Tag Archives: women

Baby, It’s Warm Outside!

23 Dec

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Happy Holidays, Live & Love in LA readers!

I have taken quite a long break from posting while redesigning my blog and making it through nursing school, so bear with me! For now, enjoy this hilarious video from last week’s Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Jimmy Fallon. My girlfriends and I were laughing out loud watching this at our big-girl sleepover this past weekend.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/baby-its-cold-outside/n44614

I hope you and your special someone have a warm, snuggly holiday! Xoxo -J

 

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9 Cheap Date Nights in Los Angeles

13 Sep

What girl doesn’t love date nights in LA? This city has so much to offer but many young couples run out of the funds AND ideas for a night out with their special someone in “la la land”.

Well, you’re in luck! I’m borderline obsessed with coming up with new places to see, cuisines to try, and amazing little gems to visit and take “selfies” at. I just don’t want to miss a thing! So many of my readers find my blog by searching date nights ideas in Los Angeles so I figured this will be a great piece! I’ve compiled several of my favorite things to do when my boyfriend and I have been going on one too many dates in the month and want to keep it a little low-key. Please excuse the word “cheap” in the title… I prefer the term frugal.

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1. Game Night

Board games are super underrated especially when you’re old enough to drink while playing. My dear friends, Seth and Amanda, invited us over for a big group date night at their house to play trivia and chow down on a potluck dinner. The night was FULL of laugh-out-loud knee-slappin’ fun! Potlucks are huge money-savers and it costs very little to whip up a semi-homemade chocolate cake or caprese salad to contribute as your dish. If you want to up the ante and get a little more rowdy, buy the exhilarating dice game called Left, Right, Center for like $6 at Party City or Target. It costs every player only $3 per game and you can end up winning the whole pot or losing just $3. The game is so exciting that my family has made it a tradition at every holiday to get tipsy and try to take each other’s money playing LRC.

An intense game of Left, Right, Center.

An intense game of Left, Right, Center.

2. Happy Hour

Countless bars and restaurants have fantastic happy hour prices for brews and appetizers so long as you are willing to make it an earlier night out than usual. My favorite spots for delicious discounted bites are Public School 612 in the heart of downtown LA and Dog Haus Biergarten in Old Town Pasadena. I love catching happy hours because you can still enjoy getting dolled up and dining out without the heavy bill at the end. Go to www.publicschool612.com and www.doghausdogs.com for hours and menus.

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3. Night at the Museum

Almost all of our local museums in Los Angeles have one day out of the month when they waive their entrance fee. It’s just a matter of simply visiting their websites or giving them a call to find out when. Take advantage of this and get a little culture in for Free 99. LACMA is one of the most stunning museums I have visited in Los Angeles and they offer free general admission every second Tuesday of the month AND every single day after 3pm with proof of LA County residency. Bet you didn’t know that! Visit www.lacma.org for more details.

The famous lights of LACMA.

The famous lights of LACMA.

4. Date Night at Home

This does not mean sitting in front of the couch and watching TV like you do every day. Create a romantic atmosphere unlike any other night. Yes, get cheesy and light those candles if you have to! My boyfriend and I have been taking advantage of these warm summer nights and have been picking up sandwiches at our local Italian deli and taking a dip in our spa instead of our usual dinner and a movie. Dinner is normally $50+ and a movie these days for two is $40. That’s nearly a $100 night out!

Sandwiches and a $9 bottle of Lambrusco for dinner with our dogs at our feet. Can't beat that!

Sandwiches and a $9 bottle of Lambrusco for dinner with our dogs at our feet. Can’t beat that!

5. Downtown LA Art Walk

On the second Thursday of every month, over 50 art galleries between Spring and Main in downtown open their doors to the public for late-night self-guided tours throughout Gallery Row. The Art Walk has become a must-see for Los Angelenos and it is a perfect place to take a date to swoon over incredible pieces and seem just a little more refined. Visit www.dowtownartwalk.org for FAQ.

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6. First Fridays at Abbot Kinney Blvd.

