Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Bit of Bolivia

I landed in La Paz on Tuesday, the capital city of Bolivia and highest in the world. All the emergency warnings about altitude sickness worried me a bit when I was on the plane, but my, the view of the Andes from Cochabamba was unforgettable. As soon as I landed I remembered to move slowly so that I wouldn't faint, and I didn't! Yay! 

La Paz is chaotic and smoggy, but somehow I find pockets of it to be simply charming. It's a tight city where everyone either takes taxis, hops on minibuses, or walks everywhere. There are cable lines making a jungle above street traffic, but no underground metro stations (my favorite! Boooo) The streets and buildings have colorful, weathered walls and the windows have seen better days, but they're beautiful to me that way. Most of the buildings are pretty low, and the streets are never level nor paved, so I can't see myself living here. Everywhere I walk is like going for a hike. I'm even wearing my hiking boots today! Sadly, I also discovered that their draught beers and coffee isn't very good at all. But the people are friendly and helpful, and I'm finally using my Spanish here! 

I've been shamelessly checking off the touristy to-do lists. First stop has been Sagamaga street, aka Gringo Alley. It's the touristy street where they sell handicrafts, and tour packages and etc. Surprisingly, there are barely any foreigners there. I was expecting parties on the streets and Austrailians in dreadlocks, but this street is relatively modest and calm. Most gringos here are just passing through after Macchu Picchu and heading down south. I enjoyed browsing through the stalls of gorgeous rainbow hammocks, pillow cases, leather satchels, and trinklets but only bought bracelets due to my limited luggage situation (thee big backpack). 

I also walked to Calle Juan (preserved history alley way), people watched at multiple plazas (pigeons galore!), zipped through museums, rode the scenic cable car, hiked up the San Francisco church's bell towers, browsed Witch's market (dried baby llamas ehhhh) and ate a ton of street food to make that typhoid vaccine worth it. I think if you're as ambitious as me, two days in La Paz is more than enough to do everything. Everything is super cheap too! 

My favorite part of this place is how the streets look. They're always sloped so intriguingly in one way or the other, and since La Paz is in a valley, every picture I take has the mountains in the background. All the streets are gritty with 'cholitas' selling gum and Kleenex on the sidewalks, exactly like all the postcards I've ever seen of Bolivia. The lighting here is also spectacular, most of the photos I've taken don't even need filters! 

Tomorrow, I'm taking an overnight bus to the Uyuni Salt Flats, the main reason I've wanted to come to Bolivia and I'm super excited! I don't expect to have wifi on the buses, but you know, hope for everything and expect nothing :) Ciao! 











Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brazil, it was real. I'm coming back for you someday..


I´m at an internet cafe, waiting for the airport shuttle at the bus terminal. I cannot believe my week in Sao Paolo is over, but I am sure I will be back.
I´ve always had this theory that within minutes of landing in a new city, people generally know if they can love it or leave it. Since I worked a full week at the Airbnb office during my stay here, I had to rapidly adapt to a routine that pretty much stimulating what my life would be like here...and yes, I could totally move here.
Sao Paolo is the largest city in Brazil, and the world´s 12th biggest city. There are many types of neighborhoods: modern, old, colorful, swanky, hilly, all sprawled out with character. The metro system is fast and cheap and will take you everywhere you need to go. On Paulista Avenue, I found skyscrapers and that´s when I decided this city was big enough for me. The friends and aquaintances I´ve met here are friendly, open, intelligent and crazy creative. I completely fell in love with the street art, food, and energy of this place. Even more so, I´m captivated by the Portuguese language and have tried to learn as much Portuguese this week as could be reasonably expected.
To say that I've seen this city would be a huge understatement. That's what kills me when I leave a city I've fallen permanently in love with...there's no closure because I know there are so many places I haven't discovered yet. I didn't even get a chance to go to Rio de Janeiro!! There's a whole life here waiting for me to live. I would eats tons of fruit and drink 'vitaminas' and get really tan, wear white pants and tight floral dresses all the time and fall in love. My brazilian boyfriend and I would go for drinks with our friends at outdoor patio bars with live samba music.  Why can't I just travel without envisioning moving my whole life?



