Tag Archives: love

Tipsy Tuesdays: Best Cocktails in Los Angeles

4 Jun

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Single girls in Los Angeles can agree that the longest and best relationship we’ve had is our love affair with cocktails. Sad, I know. We have laughed and cried with them, swore them off forever after a rough night, and always end up crawling back to feel it kiss our lips just once more.

With Mixology bars being the cool kids in school right now, Los Angeles hot spots are competing to have the biggest ice cubes, craziest ingredients, and spiciest chili salt rims for their crafted cocktails… and I’m a kid in a candy store trying them all on for size.

What the hell is “Mixology”, you ask? One heck of a fancy word for what’s going on in the head of a bartender who knows their sh*t. No artificial flavors. No pre-packaged mixers. No disgusting AMFs. It’s the art (and to some, a science) of creating a perfectly well-balanced drink with fresh ingredients.  Basically, it’s thinking outside the box while emulating pre-prohibition simplicity.

So, where’s the best place to down some liquid courage on a first date or a late-night rendezvous with your special someone? Here’s a list of my favorite places to enjoy the most luscious libations.

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Cheers! Salud! L’Chayyim! –Or whatever you say before you get wasted.

 

 

1. Red O Restaurant

8155 Melrose Ave.

Los Angeles, CA. 90046

323.655.5009

My boyfriend and I took our friend, Mauro, visiting from Italy to our favorite restaurant-- RED O! Favorites: La Dama Cocktail and Mojito Trio

My boyfriend and I took our friend, Mauro, visiting from Italy to our favorite restaurant– RED O! My Favorites: La Dama Cocktail and Mojito Trio

 

 

2. Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA

5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90036

323.857.6180

Favorite: Owl & The Pussycat Cocktail

My Favorite: Owl & The Pussycat Cocktail

 

Come for the famous cocktails & Stanley Kubrick exhibit, stay for the delicious cuisine. Enjoy the huge slabs of crispy pork belly and a generous portion of the squid ink pasta. You won't regret it.

Come for the famous cocktails & Stanley Kubrick exhibit, stay for the delicious cuisine. Enjoy the huge slabs of crispy pork belly and a generous portion of the squid ink pasta. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

3. 1886 Bar at the Raymond Restaurant

1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91105

626.441.3136

Favorite: The Bank Heist Cocktail. Tell the master mixologist, Brady Weise, I sent you and he'll carefully craft a little taste of perfection for you.

My Favorite: The Bank Heist Cocktail. Tell the master mixologist, Brady Weise, I sent you and he’ll carefully craft a little taste of perfection for you.

 

 

 

4. Rivera

1050 S. Flower St. Suite 102

Los Angeles, CA. 90015

213.749.1460

The famous (and my favorite) Barbacoa cocktail garnished with smoky beef jerky.

The famous (and my favorite) Barbacoa cocktail garnished with smoky beef jerky.

A small glimpse into the innovative cocktail menu at Rivera

A small glimpse into the innovative cocktail menu at Rivera

Because only highlighting their drinks would be sinful. Mussels swimming in amarillo butter.

Because only highlighting their drinks would be sinful. Mussels swimming in amarillo butter.

Stuffed Peppers. Insane.

Stuffed Peppers. Insane.

No caption necessary.

No caption necessary.

 

 

 

5. The Tap Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel

1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91106

626.568.3900

The Langham Huntington Lobby

The Langham Huntington Lobby

The Tap Room

The Tap Room

Best place to get a well done classic cocktail. My favorite: Pimm's Cup.

Best place to get a well done classic cocktail. My favorite: Pimm’s Cup.

 

 

 

6. Public School 310

9411 Culver Blvd.

Culver City, CA. 90232

310.558.0414

My favorite: Moscow Mules served in copper mugs. #proper

My favorite: Moscow Mules served in copper mugs. #proper

 

 

 

7. Trattoria Neapolis

336 S. Lake Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91101

626.792.3000

Ken, the bar manager, makes a mean Old Fashioned.

Ken, the bar manager, makes a mean Old Fashioned.

