18 Thoughts Every 20-Something Ponders While Watching House Hunters

BuyingNaked

I have a confession. I am majorly addicted to HGTV’s House Hunters. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Maybe, it has something to do with being 26 and living in apartments for years now, that has me fantasizing what it may be like to own property one day. Add in a large amount of scripting and some crazy characters. You have one of the most entertaining (and borderline educational) reality shows.

1. Who exactly are these mid-20 something couples that are buying half a million dollar vacation homes on the beach?

Who are these couples? What are their jobs? And, how the hell do they have so much disposable income. I can barely pay a ~$1000 in rent each month. These folks have two mortgages. How?

2. I wonder how many of the couples on House Hunters are still married in a year. Every couple on this show bickers so much. Literally.  These cannot be happy marriages.

3. Why is everyone so obsessed with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances?

4. And hardwood floors.

5. And a fully-updated man cave in the basement.  Also, what exactly constitutes a man-cave anyway?

6. And a GINORMOUS walk-in closet.

7.  And lots of privacy in the fully fenced in backyard.

8. Who are these single 20-somethings buying luxury apartments in midtown Manhattan?

9. Who at TLC thought it would be a good idea to create a House Hunters Spin-off called, “Buying Naked.” It follows couples looking to buy homes in a nudist colony in Pasco County, Florida.

10. I wonder how much time a poor Production Assistant (PA) had to spend hunting down ridiculous props to cover all the man and lady parts on Buying Naked.

11. Why are so many women on the show obsessed with child safety features? They don’t have any kids and she isn’t even flipping pregnant yet.

12. Whenever a realtor shows them a house just “outside their budget.” It’s really more than $50,000 over.

13. Will people judge me if I livetweet the shenanigans that this couple are saying right now?

14. Oh, you hate the burnt orange and bright yellow paint colors? It’s just paint. You can pick up some of your favorite colors from Home Depot and re-do the room. It’s really not hard, people.

15. Oh no, there’s carpet in the master bedroom. Instant deal breaker.

16. In the off-chance I’m ever financially stable and emotionally ready to buy a house, how do I get on this show? Here’s how you can apply.

17. Has anyone ever tried this House Hunters drinking game? And survived?

18. Seriously, how many people will judge me if I live-tweet the shenanigans on this show? For realsies.

What thoughts have you had while watching House Hunters? Please share them below in the comment section. 

5 Tips For Online Dating Newbies

OkCupidReddit

Joining an online dating site, like OkCupid, Match or Plenty of Fish (to name a few), can be a lot like playing Russian Roulette. You roll the dice and leave the outcome up to chance. There’s no doubt that finding someone online involves some luck and fate.

As a self-confessed serial online dater, there are some tips that can make the experience for a newbie to the online dating sphere a bit more bearable. While I can certainly share a bunch of things I have learned, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of really good dating advice floating around on Reddit. (Yes, you heard that right, Reddit). Reddit isn’t just for video game nerds and Internet trolls, who hate the world. There are actually some really cool people in many subreddits. Here’s five tips for newbies, straight from the front page of the Interwebz.

Tip 1: Use tips from their profile in your intro message

“Profile specific messages are easy, just find something interesting and message her about it, but don’t get upset if you don’t get a response.” – Source: engraced 

Tip 2: Don’t overthink it. 

“People will be confusing, people will give mixed signals. It’s best to not freak out about it. If someone is interested, they will be clear about it, and if you’re interested in someone, your best bet is to be open and clear about it as well.” – Source: killerjiller

Tip 3: Be open-minded and don’t just cherry pick the model types. 

“Accept dates from men who are interesting, not necessarily the best looking. I’ve been pleasantly surprised more times than not.”  Source: engraced  

Tip 4: Treat your profile as an ad for you. 

“PROFILES ARE NOT AUTOBIOGRAPHIES. They are advertisements for you as a person.” – Source: LilJonOkCupid 

Tip 5: If all else fails, just get some Whiskey.

“Are you a woman? Do you like bourbons, whiskey or scotch? If yes those will get you my attention at least.”  – Source: orangefolders   

What’s one tip that you would give to an online dating newbie? Please share in the comment section below. 

 

 

How To Cope When You Are Only 26 And Find Out A Loved One Has Cancer

I never intended to write a post that was this personal before. The truth is writing has always been like therapy to me. As absolutely terrifying as it is to bear my soul and hit publish on this post, I know I am probably not the only one going through this.

