No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

Let’s cut to the chase. I’ve been single for a fairly long time now and I’m okay with that. Of course there have been those moments at 2 A.M. where I can’t sleep and think too much and have cried for no reason at all, but 99% of the time, I haven’t been bothered by it. I haven’t lived these past several years thinking “Oh no! I’m single!”. Instead I’ve been focused on a thousand other things. Being single didn’t define me, it was only one of several hundred words that could be used to vaguely describe me.

However, 24 was a turning point for everyone having something to say about my singledom. Apparently, 23 had been the last year I could be single without it being an area of concern. When I turned 24, that age brought with it a heightened interest in my love life. Too many friends and family members had something to say. “You’re too picky!” “There’s someone, don’t worry.” “Aren’t you lonely?” “Don’t settle, my niece didn’t meet someone until she was 45.” “Let me go through all of my friends to see if there’s someone who might be interested!” What the hell? Each new and uninvited comment from some friend or stranger about me being single led to a type of thought process I had never had before.

Everyone’s opinions started swaying the way I viewed my own love life. For a few months, I was in panic mode. I downloaded a dating app. I tried to work out why I was single with whoever was willing to listen. Maybe I had been single for too long, maybe I was too picky. Worst of all, I was starting to feel bad for myself. However, I wasn’t actively working on trying to change my relationship status. There was still that little inner voice screaming at me that I really did like being single and that I wasn’t looking for a relationship right now. When I started to write this article, it was supposed to be about the important benefits of dating yourself. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t sitting right with me. This piece would have come out as yet another article trying to provide validation as to why it is ok to be single. Being single is a choice, not something forced upon you. That right there is the catch to society’s view of singleness. It’s treated like a disease that needs to be cured. I’m writing this for all my fellow single people in the hopes that you will realize this is not the case, and you shouldn’t have to justify why you’re single to other people.

Like I’ve already said, being single is an active choice. If I really wanted to be in a relationship, chances are pretty high that I could be. But I don’t want to be. People write that off as me being picky. I call it going with my instinct. I don’t decide to hang out with someone based on some list of factors I’m trying to check off, I go with what my gut is telling me. If something doesn’t feel right to me, I say no. And I’m sure this is the way for many other single people who are being told they’re too picky. You’re not being picky, and you don’t have to defend why you are being picky. You know you better than anyone else, and you know what is best for you better than anyone else.

There’s also the slight chance that people just aren’t actively seeking out a partner. On my current list of priorities, finding a guy is not near the top, and I’m even less interested in trying to make something happen by force. People are all about organic these days. Eat organic, use organic soap, wear organic clothing, take organic medicine, blah, blah, blah. We’re a society that is so focused on organic products, yet when it comes to relationships, we’re so quick to turn to apps and asking for set ups in order to find some type of relationship instant gratification. What happened to the organic relationship? One that occurs naturally without the assistance of a distance locator and the option to swipe right or left? A better question, why should you have to tell people that’s what you’d prefer to happen? An even better question, why is everyone so focused on other people’s lives and relationships?

Here’s the thing, the people who are focused on you being single are solely focused on what you might be lacking as a single person. Please, dear concerned friends and family members, ease up on the concern. We singles do not want your pity, or sympathy. In fact, it’s almost insulting. You may see your intentions as helpful. You may think that finding me the perfect setup could be a top notch good deed to add to your list. But here’s the thing, unless we’re asking for your help, do not assume we need your help. Stop focusing on the empty space next to us when we walk into a room. Again, that’s an elected empty space. It doesn’t mean we are sad or lonely. It just means we’re doing our own thing.

And that’s a good thing! Being single means really getting to discover who we are. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. In my case, I see my twenties as a precious and valuable time of life. They’re a time to begin a career, nurture your hobbies, discover what types of people excite you, find out who you are and aren’t compatible with. Yes, you can do this with a partner, but you can also do it on your own. The friends I seek out and enjoy spending time with definitely have the qualities that I’ll probably hope to find in someone someday. Because I’m single, I have the time to invest in all of these areas. But again, I’m not here to provide validation for someone else, we’re only validating it for ourselves.

