Mean Girls

Social media has been around for a long time now, but something that feels like it’s more recently become popular are the little subgroups on Facebook where you can interact with complete strangers about some sort of common interest. For example, when I got engaged, I joined some of the wedding planning groups to get advice from other people who were in the same boat as me. I am also in several fan groups for pop culture topics — such as entertainment podcasts or groups that talk primarily about The Bachelor. 

Something I’ve noticed most of these groups all of a sudden have in common, though, is that mean girls are running rampant in these little corners of the Internet. At first, it was really cool to have a place to talk to people from all around the country — or even the world — about something we all had in common. It was fun finding common ground discussing movies and new television shows and how excited we were about Taylor’s next concert. It was entertaining debating whether or not we were excited about having Colton as the next bachelor and listening to each other’s well-thought-out points. This part of the world just felt light and carefree, and was a nice little escape from the more difficult and depressing headlines in the news.

These groups were a safe space to ask for advice on boyfriends, bridal parties, friendship, school, work, and everything in between — until they weren’t. I have read horror stories of people screenshotting pictures of brides’ dresses and sending them to the fiancé that could easily be found by searching her Facebook. The girl who was asking for our opinion on which dress to wear on her wedding day suddenly had her fun surprise ruined, and trust completely violated for absolutely no reason other than someone intentionally being cruel. One girl asked for advice about some issues she had been having with her husband, and a girl from the group screenshotted it and sent it to him. Another girl was going through a breakup and asked for some support, only to find out that a day later one of the girls in the group slid into her ex’s DMs because she thought he was cute. The ex was turned off by the behavior and notified his the original poster, but it’s still so messed up when women do not support other women.

Mean girls apparently exist in our twenties and thirties too, and some people just refuse to grow up. I don’t understand the joy some humans get in hurting other people. It’s twisted, sick, and really really immature. Your brain keeps growing up until you turn 25, and maybe some of that is the empathy part, but these people I see being inexcusably cruel are often fully-developed adults. When you’re a kid and people are mean to you, you figure at least one day you’ll be grown up and all of that will be behind you. Then you go to college and might have a bad roommate or something, but overall have a wonderful experience with the people there. There always seem to be a few people who are just downright mean for sport, though, and the Internet is a place they absolutely thrive. Anonymity is a perfect Cloak of Invisibility for the mean girl, and she wears it everywhere she goes. Whether trolls use fake profiles or merely hide behind their keyboards, they don’t care or even consider the feelings of others.

I have seen girls get attacked for having different opinions or life experiences than others. People fight to the death defending or attacking celebrities that they don’t even know, and then blame others for being unkind or insensitive. People who claim to be trying to make the world a better place by “educating others” are just being flat-out mean, and those who preach tolerance can ironically be some of the least tolerant people because they won’t accept people who think differently than they do. The biggest way to change someone’s mind is to respectfully disagree but still show the person love, even if you don’t agree with their opinion. By having calm discussions and connecting to someone’s heart, it is so much easier to help them realize how they might be wrong. It’s also a great way for you to learn and grow too.

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We know how hard life is already without any unnecessary drama, and yet there are still people who think it’s their job to ruin other people’s days. These groups are filled with moms, nurses, teachers, and everything in between. It’s mind-blowing to me to see people who are this inappropriately mean, and it definitely makes trusting strangers far more difficult. After feeling safe and happily trusting people I didn’t know on the Internet, I no longer have that luxury, thanks to the little groups of mean girls that have ruined it for the rest of us who just wanted to have friends from all around the world. I think the majority of people in these Facebook groups are kind and good people, but the ones who are brutally cruel make it too much of a risk to even post anything in them anymore.

