GF’s Got Me Hangry

Salads are making me go crazy.

I recently started a gluten-free diet to try and reduce some inflammation for one of my chronic illnesses. A catch-22, though, is that I also recently found out I am allergic to tomatoes and potatoes — foods that seem to be staples in a gluten-free diet — along with a small array of other fruits and veggies.

I did this as I do many things and just went cold turkey. I didn’t try to ease into it, and frankly didn’t do any sort of research whatsoever before making this big change in my diet. I’m all about carbs, and actually need a lot of them to function with POTS.

Anyway since I’m so clueless, I’ve basically been eating a diet solely consisting of Greek yogurt, eggs, and salads. Throw in a lot of dark chocolate and that’s my day.

I’m beginning to get really frustrated, as I have lost some weight that I would have liked to keep, and feel tired and dizzy without my pretzels and crackers.

The other day I realized how grumpy going gluten-free has made me after I ordered a salad at the Nordstrom cafe and moved toward the checkout. My mom casually said, “Do you want dessert? Those cupcakes are beautiful!”

To which I replied with a loud and flustered, “Mom, I can’t eat that; it’s not gluten-free!”

I immediately realized how bratty I had been and felt my face turn red from embarrassment. I mumbled an apology to my mom as the pastry chef glared at me from behind the counter.

Now that I’ve gotten through a few weeks of this I am realizing I need help. What kind of GF items do you like? What websites might help me find new meals to cook? I cannot keep living off of salads!

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Sums up how I feel about my new diet.

New Music Monday

In my adventures with Audrey* yesterday she introduced me to a new song that she said seemed like perfect lyrics for me — and they sure were! I’ve looked at more of her music and am kind of obsessed with Alessia Cara now. This music video is kind of goofy, but just listen to the lyrics. So. Darn. Catchy!

This is what loving someone after your heart has been broken feels like.

*I have two best friends named Audrey! This time my post is all about my beautiful photographer/blogger/ex pageant queen, but current badass friend.

Leaving On A Beautiful Note

Sometimes dating is just about collecting moments with people who won’t last.

One of the most romantic things a date has done for me was learning how to play one of my favorite songs for me on the guitar. He knew I am kind of obsessed with Taylor, and took the time to learn how to play Wildest Dreams for me. I was really touched when he broke out the guitar and serenaded me with a beautiful acoustic version of the song, and slightly off key vocals to accompany it.

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In the next few weeks of dating he learned All Too Well and Style, as those are two of my other favorites. He later told me he learned Thomas Rhett’s Die A Happy Man for me, as that was one of the only artists we both enjoyed.

I’m not going to lie, serenading a girl is one of the most attractive things a guy can do. Part of it is just knowing they took the time to learn something new for you, but something is also beautiful about someone letting you into the world of what they are passionate about. Whether or not you play the guitar you should totally learn one song to play for your bae.

This particular gentleman ended up being very different than the person I had him pegged for, so we broke it off a few weeks into dating, but this is a fond memory I will keep of the time we spent together.

Today’s lesson: Use your unique talents to show people you care about them! Whether it’s through singing and music, cooking, or — if you’re like me — writing, time is a special present you can give someone.

We’re Not Really Gilmore Girls

This past weekend I threw my best friend a surprise birthday for her 25th. It’s a really special birthday, so we decided to have a crazy night of dining and dancing our hearts out.

She finished grad school recently, so I added a “Grad Princess” sash to compliment her birthday tiara.

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We are both the exact same when we go out — we enjoy dancing, good music, and girl time. We don’t go out to meet guys and always dance with each other or in little groups with friends –old and new– instead of going solo with a stranger.

Anyway, I believe I’ve mentioned before that Audrey and I enjoy playing pranks on people. While we were eating dinner we decided it would be hilarious to tell everyone we met that I was her mom and that she had just graduated from high school. She and I both get a lot of crap for looking young, so the only hard part would be convincing people I was older than I actually am. Our plan was to tell everyone that Audrey had just turned 18 and that I was 33. I “gave birth to Audrey” when I was 15, and had been a teen mom.

There was one particular fellow who really believed us. Granted, he seemed kind of drunk, but said it was really cool that a mother-daughter duo had such a great relationship. He also ruined one of our selfies together:

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Audrey still somehow managed to get her sash in the pic.

