I Didn’t Get This Far Just By Looking Good

I don’t remember a lot of specific details about my Dad’s mom.  I have memories for sure, I just don’t really have a firm grasp on her personal character.  She died when I was in 3rd grade after a lengthy battle with cancer.  I have several bones to pick with cancer about it’s continued harassment of my family, but that’s something for another day.  What I do have of my Grandma are the things she left behind: a gorgeous punch bowl, some fancy silver serving pieces which are sprinkled all over my new home, and Irish roots to blame my temper on.  She also left behind an odd little wall hanging that hung beside my bedroom door all through college. It looks a bit like something you might find at a garage sale, or even throw away, but it says something very important to me, “I didn’t get this far just by looking good.” Even though my Grandma didn’t live to see me graduate high school, attend college, and grow into the person I am today, her little wall hanging has stuck in the back of my mind and has my own personal mantra.

I’m always amazed and slightly frustrated when people who meet me come to the “revelation” that I’m a smart girl.  WHY WOULD YOU AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME I’M NOT SMART?!?!  Just because I like makeup and I’m pretty doesn’t mean I’m dumb.  Maybe I’m biased, because I’ve always run with the ‘smart’ crowd, but the only women I know are smart, beautiful, and strong.  None of my girlfriends got to where they are now just because they are pretty!!  Does being pretty help??  Yes..yes it does.  Studies have shown that women who go to job interviews with their hair and makeup done receive higher starting salaries.  Great…..I can deal with that I guess.  Part of being smart is knowing how to leverage yourself and your assets.  Throw on an killer bra, some good lipstick, feel good about yourself, and go get those jobs!  I support this, but what I don’t support is people thinking I’m less intelligent just because I can wing my eyeliner.

Clearly we all kicked some Chemistry butt with our make up on and everything!

Clearly, you can rock out lab reports while wearing makeup.  We can’t be the only three to have accomplished that amazing feat!

Two of the toughest girls I know.  I'm proud to call them besties even though they don't run around without makeup on.

Two of the toughest girls I know. I’m proud to call them besties even though we clearly had too much fun with the hair crimper that night!

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Sometimes, You Just Need To Be Fancy

I have done two unthinkable things this week!!!  First, I finally joined the modern age of dating, and got a Tinder account.  Welcome to the crazy, we’ll talk about that whole situation later!  The second was that I signed up for a 5:30 AM rowing class tomorrow.  I love to row, but nothing about me functions well before about 8AM…..so we shall see how this goes.  Since I need to somehow wrangle myself into bed ungodly early, tonight’s post shall be short and sweet.

Do you ever just sit at home and think to yourself, “I want to eat something fancy, but I’m also lazy.”  If that’s you then I’ve got your fix.  It’s fancy enough to serve company, and easy enough to whip up anytime you’d like.  I present to you, Caprese Bruschetta!

How could you not want to put this in your mouth immediately!?!

How could you not want to put this in your mouth immediately!?!

The Fixings:

  •  1 Container Cherry Tomatoes
  • ½ Package Fresh Mozzarella – I buy the pearls, or you can cut up a ball into pieces.
  • 1-2 Tbs Fresh Basil – Chop finely, or you can purchase fresh basil paste in most grocery stores
  • 2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Option: 1 Clove Minced Garlic

The Prep: I find that this is better if you can let everything sit together for an hour or two and blend.  The prep is super simple, even non-chefs will master this with ease!

  •  If you’d like to add some garlic, it’s best to infuse it into about 3 Tbs of oil olive in a pan over low-medium heat.  Just cook until everything starts to become aromatic, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!  Let cool slightly.
  • Wash, and slice the tomatoes in half.  Occasionally, I like to get extra fancy, and mix in some yellow tomatoes as well.  Just use half a package of each.  Also, regular tomatoes can also be used, you may need to adjust the dressing slightly to account for extra juice in larger tomatoes.
  •  Add the tomatoes and mozzarella to a mixing bowl.  Throw in the basil and drizzle with the olive oil, infused or plain.  Splash in a dash or two of balsamic vinegar, and stir to mix everything together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The dressing should be very light, but cover all pieces.  It may pool slightly at the bottom of the bowl, but that’s fine.  If it looks dry, drizzle in a bit more oil and vinegar.  Embrace your inner Italian grandma.  It’s an art not a science!!  Cover your bowl, and let everything marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.