One of the most interesting parts about the Internet bullies on Facebook is that you can see what their personal pages look like. One girl who was using name-calling as a tactic had a profile picture that was captioned with one of Martin Luther King Junior’s most famous quotes about love. Another had a profile picture with her two toddlers. People post inspirational quotes about loving your neighbor, but then go and bully others like it isn’t being hypocritical. It makes absolutely no sense, and I am so tired of people resorting to cruelty instead of just loving one another despite our differences. I also think we are at a time where people do not know how to handle being bored. Instead of doing something productive or creative, people decide to entertain themselves at the expense of others. We not only need to learn how to sit with our thoughts, but it is also more important now than ever to practice self control and think twice about how our words and actions make others feel. Posting an opinion online is easier than ever, which means we can have an enormous impact on others through what we choose to write. I hope that everything takes another turn for the better, but I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of the trolling in what are supposed to be safe spaces on the Internet. All we can do right now is hope for moderators to keep things kind, and be picky about who they accept into these little groups.


Do you think the good that comes from social media outweighs the bad? Have you noticed that things have gotten progressively worse, or is this just something I hadn’t experienced very much until more recently?

My Superpower

Seeing women supporting women is one of my favorite things in the world.

Something that has made my heart so incredibly full has been all the incredible support I have gotten from friends and family since announcing my new business with Rodan + Fields. I haven’t been able to work since I got sick with POTS right after graduating college, so having a job is a really exciting thing for me. I’m stoked to have something really productive and fun to do with my time, and I want to use this business to change the world. I know how ridiculous that may sound, but as someone who as suffered with pretty bad acne for years I know just how great it is when you are able to stop focusing on that and feeling confident in your own skin. Clearing my skin might not have changed the world at all, but it changed my world and the way I looked at myself.

The greatest joy my heart feels is when I’m able to help someone feel confident, strong, and like they are a really valuable human being. One of my superpowers is seeing the beauty and strength in others, and I want everyone I meet to know that they have something beautifully unique to offer the world. I do think that each person on this earth can add some sort of value that others cannot, and people often fail to see just how amazing their potential is.

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Seeing the amazing results from the skincare was what got me interested in Rodan + Fields, but learning about the great opportunity with the business has been life-changing for me.

Now that I have a job that is all about lifting others up I am so excited to see what the future has in store for me and my friends. All are welcome on my team, and I want to create a special little nook of women to cheer each other on, support one another, and be there for each other. I like to think of Rodan + Fields as my own personal team of friends who are there for fellowship and to help make the world a better place by helping one person at a time. I want to build people’s confidence by giving them beautiful skin, but even more than that I want to help people build opportunities that will make their lives better.

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I can’t have a normal 9-5 job because of my POTS being so finicky, so I’m so excited to be working from home…
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Or from the tables of fun little restaurants and coffee shops with friends when I’m feeling up to it!

I still think my purpose God gave me in the world is to be a cheerleader to everyone I form a bond with. I have a heart that loves to see others succeed, and even though my life changed drastically and I haven’t been able to pursue my own dreams of becoming a journalist, I have been so happy seeing my friends chase and surpass their own dreams. For as long as I live I know my heart is going to keep beating fast for others, and no matter how hard things may get I will always get joy from watching people figure out why they are so important to the world.

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If you’re interested in hearing more about joining my team shoot me a message on Facebook or email me at Krista.germanis@gmail.com. All are welcome, and I am excited to be able to spoil and lift up all of my business partners as we go on this journey together.

Girl’s Weekend

Getting away with some of your best girl friends is always so great for your heart. This past weekend I went to the beach with Audrey and Melissa, and even though I didn’t feel my best the entire time it was such a wonderful getaway.

We left on Friday after I was all hydrated and salted up (Does anyone else with POTS feel like you are a car that needs to be oiled when you’re taking care of your body? It’s such a funny routine to me, but needs to be done to feel even halfway decent). Our drive to Virginia Beach actually wasn’t bad at all. We didn’t really hit the anticipated beach traffic, and I only had to stop to pee twice! This is amazing with all the water I drink every day… My trip to New York City is the perfect example of how inconvenient (And sometimes embarrassing) this can be.

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Anyway, we ended up getting there a little early, so hit up our favorite smoothie and sandwich joint before heading to the beach. If you ever get the chance to check out Zeke’s Beans & Bowls you totally should. They have the best smoothies, juice, and Greek chicken rice bowls!