I like to think that I’m a really strong mid-20-something female. I’m independent. I’m fighter with a can-do attitude. I can handle any curveball that life throws my way.

The reality is most days I’m pretty sure this is just a facade. A coping mechanism that I put on to shield myself from all the heartbreaks, disappointments and failures that I have dealt with in the barely six years that I’ve been in my 20s.

And a couple of nights ago, I got thrown the biggest emotional curveball yet.

It started innocently enough with a phone call. I had that inkling that something was very wrong, the minute I said, “Hi.” Then, I heard a loved one say the dreaded words, “I have Breast Cancer.”

For about two seconds (although it felt much longer), my mind just went blank. I didn’t know what to think.

Then, insert shock and mass freakout. (All in my head of course). All the terrible thoughts that I try to suppress from my entire life came flooding into my mind like really bad nightmares. Only they weren’t nightmares. All I can think is my best friend is very sick.

Somehow, I snapped out of my thoughts just long enough to verbalize a coherent, supportive sentence. I realized she is probably just as afraid- if not more so- than I am. So, I don’t want her to know how frightened I am, as I fear that will only make her worry and feel guilty. She has a giant battle ahead of her, and she needs all the energy and support to help fight this. I needed to be her rock.

I sat on the call as she told me her diagnosis and that doctors said this type of cancer’s long-term prognosis is actually pretty decent.  That doesn’t make it any easier to digest the news though. It’s actually quite frightening, if not downright terrifying.

I know it’s okay to be sad and to shed a few tears. But, I don’t really feel sad. I just feel so helpless and afraid. You see, after 26 years, I’ve placed her on a pedestal, who is strong, confident and always there to tell me things will be alright.

Since hearing the news, I keep having weird flashbacks to the Scrubs, “My Fallen Idol” episode. I view my her- just like J.D. views Dr. Cox. She is kind of like my superhero – always there to bail me out when I need help. It’s so scary to know she’s sick (while I know the prognosis for her type of cancer is typically favorable), it doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

These thoughts continue to race through my mind.

Am I strong enough to help her fight this?

And, be there to help my family and family friends cope.

Not to mention cope myself.

And, through all of this, I just feel helpless and alone. Very alone.

Cancer sucks. 🙁

Gen Y Budgeting Tips: 11 Things You Shouldn’t Try To Buy Cheap

If you are in your twenties, like me, there’s a good chance that you aren’t exactly rolling in large amounts of money. Budgeting builds character and responsibility. When you find something below your budget, it can feel super empowering. However, not all cheap deals are worth taking. Here’s a few things that you really shouldn’t try to get a “deal on.” It may hurt the wallet a bit, but trust me, these things are worth it.

1. Laser Hair Removal/Botox/Plastic Surgery

Now, I’ve lost count of the number of daily deal emails I’ve seen for Botox and other body-enhancing medical procedures. Let’s just say qualifications, experience and referrals should triumph a potentially life-threatening cheap find.

2. Gun Safety and Instruction Classes

This should be a no brainer. If I’m going to learn to operate something that can potentially harm me and the people around me, I want to make sure I’m in good experienced hands.

3. Sushi

It’s raw fish. Seeing a deal should raise your spidey senses. Food poisoning, anyone?

4. Physicians

I’ve kind of touched upon this already, but the best doctors are the ones with raving referrals and an extensive track record of excellence. That’s usually not the cheap ones on deal sites.

5. Lawyers

Again, this is just like physicians. Experience and an excellent track record should triumph getting a good deal.

6. Mechanics and auto repairs

Now, I confess I always feel like a fish out of water in auto repair shops. I always have that vague sense I’m going to be ripped off, but I don’t really know enough to ask. That being said if you don’t want to find yourself stranded on the highway, it’s best to make sure that you find reputable mechanics.

7. Skydiving

Now, if you are crazy enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I’d hope you would research the skydiving company and their safety history. But then again, you could just be crazy enough to buy a deal anyway, and then I wish you the best of luck.

8. Lifevests and life rafts

If you ever found yourself in the unfortunate situation of being in a boat wreck, the last thing you probably want to think about is if your life raft will keep you afloat until you get back on dry land.

9. Condoms

If you aren’t ready to be a mommy or daddy yet? Or, don’t want any STDs? You should probably spend the extra dollar(s) on the legit condoms. Nuff said.