My Favorite: Proper Whiskey Sours shaken with an egg white for a frothy cocktail.

My Favorite: Proper Whiskey Sours shaken with an egg white for a frothy cocktail.

Grab a quick bite with your cocktail. One of the best octopus dishes I've ever had.

Grab a quick bite with your cocktail. One of the best octopus dishes I’ve ever had.

 

Can’t get enough of Live & Love in LA’s date night suggestions? Stay tuned for more Tipsy Tuesdays and Foodie Fridays features to come! But here’s a great website to hold you over until then…

Giftioni has the ultimate date night discounts for all you lovebirds. If you’re stumped on how to wow your main squeeze for their birthday or what to do for an anniversary, click on www.giftioni.com and browse through tons of unique gift packages that do all the special planning for you. You can surprise your fashionista girlfriend by revamping her wardrobe with her own personal stylist or even rent a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder for your car-fanatic beau and cruise the coast of Malibu for a day. Now that’s no boring dinner-and-a-movie date night! The cherry on top to sweeten the deal? Enter the coupon code “livelovela” at checkout and receive $15 off your gift! Offer expires June 17th.

A blog that answers all your dating dilemmas AND saves you $$$– does it get better than that? 😉

The Wedding Date

15 Apr

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I had the privilege of being a “plus one” to an intimate Los Angeles ranch wedding last night. The early evening lighting was picture perfect, the deep love of a beautiful bride & groom in the air, and the drinks were flowing with a handsome man by my side— how much better can a date night get?

I was inspired to write this post because I’ve attended many weddings in this city as the wedding date. Being asked by your guy to accompany him to a friend or family member’s wedding is kind of a big deal. Most bachelors who are casually dating without a special someone would rather go stag and scope out the cute bridesmaids. The commitment-phobia guys are the number one offenders of dateless weddings. They like to avoid taking girls to weddings because all single girls—yes, all—are inevitably fantasizing of their own dream wedding to come. There’s nothing scarier to a label-fearing guy than the girl he’s sleeping with suddenly struck with wedding fever!

So, here are a few wedding etiquette tips to help you get ready to attend as your man’s special lady and +1.

 

DO show enthusiasm and appreciation for the invitation from your guy in a newer relationship. Inviting someone to a wedding during the early stages of a relationship takes a bit of courage.

DON’T leave him hanging. A wedding is an event with a required RSVP for a reason, not just for him but for the marrying couple. Being a no-show to a price-per-plate dinner is tacky.

DO help him pick out the wedding gift. Most guys need a little direction when navigating through Crate & Barrel’s gift registry. And yes, always shop specific to the registry.

DO have fun getting ready together. Weddings are like proms for adults. It’s just so much fun to get your hair done, finally wear the special occasion dress hanging in your closet, and maybe put together a subtle match of colors with your date.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

...And we're off!

…And we’re off!

DON’T wear a white dress. This one’s a no-brainer. I hesitate to even wear beige. White is for the bride ONLY.

DO wear waterproof mascara. Watching couples exchange nuptials gets me every time.

DON’T overdo it. Dress for a wedding as if you were having dinner with Oprah. You don’t want his friends whispering about your cleavage—think flowy and sweet. Modest dress + statement necklace= golden.

DO come prepared to answer the “Are you guys next?” question. When you get to a certain age and have been together for enough time, people are naturally curious when you’ll take the next step. Keep your responses brief, optimistic, and light-hearted. Now is not the time to pour your heart out and tell guests how long you’ve been waiting for him to pop the damn question already!

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DO bring cash to tip the bartender! Many weddings have an open bar with complimentary drinks but make sure you’re carrying enough change to take care of your server.

DON’T get wasted if you’re the plus one and you’re not too familiar with his group of friends yet. Save yourself and your date the embarrassment.

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DO become familiar with formal place settings prior to the wedding. The trick to all those utensils? Work from the outside inward. And your bread plate is always to your left. Also, holding your fancy glass from the stem is considered the proper way to drink.

