Fantastic Friends, Food and Fun for Labor Day

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Austin really is one of the best places to be single and the offerings for Labor Day weekend didn’t disappoint. You can’t beat hanging with friends, some yummy grilled food and good vibes, but if you want to get out, Geraldine’s at the VanZandt continues to make me swoon with their delicious dishes like the roasted quail and grilled squash with yummy cocktails and the almond tart, fun live music and beautiful views of downtown out by the pool. The Lustre Pearl is a fun place to get your groove on (or be a dork like me), play some fun outdoor games, quench your thirst with some yummy drinks and of course people watching there and on Rainey is hilarious. My favorite place for catching a football game is still Lavaca Street Bar while munching on their quesadillas and my signature martini. Oh, and their gumbo is gooooood, bartenders are magicians and the crowd is always fun.

Geraldine’s speciality cocktail One Night in Bangkok.
Geraldine’s roasted quail – so yum I licked the plate!
Geraldine’s grilled squash paired with pecans and just some yummy goodness.
Geraldine’s almond tart. Why do I have to share?
A borrowed hat and a photo bomber to dance the night away at the Lustre Pearl!
Lavaca Street Bar’s chicken quesadilla which is big enough to split. My martini? not so much

I Need a One Dance

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I read something recently that lamented the laziness of courtship these days. Granted dating post-college is WAY different not just because of the digital communication, social media and online dating sites (or maybe because of them, who knows?) but also because you have so many demands on your time.

The writer complained about how guys text you to ask you out, the hook-up scene and guys lack of trying. Half the songs on the radio are about hooking up and it’s certainly a part of life, but if that is what two consenting adults want, who cares? Focus on what you want.

Granted, dating isn’t the bumping into a guy on campus, chatting between classes, at parties, etc. before finally giving him your number after having vetted him through your mutual friends. But you can still have that. Dating is truly what you make it.

I expect a traditional date. I’m not hooking up with some dude. I’m not doing the hang out date where we hang out at a bar to see if I like you. The article warns you’ll have fewer dating opportunities by raising your standards. However, I have not found that to be the case. The guys I’ve gone out with always want another date, and another and another, and I take things glacially slow.

I’ve learned from mistakenly jumping into something before I got to know someone. I fell head over heels for a tall drink of water. Instead of having my thirst quenched, I got burned (granted, it was partially my fault) when I fell (okay, jumped, okay pole-vaulted☺) with some epically horrendous timing. I’m a lot more cautious now, hence the glacially slow.

I don’t know if the author of the article doesn’t live in our area or just has a different pool to fish from, but guys are very willing to take you out for coffee, dinner, lunch, whatever you want. However, it does make me uncomfortable when a guy drops $200+ for dinner on a first date. I’m still not going home with him, I don’t even know if I want to go on a second date. Is it nice to be pampered? Sure. But I don’t want to feel obligated to a second date just because a guy went overboard on dinner or feel guilty by declining one.

My favorite date thus far included a reasonably priced dinner, dessert at a different location and staying up until 4 a.m. talking. Just talking and laughing.

So don’t be afraid to have high standards. Drake does. I have them for myself and my kids, why wouldn’t I have them for my date? Why wouldn’t you? It doesn’t make you a prude. It just means you have higher standards than a door knob.

One Dance by Drake

Rose Room Exudes Energy

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I’m loving this place. The dance floor packs them in like sardines with a DJ that keeps you going all night. Pair that with a cool light show and the place is hoppin’. If you get thirsty, there’s a bar on either side with bartenders who can help you out with just about anything you can think of. And, if you need to cool off, you can people watch from the second or third floor balconies.

Despite the crowd, my girlfriends and I were able to make a little circle on the outside of the dance floor to get our grove on. The circle collapsed now and again with everyone pressed together, but people move on and off the dance floor. One of my friends couldn’t believe this great of a night club was in North Austin.

