Still In The Suburbs

I have a lot of new followers in this space, so I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself to anyone who is new to my blog, and share a few of my favorite posts for “Flashback Friday.”

First, this used to be called Single in The Suburbsbut now that I am engaged I finally changed the URL to reflect just me. This blog will always have some sort of dating and relationship aspect to it — because let’s face it, dating and love are my favorite things in the world to write about– but instead of sharing silly dating stories I’ll be chatting about a wider range of topics, with the occasional flashback or two.

My favorite things in the world are dogs, chocolate, the beach, my friends and family, and New York City. I like wearing soft T-shirts and sweats, but can’t help but love diamonds now, too. Current obsessions are The King of Queens, Fortnite, and Chipotle queso, but a few months ago I would have said Stranger ThingsMario Kart, and GF pizza, so things definitely change around a little. The Office is a constant in my life, as are chocolate waffle dates with my best friend. I love playing sports more than anything, but since I can’t be that active without passing out now, I enjoy watching other people have fun playing sports on TV. Robert is from Massachusetts, so I officially root for the New England Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins, but I think my fantasy basketball team made me confused as to who I want to root for. I still am not obsessed with watching sports, though, and can really only handle a lot if I am fed good dessert and given the chance to talk a lot.

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Coffee is also one of my favorite things in life, but I can’t have caffeine so I only drink a small amount of decaf.

Now, on to my favorite blog posts. 

Robert and I met six months before he was deployed for ten. This is the most vivid moment I remember from the deployment. To this day I can tell you exactly how my heart felt while he was gone, and how excited I was when he came back. This is one of my favorite posts I wrote about him after we had been dating a little while. Pieces like this still give me butterflies, and I feel so blessed to have written so much about the guy I have decided to spend forever with.

I am an ENFP on the Myers Briggs test, which means I love feelings, and I love writing about them. I think people who are creative sometimes don’t get enough credit for doing meaningful work, too, but if we didn’t have right-brained people, we wouldn’t have great television shows like Seinfeld and Friends! 

This is the most descriptive thing I’ve written about pain. It was real, raw, and this is a day I will never forget. I don’t have as many terrible pain days anymore, and luckily when one does come my way I’m not as claustrophobic, because I know that my body can feel better again.

Lastly, I want to continue writing for my single readers, and this is my favorite piece of advice for dealing with a breakup. I don’t believe it’s typically healthy to stay friends with an ex, and I do think it’s important to move on so you can find the right person. An ex isn’t your #1 anymore for a reason, and until you find that person focus on your friends and family who all love you very much.


That’s all I have for y’all today, and I have a lot of catching up to do on here. Hopefully this gave you some sort of new material to read, and I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Break Up With Him

I stayed in a relationship that wasn’t meant to be far too long. Deep down I think I somehow knew it wasn’t going to end well — or rather, if we did end up together that we would have a long, rough road ahead of us.

After the smoke cleared I realized that although any relationship will have trials, every single decision doesn’t have to be difficult. Now I am with someone who thinks I’m worth making sacrifices for, and someone who is really excited about having a future with me. I have learned that there are people in this world who are beautifully selfless and know how to love someone with a chronic illness. There are people who are as fiercely loyal as I am, and who won’t give up on a relationship just because things get tough.

Here are a few behaviors that are major red flags in a relationship:

  1. Your significant other puts you down for things you can’t control. In my case this was my illness and the fact that I couldn’t physically work. I was a recent college graduate when I first got sick and had dreams of being an entertainment journalist. I had always been incredibly hard-working, but although I wanted more than anything to work, I physically could not have a normal job with my new chronic health condition. I was constantly told about how it “wasn’t my fault,” but that POTS was the thing keeping us in a rut. If I hadn’t gotten sick, we would be in a much happier place because there wouldn’t have to work through such a new, heavy road block.
  2. Your concerns are always your problem. When someone treats you like you’re crazy because of seemingly normal concerns, it is called “gaslighting.” It’s funny how I never knew what this term was until a few months ago, but if your significant other acts like you wanting some of his time every week is your problem and that you are being needy, this is not normal. Your puppet master will surely turn any conflict in the relationship back on your own insecurities until you really begin questioning whether what you are asking for really is too much (Take note: if what you want seems like a very basic need in a relationship, such as quality time together, it absolutely normal. You are not crazy, and you should get out as fast as you can so that you can find someone who understands the basic fundamentals of a healthy relationship).

