Movie Review: Austenland

movie, swagAt BlogHer13, I was lucky enough to see a special screening of Austenland. Being a fan of Jane Austen, I was so excited to see this movie. First of all, the reason I enjoyed this movie was Jennifer Coolidge. She has some great ridiculous lines.

The movie is pretty much a chick flick, but you kind of know that going in.  The whole time I kept trying to find plot comparisons between the movie and an Austen novel.

Don’t go into this movie looking for something deep. Go into it looking for a light piece of entertainment.

Basically, it’s about a single woman in her 30s who is obsessed with all things Jane Austen. She’s not exactly thrilled with her life, so she spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, a resort in England that takes you back to the Regency period and all of its mannerisms. They even have actors who will romance you right up to the big ball on the last evening of the excursion.

It was a little slow to start, but if you can get past the cliches, it is a pretty good movie. It’s not a tear jerker. It’s not an action thriller. It’s a light, escape.

Trying not to be THAT woman

My boyfriend is out of town for the week and while I find myself really missing him, I’m trying not to be that woman…you know, the one who tells everyone that she can’t sleep at night because her significant other is gone for a day.

Roll your eyes…I did. And you know what else? Single people love to hear that because they usually SLEEP ALONE EVERY NIGHT.

While my sleep patterns are fine and I’m not bawling my eyes out at the thought of an empty bed (sorry, Paul), I do find myself falling into some odd habits…a little OCD if you will.

Confession: I leave a light on when I go to bed. Now, I used to do this when I lived alone, so don’t judge me too harshly. I should just go buy a nightlight and put it in the hall, but leaving the dining room light on all night seems to work fine too.

Also, I check the lock on the door before going to bed. When Paul is here, I never even think to do that, now I have to see that the latch is latched or I’ll never sleep. Again, I used to do that when I lived alone. It just makes me feel better.

Luckily, I haven’t been doing the “did I lock the door” thing a I’m going to work. Great. Now I’ll do that tomorrow morning.

All kidding aside, I’m trying not to complain too much about Paul being away for work. While I miss him, at least he’ll be back in a few days. It’s not like when I lived in California and he lived here and I was never really sure when I’d see him again. That sucked. Plus, it’s also not like he’s been deployed to a war zone. I don’t know how those women/men do it. I’d be a basket case with worry.

So next time you hear one of those women fret because her lover is away for 24 hours, remind her to gain a little perspective and maybe have a cocktail or two to calm down.

Equality for all: Single does not equal broken

americana, USA, flag, independenceIn light of the recent developments in marriage equality, I’d like to address the concerns of single people.

There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with being single. I’m sick and tired of society pressuring everyone to couple up as quickly as possible and if they don’t (or can’t) then they are obviously broken.

I’ve seen the most fucked up individuals in relationships. Seriously, these people need (and were not getting) psychological help. They were mentally abusive to whoever they were currently married to or dating. But, they are regarded as normal when compared to a woman over 30 who is single and childless.

I just got an email from a PR company about a new book that came out about one woman’s dating adventures. No, it’s not mine. This sentence in the email set me off: “Sarah was celebrating her 33rd year on the planet when she realized something alarming: it was her ninth consecutive birthday without a boyfriend…”

First of all, in the 39 years I’ve been on this planet, I’ve only had TWO birthdays during which I had a boyfriend. And yes, while being single was a source of pain for me, it wasn’t because I wanted to hurry up, get married and have babies (PANIC! ALARM!). I was simply lonely. I wanted a companion.

Second of all, if a man over the age of 21 goes nine birthdays without a significant other, no one even blinks.

Here are the only things that I know are true about being single:

  • Odds are you are doing nothing wrong.
  • Odds are it’s just not the right time yet (as maddening as that statement is). The universe works in mysterious ways.
  • Self-help books are not helpful for dating. They can help you feel better about yourself, but they won’t find a date for you on Friday night or something a little more lasting.
  • There’s nothing wrong with being single. You have a shitton of freedom.
  • It’s better to be single than in a bad relationship (even though society says otherwise).