After awhile, we wanted a break. There’s a door that leads to 77 Degrees, the rooftop bar next door, which is pretty darn cool and a totally different vibe.

Tips for not getting your butt grabbed:

So, one of my friends danced on the inside of our circle most of the night and her butt saw a lot of unwanted action.

  1. Keep your booty pointed to the outside edge/stage/DJ
  2. Don’t stop moving

​Yes, that means some of your friends takes one for the team, but it’s not you. Of course, that didn’t stop a guy from grabbing my ring hand to see if I was married, but hey, you pick your battles.

What is it with guys grabbing women now anyway? Do you think that’s going to go over well? What happened to hands off?

Two Weeks (okay a month) Without You

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I’m in the middle of spending an entire month without my kids. I’ve never gone this long without being with them. I distinctly remember my first five days without them and it was excruciating.

This is a whole lot longer than five days and I miss them, but it’s completely different this time. I still get to text, talk or FaceTime with them every day. Even it’s a short and sweet “I love you and miss you,” we touch base.

I miss seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. I miss goofing around together, watching movies together, playing games and just hanging out. I miss their late night philosophical questions. I miss hearing, “I love you mommy” on a daily basis and seeing their eyes sparkle as they say it. I miss hearing about their dreams, goals and fears because that rarely comes up during a phone call. I do the mom thing and still worry about them daily (I’ve been told this never goes away).

However, this time is different because I’m in a different place. Maybe because of that I’ve approached this month in a completely different way than I approached that first five days. That first time I was focused on trying to fill that time with things to do just to keep my mind off of not having my kids because it felt like a loss. I was needy and needed my friends. This time I’ve approached it as a time to solely focus on me because when do you EVER get a month to focus on you?

So far, it’s been wonderful. I’ve read, danced all over my house with music blaring (and singing loudly and off-key), relaxed, made a significant dent in that ongoing to-do list, reconnected with old friends, hung out with my group, decorated my house, eaten a lot of delicious food, gone out and lived it up just like a vacation (except the whole working during the week thing, there’s still weeknights).

I’ve also taken the time to do a lot of reflecting. Being alone in my very quiet house has been awesome and given me the opportunity to do a lot of soul-searching, analysis of the past and healing.

I feel myself settling back into who I was before I got married (hopefully a wiser and more experienced version, or Me 2.0). I’ve made mistakes, asked for forgiveness and more importantly learned from those mistakes and forgiven myself.

I’ve reached out to an old friend whose friendship I lost because of a person who is no longer a part of my life. It’s funny how close friends try to tell you something and you just aren’t ready to hear it or accept it. It’s hard to watch a friend be dragged down by a toxic relationship they refuse to leave. That conversation was healing and awesome because we had been so close and I never really had satisfactory answers as to why things broke down. Understanding brings healing and our friendship has picked back up. I’m thankful for that.

My sweet boys have a bumpy few months ahead of them. Not only because of transitioning to new schools (middle and high) and growing up, but also because of personal things about to happen in their lives. So this month has given me the chance to learn more about how I can be there for them, support them and guide them through it. I feel a lot more prepared as a parent.

Although these times apart from our children can be hard, finding a way to make this time about you is truly is a rare gift to recharge.

Vacation, The Go-Gos

Goodbye to You

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Someone asked me recently what my playlist was when I was going through my divorce. I really had two different lists going. One when I was deciding to leave and one during the divorce. A lot of the songs overlapped, but it included the typical

  • Gives You Hell, All American Rejects (I sang the heck out of this at karaoke with the girls during this time.)
  • Happy Ending, Avril Lavigne
  • Single Ladies, Beyonce
  • Before He Cheats, Carrie Underwood
  • Forget You, CeeLo Green
  • Survivor, Destiny’s Child (this fueled many runs)
  • Independent Women, Destiny’s Child
  • Goodbye Earl, Dixie Chicks
  • I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
  • Roar, Katy Perry
  • Not Tonight, Lil Kim
  • Independence Day, Martina McBride
  • So What, Pink (this one too)
  • U + Ur Hand, Pink
  • F**kin’ Perfect, Pink
  • I’m Free, The Soup Dragons (this was on a fairly constant repeat, good thing it wasn’t vinyl)