Most of the guys we told this story to were skeptical, but ended up falling for it. Or so we thought! When I recounted this story to the guy I am dating he informed me that everyone definitely knew we were trying to fool them and that they were just being nice.

Educate me, please! Why wouldn’t guys have called us out if they didn’t believe our story? I would never go along with something the way they did and would’ve totally called their bluff!

The Walk Of Shame

One thing I have mentioned time and time again is how POTS has not only affected the way I feel, but it’s also taken a toll on some of my interpersonal interactions.

For example, I’ve told you about my sweaty palms and the way I can’t help but blush when a boy kisses me — but I failed to tell you about how this happens all the freakin’ time whenever I feel the slightest sense of embarrassment, annoyance, or frustration. The other day I ran into one of my high school crushes at Target. Obviously I have no feelings for him whatsoever anymore, but as soon as he mentioned that he was now married my face turned bright red because I am apparently just programmed to be awkward.

Anyway, I went to New York City last weekend to visit some friends and have a girls’ weekend with my mom. The trip was awesome and I will be sharing a few stories on here about it this week, but the first one is hilariously embarrassing.

Before we went to the DC to New York bus stop I gave Megabus a call to make sure they would be stopping once to stretch and use the restroom. Not only do I have to drink a lot of fluids to keep my symptoms at bay, but I also need to walk around regularly to get my circulation going. The person who assisted me on the phone said this wouldn’t be a problem and that we would definitely stop. Thank goodness! I suddenly felt a lot more comfortable about making the big trip to the city.

Things did not go as planned, though. Our bus was 30 minutes late, so the driver said that we would not be stopping. After shuffling up to the front to talk to him, he kindly told me that he would stop if I needed it — I just needed to reach up and press the giant red emergency “STOP” button above my seat. If I needed it? I definitely will! This is so uncomfortable, I thought to myself. I quietly went back to my seat and waited for the giant Smart Waters I had been throwing back to take their course.

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About three hours into our ride I realized I would definitely need to pee and stretch soon, so reached up to the button — then pulled away. What if it makes a loud buzzing sound and everyone looks over? I really hate being high-maintenance, but that ship sailed when I got sick. You kind of have to be to take care of your chronic illness.

So I closed my eyes, reached up, and shoved my index finger into the giant glowing button as I held my breath. It was quiet. Oh good, I thought. The driver must just get a notification at the front. 

But he didn’t. I waited and waited until I realized he wouldn’t be stopping. That’s when I finally went to the front to see if he had seen my cry for help. He was once again very kind and said he would stop at the next rest area.

This is where the story takes a hilarious turn.

He pulled right up to the front of a gas station and shouted, “Alright darlin’, we’re here! Go do your thing.”

Oh my goodness! He’s just stopping for me! I thought that this would be a rest stop for everyone, but apparently I got to walk the red carpet down the bus aisle to go to the bathroom all by myself. I stood up and realized my balance was a bit off from the long ride — POTS does that to me sometimes. I can sometimes have a hard time keeping my balance on solid ground, but it’s even worse when I’ve been cooped up in a car for several hours. I stumbled down the aisle, bumping into a pretty young twentysomething who was just trying to mind her own business and taking out a guy’s knee on the way. I offered a muffled apology as I turned bright red and scampered down the steps.

I felt everyone’s inquisitive eyes on me as I pranced from the bus into the gas station and wondered what they must think of me. This is humiliating! They’re probably coming up with a billion stories in their own minds of why I had to make this huge emergency stop. 

I hurried inside and was back within two minutes. I didn’t take the time I needed to stretch because I didn’t want any false assumptions from me taking forever.

As I walked onto the bus — my face once again matching the red carpet beneath my feet — I realized no one was really paying attention to me. The twentysomething girl glanced up from her laptop, but for the most part people remained preoccupied with their own activities. It was at this moment that I had an overwhelming realization that no one really cared what I was up to and all eyes were, in fact, not on me.

Today’s lesson: People don’t really care what you are doing — so you should just do you and not worry so much about what others think.

