Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Falling In Love, With Me

In terms of self esteem, 2015 was a hard year for me.  When I confessed this to friends, they found it hard to believe.  Yes it’s true, I never seem to be lacking in self esteem, but after losing so much weight from my gastric bypass surgery, I started to gain some of it back.  People always want to know how it happened and the simple answer is that I started eating sugar again.  Anyone who tells you that fat makes you fat is full of crap, sugar makes you fat.  But anyway, that’s a rant for another time...

I wasn’t prepared for the toll gaining some weight back would take on my mind.  I had gained back a fraction of what I had lost, but I felt bigger than I had ever been.  And worst of all, I felt completely undesirable.  My depression and anxiety skyrocketed.  I pulled back from most social activities.  I wasn’t myself anymore.

I had to remind myself that I needed to love myself exactly as I was that moment.  Not if I lost 20 pounds.  I had to fall in love with me again, and that was going to take some work.

When the LDS Matchmaker presented me with their “Make It Happen Package”, I never imagined what an impact it would have on my life!  And one of the best parts was the professional photo shoot.

We all know how much better you feel when you have your hair and makeup done, and add to that some amazing photos by a fantastic photographer and you have one happy Barbie  J

My Dating Coach Lauren was also my stylist.  She took me to a few different stores and helped me put together some outfits.  While I can find you the perfect wedding dress, regular fashion just isn’t my thing.  I definitely needed her help.  I also had a work trip to Chicago coming up and these outfits went along perfectly!

The day of the shoot, the amazing Brittany Wilson did my makeup (resident matchmaker and stylist).  She even put some fancy fake eyelashes on me which made my eyes look incredible!

The photo shoot took place at the Salt Lake City Library, hands down one of my favorite places downtown.  Sami Johnson (Matchmaker extraordinaire) was there to help with anything I needed and to be my own personal cheerleader.  Seriously, every time I started having the thought “I probably look awful”,  out of nowhere she would shout out “You are such a hottie!!”.  It’s hard not to smile when you have someone encouraging you on.

The photos were taking by the insanely talented MJ Morgan, owner of “My Style Photography”.  His skill working with natural light makes my jaw drop, and to top it off, he’s an incredibly nice guy.  He’s mellow, inviting and gives great direction to make you look your absolute best.  He also didn’t mind when I gave him my input about poses or things I wanted in the background.

The experience was amazing!  A few days later he sent me all of the images and I chose my favorite 10 for him to edit.  Here are the final results, I love them!  

Seeing in photos that even though I have gained some weight, I am still beautiful.  It was exactly what I needed!

I am still working on getting my weight back to a more comfortable place for me, but in the meantime, I am falling in love with me again.  And that's a really great thing  :)

I can’t say enough good things about this experience.  I honestly think everyone should do it!  I use the photos for both business and personal (LOTS of online dating!).

Of course I recommend you set up an appointment and meet with the LDS Matchmaker http://www.theldsmatchmaker.com/  to see what packages she recommends, it’s worth it!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Just Because You're Single, Doesn't Mean You're Broken

Being single is great.

Being single is hard.

Being single is empowering.

Being single is heartbreaking.

All of these statements about being single are accurate.  Being single is not easy.  It has it's perks as well as it's challenges, it's highs and it's lows.

But being single does not make you broken.

Being an LDS woman in her 30's who has never been married is not very common, well unless you live in Utah and then there are literally thousands of women in the same situation.  But even with those thousands of other women, it is easy to feel alone, hopeless and constantly fighting the urge to adopt a large amount of cats and calling them your "babies".

You wonder if you will ever have children.  You start to imagine that monthly your eggs make a mass exodus because they know there isn't any use sticking around anyway.

You dote on your nieces and nephews because A) They are adorable,  B) May be as close as you ever get to having kids, and C) might be your only hope of family taking care of you when you are old and senile and not throwing you in a home.

Maybe these are all things only I think about, but I digress.....

It is so easy for us to see someone and know minimal facts about them and jump to a very simple conclusion (I know I have!).  Single, 30's, something must be wrong with them.

Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of strange people out there.  There are some people that I have met and within 5 minutes I can say "Oh yea, that's totally why you're single".  But in a land of probably 10,000 mid-singles, these strange ones are few and far between.

The vast majority of women (and men) are attractive, strong in the gospel, hard working and all around amazing people.  They are not broken, or damaged because they aren't married.

You have to remember that Heavenly Father has different timelines for everyone.

I have met so many women, incredible women, who truly think they must be broken.

Please, I beg you, stop thinking this way!

Some of us are meant to marry later in life.  Some of us aren't meant to marry at all.

Have faith in Heavenly Father's plan, including his timing.

And if you ever think you are broken because you are single, just remember Sherri Dew.  She is 62 and has never been married.  And I dare someone to call her broken  ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Top 10 List

In the process of working with my dating coach, one exercise she has had me work on has been particularly helpful;

Creating a Top 10 List

I have always been a very “all inclusive” dater, which I don’t think is a particularly bad thing.  My rule has been, if someone asks me out (unless I feel physically in danger) I will always say yes.  I don’t really have a “Type”, and I love to meet people from all different walks of life.  The downside to this is I tend to be too inclusive.  Time and time again I have let people into my life, despite the red flags (and I mean giant, huge, spotlight on them, can’t be missed red flags).

