Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Battle of the Health Nut Vs. the Alcoholic Monster

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I have two demons who live inside me who are at constant battle with one another. One one side, there is the health nut.

For the most part, I'm very happy that these two demons seem to be quite evenly matched. If one ever got too strong and destroyed the other, well let's just say that wouldn't be a good thing. I try to keep them evenly matched - although lately I've been thinking about nurturing the Health Nut just a little bit more. Maybe trying to cultivate a 65/35 balance in favor of the Health Nut. 

With that in mind and with a long holiday season of drinking and partying behind me, I decided it was time to take some time of drinking and go on a small detox. It was hard to find time in my busy drinking schedule to actually take some time off. Obviously, I couldn't stop drinking the week of the work kickoff. And obviously there is a lot of drinking to be done in London and Stockholm. I can't detox then. And after London and Stockholm, while I probably will NEED to detox but it's Valentine's Day and I will probably need to drown my dateless sorrows in copious amounts of wine... And then it's President's Day and obviously there will be lots of drinking on a 3 day weekend. So you see, my drinking schedule was kind of full but luckily I found 10 days in between that I could detox. 

In preparation for the detox, I decided to have a Sunday Funday and spend 9 hours in a bar drinking. But then sure enough on Monday Jan I went cold turkey. And I know you were all doubting me, but I'm pleased to say I HAVEN'T HAD A DRINK SINCE SUNDAY FUNDAY! Go me! Score one for the Health Nut! 

In addition to not drinking, I also wanted to kick start my body into eating a bit healthier. At first I was going to do some crazy detox diet or cleanse deal but then I realized that maybe I should start with something more manageable first (I mean, I can always do this again later, right). So, to make things really simple, I just decided to go vegan for  10 days and try to make healthier choices in general with a focus on vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

For the most part the vegan diet was successful. I did slip up a bit a couple times though but I think I had very valid reasons here.

The first slip up was last Thursday. Of all the days, this was hte most difficult. I was invited to a Bruins game with work. To the box seat with free food and free alcohol. I contemplated not going but then decided to just go and just not drink. Can't be that hard, right? OH MAN was it hard! First of all, I'd had a bad day and then I almost couldn't get into the game because I had my Ipad with me (for some reason no laptops or apparently Ipads are allowed in). I then had to basically sneak it in which was a big stressful fiasco. When I finally got in, I realized that cute co-worker was there and all flirting with another girl all night which made me really bummed out. All of that plus the tempting smell of Blue Moon beer (my new favorite) had me absolutely desperate for a beer.  Say nothing of the fact that my colleagues totally gave me a really hard time about not drinking and kept handing me beers all night. Peer pressure to the extreme. But I kept reminding myself that if I can't give up alcohol for 10 days, then I seriously might have a problem. In the end, I'm proud to say I didn't drink. However, I did eat a piece of pizza (with cheese). I figured it was the less of two evils.

I slipped up two other times on the cheese front as well. Once when eating with friends and the sandwich came with cheese - I wasn't expecting that. Since there is really no reason for me to not eat cheese, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, so I just ate it. And finally today, I also had cheese. I was at a work lunch and there was not a single thing on the menu without cheese or fish or meat. And again, I didn't want to make a scene so I had salad with cheese (and it was oh so good). But all in all, I think I did pretty good. I did miss having milk in my coffee and cheese on my burrito but other than that it wasn't too hard. However, I could never give up cheese for a long time. In moderation, cheese is a wonderful thing. In general, I thin that  restricting my diet a bit made me think more about the food choices I make. Going forward I will make a better effort to put more healthy things into my body.

And as for the Alcoholic Monster, well I think he's a little weaker. I tried to drown him in copious cups of tea - which I even started to enjoy. And more shockingly, I stopped craving alcohol and didn't end up missing it as much as I thought I would. And it was so nice to not have a hangover! Instead I woke up clear headed every day and I had a great weekend full day-time activities with family and friends. I even found myself feeling sad that the detox is over. I wish I could have done it for longer.

Don't worry! I'm not going to give up drinking, but I do think I will try to moderate it a bit more. Maybe even try to take one weekend off a month. So, I plan to detox again soon - probably at the end of Feb. I may even try to do a more strict diet or a proper cleanse.

But right now, the detox ends tomorrow - which was the designated day. I plan to have drink at the airport before my flight.

Next up on the agenda is 3 parties in 3 countries in 3 weeks. Weather permitting (Boston is about to get slammed with snow again - enough already), I'm off to London tomorrow. I've invited friends and colleagues to join me for an after work drink at a pub on Friday night. Next week I will work out of the London office and then on Thursday I fly to Sweden where I'm having a similar type of event on that Friday in Stockholm. I'm so excited to see all my friends in London and Sweden! On Sunday I fly back to Boston and on the following weekend I'm helping Hot Married Friend L throw a Valentine's Day party in Boston.

I'm sure I will have lots and lots of updates for you when I'm back. I'm not sure that I will have time to post or comment while I'm away, but follow me on Twitter if you want updates (I'm going to try to post more there).

And I look forward to updating you on my adventures when I get back - and catching up on all your blogs! Oh and I should say welcome to my new followers. I promise to check out everyone's blogs soon.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Standing Still

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There was a night last fall when I found myself with colleagues standing in the middle of the Red Square at around 11:00 pm and all I could think about was going back to the hotel and sleeping. The next week I was in Rome standing in front of the Colliseum with a similiar thought. I was standing in the midst of some of the most historic places in the world and I was no longer thrilled. I was just tired. And that is when I knew I needed a break.