I’ve come back to a point where the only person I listen to when the topic of me being single comes up is myself. I appreciate the people who want to find someone special for me, but if I’m not worried about it, they shouldn’t be either. I’m embracing this time for what it is: a time to explore, to create, to dream, and to do whatever the heck it is thatI want to do. I’m selfish, but I’m ok with that! There will come a day when I’m ready to stop flying the single flag and I’ll readily give up my time for the sake of someone else, but  for right now, I’m enjoying it for all it’s worth. I hope all my fellow singles are as well. Don’t worry about what others say or think- they were all single at one point too, and as I’ve said, that was anything but a bad thing.

Apple and Cucumber Cooler Recipe by Girl Cooks World

(Image Credit: Girl Cooks World)

Nothing is better on a warm summer day than a light and refreshing beverage. The Apple and Cucumber Cooler by Cate of Girl Cooks World is a healthy and incredibly easy way to quench your thirst. Cate’s been kind enough to share the recipe for this delicious two ingredient wonder with us and I can already hear your taste-buds thanking her!

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Your First Time: Ordering Sushi

Your First Time: Ordering Sushi

One of the most intimidating things I have ever done was order sushi for the first time. I remember sitting at the table at my favorite Chinese restaurant and internally debating if I really wanted to attempt it or not. What if I didn’t order it correctly? What if I didn’t like it? What if I accidentally ordered some with raw fish (I know a lot of sushi is raw, but not all of it and I prefer my fish cooked)??! Continue reading

Microblading: The permanent way to get fuller, sculpted brows!

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so my name is Ashley Gebhardt, and I am an eyebrow overplucker. I lived through the super thin brow trend and it was a very self destructive time for me. I plucked so frequently and so many hairs that I can’t even remember what my life was like before I overplucked. But now with all the products on the market there’s hope for me and everyone like me who has plucked their eyebrows into oblivion.

From pencils and powders to gels and fibers, there are tons of temporary fixes for overplucked eyebrows, but they’re exactly that- temporary. Anyone who has ever enhanced their brows with these products knows the fear of losing a brow to sweat or smudging. You can use waterproof eyebrow fixes, but even those aren’t foolproof. So what’s an thin eyebrower to do? How about trying the newest permanent fix for fuller brows, Microblading?

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Everything I Ever Needed to Know I learned from… ‘Clueless’

CLUELESS (Image Credit: Paramount)

CLUELESS (Image Credit: Paramount)

All my ‘90s girls out there know that, before the Mean Girls wave crashed in, there came Clueless, brought to you by the most loveable fictional character of all time, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), duh. Continue reading

Summer Is Not My Season – And That’s Okay

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I lived in California for two years, and the number one thing I complained about was the weather. Always sunny and a constant 80-90 degrees; no one understood why I disliked it so much, and they weren’t afraid to tell me so. The same thing happens whenever I talk about why I don’t like summer.

People are always agog and aghast if I mention I’m not a summer person. They’ll ask things like “do you not like going outside?” or “why do you hate the sun?” First of all, neither of those things is true, and even if they were, so what? Why is it okay to hate winter and the cold but the minute anyone says anything remotely negative about summer, everyone is up in arms?

Well, I’m here to say that I am not a summer person. Summer is not my season. It just isn’t for me. And you know what? That’s okay.

Summer is not the constant rollicking party that movies and television make it out to be. Real summer is hot and sweaty and like most things, sometimes gross. Not everyone can – or wants to – handle that heat for long periods of time, particularly when it’s accompanied by all kinds of humidity. People who like summer will not believe that you don’t want to be hot, but if you can’t handle the heat for whatever reason, you don’t have to endure it.