DO mingle with strangers at your assigned dinner table. You want your date to be confident in choosing a social, friendly gal as his date.

DON’T worry about that weird superstition where it’s bad luck to say, “Best wishes” to the groom and “Congratulations” to the bride. Showing happiness and well wishes is always appreciated– no matter how it’s said.

CHEESE!

CHEESE!

DO take lots of photos. I grew up in a family where home videos and family photos are cherished. Life is not only too short but too beautiful to not capture.

DO enjoy being in the presence of true love.

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THANK YOU READERS FOR HELPING LIVE AND LOVE IN L.A. REACH OVER 5,300 VIEWS! I’M SO HAPPY TO KNOW YOU LOVE “LOVE” AS MUCH AS I DO! KEEP THE REQUESTS COMING!

LOVE, JOYCE

The Bright Side To Being Single

27 Mar

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Everyone has that friend who doesn’t know the right thing to say when you’re down and out. My favorite panic-mode sympathy line is, “Well, look on the bright side….” Then, they proceed to tell you a bunch of lame reasons you should be happy in a shitty situation.

Well, this blog post is not going to be that. Sure, it’s a look-on-the-bright-side theme but it’s a list of actually awesome reasons why staying single in Los Angeles really IS something to be celebrated.

I turned to two of my best single girlfriends, Chanel and Rachel, for some input on why being a 20-something single girl is flirty and fabulous!

1. You didn’t settle. Be thankful you’re alone rather than being like your girlfriend who’s miserably with her broke, rude or cheating boyfriend who she can’t seem to break up with.

2. YOU TIME. Your weekends aren’t shared with anyone unless you want them to be. You can pick and choose when you want to be around your friends, go on a date, or just take a bubble bath at home on a Friday night. No obligations.

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3. You learn independence. All women, single and taken, need to learn how to fend for themselves.

4. Ladies Night! Being single gives you ample time to spend with the people who understand you the most, your girls. When you have a boyfriend, it’s inevitable to disappear a little in your little cloud of love. As a taken woman, my occasional girls’ nights are such a breath of fresh air. I love my relationship but there’s nothing like a little girl talk over a glass of wine.

5. You don’t have to shave your legs if you don’t feel like it (the best reason, in my opinion—by Rachel).

6. You save money. Having a boyfriend can get expensive on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Being single has you spending only on family, SOME friends, but mostly yourself.

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7. Guilt-free flirting. There’s something about not having anyone to report to. You can go out, talk to as many guys as your little heart desires and give out your number as many times as you want.

8. Nobody is judging you. I’d be lying to say I do whatever I want when I want while being in a relationship. My boyfriend gives me the evil eye when my weekly online shopping packages arrive. Whenever he comes around while I’m browsing the Hautelook iPhone app, I quickly press the button to the homepage and pretend I’m just checking my e-mails. This doesn’t happen when you’re single.

9.  You don’t have a mother-in-law.

10. You can do weird things with no one looking. Come on, girls, we all have strange rituals we like to keep to ourselves.  I purposely watch reruns of Full House while my boyfriend is at work. Shhh! #dontjudgeme

11. Your decision to go to a wild weekend in Vegas with the girls doesn’t start with, “Babe… I was wondering… if maybe… I could possibly…”

12. Giving your heart a break. The ups and down of romance are sometimes just too much to endure. Flying solo= no fights, no bickering, no heartbreak.

13. No one is counting your cocktails. During a night on the town you don’t have the constant whisper, “Is that your third Cosmo?”  You’re single and you’ll get shitfaced if you want to!

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14. It’s more fun to laugh at couples’ dramatic Facebook posts or Tweets when they’re fighting if you’re single. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s pretty entertaining regardless!

15. Finally, the most important upside to being single is learning to love yourself. I’m a firm believer that you can’t fully love someone until you truly love yourself; who you are, what you stand for, what you love to do and how you treat others. Self-love is something no man can ever fulfill.

So, while you wait for your knight in shining BMW, learn to appreciate all that single life has to offer. It’s pretty fun and fabulous!

