Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Eve parties

Hey party people! Hope everybody has a great New Year's Eve. If you need plans, here are some local nightlife highlights:

H2O, 6499 Veterans Parkway, hosts a performance by DJ Roonie G. The nationally recognized entertainer hails from Columbus, but has performed in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Belloo’s, 900 Front Ave., has a New Year’s Eve Champagne Party featuring dance music from Auburn band The Good Doctor. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. A $5 cover charge includes complimentary champagne as well as snacks and party favors.

Eighty-Five, which sits below Belloo’s on Front Avenue, hosts an end of the decade dance party. Expect ’80s and indie dance tunes, and then live music from Spy for Hire. A $5 cover starts at 9 p.m.

The Dawg House, 5140 Warm Springs Road, has DJ music and a balloon drop with prizes. Action starts at 8 p.m. No cover.

Players, 1500 54th Street, offers a party beginning at 10 p.m. It’s $19.95 per couple, which includes four hours of pool time, karaoke, champagne at midnight and a complimentary breakfast.

Pop-A-Top, 210 32nd Street, has live music beginning at 9 p.m. You can also expect free food at midnight, party favors and a team dart tournament. No cover.

The Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road, entertains guests with DJ music, Advance $10 tickets are available at the bar until 8 p.m. tonight. After that, tickets are $15. Cover charge includes a mini bottle of champagne and party favors.

SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a Vegas-style party and will serve black-eyed peas for good luck, collard greens for prosperity and ham and cornbread because they taste good. The M&M Band will play dance party covers. A $10 cover includes food, midnight champagne and party favors.

The Loft, 1032 Broadway, hosts a masquerade party to “unmask” the new restaurant below the nightclub. Action starts at 5 p.m. on both floors. Big Woody & The Splinters perform beginning at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.

Expect giveaways every hour. At midnight, there’s a grand prize of a $300 gift certificate for The Loft or the restaurant. Free masks and party favors, drink specials, a champagne toast at midnight and a free breakfast buffet beginning at 12:30 a.m.

The restaurant will serve a $20 buffet with items like lasagna, chicken marsala, broccoli florentine, pastas, desserts and more.

The Oasis, 1107 Broadway, has live music from local band Haywire. It’s $15 singles, $20 couples. Expect drink specials and specials for military guests. A $5 breakfast buffet begins at 1 a.m. and includes items like eggs, sausage and coffee.

Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway, offers a masquerade party with music by Jasper Drive. Best getup wins $100. A $5 cover includes midnight champagne toast.

Pregnant pauses

One of my valued achievements this decade? Mastering the art of talking to new parents.

It's a lesson I learned almost immediately after college, when many of my friends quickly transitioned from "where's the keg party?" to "where's the diaper party?"

Initial immersion was a bit jarring.

You can't necessarily prepare for a conversation about the different colors of a newborn's poop. And if you're unmarried and childless, you look a little silly offering a compassionate "I totally understand."

When I hung out with some new parents over Christmas, I realized how far my conversation skills have come.

The discussion -- which included colored poop, of course -- didn't prompt me to enter a bitter tirade about how I'm never having kids. It also didn't make me vomit, or engage in a heartfelt conversation with my biological clock.

Sure, things get a little awkward when you throw pacifiers into the mix. But at their core, your friends are likely still the same engaging people with whom you initially connected.

Those keg conversations were getting a little old, anyway.

And hey: If your conversation skills still leave a little to be desired, check out this handy list of 10 things to never say to pregnant women.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Eve kiss

It's billed as one of the most romantic events of your life...but it usually transforms into nothing but another glittery, butterscotch-flavored bloodbath.

The New Year's Eve kiss.

Excitement. Anxiety. Slobber. All those words apply to the moment, which is largely defined by inflated expectations.

Nonetheless, if Smoochville is your goal, it's good to be prepared.

Check out this New Year's kiss refresher course, courtesy of relationship goddesses Em and Lo. Here's my favorite piece of advice:

We know it’s a festive New Year’s party, but three coats of red lipstick or thick sticky goo make you about as kissable as a bulldog with gum disease.

Also, coupled partiers: Please remember that the New Year's Eve embrace is accompanied by a kiss and ONLY a kiss.

Few things curse an innocent bystander more than starting a new year next to a gag-inducing PDA.

What makes someone a good kisser?

Boo Camp

Hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. I enjoyed my weekend of bonding in Huntsville, Ala.

As I suggested in the previous post, it's always difficult to retain the Christmas spirit once the holiday has ended. One day you're expressing undying gratitude, the next day you're back to nagging your boyfriend about his incessant snoring.

Where does a good-intentioned 20-something find help?

Let me introduce you to Boo Camp.

That is not a typo. I don't mean "boot camp." My version -- "boo camp" -- refers to "boo," an endearing/annoying term many people use while referring to their significant other.

Alan recently devised the brilliant concept: a week-long focus on making your boyfriend/girlfriend happy. No outhouses required.

The idea isn't entirely in jest. Every relationship can benefit from a conscious effort to fix problem areas, especially with the focus on change and renewal that comes with a new year.

Boo Camp, my friends, is a state of mind as well as a way of action.

It focuses on appreciating the small stuff, ignoring the insignificant stuff and -- if you're really adventurous -- surrendering the remote control.

Who's in?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a great holiday -- whether your day is spent opening presents, chilling with the fam or crying over sappy diamond commercials. (Been there, done that.)

I've always been somebody who doesn't get truly excited about Christmas until the day of the holiday.

I usually spend the time prior to Dec. 25 stressing, complaining and wondering if the gift-giving debt I incurred will force me to take up a side job at a local strip club. (Just kidding, Mom.)

But then -- sometimes even if you're spending the holiday alone -- you hit a moment on Christmas when you realize the human capacity for excellence.

And you vow to take that sense of awe, move it beyond its seasonal confines, and make it a part of your daily life.

Thanks, everyone, for the support and constructive criticism -- two of the best gifts I've ever received.

Oh, and don't forget about the ugly sweater contest Saturday at The Oasis, 1107 Broadway.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas party spots

A lot of you have asked me if bars will be open on Christmas night. Don't worry: You have a variety of options.

Here's a roundup of some local hangouts for Christmas night:

The Oasis, 1107 Broadway: The local rockers from Ophir Drive perform beginning at 10 p.m.

SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road: Enjoy a cocktail while listening to music from Stereomonster and BPM.

Gray’s Bar, 1698 South Lumpkin Road: Expand your nightlife horizons and party at this South Columbus hot spot, which opens its doors at 9 a.m. on Christmas.

Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway: Bar opens at 9 p.m. with a variety of drink specials. Dance tunes all night.

The Roadhouse, 1047 Broadway: The nightclub hosts Rock 103’s Christmas Chaos Jingle Ball with music from The Grayhill Conspiracy and an appearance by Ambre Lake from “Rock of Love 2.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sex and the City 2 trailer




Go ahead, say "I told you so."

After watching the new trailer for "Sex and the City 2," I'm actually excited about the movie. Yes, I am very aware that this contradicts my recent ambivalence.

Oh well. Consider me hooked.

I'll be making cosmos and hosting a shoe party before you know it.

Thoughts on the trailer?

Tacky sweater party tonight!

Tonight, Flip Flops hosts a Tacky Christmas Sweater Contest with a $100 cash prize. Organizers say matching tacky pants will earn you bonus points.

