Secret Santa Grinch

Oh my gosh guys, I am so embarrassed (side note: how many blog posts have I started with this introduction now? I’m having a serious case of Déjà vu).

I made such a silly mistake that made me seem like the biggest jerk ever.

So basically my good friend Kalika and I decided to set up a snail mail secret Santa. Sounds fun, right?! It’s the same a regular one — you draw a name and that’s the person you’re giving a gift to, except it’s all done by mail! She and I both love care packages and snail mail, so it’s perfect. You’re welcome, USPS.

Anyway, Kalika found a cool website called DrawNames.com that does all the organizing for you. You set up a profile in your little group, which includes your first and last name, address, and who you are supposed to send a gift to.

I’m not necessarily technologically challenged, but I also wouldn’t say technology and I are absolute BFFs. I’d say we’re really good friends because he’s super cool and entertaining and a generally good guy, but he sometimes decides to stab me in the back… So I should just be extra-alert when we’re hanging out.

Anyway, I was really confused when I got a package from Amazon in the mail.

What the heck did I order? I wondered to myself.

I’ve been doing some shopping for friends online lately, but I couldn’t remember purchasing anything from Amazon. Especially an item that would come in a slim envelope like the one sitting on my porch! The only thing I could really reason was that Petzi, the present Robert had sent me from Amazon, had forgotten something in my first package.

I went to the kitchen and opened it, only to find this note and Amazon gift card enclosed:

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What in the world?! I thought to myself. Who could have possibly known I would want a Kylie lip kit? Yes, I have been more into makeup lately — especially lip products — but I don’t remember talking to anyone about this particular item.

My first thought was Robert, as he’s always great at giving gifts randomly, and even better at reading my mind (As you will see in my next post!). I thought about it a little more, though, and there were too many things that didn’t add up. First, he wouldn’t have a clue what kind of makeup things were “trendy” right now. These lip kits are kind of for makeup (Or KUWTK) fanatics. Second, he’s probably never in his life purchased any sort of lip products, so wouldn’t realize that some of these kits can get very expensive compared to others. Third, how the heck would he ever pick out a color for me?! Girls would know that I’d be into the “Candy K” or “Kristin” shade, but Robert might think trying something risky like “Dead of the Night” or worse — “Trick” would be cool. Yikes.

I sat down and thought really hard. Then it all hit me at once.

Oh my gosh, my brain went into panic mode as I rushed to my laptop. My fingers thought faster than my mind, and swiftly typed “Gmail” into the browser. Then I searched, “Secret Santa” and clicked on the last email link we had been sent. It took me to the group page and I clicked the blue “Krista.” This is what I was met with:

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Everything clicked all at once as I had a flashback.

The day we created this page I was offered to “create a wishlist” for what I wanted. I remember thinking how stupid this option was, as you shouldn’t ask your Secret Santa for exactly what you want. What’s the point if you’re just going to request something? I still clicked the link, though, because the “Kylie Lip Kit” suggestion caught my eye. I scrolled through the page of recommendations, and clicked out of the page, never to give it a second thought.

Until now.

I seemed like such a jerk to some girl I don’t even know! Everyone in the Secret Santa group ended up being Kalika’s friends, most of whom I hadn’t met. I immediately felt like a moron, as any of my friends would understand this was just another goofy “Krista story,” but this person just had the impression that I demanded Kylie lip kits right and left. I looked back at the incredibly sweet note she had included and felt even worse. Most people would be so annoyed at someone demanding something that was more than twice the amount we were supposed to spend for this gift exchange, but this girl was so sweet and genuine about her gift that I really felt bad. I quickly texted Kalika with a rant about how embarrassed I was, and sent this message to the Secret Santa group:

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Luckily the person who gave me this sent me a message and was so kind about the misunderstanding, but it was still lightly traumatic for me. I hate being high maintenance or making other people feel uncomfortable, which is so unfortunate considering the person I am and how often I make goofy mistakes.

Today’s lesson: I should not be allowed to try new technologies — at least if they can affect another person!

Sometimes Plans Get Broken

The last three years of my life did not go the way I could have imagined in a million years. If you had told me when I was in undergrad that I would develop a debilitating chronic illness just weeks after graduating I would have gone into full-out panic mode. Despite typical teen struggles I had never really dealt with anything incredibly difficult in my life before.

My story certainly doesn’t mirror a typical twentysomething’s, but I have been able to learn firsthand how refreshing it is to focus on your own journey, rather than comparing yourself to others.

My Dreams were: to move to New York City, segue my editorial internship at Seventeen magazine into a job, pay off my own college debt, and enjoy a few more years in a teeny tiny apartment with a fun roommate while I was still young and unmarried. Towards the end of my time working in the city I felt like these dreams were so close I could almost taste them — after all, I was literally eating $2 New York pizza and garlic knots for dinner every other night, and I had become a pro in the city I loved so much.

