Archive | October, 2012

Cry Me a River, Build Me a Bridge

26 Oct

…and get over it! I just love this saying that was told to me by my awesome friend, Jordyn, back in high school and it stuck with me for years! “Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and GET OVER IT!” Simple as that—or is it?

photo credit: Sontra via photopin cc

Haven’t we all checked into the Heartbreak Hotel? Whether it was after you got dumped or even if you were the one doing the dumping, break-ups are the worst. You can’t help but stew over the what-ifs and why-nots as it completely takes over every bit of your mind leaving no room to think or function normally. You’re just waiting for anyone to bring it up so you can get another chance to hear yourself explain it out loud for the 15th time—hoping it’ll all make sense eventually.

I was having brunch with my mom last week as I received a text message from one of my girlfriends—who shall remain nameless since this is sort of a sensitive subject—saying, “Dear love doctor Joyce, I would like to request a blog piece on ‘getting over it’.” My first blog request (yay)! Well, I definitely don’t have a PhD in the love department but I have gone through more break-ups in the past few years than most people do in a lifetime; which I think makes me the opposite of an expert haha! But one thing I DO know about love is how to bounce back! No one wants to mope for months and become that poor, jaded girl who can’t let go. So, how does one “get over it” in a healthy, brief manner?  Well, everyone is different. We all cope with loss in very different ways. Here are a few ways I shake off the break-up funk that might just work for you, too!

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1. BRIEF PERMITTED MELTDOWN: Many girls spend the first post-heartbreak days reciting to themselves, “don’t cry, don’t cry”, but I say, just f-ing cry! BE SAD! And don’t apologize for it. Depending on how serious the relationship was, it could literally feel like losing family—so why are you holding back from feeling anything? You are human and being ripped out of love is one the most painful experiences you’ll go through in life. I allow myself to stay at home post-break-up-weekend, no make-up, sweats-only dress code while stuffing my face with Thrifty’s chocolate malted crunch ice cream (5 cool points if you know what’s up) and watching my favorite chick-flick, “The Holiday”… don’t ask me why this is my movie of choice when I’m sad. Oh, I know… Because Jude Law is insanely hot, that cheating bastard! But don’t get too carried away ladies. I said a weekend and not any longer. Have your pity party then bounce back to reality. Sure, you’ll still be pretty bummed but you have no choice but to carry on with life. Remember, there are worse things in life, you are still alive, you are still fabulous and there are like 674,000 men ages 25 to 34 in Los Angeles (I totally just Googled that) ready to help you get over your lame ex.

2. KEEP BUSY:  Staying preoccupied is key to your sanity after a tough break-up. I always drown myself into my work, grab drinks with my girlfriends, or hit the gym way more than I ever would while being in a relationship (great revenge is feeling super fit & sexy— definitely my kinda ‘eff you’ to an ex-boyfriend). I specifically remember being heartbroken and my two best guy friends, Jules and Richard, physically dragged me out of bed by my lifeless limbs to get me to stop watching Oprah, change out of my PJs, and go to the gym with them! Don’t give yourself too much time to think about it. The more bored you are, the more likely you will obsess over the details. Find a new hobby or perfect an old one that you put off while being consumed in your old relationship. Just do you!

*Especially if it was a break-up over a bullsh*t reason like him cheating or being a disrespectful asshole, GO OUT AND FORGET ABOUT THAT LOSER! Two years ago, I went over to my ex’s condo after being out of town for a couple weeks and found a condom wrapper in his downstairs trash can. Let’s just say, we were never getting freaky in the living room and I didn’t buy his ‘maybe it was my friend Christian’s who came over’ story. Oh, please! Are you bleeping kidding me? So, after quite a violently angry rage, I called my cousin Michelle to tell her about this idiot and by the end of the conversation, we had our bags packed and flights to Las Vegas booked! True story.

Here’s a pic of me literally less than 48 hours after the break-up. A little bitter, a little drunk, and a whole lotta RELIEVED! (Seen in the background: my hilarious cousin/BFF Michelle  who is always down for a good time and helped me laugh my way through my broken heart)….