Action starts at 9 p.m. There's also 32 oz. well drinks for $5. No cover charge.

Expect music from J Mac and David Carr.

Flip Flops is at 1111 Broadway in Columbus.

Get in the ugly sweater spirit by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"I don't want anything."

Word of advice, guys: Take this sentence seriously and you will be in trouble this Christmas:

"I don't want anything."

Your girlfriend utters the line and you breathe a sigh of relief. Phew. One less set of gifts to buy during crunch time.

Too bad she's lying.

No, she told me she has everything she needs, you say.

I'm sure she said that. In fact, I've pulled out the same line.

We say it partially for altruistic purposes. We fear you'll spend too much money on us, that you'll throw away your life savings while shopping under an aggressive jewelry saleswoman's powers of persuasion.

But yes, sometimes there is a selfish motive as well. We want to see how you fare without a specified gift list. We want the romantic aspect of Christmas, the kind that comes with getting the gift of your dreams when you've asked for nothing.

Because, you know, all men are mind-readers.

So resist taking the easy way out when your significant other says, "I don't want anything."

You don't have to perform some grand gesture, but one wrapped gift would be nice.

Trust me, she'll agree -- especially when she's the only one who's empty-handed on Christmas morning.

(For more seasonal tips, check out the Ledger's Holiday Survival Guide blog here.)

What's going on tonight?

Partiers ready to hit the town have a variety of Tuesday options. Here are some of tonight's highlights:

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., has a Ladies Night menu featuring $5 martinis. The deal is available from 7 p.m. until closing time. 706-494-1584.

*The Shanty Shack hosts a performance by its house band, DixieMafiaa. The Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based band performs a variety of party tunes. Show starts at 7 p.m. No cover. The bar is at 4475 Warm Springs Road. 706-507-3418.

*The local rockers from Poanna entertain at SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. 706-568-3316.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ugly Christmas sweaters

More evidence of nightlife progress: Bars are hosting ugly Christmas sweater parties.

So far, this week's lineup gives you two opportunities to showcase your tassels and bedazzled sleeves.

*Wednesday, Flip Flops hosts a Tacky Christmas Sweater Contest with a $100 prize. Action starts at 9 p.m. The bar's at 1111 Broadway.

*Saturday, The Oasis has an ugly sweater contest. The bar's at 1107 Broadway.

I have mad love for ugly Christmas sweaters. They're costumes you can wear to work without being busted by HR.

I recommend UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com, where you can buy sweaters and check out photos.

Proud of your reindeer turtleneck? Send your tacky pics to ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com and I'll post them on this blog.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Are you dating anyone?

Argh. The most dreaded question of the holiday season.

Naturally, "Are you dating anyone?" carries tremendous awkwardness if you're single. You end up mumbling incoherently about being really busy or living in a small town or focusing on your career.

Meanwhile, the aunt who asked the question nods encouragingly while giving you a look that says, "Sure. Why are you really single?"

But "Are you dating anyone?" is just as painful if you've recently entered a relationship.

Answering "yes" opens a whole new set of flood gates. You're forced to describe your new significant other in a way that makes him/her seem like the greatest person in the world.

When it comes to answering the dreaded question, some people just grin and bear it. Others, however, are intent on beating the system -- offering a witty retort designed to permanently bury all relationship inquiries.

Here, Psychology Today's Living Single blog recommends you answer "Are you dating anyone?" with this line:

"No. Are you?"

Pretty good. What's your best response?

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

If you're feeling bold, check out the new Sky Night Club at 1812 Midtown Drive. It's in the space that was formerly Memory Lane, then Aqua Nightclub. Learn more about Sky on MySpace and Facebook.

And don't forget Bubba Sparxxx performs Friday at Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway. Attendance is limited, so arrive early. Cover is $15 from 8 to 10 p.m., $20 from 10:01 p.m. to 11 p.m. and $25 after 11 p.m.

Here's the rest of your weekend lineup:

FRIDAY

*Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

*Scruffy Murphy's: Boneheadz, 10 p.m. $5. 706-322-3460.

*The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. $5. 706-507-1440.

*Daileys: Filthy Gamble, 8 p.m. $5. 706-320-3353.

*The Loft: Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9 p.m. $5. 706-596-8141. John Scott Evans performs at 7 p.m., no cover until 8 p.m.

*SoHo Bar & Grill: Poanna, Stereomonster, Man Made Sea, 10 p.m. $5. 706-568-3316.

*VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.

SATURDAY

*Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

*The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. $5. 706-507-1440.

*Scruffy Murphy's: Boneheadz, 10 p.m. $5. 706-322-3460.

*Flip Flops: Montgomery Gunn, 9 p.m. $5.

*Daileys: Filthy Gamble, 8 p.m. $5. 706-320-3353.

*The Loft: The Coal Men, 9 p.m. $5. 706-596-8141.

*SoHo Bar & Grill: Kadense, Refuse the Fall, 10 p.m. $5. 706-568-3316.

*VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.

Parent gifts

"Mrs. Smith, I really enjoy dating your son. And I hope you enjoy this Christmas lingerie."

That's likely an uncommon line. Still, it's always difficult to pick out a gift for your significant other's parents, especially if you've just started dating.

Obviously, the goal here is not to go for shock value.

Unlike Kendra Wilkinson, you don't have the freedom to share your nude photos with the in-laws.

You want to find gift that's as neutral as possible, without looking cheap or uncreative.

Stumped? Check out Lemondrop's list of gifts for the boyfriend's family. It categorizes the options based on the seriousness of your relationship.

I think the most important thing to remember is that this really is a situation where it's primarily the thought that counts.

Lots of parents are at the point where they don't really need anything new. So as long as you show up with a handy kitchen tool or food basket, you should be golden.

New Columbus nightclub

(Update: I just found social networking sites for Columbus' newest hot spot. You can check out Sky Night Club's MySpace here. Facebook page is available here.)

FYI: There's a new venue in the place that most recently was Aqua Nightclub, but for years was known as Memory Lane.

Now, the bar at 1812 Midtown Drive is home to Sky Night Club. A complete review will come soon, but now I wanted to pass on some basic details.

I corresponded with Sky bartender via MySpace, and she said the venue is open 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Wednesdays, the bar has $2 beer, $3 jager shots and $10 pitchers of mixed drinks. Currently no cover charge on Wednesdays. Live DJ. Sky plans on bringing in DJs from Atlanta.

No drink specials on Thursdays, but some good deals, including $2.75 domestics and $3.75 imports. Currently no Thursday cover. The band plans to have live music on Thursdays.

Fridays and Saturdays will include live DJ music. Cover of $5 for men. Ladies and military with ID are free.

Sky is still pretty new, so it's hard to determine whether it'll sink or swim.

I'm most interested to see if it'll attract the older partiers who called Memory Lane home. Locally, in the absence of longtime hangouts Memory Lane and Muldoon's, that demographic still hasn't found a consistent nightlife home.

Thoughts?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

McNuggetini




I love disgusting food concoctions. Hands down, the highlight of my journalism career is getting paid to devour a McChicken/McDouble hybrid.

Now, a new milestone has invaded my thoughts:

McNuggetini.

The cocktail, made famous by a duo of Internet stars, consists of a McDonald's chocolate milkshake and vanilla vodka inside a martini glass rimmed with barbecue sauce and garnished with a Chicken McNugget.

Mmm.