In the heart of Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd, local merchants, artist and musicians come together on the first Friday of every month and throw one huge block party for the community. Entrance fee is $0 and you can come just to grab cheap eats at the food trucks, listen to great tunes, window shop and people watch… sometimes celebrity watch. Affordable and fun! Click on www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com for more info.

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7. Eat Cheap

Explore the city’s historical food-lover landmarks like Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood and Philippe’s French-Dipped Sandwiches in Chinatown. Best places to fill up on a tight budget!

I asked the frequently asked and very mysterious question of what the correct pronunciation is, fi-leeps or fi-leep-ays. They said both!

I tried to solve the ongoing mystery of what the correct pronunciation is, fi-leeps or fi-leep-ays. They said both!

8. Host Sushi-Making Night

Obviously, I love group dates. After all, it is important to surround yourself with loving, happy couples to contribute to the health of your own relationship. Another way to stay home and save while still keeping it fresh is hosting an interactive make-your-own-dinner soiree. It takes a bit of effort but if everyone brings one ingredient, it lessens the expense and labor of hosting a normal dinner party. You will be surprised how much fun it is to do and it’ll have your friends talking about it for weeks. Don’t forget the sake!

My boyfriend's business associate threw a fabulous make your own pizza party.

My boyfriend’s business associate threw a fabulous make your own pizza party.

What a way to impress your friends by making them homemade pasta right in your kitchen! It's simple, too!

What a way to impress your friends by making them homemade pasta right in your kitchen! It’s simple, too!

9. Invite Yourself Over Your Friend’s Awesome Pad.

Bring a bottle of wine, of course. There’s nothing worse than friends who invite themselves over empty-handed! But ask your friends who have great entertaining houses if you can come over for a little backyard BBQ. Most people are more than willing to have you over but just never get around to planning something. Last minute, spontaneous get-togethers are the most fun.

The view of my boyfriend's business associate's gorgeous home in Newport Beach.

The view of my boyfriend’s business associate’s gorgeous home in Huntington Harbor.

A boat ride around our friends' front yard (Huntington Harbor). One of our most memorable date nights.

A boat ride around our friend’s front yard (Huntington Harbor). One of our most memorable date nights.

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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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Recession-Proof Romance

5 Jan

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In addition to being known as “home of the Mr. Wrongs”, Los Angeles is also known to hold the largest population of struggling actor/singer/model hopefuls who attend Hollywood auditions by day and wait tables in Downtown by night.  These gorgeous guys are just a call-back away from big screen stardom but until then—they’re broke. I mean, PB&J-and-pasta-every-day broke, along with many others in this terrible economy…. BUT let’s face it, ladies, a Bradley Cooper look-a-like who can’t afford to wine and dine you is just too hard to pass up sometimes!

So, even if you’re dating a guy who is ballin’ on a budget, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun! Here are some recession-proof tips to keeping the sexy spark alive if you’ve got Dom Perignon taste on a Pabst Blue Ribbon budget:

  • Groupon & LivingSocial are your friends. Take advantage of these incredible half-off deals to get your grub on at your favorite restaurants without breaking the bank. Subscribe to their daily e-mails and receive offers at popular hangouts near you.
  • Say hello to your other little friends, Redbox & Netflix! Why in the world does it cost an arm and a leg to go to the theaters nowadays?! I really miss heading out to Blockbuster on a Friday night to cruise their New Releases wall, but times are a changin’ and the next best thing is one-day rentals. Redbox machines are conveniently located in front of grocery stores and convenient stores everywhere and cost a little more than a buck to rent. Really?? What does $1 even get you these days?? Nothing! Netflix may even be more convenient since you get your DVDs mailed directly to your house and just send it back in your mailbox—probably the better option if you rely on your 2-foot-mobile.
  • Star in your own Food Network TV show! Featuring your fabulous self and your not-so-fabulously broke boyfriend! Cooking with your partner is an underrated labor of love that is much cheaper than dining out. Fixing a meal together can be fun, flirty and intimate; from showing off your cute little apron to shopping for the ingredients at a local Farmer’s Market. Then, enjoy every savory bite at your candlelit dining table with the smooth sounds of Norah Jones playing in the background. An ultra classy touch to top off the night? Sip on a Two Buck Chuck bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. *My favorite cooking show for inspiration: Nadia G.’s Bitchin’ Kitchen on the Cooking Channel—so freakin’ awesome!*
  • A couple that sweats together stays together. Now, get your mind out of the gutter! There are many more ways to break a sweat than an afternoon romp in the bedroom. Getting out in nature and exercising together is a great way to bond and not spend a dime doing it! My favorite trails are Eaton Canyon in Pasadena or Runyon Canyon in Hollywood.