So Lauren has been working on helping me figure out what qualities in a man I really am looking for.  The entire process has been so eye opening for me and has really helped me focus.  My goal is to date with a purpose and find the man I want to be with.

Now keep in mind, this does not mean “Oh he doesn’t have everything I am looking for on my list, I won’t go out with him”.  I still will say yes to all dates, but instead of dating the guy who I shouldn’t be with for 3 months, it will help remind me of what I truly want.

For most people, having a list is extremely helpful with making sure you let the right guys in.  How many times have we heard someone say “He asked me out, but he’s shorter than I am” or “He has red hair”.  These are things that shouldn’t be deal breakers at the beginning!  Would you really want to turn away the love of your life because they don’t fit every little detail from what you have built up in your mind?? 

This list isn’t set in stone, I can adjust things as they come up.  But for now, here is my list;

1    1.  Hard working in all aspects of life (Work, Church and Family Life)
2    2.  Reliable
3    3.  Humble
4    4.  Strong emotional connection
5    5.  Physically affectionate
6    6.  Good sense of humor/banter
7    7.  Kind
8    8.  Willing to Travel/Sense of Adventure
9    9.  Personal Responsibility (no victim mentality)
1    10.  Open to alternative family options (blended families, possibly adoption etc)

      In the past two months, my list has been revised multiple times.  Some things have been removed altogether, some new things added.  I went on a date a few weeks ago with a man who was the most arrogant person I think I have ever met.  I literally got home and revised my list, and "Humble" jumped up to #3.

By putting it on paper and being so aware of what I am truly looking for, I have been amazed at how those types of people seem to be showing up everywhere I look!  No relationships yet, but I am always hopeful  J

Monday, October 12, 2015

In Defense of the Short Guy

Attention ladies!  There is a fully untapped resource in the dating market full of amazing guys!  You just might have to look a little lower than you originally planned.

That's right, I'm talking about short guys.

Since moving to Utah, I have been amazed at how many attractive, funny, ambitious, spiritual guys I have met.  To so many girls, they are un-dateable because they are under 5'10.  And yes guys, most women consider anything under that height to be "short".

Here in the land of plenty, tall girls abound.  I'm not exactly short at 5'8, and there are tons of girls that are taller than me, some even over 6 foot!  They are also crazy beautiful.

Now in our fantasies about the man we marry, he will be taller than us.  Tall enough that we can wear heels and he is still taller.  This I have found is the equivalent to men wanting a woman with long hair, big boobs and a small waist.

Does this mean that the perfect person for them will have those features?  No, no it does not!  But it's so easy for us to pass by an amazing person because they don't meet an unrealistic expectation.

I can understand where women are coming from.  Especially when you are already tall, it's sexy to be with a man who makes you feel tiny and feminine.  I dated a guy who was 6'5 and I absolutely loved when he would wrap me in his arms and make me feel so safe.  He was also a complete jerk.  Not exactly worth it.

A perfect example is my dear friend Hilary.  Hilary is 5'11.  In the past, she had said she wouldn't even consider dating a guy unless he was at least 6 feet tall.  Then she met Dan.

Dan is 5'8.  A full 3 inches shorter than she is.

Dan is also intelligent, hard working, funny, kind, loyal and just about every amazing quality you could want.  Oh, and super handsome, don't worry Hil, I'm not trying to hit on your man  ;)

They were good friends for about a year before he admitted he had feelings for her.  She decided to give it a shot.  They have now been married for a little over a month!

I asked Hilary what changed her mind about dating a guy who was shorter than her and she said
"I got to the point in my life where the other stuff like drive and niceness were higher on the list than height".

If a guy truly cares about you, the height difference won't bother him either.  She said "He doesn't care.  I have even asked him and he has no concern about it, which makes me totally comfortable too.  He is manly.  He doesn't have to be taller than me to be a manly man that can protect me."

They absolutely adore each other and he treats her like gold.  Isn't that what we are all looking for?

There is only one piece of advice I have for the guys.  I used to date a guy who was about 4 inches shorter than me.  It never bothered me, until he went to hug me goodnight.  Instead of putting his arms around my waist, he would put them around my neck.  It totally made me feel like the guy and I hated it.  Guys, don't do that.

So I ask you tall ladies, give the short guys a chance!

And like my dear aunt says, go ahead and date the shorter guy, because it doesn't matter when you're laying down ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Blessing

On Saturday night around 11pm, I got the call that my father had passed away.  This was not unexpected news, but never something you want to hear.  

On Sunday, I was in a fog.  I couldn't form thoughts, let alone sentences.  I walked around the house like a zombie.  A dear friend of mine was in town and we had made previous plans for him to come over for dinner.  He gave me the option to cancel, but I had the feeling not to.  He lives in Colorado and my visits with him are far too infrequent.

After dinner, we and some other friends were sitting on the couch chatting.  At one point while everyone was talking to each other, he looks over at me and whispers "Do you need a blessing?".

My first reaction was "No, I'm ok".  Blessings are not something that I grew up with much access too and they are very difficult for me to ask for.  But as soon as the word no came out of my mouth, I regretted it.  What other opportunity was I going to have to get a blessing from a priesthood holder who I loved and trusted, and who clearly knew I needed it?  I said yes.