Selfless Selfishness

Today I was talking to my Army man about our dreams and some of my future plans. I mentioned how selfish my last relationship was — everything we did was to make him happy and work toward his goals together. My opinion or desires never mattered. Moving forward I want to be someone’s partner in crime instead of their sidekick.

His reply to this was my favorite. He said, “But babe, we always do what I want to do too! I feel bad now.”

I quickly felt very confused, as he’s always been extremely kind and is one of the most selfless people I know. After a second of thinking I asked, “Huh? What do you mean?”

I heard him smile over the phone as he replied, “I always want to do whatever you want to do.”

My heart is so happy it hurts.

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February 14

I had the best Valentine’s weekend I could ever imagine.

Not only did I get to go on a great date, but I also went to several Galentine’s Day parties — I will save those stories for another day, though, as I still have a couple more to attend this month.

I’ve been seeing a Captain in the Army for a few months now, and I only have good things to say about this gentleman. He has treated me the way I want to be treated in my next relationship and helped me realize that what I want in a guy isn’t at all unrealistic.

This weekend was his last in Virginia, as he’s going overseas for a mission, but we went on a really fun date to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

He surprised me and took me to a crazy fancy French restaurant called L’auberge Chez Francois. I’ve never been somewhere that nice, especially with a date, so it was a super-fun experience. We arrived to the restaurant a few minutes early and were seated promptly. Many of the waiters were actually French and had the same kind of attitude you would find at a restaurant in Paris. I giggled when the host pulled out my chair and said, “Pleased to take a seat,” and blushed when I ordered my appetizer in a very confused and jumbled French.

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My date and I thought the entire ambiance of the restaurant was fun. He’s a pretty simple guy, so neither of us were used to such a crazy menu. We felt really out of place, laughing quietly at a table in the center of the dining room while the rest of the guests were solemn and incredibly proper. I’ve never been so happy (and entertained) to feel out of place.

In true Parisian style we ordered everything all at once and were brought several extra surprises along the way. The course started with a “shot” of lentil soup, and was followed by French bread and salad. We then received an orange sorbet to “cleanse the palate,” which reminded me of the scene in The Princess Diaries where Mia gets brain freeze from eating the cold dish.

I don’t know why I enjoy trying to pull pranks over on my dates, but I do. So I told him that you are supposed to eat the entire orange ball of sorbet at once. He quickly regretted his decision to listen to me, and I giggled some at his expense as he realized I had tricked him — once again.

The rest of the meal went smoothly, as we chatted, people-watched, and ate lots of amazing food. The warm chocolate souffle was definitely the star of the show, followed very closely by the beef Wellington.

This was easily the best Valentine’s Day I’ve had and one of the greatest dates I’ve ever been on. I highly recommend L’auberge if you are looking to splurge on dinner in the DC area — just make sure to order dessert while you’re there!

#TBT

I’m starting a new #TBT segment every few weeks now because I feel like I have a lot of fun stories to tell from my past.

I want to start off with one of my first hilariously awkward experiences with a guy I met in college.

Let me set the scene.

About a month after I was asked to go to New York for the final callback of America’s Next Top Model I got an email inviting me to a pretty exclusive party in Washington DC. It was one of the judges’ birthdays, and they had decided to air it on The Real Housewives of DC. This was a cool opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on, so I sent in my RSVP saying that I would be attending, despite not knowing anyone there except the guest of honor.

The party was at a swanky bar in the middle of DC and I convinced my dad to drop me off so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding parking in an unfamiliar area of the city. Frankly I was just nervous that I wouldn’t have the guts to walk into the party unless I had someone there to nudge me through the door.

After a 45 minute drive, we pulled up to the front of the bar and my dad stopped to let me out at the front.

“Nice ride,” joked the bouncer as I timidly walked up to the dimly-lit doorway. He was still chuckling as he looked up my name on the list and grazed over my drivers’ license. In hindsight I was really lucky he let me in — I was only eighteen at the time and they had an open bar.

Once I was inside I felt like I needed to settle in somewhere, but was really overwhelmed by all the glitzy people already there. I skimmed the room and saw sequins, martinis, and models, and felt so out of place. I quickly gathered myself, took a deep breath, and decided I just needed to play the part.

I went downstairs and found my friend Paul. I wished him happy birthday and chatted for a bit, then decided to figure out how adulting really works and meet some new people.

