Hacks to Keep Your 2017 Dating Goals Going Strong

Hike it out!

Hike it out!

This post is for all the single ladies (all the single ladies) in their thirties actively dating to fine The One. As exciting as meeting new Potentials can be, it gets a little tiring and time consuming. You can tell you're feeling this way when you start those lengthy solo "meetings" on Friday nights with your sofa and the internet. Still, you know it’s best to get back out there and keep going, so you do. Meanwhile, your pile of dirty date-night clothing grows, you haven't seen your friends in forever and you can't remember where you left your "A" game conversation (look between the sofa cushions). Plus, your resolutions/goals probably have something about dating for marriage in the top five nudging you to stay the course. This is where we come in. Below are some tricks we've learned in real life to make this process a lot easier.

Schedule Multiple Dates for the Same Day. Picture this... Brunch with Guy#1, coffee with Guy#2 and mini golf with Guy#3. You can use the same talking points for each date without missing a beat. It's possible that you could get a little winded by nighttime, but each new experience, and the coffee with Guy #2, should give you the energy to get through the day. Keep all activities within a fifteen-minute drive. Same outfit. Same day. Boom. Who has the rest of the week open for second dates, friends and scrolling through Instagram? You do. 

Get Active on Your Dates. We live to eat. There's no sugarcoating this (mmm, sugar). Since our metabolism is betraying us in our thirties it’s good to use your dates to get moving. To keep from packing on the pounds, go rock-climbing or hiking with your guy. Heck, make it a gym date. You'll kill two birds with one stone and get to see him in action.  Plus if it's your turn to plan and pay you just saved a few $$$. Then, you can eat. 

Swipe. If you're lucky enough to have friends with a continuous supply of eligible men for blind dates; more power to you. Tell your awesome friends to send a few this way! If this isn't the case... download a couple of dating apps and start swiping. You'll find that you swipe left waaay more than swiping right. But still, the options are now endless, and that’s half the battle. Tip: use these apps in professional areas like downtown to get better odds of finding men with good jobs.

Play 36 Questions. Get to know your date by asking thirty-six questions created by psychologist, Dr. Arthur Aron. They’re designed to build closeness between strangers. Some of the questions are complete downers since they deal with death but you learn so much about each other you don't even care. At the end you stare into the other's eyes for an uncomfortable period of time and want to go out again. It's great for us thirty-somethings that have trouble opening up and you get to skip that level of newness where the awkward silences live. 

We’ll definitely have more hacks to share with you in the future. Let us know a few of the ways you save time, money and your sanity while dating. 

 

 

How I Made Friends in 2016

Brunch is a girl's best friend

Brunch is a girl's best friend

How I Made Friends in 2016

True or False: It’s hard to make friends in your 30’s.

Answer: It depends.

I think we can all agree that it’s not rocket surgery. Yes, it's true that we've reduced the number of activities that make it easy to meet new people. But it's also true that it was probably by choice. Busy lives filled with long work hours, takeout and errands don’t leave us with much energy to shake hands and find new spirit animals. Our requirements for friendship have changed as well. “Can you party until 3am?” and similar questions never come up and nowadays, we want to know your last name. Since I had a big chunk of buddies move away over the last couple of years, I was long overdue to grab a few new ones and prove that making friends after thirty is easy. I’ll let you in on the cool places and ways that I met some awesome women in 2016. For those of you looking for ways to make this year's friendship resolutions work (because I know this was one of them), keep reading. 

Young Professionals Groups. Friends Made in 2016 = 1. I am a big fan of schmoozing at YP events to stay in touch with great people. Unless it's kismet upon our initial meeting, I’ll go to multiple mixers to see who is out there and create some associates. Some people complain that there’s never any new people at these gatherings but I am a fan of familiar faces. Once I’ve seen potential friends on multiple occasions, we get comfortable and have better conversations. This opens the door to new friends and connections.