Digging In: Now, the fun part!

  •  Grab some good bread, generally I do Italian, but anything will work.  Slice it thickly, about half an inch, and butter both sides.  Toast in a pan on both sides until crispy and golden, like you’re making grilled cheese!
  •  Stir up your bruschetta topping and ladle on the gloriousness.  Be sure and grab some of the extra dressing from the bottom.  If you want to get extra fancy, you could top your fanciness with a basil leaf, but I’m single and I frankly don’t have the time for that!  The best I manage is an extra drizzle of balsamic for that extra air of fanciness!

During this whole process you should be drinking wine….any wine….all the wine!  Sit back and bask in the delicious and simple creation before you.  This recipe would be exceptionally good with a trip to a farmer’s market for super fresh tomatoes and basil.  Since the recipe is so simple, it’s really important not to skimp on quality.  Unfortunately, in South Dakota its still way too early for farmer’s market adventures.

As Julia Child would say, “Bon Appetit!”  With that, I’m off to bed!

You Know You’re Getting Old When….

Every once in a while, not often mind you, but sometimes….I feel old.  It’s been a busy, stressful week so I’m taking the easy way out to a funny post.  I thought it would be fun to compile a list of what makes my friends and I feel old.

  • Getting dressed up to go out drinking sometimes seems like too much work.
  • Spending Friday nights at home, making dinner, and watching movies always sounds like a good Friday night anymore.
  • If I do muster the energy to go out, upper twenty something me can no longer dance and take shots all night long like college aged me.
  • In the event I decide to ignore Fact 3, I now need to allow myself at least 2 days to fully recover from the event.
Trust me when I say that the morning after this party was a rough for all involved.

Trust me when I say that the morning after this party was rough for all involved.

  • Getting a handful of underage drinkers kicked out of an all age concert the other weekend made me feel all warm and happy inside!
  • When younger kids, specifically younger siblings of my friends, start getting married.
  • Buying a house! If you need to up your “feeling like an adult” quota….this will do it.
  • When what’s his face left One Direction and you couldn’t muster a single fuck to give.
I'm not sure which one left.  Are they still even a thing if one of them left?!?

I’m not sure which one left.  Can they still even be a thing if one of them left?!?

  • When people you know have been married long enough that they are starting to get divorced.
  • When you’re feeling like throwing back a few but can’t find any partners in crime because your posse is all married with kids.
  • Looking old enough that you no longer get carded at bars…..so bittersweet.
  • When you have to debate going to what will be a great concert because it’s all age, and the youths will be out full force.

Youths….youths as far as the eye can see!

  • Going to the mall….shouldn’t all the kids be in school?!….again with the youths!
  • Reminiscing on the days when you could eat all the food, not workout, and still not get fat.
  • Working out and being sore immediately….in weird places.
  • Waking up the day after a workout, and discovering you’ve reached a new level of sore you didn’t know was achievable by the human body.
  • When you get hit on by 21 year old guys at bars….we don’t want to be cradle robbers!

The End Of An Era

I don’t even really know what to say….

After an excellent Easter weekend and her 16th birthday, we lost our family dog earlier this week.  Everything seemed to be fine, given her age, until all the sudden it was not.  I’m glad, and lucky that my sister and I were able to make it home before she passed.  There isn’t much else that can be said.  This post won’t do her justice, but I’m too upset to write any more.  She was an excellent dog, and she bore witness over the years to all our families milestones, good and bad.