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WARNING: This does not mean you should stay with a deadbeat. The inspirational paragraph below pertains to staying with guys who have ambition but have hit a roadblock in their careers—not the waiter who spends his afternoons playing video games wearing those nerdy headsets.

The moral of the story is to make the most of your situation. Of course it’s not ideal to budget your money—responsibility is boring! Although, the reality is that many men and women are not able to find work in this unstable job market and cutting corners on date nights can become a necessity. During this difficult time, your partner needs your support in saving money and the best way to do so is to make light of your circumstances and think of creative ways to work around it! The last thing a man needs when going through financial hardship is a nagging partner reminding him how disappointed she is that she can’t go out as much as she’d like. If you truly love someone, you stand by their side through richer or poorer. Plus, it’s 2013, girlfriend! If you want to go out that badly, make your own $$$ and take him out for a change!

I’ve always loved the saying, “if you can’t love someone at their worst, you don’t deserve them at their best.” 

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24 Things I Know At 24

2 Dec

I just celebrated my 24th birthday last Wednesday and I had the most incredible time! I am the typical 20-something girl who likes to stretch it out as a “birthday week”. I’ll find any excuse to go out every night of that week with a different group of friends, get all dolled up and toast to another fantastic year.

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Although, I have to say, this year felt a bit different than past birthdays. When people greet me on my birthday and jokingly ask, “So, do you feel older?” I normally laugh and respond, “Of course not. It’s just a regular ol’ day.” But turning 24 actually had me a little “emo” in the sense that I reflected upon my life and how it has drastically changed in the past years. Things that I used to feel were so important just don’t stand anymore. Certain aspects of my life I used to put in the back of my mind are now some of my biggest priorities. Heck, I really can’t believe I’m so into saving money and couponing now when I used to blow through hundreds of dollars shopping on Melrose on a weekly basis! *cringe* What a complete waste!

So, this week’s Live & Love in L.A. post is a list of 24 things I know at 24. I’m sure there are 2,400,000 things left to learn in this life but here’s a shorter version of what I’ve learned from living and loving the past 24 years of this crazy/wonderful life.

1. Don’t drink to get drunk. Enjoy the taste and experience of a great cocktail! Way more enjoyable than shooting back some dirty shot that tastes like rubbing alcohol. Plus, you won’t end up being the annoying, belligerent chick everyone wants to shut up!

2. I’m allowed to treat myself. I’m big on saving money. Let’s just say, Suze Orman is one of my idols. But sometimes it’s okay to splurge on yourself if you feel you deserve it. Drop the guilt trip and buy yourself a shiny new iPad if you can afford it. If I’m feeling burnt out from work and realize I’ve saved way more than I thought I would that month, I’ll buy myself some new M.A.C. make-up or a fancy mani/pedi and not feel bad about it. Plus, having an occasional splurge gives you incentive to keep up the momentum of working hard for your next treat!

photo credit: axelsrose via photopin cc

photo credit: axelsrose via photopin cc

3. No matter how drunk I am, I have to floss and brush my teeth before knocking out. I’m a dental hygiene addict and it’s okay. First step is admitting you have a problem.

