Hope

The soft silk of hope
Drapes my heart
Like fresh sheets on bare legs
wrapped in the scent of cautious optimism,
Like the subtle scent of your favorite detergent.
As the sunrises, reminders of new days and
New beginnings, fill your soul.
And just like how you forget and then remember how
the faintness of soft, clean fabric
feels like a breath of fresh air;
Gentle and coy,
Such is the first touch of fragile hope.

-LeAnna

Photo credit: David Mao

Thank Me Later: Things NOT To Do On and/or After A First Date

I would call myself a pretty well-seasoned first dater. I have been on a lot of first dates. Which may say something about myself or the people I’ve gone on dates with, but nevertheless, I think I am an amateur expert on them. And I’ve gathered a lot of stories about what not to do, and the ain’t shitness of people on first dates. And thus, I’ve compiled this list for you to help you be a better first dater and ultimately, a better human being. Because these are things you should not do in order to just not be a complete asshole. Ok, let’s begin.

Please DO NOT…

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1) Show up late without letting the other person know, and anything over 15-20 minutes unless it is an extreme emergency, like your family is dying or something (in case of extreme emergency, please just cancel) is charting into rude territory. Especially if you picked the time. I once had a guy show up 1.5 hours late (I am way too kind, my ass should have left after 30) and looking like last night. Which brings me to point number 2…

2) Put a little effort into how you look for the date. Like, you don’t need to be movie star-ish, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed and that you just dgaf about life. Like this is someone’s time! It’s respect to look decent. Again, I’m not saying anything about brand names, make up, dresses, slacks, etc… but looking like you took time to shower and dress (unless you agreed on meeting after the gym or at the gym or at a mud race), is kinda important.

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3) Order for the other person. Just don’t do it. Just don’t. It was sweet maybe 60 years ago when women had no rights and we had to eat what you wanted us to eat. Now if either person does it for the other person, it just seems you are insulting their ability to read a menu or know what they want. If they ask for a suggestion or for you to order them something, that’s different. But if they don’t. Just don’t. Like never. Like do I seriously have to tell you this? Apparently, cause it has happened to me.

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4) Not talk at all or very minimally. There is no rule saying you have to like the person you are with. But if they are a decent human and you decide to finish the date, be nice and polite. If you can’t stand the thought of spending another moment with the idiot across from the table, excuse yourself from the date politely.

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5) And if someone excuses themselves because it isn’t working for them, accept that. Let them go. Either they are delusional and completely wrong, and why would you want to date them? Or you’re an asshole. In which case, why would they want to date you? Get over it. We are adults.

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6) Mention your money hardships on the date that you invited the person to and you picked the place. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. If you’d like to go dutch, mention it before the date, in a nice and polite way. Or suggest a free date, like a walk, a movie in the park, or a local festival. Research fun, inexpensive or free things to do in your town. It’s a Google search. You use it for cat videos and memes, use it for this. Put some effort into it.

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7) Make any comments about a person’s appearance that is not positive. You do not have to be attracted to a person. And in the world of online dating, it `happens – people don’t look like their pictures sometimes. If it’s a true catfish – use your back up plan (a friend who knows where you are, your exit strategy) to get out immediately. But if it is the more common, you kinda look like your pictures, but you took them in shadows, and I was drunk swiping anyway, or my friend does not understand my taste in people and this blind date sucks big time, don’t tell the person they are fatter, uglier, thinner, *insert any physical adjective* than what you thought. You are a completely awful human being. We all are humans. We have insecurities. You are not expected or required to find this other person attractive and date them. You are expected to be a decent human. Finish the date. Make it short. But be fucking kind please. Dates are nerve wrecking for most of us, especially those aren’t super models like obviously those who are throwing stones.

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8) Pretend like you’ve been dating the person forever and claim they are yours. This is weird. You also don’t know if they like you. Also, don’t tell bartenders wait staff, other people around that we have been dating forever. This is annoying on a first date and not cute. Why are you embarrassed to be on a first date? Also, I will call you out.

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9) Feel obligated to take this date anywhere beyond where it is at the date. You are not obligated to sleep with this person (but you can if you want to, forget what society says), have another date, talk to them after the date, kiss them, like them, or anything else. It’s totally ok and quite normal to feel absolutely nothing, even if they are generally nice and you had a nice time.

