Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who's That Girl?

I have always prided myself on not being “that girl”. You know the one. The girl who’s sole purpose in life is to find “the one”. No matter where she is, or what she is doing, she’s on the lookout for Mr. Right.

The success or failure of any night out on the town depends solely on whether she met a guy, and if there are no available single men present, then the evening is a bust.

I have never been that girl.

When I am out, with friends, by myself, or among my family, I am out for the purpose of enjoying myself. I go about my business, sometimes completely oblivious to the number of eligible (or otherwise) men in the room.

I’m not on the prowl, never have really been, and if a man happened to approach me, that was simply considered a nice bonus to the evening. Unless he happened to be creepy, in which case, it just added humor to the situation.

And yet, lately, I have to admit that I’m seeing more of “that girl” in me. Still not solely focused on “the hunt”, but more aware of my surroundings. It appears the “single man” radar has been turned on, and I’ll be damned if I know how to shut this thing off.

Perhaps that annoying little biological clock which I swore I wasn’t programmed with has indeed awakened in me. Maybe seeing 35 right around the corner has kick started some sort of timer. Maybe it has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with my new found confidence in this new, slimmer body of mine. I’m once again feeling flirtier, and therefore more hyper aware of potential flirtees?

Whatever the case, I find that I’m more focused on the opposite sex, on “potential talent” as my friend Traveler calls it.

When I head out now, be it to the grocery store or a night out with the girls, I’m paying attention.

And the thing that really gets to me is, I’m also aware of my disappointment when, at the end of any such outing, I come up empty. No “talent” to speak of, no potential “Mr. Right” anywhere in sight.

Even more disappointing are those rare occasions when I meet someone with all the right potential only to discover he’s wearing a ring. (I met one such gentleman this weekend in the midst of my travel disaster Thursday, and he was simply adorable, charming, flirtatious and…married).

And there’s that…I’ve never been one to notice wedding rings before. EVER. And now? One of the first things I look at.

When did I become that girl? And how do I make her go away? Cause I’m pretty sure I don’t like her invading my body. She’s not welcome and she's kind of annoying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

VIsit the White Mountains With Me

Last month I took a weekend trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire with my family. You can read all about that little nostalgic getaway in this post. What that earlier post didn't contain, however, were any of the pictures I took while up there. The sights at the top of those mountains are so breathtaking that words can't really describe them. So, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

This last one is of the mountain where the famous "Old Man of The Mountain" used to be, before it collapsed in 2003. Sort of a bittersweet shot:

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Realize

I stole this from Melissa last week, because I thought it was a great way to share a little bit more about "who I am" to my new readers, and have a little fun in the process with ALL of you...I invite you to join in and do your own. (Note: Melissa's list (click on the link) has a few more questions than my own...I took a few out because...well...because I didn't like them. lol)

1. I've come to realize that my chest-size...is what it is, and women pay thousands of dollars for what I was given naturally by God, so I might as well make peace with it.

2. I've come to realize that my job...does not define me, but it sure helps when I enjoy what I do for a living.

3. I've come to realize that when i'm driving alone...I play music WAY too loud.

4. I've come to realize I need...to admit my weaknesses in order to become stronger.

5. I've come to realize I have lost...my fear of looking foolish, I embrace my silliness.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when...I hurt someone unintentionally.

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk...I'm probably falling asleep, I know...boring.

8. I've come to realize that money...is necessary, but should not be the driving force behind anything you do.

9. I've come to realize that certain people...are not meant to be a part of your life.

10. I've come to realize that I'll always...try harder.

11. I've come to realize that my sibling(s)...has grown up to be a pretty decent young man.

12 I've come to realize that my mom...is my best friend, but then, I've always known that.

13. I've come to realize that my dad...is the sweetest, kindest, most patient and laid back man I know.

14. I've come to realize that tomorrow...we get a chance to do it all over again.

15. I've come to realize that I really want to...live every day to the utmost.

16. I've come to realize that somewhere someone...needs a hug.

17 I've come to realize that life...really is short, don't waste it.

18. I've come to realize that this weekend...was a great one to recharge my batteries.

19. I've come to realize that the best music to listen to when I'm upset...is old school stuff that makes me giggle.

20. I've come to realize that my friends...are amazing.

21. I've come to realize that this year...I have traveled A LOT.

22. I've come to realize that my ex(s)...taught me a lot about myself, but I'm glad they're my "exes". ;-)

23. I've come to realize that maybe I should...stop procrastinating so much.

24. I've come to realize that I love...everything about life.

25. I've come to realize that I don't understand...a lot about human nature.

26. I've come to realize my past...has made me who I am today.

27. I've come to realize that I'm totally terrified...of the idea of "nothingness".

28. I've come to realize that my life...is a blessing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Re-Run Wednesday - 200 things (well...50)

As I stated last week, on Wednesdays I'm going to be revisiting some of my old posts, so I figured what better place to start than the 200 things about me series I did in 2007? I'll start with the first 50...with some edits and commentary (because I can never just do a "copy/paste" post...come on folks, you know me...I'm a talker.