After that we checked in to our motel and headed to the beach. It was really hilarious driving up and realizing that we had booked a motel instead of a hotel. It was actually pretty nice despite having a little bit of a rowdy crowd around our room. They even had a pool directly next to the busy highway! We didn’t utilize it at all, but if we had I think we would just avoid peak traffic hours on the off-chance a car veered two feet to the left of the road and into the pool.

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“Low Rates Come And Stay. N ow H rng” I think they might have run out of letters or something…
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Really the only inconvenient thing about our motel was that the shower didn’t really drain well.
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I figured this out my first time in the shower after the beach and from there on out had to take breaks between shampooing and conditioning to let the tub drain a little.

Audrey and Melissa were kind enough to split the amount of work and each added a half of a person to their beach load so I wouldn’t hurt my arms carrying my things. I always feel really bad making people hold my things for me, but they make it really easy to ask for help — by taking my things without me even having to ask! I felt really blessed that every time we left the room one of them would stretch out their arm to take my purse and water bottle from my hand. From now on I think I need to purchase purses that would suit my friends better than myself — after all, they’re the ones who usually carry them anyway!

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Acts of service is becoming a love language that I’m noticing more and more as I need help with so much.

We had a really nice day at the beach lying on our towels, dipping our toes into the water, and talking about dating. It was too cold to really swim, but Friday was the nicest beach day we had while we were gone.

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The best beach snack combination… Chocolate and La Croix! The chocolates had a nice crunch to them from the sand.

We went to Kohr Brothers every single day we were there, as it’s probably my favorite dessert place in the world (Maybe even above Pinkberry!). I’m a pretty happy camper when you give me anything chocolate peanut butter related, but this is the closest you get to a taste of heaven on earth.

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I couldn’t wait to eat the ice cream before the picture, so this is how I smile with a mouth full of chocolate sprinkles.

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The Kohrs people knew me by the end of our trip.

Our last evening there we decided to go to a nicer restaurant since it was a bit rainy out. We chose a place that got great a Yelp rating for American cuisine and seafood. When glancing over the reviews I noticed that a lot of people mentioned the broccoli in their posts; I realized it was a bit odd, but didn’t really give it another thought… Until I ordered the steamed veggies and they presented me with three heads of broccoli. Like, what the heck?! Who in their right mind could ever consume an entire mini-tree, much less three?!

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The funniest part was that they added a couple of pieces of squash and carrots to the mix, almost to tease you that you did, in fact, get “steamed vegetables,” even though it was essentially steamed broccoli with hollandaise sauce. I ate as much as I possibly could and still had two and a half stocks of broccoli left.

Our last day at the beach was a bit chilly, but any day at the beach is always a good one! We sported long sleeves and blankets, but it was nice being able to sit and listen to the waves sing before making the long trip home.

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Overall the trip was really great and worth all the time spent not feeling well. I posted on Instagram a lot, mainly because I did spend quite some time in the hotel room resting from being out in the heat. I felt like this is ironic because it really was painting a picture for people that I was only having an amazing time my entire trip. Anyone with a chronic illness knows what it’s like to pretend to be well for a weekend. POTS is a little “B,” and I felt frustrated that I couldn’t run, play games on the beach, or walk by myself (Since I can’t carry my own water bottle to stay hydrated), but I sometimes forget that almost 4 years ago I got sick at the beach and couldn’t even walk a block without feeling like I was having a heart attack and/or passing out. I am so blessed that I can sit on the beach, enjoy the warm salty air, and eat a giant scoop of ice cream on the boardwalk. There are people who can’t even do that, so instead of feeling upset about the things I can’t do I try hard to focus on the wonderful things I do get to have.

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Feature Friday: Capturing Beauty

“Tilt your head, you are gorgeous when you look at the camera like that!”

I laugh as my best friend cheers me on from behind the camera. It’s so ironic that she is a photographer; Audrey is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever known, and it’s funny that she found a passion to showcase others’ beauty. After doing two photoshoots with her I decided I had to take a picture or two of her every time we went out; after all, she should totally be in front of the camera too!