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This is where the fun really begins.

I sat at the bar with a glass of sparkling water with a lime (Something I thought could pass for a fancy cocktail — I should’ve just gone with a Shirley Temple) and people-watched until a man in a nice suit approached me.

We got to talking and I found out he was in his mid-thirties — quite a bit older than I was at the time — and that he worked for a real estate company in the city. Our conversation was very bland, but I felt relieved to have someone to visit with, so politely listened and nodded along to his stories.

After a good twenty minutes of conversation we finally got up to go gather for some group photos. That’s when it hit me, all at once.

He asked me for my number.

Now that I’m 25, I realize that if I don’t want to give out my number to someone I can politely decline. I don’t owe the person anything, and it saves both of us time and trouble by just being upfront.

My 18-year-old self thought it would be rude to say no, so I went into panic mode. My mind started racing as I tried to think of what I could say, but before my brain could catch up with my mouth I was already spitting out random numbers. I included a “202” area code, along with 7 other numbers I just came up with on the spot.

“202-412-4809,” I said.

“What was that? Sorry — I missed the last few digits.”

Crap.

“Umm, 202-126-8874.” Was that close to what I just said? I can’t remember. Why wasn’t I paying attention to what I was saying earlier? Think, Krista, think!

He looked at me, perplexed.

“I think I must have misheard you the first time. I apologize, but I still don’t have the right number. Could you repeat it for me one last time?”

My mind went blank. I didn’t know what to do or how to recover from this terrible web of phone number lies. So I did what any goofy teenage girl would do and gave the man my best friends’ phone number. It was one of the few I had memorized and I knew if he asked me for it a million times I would continue to get all 7 numbers right.

He gave me a look like I was crazy, typed the number into his phone, and looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Okay, I texted you.”

Both sets of eyes immediately darted to my phone, which was exposed, face-up on the bar. We waited. And waited and waited.

“You sure you gave me the right number this time?” he asked as he looked at me slyly.

“I must just have bad service in here.”

Gosh, I had such lame excuses. I’m ashamed of 18-year-old Krista’s ability to navigate through uncomfortable situations, but I think I have come a long way from there. Then again, I’m sure 7 years from now I will be blogging about some silly situations I get myself into now. Is there ever a point where people stop making rookie mistakes and can just be a pro at life? I guess that wouldn’t make life very interesting, would it?

Today’s lesson: If you are 16 and under, go ahead and just give your best friend’s phone number to any creeps you meet.* If you’re above 16, just politely tell them that you aren’t interested in exchanging contact information, and leave it at that.

*Kidding. Do the same thing the 16+ people do — you’ll be alright!

Kiss & Tell

One really hilarious thing about having POTS while navigating the dating world is just the way my body reacts to things.

POTS is an autonomic nervous system disorder, meaning it affects basically everything in my body that is supposed to be an “automatic response.” For example, my body temperature is really skewy. I’ve always been pretty cold-natured, but this is to a whole new level. I found out recently, though, that having POTS just makes dating even more interesting.

I had just told a date all about my condition and after he listened closely, he leaned over to kiss me. It was a really sweet first kiss, as I felt like I had just really opened up to him, but after it was over he pulled back and had a devilish grin on his face.

I cocked my head as I looked at him inquisitively.

“I really got you hot and bothered, huh?” He asked slyly.

It took me a few seconds, but then everything clicked and I began to giggle. POTS is such a dead giveaway in situations like this! My hands were sweaty and my heart was still racing. My heart always flutters when I stand up or sit down, but it also does when I feel any sort of emotional charge — apparently kissing included. He could totally feel my pulse going a million beats per minute as I leaned up against him to continue chatting.

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Check out @muradosmann on Instagram for more great photos!

So far I’ve found guys don’t mind holding my sweaty hands or that they’re always freezing cold. POTS showcases such obvious imperfections, but I kind of love that there are people who don’t even look at those as negative things and just accept me the way I am.

Today’s lesson: You can have the best poker face in the world, but if you have an autonomic nervous system disorder you don’t stand a chance keeping your cool in the game of love.

I’m Glad To Know I Look Feverish When I Run.

