Friday, December 30, 2011

Kissing advice from the Internet

In honor of the highly anticipated midnight kiss on New Year's Eve, I scoured the Internet for the best kissing advice online. Not like I need it or anything. Kidding.

Among the highlights of my search?

One guide offers a 22-step process on how to kiss. Really?!? I had no idea it was that complicated. At the same time, I wish this guide would've been around when my adolescent self was reading Judy Blume books for relationship tips.

Speaking of adolescent awkwardness, I also Googled "how to kiss with braces" and found lots of helpful manuals, including this one. I revisited plenty of teen nightmares upon finding this article: how to kiss someone with braces without getting stuck.

And here's one just for you, guys...assuming you can handle the truth. Click here for the top 10 signs you're a bad kisser. Don't worry, there's always time to improve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walking down the aisle

Among the holiday traditions I witnessed when I was home for Christmas: my dad making multiple trips to the grocery store, trying to decipher long lists of ingredients my mom needed for dinner.

I have lots of memories involving my dad and grocery shopping.

My favorite is a Sunday routine I had during childhood. My dad and I would wake up early and attend 7:30 a.m. Mass together, then hit the supermarket and buy a week's worth of dinner materials.

My dad's involvement in weekly shopping hardly seemed progressive at the time, but this article made me rethink that.

The headline: "More men taking the reins of the cart." Here's an excerpt:

Experts say the trend has been building slowly for decades. But the recession hit men disproportionately with layoffs and left many of them home to manage the household.

The nation's biggest food and personal-products manufacturers are taking notice, attempting to market products and adjust store layouts to cater to men.

It's a paradigm shift for the $560 billion retail food industry that has patently referred to the primary customer as "she," focusing marketing and advertising firepower on women, and mothers in particular — sometimes making fun of dads in the process.

Interesting, right? In your relationship, is grocery shopping a distinctly "male" or "female" task -- or do you share the shopping duties?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolution Generator

And...I'm back! Sorry for the brief absence -- I wanted to unplug for a few days so I could enjoy some quality time with my family. That's right, folks. I went home for Christmas for the first time in five years.

I'd forgotten how much I missed our holiday traditions. I've always had somewhere to go on Dec. 25, but there really is no place like home for the holidays.

Anyway...who's excited for New Year's Eve? I compiled a pretty thorough list of local bar parties, which will run in Thursday's To Do section. I'll post a link on the blog Thursday, too.

Aside from champagne and glitter, this week generates discussions of New Year's resolutions. My colleague Sara Pauff has done a great job with her series on the topic.

Here's another tool to help craft your 2012 goals: an online New Year's Resolution Generator. Yes, it does all the work for you.

I tried it, and my first automatically generated resolution was to watch the sunrise in 2012. Yeah, probably not gonna happen unless I'm on an early morning run.

Resolution No. 2: "Be a rockstar."

That's more like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drinking with Mom and Dad

Happy holidays! Since many of you are likely heading home for Christmas, I figured this was a good time to offer some words of caution about drinking with Mom and Dad.

Some people stay away from the actively entirely. Others embrace it, savoring a chance to view Mom and Dad as equals amid a backdrop of poor karaoke.

And me? I'm somewhere in between.

I've had cocktails with my parents, but never to the point of "I'm so drunk, I can't believe I just said that."

As cool as it is to shatter the barriers of authority, I'm old school in my perceptions of parental units. I want them to be parents, not friends. I don't necessarily want to hear their stories of failed romantic flings and/or previous drunken escapades.

Go ahead, take Mom to the bar. But limit your fun...and pick up her tab.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paws amid Christmas stress

So, I'm definitely feeling the stress of the pre-Christmas rush. Please forgive me for not writing a longer post.

However, I'll leave you with this photo of my dog in her Christmas dress. Yes, I am "that girl."

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday power anthem

You'll either love or hate me for picking this song. Hopefully "love" is the correct answer.

Hope you're having a great week and handling the stress of Christmas crunch time.

Take a deep breath and try to have fun.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dating a journalist

Props to my local media friend Sarah Panko for directing me to this article, "5 things you should know before dating a journalist."

The post has attracted 350 comments, many of which center on a debate over whether "towards" is a word.

I love it...and while I hate to say it, I agree with the warnings.

My favorite is No. 2: "At some point, you will be a topic." Everyone I've dated -- even a single date -- has been inspiration for one of my columns or blog posts. Go ahead, call me the Taylor Swift of journalism. No, really. Do it.

I've been fortunate in that nobody has ever complained -- to my face -- about appearing in a column.

Actually, the only memorable criticism I received was from my current boyfriend, a fellow journalist. Early in our relationship, I told him I'd put him in a column and he responded, "I'd prefer to get my fame in other ways."

Ouch, right? Not like I'm still bitter or anything.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bar fights

For the most part, I've never felt unsafe on the local nightlife scene. I've encountered a few dangerous situations, but I've confronted them with common sense. And also, I'm rarely bar-hopping at closing time.

That said, I couldn't resist reading this article, which highlights "the most likely place for fights to break out inside a large drinking establishment."

The answer? The dance floor.