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Audrey is blessed to be outwardly beautiful, but it’s her heart I love most. She is one of my very best friends, and that has absolutely nothing to do with looks and everything to do with character. Audrey is someone who has been a fiercely loyal friend since I met her, and even though we both want to do similar things in the world, we support each other and push each other to be better, rather than choosing to compete. I can always count on her to make me laugh when I want to cry, and be a great friend even when she has a million other things going on.

I have so many different stories I could write about Audrey, but today I wanted to focus a little on her journey to DC and how she has handled being a grounded twentysomething.

Krista:
You moved to DC without having a set plan or a job lined up, but everything worked out. This is a great example of your faith in God providing for our needs. How did you feel when you made such a big step?

Audrey:
At the time I decided to move to Washington I was attending college in a really tiny, snowy college town. I’m from Las Vegas so even just the idea of being cold is so upsetting to me — I don’t do snow! I remember thinking, “I would absolutely love to get out of here, but don’t see how that’s a possibility right now.” The thought of a few semesters left in my little college town also seemed a little daunting to this solar-powered girl.

I can’t describe why, but I sincerely just felt so good about moving. I had no plan, so even though I felt direction-less I applied for three internships — one in Texas, one in California, and one in DC. It was November and I was somehow hoping to score a last-minute winter internship. I have always been a firm believer that in life, we get what we are willing to work for. I think a lot of the time we sit back and wait for signs in life or big things to happen when really God is saying, “What are you waiting for? If you want it, go for it!” He can’t guide us if we aren’t willing to take that first step in the dark.

I was in class one day and got a call from a man who was the owner of a pretty prestigious company I had applied to in Washington, DC. He didn’t hesitate to tell me how under qualified he felt like I was for the position, and needless to say it was pretty intimidating. Nevertheless, he agreed to meet with me in person and two weeks later I found myself driving across the country.  Needless to say, that door closed and the next six weeks I felt like I was totally in the dark, but I kept applying, networking, and most importantly, I never stopped praying. I am now working at a job that is so perfect for me at this time in my life and I am tremendously grateful the internship didn’t work out. It is amazing how when a door closes it is often a blessing in disguise, and I think God blesses us when we keep our faith even if we can’t see the bigger picture at the time.

K:
Are you still happy with your decision to move here?

A:
I am so happy! And I mean, I get “Krista time” so what is not to love about that?! I think happiness is something we create, not something we magically find. Although I would be happy anywhere, the way things fell into place once I got here has seriously been so inspired. Since moving back I have had people come into my life in such incredible ways that I couldn’t imagine life without.

K:
What is your favorite thing about the DC area?

A:
I am from Nevada so growing up if we wanted to go to another state it was often an all day road trip. I love that I can get in my car or catch a train and in just a couple of hours I can be somewhere else entirely. DC also has such a contagious energy about it that I love but it also transforms at night and is so peaceful. You can spend a lot of money and go to an elaborate show and dinner or spend absolutely nothing at all walking around the monuments or in a museum and still have such a rewarding experience. The history and diversity here never cease to amaze me.

K:
You are someone I really love because you’ve never let a relationship, a job, or a busy schedule get in the way of your friendships. Have you always been like that? What advice would you give to girls trying to juggle a busy life?

A:
For me, life is all about finding the balance. I think in this area especially, everyone is busy but some people wear it as a badge of honor and I am just so not that way. I try to give everyone the best of me throughout the day and put my best face forward but then there are times when I just need to unwind and be with girlfriends and unwind over Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake Factory over a good vent sesh 😉 Ya feel me?

K:
Umm, of course I do!

We haven’t ever really been single at the same time, but our interactions never change when either of us gets a boyfriend. Do you think there’s a reason for this? What makes you value “girl time” as well as quality time with your boyfriend?