My colleagues here became my new friends and family. Boy, do Brazilians know how to party! These people are a blast, and have hearts of gold.




No shortage of culture (good beer and good food) 

Highlights: 

+Meeting all my coworkers in Sao Paolo, was like a reunion of siblings separated at birth. (Okay at least that's how I felt) and going out to lunch with them everyday to a new spot, and them kissing me all the time. 

+Staying with Wolfgang and Renata, super host in Brazil and getting to be a part of their amazing life, like testing recipes at their new co-kitchen space and being treated to homemade passion fruit pudding for breakfast. 

+Venturing out to the Liberdade, the Japanses neighborhood and having the most amazing salmon handroll in my life. Then washing it down with super cheap local canned Skol beer. 

+Meeting Brazilian friends and going for drinks at Aspicquelta avenue! Such a lively place and fun people. 

+Browsing through Benedito Calixto open market for souvenirs and eating from the authentic food carts (I haven't gotten sick yet!!) 

+Getting invited to a local balcony house party! The back opened up to a view of the city, I learned how to Samba...it was a magical night 

+Finding and exploring Batman alley on Sunday morning. This is a tucked away alley in Vila Madalena where artists get to display their best work. Lots of people, tourists and locals alike, come here to marvel and take pictures of the art. 

I want to add links and more photos but it's so hard doing everything by phone! Thanks for reading still, and I hope someday you'll get a chance to come to Sao Paolo!!!



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sao Paolo-Part One

So I left my laptop at home for this trip, and I really wish I hadn't. Why? Because there is SO much I have to write now!

First of all, Portuguese is NOT Spanish. It kind of sounds like Spanish, but it's not. My ego has been slowly withering away with each conversation I've staggered to have with locals in Spanish, forget English. This has left me downloading Portuguese phrases on my phone asap, especially after I sat down for my first menu and didn't recognize a single word aside from √°qua. I found my listing without any issues, and found out that my hosts are not only Superhosts, they will be flying out to San Francisco in a few weeks for the Host Open. They are awesome. They are so awesome that their kitchen has been replicated into the kitchen inside the Airbnb Sao Paolo office.

I spent the majority of my first evening lost in my neighborhood, Vila Malalena. It's considered a trendy, upscale and safe area with lots of restaurants bordering one end and there's a pretty crowded party street on the other side called Rua Aspicuelta. There is graffiti EVERYWHERE on EVERY wall in Sao Paolo, but it's most definitely not vandalism here-more like wall art. I was looking for an alley called Batman, which is a famous alley full of wall art that my host told me about but never found it. I was happy to see people drinking out on the sidewalks, and felt kind of out of place in my Chucks. I've been tripping nonstop, partially because all the buildings are built like rainbow, overcrowded teeth and I can't stop looking. And also because the side walks are literally broken up and slabs of concrete are everywhere. After I survived weaving through the crowds of beautiful tan people, I found myself staring at menus in Portuguese, searching for the only word I could make out: CERVEJA (beer.)

In front of a bar called Melegrano, the owner came out and asked what I was looking for. I asked if he had any beer and I've never seen an old man beam so proudly. Turns out Melegrano boosts one of the fanciest and largest emporium of fine local and import beers. He was thrilled to practice his English and brought out some dark beer he claimed to be the best porter in Brazil, something called Petroleum. It wasn't on tap, but I wasn't expecting too much. He poured it into a fancy glass for me, pointing out excitedly that it even flowed like car gas. It was perfect. I really enjoyed people watching out on the streets with club music thumping in the background, wondering if it was weird for me to be alone. I think I'm going to do that more when I get back to Portland and maybe pretend I'm just a mysterious lone traveler.