So I give you - 200 things about me: - The first 50

1. I was born in Africa

2. Specifically, I was born in Luanda, capital city of Angola a country on the western coast of Africa.

3. Angola was a Portuguese colony at the time, and my parents both moved there as youngsters, met and were married there, and had me.

4. That last one wasn't really about me, but it was about my history so it counts.

5. I left Africa when I was 8 months old, for Portugal

6. I lived in Portugal until I was almost, but not quite, 10 years old.

7. While I lived in Portugal, we moved 9 times.

8. I have wonderful memories of my childhood in Portugal, and even though money was tight, I only remember ever being happy and thinking we had it all.

9. My brother was born when I was 9 years old and became the love of my young life.

10. To this day my brother and I have a bond like few siblings I know. I don't think we've ever had a "real" fight, and I love that even now, at 23 he still comes to me for advice and support. (he's 25 now, but the rest is true).

11. I'm really proud of the man my brother is finally growing up to be. (yep, more and more each day)

12. I left Portugal for the U.S. the day before my 10th birthday.

13. I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 17 (I think) because my parents took the citizenship test while my brother and I were still minors so we'd become citizens automatically.

14. I have now lived in this country about three times as long as I lived in Portugal.

15. I consider myself to be an American in every way that matters.

16. I think this country is flawed in many ways, and wish we'd do a better job of being Americans.

17. That said, I'm proud to be an American, love the freedoms and opportunities that this country has afforded me, and don't plan on ever living anywhere else.

18. However, I do have fantasies of retiring to some tropical beach somewhere in Mexico or Jamaica, and won't completely rule out that possibility.

19. Since moving to the U.S. I've moved 5 times, the first four within the same city, the last time to the next town over, about 5 minutes from my parents' house.

20. I live about 45 miles north of Boston.

21. I went to college in Boston, at Suffolk University.

22. Suffolk was a commuter school at the time, so I never had a "campus" college experience.

23. I don't have a problem with that.

24. My time at college was what "they" say high school should be. "The best four years of your life"...or something like that.

25. College was really an eye opening experience for me, I learned a lot about myself, about life, about others.

26. While in college, I went to school full time, worked full time, and still managed to have time for a pretty darn active social life.

27. I also managed to keep a GPA above a 3.5 the entire time I did the above.

28. My major in college was Communication and Journalism because I wanted to be a reporter or just any kind of writer when I "grew up".

29. I had a minor panic attack my junior year in college when I realized I'd never get a paying job doing the above, and I had way too much debt to risk it, so I added a paralegal minor when most other students were taking the "rocks for jocks" sorts of classes.

30. Suffolk is NOT a sports school, our most celebrated sport at the time was soccer, but the only one we all partipated in attending was intramural basketball. Which was HUGE and I loved going to see.

31. Therefore, I never experienced the "college" sports phenom that seems so widespread in this country.

32. So, most of our extracurricular activities involved more cerebral or artistic pursuits.

33. On that note, I joined the Forensics team my junior year in college. (Yep, along with adding a minor and working full time).

34. No, Forensics doesn't actually have anything to do with dead bodies and CSI investigations. It's just a fancy word for the Speech and Debate Teams

35. I was actually pretty good at this Speech stuff, and won several awards in my short time on the team.

36. With the Forensics team I was able to travel to several schools in the New England and New York area for competitions, and also to a national competition in Flagstaff, Arizona.

37. That trip to Arizona is pretty much when the travel bug bit me long and hard, and hasn't let go yet.

38. One of the speeches I delivered was an informative speech on Pez (yes, the candy). Go ahead, ask me anything about it's history, I can tell you.

39. From the time I was young my dad would tell me that I should become either a lawyer or a politician because of how much I loved to debate.

40. At one point I had aspirations of going to law school and becoming a hot shot Boston lawyer, litigating major cases like you see them do on Law and Order type shows.