Here, the NY Times notes how the McNuggetini has risen to cult status.

The two women behind the drink -- one's an LA Times staff writer, the other's a receptionist at a real estate investment firm -- have even met with development executives and casting agents.

I swear, once I can afford a Flip cam, I'm going to be like these ladies.

Two words: Big Macarita. You heard it here first.

What's going on tonight?

Hey party people! Here's your Thursday lineup:

*Belloo’s: Gary Parmer, 9 p.m. free. 706-494-1584.

*Fountain City Coffee: Open mike, 8 p.m., free. 706-494-6659.

*SoHo Bar & Grill: The Bros Marler, 10 p.m., free. 706-568-3316.

On another note...who's excited about New Year's Eve? Local venues are slowly fine-tuning their party plans. I'll post information as I get it.

The biggest party I've heard of so far is DJ Roonie G at H2O, 6499 Veterans Parkway. Roonie hails from Columbus, but regularly performs at large-scale venues in places like Las Vegas.

Advance tickets are $10 and are available at Gold’s Gym Max (off Veterans Parkway), El Vaquero, Chef Lee’s II, Wildwood Day Spa and H2O. Otherwise, tickets are $20.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shoe love is true love

Don't believe me? Check out this recent study, which concluded women are more attached to shoes than to their boyfriends.

In a poll, almost all women remembered their first pair of shoes, but just 63 percent remembered the person with whom they shared their first kiss.

Also, 96 percent of women felt bad about throwing away a pair of shoes. Only 15 percent felt bad about dumping a boyfriend.

Shoes hold a special place in the average woman's heart, but I don't think that place is distinctly different from the one she reserves for romance.

To some extent, shoe memories and relationship memories are linked.

I still associate a pair of my black heels with a guy who made me change shoes because I was taller than him.

A pair of pink stilettos remind me of a mall date that taught me a guy's willingness to spend time in Sephora says a lot about his character.

Finally, my silver heels resurrect memories of when I opted for Payless ShoeSource over Macy's in order to have enough money to buy my boyfriend a good birthday dinner.

So for better or worse, shoes and romance don't exist in separate spheres. I'm not complaining.

My closet would be significantly smaller if it wasn't for breakup-induced retail therapy.

John Mayer's dating break

It's hard to enjoy the holiday spirit amid recent news of national tragedy. It's a catastrophe serious enough to reap social, political and financial consequences.

John Mayer is taking a break from dating.

Go ahead, take a moment to sob.

Call me inhuman, but the announcement doesn't do much for me. I've always considered the singer kind of disgusting. And as many of my friends accurately observe, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Frankenstein.

Still, the news raises an interesting relationship issue: the dating break.

You've seen it happen: After severing ties with her loser boyfriend, your friend boldly declares, "I need to be single for a couple months." The next weekend, she's gushing about her new hookup buddy.

I'm totally in favor of the dating break. It can be a good chance to recharge, especially if you've fallen into the trap of serial dating.

But if you're going to take The Break, you have to follow some rules. I recommend these tips:

1. Decide if you're taking a break from "dating" or "hooking up." Or both. There's a clear difference.

2. Set a realistic time frame. Vowing to not associate with anyone of the opposite sex for a year is a recipe for failure.

3. If you find yourself simply counting down the days until your break ends, stop.

A break is supposed to be a time for enjoying the virtues of singledom. If you can't savor the joy of watching "Teen Mom" alone in your underwear, you're not cut out for the Break Experience.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stop cooking! Now!

Confession: Since childhood, I've always dreamed of being the kind of wife who takes pride in grilling a nice steak dinner -- maybe with some fancy potatoes on the side.

Then, I learned that's the husband's responsibility.

OK, the idea was never really written in stone. But as I recently mentioned, it seems like in the majority of married couples I know, the man does the cooking.

Turns out the trend isn't confined to my social circle.

Check out this entertaining Double X article, wisely titled "The rise of the kitchen bitch."

The writer asserts it's time for women to reclaim a spot in the kitchen. Assuming they like to cook, of course. An excerpt:

We adore all the other gender-bending second-shift developments—men changing diapers and going to playgrounds, men vacuuming and straightening up (ahem, sort of). But male cooking is turning out to be one of those feminist-friendly changes that come with an unexpected, bitter aftertaste.

The piece has generated tons of online comments. Some readers understand a couple's territory battle for the kitchen. Others are less sympathetic, like the commenter who calls the writer bitter and petty.

Would I want my husband to cook? Maybe, especially if he had unrivaled knowledge of Thai cuisine.

But as much as a male spot in the kitchen is supposed to be an advance for feminism, it also seems at times to further the image of a wife whose primary responsibilities consist of sipping wine and watching soap operas.

Share your kitchen wars in the comments section.

Jersey Shore Nickname Generator

From now on, I want you to call me "The Rack."

Don't like it? Blame the Jersey Shore Nickname Generator, which you can access here.

The online distraction is inspired by the new MTV reality series, "Jersey Shore." The show is a slightly trashier version of "The Real World." Scary, I know.

I think the nicknames on "Jersey Shore" are absolutely insane, especially "The Situation."

It raises a good question: Is it really a nickname if you make it up for yourself? I'm thinking no.

Share your "Jersey Shore" nickname in the comments section.

For entertainment's sake, I played with the generator again and got "The Back End" as my nickname. Yeah, I think I'll stick with "The Rack."

(via Jezebel)

What's going on tonight?

Partiers ready to hit the town have a variety of Tuesday options. Here are some of tonight's highlights:

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., has a Ladies Night menu featuring $5 martinis. The deal is available from 7 p.m. until closing time. 706-494-1584.

*The Shanty Shack hosts a performance by its house band, DixieMafiaa. The Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based band performs a variety of party tunes. Show starts at 7 p.m. No cover. The bar is at 4475 Warm Springs Road. 706-507-3418.

*The local rockers from Poanna entertain at SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. 706-568-3316.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Men hate sweatpants

As you sit on the couch with your new boyfriend, everything seems perfect. Christmas decorations are intact, reality TV is cued up and you're wearing your fuzzy green sweatpants.

Then, he gives you The Look.

It's clearly an expression of disgust, aimed directly at your plush pants. Based on his face, you might as well have covered your body in medical gauze.

Men hate sweatpants.

I base my assertion off personal experience -- I've already told you the story of how my favorite Bebe tracksuit was once affectionately dubbed a "Walmart outfit."

Then, there's the prevalence of articles like this, an advice column where one woman describes how a date once called female sweatpants a deal breaker -- even if you're just lounging around your apartment.

At the time of this post, the article had already generated nearly 150 online comments, most of which weigh the pros and cons of the comfortable apparel.

I don't get the disdain.

Sweatpants no longer carry the flattery value of a poncho. They can be quite form-fitting, even -- gasp! -- sexy. They're also very comfortable.

Call me selfish, guys, but it seems like permission to wear sweatpants is reasonable -- considering all the nights we put up with your torn jeans and stinky bedsheets.

So I'm going to fight my right to wear velour. Don't try to stop me.

Christmas proposals



I've never understood the appeal of getting engaged on a major holiday.

The day before? Sure. The day after? Totally.

But when you pop the question on Thanksgiving or Christmas, there's just too much already going on. It seems like the specialness of your day would get lost in the existing celebrations.

What's more, you're likely surrounded by friends and family all day on a big holiday -- which is cool if you know your proposal will be met with a "yes," but really awkward if she says "no."