Summer also means spending more time outside. That’s not always a bad thing, but unlike in other months, it requires paying attention to bugs and as mentioned above, the constant heat. For me, going outside during the summer can be an exhausting experience. I have to decide what to wear, if I need sunscreen or not, and how much water I should drink before leaving. In non-summer seasons, I might need a jacket, but it’s much easier to just leave. Unfortunately, most people will force you to go outside often during the summer and won’t understand if you don’t want to, but stand your ground. You’re not required to go outside.

But summer is also not built for staying inside. If you do avoid the heat and stay inside in the summer, you don’t really have much to do. There’s no good TV, after all, and most activities are held outside. It also costs money and time to travel, something that not all people have. After a summer of doing nothing, even summer people are desperate to go back to school after two months. Wanting summer to end even earlier than that so you don’t get bored is totally okay.

Summer is all about showing skin, and consequently, it’s not a kind time for fat people. As someone who’s overweight, I know that finding the right summer clothes is incredibly hard. If you wear something that shows too much of your body, people might shame you, but if you cover up, it’s going to be too hot. There’s not one way to “win” in this scenario, so you just have to pick what you feel most comfortable in and hope it’s not the wrong choice. If this kind of thing ruins summer for you, I completely get it, and it’s okay.

Whatever your reason for not liking summer, I stand by you. Enjoy your fall, winter or spring weather, even if the people around you don’t understand why you like it. It’s enough that you don’t like the summer. You don’t have to justify your likes and dislikes to anyone else. Like me, summer may just not be your season, and if it isn’t, that’s perfectly 100% okay.

Giveaway: Win Hollie Overton’s ‘Baby Doll’ and Safe and Sound Prize Pack

BabyDoll_FT

I’m going to present you with a conundrum: You want to check out Hollie Overton’s new thriller, Baby Doll, available July 12th, but you’re worried that it might be a little too creepy for your summer poolside reading. Fear not, So Fetch Daily has the fix! Enter to win the Safe and Sound prize pack, which contains a copy of Baby Doll as well as a cozy throw and a corkscrew so you can curl up safely on the couch to read the book’s twists and turns.

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Steal Mila Kunis’ Braided Bun Look for Summer!

Steal Mila Kunis' Braided Bun Look for Summer!

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

It’s officially summer and if you’re anything like me you’re super excited… Until your first official summer night out when humidity, heat and sweat turn that hairstyle you spent an hour perfecting into a gross, flat or frizzy mess. It’s enough to make anyone give up on glam and settle for a plain, slicked back pony or top-knot, but the rise in temperature doesn’t mean you have to lower your style standards.

Take for example Mila Kunis’ fabulous, braided bun look created by Celebrity Stylist Renato Campora. This bun style is the perfect way keep your hair looking chic despite the heat. Lucky for us, Campora has broken down how you can recreate the look he styled for Kunis using Infusium 23 products and PRO Beauty Tools. Check out Campora’s step-by-step instructions below!

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

First, I washed and conditioned her hair with the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Shampoo and Conditioner to illuminate and brighten her strands.

I wanted a lot of texture for this look so I sprayed the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Leave-In Treatment when her hair was damp to help build texture and volume.

Next, I dried her hair with the PRO Beauty Tools 1875W Ionic AC Motor and ran my hands through her hair – no brush.

I selected random pieces and curled them with the PRO Beauty Tools 1 ¼ Curling Iron to add more volume.

It’s all about the texture today! So I sprayed the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Leave-In Treatment again which also helped tame fly-aways and create that sleek look.

I pulled a few pieces out on side of her face to create a soft, romantic feel. The rest of the hair was pulled into a high ponytail.

Then, I braided the ponytail very loosely, wrapped it around and finished the look by pinning the braid around the ponytail.

There you have it! With the right products and tools, and these simple instructions from Campora you too can take your summer hair from bland and unmanageable to this romantic and put together braided bun!