May there be plenty of frisbees to chase, snakes to hunt, and cherry trees to graze on over the rainbow bridge.

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Better Than His Mother’s Pot Roast

First off, I must confess that this isn’t an original recipe.  I stole it….but I stole it from possibly the sexiest Italian chef ever!

Men....learn to cook!  It's sexy and we like it!

Men….learn to cook! It’s sexy and we like it!

Fabio Viviani is seriously adorable!  On a random side note he once wrote me a comment on Facebook about Fiat 500s.  I did not buy a Fiat, but if anyone could have convinced me it would have been Fabio! Anyway, he used to host a web series on Yahoo! Called Chow Ciao.  I think they used to come out once a week?  I’m not sure it’s been awhile.  I watched them at work because again, he’s gorgeous, and my job is sorta boring.  Oh the joys of being underworked and overpaid!  One of the first recipes Fabio shared was Braised Short Ribs in a crock pot.  These ribs are pretty much the only think I make in my crock pot, but it’s totally worth buying one just to make these ribs!

LOOK AT HIM!!!  Cray Cray Adorbs.....unfortunately I think he's short and because I follow him on several social media sites I know he has a girlfriend......so I'm out.

LOOK AT HIM!!! Cray Cray Adorbs…..unfortunately I think he’s short and because I follow him on several social media sites I know he has a girlfriend……so I’m out.

I used to make these for my ex often because he’s a meat and potatoes sort of guy and he loved them.  Plus it was easy to throw everything together the night before.  This meant that I could spend time with him after his weeks on the road instead of running around the kitchen.  Anyway, before this gets too sappy let’s get on to the food!

The shiz you’ll need:

  • Crock pot – I have smallish one but as long as everything fits in it any size should do
  • Boneless Beef Short Ribs – I buy packages of “Country Style Ribs.” Buy the biggest packs you can because this makes amazeballs leftovers!
  • 1 Dark Beer – I generally use Guinness because I have it at home, but your favorite dark variety will work just fine.
  • 1 Can Beef Broth – I buy the larger boxes of stock and then the pupster gets the extra on her crunchies which makes her a very happy girl!
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Basil
  • A sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Option: Flour and Cornstarch

    Get it together people!

    Get it together people!

Alrighty, I could write you up Fabio’s actual version but I’ll give you my hybrid version because:

  1. You can Google his video yourself….and I think you should.  Italian accents all day people!
  2. I’ve made it multiple ways and I can’t tell the difference between his version and my lazy version. Laziness for the win!
  3. I make a flourless version lately in case my gluten free bestie wants to come over for leftovers!

Step 1- Sear off your meat!

Heat a couple tablespoons-ish of olive oil in you largest skillet to about medium.  You want it hot but not smoking.  Generously salt and pepper both sides of all the ribs.  If you want to take the extra initiative you would coat the ribs in flour……totally optional.  Frankly, searing them off at all is option.  They could go directly from the package into the crock pot if you don’t want to dirty a pan.  Throw the ribs into the pan and brown them off nicely on all sides.  Don’t crowd your pan or they won’t brown nicely! 🙂

Remember not to crowd them.  It'll cool your pan down too much and you won't get a nice crust!

Remember not to crowd them. It’ll cool your pan down too much and you won’t get a nice crust!

Step 2- Prep the Crock Pot!

While your meat is searing off you’ll need to slice your onion and smash some garlic.  Whack your onion in half and then slice it up “fajita” style.  Break up the rings and throw them into the bottom of the crock pot to make a nice bed for the meat.  If you’re using whole garlic cloves just whack them with the broad side of your knife blade a couple times, peel them, and throw them on top of the onions.  I had some jarred minced garlic so I used that last time.  Whatever kind works just make sure its fresh….you need the flavor.

I had half an onion last time I made this.....again it's not an exact science but this bed isn't looking as snuggly as it could. :(

I had half an onion last time I made this…..again it’s not an exact science but this bed isn’t looking as snuggly as it could. 😦

Step 3- Assemble!