And the not so typical:

  • Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Pink, etc.
  • What a Girl Wants – Christina Aguilera
  • Hazy Shade of Winter, The Bangles
  • I Gotta Feeling, The Black Eyed Peas
  • Run It! Chris Brown
  • Rumors, Club Nouveau
  • With a Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker
  • Mr. Jones, Counting Crows
  • Jenny Says, Cowboy Mouth
  • Friday, I’m in Love, The Cure
  • Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
  • Times Like These, Foo Fighters
  • Hemorrhage, Fuel
  • Bittersweet, Fuel
  • Kiling Me Softly, Fugees
  • Army, Elle Goulding
  • Live Like You Were Dying, Tim McGraw
  • Nice to Know You, Incubus
  • The Way You Move, Ne-Yo
  • Once, Pearl Jam
  • Better Man, Pearl Jam
  • Goodbye to You, Scandal
  • Waterfalls, TLC
  • No Scrubs, TLC

But what I really curled up with was:

  • The Rose, Bette Midler
  • Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
  • I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack

Each of those last songs has a special place and meaning in my heart. They each take me to a different place. I don’t necessarily recommend them (and frankly some of the ones above either) for getting through a divorce in general, but they helped me through mine. The last three songs don’t have anything to do with my children’s father and I think that is key for whichever songs you pick to help motivate you to that next phase in your life.

Destress, Decompress and Just Dance, Dance, Dance

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Divorce is stressful. Several people I know took Xanex. I tried that, I ran into walls and had three wrecks in the span of a couple of months. It reduced my stress levels and helped me sleep, but the consequences were too dire.

Sooo, I’m a big advocate of exercise. It doesn’t just help you get physically stronger, it helps you get mentally stronger. Your endorphins soar and it’s much easier to have a positive and global outlook when you feel good. It’s easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep your sanity.

I encourage you to pick something, anything. I ran and worked out, because those were things I normally did. I just started doing them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m in better shape than I’ve been in awhile and I feel fantastic. It made me healthier, fitter, stronger and focused.

So grab your phone, put on some tunes and get your body moving. You’ll feel so much better.

I have a playlist I use to run and workout. I change it up quite a bit, but if your list is in need of a refresher, here’s some ideas. The important thing is just finding something that motivates you and using that energy.​

  • America’s Sweetheart – Elle King
  • Animals – Maroon 5
  • Blow – Ke$ha
  • Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
  • Can’t Feel my Face – The Weekend
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  • Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Cool for the Summer – Demi Lovato
  • Counting Stars – OneRepublic
  • Downtown – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe
  • Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
  • Feelings – Maroon 5
  • Forget You – CeeLo Green
  • Freak of the Week – Marvelous 3
  • Gives You Hell – The All-American Rejects
  • Goodbye to You – Scandal
  • Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms
  • Hit Me with your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
  • I’m Free – Soup Dragons
  • I’m Gonna Be – The Proclaimers
  • Into Your Arms – Lemonheads
  • Jenny Says – Cowboy Mouth
  • Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
  • Just Give Me a Reason – Pink
  • Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
  • Let Me See Ya Girl – Cole Swindle
  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
  • Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
  • Low – T Pain
  • Maps – Maroon 5
  • Me, Myself & I – G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha
  • Me Too – Meghan Trainor
  • No – Meghan Trainor
  • Right Round – Flo Rida
  • Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  • Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon
  • Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce
  • Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Stevie Nicks
  • Style – Taylor Swift
  • Sugar – Maroon 5
  • Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • There She Goes – Sixpence None the Richer
  • Times Like These – Foo Fighters
  • Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson Bruno Mars
  • Walk This Way – Run DMC
  • You Don’t Own Me – Grace and G-Eazy