‘Game of Thrones’ Deaths Ranked from Most Upsetting to Most Satisfying

(Image Credit: HBO)

(Image Credit: HBO)

Game of Thrones loves nothing more than killing off its characters. There have been literally too many slaughters to count. However, no matter how numb you might have become to a bloody battle scene, there are always some characters’ deaths that really hit you hard. Here is our rating of Game of Thrones deaths from most upsetting to most celebration-worthy.

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Book Review: ‘The Cresswell Plot’ by Eliza Wass

CreswellPlot

I received my review copy of Eliza Wass’s The Cresswell Plot buried in a wooden box full of dirt. Needless to say, it piqued my attention. Everything about the book, from the unsettling cover to the eerie blurb makes you think you’re in for an extremely creepy read. And yeah, The Cresswell Plot is definitely creepy, although it may not be creepy enough to satiate readers hoping to be truly unsettled. Continue reading

How to Make Long Distance Friendships Last

How to Make Long Distance Friendships Last

If there is one expression I have found to be true over the years, it is “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Getting older means that your circle of friends broadens and goes from those friends you grew up with to friends from college, friends from work, friends of friends, and a thousand other unique situations. This is both a wonderful and difficult thing. Adults are far more mobile than childhood friends. Some of us move far from our hometowns. Others travel, or get relocated for work. The likelihood of some distance being put between you and some of your friends is most likely, unfortunately, inevitable. Continue reading

Your First Time: Getting a Bikini Wax

Your First Time... Getting a Bikini Wax

Ladies, let’s face it. We all hate taking the time to shave and still not being able to get every spot we wanted! If you’re looking to spend some extra time on the beach this summer and want to look fresh and clean, a bikini wax might just be the best option for you! I just got my first-ever bikini wax at the start of the summer, and I’ve got some tips to share with you about how to handle your first time!

Make sure you’re comfortable with whomever is doing the wax.

Being comfortable with the person makes the whole situation a little easier. My woman was super awesome and made me feel very comfortable with her so I didn’t have much of a problem baring it all. This is not to say that it wasn’t awkward, because anytime someone is heading toward your area with a pan of hot wax is by no means normal. But what is normal when it comes to our beauty routines anyway?

Test a spot first!

I had to turn to threading my eyebrows because I had such bad reactions to wax so I was nervous about waxing down there. I went about a week before my scheduled appointment and had her do a test patch. I felt way more comfortable with the process knowing that she had already tested a small area and I had no reaction!

Just to be clear: it will hurt.

It will f***ing hurt. The pain really sucks but goes away almost instantly and really doesn’t seem too bad in the grand scheme of things. I had no problems walking around, sitting, or using the bathroom immediately afterwards. If possible, wear loose clothing like a maxi dress or skirt so you don’t have tight pants to put on after.

RELAX.

The anticipation of the pain plus the awkwardness may be worse than the actual waxing itself. I know when someone is coming at your vajayjay with some hot wax the natural reaction is to tense up, but that will only make it worse! Breathe. You’ll get through it.

Baby oil is your savior!

Make sure you ask for baby oil before you get dressed! The oil gets rid of any residual wax that may be left over. Even if you don’t see wax there, rub it down with baby oil anyway because it hurts so much worse when your undies or pants get stuck to it when you’re trying to change later!

Moral of the story: if you are sick of shaving constantly and don’t want anymore hair down there, waxing is definitely a good choice. It hurts, but the pain subsides very quickly and it’s well worth the pain for weeks of being hair-free!

Why I Love Being Single

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I was born to write this article. I’m confident enough to even say that this is something that should be written on my tombstone. I love being single. Of course, I get those “Oh, aren’t you lonely?” “Don’t you want a boyfriend?” questions and remarks. Trust me, I’ve dedicated a whole YouTube video to it, which I suggest you watch if you haven’t yet. Anyway, do I care? No. Is it annoying? Yeah, but you live with it. I always anticipate questions or concerns coming from left and right since it seems to be most people’s life duty to find a mate in life. YOU DO YOU, BOO BOO. YOU GO GET HER/HIM, GLEN COCO.