I have to leave this desktop now and go out after work. More later, CIAO!


Don't they look like toy houses??



My host's puppy, I want to steal him away. 


My workspace this week, gonna have those sweets.



Monday, October 13, 2014

On Getting Called Out...and everything else that's good.

This week was pretty normal. However, if I lived a thousand lives and this was one of them, I would be the luckiest girl in the world. (My fave quote)

Keeping my life balanced is a ever-ending endeavor of mine, but I am super blessed with all the tools and strength to do so. It feels like every week I'm diving into a different form of self-improvement, from working on my personal finance skills, home decor, outdoor sports gear, cooking, travel planning, Spanish, dating (how this is positive is highly debatable) kickboxing, and even the Paleo diet. It's weird how everything usually lasts only about a week. It's not a bad thing, it's just a sign of my restlessness and insatiable appetite for living life. I have yet to get into my gardening stage, a canvas painting phase, or serious typewriting stage but I know it's going to happen eventually.

One form of self-improvement that I have not mentioned in forever is my relationship with God. It's definitely not a phase though, it's just who I am and will always be-a believer. I'm a Christian girl. Do I go around telling people this? NO. You can't tell it by the way I live, so I don't want to give people the wrong idea... However, once upon a time, being a follow of Jesus was my biggest identity. I even had a whole blog on my journey with Christ. He was my first and everything. I can't say that any particular incident turned me away or that I've turned away at all. I've just placed God on a shelf somewhere, and wandered off, globetrotting the world and falling in love and enjoying my whimsical little life and God is just there, getting dusty (and probably getting irritated and plotting to strike me with a lightening bolt to remind me that I'm NOT building towards my calling). That's not how it's supposed to be, and that's not what I want. The hardest thing about stepping back into the God journey is that He will suck everything you have into it, including your soul. And then He will save it. 

I've always believed that we don't get to choose Jesus, He chooses you. It's been burning in my heart for awhile, and so I went to service at Imago Dei this morning. The pastor shared a story about a tax collector named Zacchaeus who climbed up on a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He was walking by (Luke 19). And that's how most people 'seek' Jesus. We are interested, but don't want to get too serious or too close. The thing is, Jesus saw this man and He knew, and called him down. It's like trying not to make eye contact with your teacher or boss but they know you have an answer so they just call you out anyway.

I don't really have a point, just that Jesus shouldn't be a phase or something I balance into my life, I need Him to be the core and I just want an extra push. I'll push myself, but it's always good to be held accountable.

After all, He has poured SO many blessings into my life. Even if He hadn't...but He has. One of my friends has a routine Thankful Thursday post so that she is always reminding herself of things to be thankful for. I'm not that disciplined, so here's my just random list from this past week:

+Having the best girl friends a girl could ask for. My girl friends are funny, ambitious, smart, supportive, fierce, kind, loyal, gorgeous, strong, wise, and all over the world. I love that I can turn to anyone of them at any time to either go out for drinks or vent about school loans. I wouldn't be sane without them <3 Today I was especially happy to have one of my besties visit home, and for an amazing brunch.

+Living where I live. I don't mind staying in my NW Portland hood like, all the time. I love Trader Joes. I love Powells. I love Washington Park and the Popehouse. I especially love walking to work lately cause the leaves are CHANGINNNNNG COLORSSSSSS. I love that I can walk practically to anywhere I need to go to and that I feel perfectly safe doing so. There are still many restaurants I haven't been to yet..although I've been a regular at most of the bars :D As I've repeated many times before, moving back to Portland was the best thing I've done for myself in a long time.


+My job. Everyone knows I have a very cushy job loaded with too many perks and we are spoiled rotten. Monday we had a pizza and beer party after work to share stories in the office. On Tuesday the avocados were back, and macaroons. Wednesday we had a biker guy making us fruit smoothies and had massages, then a Timbers game. Thursday we had a keg of Pumpkin Beer, a Pumpkin bread bake off and a kil
ler happy hour at the Bitter End. Friday we had more Pumpkin beer. I don't ever want to take this for granted and we all work hard every day. But seriously. I am so blessed to be SO taken care of.




