10 Tips for Positive Online Dating

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 9.51.55 AMI got an email a couple months ago from a friend who wanted advice on online dating. She wrote, “You have been very inspiring to me, watching you date online with a ‘positive’ attitude, and I was wondering if you had any tips for me. I desire more than ever to find a companion and someone to share life with, and I’m trying to get in the mind set. It just feels hard to date online positively! I made a Match profile, and have gone on some sad first dates … depressing.”

You see, this year, I set a goal to go on 50 dates. Which is crazy because I don’t think I’ve even been on 20 dates in the 20 years I’ve been “of age” to date. But because of that poor track record, I wanted to figure it out. What am I missing? Why am I not dating? Am I a bad date? Am I just undatable? Do I not give off the “right vibes?” What gives? So really, this is an experimental year as I try to learn: How to date.

And we all know–I’ve been online before (exhibit A and B) and not with a very good attitude. So I took her email to heart and tried to determine what I was doing differently this time around to result in a better experience. I am NOT an expert. I’m honestly making it up as I go. But here are 10 things that have made a difference for me this time. Continue reading →

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2 Bridesmaid Dresses? Check. Home? Check check.

Bridesmaid Dresses
40 hours

3 sleepless nights

2 pin-pricked fingers (luckily no blood on fabric)

750 yards of thread

15 seconds of crying

1 minute of thinking I might not be able to do it

3 heaven-sent pleas for help

1 conversation with my (dead) great-great-grandfather who was a tailor

2 finished dresses

Infinite amounts of pride and happiness

At 10:30 p.m. Saturday night I sewed the final stitch in my dress. At 10:31 I jumped in the shower. At 10:45 I was fully clothed and racing around my room throwing all my clothes (thanks Frit for doing my laundry) into a suitcase. At 11:30 I was on my way to the airport to catch my red-eye to Atlanta. Speaking of, I can say that a red-eye flight, especially one that is completely full, is the most uncomfortable, make-me-want-to-kill-myself way to spend 4 hours.

At 8:30 a.m. (EST) I arrived in Savannah. At 9:30 I arrived at Church, wheeled my suitcase to the bathroom (got a lot of weird looks) and changed out of my pajamas, into a dress, pulled my hair in a pony and threw on some make-up. At 9:50 I walked into the chapel and up to the stand, kissed my sisters (who were asked to speak in the meeting), hugged my dad (who was conducting the congregational hymns) and sat next to my mother. None of them knew I would make it in time for Church, so it was quite the reunion.

At 1 p.m. Church was over. I went home, ate a banana, put on my swimsuit and went to the beach where I promptly fell asleep surrounded by sand dunes, seagulls, and my lazy Atlantic waves.

I am happy.

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How To Have a Perfect Saturday

1. Sleep in, just a stitch. Not so much that the day’s half over when you arise, but just enough that you feel a little indulgent.

2. Throw on some cozy sweats, a little mascara, a touch of lip-gloss and set off for the local nursery. No, not the garden center at Wal-Mart. I’m talking about the place down the street with all the charm and real gardeners who can tell you about your soil and which flowers bring butterflies.

3. Come home with pallets of bloomin’ green goodies.

4. Plant. Plant. Plant your little heart out!

5. Then … take a slightly tepid, but very long shower and when you get out–smile at the sun-kissed face staring back at you in the mirror.

6. After a bit of mozying and puttering around the house, go to the grocer … in flip-flops, capris, and T-shirt, letting your wet mane air-dry with whatever curl or wave it pleases. Wander the produce, tossing every fresh, colorful piece that sings to you into your cart.

7. Determine what you want for dinner. Try something new or something you adore but haven’t had in a while. Something dreamy and lovely. But above all else–choose something that speaks to you.
For this example’s sake … choose fresh, raw shrimp.
8. Upon arriving at home, boil some noodles and shell your shrimp.

9. Heat some Alfredo.

10. Saute your shelled shrimp in garlic-infused olive oil
(this doesn’t take long … maybe 2 minutes on each side).

11. Slice a kiwi fruit.

12. Spoon your noodles and sauce into a bowl and top with hot shrimp.

12. Pour ginger ale into a glass with a stem (you MUST use a glass with a stem. It is imperative.).

13. Take your meal to the patio and eat in the midst of your newly-planted garden
and the setting sun.

14. Breathe deep and relish the beauty of the day.

And that, my friends, is how to have a delicious Saturday.

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5 Best Gifts I’ve Ever Received

I love giving gifts. I love thinking about the person and the gift, picking it out or (and especially) making it, wrapping it, and watching people as they open it. I believe taking the time to give a gift is time best spent. And the ability to give good gifts–now that is a talent.