But for me? I’m living and enjoying that single life for as long as I can. I’ve dated, sure…in high school. I’ve had multiple crushes in life but never did anything about it because I’m a wimp. TBH, I’ve been single for pretty much all my life. Are we going to include middle school relationships? No, because are those REAL relationships? Not really. Those are the relationships where you’re like: “Alright, see you at school tomorrow. I’m awkward and in my growing stage. OK. Let’s hold hands.”

The thing that gets me the most is that people think that being single is a curse or you’re just so unhappy. News flash! I’m 99.9% sure I wouldn’t be able to do so many things in my life if I had a significant other. I’m enjoying making my own decisions, learning how to be OK with going to things alone and accepting the fact I’ll always be the third/fifth/seventh wheel in any dating situation.

Being single lets me have FUN. I can go talk to whoever I want without the necessary feeling that someone back home is judging me because I’d be considering cheating on them. My friends pass me to the cute guys since they know for a fact they can’t go after them. (Cue the How I met Your Mother: “Haaaaave you met Ashley?) You could be that one friend who is able to go places while your coupled friends respond, “Oh, I wish I could but we already made plans with so and so.” WELL, your loss.

You build a thicker skin when you’re single. You’re gonna have to learn how to go to things by yourself and not feel like the ultimate loser in the room for not bringing anyone with you but it’s the price you pay. Heck, some people will look up to you for being so confident about yourself which is something I would never take back….Unless Chris Evans changes the game and suddenly wants to date me, but I digress.

Another reason being single is awesome is knowing the attention I would have given to someone I was dating is solely going to my family, friends and dog. My dog gets his own category. I’m focused on building my bonds with my close ones and I’m okay with knowing I’ll be the shoulder people cry on when they’re going through a hard time with THEIR boyfriend or girlfriend. I probably give the worst advice ever but at least they know I’m there to just listen.

So don’t think the single life is the worst life. Go by my motto: SINGLE LIFE IS THE BEST LIFE. But again, if Chris Evans knocks at my door, I’ll drop all of this in a heartbeat and marry him right then and there.

‘Pretty Little Liars’ Ships That Have Sailed

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: Freeform)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: Freeform)

The new season (or half-season; who can keep track?) of Pretty Little Liars premiered recently, and while watching the first episode I couldn’t help but notice how egregiously the story catered to fan-favorite ships, almost to the point of silliness. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to see spoilers for the summer premiere episode, or if you are staunchly #TeamEzria.

So let’s start with the most blatant example: Hanna and Caleb. As of the summer premiere episode, Caleb is in a relationship with Spencer. There have not been any established issues with that relationship. Sure, there were some flashbacks in the preceding handful of episodes indicating that perhaps Hanna and Caleb’s relationship may have ended prematurely and moments showing they still have feelings for each other. I’ll buy that. It’s what comes next that is problematic.

In the summer premiere, Hanna is being held hostage and AD is threatening to kill her if the Liars don’t turn in Charlotte’s true murderer. Caleb immediately acquires the most one-track mind I have ever encountered and begins obsessing over saving Hanna. Which, okay, Hanna is great and I’m not going to sweat anyone who wants to save her. If Hanna got killed off this show, poor Spencer would be the only Liar with more than half a brain left.

But instead of finding a remotely subtle or intelligent way to show Caleb drifting away from Spencer and back to Hanna (because that would require planning), the writers basically turn Caleb into a huge jerk, which is quite uncharacteristic. Just for this one episode, he suddenly cannot be bothered to even try to act civil to Spencer. I legitimately cracked up when he straight hung up on Spencer when she peacefully called to offer to bring him some food. He might as well have said, “You’re annoying because you’re not Hanna; you matter 0% to me.”