41. I knew, however, that it's not exactly like that in the real world, so decided to work in a law firm as a paralegal for a while after college, to decide if that was in fact the world for me.

42. It is now 10 years later, I'm at my fourth law firm, and still working as a paralegal. Obviously, I decided against law school. (except now I don't work in the legal field at all anymore - I'm an executive assistant to the president of a credit union).

43. I'm extremely confident in that if I had chosen to go to law school, I would have done well and would be, in fact, working at some Boston firm, making good money.

44. But I'm even more confident that I made the right choice when I decided that I just didn't want the school debt to enter a career that would practically require me to give up any personal life I have in order to be successful. (AMEN, AMEN, AMEN)

45. I think it is extremely tough for a female to be taken seriously in several different professions, and law is one of those professions, and therefore, women have to work twice as hard as men, in order to be seen as the "bitches" they need to be to be taken seriously. I didn't want to deal with that crap.

46. Most lawyers I know, male or female, hate their jobs.(still true)

47. I won't tell you that being a paralegal was or is my dream job, but I actually enjoy what I do, and aside from my gripes here at The Firm, I like my job. (I wasn't exactly "lying" here, but I think I was in serious denial...I hated that freakin' job. My current job, however? I LOVE).

48. I especially like the fact that when I leave at the end of the day, I leave my job behind me. I don't take work home, I don't have to think about it until the next morning, and I can focus on the rest of my life. (I still love that and it is actually true of this job).

49. While at one point I thought I would be a "career driven" person, I've realized that my motivation to work has changed as I have gotten older. I'm now driven by the desire to have a good, happy, comfortable life. I work to live, I don't live to work. (yep)

50. I don't have a problem with that.

Okay, I'll leave it at that for today, but maybe next Wednesday we'll do the next 50...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Let's Talk ABout Shoes

Oh shoes...how much do I love shoes. That's not a question. If you know me even a little bit, then you know that a good pair of shoes can pretty much make my day.

Well, except maybe THOSE shoes...YIKES. No thanks.

But seriously, women are so lucky when it comes to shoes. Men get like 3 styles of shoes, we? We get hundreds. Styles, colors, sizes, heels, flats, boots, sandals...it's enough to make a woman go crazy.

And this woman? Yours truly? I have a serious shoe addiction. SERIOUS. As in...I own upwards of 80 pairs of shoes. I can't tell you exactly how many I own because it's been a while since I sat and counted them all. Last time I did count I was up around 79 pairs, but I have since bought new shoes, and I have since donated some old pairs. I've lost count once again.

But, really, who's paying attention to such trivial details? A woman? Can.Never.Have.Enough.Shoes.


That being said, imagine my delight when I discovered "Shoedazzle".

What is Shoedazzle you ask? Well...you know those "Wine of the Month" clubs? How about a "Shoe of the Month" club? Sounds like the perfect invention to me. (and for the record, not that it matters, but I am NOT being paid to advertise this site, I just LOVE IT and want to share my find).

Shoedazzle is great though in that it it really a very easy "no obligation" club. I'll let you check out the website for better details, but in a nutshell, here's how it works: You sign up, you fill out a "Style profile", you pay $39 a month, you get a pair of shoes per month. However, if you don't want to participate any particular month, you "Skip" the month, and pay nothing. You also are given, based on your answers to the style profile, 5 choices at the beginning of each month, and pick your shoes from those choices. Not happy with those? (as I wasn't with my first 5 choices), tell them why (I didn't want any open toed shoes with winter just around the corner) and the "style experts" will send you 5 more choices.

Easy enough? So, of course, I signed up. And here is the first pair of shoes I chose:

They arrived yestertoday, and I LOVE THEM.

I will definitely be keeping them. By the way, if I was unhappy with them, I could exchange them for free, or return them for a minimal "restocking" fee.

Another note, I did a little research, and these particular shoes retail at other websites for well over $55. I got a deal.

I will not be getting new shoes every month, because...well, because I still plan on shoe shopping in other stores as well, and I have to behave myself...right? Right...yeah, that's it. But I will keep you all posted on my choices as they come in.

Moving on, since we're talking about shoes, can we talk about these:

Mojito Shoe


Yep, that's a prototype for a real shoe. Click on the link above the picture for more information.

Or, what about these?

Nail Heels

Or these?

High Chair Shoes

OH, "weird shoes" abound on the internet...just a quick google search for that phrase will bring you hundreds more...try it...or check out this link.

