-to since college.  They’re amazing anytime of the day!

4. Share a quote or saying that is inspiring you today.

“People don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.” – 500 Days of Summer

5. Fun Question of the Week: What’s your make-up routine? Wear any? Lots? Do you have a must-have?

I’ve been thinking I need to shake it up because I pretty much wear the same thing regardless of occasion and I’d like an evening “face.”  But for now, I MUST have my under-eye concealer because I look dead tired without it.  I also put on blush, eyeliner and mascara.  Sometimes I use an all-over tinted moisturizer and neutral shadow.  But, yeah I’m much more of a “wear makeup do it looks like you’re not wearing any” type, but need a little something extra.  I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s routines for ideas!

Positive Picture:

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The Meet Market: Bars

The idea of meeting people to date in bars is quite polarizing.  There are a lot of single people in a small place, but intentions and quality of those people are questionable.

I have met someone who became a boyfriend in a bar and know a handful of people who also have/have had successful relationships with someone they met in a bar, so it really shouldn’t be overlooked.

Attempting to meet someone in a bar this month was a little tricky because I came up with the plan not too long ago plus I have kinda cooled it on the drinking, well, since November, but more so since mid-month, pretty much becoming a teetotaler in the two weeks before my race.

But, I did make it to a few bars and did meet a guy, not much to report on him, but following is my checklist on meeting men in bars:

1.  Go to places that you like to go.  I’m not a club person and the men in clubs are not for me, so I stick to dives and sports bars.  Also, I’m no spring chicken anymore (future MJ will probably kill me for saying that), so to avoid looking around and realizing I’m the cougar at a bar, I have to be a little pickier about where I go.  I live right by a huge college town and like to go out there, but for men, I’ve found other areas that are better.

Maybe I'll meet my (non-cheating) Don Draper.

2.  Okay, this might be awful, but Rebel took me to a swanky resort lounge recently and it was crawling with age-appropriate business men.  Granted, they likely were not locals and I’m not looking for a long distance relationship with a traveling businessman who picks up women at hotel bars, BUT I think it’s good practice and probably would be a flirting confidence booster and I might go back sans date sometime.

3.  This is super cheesy, but I used to give myself a pep talk before I went into a bar.  Something along the lines of, “you’re cute and the men in here would be lucky to talk to you.”  Confidence is sexy and comes from within!  I try to send out a good vibe.

4.  Similarly, I used to go out with my roommate and if a guy didn’t talk to her within a few minutes of walking in, she’d get pissed off and she ended up giving off a very negative vibe and no one wanted to talk to her (or the unfortunate girls she was with – me!) all night.  She’d sit and play with her phone.  Ugh, it was awful.

5.  Move around.  I don’t like sitting at the same table or standing in the same spot all night.  I don’t order drinks from a server, I walk over to the bar by myself (being alone makes a woman much more approachable) and find a spot next to a cute guy to belly up.

6.  I’m not huge on approaching.  I have no good lines, so usually I just rely on placement + eye contact + smiling to get a guy to talk to me.  I have yet to find the happy medium between “hi/what’s up?” and “do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?”

7.  Sad to say that Mystery is right, having an accessory as a conversation piece does make it easier to talk to a guy.  I probably wouldn’t talk to one wearing a large fuzzy hat and goggles, but I’d comment on a sports team shirt or something.  Same goes for women.  “I like your black tank top, jeans and sexy heels that are like every other woman’s here,” is not something you hear often, so I embrace my own style instead of trying to look like everyone else.

8.  The guy I met at the bar this month approached me when I was sitting at the bar by myself waiting for my friends to arrive.  It’s definitely hard to go to a bar by yourself, but knowing you have people meeting you later makes it easier.  I’m a late person, but I might consider changing that to scope out that scene, pick a good spot and maybe chat up a guy before my group arrives.

Overall, I’d give my experiences this month with meeting men in bars a D.  Not good, but like I said, the mission wasn’t given the full attention it deserved.  In general, I’d say meeting men in bars gets a B- and if it works out, it’s nice to be the exception to the “you can’t meet men in bars” rule!