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Foodie Fridays: Mind-blowing Munchies

12 Mar

Thanks to my blog host, WordPress, I’m able to track which of my posts are viewed the most, what countries my readers are from (shout-out to all you awesome foreign country readers), and what search terms are put into Google to find Live & Love in L.A. My favorite findings are the search terms; everything from your typical “why didn’t he call after our first date?” to “what to wear on a blind date” and “why guys are such assholes”—Yes, someone actually found my blog typing that in. However, the most views come from people searching “ideas for Los Angeles date night.”

So, I thought it was the perfect time for a Foodie Friday feature on the most mouth-watering bites I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in Los Angeles. I know it’s not Friday but give me a break! I’m in nursing school, bartend part-time, co-own a bar catering company, and blog my little heart out. I’m constantly a hot mess—but I try my best to post once a week. 🙂

Here are 3 must-try date night spots with mind-blowing munchies in Los Angeles:

1. Animal

435 N. Fairfax Ave.

Los Angeles, CA. 90048

323.782.9225

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Animal Restaurant is insane—in the best way possible. It’s a true nightmare for vegans but Heaven on Earth for us carnivores. The entire menu is dedicated to outrageously bizarre bites made from parts of animals most food amateurs would cringe at. My palate, on the other hand, is adventurous, to say the least. Whenever I visit the Philippines, my cousins constantly dare me to eat weird things like balut (fertilized duck embryo) and fried baby chick fetus on a stick… from shady streets carts… and I do it– happily. Animal is much more refined than a Filipino street cart but their cuisine style isn’t far off. You won’t be the same after sinking your teeth into their rich chicken liver toast or scraping out the marrow right off the bone and spreading it onto a perfectly crunchy buttered toast. After dining here you won’t even correlate bacon with pork anymore—instead, crunchy pig ears! Basically, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at Animal. My basic rule for good eating: try everything once.

2. Picca

9575 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90035

310.277.0133

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This trendy Peruvian gem brings Los Angeles the best:

Antichuco -amazingly tender meat skewers

Causa -basically Peruvian sushi—picture delicate piles of spicy albacore on a bed of yellow mashed potato in perfectly bite-sized squares

Ceviche -everyone knows what ceviche is but Picca’s is with the high-quality halibut or seabass with sweet potatoes for that Peruvian twist

Choritos– last but certainly not least, the most incredible mussels dish I’ve ever had. Ever. Swimming in Amarillo butter.

I love that you can snack on comfort food with an upscale twist in a high-volume, sexy atmosphere. Everything from the eye-catching entrance to the wildly talented mixologists whipping up Pisco Sours behind the bar, Picca is sure to put the WOW factor into your dining experience. *If you’re really feeling brave, ask for the Avocado Project cocktail.*

3. CaCao Mexicatessen

1576 Colorado Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90041

323.478.2791

I don’t want to be criticized for being “too bougie” and only suggesting fancier, pricey places. So if you’re on a budget but still want to impress a date with a restaurant selection, go straight to CaCao in Eagle Rock. It’s 1,000 times better than your typical Mexican cuisine and has “unique” written all over it! Under their “favorites” menu lays their famous duck confit and fried duck skin tacos which both are a must. Although, my #1 pick and what I will continue to come back for is the Elote de la Calle—corn on the cob covered in cotija cheese, drizzled with a light cream and finished with powdered chile. Thank you, food gods. Oh, and their drinks hold their own, too! Delicious Corona Micheladas rimmed with spicy chili salt and for a liquid dessert, Abuelita’s hot chocolate. YUM.

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The Secret to Great Sex

26 Feb

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Isn’t this the question everyone really wants answered? There are so many factors that contribute to a great sexcapade (sexual escapade); the right guy, position, lighting, mood, etc. I find most of those things pretty easy to adjust—maybe not always finding the right romp partner but everything else is easily manipulated. The one secret to great sex that seems to be the hardest to achieve is…

FEELING SEXY IN YOUR SKIN!