I personally have been the recipient of many good gifts in my life.

Here are 5 of the Best:

1. The angel broach my dad sent to me for Christmas when I was on my mission.

Usually dad lets mom do the shopping and he just signs the card. But on this particular occasion, when I was so far from home, he went to one of my favorite artisan shops (by himself), picked out this particular piece of handmade jewelry (by himself), wrapped it (by himself), and mailed it (by himself) separate from all the other presents that came from home that year. It meant the world.

2. My great-grandmother’s silver dessert set, given to me by my grandmother. A lovely antique and family heirloom. It doesn’t get much better than that.

3. The surprise birthday party Frit threw for my 30th birthday. SO many people I adore came. Most often, the best gift is time, and on that particular night I was overwhelmed that that many people would come to spend time with me and celebrate my life.

4. My Sunday School teacher in middle school, Judy Safay, gave me a journal filled with letters of love from the members of our congregation. As a young and unsure 14-year-old, it was impossible to then doubt how much I was cared for after receiving that gift. I still have that journal. And I still read it. And I remember all the people who helped me become who I am today.

5. I can’t choose! … there’s the silver necklace my Primary teacher at Church gave me when I graduated into the Young Women program. The engraved napkin rings from my mom that she and dad received at their wedding. The handpainted ceramic plate Kaycie made for me when she was 10. The clay turtle Cooper made for me. The little gold necklace from my first “boyfriend” in 4th grade. The bottle-cap earings my dad gave me in 4th grade (the only other gift he’s picked out himself). The birthday card Karly gave me one year–it was particularly funny, but oh-so-sweet. My first set of scriptures when I turned 8. It’s a toss up.

All I know is that the best gifts are often not elaborate or expensive. Sometimes they may not even even have much meaning. But they’re special because they hold a memory and were given with love and time and thought.

Do you have a favorite gift? Do tell.

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5 Books Worth Reading

Five of my favorite books are:

The Water Is Wide
by Pat Conroy

Few writers move me more with their imagery than Mr. Conroy.

All Over But the Shoutin’
by Rick Bragg

Originally recommended by my dad and subsequently stolen from his shelves, I read this every day while running on a treadmill. Any book that can keep me running for hours at a time, all the while crying and laughing and feeling deep down to my toes, is one that will find me in its pages over and over again through the years. Superb.

The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

I LOVE this book. But it’s the interview with Ms. Kidd at the back that made me fall in love for life. Her use of language is bliss.

Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson

Someday I will write about the first time I read this. I was in elementary school and stayed up all night with a flashlight. It was an experience I will never forget and one that I treasure. As it was the first time I recall feeling the power of “words” and “story”. It was there that this love affair began I believe.

The Scarlet Ibis
by James Hurst

This is actually a short story, not a book, that I read in 9th grade … but was memorable enough that it tops my list of poignant experiences with the written word. It’s tragic but beautifully written.

What tops your list of books worth reading? I’d love to know.
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5 Things to Start a Great Day

1. Being awakened by sunlight and chirping birds before the alarm has a chance to go off
2. Shaving my legs and wearing a skirt [Spring, glorious Spring!]
3. A perfect playlist of music to listen to while I get ready for the day
4. A quick “good morning” phone call to my dad
5. My favorite crossing guard, back at his post [sigh].

All is right in the world.

It is a good day.

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Things I Can Count On

I realize things change. Sometimes life throws a curve ball. It’s just the way it is, and I can adjust with the best of them. I can. But I prefer schedules and plans and outlines. It’s fine (sort of) if the plan changes, but I like to have something in place to begin with. I think it’s because life changes so much that I appreciate the little things I can always count on–things that are always there or that always happen.

Like my dad calling every time it’s daylight savings and saying, “Is it just me, or does it feel like 5:00?” when it’s now 6:00 or vice versa in the Spring.

Or my granddad asking, “Who is this?!” when he answers the phone. And then I say, “Krista.” And then he says, “Krista! My favorite! Where are you?” And I say, “Utah.” And he says, “You sound like you’re right next door!”

Or my mom, when she talks about her flowers. They’re always “Bursting! Bursting with color!” (That’s of course right before she kills them. Which is another thing I can count on—mother and her black thumb.)

Or texting with Frit in the middle of the day. (My phone really did just beep … it’s her.)

Or the children at Church singing “I Often Go Walking” for Mother’s Day and “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home” on Father’s Day (no matter where you are in the United States).

Grandma’s mashed potatoes (and slightly burnt rolls) at Sunday dinner.