+Having the means to do this Paleo Diet. No dairy? No grains? No processed foods or sugars? Not everyone has access to fresh fruits and veggies and organically farm-raised meat, but I do. I have been thinking about this privilege since I started two days ago, and I don't know why I get to have this choice but I do, and so I should treat my body better. So far I enjoy eating tons of salad with meat and eggs on it. It makes me go to the bathroom a lot. A LOT...so I must be losing weight. :)

+Being able to travel. Never an understated luxury. I don't care where you're from or where you've been, but if you can travel, be grateful. Truth be told I'm a bit nervous for my upcoming solo trip, but excited. I'm going to San Francisco next week for a short stint to process my Brazilian visa, and then in November I'll be off trekking through South America for three weeks, conquering Macchu Picchu at the end. I know some people spend their entire lives dreaming about this, so it's amazing that I'm just gonna do it next month. Yeah, JUST DO IT. Sometimes, I surprise myself.

+That it's Autumn. Time for scarves and plaid and corn mazes and PUMPKIN PATCHES! I don't give my guy friends credit for putting up with me, but I should. I'm thankful that my friend Andrew wanted to go to the pumpkin patch today and now I have two pumpkins I don't know what to do with.




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Week I Thought I was In Love

I can't believe my relationship posts got over 5x more views than my BELOVED TRAVEL ARTICLES. Sheesh you guys. I guess that just shows humans are obsessed with love, heartbreak, drama and everything in-between. Besides, my dating life is a tad bit more happenin' than my travels at the moment, since I'm not going ANYWHERE for another month. Oh, to San Francisco for a bit for besides that.

So what's the story today? At 26 years old, I finally understand the difference between infatuation and love. I met a guy last week, and it was magical. We couldn't get enough of each other, and I found myself letting all my guards down and telling him everything and wanting to share my future with him. Instantly. We texted all day and all night nonstop, to the point of my iPhone threatening to die before getting out of the office to see him almost every day. I was so head over heels that I've announced to my best friends that I was positive he was The One (they were all skeptical, as they should be. It's a wonder no one tried to slap me out of it). He was completely flawless and perfect to me, and I had decided that whatever issues that might come up, I would do whatever it took to resolve them so that we could continue to be happy together. It was too good to be true. I realized that I was ready to be in a relationship again, because I found the one I wanted to have it with. For one week, I thought I had fallen in love and it was the best feeling ever. Like getting hit with a train.

BUT.

The thing about infatuation is that it's like a drug, and it's like the cheap vanilla extract instead of the pure vanilla of love. I became addicted to him. Any texts/contact from him throughout the day were like shots of adrenaline. It was so hard to focus at work, and I would wake up too early every morning day dreaming about him. He told me he felt the same way. Scientifically speaking, my brain was releasing huge amount of dopamine which changed the wiring in my brain, then synaptic neurotransmitters  made a connection between my lover and dopamine production and thus intensified my feelings for him which vetoed all sense of logic. Google it. I happily obsessed over him because it was being reciprocated, and I didn't see how I was subconsciously building up irrational expectations for him to maintain this incredible high. We foolishly declared how much we wanted to feel this way forever! Not his fault, not my fault, it was just the way it was.

The tragedy with infatuation is that 1) it's not reality, 2) it screws up judgement and 3) it's not sustainable. It's a dangerous stage, and sometimes it will turn into a healthy, long term relationship (if you actually find the right person)...but I think more often than not it just ends and you feel like shit. I panicked like an unreasonable, lovestruck girl when I sensed he wanted more space and therefore, got put into the 'crazy' category. Guys, please confirm but I'm pretty sure I know this already: If a guy puts a girl in the crazy box, you don't EVER get out of the crazy box. Sigh. It's like guys getting put into the Asshole box. Or worse, the Friend box. UNFAIR FOR EVERYONE but since when was life ever fair?