With this in mind, I took some actions that put forth a chain of events that caused me to move "home" to  Boston in late October. This has been just about the longest time I've been home in the US in 9 years.

I've been back in the US for almost 3 months now. And for the first time in a very long time, this International Woman of Mystery is standing still. Completely still. And I'm freaking out.*

And this stillness is making me crazy. I thought that standing still would be good for me, that taking a moment out of the jet-set madness that was my life would help me figure out who I am, what I'm doing and what I want to do next. I thought that moving back to the US would give me some answers as to what I want my life to be. I thought that stopping the non-stop travel and the long hours and the crazy work, would give me some perspective. I thought that maybe living in the place where I'm from and stopping the constant work-related travel would make it easier to meet men and form better friendships. I thought that for the first time in a long time, I could establish a routine and stick to it. I thought that standing still would be good for me, and in many ways it probably has been... But it has not been easy. I didn't think it would be easy.

But I didn't think it would be this hard.

At first it was exciting. It was like moving to a new country but with old familiarity. And there was all the logistics of finding a place, starting the job, getting settled. And that at least kept me very busy.  Now that the craziness of the move is over, and I've had time to take stock of my new world, it's suddenly starting to hit me. This is my life.

This is it. And it's lonely. There were days in the not so recent past that I would have killed for a few free seconds, for a three week period where I didn't have to fly somewhere, for a work day that started at 9 and ended at 6, for a day where people weren't lining up at my desk to ask me questions or get my advice, for a day when  I didn't have 9 hours of meetings scheduled.

And now I have time. Lots of time. Too much time. Too much time to be lonely. To think about the people I miss. Too much time to think. Too much time to realize that unfortunately, moving home didn't make me happy. Nor has it helped me to feel better about my life or about myself. Instead, I feel even more lost. I miss my friends. I miss living abroad. I miss my old job. I miss the travel. I miss the bustle and the flow and crazy pace of life. I miss being an expert at what I did. I miss having a team of people to manage. I miss being part of a different culture. I miss being different. I miss being international. I miss being a foreigner. I miss exploring and discovering new cities. I miss the excitement of new adventures around every corner. I miss the difficulty. I miss taking the path less take over the well-traveled and comfortable road. I miss the challenge.

I'm having trouble defining myself in this new world that is my life. The ways that I defined myself before - as an International person, as a hard-working person, as a well-liked and respected person at work who encouraged a lively office social scene. Those are now gone. I'm no longer international. I'm no longer working very hard. I'm no longer very important at my job. I no longer have a very big network. Some days I feel invisible. As if there is nothing tying me to this world right now. As if I could just float away, disappear and no one would notice.

At least when I was living abroad, even when things were not going well or I was feeling down, I always felt that I was doing cool/interesting/glamorous things. Being an American living abroad made me feel special. I was doing something different. Taking the road less traveled. And sometimes that thought alone was enough to get me through the day. 

But back home here, I no longer feel special. I mostly just feel invisible and lost. I feel underwhelmed and under-challenged. I was so used to life being a constant adventure. One long rollar coaster of crazy events in crazy places. And of course, I'm not going to lie, I sometimes wanted to get off. I definitely was curious to see what it would be like to stand on steady ground. And I'm glad I got to find out. But I really miss the excitement of the ride. More than I ever thought I would.

And when I lived abroad, when things got hard, I always told myself, well you can always "move home." And although I knew that moving home would be hard too, it always stood out in my mind as some kind of solution. Some kind of problem solver. Some kind of destination. Some kind of change that I could make that when I reached the end of all else, going home would be what was left and that would be ok.

But now I am home. And suddenly I realize that "home" is no longer home. And I feel like a foreigner in my own country. And I wonder where is "home?" And what is my next move? Where do I belong?

I don't regret moving back. I know it's what I needed at the time. I needed to stand still if for nothing else than to appreciate the ride when I get back on it. But I can already feel it... That same familiar feeling that has haunted me all these years -  my feet are getting restless and my heart is yearning for travel and adventure. I wonder how long I will actually stay here in Boston. I wonder what my next adventure will be. I wonder if things will get better here. Or if I will be off again too soon to find out.

I knew it would be hard. But I didn't ever think it would be this hard...

*I've been trying to write this blog post for almost 2 months now, but have been struggling to get it to try to convey the emotions that I'm feeling - I'm still not there but I wanted to post this before I took off for my first trip abroad since moving back. Weather permitting, I'm off on Thursday to London/Stockholm. The trip is bringing to head a lot of emotions and questions and fear and excitement and confusion. Since I've moved home, I've been struggling with the question - where do I belong? And where is home, if "home" no longer feels like home? And what do I do next? 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dating Update part II

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So, I've been feeling down in the dumps lately and dissapointed that I haven't met any men since moving to Boston. So, I wrote this post and asked my awesome readers for help and advice. 

A huge thanks to everyone for the great response! I really appreciate it. Your thoughtful comments meant a lot to me. Last week was a tough one (not helped by the fact that I was not drinking - more on that later) and your comments made me smile. 

I also asked you all for advice on how to meet men. And many of you gave me suggestions on how to improve my profile. 