We went into a room and he gave me a blessing of comfort.  To be honest, I don't even remember what he said, but I do remember the undeniable feeling of love as he laid his hands on my head.  My fog instantly lifted.  I was ready to face the challenges the next few weeks would bring.

When we went back into the room with our friends, he stood there a moment and then looked at someone else and asked her out of the blue, "Do you need a blessing?".  She looked shocked, but then realized, she needed a blessing so badly.  This woman had never said a word that she was struggling and needed some comfort.  He just knew.

They came back a few minutes later with tear stained faces.

Then he looked at another friend and also asked her, "Do you need a blessing?".  She nodded and they went.

This friend had a flight to catch, but he took the time to listen to the spirit and follow his prompting to give us each a blessing.

Three strong, independent women, with no family in Salt Lake City, who didn't even know how desperately we needed to feel the love of our Heavenly Father at that moment.

Why am I writing a blog post about something so personal?  Because thinking back to the feelings of that day, it made me almost heartsick to realize that feeling was so rare for me, and I think for so many other single women.  

So I am directing this post at my wonderful single LDS men.  I beg you.  Do what you need to in your life so that you are worthy and able to give a blessing anytime, anywhere.  Be in tune with the Spirit.  Follow the promptings.

Do your home teaching.  And visit them at their house, not the church.  Insist on it.  How are you going to be aware of things I need help with if you don't even know where I live?  Be their friend.  Be proactive.  My past home teachers got me active in the church again and taught me more about the Gospel then I ever could have imagined.  And it happened because they truly cared for me, not just as a number for quotas.

So many of the single women I know have grown to be so independent, the main thing they truly need in their lives is good, worthy Priesthood holders.  We need them desperately.

To my amazing single LDS women.  Ask for help!  Say yes when they offer.  We need these men, we need to make sure they know our appreciation.  We can't do everything on our own, and we aren't supposed to.  

I have met so many amazing men and women since moving to Utah.  If we all take another step up, open ourselves up to the blessings just waiting for us, imagine the wonderful things that could happen!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

If I'm Doing This, You're All Coming With Me.....

It has officially begun.

I have been a little surprised by the amount of people who read my blog post (almost 1000 so far!) last week about my new dating challenge.  And it has been amazing to see all the love and support that everyone has been sending!  I have had people stop me at every turn wishing me luck, asking for more information, and telling me how excited they are to read about it.

One comment that has been coming up a lot is, most people are surprised I am willing to be so open about my dating life and struggles.  I try to be a fairly open person, so this doesn't seem any different to me.  I don't think I am going through anything that thousands of other people aren't going through right now as well.  If reading about my journey (did you know I hate when people use the word "journey"?  Story for another time, but sadly, there wasn't a better word for me to use) helps even one person, then it is worth it for me.

So yes, I will be pretty open about all of this.  I will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about dating.  Hopefully it at least makes you smile  :)

Last week, I had my first official meeting with my dating coach Lauren.  Her main goal is to work with her clients about what is holding them back from being in a successful relationship.  The LDS Matchmaker has a lot of success stories, and it isn't just because they introduce you to great people (Which they do.  Seriously, quality people), but that they want you to be in a loving, healthy and successful relationship.  By working with their entire staff, and in particular a dating coach, you can learn and grow into a truly dateable person!

I showed up for my appointment with Lauren and was a little taken aback.  Lauren is hot.  She's not just pretty, she's hot.  And that can be intimidating to any woman.  Thankfully, she is also warm, inviting, and truly wants to help you succeed in relationships.

I'm on the left, Lauren is on the right.  
Sorry guys, she is super married.

So what is a dating coach you ask?  Essentially, it's like having your own personal dating therapist.  Except not the kind of therapist that sits there and listens while you whine about being single and says things like "And how does that make you feel?".  She's the kind who asks you what it is you are looking for and she makes a game plan, heck, she even gives me homework!

I got lots of amazing information during our meeting (don't worry, I'll go into more detail about them in future blog posts), but I want to share with you the one that made the most impact on me.  She had me tell her what my main priorities were in my life, and then put them in order.  Mine came out like this;

Self Improvement (broken into sub categories)
Social Life

Then she asked me to take the next week and figure out how much time per week I was devoting to each of these priorities.  The next step, was to figure out how much money I am putting towards each of these.

This was an awesome way to show if I was truly committed to improving, or just talking about it.  It made me sit down and really figure out if something is my #2 priority, why is it getting the least amount of my time and attention?  It made me readjust my mindset in a really positive way.

I left my first meeting with her feeling more hopeful and excited about dating than I had in years!  I wanted to improve myself and meet that special someone, and now I had help to do it!

*I want to address the main comment I get over and over again when people ask me about the LDS Matchmaker, "but it seems so expensive".  That is a completely valid point.  Her services are not Wal-Mart prices, but neither is the quality.  Sure, you can buy every self help dating book on the market, and they have some really great information in them.  What I love about this program is that it holds you accountable.  A book can get put on a shelf and easily forgotten, but when you work with the team, they will not be forgotten (I dare you to try, they will find you).  You are making a commitment to improving yourself and they are worth the cost and effort!*

If you are ready for more information about the LDS Matchmaker and her team, you can visit her website at http://www.theldsmatchmaker.com/ or ask me for more information  :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The New Challenge

As you all know, in 2015 I gave myself a challenge to go on 100 dates.  I am proud to say that I accomplished this goal!  And then I went into dating hibernation for six months....