Events that unfolded after this incident made it clear to me that it was not love. Damn it, hindsight always kills me. Usually it might have taken me weeks to figure out, but I'm so much wiser now. If he had loved me, he would not have put me in the Crazy box. If I had loved him, I wouldn't have whined about him wanting to do what was most important to him. I wouldn't have been a selfish little moron trying to keep him all to myself. If he had really loved me, he wouldn't have shut down and pulled away from me. If I had really loved him, I wouldn't have looked at him like he was magic but instead with loyalty and kindness. If we had loved each other, we would have tried to work things out. Love is about putting each other first, and making them feel secure and supported. Real love is accepting each other and seeing each other clearly, then choosing to commit to them anyway. 

So I failed at falling in love. HAHA! Figures. It was only seven days, but the withdrawals are painful, and oddly feel quite similar to heartbreak. As in, it hurts. I could have loved him, if he had stuck around-but the fact that he didn't just shows it wasn't meant to be. I feel much, much better though after writing/processing this...and you know what? Next time I'll know the difference. I know there will be a next time because I'm actually not crazy. In fact, I'm going off to be amazing now. I love my bed.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

My favorite summer things to do in Oregon

I’ve been spending most of my time doing things rather than writing about them, and I’m a bit sorry but not sorry for doing so. This tends to happen most during the summer time, and since the end is near I’ve been saying YES to every opportunity in or around town that arises for me to bask in summer adventures in all her glory. Here are some activities I highly recommend to do, in no particular order, in case you wanna live in Oregon for a summer (or forever):

-Driving and hiking around the Columbia River Gorge: Along the border of Washington and Oregon, these are my favorite views of the Pacific Northwest. Drive up a smooth highway carved off the edge of endless forest-covered mountains, with a sparkling river below, and stop at trailheads to begin your hike. There are numerous hikes up along this Gorge and they are all fantastic. My favorite is still Angel’s Rest, because the views are spectacular and I’ve seen the most chipmunks there. The Multnomah Falls are in this area as well, so is Crown Point and you can continue up to Hood River. Check out these hikes: http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Gorge_Hikes


-Floating down the Sandy River. It’s a thing. This is the perfect adventure with your friends on a sizzling hot summer day, when you’ve got the whole day to worry about nothing. Make sure you have at least two cars, one to park at the start (wherever you choose to start, Dabney is the most popular lot) and one at the end (Lewis and Clark is where most people turn in). Grab a cooler, stock it with beverages, bring rope to tie your group together, load up your tubes and get your tan on. I love dipping into the water when it gets too hot, toasting to new friends along the way, and extra kudos if you’ve got waterproof speakers! Beware; you may be sunburnt with a midday hangover by the time you pull your inner tubes out of the water. Prepare to spend the majority of your day in the river, the float can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to 7 hours depending on the current. Make sure not to leave any litter behind!




-Beer festivals. No summer in town is complete without spending numerous weekends chipping in those tokens for multiple tasters of delicious beer. I think I’ve hit almost every major beer fest this summer, from the organic, local, specialties and internationals. I usually hear about them by word of mouth. I love the white tents, the drunken old people, the confused lines for tapped out editions, the accompanying concerts in parking lots and parks, and running into everyone from high school. Most of all I love how they’re always outside and beer just tastes better when you can drink it outside! Here’s a nifty guide: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21936-beer-guide-2014-calendar.html


-Movies at the park. They’re free, play classics, and you can have a dinner picnic with your friends! Perfect weekday activity for a chill evening, plus the location is always changing so you can explore new parks. Make sure to bring a blanket, lawn chairs if you’re smart, and munchies! The only downside is that you can’t drink alcohol, because it’s a park and you might be watching Nemo with little kids. Upside, the little kids might give you their glow sticks for no reason. It’s happened to me. Looks like the season just ended, but there’s always next year! 
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/489142