Let me start with a summary of the suggestions in order to meet more men (my comments in blue)

  1. Meet men at the gym - this is in theory a great idea! I have met men at the gym before. However, my gym is very very small and one of the reasons I like it is that it's rather uncrowded. I have yet to see an attractive man there. But I could go to the bigger gym down the road that's part of the same chain and scope a guy out there. I would be totally open to meeting a guy at the gym. However, I tend to work out hard and am a sweaty hot mess at the gym. I'm not sure that I'm at my most attractive. But I will keep my 
  2. Meet men at Boot Camp class - I actually thought that Boot Camp Class would be a great way to meet men. Turns out, it's a great way to meet women. There are only 2 guys in my Boot Camp Class and I'm not sure that either one of them is interested in women. Maybe the guy-girl ratio will change when it gets warmer. But in the meantime, I'm thinking of organizing a drink for the group. Who knows? Maybe some of them have some cute friends. 
  3. Date men who fall outside my normal "type" of guy - this is good advice. I actually have done quite a bit of experimenting with guys who aren't really my "type." I write about it here actually. So far, it hasn't really worked out, but I'm pretty open-minded and will try anything once! While I have an idea of what my "type" is, I'm open to being swept off my feet for someone who is totally different. In fact, I think that would be kind of fun. 
  4. Try dating older men - I don't have a rule against dating older men. I just tend to date younger men. If I met an older man who I found attractive and interesting. I would totally go for it. But good advice. Maybe I should pursue a slightly older age range on Match and see what happens. 
  5. Go on a blind date - I would LOVE to do this. So far though, no one has set me up. And unfortunately, it seems like most of my friends only have friends who are married or in relationships (seriously, I sometimes think I'm the only single person left). But let me know if you dear readers know of any hot guys in Boston who might be interested in going on a blind date with an International Woman of Mystery!
  6. Relax on the height requirement  - This is a tough one. For some reason height is a real turn on for me. I'm kind of tall 5'8"and have a slight fascination with 4 inch heels which puts me at about 6 feet so that is kind of my minimum requirement. But again, if I were to meet a guy that was shorter and we just clicked and he turned out to be the perfect guy, well I wouldn't rule it out just because of height! And hey, maybe I will try to go on a date with someone under 6 feet just for the hell of it. 
  7. Email men on Match I'm interested in rather than just winking at them - Right. This one is at least easy to do. In fact, I emailed a guy today instead of winking. I'll let you know how it turns out. 
  8. Go out to dinner by myself - This one I have actually done a lot -especially when I'm traveling alone. But, I haven't ever done it in Boston. Would take some courage to do, but I could try it out. At the very least, I could eat alone at Whole Foods (see point 10).
  9. Hook up with the Boston girl who writes A Pre-Life Crisis - Thanks Date Me DC for turning me on to her blog. I have yet to write her but plan to do so soon! Good idea! 
  10. Meet a guy at Whole Foods - Alright, I admit it, no one actually suggested this but on more than one occasion, I have observed that there are lots of hot guys at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, usually right as I'm checking them out, their girlfriend appears. Although I was making eyes with a cute blue-eyed tall guy tonight over the salad bar. 
Well, that's a good start. I can try to do those things on the list. Any other suggestions? Seems like a rather short list right now. 

Let's move on to my profile. Many of you felt that my profile was a bit too negative and I actually agree. I took your advice and re-edited it. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a huge increase in emails or winks, but I am feeling a bit better about my profile. I post it in full below. I'm open for further advice. 

Although originally from Massachusetts, I just moved back to Boston after spending the better part of the last 9 years living abroad. I'm not going to lie, repatriation has been a bit harder than I anticipated. I'm looking for someone to introduce me to Boston, remind me why the US is such a great place to live and hopefully convince me that I should not jump on the next plane and move back abroad. 

Okay, the above paragraph was the short version. If you want the longer version - keep reading: 

I guess the best way to describe me is an All-American, "girl next door." You know the type - captain of the high school cheerleading squad, straight A student, lots of friends, an all around idylicc childhood... 

But despite living the "American Dream," I was very intrigued by other cultures and countries and I always wanted to live abroad. Luckily enough, my first job out of college gave me that opportunity. I've lived and worked abroad in Latin America, Asia, Sweden and the UK. After almost 9 years abroad, I decided to move back to the US for a bit and take a break from my crazy jet-set life. 

I love to laugh and have fun. I'm a self proclaimed nerd. Friends would describe me as social and outgoing. Colleagues would describe me as hardworking and dedicated. I love to party and go out, but I'm just as happy staying at home reading a good book. I'm not a big TV person (I don't even own a television) and if you are into movies, I will probably disappoint you as I have not seen very many movies (although admittedly this might be because I don't really like watching them alone). I like to stay active and I love running and going to the gym. I work hard and take my job seriously. I've lived a very international life and I could entertain you for hours with stories from my travels. I like going out for dinner - especially for Mexican, sushi or Thai food. I'm happiest when it's sunny and I love the beach. 

I'm looking for a guy who is interesting and interested. Someone spontaneous and ambitious who is not afraid of adventure. Someone who is up for partying all night but doesn't mind staying in reading a book in bed. Someone who is open-minded, interested in traveling and could see themselves living abroad. Someone who is active and wouldn't mind going for a run on the beach or hitting the gym with me. Someone who challenges me and has something to teach me. Motivation and curiosity are definitely sexy. Also, I kind of have a thing for tall men (i. e. over 6 feet). 

And by the way, I can't cook so it's better if you do. But if you can't, well I guess we'll be very good at ordering/eating out.

BTW - Are you curious about how the battle of the Health Nut vs. the Alcoholic Monster is going? Do you think that I made it through the weekend without a drink? Well... you will have to stay tuned to find out. 