People asked me what the main thing was that I learned from my challenge.  The honest answer is; I'm not very good at dating.

About a month ago, I decided I was ready for a new dating challenge.  I had also started working on my off time with Amy Stevens (aka the LDS Matchmaker) helping her host events.  At lunch one day, I asked her if she would be interested in helping me.  I decided that my new dating challenge would be focused on online dating.  Amy happens to have a package directed specifically at helping you with online dating.  I proposed that during my three month challenge, I would follow all of her guidelines and then blog about what worked and what didn't.  She agreed.

Later on at lunch, she got a smile on her face and said she had an even better idea.  They were introducing a brand new package and she wondered if I would be interested in trying that instead.  An all inclusive package with the countries leading Mormon matchmaker??  Heck yes I was interested!!

And I am now happy to introduce you to the LDS Matchmakers "Make It Happen Package".  Also known as "Barbie Needs Serious Dating Help" blog, or "I Don't Want to Adopt A Bunch of Cats and Name Them What I Was Going to Name My Unborn Children" blog.  Take your pick  ;)

What exactly does this package entail?  Well let me explain.

A 13 week comprehensive dating plan that includes;

*13 weekly customized sessions with a dating coach where they will focus on;
     Gender Intelligence
     Flirting Techniques
     Online Dating
     Relationship Advice
     Practice Dates
     Confidence Building and More!

*5 hours with an Image Adviser for personal styling/makeover.

*Online profile created by a professional writer.
     2 bonus sessions for online dating success

*Professional photos coordinated by the TLM Team

*8 weeks of their Online Dating Concierge and Matchmaking Services

Now a lot of people have told me that I don't need all of this.  Some of my friends have even flat out laughed at this (in a loving way) *cough cough Meghan cough cough*.  But scoff if you will.  I want a real relationship that will lead to marriage, and clearly I'm not doing so great on my own.

Why else does this program appeal to me?  I work a lot.  I have no complaints about that, my job is my life's passion and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  But due to the nature of my job, I literally only meet women all day, every day.  On the rare occasion a man comes into the store, he is either; the fiance, the married dad or the gay best friend.  Not exactly my best options.

As for church, I made the decision earlier this year to attend a family ward.  While this has done wonderful things for my spirituality, it hasn't really given me any options for dating.  Most of my Sundays are filled with me thinking "Oh he's cute.  Nope, wedding ring."  "He's cute too.  Married, 5 kids".  "He's cute too.  Crap, senior in high school.  Turn down the cougar Barbie".

Time for some exciting changes!  I hope you are all as excited for this dating journey as I am.  I will try to blog every week, and include some old and new dating stories.  And who knows, maybe this next year will have a special happily ever after  :)

And if you are interested in more information about any of the LDS Matchmakers services, visit her website http://www.theldsmatchmaker.com/ or ask me for details.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Am I the Only One Who Feels This Way?

Moving to Utah has quite possibly been the best decision I have ever made (next to coming back to church).  Granted, I came here kicking and screaming, and it took me at least a year to realize it was a good thing (kind of like coming back to church).  The only thing I still have a hard time with is: Utah's Singles Scene.

I loved my social life in Colorado.  When I came back to church, I went straight into a YSA ward.  I made some incredible friends, and then branched into other wards and met more incredible people.  There weren't any mid-singles wards there, so they let me stay almost an extra 2 years in the YSA ward (have I mentioned how incredible the church leadership was??  I can't say enough great things about them)

When I moved here, I was really excited to try a mid-singles ward.  Remember when I said the first ward I went to, the foyer was full of women who were knitting and there were so many, some of them were sitting on the floor?  I wasn't kidding....  I gave the ward 6 weeks, but still wasn't comfortable.  I wasn't really connecting with anyone, and I was really trying.

So I tried another ward.  From the first day, it felt better.  The problem was, it was HUGE!  It had over 800 people there.  That isn't a typo.  800 people.  I knew this was the ward I wanted to be in, so I went to the new member meeting and had my records transferred.  I also met the counselors and set up and appointment with the Bishop and asked for a calling (I firmly believe you should set up an appointment with your Bishop as soon as you move into a ward and ask for a calling.  It makes all the difference).

There were things I liked about this ward, the eye candy was a definite bonus!  But after 2 years, in a room of 800 people, I constantly felt invisible and alone.  I had to make so much effort just to talk to people, and then (because of how big the ward was) I would never run into them again so no real connection was made.  The Bishopric was wonderful and did the very best they could, but I never got the community feeling I was so desperately craving.

The activities were a whole different matter.  They weren't well attended (maybe 10% of the ward would come).  And anyone who knows me knows that I am like fly paper for strange people.  They would make a beeline for me and then talk to me about how they think gasoline in Utah has a different octane than the East coast and how the pricing is different (true story).   I want to be friends with everyone, but when it comes to dating, those weren't the kind of guys I wanted to meet.

I also started getting invited to a lot of parties, most of which in what I call "The Jordans" (South, West Jordan etc).  I went to a few and met some cool people, but it seemed like they were full of people who had very different priorities than I did.  I have never seen so many waxed chests, sparkle butt jeans (and this was on the guys!), Ed Hardy shirts/hats and implants.  All anyone seemed to talk about was how many hours a day they went to the gym and how much they enjoyed their play time when their kids were with their ex's.  I am not saying any of that is wrong, I am just saying its not what I am into.  Except the sparkle butt jeans on guys, no one should be into that.