4. Stop charging it! I can’t understand how some young women are in so much debt! Stop using plastic thinking you are buying that new handbag with the magical money tree in your backyard. If it helps you to budget your money more effectively, carry cash. You physically see and feel you’re spending. Charging it on a card can be the financial death of you. Since the day I received my first credit card at 18, I have paid off my credit cards IN FULL every single month. I never buy anything I know I can’t pay off at the end of the month. This doesn’t mean withdrawing from your Savings account to swing it. If you don’t have the money in your Checkings account, step away. You should use your card to build good credit, not bad debt.

photo credit: Stargazer95050 via photopin cc

photo credit: Stargazer95050 via photopin cc

5. Saving for a rainy day is critical. On the topic of finances, saving money at our age is serious business. Mid-twenties isn’t too young to start thinking about your future, especially in this uncertain economy. Your job is never guaranteed and tomorrow is never promised. Also think about how much a down payment on a condo or house is. Now think about it if you don’t have a roommate or significant other to share that cost with. Saving such large amounts of money takes YEARS. Start now.

6. I’m not missing anything. Staying in on a Friday night because you’re exhausted from work or school is A-OKAY in my book. From ages 18-21, I used to feel like if I stayed home on the weekends I was missing out on all the fun. But now I’m just too freakin’ tired sometimes to wash my hair, put on make-up and struggle in uncomfortable heels all night. Picking up a Redbox movie, staying in my PJs and popping a bottle of bubbly sounds like the perfect night and, not to mention, keeps you out of trouble. As my sister and I like to say, “I got shit to do tomorrow!”

photo credit: thart2009 via photopin cc

photo credit: thart2009 via photopin cc

7. Accepting things I cannot change is an ongoing battle I have with myself. This rule applies to SO many things in life I have spent years struggling with. I’m kind of a control freak in the sense that I like to make things happen and do what I can to make sure it gets done right. But there are some things in life you have to come to realization that its fate is not in your hands. Let go. Example: Being appalled or hurt when people don’t deal with situations the way you would. Accept that everyone has their own way. The faster you accept, the faster you’ll forgive.

8. Stop prolonging the inevitable. So many girls in their twenties stay in miserable relationships with guys because they are afraid of being single, they think they’ll eventually change him, or they just want to wait it out and see if the problem fixes itself. Wake up, ladies. These are your prime years and you’ll never get them back. Do you really want to look back knowing you wasted time and emotions on some jerk? I’d rather be happily single than unhappily taken.

9. It’s better to fill up my gas tank the whole way every time. Gas prices always seem to go up on my next visit anyways.

photo credit: Jason Drury via photopin cc

photo credit: Jason Drury via photopin cc

10. Throwing out or donating old clothes is better than keeping them in the closet for another 2 years hoping to one day sell them on eBay since “they were so expensive”. Get over it.

11.  What’s the woman-version of “Manscape”? Take care of yourself. I’ll be the first to admit I hate painting my nails as often as I do and having to shave my legs every couple days feels pointless in the winter, although we’re at an age where some things are just unacceptable. You shouldn’t be 24 going on job interviews with chipped nail polish and tangled hair. Put your best foot forward as much as you can. You never know when you’ll be meeting your future boss or your future fiancé.

12. My parents were right when they taught me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes my opinion isn’t solicited or wanted.

13. Constantly watching reruns of Sex & The City, Will & Grace and Friends is doing nothing for me. I did NOT say I’m stopping anytime soon. I’ve just accepted I’m wasting brain cells every time I do it.

photo credit: Jellykat via photopin cc

photo credit: Jellykat via photopin cc

14. I’m too school for cool. I am no longer ashamed of turning down a girls night invite if I have to study for midterms. I’m a typical overachieving Asian student and I’m proud of it! Getting Bs makes me cry. There, I said it.

15.  It’s okay to walk out of a store with no bags. I used to shop just for the thrill of bringing home something new that day– leaving with nothing felt like such a let-down. Now I mentally high-five myself when I step away from unnecessary purchases. Suze Orman has me brainwashed.