Junior League. Friends Made in 2016 = 2. Most cities have a chapter of the Junior League, a non-profit organization where tons of women volunteer and socialize. I have plenty of opportunities to hang with like-minded women and do great things. Each week I can meet someone new while saving the world and each year there are new recruits. It’s a machine. It does cost $$$ depending on the Chapter but it’s well worth the money for me to be part of something so life-changing. I meet new potential friends this way by using that same gradual process I mentioned from the YP mixers.

Bumble BFF. Friends Made in 2016 = 4. Swiping is clearly the wave of the future. Now I can use the same app to grab dates and friends. Using Bumble BFF is pretty self-explanatory. I swipe the women that seem to match my style and use the word “brunch” in their description. Understand that you make not swipe gold right off the bat. From what I can see, there's a lot more twenty-somethings taking advantage of this technology than thirty-somethings. It may take several tries over the course of a few months. Still, it’s a great idea and Idk why it took so long to realize that this should be a thing! Your move, Tinder.

As an ambivert I don’t need 187 friends. But as I stated in our book, lives and situations change so don’t be caught flat-footed and friendless. There’s so much fun to be had from close relationships. It's a relief when you find someone who gets you and your quirky ways. Don't forget, all relationships take work. I still make the effort to initiate conversations and activities and it beats hoping a potential bff will miraculously discover me at the Whole Foods hot bar.

Now that we're in 2017, I’ll show you the ways that I’m keeping (or not keeping) my wonderful gems from 2016.

Let us know what friend-finding activities are working for you!

4 Great Reasons NOT to Make New Year's Resolutions

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EVERY year, we precariously stand at the crossroads of writing down next year’s dreams and easing into the new year expectation-free. While we’re super excited about improving our lives or just having a seemingly clean slate, January 1st is always a double whammy. It’s the first day of the month and year so we feel compelled to give it extra meaning and effort. As “Do Day” approaches, excitement, anxiety and our old habits engage in a battle royal. Who wins is anyone’s guess. Thanks to this situation and more we’ve decided against doing the whole new year’s resolution thing. Check out the four reasons we’re putting it on ice with the champagne for 2017.

1. Less Stress. On the first day of the year, we rinse off layers of laziness and become totally different people… for a week. We’re jogging to Whole Foods at 7am to do meal prep after updating the resume and improving the status our Non-Relationship-Relationship. This multi-item list of activities meant to revolutionize our lives gets piled on to one month. We’re still trying to write the correct year down so it’s overwhelming to have these crazy expectations that, while well-meaning, are the source of our new anxiety. Will we or won’t we is the name of the game and self-loathing is the prize if we fail. Um… who needs that? Why not be easy on ourselves and find a better way to be better. We’ve gotten the hang of self-compassion but we can’t in good conscious set ourselves up to fail. We’d rather just compete to be better than we were the day before.

Why should January 1st be the catalyst for change?

2. We Can Change Now. These resolutions are a bunch of things we’ve wanted to do for a while. Why should January 1 be the catalyst for change? Closets can be cleaned out at any time with a little nudge from KonMarie. Reaching goals because the results will increase our happiness is a year-round job. We want to train ourselves to get started on the day we're ready, not procrastinate until the beginning of the year. Besides, studies show that only 8% of people succeed in achieving their resolution. It doesn’t mean we can’t be part of that statistic but the odds aren’t in our favor. Plus, we know our track record for sticking with goals we handed off to the new year and it ain’t pretty. To that point, we know ourselves period. There’s a reason we haven’t lost ten pounds and it isn’t because January 1st hasn’t come around yet.

3. Timing isn't Right. Inspiration vs. motivation isn’t just about semantics, it’s about which is the ultimate driver of goal longevity. Inspiration comes with joy that makes us float through a new project or task. It’s nothing for us to be focused for months working on an idea that sparked creativity and confidence. Motivation comes from lack and negativity. It's more focused on pushing than floating because of the intent. The feeling of having to do something to keep unwanted things from happening is a dream crusher over time. We could be totally inspired on January 1st but does the 2nd prolong that wonderful feeling or does it turn into motivation? Eventually, we go looking for something that gives us the feels and drop the volunteer gig or savings plan. Calendar dates just don’t do it for us.