Or when I did go to parties, people would come with a group, socialize with only them, and then leave with that same group.  Breaking into one of their little circles was difficult, and frankly I just don't have the energy anymore.

Apparently I am not the only one who felt this way.  My friend Jeremy wrote a blog piece about his, and others experiences in the mid singles scene.  It was so great to know I wasn't the only one who felt that way!  You can ready it here;

I am the first to admit, I probably didn't put as much effort into the social scene as I should.  My career is my passion and main focus, and so many days they last thing I wanted to do was go to another party where the chances were slim that I was going to meet anyone with a real connection.  I started learning that I valued small groups with people I truly enjoyed, doing things as simple as watching a movie.  The "Party Scene" was slowly becoming a thing of the past for me.  I want/wanted more.  I wanted to meet someone, have a real connection, fall in love.  I didn't want to go to endless parties anymore.

While it exhausted me to the point I thought I might just become a nun, I am so glad I did my 100 date challenge.  I met some really great guys, but nothing long lasting.  Lots of first dates, no spark, dull conversation (why is it Mormons can't seem to find anything to talk about on dates besides; missions, family, where they grew up and how many kids they want??  But that's a blog for another time).

I did a lot of soul searching, and after two years at the mid-singles ward, I knew I was ready for a change.  I made the decision to attend the family ward and it has blessed me in so many different ways than I ever imagined.  But after two months, I realized I was meeting zero single people.  So what to do?  I tried going to activities, but the same problems were there.  Should I just lean into it and get a bunch of cats and name them all the names I planned for my future children??

In came the LDS Matchmaker.  I heard about Amy Stevens when I first came to town and almost couldn't believe there was someone in that line of work.  I followed the company for a few years and each time I went to a fireside etc, I was more and more impressed.  I desperately missed the social life of my past, but was so tired of putting effort into activities where I felt more defeated after they were done.  I decided to approach Amy about working with her company, in any way I could.  Not necessarily to find myself a man (although it would be a bonus), but to get back into something I loved so much, helping other people connect.

It turned out that when I approached her, she was looking into creating a recruiting team who would help run events and find new clientele, something that is right up my alley!  After my first meeting with her team, I knew it was an answer to a prayer.  My job at LatterDay Bride is always my first priority, but this is something I loved so much too and was happy to put my small amount of free time towards.

A few weeks ago, she had me help her with her event "Mystery Match".  I helped promote it, and the day of, helped her with anything she needed.  The first part of the evening was dinner at Tucanos.  There were three long tables with about 10 people seated at each.  The thing I couldn't get over was how everyone there was attractive.  Now when I say that, I don't mean everyone was freaking hot!  I mean, every person there, men and women, were attractive and well dressed.  When I sat down, everyone (both men and women) were well spoken, excited to talk and get to know one another, and interesting.  Everyone there genuinely wanted to meet people.  This was such an extreme difference to what I was used to at activities or parties I had attended previously.

We then broke people up into three different groups and had them head to the Mystery Escape Room.  This gave them a chance to socialize with people they hadn't met at dinner.  It also gave them a great way to interact, that wasn't just sitting at a table.  I got to be in the control room and watch everything that was happening in each room, which was a blast!

The evening ended with a dessert and mingle where we also gave awards for the evening.  Sitting and talking with Amy after everything was over, I couldn't help but go on and on about how impressed I was.  Every single person was great.  No weird, creepy guy trapping you in the corner to talk about his next outfit for ComicCon.  No overly flirtatious women who marked their territory with every guy and would glare at you when you talked with them.  Just good, quality people, wanting to have fun and meet someone special.  It was beyond refreshing.  I literally would have said yes to going out with every single guy that was there if they asked.

So why was it so different?  For one thing, it cost money to go to.  It was $100 per person.  At first, my eyebrows definitely went up on that one.  But if you break it down, it's a perfectly reasonable price.  Dinner at Tucanos is $25 each.  The Mystery Escape Room is between $30 and $40 each.  And every person that came to the event was pre-screened and selected by Amy and her team (who are all freaking amazing by the way).  Not everyone who applied was invited to the event.  Now that isn't to automatically say it's because they were creepers, it's because the event was designed specifically for people with similar mind sets, goals and personalities.  They chose the people who would connect best!

So has this turned into an advertisement for the LDS Matchmaker?  Yes, but that wasn't my intention.  I know there are so many people out there who are in the same situation that I am.  People who are past the point where every weekend is full of singles parties.  Where they have a career that they take pride in.  That they are genuinely looking for the person they want to marry and move onto that next step in life.  That if they are going to take any of their precious free time, they want it to be a fun and wonderful experience that makes them feel excited for the possibilities to come.

After this event, I literally wanted to yell it from the rooftops "SINGLES!!!  I have found what we have all been searching for!!!  Join me!!!".

I can't wait for more events.  I can't wait to help people find love.  I can't wait to find love for myself.

Of course, this isn't going to be what works best for everyone, and that is totally ok.  But I want people to know there are other options out there!

But if it isn't your thing, that's ok too.  Go get your chest waxed and we can grab dinner and you can tell me all about it  ;)


Thursday, July 9, 2015

35 in 35 Challenge

Yep, I must be bored again because I am giving myself a new challenge!