Everyone seemed to like the last date review so much that I decided to do another one — this time I wanted to add a few goofy surprises to the mix instead of trying to plan the perfect date, though. Here is what my date wrote about our evening together:

A few weeks ago Krista asked if I would review a date that she planned and coordinated and my only job would be to write about it afterwards. I was excited and felt up to the task, so I gave her the go-ahead.

Other than me picking her up, she explained that she wanted to be the one to run the date. So around 6:30 I went to her house and let her take charge. When she got in the car we started talking. She was instructing me on our route without giving any insight into where we were heading. Now, I understand that she was doing her best to make sure I was heading in the right direction, but it wasn’t until six minutes and twenty four seconds into the date that she told me I looked nice. And she only did so after I told her how great she looked. So for the next ten minutes I was obviously self-conscious. Maybe I should have worn a nicer shirt?

After about 10 minutes of driving we turned into a shopping center and parked right in front of Otani Japanese Steak and Seafood restaurant. Otani is a hibachi restaurant that I was always interested in trying out but never had. As we were walking up to the door, Krista feverishly rushed ahead to hold the door open for me.  This is where some confusion set in… Just because she planned it didn’t mean she should have been the “dude” on the date. I guess it was my fault since I made a big deal about the six minute and twenty four second thing earlier.

Krista walked up to the hostess and gave her name for the reservation. They promptly sat us down at our own table. Now, having only had the whole hibachi experience on a vacation in another country, I am certainly no hibachi pro. Krista, knowing this, took full advantage.

When the waitress brought out our salads and soups, I noticed something “off” about the soup. It was essentially chicken broth with one mushroom and two noodles. That was it… Mushroom, noodles, chicken water. I told Krista, and expressed my lack of knowledge and experience as being a factor in me not knowing how to approach eating (drinking?)  that bowl. So she kindly (well, I thought she was being kind), explained to me how to eat the soup. You carefully pick the bowl up with both hands, bring it to your face, and drink it. Thanks, Krista! So I did as she said. Ignoring the large spoon they bring out with the soup that was apparently not supposed to be used to eat it, I brought the bowl up and drank some of it. Krista immediately started laughing. She laughed so loudly that a good majority of the restaurant looked over at me drinking my chicken broth soup. I was fooled!

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I managed to snap a photo of the incident.
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The culprit.

Finally it was time for our main course. The chef came over, did his impressive tricks with his knives and spatulas, and began cooking the rice. Then the Shrimp. Then the Chicken. Then the Steak and vegetables. My mouth is watering thinking back to it. As he was cooking, he began cutting little pieces of each of the meat.  He was about to toss some to me, and told me I had to catch it in my mouth. I could see the determination in his eyes to give me some difficult tosses, but I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. He asked me if I was ready, and I confidently nodded my head, with an unwavering “yes.” The first shot was high but catch-able. It bounced off my nose, and Krista laughed hysterically as she took a video of the failed attempt. The second throw, also high, went right over my head. I had no chance.

His third toss, though not perfect, I miraculously caught.

Krista was up next. She looked at me and told me she’s never missed in this situation. Ever. I told her that sounds like an impressive streak and that I hope she didn’t jinx herself. She did. The toss bounced right off her face and onto the ground. As did the second toss. However, she caught the third attempt.

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The chef completed cooking the entire meal, and Krista and I chatted while we ate. The food was delicious, and I was very impressed with Krista’s choice of restaurant. She certainly earned some points for that.

It was finally time for dessert, which was where the big surprise came in. Out of nowhere the lights in the restaurant dimmed, disco lights began flashing, and I was surrounded by employees who began singing a hibachi version of “Happy Birthday.” My birthday isn’t until the end of March, so I was truly caught off guard. It turned out that a couple hours before we met up Krista brought balloons and cupcakes to the restaurant to hold there for our date.

The cupcakes were delicious, and the whole thing was extremely thoughtful. Though completely unnecessary and probably a little over the top considering it wasn’t even close to my birthday, I appreciated the planning and preparation that went in to this date.

Overall I had an awesome time. Krista knows what she’s doing when she plans a date, and I would certainly recommend anybody taking her up on the offer if it’s ever on the table for you to take. But keep in mind — after this great date, I plan on you having to compete with me. 😉