Hope you have a fabulous week! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dating Update and a Challenge

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I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking... but I did think that it would be easier to meet men when I moved home. I'm not really sure where I got this idea from although I think that the following thought process did take place:

While living abroad, I found it hard to meet men because I was so transient. I was always jetting off somewhere for work. It made it hard to date someone cuz when I met them I would be like, I'm off to Asia, then the US and then Sweden and I'll be back in 3 weeks so how does that sound? Umm... yup. It sounded crazy. Men found it intriguing but not really conducive to dating. On top of that I worked long long hours and didn't have a lot of free time to devote to dating.

I also heard from numerous men that I gave off a strong sense that I was not ready to settle down. I was pretty open about the fact that I wasn't ever sure when work would move me next (i.e. don't get too comfortable with me boys, cuz I'm not here for good). I was also open with the fact that job aside, I wasn't really sure that Sweden (and definitely not London) was going to be the place I called home for the rest of my life. I was pretty sure I wanted to live in the US again at some point for some time. I heard from multiple men multiple times that these things were a bit of a turn off or at least a deterrent for a long-term serious relationship. Believe it or not, most men weren't really up to switching continents for me.

Another thing that had a big impact on me and my reasoning on it will be easy to find a guy if I move home, was that a good Swedish friend of mine who moved to London decided to move back to Sweden and she instantly met the love of her life. Her happiness, her awesome new relationship and her outlook on the whole thing caused me to take a look around at my friends and I realized that when they made positive changes to their lives, positive things happened to them. I thought that for me making the positive change to move back to Boston and cutting the cord on The Company controlling where I lived, that this would be it.  I would finally find my positive place and positive things would start to happen to me. I would finally be in a place where I could meet someone.

So, I guess I thought it would be easier. Instead, it's been harder than ever! I'm in a SERIOUS dry spell here people! Other than a ego-deflating and embarrassing dalliance with a co-worker that I can't really blog about (I have to say though that I think I'm still a bit stung from this one) and the random boy on New Year's Eve (who I was supposed to see again until he called me a million times and I got freaked out and told him to never contact me again - yup that's how awesome my life is), there have been NO men in my life since the hot but brief British country-side romance in September. Four months ago. Ugh.

Every day I feel a little bit more like an Old Maid - the only single girl left in the pile (even I'm Attractive Single Friend C is potentially off the market). It's kind of freaking me out. Especially since I have almost no single wingmen (or women as it may be) to go out and cause trouble with. Clearly, it was time to take drastic measures. So, I finally switched over my account to the US one.

I swear that I went in with a good level of optimism, but I have to say that I'm totally unimpressed.

First of all, I'm not getting nearly as much attention as I did while on the International Match site. I'm not exactly sure why.

Second of all, the men in Boston do not seem to be that hot or that interesting. And most of them are short. I mean really short. Like 5'8 short. Ugh.

Third of all, the men I wink at, don't wink back at me! (Which I guess is a similar statement to point number one).

Here are the sad statistics so far: 
Number of days on Match: 7
Profile Viewed: 854 times
Winks Received: 58
Winks Sent: 17
Reciprocal Winks: 3
Emails Received: 22
Emails Sent: 2*

Someone please tell me. What am I doing wrong? I'm trying to figure it out.

My London profile got a lot of attention - so much so that I couldn't keep up (I would sometimes get over 100 winks a day). Maybe it's because that site was better** (i.e. more technologically advanced and more user friendly) or maybe there were more men on it. I'm not sure... I guess it would make sense as London is obviously a much bigger city than Boston. But, essentially my profile and pictures are the same (with just a few updates -i.e. I'm no longer an American living in London).

Or maybe my strategy is off. I wink at men, but I'm kind of shy. I usually let them email me first. So, if I wink and nothing happens, I just let it go. I know it's silly but I still kind of want the men to make the first move. Although again, this was the strategy I had on the International Match and it worked out ok.

Or maybe it's because my profile is to harsh. Because I got so much attention on that International site -and mostly from the wrong type of guys (lots and lots of them with half-naked pictures), I felt like I had to try to put up some boundaries so after spending at least an equal amount of page space describing myself, I wrote the following - which did help a little bit - but maybe it's a bit too harsh for the US? What do you think? It's not really deterring the short or old men anyway...

I'm looking for a guy who is interesting and interested. Someone spontaneous and ambitious who is not afraid of adventure. Someone who is up for partying all night but doesn't mind staying in reading a book in bed. Someone who is open-minded, interested in traveling and could see themselves living abroad. Someone who is active and wouldn't mind going for a run on the beach or hitting the gym with me. Someone who challenges me and has something to teach me. Motivation and curiosity are definately sexy. 

I have a thing for tall men. If you are under 6 feet tall, it's not going to work. If you post pictures of yourself bare chested posing in front of the mirror, you are also probably not my type. And I prefer younger men (in general younger than me). So... men over 36 sorry... most likely, not going to happen.

And by the way, I can't cook so it's better if you do..

Anyway, I think it's time for some drastic measures. Life Begins at Thirty - a fellow blogger in London - had an interesting idea by issuing a dating challenge. She asked her readers to suggest ways for her to meet men and then she composed a list of dating challenges she would try out and then write about her experience. Her idea is a good one. I think I'm going to steal it. So, what do you think? What kind of dating challenges would you propose for me? How should I meet men?

*I responded to two men who wrote to me. The first never wrote me back a second time. The second, well we'll see. I just wrote him back an hour ago.

**A couple years back the International Match or the UK one at least and the US one split and they are actually really different from each other now. The International Match is much better.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday Funday

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I was supposed to have a quiet weekend this weekend. I was supposed to be gearing up for a big detox that was supposed to quick start today.