This week I turned 35.  Because I have loved my thirties to much (no sarcasm, I really have loved it!), I decided to do a really fun challenge to make this year even more memorable.

I have decided to do 35 things in my 35th year!

Because some activities might present themselves before others, my list is longer than 35 items, that way I can take advantage of what comes my way  :)

So here is the list!  If you have any suggestions, or want to join me for any of these, just let me know.

1.  Sumo wrestling
2.  Walk on coals
3.  Host a dinner party and cook everything
4.  Learn a trick shot in pool
5.  Touch my toes
6.  Belly dancing lessons
7.  Sign up to be a Bone Marrow donor
8.  Go on a ride along with a cop
9.  Swim in the great salt lake
10.  Indoor skydiving
11.  Go to the temple 35 times
12.  Attend a picture painting class
13.  Go to a drag show
14.  Learn to play a song on the banjo
15.  Inhale helium
16.  Inhale sulfur hexaflouride (it has the opposite reaction of helium)
17.  Go to every temple in Utah
18.  Snowshoeing
19.  Hold condom out the car window (I know this sounds weird.  Watch this video to know what I'm talking about  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jabplD_idk)
20.  Milk a goat
21.  Go kayaking
22.  Eat a chocolate covered grasshopper
23.  Have my palm read
24.  Make homemade bread
25.  Ride on a train
26.  Go paint-balling
27.  Learn to make balloon animals
28.  Read one book a month
29.  Go on a star gazing tour in Bryce canyon
30.  Take a glass blowing class
31.  Learn to make sushi
32.  Go on the clear walkway at the Grand Canyon
33.  Go ice fishing
34.  Learn to twirl a baton
35.  Read the Book of Mormon, D&C and Pearl of Great Price
36.  Hike the Y
37.  Learn to fly fish
38.  Have a picnic on a street median
39.  Go to a bluegrass festival
40.  Take voice lessons
41.  Have tea at the Grand America
42.  Tour the Salt Lake City Cemetery
43.  Ride a ski lift
44.  Learn to play volleyball
45.  Ride a bike
46.  Break a board with my hand
47.  Run 1 mile
48.  Go to a batting cage
49.  Yell compliments to strangers from the car
50.  Paint pottery
51.  Film a reality ghost hunter show
52.  Go to the airport and watch missionary homecomings
53.  Hold a sloth
54.  Swim the crater in Midway
55.  Do 100 temple ordinances
56.  Learn to do origami
57.  Take photos on a Sinclair dinosaur
58.  Attend a hot air balloon festival
59.  Meditate at the pyramid

Yes, some of these are weird.  But let's be honest, would you really expect anything less from me?  ;)

Here's to an exciting year!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Things No One Tells You About Moving to Utah

Things No One Tells You About Moving to Utah

I was born and raised in Colorado, so when I made the decision to move to Utah (after 6 months of blatant promptings and me saying “Crap no, there is no way I am moving to Utah”) I was worried the transition might be difficult.  Here are some things I wish people had told me before I moved;

Fast Lane Drivers -
In drivers education here, I think they must teach everyone “When driving on the freeway, make sure to get in the far left lane.  Accelerate to 5 miles under the speed limit, and then no matter what you do, do not get out of that lane until you reach your exit.  Not even if there is a line of people behind you, riding your tail, flashing their lights and screaming profanity.  They will eventually get fed up and pass you on the right.  Make sure not to make eye contact with them as they pass.  And after all the people have gone around you, don’t ever leave that left lane.  Ever.”

Two Words, Fry Sauce -
Utah is the leading consumer of fry sauce, a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.  It will be given to you automatically at every restaurant you go to.  If you ask for plain ketchup, the waiter will stare at you blankly for a moment, and then go and get it for you.  It’s actually pretty good, once you try it.

Holy Crap, Look At Those Mountains!
I have lived here for three years, and daily I am still in awe of the sheer beauty of the mountains.  Of course Colorado mountains are beautiful, but they got bigger gradually.  Here, it’s flat valley and then BAM, giant mountains.  Sorry CO, Utah has you beat on this one…

Holy Crap, Look At That Sunset!
The sunsets here are incredible.  Not only do you look to the West and see the sky fill with the most amazing colors, but then you look to the East and see that the giant mountains are reflecting those colors, normally turning them an incredible pink color.  Breathtaking every time.

If You Don’t Ski or Snowboard, Many People Will Consider You “Un-Dateable” -
Ok, so maybe this shouldn’t have been too far fetched for me since I am from Colorado, but I was shocked at the sheer numbers of men who considered it a deal breaker that this wasn’t one of my hobbies.  If that’s something you love, more power to you, but if I’m going to fall down a hill and die, I want to do it for free.