Caleb is basically the only decent human male on Pretty Little Liars, so I took some offense to him suddenly being turned into a massive jerk. And what’s particularly terrifying is that he was turned into a massive jerk because people who ship Haleb are expected to find his behavior romantic. We’re not supposed to care how awful he’s being because he’s doing it as part of his quest to save Hanna. Sigh, how romantic. Not. I’m all for reuniting Caleb and Hanna, but can we at least try to make it a thoughtful story arc and not just lazy fan service?

Next up we have Aria, who I believe  is still technically in a relationship with the elusive Liam despite having cheated on him with Ezra and apparently not feeling all that worried about it? Fact check me here; because all the Ezria drama has started to blend together in my brain. In the summer premiere, Aria and Ezra briefly mention how they need to talk about their situation, but then Aria’s like, “whatever, I just NEED YOU TONIGHT” or some garbage.

Regardless of whether I’m remembering correctly about Aria and Liam still being together, we can agree that Ezra is a manipulative liar, right? Yes, I am right. Even if you ignore the fact that he was using Aria to write his true crime book to the point of putting her in major danger (and really, how do you ignore that?), he continues to emotionally manipulate her even though they are no longer officially “together.” It’s creepy and gross and I simply can’t understand how anyone could want any of the Liars, even one as pointless as Aria, to end up with a dude as emotionally abusive as Ezra. But somehow #Ezria persists and fans are completely obsessed and committed to this relationship.(This probably says something depressing about patriarchy but that’s a story for another day.)

So we’ve got Haleb and Ezria covered, what about good ol’ Spoby? Well, we got a taste of that in the premiere too. While Caleb is busy chasing Hanna, Spencer and Toby pair up to do some field research. It’s not like they share a ton of meaningful looks or anything, but they are portrayed essentially as they were back in happier times – helping each other out, impressing each other, generally being  a fantastic team, and getting along splendidly. Of all the ship fan service in this episode, the Spoby situation bothered me the least. There was no actual cheating (or suggestion of it) and no major character shifts, just some genuinely nice scenes with a couple of characters who clearly relate well to each other.

Which leads us to Emily. Emily is supposed to be the bleeding heart of the group, and she’s on a quest to gently convince Ali, who’s locked up in the looney bin, to admit to killing Charlotte. She kind of succeeds at this task (although I don’t know what kind of moron takes Ali’s deranged, clearly non-lucid proclamation of “Please forgive me” or whatever vague thing she said as an admission of murder, but whatever). But in the meantime, Emily’s having flashbacks of a pretty intense makeout sesh with Ali.

Of all the ships on PLL, the Emison situation is the one that makes the least sense to me. Ezria is awful, but at least there’s history there. The Emily & Ali relationship basically came out of nowhere. There was no established chemistry or connection between them. The writers tried to make it feel like there was but nope, sorry. Revisionist history, kids. So I admittedly am not on board the Emison ship, causing me to probably find the makeout flashback more annoying and gratuitous than I might otherwise. Regardless, it didn’t need to be in the episode for the story to make sense, and it just felt like fan service to hardcore Emison shippers. A lifeline to the dedicated followers of a pointless, sinking ship that was created only for plot drama without any true authenticity.

Needless to say, I was not terribly pleased with the summer premiere’s commitment to fan-favorite ships above good storytelling. And that’s the key – it’s one thing to build up these ships if it’s done well. If we could see true character development in a character like Ezra, for example, I might start to get on board. If the Haleb situation was more nuanced, and played out over a few episodes instead of abruptly in one, maybe I would believe it more. At best, it’s lazy writing. At worst, it’s writers intentionally dumbing things down for their audience – a problematic choice when your core demographic is teenage girls and young women.

No matter how much I whine about it, though, I’m still watching Pretty Little Liars. I don’t know if it’s out of a false sense of optimism that things will get better, or if it’s loyalty to a time when the story in the show was still strong, but I can assure you it’s not because I want to see happy endings for Ezria, Spoby or Emison.

Although I might crack a smile for Haleb.