Once the ribs have been seared on all sides, snuggle them down onto the bed of onions.  Since my crock pot is small I sometimes really have to squish them in but remember is just cooking.  It’s not an exact science so don’t worry about it too much.  I never measure anything and everything always turns out just fine!  Open your beer and add about half of it.  Add beef broth until the meat is nearly covered.  Again, the exact measurements will depend on the size of your crock pot.  More or less broth or beer won’t hurt anything.  Also remember if you’re prepping this in the morning you’ll need to man up and drink that beer.  We can’t have any party fouls in the kitchen!  Sprinkle in the thyme, basil, and cayenne and add the dollop of butter to the top.  Fabio said this “adds creaminess”, honestly I’m not sure it does anything but butter is delicious and never hurt anyone so…..in it goes!  If you want to prep everything the night before this is the place you’ll stop.  Just put the lid on your pot and put it in the fridge.  Unless I’m making them on a weekend I always prep the night before.  I love food but I love sleeping more and I’m not about to get up and sear meat at 6am!

Step 4- Braise!

Throw the lid on, set it to low, and let it cook for 6-8 hours.  Generally I start mine on my way out the door at 8 and I’ll eat when I get home from work around 6ish.  Since it’s braising in all the liquid you really can’t dry it out so don’t worry and just let it cook.  When I get home I turn the heat up to high and let the juices start to boil.  I’ll stir in a good amount of cornstarch slurry just to let the sauce thicken up a bit.  Again, this is an optional step I just feel like it serves a bit better thickened.  I don’t ever measure out the cornstarch, I just use heaping spoonfuls at a time until it looks like its starting to thicken and then I let it cook for maybe 20-30 additional minutes while I prep the sides.

Step 4- Serve!

By now most of the onions and garlic will have dissolved into deliciousness and your meat should be falling apart.  Time to eat!  Typically, I whip up some mashed potatoes and serve them with a rib and a generous coating of sauce.  If you’re feeling extra fancy pants you could broil up some garlic bread.  So much tastiness on one plate!  A green veggie also makes a good side.  I usually only ever have frozen broccoli at home but asparagus is also good.  I just steam them in the microwave…..by this point I’m HANGRY and laziness always wins.

It so happens that I pretty much only use my KitchenAid mixer for mashed potatoes.  Gotta bust out the big guns for deliciousness!

It so happens that I pretty much only use my KitchenAid mixer for mashed potatoes. Gotta bust out the big guns for deliciousness!

Truth be told, apparently the exes mother makes an awful pot roast.  I never had it but I was there one night when he was discussing it with her.  She admitted it so they must be really bad!  These ribs are nothing like bad pot roast.  Actually, that same evening his mother informed me that he gave me the biggest compliment she’d ever heard him say when he told me that my ribs were better than “John’s mom’s pot roast.”  I never had her pot roast either and clearly braised ribs are not enough to hold a crappy relationship together.  At the end of the day, none of that matters.  What really matters is that a gorgeous Italian taught me how to make braised ribs that will trump a mother’s cooking!

……Because Every Home Needs A Bar!

PicMonkey Collage

About a month ago my Momma found the top of a hutch on Craigslist for $35.  That’s right….for the ultra bargain price of less than half my monthly gym membership I bought myself the start of a bar.  It didn’t start out looking all that promising really, but things really started to take shape when we decided to flip in over.  I know that sounds totally weird but hear me out.  If I had used the cabinet right side up I would have had to build a base to go around the bottom feet and a top.  By flipping the cabinet over I could skip building the base because the crown molding was already on the cabinet.  This meant that I only had to build a top.  Saving time and money is never, ever a bad thing! Also, it provided an extra shelf….extra shelves mean more booze storage!

Step one was taking the back panel and all three glass doors off.  The middle door had some recesses that needed to be filled around the edges, but I did that last to hide any nail holes.