The Streets Here Are Weird -
I swear, if I hear someone say one more time “It’s a grid system, it’s so easy!”.....
Yes, it’s a grid system, and for the most part it’s logical, except for the whole TH thing.  What I mean is, here, everyone automatically takes off the last 00 of a street and replaces it with TH, but no one tells you that.  Example, the address you are looking for is on 2700 South, BUT the people who are giving you directions tell you it’s on 27TH South.  So you drive around looking for a 27th street, which doesn’t exist.  You get frustrated and want to cry, but everyone else laughs because “It’s so easy, it’s a grid system!”......
Inversion Is A Four Letter Word -
I honestly don’t think I had ever heard the word “Inversion” before moving to Utah.  Roughly defined, it is the dark pit of smog and unhappiness that will fall over an entire city for an entire month, normally between January and February.  You will rarely see the sun, and a cloud will rest over the valley, trapping under it massive amounts of pollution.  It gets so thick, you can practically taste it.  The only escape is driving into the mountains for a day, and you can literally see the sky open up.  Either that or……

Everyone Vacations In St. George -
I’m not sure what the magic allure is of this city, but it seems that everyone has a vacation home there, or knows someone who does and borrows it.  People literally go there for every vacation or free weekend they have.  Granted, I only know as much about this city as what can be seen from the freeway, but it must be the most amazing place ever!

College Rivalry -
I’m from Denver, where everyone is a Broncos fan.  When I moved here I was shocked to find out; most people didn’t care about the Broncos (Hello???  Can we please be excited about Peyton Manning??), and instead, were all about college football.  Especially, the great BYU vs University of Utah rivalry, or the “Holy War” as I hear it referred to.  They take this very seriously and it seems to get passed down by generations.

And Don’t Get Me Started On Jazz Fans -
They are just a wee bit intense.  I’ll leave it at that.

Not Everyone Is Mormon -
I think this is probably the biggest misconception about Utah.  Most people I talk to assume the entire state is Mormons (I’m a Mormon, and the idea of being around other Mormons all the time was not appealing to me).  Salt Lake City is actually a very culturally diverse place.  Less than 50% of the population is LDS.  Granted it is still the most populated religion here, it was nothing like what I expected.  I have met people from pretty much every religion I can think of.

There Are A Lot of Gay People -
Now before you get all worked up about it, this is not something that bothers me in the least.  I don’t care if people are gay or straight.  My personal philosophy is “As long as you aren’t trying to have sex with me, I don’t care who you are having sex with”.  But when I moved here I was surprised at how many people there were in the LGBT community.  I read once that SLC is second in gay population to San Francisco.  While I already don’t have the best gay-dar, this makes it particularly difficult to figure out who to flirt with.

Starbucks Closes At 7pm -
When it snows, there is nothing I like better than hot chocolate from Starbucks.  Imagine my surprise to find out almost all of locations downtown close around 7pm.  Coming from a place where most close at 10pm, this was a bit of an adjustment.  And it isn’t just Starbucks, most places close by 9pm.  Nightlife here tends to consist of restaurants and movies.  Thankfully, I enjoy both.

The Great Salt Lake -
In my mind, I imagined it like an ocean.  Blue and beautiful.  In truth, its brown, and it smells weird.  Due to the high salt content of the lake, the only thing that can live in it are brine shrimp.  And where there’s brine shrimp, there are brine flies, everywhere.  The lake is very shallow too (only about 14 feet).  One cool thing, because of the salt, if you go in the water, you will float around like a cork, regardless of how much you weigh.  It’s pretty cool, everyone should try it.  Just make sure to shower after.

Utah Girl Names -
Utah people love their baby girl names.  Not only do they love weird name, they absolutely love to take normal names and spell them in the strangest way possible.  I have counted 15 ways to spell the name Brittany, yes really.  If you want a good laugh, watch this video.  It’s funny because it’s so true  :)

You Will Fall In Love With Utah -
It might take some time, it took me a year before I admitted I live in Utah and it’s clear I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, but if you open yourself up to it, you will fall in love with Utah.  But I will never get rid of my 303 area code  :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Everyone Needs to Calm the Crap Down

The Rebuttal - Everyone just needs to calm the crap down

**As a disclaimer, lets just all remember that I am about as subtle as a sledgehammer so don’t get all up in arms about my opinions**
Last week, the LDS Matchmaker did a blog post titled “Eight Things You’re Doing Wrong – And How to Attract Your Match”, you can read it here

The post was put together from years of experience, witnessing the same things over and over again, and helping people find the love of their lives.  They work hard and want the very best for all singles, even if they aren't their clients.  Their whole team knows the challenges that single life can bring, and they want nothing more than to help.

Which is why I was shocked that this post received nothing but negative comments, over and over again.

I let it sit for a few days, but just have to say my peace, which is;

Everyone just needs to calm the crap down….
The comments that I saw over and over seemed to be along the same lines;
            This is shallow advice
            There is no way you could build a lasting relationship on this stuff
            You be you, do what you want
First, let’s look at the most important part of the title, “How to ATTRACT Your Match”.

The advice here isn't about the long term stuff.  Of course you want to be with someone who loves you for who you are!  No one is expecting you to be some sort of Mormon Stepford Wife who looks just like everyone else and smiles at everything their spouse says and sleeps in full makeup and goes to Burger King to poop so their husband isn't aware they have bowels.

But you do need at ATTRACT the person you are going to be with.  The person you end up with needs to be attracted to you on some level, and you to them.  This isn't anything outlandish, it’s basic stuff.
“You Have Terrible Photos”
In this day and age, pretty much everyone is dating online.  When you date online, first impressions are everything, for both men and women.  Wouldn't you want your photo to represent your best you?