I was supposed to go to a baby shower in New Hampshire and then come home and go to the gym, go to the grocery store, write an interesting blog post, and talk to my parents.

It  had been an unusually uneventful weekend. I had gone to dinner with a colleague on Friday night and was home early and I had stayed in on Saturday night. Sunday was supposed to be a calm end to a calm weekend that was suppossed to kickoff a calm two weeks of detoxing and being healthy before a trip to London and Stockholm which is bound to be madness and full of indulgence.

But oh no... This International Woman of Mystery couldn't handle a calm weekend! Especially when faced with the prospect of the next weekend being calm as well! This International Woman of Mystery fell subject to peer pressure and ended up participating in Sunday Funday and spending NINE hours in a bar on Sunday night skipping the gym and then skipping Boot Camp in the morning and coming to work grumpy and hungover.

I blame a lot of people for my misbehavior, my lack of gym going, the fact that I didn't make it to Boot Camp and the fact that I'm HUNGOVER today. Let me give you the rundown.

First, let me start by blaming the baby shower. The baby shower where NO COCKTAILS were to be found! I wasn't really planning to drink a lot a the shower. I was driving. But I wouldn't have minded 1 drink. A bloody mary or a mimosa would have done the trick. Stopped the craving. Kept the alcoholic monster that lives inside me at bay. But alas, there was no alcohol to be found at the baby shower. WTF? And the ugly alcoholic monster reared its ugly head.

Next, I blame Hot Married Friend L (who didn't have to work today - lucky girl) who took full advantage of the in-satiated alcoholic monster that lives within me and convinced me that we needed "just one drink." I mean after all.... we did just survive a long baby shower with NO ALCOHOL. (And, let's face it, no matter how you look at it, baby showers are just not that fun).

"I'm going to the gym." I told her.

"Don't you have boot camp tomorrow?" She asks. "You can skip the gym tonight and make up for it tomorrow." I made a face. "Or, you can have just one drink and go to the gym later." Famous. Last Words.

Hot Married Friend L dropped the subject after that but no matter how I looked at it, the thought of a cold spicy bloody mary was just way more appealing then the sweaty smelly gym. And as we got back to Boston, I found myself pulling up to my favorite local "tavern." "Just one drink," I told her. Famous. Last Words.

One drink of course turned into just one more drink and just one more drink and just one more... Next I blame the Patriots (there are an awful lot of people blaming the Patriots today). First, I blame the Patriots packing the bar with people and making an interesting atmosphere. Second, I blame the Patriots for losing (thank you Tom Brady for that stunning loss) because of course then we had to drink some more.

Then, I blame the table next to us for catching us as we put on our jackets and were getting ready to leave at a rather acceptable hour. I blame them for inviting us to play a card game with them and then I blame them for continuing to order more and more drinks.  And before we knew it, it was MIDNIGHT and we had been at the bar since 3:00! Isn't it amazing how time flies when you are getting drunk.

Next, I blame The Company for not having MLK day as a holiday! Because if it had been a holiday today, then the whole day would have been a whole lot better. And I could have really enjoyed my Sunday Funday without feeling guilty or dealing with a work hangover (those are the worst, I usually try to avoid them).

Most of all I blame the alcoholic monster that lives inside me for once again overpowering the health nut that I think still lives there as well (although it is possible he drowned in a pool of alcohol).

And finally I blame I'm Attractive Single Friend C who is SUPPOSED to be detoxing with me this week but has just sent me a text to say "I'm craving a drink." Not helpful C. Not helpful at all.

I'm standing strong though. I'm not drinking until the 27th when I'm scheduled to leave for London. (I'm hoping if I say that out loud enough times, I will convince myself that I can do it).

So, thus begins day one of a 10 day detox of no alcohol and healthy eating while I attempt to revive the health nut and nurture him back to health so he can stand up to the alcoholic monster and sometimes (at least 50% of the time) win the battle.

Unfortunately, the bagel this morning was necessary to soak up the alcohol in my stomach (for some reason we managed to be at a bar for nine hours without eating dinner) but that was it... Now it's only healthy boring foods and water and tea. I had a big salad for lunch. Baby steps. Baby steps.

But please forgive me if I'm extremely grumpy these next days while I'm cultivating the health nut and reducing the strength of the alcoholic monster.

What did you do this weekend? Did you have a Sunday Funday too? Or did your inner health nut triumph over the alcoholic monster?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

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Today was a Snow Day in Boston! Yippeee!!! Actually, technically I should have gone to the office. Despite the Mayor and the Governor declaring a state of emergency, everyone who "could" go to the office was sort of supposed to go in. And as much as I tried to convince myself that a 15 minute walk which would absolutely turn into a 30 minute walk in the snow would be completely impossible... well, it just wasn't really believable. It's total discrimination that people who drive in get a day off and people who walk in do not. I mean walking can be dangerous too. I could fall (I do this a lot - in fact, I totally wiped out while walking to work the other day in much less treacherous conditions). I could be hit by a car that spins off the road. I could get frostbite. I could turn up at the office totally soaking wet. In true blizzard conditions (I'm not sure we actually achieved this today), I could wind up disoriented and accidentally drown in the Charles River...

So, I declared a snow day anyway (after checking with other "walkers" and making sure they were staying home too) and worked from home. Isn't it so nice to work in your pajamas from your cozy bed once in awhile? Other then venturing out to the grocery store and to the gym (it's right next door so I really couldn't find an excuse not to go), I huddled at home all day. I wish I had someone to frolic in the snow with... That would have been fun too. Although 6 am boot camp tomorrow morning should bring about enough snow frolicking. That will be interesting. Remind me again why I thought boot camp in January was a good idea?