...I may have been having questionable feelings about the whole activity at this point...

…I may have been having questionable feelings about the whole activity at this point…

To make the top and the wine cubbies, I used edge glued pine.  I ended up buying two 12”x72” pieces from Menards.  Additionally, I purchased a piece of 8′ molding to finish the edge of the top.  Once I decided on a top length that balanced out the bottom of the piece, I cut it to length using a radial arm saw.  You could cut all the trim pieces using the radial arm saw, but I prefer using a miter saw.  It’s super easy, you just click the blade over to the angle you need (45 degrees in this case) and cut away!  Make sure you mind the manicure! 

Reminder, Reminder, Reminder....MIND THE MANICURE!!!!

But seriously….MIND THE MANICURE!!!!

Since I bought 8’ of trim and needed less than that for the project I decided to cut the angles and then trim the back sides flat.  If you make the top longer and need to use all of the trim the measurements will need to be more exact.  You’ll need to make alternating cuts on each of the front corners so that they fit together to make a 90 degree corner.  Turn the blade to the right and cut the short side on the left hand side of the top.  The front piece will need a left angle cut on the left side and a right angle cut on the right side.  Finish off the trim with a left angle cut on the short right side.  Once the trim is cut and you’ve checked the fit attach it to the pine top using wood glue and some small finish nails.  Don’t forget to drill small pilot holes in the trim pieces for the nails before you glue!  The top got two coats of stain to help protect it from any spills.  Also to add some polish I buffed in a thin coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax.  I’ve never done that before but it really helped smooth out the wood and sealed it nicely.

Give your top a light sanding before you stain it.  It will just help even out any ridges between the pine and the trim.

Give your top a light sanding before you stain it. It will just help even out any ridges between the pine and the trim.

To keep the wine cubbies from looking too bulky I had to plane down pieces of the pine.  Using the extra from the top and the additional purchased 12”x72”, cut pieces to match the width and depth of your cubbies.  My cubbies ended up being about half an inch short on the back side because my planer can only handle 10″ pieces and my shelves are closer to 11′ deep.  No biggie, no one sees the back side!  The edge glued pine started at about 5/8” thick.  I planed that down to about half an inch.  The actual thickness isn’t really ciritical, just continue taking small layers off until you reach a thickness that seems visually pleasing.  I left the sides of both set of 4 and the bottom unplanned.  They are hidden from view and are just for support.  Using the radial arm saw again, cut a half inch grove into each of the 4 planed pieces.  This will allow them to slip together.  Before installing the cubbies, I recommend staining then.  This will allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies.  I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Java for the whole project.  The best part is you can use this stain over any existing stain without using any strippers!  Laziness wins again!  I also applied a coat of stain to the inside of the whole piece just to darken it slightly.

Don't forget to stain both sides!

Don’t forget to stain both sides!  Rubber gloves are a for sure must have for this.  I use foam brushes to apply the stain and then an old sock on one hand to rub it in and absorb any excess product.

I was on a slight deadline for this project because I’m hosting a party this week and the party needed a bar!!  So…..my Momma got the cubbies installed while I was back home working all week.  The groves slip together and then the crosses were installed as one piece.  The cubbies are attached to the piece itself with nails through the front recessed area.  Those nails were then covered with two small trim pieces.  The crosses were screwed into the side panels and the side panels were glued on the top and bottom sides to the existing shelving in the piece.

I decided to mirror the glass on the doors.  This serves two purposes, it matches the rest of my home better and it hides all the random bottles of booze in the cabinet.  It’s a simple process but it does take some time.  To preserve the inside of the doors, bust out the painter’s tape and go to town!!

photo 5

Don’t mix up your styling products and your vinegar water kids!