I mean, of course you’d normally need healthy healing time but if he had the audacity to cheat on you, the very least you can do for yourself is not waste another second on this person. If it’s a done deal and an unforgivable reason, I say, to Hell with him! Put on your best little black dress, slap on that hot red lipstick and celebrate your independence!


photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

3. STEP AWAY FROM THE STATUS UPDATE: There’s nothing more pathetic than updating a status or Tweet on your social media accounts to notify your friends how heartbroken you are. Sure, it’s your Facebook and you can do what you want—but do you really want your ex or his friends or even YOUR friends knowing you can’t move on? It’s like those awkward statuses people post when they’re fighting with their boyfriends… your friends don’t know if they should “like” the status, comment “are you okay?” when they really just want you to shut up, or just leave it alone and keep scrolling down their News Feed. That’s what your girlfriends are for! Call them privately or go out to lunch to tell them how you feel. You don’t need support on an open forum because sadly, a lot of people get sick pleasure out of your pain, and that’s the honest truth. Misery loves company. My ex-boyfriend who is still good friends with my sister told her, “I guess Joyce is handling it well, she looks really happy on Facebook.” Why? Because I don’t post emo song lyrics!!! Social media should be used for light-hearted subjects and keeping in touch with friends… and relentlessly plugging your blog (just kidding). It’s like a photo album you’d show to a girlfriend you haven’t seen in years; you wouldn’t document when you’re miserable.

*I just realized this has nothing to do with HOW exactly you get over someone. I think I just added it in there for kicks. Just do as I say, don’t ask questions haha! Well, here’s some correlation to getting over him: DON’T FACEBOOK STALK HIM OR HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND. It’s not healthy for you and it’s super creepy. You don’t need to keep refreshing his page to find out what his latest move is; all you have to know is it’s not with you! Geez, even I think that sounded a little harsh…

4. START DATING: Now, this one’s tough. What is too soon? What is not soon enough? Let’s just say, after you’re sick of being depressed over your ex, start putting yourself back on the market. You don’t necessarily have to pursue every hot guy you bump into, but don’t be opposed to meeting someone new. Some say, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” That’s a little vulgar; but may have some truth to it. I do not suggest hitting the sheets with the next available guy… this is a FIGURATIVE saying. My interpretation of it? A great way to forget about someone in the past is to meet someone new and realize your ex doesn’t compare to them. It’ll open your eyes that you may have just found someone even better than the rest! But be careful, rebound dating can be a double-edged sword! You might go out with someone so awful that it makes you want to run back into your ex’s arms OR you might just meet the love of your life…. I think it’s worth the risk.

My current boyfriend, Nate, and I had both just gotten out of relationships when we met at the bar I worked at where his friend’s band was performing; his former relationship was what I understand to be very brief and the break-up was a couple months prior, mine was a year long and the break-up… a couple DAYS prior. Crazy, I know. After catching each other’s eyes all night (I mean, hello? He’s 6’5” and a gorgeous hunk of man and I’m almost considered a legal midget—how can you not stare?), he finally asked if I’d like to have dinner with him sometime and I could barely let him finish before saying yes! I normally dread when customers ask me out on a date while I’m bartending. I tend to dodge the question by making up a pretend boyfriend that gets so far stretched that I’m even sometimes impressed with how creative the lie was. With Nathan, on the other hand, the second I saw him I got extremely nervous and felt myself blushing and literally sweating (so gross) when I’d catch him watching me. Even though I had just broken up with Anthony, something inside of me said I just had to go out with Nate. Weeks of dating went by and we shared this undeniable, strong attraction to one another that every chance we got, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other—instant mental and physical stimulation. I took him to a family gathering and it turned out that all my cousins were his old high school friends or his current clients, and they already loved him… Small world! After acknowledging both of us being newly single, we tried to “take it slow”, although, that quickly changed. We both came to grips with the fact that we were both over our exes and they just didn’t come close to comparing to one another. Our bond was like none we’ve ever experienced before. So, what are we waiting for?! Let’s make this shit official! It’s funny how you think a relationship is so meaningful until you’re in one that makes that old relationship seem so amateur. And now, almost a year and a half later, we are borderline annoyingly crazy about each other, parents to three beautiful baby DOGS, share the same hopes and dreams, and travel the world together. Here’s us in Santorini, Greece…