10. Travel/Vacations

Vacations are a chance for you to de-stress, relax, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Sacrificing fun and relaxation for the cheapest deals is not recommended. If you have the resources (or wait a few extra months to save), so you can splurge on that nice hotel room or the flight that doesn’t live at 4 a.m. from the airport that is 1.5 hour from your house.

11. Mattresses

Bed bugs, anyone? Not only will you most likely be sacrificing comfort, but who wants to buy and sleep on that “gently used” mattress full of dust mites, hair, and God knows what else.

What items do you never buy cheap? Please leave them below in the comment section.

What if Steve Urkel Was On OkCupid

My Self-Summary

steveurkel

What I’m doing with my life
When I’m not conducting homemade chemistry experiments (that may or may not cause damage) in my parents’ basement, I’m trying to think of ways to get Laura Winslow to go on a date with me. 

I’m really good at
Doing the Urkel Dance. Care to join me? 

Favorite books, movies, music and food
Anything Polka
Cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. 

The six things I could never do without
Suspenders
My Glasses
Cheese
Encyclopedia Britannica
My Chemistry Set
Laura Winslow 

I spend a lot of time thinking about
How I can get Laura Winslow to go on a date with me. 

On a typical Friday night, I am:
Doing chemistry experiments in my parents’ basements, at the Winslow house or plotting out ways to get Laura to go out on a date with me.  

I’m looking for:
Girls between 18-26
Short-term dating   

You should message me if: 
You’re Laura Winslow 

 

5 Ways to Ensure Your Intro Message Will Be Remembered For All The Wrong Reasons (Or Completely Forgotten)

When it comes to online dating, guys statistically have a 25% chance of getting a reply back to their intro message. Girls have a slightly higher chance at 40% of getting a return message.

To improve the odds, I put together some tips to help you get more replies back to the all-important, first intro message. Here’s 5 ways to ensure that your intro message will be remembered for all the wrong reasons (or completely forgotten).

1. Resist the urge to use a blanket form message.
Blindly copying and pasting the same, exact form message to 100 folks, right down to “Hey there,” is a great way to get ignored 100% of the time. When looking for love, the absolute least you can do is swap out, “Hey there,” for “Hey <insert Okcupid username>.”

2. Make sure to only talk about YOU.
The entire intro message should only talk about you and just how great you are. Don’t reference anything about their profile. It’s all about me-me-me. All this will do is raise a major red flag that you are a self-entitled, self-absorbed jackass.

3. Send an intro message with only the words, hi or hey.
A good intro message should range in length from 3 sentences to 3 short paragraphs. “Hi or Hey” should be reserved for starting a quick IM not for sending an actual intro message.

4. Send a five paragraph essay as your intro message.
At the same time, it’s also not the best idea to write a 5 paragraph essay or short novel as your intro message. Extra negative points if you get all philosophical in the message. Save that stuff for the second or third date!

5. Send a photo of your junk.
This should go without saying, but as someone who has personally been on the receiving end of many dick pic intro messages it had to be included. Nothing screams desperate or creepy more than sending a photo of your junk in an intro message to a complete stranger online.

What tips do you have for writing intro messages? Please share in the comment section below.

The Surprising Place To Get Really Good, Free Dating Advice

When you think of online dating, your first reaction is probably some mix of panic/fear and why am I doing this to myself. However, as online dating continues to grow in popularity (well, maybe it being forced on us all), there are more and more places folks can go to get advice. One place that you might not to think is Reddit.

I’ll be the first to admit that up until recently I thought Reddit was just a place for video game nerds and folks who were angry at the world go to. While there are definitely some Internet trolls on there, the vast majority of the content is quite good. There’s a ton of subreddits devoted to online dating. Here are seven of the top subreddits to get dating advice and tips.

Where’s your favorite place to get dating tips and advice? Please share in the comment section below. 

 

Six Tips For Choosing The Perfect Photo For Your Online Dating Profile

For better or worse, it’s no secret that photos are generally the first thing people will scroll through when browsing an online dating profile. However, there are some things that you can do to stand out from the millions of other folks, who are on these sites.

1. Make sure you are uploading only timely, up-to date photos.

In general, your profile photo should have been taken within the last few years. If you are a little chunky, bald and have tattoos, your profile photo should show that.  It shouldn’t be of you with a full head of hair and fifty pounds lighter. Embrace yourself for who you are at this moment.