Animal crackers on every visit from Grandpa Q.

Good grades in English. Bad grades in Math.

Church every Sunday.

Fish tacos at Rumbi, Tomato Bisque at Haggerman’s, Crème Brule at The Garden, Root Beer float from DQ, Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks, Playboy sushi roll from The Happy Sumo, Jamoca shakes from Arby’s.

The Monday morning routine of “How was your weekend?” at work with the girl in the cube next to me.

I could list a million more. These are just a few of the things I love. But I just really appreciate things I can always count on.

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25 Things

1. Due to the fact that I’m a writer and want all of my writings to be perfect, it usually takes me a brazilian years to finish these sorts of things.

2. I hate Utah in the winter. I know people think the scarves and hats and mittens are so cute and that it’s cool that amazing skiing is just an hour away from my house but I could care less. All it means is that I’m frozen 4 months out of the year.

3. I met Alex Trebeck once. (I don’t know how I got from hating UT in the winter to meeting Alex but there we are. )

4. Speaking of famous people … I was the one who nominated Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices for the Grammy they won and no one even thanked me. I’m still a little bugged by that.

5. I served an 18-month mission for my Church in Washington state. Thus rainy days never get me down. They actually make me a little nostalgic.

6. I can’t wait to someday serve more missions. LOTS of them.

7. It bugs the crap out of me how people consistently throw Mormons under the bus without ever trying to understand what we actually believe and why.

8. I just signed up for a triathlon. I don’t know what I was thinking but I am NOT paying $100 for a t-shirt so I’ll either finish or die trying.

9. I sing (really well) and will someday record a CD, for no other reason than to do it.

10. I want to own a boutique/cafe.

11. In fact, my dream job would be … to be a singing boutique owner who writes books on the side and travels the world.

12. I love blogging because it’s an intimate look into how people live and present their worlds to others … it’s so interesting and often inspiring.

13. When the Olympic opening ceremonies are on and all the athletes are being announced, I usually have an atlas in my lap so I can look up where those countries are.

14. I almost joined the peace corp in college, but my mom freaked out so i didn’t.

15. I read the dictionary and love it. Mmmm … words … yummy!

16. My guilty pleasures include hip-hop dance movies. I LOVE ’em! (A few faves: Stomp the Yard, Brown Sugar, Honey, Drumline, Save the Last Dance)

17. I’m not in love with my Blackberry.

18. I drink a mug of herbal tea most nights before bed.

19. I live off of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches made on my George Foreman Grill in the winter.

20. I LOVE to bake/cook from scratch.

21. I’m going to turn 30 in a month and I can’t decide if i want to throw a huge party or take a sweet vacation. I thought I wanted a party, well–I ALWAYS want a party, but a vacation sounds SO nice right now.

22. Most of the time I’m fine with not being married yet, but every now and again (mostly when I think about how bad I want to be a mom) it’s not totally ok.

23. I graduated in print journalism from BYU and had always planned on going back to the east coast and writing for a travel magazine.

24. I used to have a sweet window view cubicle that overlooked Temple Square in downtown SLC. Now I have a crappy cubicle that faces the men’s bathroom. Moving our department was pointless and I’m still resentful.

25. I am not allowed to buy anything on iTunes this year (a self-imposed rule). I had to set the same rule a few years ago with infomercials and QVC. Although I highly recommend the miracle blade knife set.

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December To Do’s: UPDATE

Oh, you want to know how my December To Do List is coming?
How kind of you to ask. Well, let’s see …

1. Make real gingerbread cookies

They were perfect! Sooo soft and chewy, and not too gingery. I must admit–I find so much satisfaction in baking from scratch. Frit and I had a million laughs piping the homemade royal icing onto these beauties. (Some of our gingerbread men appear to have come from Asian descent.) And I’m particularly proud of my snowflakes:
These cookies were QUITE the hit.
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December To Do’s

(Apparently I’m on a list-kick these days.)

1. Make real gingerbread cookies
2. Sit by our freaking-awesome! Christmas tree all lit up and cozy, whilst sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music at LEAST once a week (this should happen more, but judging by how often I’m home these days, once a week is probably all it’ll be)
3. Finish the painting I’ve been working on for my sis
4. Survive the Carols (Get your tickets here!) while guiding the show toward a smashing success
5. Make a snowman (if the snow ever comes)
6. Finish The Book of Mormon & the 2 other books I started simultaneously
7. Be a “regular” at the gym
8. Build my 2009 budget
9. Write, print, and send my Christmas letter before I go home
10. Go to Church on Christmas Eve
11. Buy a Barret and wear it frequently

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