Nonetheless, if you're still thinking of a Christmas proposal, check out these creative Christmas engagement ideas.

I have to warn you: The list is a little cheesy. For instance, I'd feel a little weird agreeing to spend the rest of my life with a guy who covered his entire body in wrapping paper.

Red and green duct tape? That's a different story. Sexy.

Weigh in: Is a Christmas day proposal a "do" or "don't"?

Friday, December 11, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

Hey Columbus-area partiers! There's an all-ages Ice Fest on Saturday at Gallery 13 (1540 Veterans Parkway). It includes three stages and more than 40 bands. It's noon-10 p.m. and tickets are $18.

Also, for all you 21 and older partiers, don't forget SafetyCab is back. From 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. through Jan. 2, you can get a free ride home. Call 706-660-6069.

Here's the rest of your lineup:

FRIDAY

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Big Woody & the Splinters, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

PsykNyne, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Pistoltown, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

Last Episode, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9:30 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

SATURDAY

Last Episode acoustic show 7-9 p.m. at Scruffy Murphy’s, followed by UFC fight. Watch the fight at Scruffy’s for $10, which includes free hot wings and fries. Last Episode performs after the fight airs. 706-322-3460.

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Jasper Drive, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

Big Woody & the Splinters, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Mile Train, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Joshua Fletcher & the Six-Shot Romance with Brent Lindley, 9:30 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Real Housewives of Orange County

When you enter a serious relationship, do you give up the right to take a vacation alone?

I started thinking about that question after watching Thursday's episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

On the show, some of the cast members insisted they'd never taken a vacation without their husbands.

It's not the first time I've heard that mentality. Some people think a willingness to let your significant other travel alone makes you either naive or a doormat.

I don't necessarily think that's true. Couples' interests don't always align, and there's no reason to deprive your boyfriend of a gambling/golfing/hiking weekend just because it isn't your cup of tea. Also, separate vacations can be energizing for a couple who's around each other 24-7.

However, in entering a serious relationship, you lose some of your vacation-planning freedom.

I think you should at take at least one vacation together a year, and if you plan on going on an extended solo trip, you should at least run it by your partner first.

Thoughts?

(For more "Real Housewives of Orange County" news, including cast members' blogs, click here. Also, fans of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" should check out this article, which says NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak could get dumped from the show.)

Sex and the City 2


If nothing else, the holiday focus on gift-giving will help me fine-tune my ability to feign excitement.

And I'll need that skill while listening to my girlfriends squeal about "Sex and the City 2" in upcoming months.

I'm still not looking forward to the movie.

The recently released promo poster, featured above, didn't change my opinion.

I was ambivalent about the first "SATC" movie. Then I buckled down and saw it in the theater, where I surprisingly laughed and cried. I loved the movie so much that I even bought the DVD.

When I watch it, I still come away thinking, "Wow. They actually did a really good job with that."

We might not be as lucky the second time around. The sequel is slated for a May 2010 release, which I think is way too soon for a second resurgence of "SATC" fever. Plus, I worry about the plot. The first movie did well because it seemed to tie everything up so nicely. I don't know where else the characters can go.

If the plot spoilers are right, I'm not happy.

What about you?

(For more pop culture news, including an excellent review of Thursday's Kelly Clarkson concert, check out Katie Holland's blog here.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

That time of year?

Earlier this week, I indulged in a quasi-meltdown by yelling at a nonexistent audience:

"I can't handle it! Everybody I know is getting engaged at this time of year!"

A couple hours later, I found myself discussing the seasonal blues with a friend. She explained her pessimism like this:

"I can't handle it! Everybody I know is breaking up at this time of year!"

Huh?

I still can't decide what's more prevalent around Christmas: engagements or breakups. Truth is, my friend and I were probably both right.

The holiday season, rich in sentimentality and diamond commercials, makes many couples reevaluate the seriousness of their relationship.

Sometimes, that's exactly what you need to realize you're ready to take things to the next level.

Other times, reevaluating your relationship can have the opposite effect -- a harsh awareness that your love journey has arrived at the exit for Splitsville.

Despite the discomfort, I think every relationship needs to have that moment when you timidly ask, "Where is this going?"

So to some extent, the holiday pressure can be good. But an influx of engagements, divorces and prying relationships can also perpetuate a belief that you need to decide your relationship's future RIGHT NOW.

And really, that's not true at all.

Because one of the best parts of being in love -- or at least being in like -- is sitting on the couch together, watching TV and realizing the immediate bliss makes you completely fine with an uncertain future.

What's going on tonight?

Hey party people! Don't forget Kelly Clarkson performs tonight at the Columbus Civic Center with opening acts Eric Hutchinson and Parachute. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $39.50 and $49.50. Call 706-653-4460.

Get the latest details on the show from my colleague Katie Holland, who is perhaps Kelly's No. 1 fan.

Here's what's going on at the bars:

• Open mike, 8 p.m. Fountain City Coffee, free. 706-494-6659.

Steve McRay, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, free. 706-494-1584.

Groove Stain, Ghost of Gloria, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, free. 706-568-3316.

Breakup songs




When Kelly Clarkson performs tonight at the Columbus Civic Center, fans will rock out to "Since U Been Gone," a tune I think is one of this decade's best breakup songs.

It's easy to roll your eyes at heartbreak-based melodies when you're happy, but the songs acquire some therapeutic value when you're drowning in a sea of tissues. That's why I fully support this entrepreneur's idea to create a "Moping Mix" franchise.

Anyway, in a breakup's aftermath, I prefer songs of the "I'm totally better without you" variety. But hey, I won't judge if you've spent 12 hours listening to "Without You" on replay. We've all been there.

Submitted for your approval, here are my top 5 breakup songs. Submit yours in the comments section.

Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone" (listen)
There are so many reasons to love this song, from the rocker edge to the multiple references to moving on. Thank you, Kelly, for reminding me that therapy sessions can double as dance parties.

Jazmine Sullivan, "Bust Your Windows" (listen)
What can I say? I love entertaining fantasies of destroying somebody's favorite possessions. Maybe that's why I haven't had a lot of boyfriends.

Taylor Swift, "Picture to Burn" (listen)
I'm embarrassed to admit I actually bumped a Beyonce song to add Taylor Swift to the list. The reason? This line: "My daddy's going to show you how sorry you'll be."

Fergie, "Big Girls Don't Cry"
(listen)
Ah, Fergie. Thanks for making it so easy for me to reenact the despondent stares that dominate "The Hills."

Pussycat Dolls, "I Don't Need a Man" (listen)
Should I tell you how many times I've had private dance parties to this song? Probably not.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Real men hold purses

Honey, will you hold my purse for a minute?

Answer carefully. Your response could determine your relationship's future.

Here, dating experts Em and Lo explain why a guy's willingness to hold his girlfriend's handbag -- even temporarily -- can be an important relationship litmus test. An excerpt:

When she asks him to hold her pastel pink pocketbook while she either pees, dances to “It’s Raining Men” with the girls, or holds back her friend’s hair while she pukes, does he adamantly refuse, does he hold it at arm’s length like it’s a soiled diaper, or does he slip it over his shoulder with an affable grin?

Dating blogs aren't alone in drawing attention to the importance of purse-holding.

Check out this poignant article from the Boston Globe, in which a breast cancer doctor details the relationship lessons she's learned from men who hold their wives' purses during radiation treatments.