I’ve made several mercury glass style vases using the Krylon Looking Glass spray paint, but I had never tried making a solid mirror.  To achieve some mild distressing I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water around the edges focusing on the corners.  Make sure you have room to lay the pieces you’re spraying down flat.  The paint is very runny and if the pieces don’t dry laying down you’ll get run marks.  I did 5 light coats total letting each coat dry in between.  About halfway through the process I sprayed on some more vinegar water.  This creates nice distressed bubbles.  Concentrate the spray in an area if you want larger bubbles.

After the mirror glass paint dries you can remove the tape on the back.  Flip the doors over and tape the front of the glass so that you can get the doors ready to paint.  I attached the doors back onto the piece before painting and distressing.  I just find it helps keep everything even.  I reattached the doors upside down also so that the curve of the wood was on the top of the door.  Doing this meant I had to move the magnets inside to hold the door closed and rethink some exterior hardware.  I painted the project using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.  Everything I have read about the chalk paint says that you should be able to paint a project in one coat; I’ve never found this to be the case.  I’ve repainted a dinning room set, a small chest of drawers, and a bookcase and everything needed two coats.

Two coats of paint, two upside down doors, and the top.

Two coats of paint, two upside down doors, and the top.

After two coats of paint you’re ready to start distressing.  I went over the whole thing with some fine grit sandpaper.  This might not make any sense, but the sandpaper will sort of ‘tell you’ where to distress.  It will naturally strip more paint off of the high points and corners.  Anywhere the paint starts to distress, I focus a bit more.  This is the part I hate the most because it’s hard to decide when enough is enough.  Its helpful to take lots of steps back and assess the piece as a whole.  I also did some light distressing on the large flat sides and the back panel of the piece.  Its harder to distress large flat areas but just go until it looks good or your arm gives out….which ever comes first and I promise the piece will still end up fabulous!

Once the distressing is done make sure to wipe of all the paint dust.  A large paint brush works quite well for this.  I did hit a small roadblock because the paint dust turned all my gorgeous dark stained wood slightly milky, but I discovered an easy way to fix that.  We will talk about that in a minute.  After you get everything cleaned up its time to start waxing.  Honestly this is the step I hate because by this point everything looks finished, and you’ve put in all this time, and you just want to be done!  However, the chalk paint is delicate stuff until its waxed and sealed.  So, grab an old white t-shirt scrap, some gloves, and some Annie Sloan Soft Wax and buff it into the whole piece.  The paint color will change slightly but don’t worry about it too much.  I also made some dark wax by mixing a small amount of the java stain into a glob of clear wax.  Annie Sloan makes dark wax, but I’ve mixed stain and wax for all the projects in my house and its always worked just fine.  After applying a coat of clear wax you can gently buff in some of the dark wax anywhere you’d like some extra distressing.  I use fine steel wool for this and find that it’s almost impossible to overdo it because the wool will really buff it out if you apply too much.  The dark wax is a totally optional step!!  Also I used the dark wax on the wine cubbies to help remove the cloudiness from the paint dust!  It was a total shot in the dark but it actually worked really well.

This picture really shows off my whoopsy moment with the paint dust.  Also the oddly stained pieces were applied last to cover the recessed area where I had attached the wine cubbies.  Those two pieces were painted and distressed with the rest of the piece.

This picture really shows off my whoopsy moment with the paint dust. Also the oddly stained pieces were applied last to cover the recessed area where I had attached the wine cubbies. Those two pieces were painted and distressed with the rest of the piece.  The stain was applied to try and take away the unfinished wood look…it didn’t really work and I’d probably skip it if I had to do this again.

That’s pretty much it!  Allow the wax to cure overnight and reattach the back panel using small nails, screws, or a staple gun if you have it.  I attached the top to the piece with three small screws along the back side.  I salvaged new door pulls from Momma’s garage.  She had a bag of pulls from the kitchen remodel when I was a small tot and for some reason they were still laying around.  They were kind of a gross 80’s brass….barf…..but a coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint darkened them up nicely.  Drill some holes in the doors and screw those puppies in an you have a completed piece!