Can we as a society just calm the hell down and let people be single without pressuring them into relationships?

Can we also stop pressuring people to marry so damn early? When I was in my early to mid 20s, I was an idiot. I knew I was an idiot. I felt like I was still 18 until I was about 30. The more grown up a person is when they do get married and have babies, the better chance they will have of staying married. And that of course is based on tons of scientific research…known as common sense.

Sex Education: You need lube

Let’s be serious for a moment. There are things about sex that no one really tells you. Likely, it’s because of all the taboos around it. But, we’re all grown ups here and I’d like to pass along some of my experience and knowledge.

I don’t care what your age is, I highly recommend you incorporate a lubricant into your sexual repertoire. Sure, some condoms come pre-lubricated, but a little more can only help. Believe me. Sex is way better with lube.  It’s also not just for coitus. It can be very fun in some pre-coitus situations.

Not convinced?  I interviewed Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright and she had some interesting insights:

Astroglide Gentle1) What are some common misconceptions regarding personal lubricants?
People incorrectly think that they’re for only for people who have trouble getting wet, esp. those going through menopause, or that lube is only useful if you’re interested in safer sex or anal sex.

2) Are they any health benefits with regard to personal lubricants of which most people might not be aware?
For many, sex would not be possible without the use of lube. For some, orgasm would be very difficult to realize without incorporating lube. In general, using lubricant makes for greater pleasure, which equals better sex for a lot of people. Having a thriving sex life can result in better health.

3) How should someone approach their partner about using personal lubricants?
You can take a carpe diem approach and just take it out w/o saying a word, applying it confidently and as if it’s no big deal (which it isn’t). Your partner will quickly discover why this is a must-have enhancement. You can also mention that you’d like to experiment with lube, given you’ve heard about all of the ways it can enhance sex, like greater sensations and ease of stimulation.

4) Why would (or should) someone use personal lubricants?
Simply, using lube makes sexual pleasuring easier and better. It enables lovers to provide better touch and to more easily react to stimulation. Everything feels smoother, silkier, nicer… And who doesn’t want more of that in the sack?

Astroglide recently came out with a Sensitive Skin version of their lubricant.  At first, I thought it was a little too sticky and didn’t last very long (it seemed to dry out quickly, however, I’m a bad judge of time passing), but as I was tooling around on the Astroglide website, I took the Naked Truth Quiz and learned that lubes can feel different to the same person on different days.

However, we tried it again on another day and it was pretty good.  The nice thing about this new version of Astroglide is that it’s made with botanical ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Vitamin E. This formula does not contain alcohol, glycerin, fragrance, or parabens that are common causes of skin irritation. If you go over to the Astroglide site, you can get yourself a free sample.

Also, never be embarrassed if you are buying lube or condoms. Be proud that you are a responsible adult and hey…you’re also getting laid.


Note: I received a free sample of the product from Astroglide to review, but was not otherwise compensated.

Take me out…to the ballgame

Baseball, TwinsA week and a half ago, I went to my first Twins Game.  I love baseball.  Going to a game is also a pretty great date.  Why?  It’s a great combination of factors.

It has sports which most men (and some women like me) enjoy. It’s usually outside, so you get fresh air and sunshine (unless it rains or you live near an indoor stadium). There is booze. There is food. There is people watching and souvenirs. Need I go on?

Baseball is slow, which is good.  You don’t have to watch every single moment of it.  You can chat with your date and not feel like you’ve missed something crucial.  Pay attention, but be leisurely about it.You can chat with the strangers around you. Baseball is the common topic from which conversation and a sense of connection can spring.

Baseball has such a rich and interesting history.  The men of old who achieved feats of athleticism (based on boozetalent not chemistry), the designated hitter, the games you went to as a kid…Plus it has a ton of random statistics (some of which seem ridiculous to me) and movie connections.

Hint: If you get bored, there’s always social media to pass the time… Honestly though, I doubt you’ll need it, but it is fun to get another badge from Foursquare.

It’s the great American pastime. Why wouldn’t it be a good date?