Oh and I made good use of the snow day and finally switched my account over the the US version - which actually meant setting up a whole new profile... So far, I'm not very impressed with the men on Match in Boston. Anyone have any better recommendations for dating sites? Stay tuned for more rants about online dating coming soon.

Actually, the snow kind of messed up the week and while a bit exciting, it was disappointing as well. Yesterday, we had a kickoff for work. We went up to a mountain in New Hampshire. The plan was to ski, have a meeting, have dinner, drink/party/dance, stay over night and head back in the morning (i.e. today). Unfortunately, due to the weather, we ended up having to come back last night instead. So essentially, yesterday I spent over 6 hours on a bus with my colleagues. And because I wasn't ready to get out on the slopes - having not snowboarded in about 10 years, I basically just went up to a mountain to "hang out" with 175 of my colleagues. Of course this meant I found myself in the lodge with a bloody mary in hand by noon.

Due to the fact that we now needed to leave the ski resort by 8 pm, the whole event got thrown off and the actual meeting part of the kickoff was postponed to be held back in Boston later this week. So, all the events of the night got pushed up so that we ended up having dinner at 3:30 and by that time everyone was well into their 4th or 5th drink. After dinner we headed to a rather fun bar in the "village" and proceeded to drink and dance. It was like we were in a time warp. At one point, I could have sworn it was at least midnight but when I checked the time, it was only 7 pm. We all kept commenting on the time and how early it was and how inappropriately drunk we all were for a such an early hour. But nevertheless, we proceeded to have a good time and get the dance floor going. Unfortunately, just as things started to really get fun, we had to get on the buses and drive back to Boston. Boo! Although I have to say, having to be on the buses at 8 did keep people out of trouble. My bus was pretty tame on the way home. Will be interesting to hear other stories tomorrow. Would have been more interesting to stay over night. Oh well. Next time. Luckily, The Company is always doing fun things.

So, what about you? Did you get a snow day today? What did you do on your snow day?

Hope you are having a fab week!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

As the first week of the New Year draws to and end, I guess it's time to share with you my resolution for 2011.

2010 was a year of lots of changes for me. I'm finally standing still in one place and I'm taking stock of my life and I'm realizing that maybe I'm not really where I want to be...

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The past week has been a reflective one as I've been trying to figure out where I want to be, what I want to do with my life. What is making me unhappy? What things make me happy? I've also been trying to identify what's holding me back or more precisely, what I'm doing that holding me back. Why am I still single? Why am I not even up for dating right now? Why do I keep meeting men with girlfriends? Why do I lately feel that my life is on more of a destructive path than a positive one?

After giving these questions a lot of thought, I could only come to one conclusion: I don't love myself very much right now. And I realize that if I don't love myself very much, if I'm not feeling like I'm in a positive place, if working more toward self-destruction than self-improvement, if I'm engaging in negative behaviours rather than in positive ones, if I'm being unhealthy rather than striving for healthiness, if I'm running away from things rather than embracing the world around me and trying to make it a better place, and again if I don't love myself very much then it's most likely going to be pretty hard for me to find anyone else to love me.

So, my new year's resolution for 2011 is


That's it. Learn to love myself more.

Under this massive generalization, there are many sub-categories such as: 
  • Drink Less
  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Drink more water
  • Have a bikini-ready body by beach 2011
  • Focus on positive things
  • Limit negative interactions with negative people
  • Only pursue men worth pursuing - i.e. Ask men up front if they have a girlfriend and walk away right away if they say that they do
  • Read more
  • Take some classes
  • Do things that I love to do - like throw parties, travel, run, read, write 
  • Be ok with being single until I find the right person
I've kicked started the year with more focus on healthy eating. I've started eating porridge (my work has a porridge bar) for breakfast - you know the really boring unsweetened kind that is super good for you and is kind of tasteless. I have to say though, it makes a difference. I feel a lot less hungry throughout the day. I've also sadly gotten rid of the glass of red wine I was unfortunately getting into a habit of drinking every night as I caught up on blogs. I miss it. Oh boy do I miss it. I'm now drinking tea instead. I still don't really like tea... But I feel better now that I'm not drinking every night.

Unfortunately, the bar at work still pulls me in and on Friday night I had too much beer and felt hungover Saturday... Oh well. Baby steps. I didn't say I was quitting drinking - that would be boring. But I'm going to try to drink a bit less (and get in less trouble as a result) over all.

I've also managed to make it to the gym 5 times this week despite a cold. And tomorrow Boot Camp starts up again. Someone please please please remind me why I thought that doing a 6am Boot Camp in Boston in JANUARY was a good idea? I'm going to FREEZE!!! Say nothing of the fact that my heat is for some reason not working in my apartment (my little gas fireplace is attempting to heat the place until the management company can take a look tomorrow).

The last two weeks in Jan, I'm planning a 10 day detox from alcohol and bad foods. I'm sure I'll write more about this later.

Other than that... I'm trying to figure out what things make me happy. I love having things to look forward to so I'm trying to create things in the future that I'm excited about. I'm looking forward to a trip to London and Stockholm (primarily for business but with some long weekends thrown in to see friends) at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. I'm planning to throw a Valentine's Day party. I'm hoping to plan a long weekend in Miami with girlfriends. I'm going to SXSW in Austin (work is sending me) which is hopefully going to be great!