 After a devastating split with Anthony, I thought to myself, “I give up! I seriously am done dating in this stupid city. All the good ones are married or gay.” And just then in a very unassuming dive bar, when I least expected it, I found a man who is some kind of wonderful. *cue in Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” song*

I realize none of these suggestions may help you because you might have a totally opposite personality than mine, but the point is you need to find what works for you and stick with it. My girlfriend Cecilia who enjoys reading Live & Love in L.A. mentioned on my Facebook thread regarding this subject, “I tend to grab some boxing gloves. There’s something therapeutic about beating the crap out of a sand bag. It’s good to release all those negative emotions somehow.”  You go, girl! Better the sand bag than your ex’s face! Or is it? Hehe. (Disclaimer: That would be considered an illegal assault and Live & Love in L.A. does not promote domestic abuse). LOL!

photo credit: SweetOnVeg via photopin cc

Bottom line, no matter how you slice it, breaking up with someone sucks. Getting over that someone might suck even more. It rarely ever ends amicably and mutually which always results in one person from the equation left with the task of moving on. Some say you are supposed to consider how long you were with your ex, divide that time in half, and that is approximately how long it’ll take to fully recover from that relationship. Although that might be an accurate analysis more often than not, you can’t use one universal rule for every relationship. It may take much longer for some, and surprisingly much shorter for others. If you take one thing from reading this post, please let it be that you are worth the difficult process of moving on. Whether it was a good relationship overall or a very unhealthy glad-I-got-out-of-there affair, if it’s over, it’s over. Cliché warning: Life is really too short to be stuck on someone who is not stuck on you.

Side note: Live & Love in L.A. has reached over 1,000 hits! WOOHOO! Cyber high-five to all you awesome readers. I absolutely love writing about my dysfunctional love life and I’m glad some of you out there find comfort, humor, or whatever it is that makes you feel good about reading my stories. Thank you times a million!

The Kiss of Death

20 Oct


Okay, so the title is a little dramatic but I thought this would be a great topic many single girls need to hear. As women, most of us are expressive, emotional and honest. Being open with our feelings is one of the great benefits we have over guys! BUT in the early stages of dating someone, these too-soon-taboos can definitely be major turn-offs to men. I know it sounds juvenile, but dating IS A GAME; at least in the beginning anyways. My best friend always tells me, “Joyce, I don’t feel like playing games… he should just like me for me.” And I agree! But no one’s saying, “don’t be yourself”. Just act with a bit of discretion. Too much too soon can turn anyone off, the good guys and the douchebags.

A few examples of WHAT NOT TO DO on a first date or you can kiss that relationship goodbye…
MEET MY FAMILY: I was just texting my good friend, Brandon (29-year-old handsome bachelor), asking how his date went last week.  His date, Jocelyn, is this energetic, friendly Britney Spears pre-crazy look-a-like that I met at the bar I work at. I set them up thinking it would be a match made in Heaven… and it was, until she dropped a few bombs. Not only did Jocelyn mention she really wants a boyfriend, but she also asked Brandon if he wanted to be her date to her sister’s wedding coming up… ON THEIR FIRST DATE! Most guys will instantly be scared off and see red flags if you ask them this on the first date. Us girls would think it’s “so cute” and immediately start mentally planning an outfit if a gorgeous guy asked us on a first date to be his “plus one” at a family function. Guys, on the other hand, freak out about having to meet mom and dad too soon and do not like being forced to think about a serious future with you before getting a chance to have some fun. Let his introduction to the family happen organically. You’ll know when it’s right. If you’re worrying what his response will be and if it might scare him off, it’s probably too early.