-Drinking on bar patios. I’m really good at drinking beer when there are so many amazing brews just steps from my door. I love sitting in the back patios where they have strings of little Christmas lights above the tables and you can gather tons of your friends or go on causal dates. There are plenty of these patios all around Portland, but the ones on 21st are the most convenient for me cause I live there. The warm summer night breeze combined with a chilled mojito is just perfect for hanging out on those wooden bench tables. Decks close at 10pm. I also love catching up with friends down by the Brewery blocks at Rogue, Deschutes and Bridgeport. I have also been introduced to Bailey’s Taproom this summer and it’s changed my life a little. The possibilities are endless, so you’ll never go thirsty. Below left is the patio outside of Valentine's, and right is White Owl Society. 


-Running up Washington Park to see the Rose Garden. I do this at least once a week, and I know its clich√© but it’s my happy place. The Portland International Rose Garden draws visitors from all over to admire the vast rows of roses in all colors and variations. It’s just a beautiful sight and there are always people with big cameras and couples strolling through. There are numerous trail paths weaving around the garden and I will sometimes continue on running into the woods. I think the time to go is in June/July, but it’s September now and there are still plenty of roses in full bloom. Don’t miss the Japanese Gardens while you’re there. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?&propertyid=1113&action=viewpark


-Heading out to the Oregon Coast. I hesitate in putting this one in cause I’ve only made it out to the coast once this summer, but I hope to get out there again soon, plus I grew up making multiple trips a year. The Coast is about 2-3 hours out from Portland, depending on which beach you have chosen. Seaside is my favorite for a touristy beach, and Pacific City is my favorite getaway beach. The Pacific Ocean is NOT warm, but the sand is hot in the summer time, and I LOVE the little towns and seaside cottages. The seafood is phenomenal (have oysters! Clam chowder! Crab omelets!), have an ice cream and rent a funky bike. The sunsets are gorgeous on the coast, and remember to bring a windbreaker. http://traveloregon.com/cities-regions/oregon-coast/


-Going to Timbers Games. I went to my first game on a whim, and I knew it wasn’t going to be my last. The Portland Army is a fierce and passionate crowd as any-if you come to a game you must sit in the Army section. We have our own war chants and victory songs, and the audience is so captivated and fueled on microbrews that no one sits down. If you love soccer, you will have a blast. If you don’t, you will still have a blast and probably leave as a lifelong Timbers fan. Season is almost over, so grab your tickets! Here are some chants for your entertainment: http://timbersarmychants.blogspot.com/


-Skipping brunch to go for pho or ramen. I’m not going to go too far into the crazy food scene here, so I’ll just stick to this. As much as I love a nice omelet and hashBROWNS, after a wild night out on the town all I want is broth and noodles. It might be an Asian thing, and it’s a good thing cause the lines for the best noodle joints aren’t 2-3 hours long and the worse thing when you’re hung over is having to wait for food. My favorite place for wonton noodles is Good Taste in Chinatwon. For pho it’s gotta be Pho Hung on 82nd although Luc Loc is trendier and closer so I go there too. I just discovered Boxer Ramen and I’m so happy it’s down the street from my house, and definitely hits the spot.  My picks are confirmed here, under the 10 Best Asian Noodles in Portland: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/portland/best-asian-noodles-in-portland


-Always having back up indoor activities. Remember it still rains here, that’s why we have living room theaters, Glowing Greens 3D underground mini-golf ranges, DIY painting studios, Powell’s Bookstore, Ground Kontrol Arcade, and of course our cozy homes. I suppose beer can also be consumed indoors once we have to. I’ve spent so much time outside this summer I’ve barely been home. Right now I’m in bed on a Sunday and I wanna stay here all day.





There is still SO, so much more to do in and around the city that I don’t know about or haven’t gone to yet. That’s another thing I love about this place, that it’s a new city to me because it’s evolved so much but the roots are still where I remembered them. I am looking forward to Autumn, and all that entails. Pumpkin beer, haunted corn mazes, OSU football games…I’m ready for you.