Why the hell am I trying to meet a guy in a bar?  It’s part of my great dating challenge of 2011.  Check it out here. 

Have you met a man at a bar?  Do you have any tips for zeroing in on the good ones, approaching a man or being approachable in a nightlife environment?

The Meet Market

Last week, I wrote a guest post over at The Chick Lit Bee about how we single gals would meet men if we were, indeed, heroines of our own chick lit adventures.  They always seem to run into a handsome, charming and available stranger somewhere in their day-to-day.

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Since I’m being quite the go-getter in 2011 AND because I love the idea of scoping out and flirting with attractive men and calling it research, I am going to explore one organic way to meet a man every month. 

Here’s my subject-to-change schedule:
January – Bar  
February – Gym
March – Driving Range
April – Community Events
May – Grocery Store
June – Sports Game
July –  Man Stores like Sports Authority, Home Depot and Apple
August – Vacation
September – Volunteering
October – Wedding(s)
November – Bookstore
December – Coffee Shop

So, how am I going to play this game?

Stake out these places.  Assess the attractive, single male situation.  Look damn good AND approachable.  If “approachable” is not working, approach (it is 2011 after all).  Flirt.

The ultimate goal is to actually have a date come out of these stake outs.  This isn’t just a social experiment to discover the best places (in the greater Phoenix-area anyway) to meet men, it’s also going to be a bit of a challenge for little, introverted me and great dating practice. (However, I’m a romantic at heart and if I meet someone potentially great, the game pauses indefinitely.)

Anybody else need to up their game and want to join me?  What places have you met men that I might have overlooked?

WWW2

Alternate title:  Bring It On

It’s week #2 of the Winter Wonderland Warrior Challenge.  Check out my first Winter Wonderland Warriors post here

Life's Journey with a Smile

Or, if you’re feeling lazy, don’t move an inch, I’ll bring my goals to you.  You’re welcome.

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week, the warriors are answering:

  1. What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?
  2. Are any of your goals repeat offenders (i.e., have you made them before and not succeeded)? If so, what do you intend on doing this time to ensure you achieve them?
  3. Do you have a support system in place to help you achieve your goals?
  4. Are you a planner when it comes to meeting your goals, or do you tend to “wing it” and hope for the best?
  5. Fun Question of the Week: Who knows about your blog? Are you on blogger lockdown or do the “real” people in your life know about your blog/read your blog?

I am a big time planner (4), so immediately when I set my goals, I mapped out when I would be completing most of them, mostly in January and February.  A few others I’m winging, the idea being with March largely unscheduled, I’ll fit in the rest. 

Some of the things are things I’ve had on my to-do lists or my I’ll get around to it lists forever (2) – specifically 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8.  Damn, I’m a procrastinator.  Putting them on THIS to-do list gives me a deadline, but these are the ones I had to jump on right away. 

So what have I done about them? (1)  I opened a Roth IRA account that I will transfer my 401(k)s to.  I just got an email this morning that it is approved and ready, so now my next step is actually moving the funds.

I also attended a Meetup for a new group I just joined and RSVPed yes to a few others.  My intention behind “do six things with friends” was to make an effort to see my friends who I recently moved 30 minutes away from (and I spent time with them once last week too), but I’m excited about shaking up my social life and meeting new friends closer to where I am as well. 

I signed up for a new dating site.  It sucks and it’s not THE dating site I had in mind, which I still plan on joining in February, so I’m not sure if it counts.

I holed up in Barnes and Noble and “researched” my Chick Lit Bee post and started writing it.  This is my positive picture because I love that this is how I spent an afternoon:

I made my first real meal last night – alfredo pizza piled HIGH with garlic chicken, bell peppers, spinach, baby bellos, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, yum!

And I found and signed up for a volunteer opportunity that I’ll be doing next weekend!

Not too shabby, eh?

I don’t really have a support system (3) because I keep my blog private from people in my real life (5).  I do have a good friend who’s staying on top of me about the adopt a pet thing, I think because his roommates don’t want a pet, so he wants to live through me!  I love the support I received from other warriors on my first post though and have added everyone to my Reader so I can support them as well!