photo credit: pmorgan via photopin cc

T.M.I.: Too much information!!! Steer away from heavy subjects like views on marriage, children, politics and religion while on a first date. Sure, you eventually have to touch on these sensitive subjects to make sure you’re both on the same page and share the same values. But keep it light-hearted and to a minimum. There’s nothing that will have you feeling a foot-in-your-mouth moment more like telling someone you think their religious practices are so f’ing boring… oh wait, someone actually told me that!
SEX BEFORE MONOGAMY: As the love guru, Patti Stanger from Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker says, “no sex before monogamy” and I couldn’t agree more. Now, I know many of you are up and arms ready to tell me about how your brother’s girlfriend’s sister slept with her boyfriend on the first date and now they’re married with two kids and another on the way. Good for her; except she’s the very rare exception. My former Hooters co-worker, Melissa, called me before a first date with Mr. Perfect On Paper (CEO, a perfect dog, and a beautiful Christian-Grey-type loft) and we both jokingly rehearsed her mantra for the night ,“no-skin-to-skin!” That didn’t last too long. Needless to say, she showed up at my apartment a few nights later crying that he hadn’t called…. And he never did. Now don’t be a hater and say, “Well she worked at Hooters!” You’d be surprised how many of them met their husbands while serving them wings and beer. Point is, no matter how hot you are… Hooters girl or not (though there ARE some janky looking Hooters girls, can I get an Amen?)… being easy is not a good look.
— KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON! Make them work for it. If you’re still being introduced as “my friend____”, you should probably keep your panties on.
— DO NOT, I repeat, do not have a first/second/third date at his house. Couches + booze + mood lighting= sexy time.
— Have a rule. NOT the 3-date rule, hoochie… more like a 3-month rule. I always live by ‘no sex before monogamy’. Keeping a promise to yourself is key. If you break it, you’re only hurting you.
Don’t be this guy…
If you’re reading this and thinking, What a double standard! Guys do it all the time and aren’t judged, then feel free to whore it up! Just remember, Mr. Right could be right under your nose.. no really, like he’s laying underneath you and thinking  how easy that was. After all, this blog isn’t for ALL girls… especially not the ones who are newly single, maybe a little bitter and “just want to go out and have fun”. It’s for the ones ready for something and someone real, like I was for so long. So when you’re waiting by the phone wondering why he’s not falling all over himself to call you, just think… you probably shouldn’t have had those last 3 Vodka Sodas and should have kept your Victoria’s Secret a secret!
I’d love to hear what YOU all think is another form of a “kiss of death”!

Foodie Fridays: First Date Restaurants

13 Oct

First off, I have to acknowledge all of you wonderful readers who are still semi-interested in Live & Love in L.A. When I started this “passion project” two weeks ago I had no idea I’d reach 600 hits… ever!

I thought my only readers would be Nathan who is morally obligated to support all my ventures, my family whom I guilt into reading and sharing the link, and my cousins/girlfriends who know (with their permission, of course) their stories will be exposed on here. Haha! I’m so touched that anyone would take the few minutes out of their Friday nights to read my blog. Thank you.

On to the good stuff, or shall I say, the yummy stuff. Let’s switch gears from how I’ve loved in this city to how I live in LA; and one of my absolute favorite ways to truly live is to eat. There isn’t anything better than a gorgeous plate of delectable food, a hand-crafted cocktail made with fresh ingredients, and good company to share it with… and one of the best places to find just that is in the greatest restaurants of Los Angeles, CA.

photo credit: DevinHand via photopin cc

All my friends know I’m a total Facebook junkie; I share my whole life through social media. I find so much simple joy in posting silly photos of my English Bulldog, vacation memories, iPhone pics of out-of-control Vegas trips with my girls, but most of all, documenting excellent food; from what I’m cookin’ up for dinner to an exquisite dish from The Bazaar by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel. One benefit of over-sharing my food adventures is being able to recommend great places to friends. Lots of people message me saying they saw my check-in last week and are wondering if it’s a good choice for their husband’s birthday dinner, an anniversary, or a first date. After many years of “I’ll pick you up at 8:00 and I made reservations at _____”, on top of the time I’ve been with my current boyfriend who has introduced me to incredible eateries, I have had the privilege to experience some fantastic dining. So here are a few of my favorite first date spots that are subtly fit to impress:

1. Church & State
1850 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA. 90021
(213) 405-1434

Located in a somewhat hidden industrial area of downtown LA, Church & State is a hidden gem. I instantly fell in love with this French bistro for their dim, intimate, loud-but-not-too-loud ambience with a perfect view of the open kitchen. Service was exceptional, cocktails crafted to perfection, and the food… Oh goodness, the food. To name a few: Poitrine de Porc is braised, tender pork belly with fingerling potatoes and fresh fig in a pork broth. Every bite was fatty/salty bliss. Steak Frites is a perfectly cooked melt-in-your-mouth hanger steak accompanied with a creamy/tangy béarnaise sauce. The roasted bone marrow, need I say more? Yes, broaden your taste buds, people! Best way to enjoy really exceptional food is remaining open-minded and adventurous. The cherry on top… my cocktail, The Spice Doctor, was a party in my mouth and had just the right amount of heat with a chile salt rim. Win. Win. Win. This is the ultimate first date spot. Nice but not slacks-and-dress-shoes fancy and it has a very casual city night feel to it. Nothing hipster. Nothing snobby. Just incredible cuisine.

2. Little Dom’s
2128 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA. 90027
(323) 661-0055

What says ‘awesome first date’ more than sharing plates of Italian comfort food in the quaint neighborhood of Los Feliz? Split what might be the best Fried Oyster Sandwich with spicy mayo, a prosciutto pizza and the famous cheese balls. Melted gooey cheese deep-fried. Yes, please. Wash it down with their signature Moscow Mules served the right way in a copper mug garnished with a fresh mint sprig. Being a very small and cozy venue, they get booked quickly on weekend nights. Make reservations at least a week in advance! Casual, trendy atmosphere and attire.

3. The Tripel
333 Culver Blvd.
Playa Del Rey, CA. 90293
(310) 821-0333

Last but not least… The Tripel, a great gastropub near the water! Good luck finding a seat since there’s probably only 20 seats plus a limited bar in the whole restaurant but the grub is so worth it! Munch on gourmet frog legs and fantastic beer cocktails. As you can tell from all my restaurant recommendations, I love tapas places (serve small plates to share). It’s the best way to try a little bit of everything and get a good grasp of all of the chef’s signature dishes.

All of these places will run you around $50-$90 depending on how much your belly is craving. Not only do I love to eat but being a bartender, I have to check out every restaurant’s mixology skills. So keep the frou-frou cocktails comin’! And remember ladies, REAL men treat you on a first date. No going dutch. Don’t try to be the overly independent Gloria Steinem pulling out your wallet… *cough* MY BFF SUSAN *cough*. We admire your desire to show your date you’ve got your own ca$h money, but let a guy properly court you on a first date. Just be grateful, say “thank you”, and treat him another time.

Even if the first date is a total bust and you’re going to kill your friend for setting you up with her boyfriend’s douchebag buddy, as my best friends, Jennifer & Susan, and I say, “well, a girl’s gotta eat!”…….Bon appétit!

Have any first date horror stories you want to share? Comment or message me! I’d love to hear them and boy, do I have some of my own!!

Stay tuned for next week’s post, The Kiss of Death, where I share the big don’ts single girls need to know when meeting a potential Mr. Right.

All That You Can Be

5 Oct

No, I am not trying to recruit you into the Army but the motto, “be all that you can be”, is the theme of this post. We went over in my first entry about how damn hard it is to find a decent guy in Los Angeles. You know, the kind of guy your dad would approve of or the kind of guy your mom has been trying to set you up with (minus him being your mom’s church friend’s socially awkward virgin son). Although, being the best you when Mr. Right comes along can make or break your chance with him.
While most women are so focused on what kind of man they want and how to find him, they often don’t think to take a step back and find themselves first. I know, I know, “finding yourself” just sounds so cliché but there really is something to it. Women these days have laundry lists of what they need in their ideal guy from ‘must love dogs’ to ‘funny and charming’ or ‘successful and ambitious’. I remember my mom once telling me to list all the things I want in a perfect man to always remind myself and one of my top requests was good dental hygiene since I’m an obsessive flosser LOL! –but really, what do YOU have to offer? Do you possess all these characteristics you are looking for in someone else? Before you expect to land a great guy, make sure you got it goin’ on first!