A:
Growing up my family didn’t communicate a ton. I was raised with a single mom who worked so hard to make a living for my brothers and I, but she was spread thin so my girl friends became my closest confidants. I think a lot of girls lose their identity in their boyfriends. A lot of the time people see relationships as the whole cake instead of the icing on the cake of life. Having a relationship with someone you love and trust is a beautiful thing, but you are both still individuals. At the end of the day most people are likely to go through a couple of relationships before they end up with the person they will marry, and when those relationships end you shouldn’t be calling up your girl friends like, “Hey… Remember me?” I think it is totally healthy to spend some time apart in relationships — it keeps you both satisfied and allows you to miss each other instead of having to do everything together. I also have the most fiercely loyal, hilarious, and loving friends in my life that just seem to get me. Who wouldn’t want girl time with friends like that!?

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K:
Something I find really cool about our relationship is that we both want similar things in life, but build each other up and share successes, rather than competing. What advice would you give to others in remaining supportive of their friends, rather than competing with them?

A:
When I was in high school I was really insecure. I had this small mindset that I needed to prove myself, but the only person I wasn’t good enough for was myself. As I got older I realized that I was really self destructive and then embarked on a journey where I was trying to be more self-aware. Once I shifted that way of thinking I learned that I not only found joy in my own accomplishments but also the accomplishments of those around me. Someone else’s success doesn’t diminish your own and I wish more women understood that. I remember having froyo “girl time” dates with you all the way back to my first year in college and we always wanted the same things, but I was always so impressed with this about you as well! Having humble but accomplished women in my life makes me want to be better — not bitter — and I wasted a lot of years being the latter. I would tell girls that felt this way to learn to genuinely be comfortable in their own skin and then start vocalizing to others things you genuinely admire about them instead of trying to lead with your own accomplishments. I am so uncomfortable around women who constantly try to make themselves look better than others. None of my girl friends are this way. It’s a shallow and small way to live. If you are threatened by someone else, look inside yourself. What is it about them that you are intimidated by and what is really triggering these emotions of insecurity and jealousy in you? Be honest with yourself and then face that head on.

K:
As I mentioned in your introduction, I always think it’s funny doing photoshoots with you because you are clearly someone who cameras just adore! What got you interested in photography?

A:
Haha oh man, I don’t see it that way, I just genuinely love doing it! I have always wanted to photograph people’s love stories and when I was little I remember looking through bridal magazines and being at weddings thinking how that would be my dream job — to capture those beautiful moments. I still have a long way to go but luckily we live in an era where you can learn absolutely anything and thanks to YouTube it is a lot easier to get a head start in something you don’t know a lot about.

K:
What is your favorite thing about photography?

A:
It is so fun to live in the moment but then that moment is gone and photography is something that helps us remember some of life’s sweetest moments forever. I wanted to be able to create something people can hold on to — whether that is a candid moment of two people dancing or a picture someone can look at that makes them smile because they feel beautiful or see themselves in a new light. I love creating that!

K:
If you could choose anyone in the world to photograph who would it be, and why?

A:
My nephew because he is such a sassy little stud. He’s like Bieber and is a little high maintenance about his crazy paparazzi aunt these days! I am not the kind of person to get starstruck or anything like that, so that’s a tough one. I seriously can’t think of a single celebrity I would really want to photograph over one of my friends or family members, but that’s just my personality. A couple of months ago I was doing a woman’s hair and makeup who was a single mom and had never really been pampered like that before. Afterward she looked in the mirror and got teary eyed and couldn’t stop smiling. I seriously live for moments like that with hair/makeup/and photography where I can help someone feel beautiful and see what I already see in them. I don’t see being a girly girl as something shallow or worldly but rather as something I have a knack for that I can use to help others smile and I love that.

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This is one of many times Audrey did my hair and makeup for a little photoshoot. I am one spoiled girl!

If you’re interested in getting a photographer for something in the DMV, shoot me a message and I’ll connect you with Audrey!


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I’M MOVING!