**All photos are my own except the the movies in the park one. Mine all turned out too dark for those :) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Redundant Love Advice Part Three (All About Tinder)

Seeing all these beautiful wedding photos emerge on my newsfeed every weekend makes me feel weird. First of all, they're people my age. Younger than me, even. Second of all, WHY WASN'T I INVITED TO THE PARTY? Jk. Uh, I'm available as a plus one, okay? As long as it's not a date...

Third, it's a reminder that relationships are hard to keep forever, so when two people commit to doing it, it's worthy of a celebration. First dates are not, as they are easy come and easy go. This week was a rough one, and at the end of it, it's plain for me to see that I can be an expert at beginning a relationship, but I sure as hell suck at keeping one.

So I dipped my toes into Tinder on Monday, 50% out of curiosity and 50%...well actually I guess boredom. I feel like everyone disses it, but have it themselves. If you're reading this and you're single-either you're already on it or you've thought of it or you've done it in the past. I know who you are!!!

I could only bear to swipe right once in about every 80 pics...which didn't surprise me at all. I often got stuck with just my own face, Tinder desperately trying to gather more men within my 5 mile radius to reject. Guys on Tinder in Portland need to take their sunglasses off, trim their beards, and do something other than stand in front of a waterfall with their baby niece. Anyways, I quickly matched with a handful of suitors and swiftly accepted arrangements to meet up throughout the week. I chose tall handsome men with remarkably nice smiles and funny profile lines. I'm deleting my Tinder tonight though.

Long story short, don't date if you're not actually looking for a relationship. Tinder is indeed good for people that want to date causally and hook up, but there's definitely potential for more if that's what both parties are interested in. I enjoyed going on dates, but at the end of the week I felt like I missed out on a lot of activities and time I would rather have spent with friends or by myself. I won't be making plans to see any of them again. Dating without a purpose made me feel unbalanced and I didn't like it. I'm not ready to fall in love and start a relationship, so I had to cut out the actions of pretending to do so. Plus, 'meeting up for a casual drink' all the time will eventually make you fat. For the record though, the Tinder dates I met accurately reflected their photos and I was quite impressed and pleased that they existed. Guess I was lucky!

So what is my amazing, pivotal advice for everyone out of all this?

1. BE PUNCTUAL. This is kind of unrelated, but important. If you are running late, keep them updated. This is my #1 deal breaker/pet peeve. Respect people's plans and just imagine that they are missing their mom's birthday to hang out with you. They could be. You wouldn't leave them hanging on their sofa while they could be having cake with their family, would you? WOULD YOU?! For me, every time I make plans it means that I'm saying no to something else.  If that person is late, I feel upset because I could have spent that time doing something more fun than waiting.

2. Don't date if you're not open and ready to start a relationship. It sucks to meet someone incredible and then have to let them down. This should be obvious, but some people (hi hi hi hi) forget.

3. Reject/accept rejection gracefully. To boys and especially girls, be kind when you are saying no. I have a hard to navigating this skill...I am just awkward about it and sometimes-I'll only admit it on here-I play dumb. I'm no idiot lol but I need to work on being more straightforward. But however you do it, always be kind.

If they say no to you, notice how they deliver the news. If they were gracious and honest, then realize that they aren't complete assholes-they are just not ready and the situation is not right. Respect them, even if it hurts. I can personally relate to this. If they aren't nice about it, let them go cause you don't want to date mean people anyway.

4. Be happy for your friends that are getting married or engaged. You'll be there too someday, and they'll be there, 'liking' all your photos and offering marriage advice. Ask them for the name of their photographer if you love their photos, and keep a secret list to go for YOUR wedding someday. After all, you'll want your photos to look great on Facebook too ;)

My lonely Tinder screen because I've so kindly rejected everyone.