16. I can’t pick my family but I can pick my friends. I’ve had many girlfriends come and go into my life for one reason or another, mostly just because we lost touch if we stopped working at the same job or stopped having Anatomy class together. However, a couple girls have been dear friends of mine for several years and I really felt myself growing apart from them. Sometimes girlfriends just find themselves in completely different places in their lives and the reasons we were friends years ago just don’t relate today. There were also instances where I more dramatically had to make a decision whether the relationship was healthy anymore. If a “girlfriend” brings you down in any way, doesn’t share the same ambition or morals as you, or is no longer positive and fun to be around then it’s probably best to gradually distance yourself from them. It’s okay to grow apart, cherish the friendship you once had, and wish them well. A handful of truly great girlfriends are better than a whole lotta so-so fair-weather friends. Quality over quantity, for sure.

photo credit: Whiskeygonebad via photopin cc

photo credit: Whiskeygonebad via photopin cc

17. You are who your friends are. You can’t expect people not to group you into a generalization when you surround yourself with bad people. The few very close girlfriends I have (and a lot of them are my cousins) are women I aspire to be like— smart, college graduates, loving moms, good hearts and trendy fashionistas. They are people I’m proud to say influence me.

18. I’m in the driver’s seat—basically, I’m trying to convey that I’m in control of my own destiny while trying to use as few clichés as possible. There are countless horrible things that happen in life that you have no control over like diseases, traumatic accidents, etc. So why not take the FEW aspects you do have in your control and change them for the better? I stayed at my last bartending job for a difficult 2 ½ years. The owners were great family friends, the staff was as sweet as can be but most of the customers were awful. I won’t go into too much detail but they’d treat bartenders poorly, get pissed when you’d charge them full price for their $7 drink, expect you to “hook them up” since they’re regulars, and bad mouth you to other patrons if you didn’t. Not a normal bar establishment, to say the least. I was averaging $300/night on tips, sometimes even more, so it was a hard place to walk away from. BUT I dreaded going to work, came home crying more often than not, and would constantly complain about my job. So I finally DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I QUIT! IT WAS THE MOST LIBERATING FEELING EVER! I quickly found a new bartending job where the respect of the staff is #1, the money is good, and it is the most positive, friendly environment I’ve ever worked in. No one can fix your happiness but you. Boom.

19. Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. Reflecting on your values in your twenties is important because of how fast pace life is at this age. There are so many influences everywhere you go with friends, co-workers, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Figure out what morals you hold dear to your heart, stick to them, and never apologize for it—no matter what anyone in your life has to say about it.

20. I’ll never look like Kate Upton in a bikini—and that’s okay. I struggled with my body image when I used to do promotional work for Hooters Restaurants in 2008. A group of us selected girls would go on television appearances, celebrity golf tournaments and swimsuit competitions to represent the brand. I’d find my 5’0” self standing next to my gorgeous 5’9” friends with long legs and fake boobs, and I’d constantly obsess over why I didn’t look quite like them and I’d torture myself by spending 6 days a week in LA Fitness. But over the years I’ve grown to kind of like my body. I no longer have super toned abs, I have slightly more curves than some of my friends, I enjoy eating healthy but allow a couple cheat days a week, and I still feel good naked! So, whatever!

photo credit: loop_oh via photopin cc

photo credit: loop_oh via photopin cc

21. I’ve got a lot to lose. I think twice now before driving my car even after I’ve only had one beer. Realizing how severe consequences are for stupid decisions scares the living crap out of me—and it should.

22. Stop and take a moment to spend time with and appreciate your parents.

23. Who cares if you’re not engaged, married, or a mom yet?! This isn’t the 1800s where 24 years old is the half-point of your life. You are young!

photo credit: foshydog via photopin cc

photo credit: foshydog via photopin cc

24. When you meet the right guy, you just know. I’ve mentioned in almost all my posts so far that I have this sort of amazingly wonderful boyfriend, Nathan. He is exactly what I always hoped my husband would be like and I really feel in my heart he’s Mr. Right. BUT there’s no way of telling for sure if this will end happily ever after. All I know is that he is so right for me at this moment in my life and I can’t imagine our feelings for one another and our future plans ever changing. The way I know he’s good for me is because he genuinely makes me want to be a better woman. Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I’m pretty awesome already and just as amazing of a girlfriend to him but I mean he makes me want to be greater than I am– for myself, not just for him. I look up to how kind, loving, driven, forgiving, considerate, present, and successful he is and it makes me feel so fortunate to wake up next to this man every day and know he is a huge influence on me. I think it’s important to feel your man doesn’t complete you but he complements you in the best ways possible.*On the other hand—you know when someone is wrong for you. Listen to your gut. Or just listen to your mom.*

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