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10)Pressure someone else to take the date anywhere beyond where it is. If you think they are feeling you and you want to know if they would like to go for a slice of pizza, coffee, drink, cuddles, or sex. Ask how they feel about it in a non threatening way that allows the other person to say no. If they say no, don’t blow up or get sad. Communicate you understand. Also, read #8, they may not be feeling you. It’s ok. Your ego will be hurt. That’s ok. You will be ok. I promise. Go eat ice cream, drink wine, or be those weird people and work out to deal with it. And then go swiping again. Or go meet people however other people meet people, but I don’t know how to do that, so just do you.

11) This is related to #9. After the date, the person may not like you like that. They may think, well, he/she/they would be a great friend or not like you at all or want to marry you. It’s ok to attempt to gain clarity around that. RESPECT their decision. Again, get ice cream/wine/exercise/vent to a friend if you need to. But don’t lash out against them, especially if they were kind enough to let you know. If they avoid you, you can try one more time maybe, but then move on. It becomes stalking. Some people don’t want to tell you in person. And I used to feel strongly that they should. But now I don’t anymore, and I’ll tell you why. After attempting to be a mature, kind human, and tell people how I feel, I have gotten a lot of aggressive responses when I say no. It’s scary and a headache and you feel like shit for just being human and not being attracted to them. I still try to practice this, but I get how that can be really damaging for folks and even, scary. Hence why I say, respect what folks say or do. Similarly, if they are ignoring you or giving you short answers, boo boo, they just ain’t that into you.

These are some of the top offenders from my and other people I know experiences. Bottom line: be a good human please. Are there any I’ve missed? Drop them below in the comments.

Sunday Dinner w/Lee

I love to cook and bake. It is usually super relaxing for me and it is healthier and cheaper than most food in NYC. Most Sundays, I turn up the slow jams, pour a glass of wine or bubbly, and take my time to make something delicious. This week was Mussels and Hot Sausage in a tomato garlic sauce with veggies and shirataki noodles (mostly no carb noodles – great for diabetics). This meal was quick, easy, and flavorful! I’m gonna share it.

I love Aldi, the grocery store. It’s super inexpensive, Trader Joe’s sister store, and carries tons of gems. Like frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce for 2.99 and hot italian chicken sausage -3.71 for 6, waiting to be transformed into a dish. Find it. Buy it. Make this dish.

Other Ingredients:
Frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce
Hot Italian Sausage – in the casing or already ground
1 Green Pepper
About 10 Cherry tomatoes give or take
2 cloves of garlic
Italian seasoning
Fresh basil
Butter (optional)
Dry white wine (optional)
Rice, cauliflower rice, noodles, OR shiratiki noodles (pick one)

Next, remove the sausage from the casing, and put their insides right into the pan. A pan that can also go in the oven. Just make a little slit all the way down and peel off. Easy peasy. I did three of ’em, put the other 3 in a Ziploc bag, and froze the rest for later (single girl moves). Now, turn on that heat, brown that sausage. Aye, look at you doing the things. Go ahead and pre-heat that oven to 400 degrees while you at it.

Ok now, chop up some veggies. I used a whole bell pepper cut into strips and then cut the strips in half. Also cut some cherry tomatoes in half, add them. Mince up some garlic. If you’re not a cooker, this just means, peel garlic (2 cloves), cut em up really fine and chop it again. Just throw it in the pan (in my Dream voice). Put the garlic on top of the veggies, helps it not burn. But then stir it. It’s weird. It works. Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. A dash of each, except maybe a lot of italian seasoning.

Ok, everything is getting a little saute, add a little splash of white dry wine if you dare, maybe a bit of butter, like a little pad. And dump the frozen mussels and the sauce into the pan. It will be frozen and stuck together. That’s ok. Then transfer the dish to the oven. Let it cook about 15 minutes, until mussels open up. Take out of the oven. Roll up some fresh basil into a cigar, chop thinly. Boom, you just did a fancy cutting technique that I don’t know how to spell. Sprinkle on top.

I recommend serving this with rice to soak up the juices. I did not do this. I used those gluten free, carb free, vegan shiratki noodles (that are actually quite good despite those descriptors). You could also use cauliflower rice. That would be good.

Now eat. I recommend a glass of that white wine you opened for this dish. Thank me for making you happy.