Of Birthdays and Happiness

tiara, wine, San Luis Obispo

This year’s tiara will be fancier.

Today, is my birthday. It’s pretty much the best birthday ever. I just wish it didn’t take 39 years to happen. However, I am NOT complaining. Yes, I’m in my last year of my 30s. I remember when I turned 30. I celebrated in Vegas with my family. It was a pretty good birthday, but not the best.

It was surreal turning 30. I thought I’d magically feel some semblance of contentment or confidence wash over me. The confidence took about five more years to manifest. The contentment came a little more slowly. One thing I realized the other day, I’m not as nervous about much as I used to be. It’s great! All of these interviews I’ve been going on have been a little nerve racking, but my sense of confidence has helped me through them better than any other time in my life when I’ve had a job change.

Why is 39 the best birthday? Because after all these years, I finally have my birthday wish come true. I get to spend it with my boyfriend. For one birthday in high school, I had a boyfriend. It was nice, but this one is infinitely better. The sweetest man ever is celebrating with me. We’re going to visit wineries, have a nice dinner, and of course, birthday cake. I think it’s been two years since I’ve had birthday cake.

Last year, I was down in southern California celebrating my cousin, who now lives in Minneapolis, and her graduation from college. It was also the first time I puked in public (twice)…and I was completely sober! Thank you, migraine!

So unless I somehow end up puking on my shoes in the middle of a parking lot again, I think this birthday will be better. But, the fact that I get to spend it with Paul ensures that I will have the time of my life.

Everyone out there who has been wishing and hoping for something in their lives to change, I wish for it to happen for you. I wish you the best and want you to be as happy as I am. I know you can have it and I know you deserve it. Even if you feel angry, depressed, and defeated, please, keep hope alive. I felt that way last year.

This year, my life is vastly different. It happened when it happened, not when I wanted it to, but when it was supposed to. When I finally found the inner peace to go with the flow, things began to change. But, it wasn’t easy. I am a control freak. I want things to happen, NOW. What I wasn’t doing was looking at how wonderful my life already was.

Where do I see myself in five years? I hate this question in interviews. Five years ago, if you had told me I’d be living in the Midwest with the man of my dreams, I would have laughed in your face and then started crying because I was so lonely. Honestly, after all I’ve experienced this year, I have no idea where the universe will lead me over the next half decade. All I care about is that I get to take that journey with Paul.

Big Relationship Step: Meeting the Parents

Fear of this fork type is irrational.

In this day and age of seemingly few relationship traditions, why is meeting the parents still such a big deal? I’m a grown up who makes my own destiny, right? Because family (however it manifests in your life) is important. I have heard too many people complain about crazy in-laws only to see their relationships suffer because of it. I would wonder, didn’t they know those people were crazy before they married their child and had kids?

In the past, I worried about falling in love with someone whose family was nuts.  I joked about dating orphans because then I wouldn’t have to deal with crazy in-laws.  I was being irrational and a little callous.

This past weekend, I met Paul’s parents. The moment I walked into their home, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. It was this warm, happy feeling that embraced me. They are great people. I couldn’t have felt more welcomed. My gut never lies to me and this time it gave me a very good feeling.

Of course, there are going to be differences in the way people do things, but grown ups learn from those differences. When I was younger, I probably would have been stupid and full of ego about differences that, well, make no difference when it comes right down to it.

What really matter is “how much and what flavor of crazy are you willing to deal with” when you meet the family? Anyone who doesn’t think their family is crazy is crazy. I know my family is crazy, but I also know they are wonderful people.  They seem honest, loving, and caring.  They seem like genuinely good people.

I’m sure Paul thinks his family is crazy and they probably are, but I think they are the kind of crazy that makes life interesting. The good kind of crazy, like my family.

Basically, this hurdle has been cleared and now I know (as if I didn’t before) that I made the right choice in moving in with Paul. I won’t be stressed out whenever the “in-laws” arrive like some of my acquaintances. I’ll enjoy the visit and learn more about the man with whom I am in love.