In just a couple of weeks I will no longer be on this website. My dating life changed a loooong time ago, so I am finally taking the time to make some changes that reflect this and moving my site to KristaLauren.com (As I have mentioned before I would have done this a lot sooner, but I am technologically challenged and 10 times out of 10 prefer to write instead of work on my site). Make sure you sign up to receive emails for my posts, like my Facebook page, or bookmark my new site if you want to stay a part of my Single in The Suburbs family. 🙂

Setting Up Your First Dating Profile

I think my friends are completely taking over the OKCupid scene in the DC area. It’s the first website I recommend for girls who are looking to start online dating because it’s super simple, free, and a little bit less of a hassle than other sites since the guys typically come to you.

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My best friend joined recently and asked for some advice on setting up a profile, and I realized I actually had a lot to say on the matter. Here are the first five things you should do when initially setting up a dating profile:

  1. When choosing a screen name, choose something that represents you, but doesn’t give away any personal information. Do not use your name, numbers that signify your birthday or area code, or the school you attend. An OKC profile is public, which means anyone in the world can see it. Some ideas for a username could include a sports team you root for, an activity you enjoy, or a pop culture reference. Something like TeamRavenclaw, RedskinsFan, or Swiftie13 could be a good start. The people you will potentially date don’t have to understand the reference, but it can be a good conversation starter for those who do have that interest in common with you!
  2. Answer only questions that are truly important you. OK Cupid has a nice little feature that shows what percentage you and a match are with one another, and this can be super-helpful if you’re trying to sort through your matches quickly. If you’re not looking for a hookup, smoking is a deal-breaker, and you only want to date someone who is neat and tidy, answer those questions so that the percentage will reflect what’s really important to you. Questions like, “Do you enjoy discussing politics?” or “Is astrological sign at all important in a match?” may end up messing up the algorithm if those questions don’t matter to you very much, whereas questions about religion and seriousness of a relationship have more importance.
  3. Use recent photos that reflect who you are. When I was on OKCupid I started off using some of the best photos of myself that I had — some of which were from modeling I did in college. I had a couple of “regular” photos as well, but quickly switched over to all normal photos of what I looked like in my everyday life. When I used the glammed-up photos I actually felt more insecure about my profile, as I felt like guys might think I was catfishing them when we met up and I didn’t meet the standard of my perfectly-lit, lightly airbrushed photos. I felt a lot better knowing people were looking at the girl who would show up to the date we had planned, rather than the more perfect version of myself.
  4. Change your location to wherever you’d like to meet up with your dates. For example, if I technically live in one city, but am closer to DC than most of the rest of my area, I might just say my location is DC to eliminate an explanation of why I’d like to go on a date there instead of in my own town. Plus this makes it just a tiny bit more difficult for someone to track you down on Facebook.
  5. Fill out the entire profile, but don’t write a novel. I think making your profile reflect your personality is important, but the messages you exchange with someone will definitely play more of a role in whether or not you want to meet up with someone. A profile is a good place to write about a few things that are really important to you and showcase your personality. Don’t be afraid to put one or two things that you want in a date on your profile, but be careful about crafting it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re being demanding of your dates. For example, I always wrote that I wasn’t looking for a hookup in my profile, as I didn’t want guys who just wanted a very casual date sending me a message. That saves both parties time and energy that they can use on other people on the site.

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Bonus tip: Don’t take online dating way too seriously, and have fun with it! The more pressure you put on trying to find something meaningful, the harder it is to relax and let things fall into place naturally. I know online dating can get old quickly — and sometimes get frustrating — but instead of giving up on it, take a break, enjoy some time with your friends, and come back to your profile when you feel like you can take things slowly again. There are so many fish in the sea, which is great because you have a lot of options, but it also means you’ll probably go through a lot of people who aren’t right for you before getting to a good match. Breathe, pace yourself, and enjoy. You never know when you might meet someone who will put an end to your online dating days, so enjoy this season of your life while it’s still around.

The Single Best Dating Tip For Girls

Keep your friends close.

I bet y’all never saw that one coming. I know, I know — it doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with dating, but let me elaborate.

Time and time again people get a new significant other and go into the vicious cycle of getting starry eyes that are only for their SO, set into reality, realize they do, in fact, need friends, and trying in a half ditch effort to have fun with other girls again.