Wednesday Weekly Vol 5 – 90s/ Hip Hop and R&B

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Puff Daddy & Mase, Brandy and Monica, Missy Elliott and Nicole Wray.

Those are names that come to mind when you think about the late 90s and early 00s Hip Hop. ¬†Who doesn’t remember jamming out to these songs when they played on the radio? Out here trying to avoid the DJ voiceovers because you were trying to record your favorite song on a cassette, and when they did mess up your song, you called back into the radio station to request the song later to try and record it again.

This week, I present to you!

Late 90s/Early 00s HipHop & RnB (Wednesday Weekly: Vol 5)
Spotify
Apple Music

Walking Thirst Trap

First off, you should know that I have very recently begun attempting to get my life together. Meaning eating right and hopefully losing weight. Today was my first day adding in the dreaded excercise to the combination which makes what I’m about to talk about even more entertaining to me. 
So today, on my very first walk in a very long time, I learned one valuable thing. Apparently I am causing men all over the world, or at least within my vicinity, to commit iniquities in their heart and mind because I wear…yoga pants. 
Confused yet? So was I. So let me fill you in. 
I’m walking. Minding my own business. Feeling healthy AF because I’ve been eating right for like three weeks. Today was, for some reason, a bad mental/emotion day so instead of eating my feelings I said “self” and self said “yea” and I said “let’s try this excercising for mental sanity thing and see what happens.” So myself and I put on some comfy clothes, my old sketchers, found my head phones and turned on Beyonc√© Radio to get this walking party started. 
While still minding my own business, the first signs of an issue appear. Black car slows down, with black man in it giving me “the look.” If you are a woman you know exactly what look I’m talking about. If you are a man you know what look I’m talking about and have probably given it to someone. Car stops, rolls down window, and because my music isn’t loud enough I can hear him trying to get my attention. Against my better judgment, because I’m trying to work on being open to the universe and not coming across as a bitch, I take my head phones out and stop. I make sure to stay far away from the car so as not to get snatched. 
Here is the conversation that ensued:
Guy: excuse me. Are you an American? 
Me: ummm yea (mind you that’s a pretty loaded question right now so my mind is already on 100) 
Guy: what’s your nationality?
Me: I’m mixed. Black and white (oh lord here we go) 
Guy: ok. Let me make a statement 
Me: *to myself* ahh hell. 
Guy: you know you cause men to commit iniquity when you do this right. 
Me: *to myself* what the absolute heck is he talking about 
My face must have looked confused because he said 
Guy: iniquities. You know. Sin 
Me: yes I know what you meant
Guy: ok. Do you read the Bible?
Me: yes
Guy: a little
Me: I said yes
Guy: *holding up his bible* see I study the word. And when women (not saying you) walk around and men see you, it causes us to think lustful thoughts and your yoga pants (not saying yours) are….
Me: let me stop you right there. I’m just trying to go for a walk. Bye. 

First of all…I can’t. 
Second of all… sir don’t come for me today! 
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this encounter but here are just a few thoughts I have about it 
1. This is rape culture at its finest. Rape culture disguised as religious concern. If you can’t handle a woman wearing yoga pants because it might cause you to have lustful/sinful thoughts. That sir is your problem not mine. 
2. This is why women are afraid to go out in public alone. This is not normal, healthy or safe. Who does that?!?! It didn’t help that he looked like that man who shot the old man on social media and went missing for a few days. 
3. Clearly I am doing something right. When I said today was a bad emotional/mental day it was. I was getting stuck in my head and upset about no one wanting me. But apparently I was wrong. Apprently I am a literal walking thirst trap causing men to fall for me with every footstep. 
4. I wonder did he stop the two Older Latino women, or the white woman I crossed paths with a little down the road or was this just an attack on black women and an inability to appreciate and respect without oppressing. 

So the walk continued and the way it ended was such a beautifully ironic contrast I can’t help but think the blog gods created this moment specifically for me to write about it. 
I get back to my street (after checking multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being followed). My neighbor, who is also a black male, comes out of his house. I wave and say hello. This conversation ensues:
Neighbor: what about me?
Me: any time you want to come go right ahead
Neighbor: well I don’t like to just pop up. I was waiting on my invite. 
Me: any time!! 
Me to myself: must have been the pants. 

Moral of the story: Sir in the car…you don’t want these problems. Neighbor, you don’t want these problems either!