Tell me, guys: Are you afraid to hold a woman's purse?

Technology and adultery

Years ago, I imagined that if I ever ended up in a relationship marred by an affair, I'd at least be dramatic while conducting my investigation.

I'd buy a wig, giant sunglasses -- maybe even a trench coat -- and then slyly follow my man around town for a couple days.

It would conclude with an emotional hotel room scenario where I'd bust in on a scandalous love scene and deliver a marriage-ending monologue about how my sleuthing had confirmed my darkest suspicions.

Then, I was introduced to the world of Facebook and text messages -- our generation's version of the wig and sunglasses.

Here, the Washington Post asserts technology makes it easier to catch adulterers. The article asks this question:

In an age of iPhones, TMZ and standard-issue personal GPS devices, is technology killing the affair?

To some extent, I'd rather have it the way it is now. I'd rather discover infidelity by quickly perusing my boyfriend's phone than be tormented by suspicions -- or lied to -- for months.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Table for one

Are you afraid to dine in a restaurant alone?

I've never dreaded it, but I understand why the idea frightens so many people.

One year, I was single on Valentine's Day and decided to pamper myself by having dinner at my favorite restaurant -- alone. It didn't seem like a big deal. However, as I tried to enjoy my burrito, people kept coming over and offering uninvited words of consolation.

"Mr. Right is out there, I swear." "Don't worry, the day is almost over." "Keep smiling, honey."

So yes, I will still publicly eat alone on a random Tuesday -- even Saturday -- but never again on Valentine's Day.

Some people won't even go that far. Solo dining carries somewhat of a social stigma. I think one of my favorite California restaurants still promises a free meal for diners whose server asks the dreaded question: "Just one?"

Now, there's this article about a woman who dined with a giant cardboard cutout man in San Francisco. She even ordered him halibut.

Some say it was simply an art project. Others say it was a genuine exercise in loneliness.

Either way, the story has raised questions about our attachment to inanimate objects, from cyber girlfriends to cardboard cutouts of deployed soldiers.

As much as people say our relationships have become more impersonal, I think we've also grown to demand more attention -- or at least have the illusion there is someone out there willing to listen to every one of our incessant mumblings.

The Internet makes it easy to operate under that illusion. When you log off, however, satiating your "listen to me!" urge gets a little more difficult.

The dynamic makes for good dinner conversation.

Even if you're dining alone.

What's going on tonight?

Hey Tuesday partiers! Here are tonight's highlights:

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., has a Ladies Night menu featuring $5 martinis. The deal is available from 7 p.m. until closing time. 706-494-1584.

*The Shanty Shack hosts a performance by its new house band, DixieMafiaa. The Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based band performs a variety of party tunes. Show starts at 7 p.m. No cover. The bar is at 4475 Warm Springs Road. 706-507-3418.

*The Mississippi rockers from Come On Go With Us entertain at SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. 706-568-3316.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sincerely yours

Let me treat you to one of my deepest, darkest fantasies.

One day, I will have a husband. We will have a December tradition of wearing matching polo shirts and posing beside a serene body of water for annual Christmas card photo. Our pets will also be involved. They will wear Santa hats, and perhaps hold stockings in their mouths.

We will print approximately 107 copies of the photo, enough to send to all our significant (and insignificant) acquaintances.

The image will be framed by hand-drawn holly berries, which I will paint myself using glitter glue. Below, I'll write "Season's Greetings" with a silver gel pen.

Wait, the fun doesn't stop there.

We'll attach the photo to our annual Christmas catch-up newsletter -- you know, those things you pretend to hate but secretly envy.

True to form, our letter will span approximately three pages and will be cluttered in adjectives like "spirited," "monumental" and "brilliant."

Man, I am excited. My optimism only grew after reading this article -- which says despite all the hype surrounding e-cards, the traditional Christmas card's popularity could be growing.

In the meantime, I'll remain a little lax in my Christmas card mailing.

When you live alone, and primarily derive excitement out of watching your dog model her Snuggie, it's often best not to update your relatives on your achievements.

(For tips on holiday cards, check out our Holiday Survival Guide blog here.)

Pictures of you

Remember the previous entry, where I posted a whopping FIVE photos documenting my trip to Chicago? That kind of photographic documentation is rare.

Even though I have a pretty sweet digital camera, I spend most of my life saying, "Man, I wish I would have taken some pictures last night."

I've never been a big photo person.

Which is why, upon entering the workforce, I was amazed by the co-workers who decorate their desks with framed snapshots intricately documenting every stage of coupledom.

Here, a Glamour blogger weighs the pros and cons of setting up a photo "shrine" for your romantic relationship.

Many people say technology has heightened their willingness to snap and post photos. It's had an opposite effect on me.

I constantly worry about being forced with the arduous task of removing couple photos from Facebook post-breakup. Then, I think about all the lazy afternoons I've spent perusing mere acquaintances' digital photo albums.

These are often people I haven't spoken to in years. But in flipping through their digital snapshots, I'm somehow able to craft their entire life stories -- shortcomings included -- without words.

Friend stalking is fun when you're sitting in the driver's seat, but I wouldn't be thrilled if our roles were reversed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My kind of town

One week ago, a mandatory furlough left me craving economic stability. I never imagined I'd make a fortune as a backup dancer for a big cheesy hunk of burning love.

Just kidding...though the photo above really did take place over my week without pay.

I spent most of the time in Chicago, the city of my birth. My extended family still lives there. The Elvis photo was taken during a 90th birthday party for my great-aunt Betty. Yes, after nine decades on this planet, she still wanted to celebrate with an Elvis impersonator.


Here, my sister and I pose for a quick photo with the guest of honor, who showed up in full force despite flatlining 24 hours before the party.


Believe it or not, my vacation didn't only consist of close encounters with Elvis impersonators. We also enjoyed sightseeing, museums and shopping.


Alan came along, too. It was his first time in Chicago, as well as his first time meeting my extended family. We didn't break up after the entire Sorich clan held hands and danced to "Can't Help Falling in Love," so I guess I should be happy.

The above photo was taken beside "The Bean" at Chicago's Millennium Park. Since you can't really see either of our faces, feel free to believe I pulled a random stranger beside me and told him to pose as my boyfriend.

Probably the best part of the furlough was learning I didn't have to return the plastic lei I received while dancing to "Blue Hawaii." OK, not really. The best part of the week was seeing my family, the Californians I think about every day.

When pay cuts and furloughs began to dominate my profession, I thought I wouldn't survive.

However, watching somebody mark nearly a century of life reminded me you won't come away with good stories if things are always easy.

I hope when I'm 90, I'll celebrate by remembering the times I overcame challenges -- prevailing not by abandoning my goals, but by putting faith in the value of hard work and dedication.

A Lady Gaga impersonator wouldn't hurt, either.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Gadgets

Ah, the thrill of unwrapping a gift and knowing exactly where it'll fit in your kitchen. Or living room. Or bedroom.

That's part of a gadget gift's appeal.

It's a longtime staple on the holiday scene, a way for adults to re-create the excitement that used to accompany toys on Christmas morning.

But can you go wrong with a gadget? Sure.

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how gadgets measure up:

Pros: Gadgets are gifts that serve a definite purpose, one that often makes the recipient's life easier. And that way, he or she has more time to spend with you.