4. We Have Issues. New Year’s resolutions can cover up and distract us from the real reason we’re not diving into in certain activities. The why when it comes to procrastination, lack of interest, fear and other negative emotions is important. Sometimes it might just be that we’re busy dating our sofa and growing that relationship is a top priority. But if we’re afraid of succeeding or love to sabotage our efforts, those are bigger issues that we should deal with head on. Otherwise, working on trusting ourselves and staying happy gets buried in the lies we tell ourselves. This is an ongoing process and shouldn’t be ignored if we’re going to stay productive. How much more would get done if we understand what makes us move? Unless investigating our underlying issues is a new year’s resolution we could miss out on an aha moment.

What are we doing in a non-resolution-y way to keep our goals in focus? Well, there are some tasks we want to accomplish next month but not because it's January; it’s simply because it’s the next month. If we finish up our December goals early, we’ll start them sooner than later. Basically, it’s living life as women who are challenging themselves to reach farther no matter the occasion. That, and we set SMART goals, spreading them throughout the year to make sure we have a chance to succeed. Again, we’re happily competing to be better than we were the day before so it has become our modus operandi. We’re on the continuous improvement wheel just like y’all and seeing Jan 1st as another day for great things to happen. We hope you all find great ways to gsd as well because our 30's are the best years of our lives. Cheers to goal-setting and awesomeness!

If you’re in the No Resolutions Club (we made that up) let us know how you get down!

Great Ways to Simplify Travel for 2017

The holidays are the catalyst for the three F’s: family, friends and flights. There’s something about planning trips to visit loved ones that piques our curiosity for far flung vacations. How many times has a search for a ticket to see mom ended with “I wonder how cheap a spring ticket to Europe would be…” Now that we’re in our thirties we have a few more dollars to spend on travel and we want to take advantage of it. We even gave traveling a shout-out in our Career chapter because we know the benefits of taking well-deserved breaks from regular life. Unfortunately, as we start planning our trips we get caught up in all the deals, sights and sites, which can get discouraging. Once the level of dedication to trip-planning feels like a part-time job it's easier to just give up and take a nap. So for those of you wondering how to we put trips together simply and without a travel agent (yes, they're popular again) or $10K, read on…

Find Your Flight

Scottscheapflights.com was recommended to us by a friend not too long ago. This guy has made it his life’s work (we think) to find us great deals and he doesn’t disappoint. Sign up and Scott will email you a couple of times per week with cheap international flights from multiple cities and airlines. You can pay a small fee for the premium version to get more deals and be in the know faster than when the free service. Right now we’re all about the free one. If/when we upgrade we’ll let you know if its worth it.

Google Flights has been around for a while now and we love the simplicity of the site. Prices are the name of the game and they display next to cities all over the globe. It’s like having the world at your fingertips. Just chose the parameters relevant to your search it will narrow the results. Beware, sometimes the prices are inaccurate so we use is as a reference point. Also, you might discover that not all deals link to a website for purchase. It’s a real bummer to call a Delta agent about a google flight and have him politely call you crazy in his most professional Delta voice.

Kayak’s “anywhere” option basically does the same thing as google flights and you can buy your ticket there with confidence. We wanted to know how far $450 would take us so we typed in our nearby airport and used Anywhere as our destination. After choosing Spring 2017 we reduced the price and took in all the magical results. Total game changer. Now one of us is going to Barcelona in March!

ZZZZZ

We’re big fans of trivago.com for our hotel picks because it’s easy to find the cheapest rate out there. Since it compares prices for all/most of the sites listing their rates we can quickly make arrangements and move on to planning the activities.

Airbnb. Enough said.