Feeling good naked is what every woman wants but it’s nearly impossible to be completely satisfied with our bodies. Can you blame us?! We spend hours on end staring at the nipped-and-tucked Real Housewives of Orange County and Carl’s Jr. commercials that even have us girls checking out other girls! The reality is ALL women have imperfections and insecurities. Some of us just aren’t married to plastic surgeons who can suck us down after having babies and don’t have glam squads following us around everywhere we go—and that’s okay!

My definition of sexy isn’t overly skinny, collar bones protruding, wrinkle-free, stretch mark-free aliens. Our “beauty marks” are what makes us who we are. Moms need to be proud of their stretch marks because not every woman is blessed with the ability to bear children and I BET your husband doesn’t mind them one bit! Girls without rock-hard abs need to get over the constant tummy hiding because guess what? GUYS LIKE A LITTLE MEAT ON YOUR BONES. And no, I’m not just blowing sunshine up your a**, they really do!

If you’re still not convinced and still obsess over your body, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. There’s nothing that bugs me more than Debbie Downers. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or thinking your body just isn’t able to lose that kind of weight. Want to know the real secret to losing weight? NO JUICE FAST. NO POWDER SHAKES. NO WATER/LEMON/CAYENNE CRAP—just eat clean and exercise more! Notice I did not say eat less. Even if you eat less junk, it’s still junk. Stop torturing yourselves trying to find the fastest crash diet that worked for your friend’s friend. There’s no easy way out. It takes hours at the gym, pushing yourself, and saying no to temptations.

Instead of reaching for that bagel & cream cheese, munch on my favorite breakfast: granola mix with diced apples and non-fat milk. Filling morning fuel.

Instead of reaching for that bagel & cream cheese, munch on my favorite breakfast: granola mix with diced apples and non-fat milk. Filling morning fuel.

I do not consider myself overweight whatsoever even though I have dramatic moments where I stupidly say out loud, “I feel so fat.” I realize most people want to slap me when I say that because no one likes to hear that from a “skinny” girl. Although, there really are times I feel disgusting and bloated. Contrary to what most people think, I’m not “naturally thin”. I actually effing hate when people say that because I truly have to put in effort to not let myself go. There have been times (my senior year in high school-ugh!) where I ate horribly, stopped exercising and looked and felt like crap. So I made a lifestyle change for myself—not for anyone else.

My new obsession is juicing! Great post-workout treat or even a dinner replacement if I cheated and had an enormous lunch. Follow "Juicing Vegetables" on Facebook. They have the best belly busting recipes.

My new obsession is juicing! Great post-workout treat or even a dinner replacement if I cheated and had an enormous lunch. Follow “Juicing Vegetables” on Facebook. They have the best belly busting recipes.

I made the decision to stop making excuses. I wanted to put on any outfit and feel great—no muffin top after zipping up or hiding my arms. I needed to be able to strip down, stare at myself and love what I saw. Since then, I eat relatively clean and exercise regularly. Remember that looking good on the outside starts with what you’re putting inside your bodies. If you have to hire a personal fitness trainer, then do it. You owe it to yourself and your happiness. For a cheaper alternative, reach out to a friend who you know is a gym rat and consciously eats well. I’ve said it in previous posts that you are who your friends are. If you’re constantly around people who make poor eating and exercising choices, you will, too! And hey, one of the BEST places to meet young, fit, active men is the gym!

An easy, nutritious dinner that's a hit in our house: asparagus & cheese stuffed chicken and loads of broccoli on the side. Yes, brussels and broccoli can be delicious when prepared right!

An easy, nutritious dinner that’s a hit in our house: asparagus & cheese stuffed chicken and loads of broccoli on the side. Yes, brussels and broccoli can be delicious when prepared right!

My girlfriends and I make it a girls night at “booty camp” classes at our gym so we’re able to hold each other accountable if we don’t show up. My boyfriend and I make it a part of our almost-daily routine to go to the gym together after work. Don’t give yourself the option of not going, just do it as if it’s an errand you have to run every day!