Overall I would rate this as a moderately difficult piece.  I have the added benefit of having grown up around power tools and wood working.  My Dad basically built all the cabinets, doors, and trim in our house so I already had all the tools needed. Momma and I have a good handle on all the basic skills we needed to build this piece.  If you’re less experienced or feeling iffy about tackling this much work you could always leave out building the wine cubbies, just paint all the doors, and lay the bottles down inside on the shelves.  Also, if you have an extreme aversion to power tools, home improvement stores will cut lumber for you so if you know the length you want to the top to be and don’t want to trim it that would also be an option for you.

All set up in the house and ready to party!

All set up in the house and ready to party!

Chapter 3: The 24 Hour First Date

One would think that I live in a populated enough city that I could find someone in town to date; however, the pickings are slim people!  I’m not gonna pretend to advise anyone on what might be an appropriate geographic area.  I’ve been on dates with guys who lived three hours away…..which seems excessive to me. But hey, if you want to drive up and meet me, I’m not gonna stop you.  I will say that I never….never …..ever drive to meet a guy first!  If I’m get murdered by some deranged ax murderer, it’s going to be in the comfort of my own city thank you very much!  (I did drive once to meet a guy, but I knew him previously, I had other friends in his town, and that’s a different story.)

The struggle....it's real and it could happen to you!

The struggle….it’s real and it could happen to you!

The whole debacle of this date could have been avoided had I stuck to my #1 rule of dating: They need to be taller than me!  SEE THE AWFUL THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU BREAK THE RULES KIDS!  Anyway!!!  I ended up emailing a sorta cute guy on Match.com.  He said he was the same height as me, but this is one quality that men generally tend to round up, and you should always be wary.  I say he is “sorta” cute only because he’s not the type I generally like to date, but again I was trying to be better about busting out of my routine.  After all, the routine has been highly unsuccessful to date and change can be good.  He’s an architect in Minnesota, he wanted to come down to SooFoo on a Saturday afternoon for a date, and I agreed because frankly what was the worst that could happen?  (Ax murderer visions aside of course).  We met up at a Buffalo Wild Wings, and that’s where the real journey begins.

First impressions…..they are important…..I shall rattle off a few of mine about the Architect.

  • Shiny, big, black Jeep…..acceptable, but not a truck
  • Short……I want to say he had boots on, and we were maybe exactly matched in height
  • Well dressed…..very like “grown-up hipster” style. Nice leather jacket, worn in t shirt, rolled skinny jeans.
  • Slim…..skinny in a “I used to be/am a distance runner” sorta way…..which he was/is.

To sum up the Architect in one sentence– He looks vaguely like Jason Mraz, and the way he talks and acts reminds me of Kuzco the llama emperor!  He’s really quite funny, and we get along really well.

I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with this combo in hipster clothes!?!?

I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with this combo in hipster clothes!?!?

I should maybe point out, that it’s quite possible, that I went to this date feeling slightly hung over.  I’m not entirely sure anymore.  I remember being hesitant about ordering a beer, but that could have just been because he made me order first, and I HATE having to like decide the tone of a date.  We hung out, ate a bit, chatted, ya know the usual datey type things.  He has a dog, I have a dog….our dogs are nothing alike.  He has a boat, I have a boat…..our boats aren’t for the same activities.  He wants to live in a modern loft or shipping container house!??  My style is maybe best described as “modern Marie Antoinette”?!?  Even though he’s a funny guy, I had pretty much already decided that we weren’t going to date.  Is that rash?!?!  I mean if it’s not there is not there right!!  We’ll come back to this topic in a hot minute, just stick with me for a bit.