There are a few solid reasons I strongly believe in staying close in your friendships, rather than dropping them only to pick up again when it becomes convenient.

First, trust is a key component in any relationship, even with friends. By remaining close when you get a new boyfriend you are showing her that you’ll be there for her through thick and thin — and in turn, she’ll be there for you when you need someone as well!

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Second, if you think about it realistically I hate to burst your bubble, but many relationships in your teens or early twenties don’t work out for the long run. I know, I know, there are plenty of high school sweethearts. When you look at the numbers, though, more people go through breakups than marry their first love, so the odds are not ever in your favor. They could be with a friend, though! There isn’t a limit to the number of friends you are allowed to have, even if there is a cap at “1” for a boyfriend. Don’t throw away something beautiful like a forever friend for a boyfriend who may or may not be there for you in the long run.

Third, girl time is sacred! There are certain things you just can’t have as much fun doing with your boyfriend… Some of those include shopping for the perfect cocktail dress, getting mani pedis, helping your girl swipe through her Bumble account, and gushing about how cute your boyfriend is. Let’s be real, we love our guys, but they can only take so many compliments before getting a big head about it! 😛

I can think of a hundred reasons I need my girl friends no matter what season of life I am in. The friendships I have mean the world to me, and I would never give up any of them just to get a guy. An added bonus to this is that your guy will love that you are independent and have your own things going on. It’s so healthy to stay balanced and have some activities separate from your man… After all, your crazy adventures apart will make for some great date conversations.

Today’s lesson: When my ex of 5 years and I broke up I was SO relieved that I hadn’t given up my friends for a romantic relationship. From day one of us dating I made the decision to have a great relationship in addition to the other relationships in my life, rather than in place of my friendships. Although many of my friends thought my ex and I were going to last, we didn’t — but my friendships did, and I was so thankful for every single girl who helped me get through my first bad breakup. It would have been so much harder being by myself and having to rebuild my relationships again… Plus in those 5 years I was still able to cherish so many great memories with friends that my ex was not involved in! Instead of only remembering him when I look back on my college years I have a million other wonderful memories too — many of which are shared with some of my current best friends.

Our Sad Spot Was Macy’s.

I think everyone has places you associate with an ex.

Mine were my alma matter, — particularly where we carved our initials in the sidewalk and our running route — Dunkin Donuts, Georgetown, and he would never know this, but our saddest spot is Macy’s.

Macy’s was the place I was when we had our first big argument over the phone. It was the first place it began to sink in that he may not care about me as much as he did his work, and the place I realized it was the beginning of the end.

Macy’s was the place he casually shopped for new clothes right after we talked about potentially breaking up for the first time. I held back tears as he felt the blue leather jacket on the sale rack. I didn’t like the jacket, but I didn’t care about it — I just cared about him. I wanted to keep him, even if he did have a new off-putting jacket.

During the several months we took to break up I drove the long way to get to classes. I stayed on the highway a little longer just to avoid the spot with our names. I wished they weren’t carved in the pavement.

Later, I found out that although our names were set in stone, our relationship wasn’t.

We broke up.

It took time to go back to all of “our” places, but it slowly didn’t bother me as much. Time went by and suddenly I was more shocked when I actually did think of him, since those thoughts were scarce.

I began thinking of Elizabeth and Megan when I saw Dunkin Donuts (It’s always been their place as well), and then met another special man who happens to be from Boston and obsessed with the place. I think of my time in New York City when a group of my girl friends came to visit and Thanh spilled her Dunkin hot chocolate all over the subway. I think of donuts — I don’t just think of him.

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Georgetown became a place I traveled to with friends to go shopping or grab a cupcake, and my school became just that — my school — including so many memories with and without him. I am able to look back on our time there fondly and separate that part of him from the part he became when he grew up.

Macy’s was a hard place to tackle — until it wasn’t. The heart has a way of healing itself, and you learn to let go. I’m so glad I did, too, because one of my fondest memories now lies there — picking out my new guy’s dress suits together for his trips to the embassy while he is overseas.