What to do, what to do…

Everyone knows TripAdvisor is the bees-knees when it comes to reviews and “to do’s”. It’s the hub for finding activities and real-people reviews. But sometimes we find that it's too junky and time-consuming when pulling our vacation plans together. Another site that solves this problem is triphobo.com. It shows you the best times to visit popular tourist spots and lets you build and share the hour-by-hour itinerary you just created. You can check out other traveler’s itineraries, too. We find it to be simpler to use for customizing our plans since TripAdvisor’s site has become so crowded with information. Analysis paralysis can be tough to overcome sometimes. We say use Trip Advisor for the reviews after you’ve used Trip Hobo to put it all together. That’s just to make sure you covered all the touristy bases.

 
 

Airbnb is back on the list for their new endeavor into experiences. You can purchase surfing lessons, nighttime bike rides, cooking classes, etc. from local experts. This is pretty cool for all the obvious reasons. We haven't used this option before but it might be worth a try for Spain.

There are definitely other websites out there that help you get the job done but this post is about simplicity.  These sites reduce our anxiety and our tendency to procrastinate because they don't involve a ton of steps or time. Then we can get back to whats really important like searching Pinterest for golden milk recipes and cake batter pancakes. Let us know where you go for the best deals and ease of use so we can share them with our readers.  

Let Us Give Thanks

This year at Thanksgiving dinner, we went around the table listing things for which we were thankful. Not able to think of anything meaningful and specific, the words that came to mind were family, food and shelter. That’s nbd since those are major topics in our lives, but it got us thinking ... Were we unable to recall the wonderful events happening because we took them for granted, or just momentarily downplaying our great lives because we struggled in Toastmasters? Odds are good that we perceived a lot of our 2016 happenings as insignificant. But the reality is that most everything is something to be thankful for amirite? So if you can’t add anything to list because “nothing good happened this year” keep reading…

...many of us worry about that one thing going wrong instead of the nine things going right

Why do we fail to see the good? Thanks to our brain’s negativity bias, we simply focus on and remember the so-called bad things. Events we perceive as negative just have a stronger impact. While this works for cavepeople hiding from bobcats, or whatever, positivity goes farther these days; especially for us thirty-somethings. There's a LOT happening in our lives now and many of us worry about that one thing going wrong instead of the nine things going right. It’s likely that efforting from a less-than-positive perspective will just make it worse, anyway. This keeps that light-hearted version of ourselves in hiding. Since we’re still trying to find our boot socks and a low-carb lifestyle, we don’t need to add more to the list.  

For those that have come to know us through our book, you know we’re all about practicing the Law of Attraction. You also know that we’re no exception to the cavepeople rule. That means we also have to buck our natural inclination to feel negativity and increase our gratitude. We worry about that little mistake we made at work, if our hair will fall flat or be too frizzy, our life’s purpose, etc. But, then, we catch ourselves. Suddenly, we remember how much we learned from that mistake, that we at least have hair to style and Oprah. We make the shift because feeling good feels good! We know, its pretty basic reasoning but it really is that simple.

Our health, wealth and everything else depend on us noticing the good that’s happening. When our blah thoughts transition to happier ones, our insides and vibrations change to allow the good stuff to come to us. Even if it doesn’t come, feeling excited or content without needing our outcomes to change is truly awesome. The whole point is just to feel good now. Take a minute to think about the seemingly small things that are happening in your life right this minute.

Need some help? Well, we’re happy that our nails are done and that we meditated this morning. You know what we’re not going to think about? How our hands have looked ragged for the last two months or that we only meditated for four minutes. Clearly, by writing this we’re thinking about it but you know what we’re trying to say. Small stuff counts, too. We’re not saying you should take these realizations to your next Thanksgiving dinner unless you really want to discuss your nails at the table. But get in the habit of taking in the fresh air and feeling joy in breathing it. Appreciate the things you normally take for granted or seem unimportant. Practice your gratitude by jotting down what you’re thankful for on the back of an envelope or your journal. It seems like there's always something better to do than spend five minutes jotting down random thoughts but trust us, it will put a smile on your face. Then, take a minute and let us know what you wrote in the comments below!