Cons: An ill-researched gadget gift is a failed gadget gift. It's pretty awkward to buy your boyfriend a seemingly perfect wine refrigerator -- and then realize it has an awful humming noise that keeps you both up at night.

Of note: Right now I'm a little obsessed with this single-serve coffee maker. That's a hint, Mom.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday gift guide: The experience

"Honey, we're going backpacking without food in the desert. Merry Christmas!"

Excited? You're probably a fan of the experience gift, the antithesis of everything predictable.

Experience gifts immerse recipients in something they'd probably never do otherwise, from a risque photo session to an extreme sport.

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how the experience gift measures up:

Pros: Opt for this route and you'll get oodles of points for creativity. Plus, there's the satisfaction of getting the recipient something he or she would probably never buy alone.

Cons: Experience gifts risk prioritizing your interests over the recipient's interests. For example, "You're going skydiving!" often means "I got you this gift so I can go skydiving, too."

Of note: If you're reading this from the Columbus area, try the Atlanta Skydiving Center. Another experience gift? Check out Dixie Pin-Up, also in Atlanta. The company offers personal photo shoots to produce authentic pin-up photos.

Also, don't forget about Columbus-area artist, Dewayne Flowers. His work includes body art and photography sessions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Gift certificates

The gift card is perhaps the holiday season's most divisive item.

Some people say it's a fail-safe, universally pleasing item. Others call it an impersonal holiday cop-out. To some extent, they're both right.

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how gift certificates measure up:

Pros: You're putting the gift-giving destiny in the recipient's own hands -- literally. You don't have to mess with sizes, colors or the fear a friend is only using your present out of a sense of obligation.

Cons: The gift card's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Sure, it doesn't require hours of shopping, but it's also pretty darn impersonal. Also, the recipient knows exactly how much you spent. Yowza.

Of note: Speaking on behalf of all girly girls, I'll emphasize it's hard not to get excited about a gift certificate from SpaFinder.com. The site offers gift cards from a national spa database, which includes some locations in the Columbus area.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday guift guide: Novelty items

No, I'm not talking about those novelty items.

I'm referring to the unique couples who experience unrivaled bliss upon unwrapping a ShamWow.

They're not exactly the most romantic items, but "as seen on TV" gifts serve a purpose in relationships. They can mark a shared quirkiness that makes outsiders always feel like they're watching an inside joke.

Or, they can lead to confusion and perhaps the most dreaded recipient response of all: "Is this all?"

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how novelty items measure up:

Pros: Novelty gifts can reflect a sense of humor, which many people say is the most desired quality in a relationship.

Cons: One person's humor is another person's "huh?" Tread lightly unless you know your laugh factors are in sync. And if you're in a serious relationship, Christmas might not be the best time to jokingly buy that Alf shirt for your girlfriend -- who's been inundated with diamond commercials for the past month.

Of note: Bored? Peruse AsSeenOnTV.com, where you can see staples like the Snuggie and the BeDazzler.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Clothes

Welcome to the first day of my holiday gift guide! Today we're discussing the garment gift which, believe it or not, is more than merely a nice way to tell your boyfriend you're sick of his unwashed hooded sweatshirt.

If you shop smartly, the recipient could view your chosen T-shirt as a reflection of dedication and attention to detail. If you shop carelessly, well, ouch.

When it comes to gift-giving, here's how clothes measure up:

Pros: It has potential to reap tangible rewards. Nothing beats watching your boyfriend show up to work in the tie you gave him, or seeing your girlfriend flaunt the dress you hand-picked.

Cons: Size issues. With the exception of one size fits all items, it's best to skip out on the clothes category unless you're 100 percent confident in your knowledge of sizing. Otherwise, you risk hearing this line: "You got me a large? Are you trying to say I'm fat?"

Of note: For a twist on the conventional T-shirt, visit CustomInk.com, one of my favorite Web sites. It lets you create unique, personalized T-shirts at a pretty affordable price.

I've always dreamed of getting a plain white tee that says "I Love You, Sonn-Dogg" in pink letters.

I'd also accept "I didn't steal your boyfriend."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My holiday gift guide

Hi everybody! I'm enjoying(?) a week-long furlough right now, which prevents me from doing any kind of work or associating with any of my co-workers. Yes, even to exchange biting fashion commentary.

Sad times, I know.

But don't worry: In advance, I wrote a week's worth of blog posts to entertain all my loyal followers. Yes, Mom, I'm talking to you.

This week, you'll get my take on the traditional holiday gift guide. I've compiled many common categories of gifts, discussed the pros and cons and offered a few recommendations, too.

The fun begins Monday. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's going on this weekend?

Looking to extend your Thanksgiving festivities? Here's what's going on at the bars this weekend:

THURSDAY

Whisky Bent, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, free. 706-322-3460.

• Thanksgiving party, 9 p.m. Club 1244, free.

FRIDAY

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Jasper Drive, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Java Monkey, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Stereomonster, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9:30 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

The Cove, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

SATURDAY

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Jasper Drive, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy’s, $5. 706-322-3460.

Java Monkey, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Classic Addict, 9 p.m. Flip Flops, $5.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Little Brown Peach, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

SidAerial, Prologic 13, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey party people! Before you bond with some pumpkin pie, I'd like to thank you again for your readership, support and constructive criticism.

While growing up, my Thanksgivings were pretty low-key. The holiday was rarely spent with anyone other than the four other members of my immediate family, and we devoted most of the day to convincing my mom she wasn't cooking for a party of 20.

Then, as I entered college and eventually joined the workforce, things changed.

My nomadic nature made me often share Thanksgiving with makeshift families -- everyone from co-workers to Grateful Dead-loving neighbors who offered me my first taste of collard greens.

I also learned that the world doesn't stop just because the calendar says it's a holiday.

I celebrated many Thanksgivings beside a newsroom computer, not to mention the one Thanksgiving I spent mourning a MySpace breakup.

But despite the chaotic schedules and my growing geographic distance from my biological family, I've always been able to find some place to call home on the holiday.

And for that, I'll be forever thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blackout Wednesday

You sever ties awkwardly, leaving his house with a bitter tirade about how you never really loved him OR his stupid flea-ridden dog.

"On the plus side, I'll never see him again," you tell yourself on the ride home.

That is, until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Today is known as Blackout Wednesday, one of the biggest party nights of the year.

Craving some detox from family time, everybody heads to the bars. Fortunately, you can expect lots of cool entertainment and drink specials. Unfortunately, you can also probably expect to run into your high school prom date.

Check out Lemondrop's handy list of the 11 people you'll meet on Blackout Wednesday.

Former loves rarely stay buried in the past. That's most apparent during winter, when hometown visits combine with seasonal sentimentality to lead to a whole slew of conversations dominated by "what if?"

Here, a CNN columnist writes what happens when dates from the past pop out of the woodwork.

Thanks to a combination of social networking and the natural cycle of events, it's now hard to end a relationship and assume your former love will never resurface.

To some, that's the beauty of relationships -- constant hope a chance encounter will resuscitate dormant feelings.

To others, those same chance encounters are nothing but a roadblock to romantic progression.

Where do you stand?

What's going on tonight?

Some people say Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest party night of the year.

The idea makes sense: College students home for the holiday are mingling with old friends. Other partiers simply want to celebrate the fact that they don't have to work Thursday.