Whewh...all this talk about shoes is making me dizzy...I need to sit down...I think I'll sit...right...here:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Old is New Again

The thing about blogging is that it can take over your life. No seriously, if you are a blogger, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It becomes this thing you simply MUST do, and if you miss a day, you feel like somehow you’re letting people down…even if you’re not entirely sure anyone is even reading your blog.

But it is also a great creative outlet, an amazing way to connect with others and really something I am so grateful to have discovered.

When I first started blogging, I had the ability to blog at work and spend endless hours browsing, visiting and commenting on other blogs. Okay, maybe “ability” isn’t exactly the right word, but I was so overworked and overstressed at my old job that I felt I had EARNED the right to goof off for a few hours each day online.

At that time, I was blogging daily, I had three different blogs, all current and constantly updated. I was also very active in the blog world, with a wide circle of “friends” whose blogs I visited regularly.

That all changed, however, when I started this new job. Here at this company, internet security is high, and internet usage is monitored pretty closely. Although I’m pretty sure in my position I could get away with spending a bit of time on-line, I took this as an opportunity to break a bit of my internet habit, and stop visiting during work hours.

With that, however, my blog suffered immensely. As you have probably already noticed, I can go days (okay, fine weeks) without posting anything. It’s taken me a while to find my blogging rhythm again. In the meantime, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost most of my readers (who can blame them?). I’ve also found it nearly impossible to maintain my visits to other blogs, only stopping by occasionally here and there.

Lately, however, I seem to be hitting my stride again. I’m still not posting daily, but to be honest, I don’t know that I intend to again. Every few days works well for me, and I can focus on quality versus quantity.

With the advent of Twitter, I’ve also gained a few new readers to this blog who are pretty unfamiliar with the “old” way this blog used to run.

While I miss the old days here at Candid Karina, I’m pretty excited about the new life I’m planning on bringing to the blog. In a way, I feel as if I’m starting all over. A bit of a rebirth, if you will.

Yet, as I begin to plan for the future of Candid Karina, I find myself thinking about some of my old posts. If I’m starting all over, then there are stories I have to tell again, re-introductions to be made, tales you, my new readers simply must hear.

However, I don’t want to rely solely on my old material here. I mean, how lame would that be? If you really wanted to re-read all my old posts, you could just look through my archives, right? (not to toot my own horn, but you totally should, I used to write some really witty stuff back in the day, haha)

So, here’s what I’m going to do…I’m going to start a new feature called ReRun Wednesday. Once a week (maybe, if I can stick to a schedule and all that) I’m going to re-post an old entry of mine. Some of my favorites. This way, even my regular readers (the two or three that have stuck it out with me) can enjoy some of my “greatest hits” once again. Or, they can ignore them completely once again…whichever they prefer. ;-)

What do you think, are you up for some reruns? We’ll start next week. Come back tomorrow though…I’ve got a treat for you ALL ABOUT SHOES.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Karina's Closet - Take a Peak

In case you’ve missed it (as if that were a possibility), I’m a little bit of a fashion nut. I can’t help it, when it comes to all things fashion, I am SUCH a girl. I love shoes, beauty products, accessories, and oh yes, of course, clothing.

But more than any of those things, I love a bargain. I’m loathe to pay full price for anything.

This causes me to be quite creative with my wardrobe, but it also, in my opinion, helps me to have the varied and unique style I’ve created for myself.

It has also led me to discover beauty products, designers, and other things that the average person might not come across. When you’re digging for bargains, you are going to find treasures, you just need to know how to search.

Of course, now and again this also leads me to trying out products that are less than ideal, but hey, you learn from your mistakes, and I’d rather make a $3 mistake over a $30 dollar one, don’t you agree?

Anyway, because I hold fashion and beauty so near and dear to me, I’ve decided to open up my closet now and again and share with you some of my treasures, secrets, finds, and tips.

This is just for fun, I’m in no way an “expert” so take what I say with a grain of salt. Although, if anyone out there can call themselves a “shopping expert”, I believe I’ve earned that right. Ask anyone who knows me, they’ll agree.

So, to kick things off, this week I’m going to share with you a beauty product find, and a “fall fashion” personal tip.

My product of the week:

While browsing the shelves at The Christmas Tree Shop of all places this weekend, I came across my new favorite hair product. You should know that my hair is the bane of my existence. It is straight, but frizzy, it is SUPER thin and flat. I learned years ago that my hair holds NO style for any period longer than 10 minutes, unless an entire can of aquanet (do they even make that stuff anymore?) is used. Luckily for me, long, straight, flat hair is in currently. Unluckily for me, even when straightened, my hair has a tendency to frizz all over the place. I have tried various “anti-frizz” and shine sprays, but as an added bonus, my hair is also incredibly oily, so most styling products only serve to exarcebate the problem, and do nothing for the frizz.