So, that's it. My New Year's resolution for 2011. What's yours?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reflections on 2010

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The end of a year, the beginning of a new one... what better time for reflections and resolutions. And I'm definitely in a reflective mode (and trying to dry out after too many Christmas spirits). So, this post will be a reflection on 2010 and the next will most likely be a post about resolutions (or not since sometimes I change my mind).

It's been a big year.

In January and February of last year, I decided that I needed to figure out my life and try to  have fun. The year before had been hard because I was forced to move from my beloved Sweden to London and was given a crazy impossible job with looong hours and lots of travel. I had also just broken up with my Beautiful Swedish Boyfriend and I was feeling pretty bummed out. Since 2009 had been a pretty tough year, I was really hoping that 2010 would bring about some much needed change. And I wanted to document that change, so I started this blog - New Year, New Blog.  I decided that I would try out the dating scene in London. I also decided that it's pretty hard to be friends with your ex, so I cut him out of my life completely. After trying out different men and experiencing various BAD DATES, I had a visit from a Hot American Boy and we had a Great American Affair in London (by the way, American Boy is still the best guy I have met in the past year - if only we were more compatible in the bedroom...). I remember January and February of last year as "the calm before the storm." For the first time in many years (until now), I didn't travel anywhere for 8 weeks and I just got to enjoy living in London and not working quite as insane hours. And you know what? I actually had a lot of fun!

Then March came around and that all ended as I began the launch of a huge project at work that continued to make my life miserable right up until the day I decided to leave London (and work-wise might have played a large role in the need for a change). As I was constantly on a plane and in the office in March, I only wrote 4 blog posts but it was apparently a reflective month for me. I thought about what it meant to be an International Woman of Mystery fine tuned my Internet Dating Strategy, wondered what we all did before Facebook and wondered why all my friends were getting married, while I was just getting drunk.

In April there was Easter and I continued to be very busy at work. There was also the small issue of the volcano in Iceland that wrecked havoc on air travel and caused all London airports to shut down. It was very weird to see not a plane in the sky especially since this coincided with a lovely spring weekend. The volcano did get me out of a Brazil and a China trip though.

In May I spent two weekends in Spain! First, I visited my brother in Barcelona and I went on a work trip to Madrid where we spent the weekend having a blast!  And I started to worry about the FIVE weddings I would attend that summer as a single gal.

In June, I went to my first wedding of the season in Sweden. I also returned home to the US for vacation and went to the second wedding in Western Mass. Then I went to a third wedding in San Fransisco!

In July, I celebrated the Fourth of July in the US and I went to the fourth wedding on Nantucket. After my long vacation, I returned to London and was back to hanging out with Swedes. It was at this time, that I decided that I would soon be leaving London and returning to the US. I decided that I should get out and explore London as much as possible, even if I had to do it on my own.

In August, I went on a trip to Smogen in Sweden with the girls. I also went to South Africa. In-between all this jet-setting, I found some time to Internet Date and went on a date with a Sexy Cop.

By September, my time in London was limited although I was less sad about leaving London then being far away from  my beloved Sweden. I mourned the end of the summer and I felt sad when I found out my ex (as in the love of my life ex boyfriend) had gotten engaged. I also told the story of how I became an International Woman of Mystery in parts one two and three and I then announced to all my blog friends that I was moving back to the US and starting the next chapter of my life. And of course just 2 weeks before I was supposed to leave London, I met the most perfect man in the most romantic setting of the British countryside and we spent an amazing night together. Unfortunately, he had a girlfriend - if he didn't I might never have actually left.

In October, I went to the fifth and final wedding of the season in Sweden. I also MOVED HOME to the US and bought my first car, began to rediscover America, started my new job, found an apartment and celebrated Halloween.

In November, I moved into my new apartment in Beacon Hill and learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when moving. I quickly realized that moving and buying all new furniture all alone, was very hard. There were so many times I was desperate for a man to help me. But in the end, I did it on my own and have come to love my cozy little apartment. I also celebrated my first Thanksgiving in the US in a very long time.

And finally comes December where I hit my 100th blog post! Yay! It was actually my final post of 2010 - how appropriate, but I kind of wasted it by drunk blogging about a silly night out in Boston - how typical. In December, I had a disappointing visit from Nomad Boy and I had trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. But then I found myself getting into all sorts of trouble BECAUSE of all the Christmas spirits (and this is why I'm drinking a cup of tea right now instead of my usual glass of red wine... sadly, overindulgence has lead to the need to detox. Can I just point out that tea is JUST NOT the SAME as a glass of red wine)? And finally to end the year, I wrote a pathetic and pleading letter to Santa to find me a perfect man - Santa Baby - I'm counting on you! Please don't let me down.  

So, that's it. That's my year in review. A momentous year in the fact that I moved home. But also a sad, lonely and difficult year. I really hope that 2011 will be better.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Eve

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New Year's Eve and I are not really friends. Every year I dread this night as I listen to friends make fabulous plans and realize that I don't have fabulous plans of my own. Every year I fret about what to do and who to do it with, what to wear... and almost every year it comes down to the last minute and I have no real plans.

And unfortunately, New Year's Eve is also a couples night. If you are in a relationship, you obviously hang out with that person. For those of us not in a relationship... well, New Year's Eve becomes much harder.

But seriously? Is New Year's Eve not the most hyped up night ever? I mean at the end of the day, it's just a night like every other night. But for some reason, there is this need for it to be perfect, and memorable and magical and whatever other bullshit adjective you can think of.