Hit your favorite hot spot and you'll likely find a crowd tonight. Still need plans? Try these party highlights:

DJ Roonie G at The Roadhouse. Looking for a high-energy dance party? You got it. DJ Roonie G, who hails from Columbus, is a nationally recognized entertainer who frequently performs in hot spots like Las Vegas. He mixes music with video, so don't be surprised if you see your favorite cartoon characters dancing to a hip-hop tune. Action starts at 9 p.m. The Roadhouse is at 1047 Broadway.

Brent Stephens at Flip Flops. The bar, which opened in January, is participating in the Thanksgiving eve madness for its first year. They're pulling out all the stops to draw a crowd, including drink specials and live music from local rocker Brent Stephens. Music starts at 9 p.m. Flip Flops is at 1111 Broadway.

Turkey bowling at The Oasis. Don't understand the mechanics of turkey bowling? Neither do we. But hey, it's another way to get some time away from the family, and you're almost guaranteed to leave with a good story. The Oasis is at 1107 Broadway. Turkey bowling is scheduled for Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving night.

Ladies Night at Belloo's. If you're looking for something a little different from the traditional booty music scene, stake out a table at cigar and martini bar Belloo's, 900 Front Ave. Tonight, the hot spot offers its Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy fighting

No good will come out of a relationship conversation that starts, "I appreciate everything you do for me, but..."

An occasional blowout fight can be good for a couple -- assuming you don't resort to emotionally abusive character assaults.

Here, Double X details the importance of using analytical words -- terms like "think," "understand," "because" or "reason" -- during a heated argument. Those words can help keep stress-related chemicals in check, some research contends.

When I feel like I'm due for a fight, I often mentally map out my anger monologue in advance.

It's partially an attempt to lessen the fight's severity...and partially an attempt to ensure scenes in my life mirror "The Hills."

Bottom line: Fighting is always uncomfortable. But you can make things a little more civil by thinking before you speak.

What's your advice for navigating relationship fights?

What's going on tonight?

Tonight, there's a full nightlife lineup for anyone looking to start their holiday festivities a little early.

Here's what Tuesday partiers can expect:

*SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a performance by the local rockers from Poanna. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-568-3316.

*New house band DixieMafiaa entertains at the Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road. Music starts at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-507-3418.

*Scruffy Murphy's, 1037 Broadway, hosts a performance by local party band Boneheadz. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-322-3460.

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., offers a Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-494-1584.

*Club 1244 has its Nocturnal Tuesday promotion featuring drink specials and alternative, underground and indie rock music. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunch dates

Relationship advice from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? You bet!

Here, a Glamour blogger cites a recent interview where actress Melissa Joan Hart said lunch dates are her secret to a happy marriage.

The lunch date's appeal makes sense: an hour break from the workday's chaos, spent in the company of your one true love.

Perfect, right?

Not so fast.

Lunching together can be a perfect midday treat, but if approached incorrectly, the dates can leave you craving some serious detox time.

Some of my coupled friends savor lunch as a daily meal shared with friends, or even alone.

If you eat lunch and dinner together every day, your designated daily relationship time can begin to feel, well, a little bloated.

Weigh in: How many meals a day do you share with your significant other?

Adam Lambert AMA performance

Sunday night, I had the honor of live-blogging the 2009 American Music Awards. So at 8 p.m., my friend and I turned on the TV and waited for the Taylor Swift worship to begin.

During a pre-AMA dinner, we gave our predictions for the night's performances. For the most part, we were right.

Lady Gaga was divisively awesome, Jennifer Lopez was a train wreck and Whitney Houston was the comeback queen.

Nothing prepared us for Adam Lambert, however.

He performed a sex-infused version of his single, "For Your Entertainment." There was crotch nestling, humping, leashes and an on-stage makeout session.

Today, some people are saying it was enough to ruin the career of the "American Idol" runner-up.

I wouldn't say that. If his goal was to get people talking, he didn't fail. And Lambert's extremeness is at least memorable -- which I'd certainly prefer over the "meh" personality of last season's "Idol" winner, Kris Allen.

But I do think Lambert hurt himself by letting a focus on shock value supersede real talent.

Even though the singer had some experience prior to "Idol," he is for the most part inexperienced on the mainstream music scene. I think he resorted to a mindset that your ability to shock people mirrors your talent level.

If you missed the performance, you can watch it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon roses

At the onset of "New Moon" mania, I half-jokingly tweeted that the movie might bolster flower sales. You know, with all the guys trying to imitate Edward Cullen and everything.

Turns out, my hypothesis wasn't far from reality.

While driving back from an assignment in Phenix City, I saw a sign outside Nosegay Florist. It said "NEW MOON SPECIALS." I was strangely intrigued. I went inside and asked about the promotion.

See that, Team Jacob fans? It's part of what you can expect from the deal, which includes a special kind of rose packaged in red with a "New Moon" sticker. Totally hot.

But will it sell?

Sales associates at the store are pretty confident. Check out staffers Ashley Huckaby, left, and Lanie Brown. They're the minds behind the promotion. They say guys are striving to reach the romantic appeal of fictional heartthrobs Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.

"Guys are trying to compete with them, obviously," Brown said.

And what better way to compete with a vampire or werewolf than by having a custom bouquet ready for your girlfriend when she returns from an afternoon screening? (Calling her "Bella" probably won't hurt, either.)

The roses come with a variety of stickers. You can buy a single rose ($4.99), a half dozen ($29) or a dozen ($49).

Nosegay Florist is at 2006 Crawford Road in Phenix City. Call 334-298-7726. Access the store's Twitter site here.

What's going on this weekend?

Here's your lineup, partiers:

FRIDAY

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Eleven Standing Still, Last Episode, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Spent, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Pipers Down, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy's, $5. 706-322-3460.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Boneheadz, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

SATURDAY

• The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. VFW Post 665 (Victory Drive), $5. 706-687-6656.

Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, $5. 706-494-1584.

Liz Melendez, 9 p.m. The Loft, $5. 706-596-8141.

Pipers Down, 10 p.m. Scruffy Murphy's, $5. 706-322-3460.

• Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. The Vault, $5. 706-507-1440.

Boneheadz, 9 p.m. Del Ranch Bar & Grill, $5. 334-297-9177.

Spent, 8 p.m. Daileys, $5. 706-320-3353.

Mercury Heat, Critical Darlings, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, $5. 706-568-3316.

Meet the parents

Wow, I'm sure glad I have the Internet to remind me it might be a bad idea to impress my boyfriend's family by belching the alphabet.

Here, relationship goddesses Em & Lo offer 10 ways to win over your partner's parents this Thanksgiving.

It's a good read -- one that highlights courteous gestures that are often overlooked.

You know, like offering to help clean up after dinner.

I've never feared meeting a boyfriend's family. The worst part of the ordeal is deciding when to move in for the obligatory "I love you just as much as I love my own family" hug.

Do it too soon and you look needy. Do it too late and you look icy.

That's why, whenever I hug a boyfriend's parents for the first time, I feel like I'm reenacting the awkwardness previously reserved for a certain scene between Dr. Evil and his son Scott.

Whatever. They still love me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Foot in mouth

One of the hottest topics on Twitter right now is what not to say on a first date.

Among the most popular suggestions? Comments regarding a certain physical resemblance your partner might bear.

As in, looking like your most recent ex.

Or looking like one of your parents.

Ouch.

Most sane daters know that any conversation beginning with "you look just like" should be aborted -- unless the names Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie are involved.