At some point, we decided to leave B-Dubs and go to my bar of choice.  My preferred bar was on the opposite side of town, and since the Architect isn’t super familiar with SooFoo, I offered to drive us.  Helpful tip, in today’s modern age of technology, if a guy can’t get himself across town, you shouldn’t be with him!  Granted, I offered, but I could have avoided this awkward tale if I had made him drive himself.  I mentioned that I may have been hungover because I had been at the bar the night before, and a couple of the bartenders commented on this.  Sue me, they have good food and I like the ambiance!  Actually, being close to my bar and a nice kitchen were the major selling points of my house!  While at the bar, we actually started talking about old relationships, which is generally a huge first date no-no.  However, out of this conversation came the premise that I have an absurd dating history and that I should write a book.  Basically, if you enjoy my blog at all….you have the Architect to thank!  He was the first one to ask “Where do you find these people?!?” and I’m still trying to figure that out.  He also coined the term “educated hood rat” to describe my general lifestyle tendencies.  It seems odd, but it’s actually pretty accurate.  95% of the time my life is put together, organized, and I generally act like an adult.  However, that 5% of the time when I don’t care and want to get a bit crazy, my friends and I don’t jack around with it.  We all are firm believers of the “Work hard, play harder” life mantra!  We never really act like what you envision as an actual hood rat….we aren’t delinquents we just like to party!

Through the course of conversation, he discovered that I had never been drinking downtown.  He considered this just slightly below personally offensive, decided that we should switch bars again, and remedy this immediately.  I was still having a fairly good time at this point, but suggested that I needed to go home, feed my dog, and hang some custom art I had just picked up.  Basically, a polite, “Let’s end this now and maybe do it again sometime.”  However, “I need to hang art,” was not the exit phrase to tell a guy who double majored in architecture and art.  He thought a detour for art on the way to downtown would be ideal.  It’s now important to mention that this happened during summer time in SoDak, when thunderstorms can pop up out of nowhere.  While we were at my place hanging art and googling bars downtown, it started pouring.  So here I am, with the Architect and my dog, stuck in my apartment while a monsoon rages outside.  I’m a huge baby about being rained on when I’ve straightened my hair, and this wasn’t the “quick, run to the car you won’t get that wet” sorta rain.  This was the rainy season in some tropical country.

All it takes is one good rain storm to take you from cute to pissy!

All it takes is one good rain storm to take you from cute to pissy!

Needless to say, we did not make it to downtown Soo Foo that night.  What we did do was continue the conversations about being educated hood rats and crazy past relationships.  I also sprinkled in some fun medical facts because I’m really entertained by people who get squeamish in the face of biology.  I’m not sure why he didn’t want to drive home that night, something about rain and it being late maybe?  I’m not sure, and my attention span is on par with a hyper toddler’s, so we were already well past the point were I was really paying attention to anything. We agreed to keep talking until morning when he could drive home, and that really failed pretty hard.  Sometime in the middle of these conversations we mutually passed out haphazardly strewn across my bed.    Ok, sorta not how one envisions a first date going but ya know….I’m sure weirder things have happened right!?  For the sake of my Mother’s mental sanity, I will stress that nothing happened!  Once we both woke up a bit he suggested a nap and lunch before he had to drive back to Minnesota.  I, being the sometimes bitch that I am, denied him both and drove him back to his car at B-Dubs.  This series of events didn’t take quite a full 24 hours….but it was really close enough to round!  I’m rounding, because “The Approximately 22.25 Hour First Date” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Who's really keep track anyway....

Who’s really keep track anyway….

The Architect and I hung out randomly a few times throughout the summer, but nothing ever came of it, obviously.  He did come one night to party with me and my people.  This was the night that caused the Bestie to keep declaring that I should give him more chances.  Bestie’s Momma had other ideas and declared that if there wasn’t a spark, I needed to move right along.  Move right alone I did!  Not sure where I moved to….obviously not anywhere great, but that’s the journey I guess.  The Architect and I still talk sometimes.  In fact, he was in town and took me out to lunch the day I closed on my new house.  He actually came and looked at the house, but didn’t offer to hang any art. 🙂