Midweek Mystery: Allergic To Girlfriend?

I have the strangest story, but I also think it’s kind of hilarious and worth a small blog post.

Lately whenever I go over to Robert’s place we have a nice time for awhile, but then he starts to complain about being incredibly itchy. At first I thought it was a little funny — Robert is one of those people who kind of jokes around when he complains about stuff, so his complaints don’t always feel as real right off the bat. Anyway, he started joking that he was allergic to me because he only noticed the itchiness when I was around. After a few times, though, I started feeling a little annoyed. Why was it that he only noticed the itchiness when I was around? What if he really was allergic to me? After all, Robert had shared a story with me recently about a woman who is allergic to her husband. Maybe this was a sign that I’m setting him off and need to find a solution… Fast!

I always say I’m not superstitious, but I actually think I am in some ways. I sometimes feel like I “jinx” myself and I do think things can come up in your life for a reason. The older I am getting, though, the more I am realizing there are just a lot of coincidences in life that seem to be signs, but are just more notable than other mundane things.

Anyway, I started thinking about new products I’ve been using, because obviously he didn’t become allergic to me overnight. I get a few different makeup boxes with samples, so am always using something new. I felt really fed up when I started noticing that I was kind of itchy too. I realized that the chronic pain I have had been masking it, but I was definitely a little itchy too. I still couldn’t think of anything I was using that would make someone itchy, though. Especially someone else…

Until I took a shower and prepped my hair for my mom to blowdry it.* As I was running my fingers through my wet hair to put some product in it, I stopped and looked at the sample size container of the heat protection I had just put on my hands. Could it be?! 

I flipped the product around to read the back of the bottle and I kid you not, I had a real life Slumdog-Millionaire-style flashback when I saw the word “Rose Hips” on the description.

Holy crap, this is it! I knew without a doubt that this once-amazing, now-stupid hair product was the culprit. Rose hips, after all, are used in ITCHING POWDER. I knew this because back when I was a young prankster one of my friends and I used itching powder** on her brother (Yes, some of my teenage pranks are my biggest regrets, haha). 13-year-old me was curious about what caused the itching, though, and to this day I have remembered that “rose hips” were the main ingredient in itching powder.

Why the heck would a company use something that could potentially be so itchy in their product?! My fingers moved swiftly over my phone screen as I Googled two simple words,

“Itching powder”

The top result you could click on was “Rose Hips.” I smiled, smugly. Look at you, Sherlock, I thought to myself. You’ve done it again.

I couldn’t change the fact that I had already put the product in my hair, but I threw it in a drawer and locked it away so I wouldn’t go on autopilot and use it again. Ever since I’ve given up this product neither of us have been itchy. It’s official: I, like the Olsen twins, can solve any crime by dinnertime.

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Credit: Dualstar Productions

*My mom often dries my hair for me, as I have chronic pain in my arms and can’t hold a hairdryer up too long without hurting myself. She is such an angel!

**As an adult I realize this is incredibly immature and mean, but as a young teen it seemed like a hilarious, harmless prank. In all honesty I don’t know whether or not it worked, as it was one of the pranks you could buy from “Five Below,” but I still encourage you to think about others before planning out a prank. Yes, pranks are hilarious (With the right people who think it’s funny too), but only if nobody gets hurt — physically or emotionally — and everyone involved will enjoy what’s going on. Robert and I both love pranks, so I don’t usually mind when he plays a joke on me, and he is always up for a funny joke at his expense too.

Table For One

One mission for my time being single is to be really comfortable being alone. Even when I had a long-term boyfriend I was able to work on this and enjoy my own company because we were long distance for several years of our relationship. I’ve always felt pretty secure going places by myself but since I am an extrovert I love spending my time with people — I just also realize it’s not realistic or healthy filling all of my time being surrounded by loved ones.

Anyway, I’ve been planning fun dates by myself lately and am excited to share stories from several of them.

I’ll start with my date in New York.

When I went to the city with my mom she had some business to take care of, so I was on my own for a day. It was nice being back in the city; one of my favorite things about living there was just exploring new places all by myself. New York is a fantastic place to be single. There is so much to do and are so many fun people you meet along the way through all of your solo adventures.

I decided to begin my day by going to a fancy restaurant alone. This has been one of the goofier things on my bucket list, but why not cross it off while I’m in the greatest city on earth? I found a restaurant right next to The Plaza that was overlooking Central Park.

One of the waiters immediately greeted me and asked, “How many for brunch?”

I replied, “Just one, thank you.”

Maybe I was imagining things, but he gave me a kind of funny look as he walked me to a table. He sat me at a 4-top and asked again — just to be sure– “Will someone be meeting you here?” To which I replied, “No.”

I kid you not this happened five times. I didn’t keep my phone out, as I wanted to truly enjoy a dinner date by myself, but I kept a mental tally of how many people seemed shocked I was dining alone. It reminded me of this clip from Impractical Jokers:

Other than being bullied about not having any friends to go out to eat with, my solo date was really nice! I splurged and treated myself to a bunch of my favorite breakfast foods, and enjoyed people-watching by myself. I had such a nice time, in fact, that I am going to continue taking myself on little dates every once in awhile. I would highly recommend a date with yourself to kind of recharge at the end of a busy work week.