2. Use a candid photo of just you.

The best profile photos are candid shots of just you. It can be taken in a fun environment/background. Ex: A photo of yourself at the Grand Canyon, chilling at the beach, a night out on the town, etc.

3. Clean the bathroom mirror if you must take a selfie.

While I would encourage you to avoid taking cliche selfies (or let’s be honest, any selfie), if you absolutely must take them, clean the bathroom mirror first. There’s nothing cute about taking a selfie in front of a smudged up, dirty bathroom mirror. Windex is your friend.  🙂

4. Keep your shirt on.

Dear all guys, as much as I love admiring your six pack, posting a shirtless selfie is one of the douchiest things you can do on an online dating site.

5. No dick pics.

I can’t believe that I even need to list this. There is nothing “sexy” or “cute” about sending unsolicited dick pics to girls on Okcupid.  It’s actually just a great way to get blocked.

6. Don’t go overboard with Photoshop.

You aren’t fooling anyone when you try to crop out your ex from your profile photo. We all see the awkward pose or the weird, phantom limb that you missed. Just don’t do it.

How Not To Write An OkCupid Self-Summary

Whether you are writing one for a corporate bio or your online dating profile, there’s no question self-summaries can be a pain in the ass. You have to describe yourself in a honest, compelling and classy way without over-sharing. There’s a lot of ways that you can screw up the OkCupid self-summary.

However, I’m pretty sure this winner takes the cake for one of the worst self-summaries ever. So classy.

SoClassyv2

What’s the worst self-summary that you have seen on Okcupid? Share below in the comment section.

 

Need help crafting the perfect self-summary that gets noticed for all the right reasons, please subscribe to my online dating bootcamp here. 

The Date From Hell

I have been on a lot of bad first dates. Maybe, it’s because I’m impatient and don’t like to waste tons of time exchanging “Small talk messages” on online dating sites when you are just going to rehash the same awkward topics on the first date.

Or, maybe that I am terrified of being the victim of a “catfish” level scheme.

Little did I know, I think I would have preferred being catfished over the date I went on a couple of weeks ago.

You know when you have that vague inkling that you have nothing in common, but you really aren’t sure quite yet. My spidey senses were thinking this was going to be a long, dreadful date from the first “awkward text message,” after we exchanged numbers. Well, in my case a vague Google voice number.

Anyway, our “date” started innocently enough at a popular upscale burger bar. The guy walked in and to my pleasant surprise, the guy actually looked like his profile photo. That’s a rarity. Trust me.

But, that was the sole positive of the night.

Little did I realize, this bar would be absolutely packed on a Monday night. Seeing how Mr. Winner and I were already struggling to hold a conversation, two minutes into exchanging pleasantries. We quickly decided to go to the Greek food place next door with no wait.

That’s always the sign of an excellent date. Finding any way I could to speed this date up. So, I can say goodbye, get the fuck out of there, drive home and enter into the land of comfy sweatpants.

Anyways, we order our food. Then, we are met with an incredibly awkward silence. From the initial silence, we get to talking about our work and our family life.  The guy brings up that he works in a warehouse. And, is kind of sort of going to community college. Nothing terribly exciting, but I can respect that not every 20-something knows what they want to do.

Enter more awkward silence. By this point, By time, I was seriously thinking about ways to exit the date gracefully or semi-gracefully.

Would Mr. Winner notice if I excused myself to go to the bathroom and never came back?
Should I pretend to stab myself with this butter knife so I could get out of here soon?
Do I use one of those fake a phone call apps? 

Then as the conversation continued to struggle along, the real dealbreaker comes out. The guy still lives at home with “mommy.” And, mommy does everything for him, while he sits on his ass reading comics and playing Halo.  See where this is going?

He’s the kind of mama’s boy, that is stuck at age 12 or 13. Permanently. All he cares about is beating his video games and his mommy’s cooking. Nuff’ said.

The date ends rather uneventfully about 45 minutes after it got started.

And, it’s time to go back to the drawing board – screen dozens upon dozens of guys on OkCupid – hoping to find a grown ass man. Or, at least a man, who knows how to cook a basic meal and doesn’t live at home with mommy.

What’s the worst date you have been on? Please share below in the comment section. Or, tweet me at @ATXDating.

Want to stay in touch? Subscribe to my email newsletter to get behind the scenes of my crazy dating stories and ramblings.