Let’s examine the 3 main characteristics all girls want in their ideal guy:

1. Good Looking: Here’s a no-brainer. Nobody wants to date some repulsive oompa loompa. We want a Ryan Gosling type with washboard abs and an insanely gorgeous smile. Although I hate to say this but let’s look in the mirror, ladies. This excerpt should be used in my later post called “What Your Girlfriends Aren’t Telling You”. If you are obsessing over how badly you eat or how much you need to go to the gym, then fix it. Stop the excuses. This does NOT mean get skinnier. Skinny does not = sexy. Just take steps to lead a more active life that makes you feel better and stronger from the inside. Let’s face it, we are all insecure. I can’t remember the last time I put on a bikini and liked what I saw 100%. If you have a six-pack and can’t relate then stop reading and go eat an In-N-Out double cheeseburger. Animal style, bitch.

I mean, maybe I was happy with my body back when I did Hooters swimsuit competitions and would almost pass out at the gym after taking Hydroxycut and other diet pills in the same day. But who wants to live like that? I was miserable and emotionally broken… not to mention, freakin’ hungry! However, there IS a happy medium. We’re not talking some disgusting water/lemon/cayenne pepper cleanse and hitting the weights 7 days a week, but eating sensibly and exercising at least 2 or 3 times a week. I truly don’t mean to sound shallow but we can all agree that the better you look, the happier you feel. The happier you feel, the more confident you are… and trust me, when you’re in a room full of girls, the confident ones shine a lot brighter.

2. Money:

“Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger”… No, I’m kidding. I’m really not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting a successful man. In fact, seeking an accomplished, driven man is a great idea! But these powerful men don’t stick around for very long if you don’t have a lot to bring to the table as well. Yes, ladies, guys do actually want a girl with beauty AND brains. Maybe you don’t necessarily have to be making the kind of money they do, but you should definitely be well on the road to trying to get on their level… or even better, surpass it! When a guy is really looking to “put a ring on it” or at least put a girlfriend title on it, there’s no bigger turn-on than brains. It’s Los Angeles, pretty girls are everywhere, smart ones… not so much. So sure, you might be drop-dead gorgeous with killer legs but guess what? His mom, the most important gal in his life, isn’t impressed with your hot bod in the least bit. Be able to come over for dinner and wow her with what field you work in or you are studying, academic accomplishments and job promotions. Be able to contribute to your power couple status, not just being the trophy wife. Your guy should be your partner, not your sugar daddy.

Here’s a look at a text conversation with my girlfriend, Jazmin. I couldn’t be more proud of her statement about getting her life in order and prioritizing her goals before depending on any man to do things for her. More women need this mentality! You go, girl!

3. Smart & Independent: One of the biggest turn-ons about my boyfriend, Nathan, is how incredibly knowledgeable he is about almost everything under the sun. For the first time in my life, a boyfriend is the one teaching me smarty pants words. I’m usually the one rolling my eyes as the guys I used to date misused big words or wrote out ‘there’ when they meant ‘their’. In turn, Nate loves how goal-oriented, independent and what he calls ‘very smart’ I am. He even had the nerve to tell me when we first met he was so frustrated with his attraction to me because he “needed to date a 22 year old like he needed a hole in his head.” Did I mention he’s a little too honest?? In other words, that was the LAST thing he needed in his life. However, I was the exact opposite of what he expected of me; studying nursing, volunteering at the local hospital, bartending, co-owning a bar catering company at age 21, paying all my own bills, and being active in charities. Note: all of these things I was involved in that he admired about me were things I loved and had a true passion for. Do it for yourself and your own happiness before anyone or anything else. The fact that guys will adore this ambition is just an added bonus! Find your passions and pursue them.

This also kind of goes hand-in-hand with #2. With a M.A.C Cosmetics collection, anyone can be pretty but not everyone has the discipline and motivation to go to college. Education is intangible gold; something no one can ever take away from you. Studying hard and doing well in school usually leads to a great career which then gives you the ability to establish financial independence later on in life. Having your own cash flow is one of the most liberating feelings ever! Besides, don’t you want to buy that $1,400 Louis Vuitton handbag without having to ask permission first? Just kidding. Point is- no one should want to be dependent on any man. Bottom line: stay in school!

This could be you…

The list goes on but the moral of the story is that putting your goals before any man (or the search to find him) is a smart route to take. Furthermore, expecting more from a man than you expect of yourself is just plain foolish. Exceed your own expectations, establish yourself and that way, the right guy will have to prove himself worthy of you… not the other way around!






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