But I’ve started using Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme, and I LOVE IT (and no, they are not paying me to say this). My hair is now shiny, the frizz is gone, and it does not feel like there is any product in my hair. It does not turn my hair oily, and in fact, my hair even feels silkier and softer. It also looks more vibrant, brighter somehow. I’m a big fan. My friend WEST Virginia also tried out the product last weekend, and she too is a big fan. So there you have it.

Finally, before I wrap this post up, I leave you with my little “fall” fashion tip for the week. COLOR. The weather is turning colder, winter is right around the corner, and we’re all getting ready to hunker down for the shorter days, longer nights portion of the year. For some strange reason, it is exactly at this time, when we need it most, that most people put away their colorful wardrobe. Out come the browns and the tans, the blacks and the greys. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan of neutrals as the next girl, but take a note from the leaves on the trees, now is NOT the time to put away color. Fight the desire to go all “glum” and somber, and break out some bright colors.

I’m a big fan of mixing the above mentioned neutrals with a punch of unexpected colors. A bright yellow sweater, a red belt, a purple scarf, pink shoes. Be daring, be bold, be noticed.
(my shoes today, for example)

If nothing else, it’ll make you smile when you catch your reflection in a mirror. If the sun won’t come out, bring it with you in your wardrobe.

Fashion is supposed to be fun, don’t be afraid to take chances, that’s the whole point.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I’ve still got game…and yet…

I’ve been single for a long time. A LONG TIME.

Most of this time has been by choice, I made a conscious decision to take some “ME” time and take a break from the constant struggle and pain of relationships and dating. I needed to focus on me for a little while, so I could get to a good place before I was ready to share my life with someone.

I’ve been told that was the smart thing to do.

The problem, however, is that as I focused on myself, I also got older.

Now, I don’t particularly have a problem with my age. I’ll proudly announce that I am 34 years old and not even flinch. I’m loving my 30’s, having the time of my life, and honestly, look and feel better now than I ever did in my 20’s. I’ve taken control of myself, my body, my attitude, my career, my life is mine.

However, as if dating in your teens, in college and your 20’s wasn’t hard enough…try doing it in your 30’s. Cripes has the game changed.

For starters, I have no idea where to even begin. Long gone are the days of hanging out at nightclubs and dancing with a stranger, exchanging numbers at the end of the night. The excitement of a fresh batch of classes every semester, introducing a whole new group of eligible men are a thing of the past. Most of my friends have “coupled off”, so even girls’ nights out with a possibility for some flirting are a rare occurance. And no longer does anybody have any single friends left to set anyone up with (not that I was ever a fan of the dreaded set-up).

So, what is a girl to do? In the age of the internet, everyone keeps telling me to try online dating, and as much as I believe it can be a great vehicle for some, it just isn’t for me. I’ve always needed the more organic method of meeting someone face to face, having a casual encounter and going from there. “Forced” matchmaking has never worked for me.

I find myself, therefore, just going with the flow. If I am to meet someone, it’ll happen “when I least expect it”, or so everyone tells me.

Like, at a flea market?

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon at a flea market with my friend WEST Virginia (W.V.). As we were leaving, walking toward my car in the parking lot, I made eye contact with a hottie walking toward his car with his buddy. We proceeded to do that whole looking back and catching each other looking thing all the way to our cars. We laughed about it, and he made his way over to us for a quick chat. I ended up giving him my phone number, because…why not?

I’ll be honest, I walked away from that little scenario feeling pretty darn good about myself. Turns out yours truly has still got game. W.V. just laughed at me and told me how awesome I was to be able to pick a guy up like that. I just thought it was funny, and enjoyed the fact that I could once again do that…it’s been a long time since I’ve had the confidence to follow through on flirtation. Not so long ago, I would have looked down at my feet, hurried to my car, and driven off.

And for the record, no, flea market boy has not called me. Why a man takes a phone number and then never calls has always boggled my mind, but that’s another post, for another time. I won’t lie, I’m slightly disappointed. But don’t worry I’m not dwelling on it, there will be others. This is just one more small step in my journey into dating. After such a long hiatus, I couldn’t have expected it to be too easy, could I?

Hmm…anyone up for the flea market this weekend?