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  3. Your well-being is completely your own responsibility. This is a tricky one. Although I do believe people need to be happy by themselves before they can add someone else into the picture, I also believe a significant other should want to take care of you, as you would do the same for them. I’ve always been very independent and balanced my boyfriend/friend time well, but my one of my exes thought that his actions shouldn’t affect the way I felt. He didn’t understand why drunk texting me then disappearing for the night made me upset, and said that the anxiety I felt was entirely on me.
  4. He is not a man of his word. No, it is not okay to leave you hanging for hours on end, and it is not okay to constantly break plans you have together. Yes, things sometimes come up in life that you cannot control, but if you feel like you cannot get excited about future plans with someone because they are unreliable, it’s time to find a person who will remember what they tell you and follow through in their actions.
  5. You no longer recognize yourself when you’re with him. My ex made me anxious, pessimistic, depressed, and short-tempered. None of these are typical “Krista qualities,” and I didn’t like the person I was when we were together. The first 75% of our relationship I was myself. When he decided to change the course of his life drastically,though, and leave our relationship in the background of his life, I became a complete mess. I hadn’t realized how dependent on him I had become and quickly fell apart.

Today’s lesson: Now I am with someone who is kind, patient, and wants to take care of my heart. My boyfriend wants to spend time with me, take me out, give me little gifts “just because,” and remind me that I’m special. If you let go of what is hurting you in life, you make room for new things that are better. It’s really, really scary to let go of something that is familiar and comfortable, but if you are brave enough to, you might just learn how strong you really are.

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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!

TBT: The Trial Of Twilight Vampires

It’s about time for another embarrassing story, right?

Since I haven’t been on an awkward first date in months I haven’t collected as many new funny Krista stories. This is good for the little pride I have left, but bad for my blog. “Luckily,” life just loves to tease me, and my newest story comes from one of my grad school classes.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I am getting my Master’s in English right now. I never planned to go back to school, but since I got POTS and couldn’t work I decided I might as well do something productive while I recover.

My undergraduate degree was in Communication and Journalism, so although I loved my English requirements as well, I never took extensive English classes — just the three everyone else took. I am honestly not a huge fan of classic literature and do not remember most of what I learned studying lit in high school.

Everyone else in my grad classes has a background in English. They all studied some sort of English for their Bachelor’s; I made the mistake of referring to Frankenstein as the monster instead of the scientist once and immediately regretted it, as the entire class angrily corrected me in unison. I’m pretty sure they wished that they had a dunce cap they could bestow upon me for the rest of the semester.

Anyway, needless to say I was less than thrilled when my professor told us to all think of some books we could write about for an in-class exercise. I quietly offered The Grapes of Wrath as a suggestion, as that was a novel I enjoyed reading in high school — though I did not remember the majority of the book.

Other books the class mentioned included Wuthering Heights, Fahrenheit 451, Great Expectations, 1984, and Twilight, which got a tremendous amount of laughter as it was written on the board.

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We then had to mention different events in history. I might sound a bit like a moron, but memorizing dates is not my strong suit. I was afraid of being wrong about events in history as our professor called out different dates and we matched several events during that time period. Some of the events listed included: The Peloponnesian War, The Battle of The Bulge, The JFK Assassination, and several other things I vaguely remembered learning about, but couldn’t seem to think of many specific details from. At the last minute someone added the OJ Simpson trial to the list.

Our task was to connect a novel from the list on the board with one of those events in history, as well as add a personal experience into the mix.

Great, I thought. The only book I truly remembered the gruesome details from was Twilight, and sadly I couldn’t remember enough details fast enough in the “real” historical events to write about them, so by default had to choose the OJ trial.

Twilight and the OJ trial. I was writing a paper about vampires and a real-life monster. Got it.

I ended up forcing that as my main connection, and adding a story of a close friend who was in a difficult relationship as the personal context. Needless to say everyone died laughing when I mumbled that I had picked Twilight as my novel, and the laughter continued as they heard I connected Edward Cullen to OJ Simpson. This was easily the least favorite class assignment I have ever done.

Today’s lesson: You do learn useful information in high school. I think they are preparing you to not be embarrassed when you fail to know simple facts in graduate school.

#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.

#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!