I'm not too surprised. Do you think the research holds true in Columbus?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Derek Jeter and dating

So, have you read this NY Post article suggesting Yankees star Derek Jeter sends his one-night stands home with "gift baskets of autographed memorabilia"?

It prompted one writer to devise this creative post: "What's in a one-night stand gift bag?" The result: a fictional gift basket that I actually kind of want. I love the addition of coconut water.

For what it's worth, I don't think the gift basket idea is entirely tacky...assuming it's done correctly. No, I don't want autographed memorabilia. Or a note that says "don't call me."

A toothbrush is a different story, however.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday overload

This is when I wish I was a kid again.

Remember how the days leading up to Christmas seemed to pass so slowly? I sometimes made mental countdowns leading up to the day before Christmas Eve, in an attempt to make the time pass faster.

Now, it seems like all my adult friends are asking the same question this month.

"Where did the time go?"

It's a little sad. When you're an adult, Christmas is often something that simply major countdown, no sleepless nights of anticipation. But what's the alternative? Most of us can't take time off work to savor the season.

Christmas is almost 10 days away and I've only bought one present. My travel plans for the holiday are still in the works. And as trivial as it sounds, I'm sad I haven't even taken my dog to see Santa yet.

"Real life" comes with the harsh realization that Dec. 25 really is just another day of the year. The universe doesn't stop to allow for Hallmark-worthy moments. Christmas doesn't discriminate against negative emotions.

So yes, I'm experiencing a slight seasonal overload...and trying to remind myself that a busy schedule hasn't blinded me to the intangible gifts that should define this time of year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love goes viral

Wow...that headline sounds kind of nasty. Trust me, this will be a clean post.

TresSugar has a good roundup of all the marriage proposal videos that went viral in 2011. It's not a one-year phenomenon. In the past, I've reflected on the abundance of YouTube-ready proposals.

I think these viral videos have increased the expectations that come with popping the question. Proposals are now defined by even grander gestures -- you know, the kind that warrant a spot on morning TV shows.

Which makes me wonder: Do you think we're due for a backlash?

I can help wondering if we've moved beyond the infatuation phase when it comes to marriage proposal videos. Do you think the videos will continue to make people swoon, or will viewers will eventually question the sincerity of these relationships?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Socially awkward

The other day, somebody asked me if I'm naturally introverted or extroverted.

My response was probably consistent with what a lot of journalists would say: "I'm an introvert, but I became extroverted because of my job."

Journalism attracts a lot of people who'd prefer to fill their social circles with words and fictional characters, rather than real people.

But at the same time, the profession is very heavy on face-to-face interactions. You often can't survive professionally if you don't ditch your comfort zone.

The issues came to mind after I found this New York Times piece, "The dating travails of young bankers." The article focuses on some financiers' apparent bad luck in the dating world.

I'm really interested in one of the reader comments that accompanies the story. A reader lists "the most socially awkward people in order." The results?

1. Engineers/Scientists
2. Techies
3. Accountants
4. Lawyers
5. Artists
6. Finance types

Remember, this is merely a reader comment and it's not backed by any official research. Still...the list doesn't seem too far off base.

Weigh in: Do we choose certain professions because we're socially awkward?

Or, are we socially awkward because of the professions we choose?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas wedding proposals

This Glamour article, "6 signs he might propose this holiday season," seems like a recipe for disappointment. But maybe that's just in my world.

Either way, references to "a quiet holiday" hardly ensure you'll receive a giant piece of bling under the tree. And if your guy doesn't ask what you want for Christmas, he might just be clueless.

Sorry, ladies.

Bottom line? When you really want something to happen, it's easy to convince yourself that virtually every behavior supports your desired outcome.

Yikes. That was some serious tough love. Maybe I haven't listened to enough sappy holiday music this year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday power anthem

I had this song in my head for the entire day Sunday, and now I'm sharing the wealth. You're welcome.

Enjoy the week. Try not to get too bogged down by holiday stress. If you can't get into the spirit, try some Little Debbie Christmas snacks.

Trust me, they work. I'm eating a Little Debbie gingerbread man right now. Jealous?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Britney Spears: 30 and Fabulous?

So, um, Britney Spears is 30.

This news comforts me, since my mind has been swirling with thoughts regarding my upcoming 30th birthday. (By the's Jan. 9. I like lip gloss and Starbucks gift cards. Thanks for asking.)

My opinion might change in a month, but right now I don't have any big anxiety about turning 30. I mean, it's not like I've just been lounging around the couch during these past few years.

I've driven across the country. Written (relatively) coherent articles about topics ranging from politics in California to the Columbus, Ga., entertainment scene. I've finished multiple half marathons, despite hating exercise for the first 15 years of my life.

Wow...sorry for that brief bragging session. To bring things back to reality, I'm having a really bad hair day and there's a nasty smell in my laundry room.

Anyway, my existence is worlds away from Britney's universe. While some people say her vocals are processed and her fashion choices are often questionable, it's hard to hate Ms. Spears. Her ability to rebound -- even amid life's toughest times -- is reassuring.

And as I prepare to turn 30, that's exactly what I need: reassurance that life really does improve with time.