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I loved incorporating some of my favorite clothing pieces from London into my New York wardrobe.

My reality is: I live at home with my parents in the suburbs, I physically cannot work despite spending so much time in school preparing for the real world (Where the fun should really begin in my field!), and I spend the same amount of time at the doctors’ office as many of my peers spend working. All of this topped off with the handful of POTS symptoms that remain and my chronic widespread pain make a perfect recipe for frustration.

The funniest thing about everything, though, is I am the most content and secure I have ever been in my entire life. I see so many of my friends succeeding in their own lives and careers and I am genuinely so happy for each and every one of them. I actually really like social media because I feel like I get to celebrate small and large victories not only with my close friends, but also with people I haven’t seen in awhile.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes feel a little pang of jealousy that most of the people I spend time with have normally functioning bodies, but it’s never in a way that I would want to take anything away from anyone; I just want to have my own health back. All of my friends are able to go to concerts and on road trips without having a care in the world, whereas it takes a lot of planning for me to be even remotely spontaneous. So in this way, I do sometimes struggle with the things I have to miss because of my illness.

I still feel a little heartbroken when I think about New York and wish I could go out my front door and see the beautiful lights shimmering around me at night. I want to be able to live life again without paying attention to dozens of little details to ensure I don’t feel incredibly ill, but that isn’t my reality at the moment. Right now I do have to take lots of extra care of my body and I can’t do everything that my heart desires.

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This is literally the coolest couch ever. All the celebrities that come in sit here for their interviews!

So, how do I feel so at peace with my life? How can I be so happy for others when I don’t necessarily have the same privilege of a normal, working body?

My answer is actually really simple. I focus on the things I do have, rather than those that I do not, and I realize that there is enough room for everyone to be successful in their own way.

Here is the long list of things I do have in my life:

  • Amazingly supportive friends and family who love me very much. This already makes me feel like one of the most blessed and lucky girls in the world when I take the time to sit down and really appreciate them.
  • The best best friends in the world — this includes my little puppy, Macy.
  • My body works enough now that I can have some fun adventures, as long as I take it easy a few days before and after a big event.
  • I think there’s a good chance I might have found the best guy in the entire world and he likes me too (And is totally fine with the excessive amount of rest I need to feel good).
  • My heart has been broken into a million pieces and I still know how to love fiercely.
  • Even though I can’t be writing articles for Seventeen at the moment, I can share my thoughts with lots of young girls on this blog. At the end of the day I am still following one of the paths I really wanted to be on.
  • I may not have a snazzy New York apartment, but I have a warm place to stay and absolutely love my family — I actually think I am lucky to have a few extra years living with them!
  • The Office is available on Netflix (And so is Pokémon: Indigo League… I mean, what?).
  • And lastly, I have chocolate. I may have developed several new food allergies in the past few years, but I love chocolate and it loves me, so I think I can deal with any of the dietary restrictions that come my way.
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Macy is my sweet little guardian angel and has been one of the biggest blessings I have received since I got sick.

I really could go on and on about the things I am thankful for in my life. I’m not optimistic every day and I do struggle seeing the bright side of things sometimes, but my God is an awesome God and I know He is taking really good care of me. I have known from a young age that my purpose in life is to somehow help others, and the responses I have gotten from writing for this blog makes me feel like I am making an impact on people’s lives.

Thank you for reading what I write, and thank you for being so supportive of me. I love that so many of you have been comfortable enough to trust me with some of your struggles, and I feel blessed to walk alongside such wonderful people in their journeys through heartbreak or to find love. Each one of you has something absolutely amazing to offer the world. Just because your story might be vastly different, doesn’t mean that it is any less important or fulfilling.

Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

Guys: What NOT To Put In Your Dating Profile

There are certain things that are red flags to girls, and I figured I would help y’all make your dating profiles just a little bit better. Here are a few things I have seen time and time again and hope you don’t have in your online profile:

“I’m one of the good guys. Everyone else on here is a tool and will use you.”

I don’t like this because the fact of the matter is that it’s just not true. I have been out with so many really nice guys who just haven’t worked out because of a lack of chemistry or things in common — this just makes it seem like you have trouble getting along with others. I’d like my future boyfriend to have his own group of friends, as that’s a sign he’s likeable and can maintain a relationship.

“Don’t message me if you’re just looking for validation.”

Okay, I get it. There are people who are on dating sites just there to swipe and never meet up. That doesn’t mean everyone is the same, though; you’ll be able to figure out pretty quickly why someone has a dating profile. If your plans keep falling through with the same person just move on to the next one!

“Not looking for a high maintenance girl.”