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Or if you don’t think of yourself as good company, I would also highly recommend myself as a date. Feel free to buy me brunch anytime and exchange for feeding me I will give good company and embarrassing stories to tell for years!

Today’s lesson: The biggest perk of being your own date is being able to eat as much as you want and not have to worry about someone else getting “food envy” when you order what is clearly the best thing on the menu. Like, seriously, people need to back off. #hangry

#TBT To Being An Olympian For The Day

Today I’m going to share a story I like to tell on a first date if a guy asks about my love of pranks (Which I have listed on my dating profile as a favorite activity).

My best friend and former roommate Audrey and I studied abroad in London during the 2012 summer Olympics.

We make a really great pair because she is more “type A” and makes sure any necessary plans we need are all taken care of, but I am more “type B” and ensure enough spontaneity (read: disorganization) to have a fun time. Playing pranks together in college was always a blast because of the ideas and action on my end, and planning ahead to make sure we wouldn’t get ourselves into a bind on her end.

Anyway, I got a tip that they were selling a few official Olympic jackets at the USA House. As I said before, I love pranks and have a mischievous mind, so immediately realized this was a great opportunity. I found Audrey after our classes were over and told her we needed to get on the Tube and head towards South Kensington. I explained my idea on the way, and Audrey was completely up for the prank.

Basically we plotted to purchase these jackets and wear them, along with other Nike gear, to the Olympic Village –a giant outdoor mall where all of the athletes hung out– and see if we could fool people into thinking we were real Olympians. We were lucky enough to snag two jackets in our size, and giggled as we hurried to The Village. 

Our excitement grew as we pulled up to The Village, but was quickly stifled when we walked around for ten minutes and nothing happened. After we made a few more laps we concluded that this was not going to work.

Until all of a sudden two little American girls ran up to us with paper and pens asking if they could get our autographs.

We kept our cool, smiled at them, and said, “of course.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but people really are like sheep. When they see any sort of crowd gathering, they will follow, whether or not they know what’s going on.

This fully worked to our advantage. As soon as the girls came up to us, others took notice. A line quickly formed to get photos with us, and just kept growing. We ended up having dozens of people waiting in line just to take a picture with us within a matter of minutes. It was crazy!

We got asked questions about our events and sloppily signed our real names when people asked for our autograph. Before we got to The Village Audrey and I had decided that our story was that we were on the USA swim team — she was a diver and I was a swimmer. This was perfect, as I swam through high school and could answer basic questions, and because Audrey is significantly shorter than I am, so there isn’t really any other sport that we both could have played.

The funniest thing to me was that many of these people were going to upload these photos with us to Facebook when they got home. They would come up with captions like, “We met Olympic swimmers today!” and proudly display these photos as a new profile picture — photos of two completely random American girls.

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We even ended up meeting a real former gold medalist for the USA basketball team, who was super excited to meet a few of the female swimmers because “swimming is his favorite sport to watch.”

For the most part my dates seem to think this story is pretty entertaining, and I have heard some pretty awesome prank stories from the gentlemen I’ve gone out with as well. I have also realized that I talk about Audrey almost as much as I talk about myself, which is fitting because everyone knows girls come as a package deal with their best friend.

Today’s lesson: You don’t have to work hard to get credit for being an Olympic athlete — you just have to be a convincing enough actress to make people believe you are one.

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!

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. 😉

Krista The Cougar

I just had something very confusing happen to me.

Since I’ve been single a lot of people have been trying to set me up with their friends (And sons, and nephews, and brothers, etc. — I guess I am not the only one who likes matchmaking).

Anyway, I was a bit surprised when a particular friend said she had the perfect person to set me up with, but I’m always game for meeting a perfect guy. Or really, a perfect human for that matter, as I would have a million questions about life for them. I’m sure a perfect person would give incredible advice.

Theo James
Theo James is the only man I can imagine being perfect. British, unbelievably handsome, and he sings and plays the guitar.

She set everything up, and we met at a local coffee shop.

Soon after meeting we both realized we didn’t have a lot in common. Why? Because he was twenty! This was a borderline illegal setup.

I’m only 24, and many of the guys I have been talking to have been 28. It’s still just four years, but anyone out of college knows what a difference the age gap this gentleman and I shared looks like versus the age gap of two people in the postgraduate world. He is smack in the middle of his undergraduate experience and cannot yet experience alcohol legally, and I am quickly getting over going to dive bars. He is excited to turn 21 next month, and I think getting carded is just a nuisance (I know I look like I’m 18, but I promise I am legal!).

Luckily he and I both realized the hilarity of the setup, and we ended up talking about my experience at George Mason and how he could manage to have a great study abroad experience like I did. We are friends now, and although I will not be helping him get his hands on alcohol, we might pull a few pranks on his roommates together.

Today’s lesson: Most people are terrible at setting others up; it’s not just me.