I can’t tell you how many guys I've seen where every picture in their FB profile is of a cartoon character or comic book drawing.  Sexy!  It just gets my imagination going that they clearly must look like Thor and they have gotten too much female attention in the past so they have to keep things vague until they find a girl worth revealing their rippling six pack abs too.  Haha, I kid.  Clearly I would assume that a guy with these kinds of photos lives in his mothers basement and decorates with nothing but movie posters.

Or what about the other way around?  How many girls have I seen that are looking for a “Nice, LDS guy”, but all of their photos show them scantily clad at the bar doing shots?  If that’s your life, I have zero room to judge, but don’t be surprised when all those “Nice LDS guys” aren't into you.  Know your audience.

Or are all your photos of you flexing with your shirt off in the bathroom mirror?  Or is every photo a selfie of you making a duck face?  

Especially if you are paying to be on a singles site, take the time to invest in photos that flatter you and express who you are.
“You’re Wearing the Wrong Clothes”  Let’s just lump this all together where anything talks about appearance.

Nowhere in the post did it say you have to dress a certain way, they simply talk about wearing clothes that are flattering to your body shape and style.  Don't like wearing the trendy stuff and prefer something with more of an edge?  Great!  Just rock whatever you are wearing.

All of us love to watch a makeover show.  Why?  Because it's amazing to see how a good outfit/hairstyle/makeup can make an already great person radiant.  You see them hold their head higher, they are more confident to talk to people, they like themselves more.

I will never forget my first Sunday in Utah where I went to a mid-singles ward.  During sacrament I got up to use the restroom and I noticed that there wasn't a single seat available in the foyer.  Every couch, chair and even spots on the floor were women, mid 30's and 40's, knitting.  Not one was wearing makeup.  Each was dressed in frumpy clothing.  I had the sneaking suspicion that hidden in their giant bags of yarn was one or two cats.  And they had a conversation going about how singles wards are pointless because no one asks them out anyway.

Do I think knitting is wrong?  No.

Do I think knitting at church is wrong?  Well not wrong, but a big red flag to any guy who might be the least bit interested.

Do I think going to a ward that is specifically designed to help you meet singles, and you have clearly put no effort into your appearance is wrong?  Yes, yes I do.

You don’t need to look like a Kardashian, but it’s alright to take pride in your appearance.  

Remember - You don’t flirt when they look good, you flirt when YOU look good!

“You’re Too Available”

No one says you have to play games, but always make sure to live your life.  If someone asks you out and you already have plans with friends, don't cancel your plans!  It's appealing to know that the person you are pursuing has a life.  It's ok to not bend over backwards for someone, especially at the beginning.

It’s one thing if someone asks you out when you have plans to say “I actually have plans Friday night, but what about Saturday?”

It’s not the best idea to say “I have plans Friday night, but I could cancel them if it meant being with you.  Or if that night doesn't work, we could do Saturday, or Saturday night, or Sunday.  Really any night will work for me, my schedule is WIDE open”.

“You’re Trying Too Hard”

I wrote a blog piece once on a type of person called "leg-humpers", if you’re bored, you can read it here http://barbieannlove.blogspot.com/2012/07/nice-guy-what-youre-doing-wrong.html

These are people who are too into you, too soon, and they want to show you in every way possible.  And as many of us know, it's one of the quickest ways to turn someone off and make them run in the opposite direction.

Don’t be a leg humper, take a step back.

“You’re Not Trying Hard Enough”

There can be a fine line between trying too hard and not hard enough.  It's all about the balance.  The biggest mistake I see people make is not putting themselves out there.

Are you going to at least one singles event a week?  Or even a month?  

When you go to that event, do you chat with people, or do you stand against the wall by yourself?  The people you talk to don't even have to be people you are interested in romantically, it can be anyone!  Groups of more than 2 can be less intimidating for others to approach, so start chatting and put the vibe out there that you want to meet people!  Or approach a group, smile and say hi.  What’s the worst that could happen?

I watched an episode of Dr. Phil once that has always stuck with me.  He was talking to a woman who was upset she wasn't married, and that she hardly ever dated.  He asked if she went to events where she could meet people?  No.  Did she attempt to start conversations with people when she was out?  No.  Was she attempting to meet anyone online?  No.

So basically, he said, the only way someone is going to meet you is if they literally throw themselves on the hood of your car when you drive to or from work?  Yep, that sounds about right.

“You’re Not Looking In Your League”

I can see why this would be one to push some buttons, but I promise it's not the way it was intended.

For me, out of your league doesn't necessarily have to do with looks.  It has more to do with attitude and life goals.

Are you a guy in your late thirties, who lives with his parents, works a minimum wage job and has no desire to better himself in any way?  Do you really think a woman who has a masters degree, owns her own business and home is going to be attracted to you?  (This example comes from a real date I went on where the guy complained to me about exactly this).

As a single LDS woman in her 30's, why shouldn't she be looking for the same?  Shouldn't she want someone as driven as she is?  

I'm not saying these women are looking for their "Golden Checkbook" husband, but why should she lower her standards for someone who isn't interested in bettering himself? This role can easily be reversed as well.

This to me is a prime example of dating out of your league.  She’s not only out of your league, you’re not even playing the same sport.

In Conclusion

You don’t need to change who you are, enhance who you are!  Put yourself out there and have fun!  Being single can be hard, but it can also be years full of fun, but you have to put in the effort.

And don’t get all riled up by blog posts, especially mine  :)