Let’s be real. Relationships do take some sort of maintenance and this makes me feel like you might really not be willing to put work into ours down the road. I’d say for a girl I am require a medium amount of maintenance, but I also enjoy putting work into a romance to make things special for my guy too. I understand you don’t want a girl who is going to take advantage of you, but that’s what going on a few dates is for — getting to know the person you might eventually become exclusive with!

“Only swipe right if you actually look like your pictures.”

Okay, I agree that you should try to accurately represent yourself in an online profile, but this just rubs me the wrong way. Most guys I’ve been out with have said they’ve had a similar experience with this in that a girl doesn’t look like her photos — I can relate; I’ve been there before too. It isn’t your job, though, to police these girls with your profile. If anyone is trying to be deceitful hopefully they will quickly realize they are only hurting themselves.

And if you go out with a girl like this? Be nice, and sit through a drink with her before excusing yourself. If you’re open to getting to know someone’s heart you might just make a great new friend.

“My friend made me make this account.”

Or any variation of “I only did this because someone else told me to,” or, “I know this is lame, but I’m not a typical ‘online guy.'”

This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest time-wasters on a dating profile. Why? Because I’m on here too, so I clearly don’t think you are lame for having an account. You don’t need to explain yourself; just tell me a little about what makes you you! If anything this statement makes me feel like you aren’t that into going out with people you meet online since you think it’s so silly.

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What do y’all think? Do any of you have this information in your profile and disagree with me? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Is Honesty The Best Policy?

I decided to create a brutally honest dating profile to see what would happen. Some questions I had going into this were:

  1. Would strangers accept me the way I am — flaws and all?
  2. How would this profile compare to the previous ones I have set up?
  3. How might people react to the fact that I have a chronic illness?
  4. What would strangers focus on as “important” in getting to know me?

A way I could have made this experiment even better would have been to use photos of myself with absolutely no makeup (contrary to popular belief, men, I do wear some!) and gone into even more detail about myself. I suppose I could have written that I have a dating blog, but I wanted the responses to be genuine without people wondering whether they would be written about.

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Within 24 hours I got just over 100 messages, 576 visitors, and 796 profile “likes.” Thanks for that, OK Cupid.

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When I broke it down there were some people who clearly did not read my profile at all (I even compared some of these gentlemen with a friend who has the app and they sent her the exact same messages!), but for the most part people had sent messages crafted to directly address something I had mentioned in my profile.

I was surprised to find that nobody really got my reference from The Office (littledoglover), but I was shocked at how many people opened with a line about Pokémon, as they noticed the Ash Ketchum hat in my profile.

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No, that’s not the point though!
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Sigh.
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YES, you get it!

Some people asked me about my chronic illness, but it didn’t really seem to be a turnoff anyone who messaged me (Obviously there is no way for me to know how many people didn’t send me a message me because of it), even when I told them what it was called and how it affects my every day life. For the most part people skipped right over that and asked me questions about other things I had listed. Some enjoyed the pictures of my dog and I that were posted, others commented on the board games I liked or some of the goofy nerdier things I love.

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Hahaha, I like it.
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OK, this kid has me pegged.
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Good question. Step 1, be the banker. Step 2, give yourself enough money to buy a bunch of hotels. Step 3, win.
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This was my absolute favorite.

Honestly I think what guys liked most about this profile was how genuine it was. I don’t think I’d say I’m great at a big list of things, but I would say that I am always myself no matter what situation life puts me in. My dating profiles always have a strong reflection of my character, but it’s interesting that not many things change even when you throw in a little too much information.

Today’s lesson: If you decide to create a dating profile don’t try to be fancy, different, or stand out — just be your beautiful self and you will surely attract the right people.

I Probably Need Glasses

Every time I go to my annual checkup I ask the doctor to check my vision. Why? Because it’s terrible! My night vision is particularly bad; I have literally bumped into walls in the middle of the night when trying to find the bathroom.

I never realized this might affect my dating life, but now I have a new story to tell my doctor when he asks why I think I have bad eyesight. I was on OKCupid mindlessly clicking through the site and decided to try the “Quick Match” feature. I had never used it on a PC before, so was checking out the differences between that and the app on my iPhone.

Anyway, I scrolled to the “Quick Match” section and noticed that they offered three different photos and you could click on one that you liked. Interesting, I thought to myself. I guess you choose your favorite guy and it will “like” him before going to the next group of pictures.

Right. Right. Middle. Left. Middle. Right.

I clicked through about ten groups of photos until I realized the system was glitching.

Why are there three pictures of the same guy? I wondered to myself. Am I supposed to help him enhance his profile or something by choosing one of his profile photos? My thoughts of helping him in his dating endeavors immediately trailed off as it all clicked.

“Oh no!” I exclaimed to myself. I had just liked ten profiles in a row — the photos weren’t of different guys, but rather they were offering me a small sample of one man’s profile photos to see whether or not I was interested in him. I saw a small “X” in the corner and realized you “like” a profile by clicking on any of the photos, or you can “pass” on it by clicking the small white “X.”