I've had some good New Year's Eves in the past... although not many. I often spend the night with my brother and I have to say that I always have fun with him. When we were children we used to spend it with our "Other Brother" (i.e. the son of my parent's best friends who we spent lots of time with as children). They would get us a baby-sitter and buy us party hats and decorations and the poor babysitter would then have to deal with us running around the house and making noise until after midnight.

Memorable New Years including ringing in the New Year with my brother in San Fransisco which was fun because I made him buy like $100 of NYE party decorations just like when we were little and we drank LOTS of champagne and the best part was "Other Brother" was even there to celebrate with us as he lives in San Fran (you might remember his wedding this summer) so it was just like old times but with alcohol which obviously made it more fun.

I have also rung in the New Year in New York City with my brother and the Beautiful Swede where we spent way too much money on a hotel room and a party although I still kind of think it was worth it cuz it was reall fun.

There was a New Years' spent in China with the Scottish boy. Let me tell you - Sooooo anti-climactic since Chinese do not even celebrate it. We actually were in a taxi when it turned midnight although we didn't notice until later. I then proceeded to sleep for 2 hours on the bar (jet lag - I had arrived from the US that morning) and then get in a massive fight with the Scottish boy for allowing me to sleep in the bar for 2 hours rather than doing the right thing and taking me home. "You were having fun!" he said.

I spent a much better New Year's with the Scottish Boy in Scotland where we stayed in a castle (this was my first experience staying in a castle long before this became a regular occurrence in my life - seriously, I have stayed in at least 3 castles in the last 7 months - although obviously those days are over as there are no castles in Boston) Actually, this was probably the best New Year's Eves ever as we just stayed in and had a cozy fire and the Scottish boy cooked me a romantic dinner (and I pretended to help) and then we had champagne and took a bubble bat - bubbles and bubbles: my favorite combination.

Last year however was a tough one as I was still getting over the Beautiful Swede who had been nice enough to inform me that he "really missed me" but he had a date for New Year's Eve (this was exactly 2 days before I decided never ever to speak with him again), so I spent New Year's Eve moping, missing him and being the only single person at a couples party in Connecticut.

This year I thought about totally skipping New Year's altogether. Flight tickets for Sweden were too expensive and with a project launching at work, it wasn't really an option. And as most of my friends these days seem to be married and having kids and even my single partner-in-crime I'm Attractive Single Friend C had a date with a guy nicknamed McSteamy (seriously, who has a first date on New Year's Eve - that's I'm Attractive Single Friend C for you though and from what I hear it was definitely steamy), I once again had no plans.

Luckily a new friend, Gorgeous Single N, invited me along with her friends who were planning to go for dinner at Harvard Gardens.

And since Gorgeous Single N was nice enough to let me borrow her friends for the night, I decided to invite the group over to my apartment to pre-game it before going to dinner (luckily I was not too hungover from my escapades the night before). Of course, as this was New Year's Eve, I decided that this should be a classy affair with shrimp cocktail and champagne (because that's how I roll). So, a random group of New Year's Eve single misfits gathered at my house. We were a motley crew for sure as many of us observed throughout the night. While some of our group new each other closely, most of us knew just one other person. It was all a bit random but that's what made it all kind of fun.

One of the women brought a huge bag full of party hats and decorations and noisemakers. She called this "flair" which I've never heard it called before but I thought it was a fantastic name! And I was so happy since it reminded me of New Year's Eves past. I LOVE "flair" and I'm usually the one to bring it but had forgotten about it this year so I was really glad that someone else had thought of it. 

Example of "flair"
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Highlights of the night include:
  • Walking into Harvard Gardens wearing our New Year's Eve party hats and "flair" and making lots of noise with noisemakers so that everyone else was starting at us
  • Our table that was literally "created" for us on the dance floor so we were literally sitting in the center of a busy restaurant (this was due to us booking late and continuing to add more people)
  • Being the loudest and the most obnoxious table at the restaurant with all our noisemakers and party favors
  • Bringing our own New Year's Eve Centerpiece with us to the restaurant (courtesy of me from a NYE party I hosted in Sweden - yes, I apparently carry party decorations around the world with me).
  • Handing out noisemakers to the children at the table next to ours (I'm sure their parents were thanking us)
  • An engaged man in hot pursuit of a girl in our group (Seriously? Are all men assholes? Or are all men just totally stupid? I mean why announce right off the bat that you are engaged then pursue her all night? At least lie!) 
  • A whole slew of boring men that took turns talking to the girls in our group including the obnoxious investment banker and the over-enthusiastic marathon runner whose goal in life was to run a marathon on all 7 continents
  • The unfortunate appearance of Gorgeous Single N's ex-boyfriend (there was no stalking going on, just a sad coincidence - I mean who wants to be stuck at a bar with your ex on New Year's Eve)
  • The fact that Gorgeous Single N's ex-boyfriend has been such a jerk to her that several girls in our group had to go up and give him a piece of their mind and stick up for their girl(he was a big JERK - so much so that I might have to blog about it later when I write an inevitable blog about why all men are assholes)
  • An unmemorable count down with no fun boys to kiss at midnight
  • The appearance of a cute boy later who made up for the lack of kisses at midnight
  • An after party at my place (further endearing me to my neighbors I'm sure)
  • Having a fun night with other single people
And while I can't say that it was the best New Year's Ever, I can say that it turned out to be a random and fun night and I made some new friends. Thanks to Gorgeous Single N and all her awesome friends for making it so great!

Happy New Year to everyone! I'm looking forward to hear how you spent the end of 2010 and what you have in store for 2011!

Clearly this next week will be about reflections and resolutions. Stay tuned!