But let's pretend we're dealing with a dating universe that doesn't know the meaning of tact.

What's worse: "You look just like my dad," or "You look just like my ex-boyfriend"?

What's going on tonight?

Hey Thursday partiers! Believe it or not, there's a social lineup beyond the highly anticipated midnight premiere of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

But if you're interested in checking out "New Moon" at Carmike 15 in Columbus, get details here.

Here's what's up on the bar scene:

• Open mike, 8 p.m. Fountain City Coffee, free. 706-494-6659.

Surgestone, 9 p.m. Shanty Shack, free. 706-507-3418.

Steve McRay with Larry Jackson, 9 p.m. Belloo’s, free. 706-494-1584.

The Cries Of, Tyler Melashenko, 10 p.m. SoHo Bar & Grill, free. 706-568-3316.

• Also, Club 1244 hosts its Nocturnal Thursday promotion. It features alternative, underground and indie rock music. Action starts at 9 p.m. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway in Columbus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Decent exposure

Finally, an answer to one of the world's most pressing questions:

How much skin is too much skin?

One study says women should woo men by showing 40 percent of their skin. Here's a summary:

For the purposes of the study, each arm accounts for 10 per cent, each leg for 15 per cent and the torso for 50 per cent.

The head, hands and feet are not included in the calculation.

Suitable outfits might include a sleeveless dress that skims the thighs.

But showing off any more flesh than this could be counterproductive.

I still don't really understand the mathematical process, but I think it's fair to conclude you shouldn't party downtown wearing only a bra and underwear.

Conversely, it's also probably not a smart idea to hit the clubs with your entire body wrapped in gauze.

Ladies: How often do you follow the 40 percent rule?

When your girlfriend loves Twilight

It's irrational to be jealous of a fictional character, much less one who values sucking your wife's blood over taking her to dinner.

Right?

Details has an interesting article about how men are affected by the adult female obsession with the "Twilight" vampire saga.

The piece is dominated by a belief that romance in our country has become too safe, too predictable -- and that's why so many 20- and 30-something women worship vampire Edward Cullen.

But does that obsession have any effect on the real men in their lives? Maybe.

In the article, one 37-year-old guy whose wife worships "Twilight" says the series' focus on seduction has made him wonder if he should up his game. He says:

"It makes you think: Why can't I ante up and do those kinds of things? Have I slipped a little? Have I gotten a little too comfortable? When was the last time I bought her flowers? Or took her out? When was the last time I was spontaneous?"

Male readers: Has the widespread female obsession with "Twilight" made you change your attitude toward love and romance?

For more on the teen obsession with "Twilight," check out my colleague Katie Holland's excellent blog post here.

(via Jezebel)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter flings

Believe it or not, the term "fling" doesn't only apply to situations involving sand and sunblock.

It also characterizes scenes centered on frumpy sweatsuits and flu medicine.

Maybe I'm being a bit too critical of the winter fling.

YourTango describes the phenomenon here, offering four tips for a no-strings-attached holiday fling.

The more I think about it, there's no reason the fling concept should be confined to summer. The holiday season is filled with meet market-friendly parties, not to mention seasonal pickup lines like this:

"Put your arms around me. I'm cold."

But winter seems to have more of an emphasis on serious commitment. Meet a date in June and your biggest social obligation will likely be a July 4 barbecue.

Meet someone in November, however, and you'll quickly be forced to decide if he/she should join your family for Thanksgiving dinner.

That's cool if you're looking for a serious relationship, but not exactly ideal if you only want a fling.

Which is better: Summer flings, or winter flings?

(Get more info on holiday parties at the Ledger-Enquirer's newest blog.)

Unfriending

There's no advance warning, no well-rehearsed speech about how this decision could affect your future relationship.

Instead, you stumble upon the news accidentally. A seemingly innocent perusal of your Facebook account yields a harsh realization:

You've been unfriended.

Sorry, I can't say anything that will stop you from feeling like a social outcast.

But look on the bright side of things: You now have a personal story to attach to the New Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year.

That's right, the Oxford folks gave "unfriend" top ranking because of its "popularity in everyday usage and cultural importance over the previous twelve months."

As trivial as the word sounds, I think the unfriending process has definitely changed our social interactions. Until about a month ago, I'd only been unfriended by people who had canceled their Facebook accounts, or didn't talk to me at all anyway.

Then, out of the blue, I couldn't access a friend's Facebook page. This was somebody I talked to on almost a daily basis.

I panicked, reevaluating every conversation we'd had in recent history. I even drafted an e-mail begging her to let me enter her cyber world once again.

Long story short, it was all just a technical glitch. But the fact that a simple computer error jeopardized our real-life friendship so quickly was kind of scary.

How many people did you unfriend in 2009?

(via Fark)

Tuesday night entertainment

Based on tonight's entertainment lineup, Tuesday is the new Friday. Bars across town host a variety of promotions.

Check out these options:

*SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a performance by the local rockers from Poanna. Music starts at 9 p.m. No cover. Call 706-568-3316.

*Belloo's, 900 Front Ave., offers its Ladies Night menu with $5 martinis beginning at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-494-1584.

*The Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road, hosts a performance by its new house band, DixieMafiaa. Music starts at 7 p.m. No cover. Call 706-507-3418.

*Club 1244 has a new Nocturnal Tuesday promotion featuring alternative, underground, rock and indie rock music. Action starts at 9 p.m. No cover. The club is at 1244 Broadway in Columbus.

All events are open to guests 21 and older.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dinner at Golden Corral?

Nothing tests the limits of love like watching your significant other devour gravy-soaked sushi...right beside crab legs smothered in nacho cheese.

It's one thing to savor a fancy steak dinner together.

However, it takes an especially solid relationship foundation to survive a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Why? For starters, there's the clientele.

While dining at an all-you-can-eat restaurant, I once sat beside a woman whose shirt read "I will cut you." I spent the entire meal praying my last supper wouldn't be permanently recorded as a plate containing raspberry Jell-O and a soft taco.

Then, there's the staff.

For the most part, they are helpful. But as a friend of mine once accurately observed, there's always one manager walking around like he's afraid the meat chef might kill somebody with a chicken breast.

But the most difficult thing about the all-you-can-eat buffet date is that you must be prepared to watch your lover transform into a human garbage disposal, taking on an animal persona that throws caution to the wind while mixing teriyaki and alfredo sauce.

Hungry?

Check out this very comprehensive guide to the buffet experience. It offers wisdom like this:

Do not bring others who have time constraints, will judge for over consumption, will belittle the environment or other patrons, get bored easily and especially those who are not even planning on eating. You’ll want the strongest support team that you can muster and as everyone knows, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.

Mmm.

(via NY Times)

Man-gagement rings

Turns out women aren't the only ones who like shiny objects: The male engagement ring has once again entered the spotlight.

The blogosphere is buzzing about this ABC News piece, where some of the trend's most ardent supporters state their cases.

A comment from a New York jeweler draws on the most popular argument in favor of engagement rings for men:

"If you think about it, a woman is engaged and wears an engagement ring on her finger, oftentimes [for] north of a year. And a guy's engaged during that same time and walks into a bar as a free man ... so I think for $350, $400 for a woman to claim her territory, it's catching on pretty quickly."

Man-gagement rings: Territory claimers, or just plain cheesy?

(via TresSugar)