I laughed awkwardly, embarrassed at my mistake.

I’m not sure whether these gentleman had mixed in old and new photos, making the photos all look fairly different from one another or if I was just terribly unobservant. Either way, this might explain why I sometimes have trouble recognizing my dates when we meet up.

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Today’s lesson: My doctors have been lying to me for years now. There’s absolutely no way I have 20/20 vision.

You Asked For It…

It’s been awhile since I’ve told a funny date story, so now I’m going back to my first Match.com date! Everything started out fine; we met in front of the restaurant and walked in together to get seated.

Our conversation started with the typical first meeting interview — what we’re doing with our lives, what we enjoy doing for fun, etc. My favorite question to ask is always, “What is the weirdest date you’ve been on?” People have given me such crazy answers, as most of the guys I’ve gone out with have been on other online dates. My favorite story was something that contained going to Kim Kardashian’s home, saving dogs from flooding, and a prize-winning pig, all wrapped up in one (I looked into it later and the story was, in fact, true). It’s a long story and not really mine to tell, but trust me when I say you have to ask this question on your next first date.

Anyway, our conversations were pretty normal, but this particular gentleman and I didn’t seem to have a lot in common. I like dogs, he likes cats (This is an important question in my book; I am not sure if I could date someone who isn’t a dog person, as my dream is to have around six one day). He loves hiking, I can’t do that right now. He loves politics, I am more into entertainment news. The topics of conversation flowed pretty seamlessly, even with the lack of chemistry.

My incredibly awkward moment didn’t come until the token “most uncomfortable part” of any date — picking up the check.

Goodness knows I’ve been on enough first dates that I should be used to this part by now, but I absolutely hate it. Please just let me pay my own way, I always think to myself. I don’t even know you; you don’t owe me anything. 

Right before our waiter brought over the check, this gentleman and I were talking about my dream to work in the entertainment industry. I told him that I watched embarrassing shows like The Bachelor and then trailed off before bringing up my guiltiest pleasure of all — Keeping Up with The Kardashians (Please don’t tell anyone, though. This is our little secret).

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Yes, I went out of the way to go to the Dash store in Soho. Just call me “Krista Kardashian.”

 

Anyway, he seemed to read my mind, as he slyly asked, “Do you like KUWTK?”

I blushed and nodded, “But I only really watch it when I’m at the gym.” This is a half-truth.

“Do you?” I fired back, trying to take the attention off of myself.

Enter: the waiter.

I had been fumbling with my wallet trying to grab the cash I always keep on hand for dates. After awkwardly offering — and getting turned down — to pay, we went back to chatting.

“Thanks for dinner,” I said.

“What would you have done if I had said yes?” He asked me.

I looked at him, confused. Umm, I would have totally paid for my food. I thought. I don’t expect you to automatically take care of the check; I understand that it’s our first time meeting and am happy to split it. 

It wouldn’t have been a big deal at all!” I replied.

“No, but what would you have described me as in one word?” He pushed.

This is odd, I thought. Why couldn’t you have just let me pay for myself and skip over all this awkwardness? I wondered to myself, frustrated. I wish there was a way to skip this entire part and just enjoy meeting someone new. 

“Umm, I’m not sure.” I replied, clearly uncomfortable with the question.

“Come on,” he urged, failing to sense how awkward I was feeling.

“Uh, I guess I would say you were frugal maybe?” My mind was racing. Was that rude? I wouldn’t have thought he was frugal, I would’ve just figured he wasn’t into me or maybe wanted to be friends first. I certainly didn’t want him to think I was being unappreciative for the nice dinner!

He furrowed his brow, confused. “Huh? Frugal? You know what that means, right?”

OH NO, I suddenly realized. HE WASN’T TALKING ABOUT THE CHECK. I had completely forgotten about the conversation we had right before the waiter interrupted. Darn Kardashians. You embarrassed me yet again!

“Oh,” I laughed, “I don’t think frugal is the word I was looking for.” My face was flushed. I felt like such an idiot, as I definitely know the definition of “frugal.”

“Aren’t you getting your Masters in English?” he asked with a look of concern on his face.

Crap. How do I get out of this one? What kind of English student doesn’t know what “frugal” means? Scratch that. What kind of 25-year-old doesn’t know the definition of “frugal?” Ugh, this was another typical Krista move.

I laughed it off and changed the subject as quickly as I could, ditching the Kardashian conversation as quickly as possible.

Today’s lesson: Guys, please know that paying for a meal is super awkward on the girls’ end. Whether or not you let us pay for our share, we will feel uncomfortable. If you go out with me in particular, I cannot seem to hide my flusterdness very well, so forgive whatever dopey thing I say and move on with the conversation, please and thank you.

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