So, in comes the sex aspect. Feeling sexy in your skin means you’ll start to feel free to be a tiger in the bedroom. You won’t feel the need to object to an awkward position your guy is putting you in thinking “that can’t be a good angle for me”. Guys really get the strangest ideas and I’m almost positive it’s because they’ve seen it done in a porno (besides the point) but if you know you look good from all angles—so what! Be adventurous knowing you look good no matter what. No sucking in necessary. There’s nothing more attractive in a women than confidence– especially in the bedroom. There’s a reason the saying goes, “I want a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets.”

If you feel sexy, you won’t care that your man likes to get his freak on in the middle of the day or just has a weird preference with doing it with the lights on. Take care of your body and you won’t have to only hear about naughty romps in “Fifty Shades of Grey”, you’ll be the star in your own erotic novel.

Tying this subject into having great sex was my attempt in getting your attention, girls. The real take-home message is to just start loving yourselves. We are our own worst critics and not only are our sex lives being affected, but also our self-love. So get healthy and start living—in the bedroom and out!

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8 Reasons Why You Haven’t Found Mr. Right

10 Feb

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As difficult as it is to find a decent man in Los Angeles, there are many things you can avoid doing in order to dodge the Mr. Wrongs. After years of failed relationships with some of this city’s most eligible bachelors I got to thinking… maybe I’m the problem. I mean, of course, it’s not my fault a lot of L.A. guys are self-absorbed jerks with commitment phobia but there must be SOMETHING I could be doing differently to get different results.

So here are several mistakes I was making that stood in my way of finding a good guy and I think most of you single girls will be able to relate.

1. You have impossible expectations. Mr. Right doesn’t mean Mr. Perfect. Mr. Perfect falls under the same category as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy— they’re all mythical creatures we wish our parents told us the truth about before the age of 7.

2. You keep dating the same guy– literally. Stop dating your ex-boyfriends. I understand that some break-ups were of special circumstances where “the timing was off” and “it’s more serious this time” but most relationships end for good reason. From my experiences, jumping back into the arms of my exes turned out to be a vicious cycle of breaking up to make up to break up again. Break-ups suck the first time around! Why do it all over again?

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3. You keep dating the same guy– figuratively. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same steps and expecting a different result. Steer clear of guys who are exactly like your past boyfriends. History can and will repeat itself. For example, if you have a long history of dating married men who never leave their wives for you, stop being a home-wrecker! Or if you continuously date womanizing musicians who never fully commit, stop being a groupie. Get where I’m going with this?

4. You’re looking in all the wrong places. Don’t expect to find the man of your dreams up in the club makin’ it rain. Not to say good guys don’t get their party on but most young men who are still in the nightclub mindset on the weekends usually don’t have “serious girlfriends” on their priorities list.

5. You settle for Mr. Right Now. I found myself occasionally dating guys I knew I couldn’t see myself with in the long run but figured it could just be a fun fling. This mentality is perfectly fine if fun is what you are seeking but for the women ready for something real… remind yourself you aren’t just in it for FUN. If you think a healthy relationship is simply being able to smile through the good times, you are mistaken.

6. You ignore all the red flags. A couple months into a relationship you can more or less tell if your guy’s got some serious deal-breakers in his character! Listen to that gut feeling.

7. You’re guarded. I have a love/hate relationship with the saying “love like you’ve ever been hurt.” How can we just forget about all the awful break-ups we’ve been through? But more importantly, how can we ever have a healthy relationship holding on to that pain? Even though it is much easier said than done, letting go of your past and forgiving the guys that have wronged you is not only beneficial for a new relationship but it is so good for your mental health. Don’t assume all men are the same. The right guy will prove to you that letting down the proverbial walls you’ve built is the best thing you can do for yourself.

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8. You’ve given up hope. It’s understandable to just stop caring about finding a great guy because as far as you know, there are none in Los Angeles. I’m here to tell you there are really incredible men out there that are just hard to find. Remember that nothing in life worth having comes easily and you’ll appreciate Mr. Right that much more when he does come along—but you gotta have faith!

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