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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Every gal over the age of let's say... 10... understands the value of beautiful bling. We are taught from 'girl-hood' that accessories make an outfit and the most coveted item you'll ever own is your engagement/wedding RING. And the 30 BILLION DOLLARS Americans spend a year on jewelry (fashion & luxury)? Is total evidence to the iconic status of the bling. We buy it online, in stores, and even in our homes. Companies such as Silpada, Lia Sophia,(1) and Premiere Designs made home-party jewelry shopping a 'household staple' (no pun intended). The premise is you go to someone's house who 'Hosts/Hostesses' the party and gets free stuff based off the amount of the party sales. In return for the stuff you buy? The Host/Hostess feeds you. :) So, when I was invited to a home jewelry party for this evening a couple of weeks back? It didn't really phase me.

But, when I went tonight? It was SO.MUCH.FUN - and totally different than what I was expecting. There were 2 tables full of serving trays, stands, and bowls of different jewels, beads, and baubles for me to choose from. I could then design how I wanted those laid out on a variety of necklaces or bracelets. Let me tell you, for a chick who loves jewelry?? This was Christmas, Easter, New Year's and a great kiss all rolled into one! I got a little funky with my charm bracelet - but, it was to be expected once I saw the cute turquoise shoe that totally went with half the blue/turquoise-accented White House/Black Market clothing I had recently purchased. (2) I also made a really cute, clustered flower necklace/earrings that coordinate well with my WH/BM stuff. All in all? It was a win. See pics below.

This was the last "Build Your Bling" party - which made me a little sad that I hadn't discovered this 'gem' sooner. Of course, while affordable, at $80 for the evening? My pocketbook didn't mind that tonight was my first foray with them - I could definitely do some damage with them over time! Seriously, though, it IS affordable when you think about how I got three very intricate, semi-custom pieces that they assembled right in front of me. The company is moving into... you guessed it! Direct Sales. Look for them as JuJu Belle starting late June/Early July, I think. I've linked their Facebook page for you to check out their wares - some SERIOUSLY cute charms.

What I enjoyed the most, though? Was not the cute jewelry -which again, LOVE- but the conversation and social dynamic. Out of the 10-15 ladies that were there that evening? I came in only knowing the hostess, Rhiannon. By the time I left? I had made acquaintance with most of them and got networking information for at least half. We talked about 'vagazzling' (3), how toddlers will ignore 90% of what you say but will pick up on curse words 100% of the time.. with funny examples. I got to do a little campaigning for my Council run and found out that the copy of 'It's Complicated' that I had rented intending on watching with someone I've been getting to know? I should stop stalling on and watch IMMEDIATELY - but could skip 'Lovely Bones' (4). We griped about our diets, oohed and aahed over my kickin' shoes and fashion in general; and bonded over Sex and the City. These were the kinds of social interactions that most of us look forward to and just don't get enough of with all of our busy calendars and commitments. Kind of makes me want to host a party... we'll see when JuJu Belle launches... ;) In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the bling I made tonight and count the minutes before one of my kids try to swipe my charm bracelet!!

(1) I linked to my favorite Lia Sophia rep's page- she's awesome and has even been in print for her party prowess. ;) No, I did not receive any compensation for this - she doesn't even know I did it - but, if you buy from her, please mention my blog so -I- know the depths of my own influence (read the tagline: It IS all about ME, after all! ;) ).

(2) Check the 'Sale' section and You're Welcome. Code 9076 should get you 20% off for at least another week or two. Again, you're welcome. :)

(3) Props to Jennifer Love Hewitt for the new culture-reference - this particular evening we were discussing about what happens AFTER you 'vagazzle?' Because, seriously, that's gotta just be for looks - as the token guy/aka 'Stacy's husband' in the room said? "The friction would va-suck" - hellooooo, chafing!

(4) Something my ex-husband told me months ago and I wish I had heard again BEFORE I tried to watch it the other night. The Lovely Bones? Anything but lovely, IMO.
As a Search Consultant and Marketing Major; of course I'm a BIG fan of Social Media. It's not only a helpful business tool and an interest; but, over the last couple of years has become a way of life for me. So yes, I have accounts, handles, and pages on pretty much every platform out there - some I use more than others, but you get the point. I blog, I tweet, I'm branded. I'm connected to friends I had at 4 and some boyfriends I wish I hadn't really EVER connected with - but, you never know when 'being connected' will come in handy. ;) (1)

But, do you ever think that maybe - at least from a personal perspective - we're OVER-CONNECTED? Through social media, we're able to know far more than we ever have about the goings-on and interactions in others' lives. For people like me, my "friends" can know what I'm up to on nearly an hourly basis. I even "check-in" to the places I go/things I do & see via a program called Foursquare. Tack on all of the comments and interactions from my connections? There's not a lot of mystery to my world.

How much of a big deal is that when it comes to dating? Some could reasonably argue that those interactions give you something to talk about on a date. Sure, maybe - depending on how interactive you are with what's put on your page. But, the normal "How was your day, dear?" or "What did you do today?" questions one would typically ask their significant other? Seems slightly moot because you just say the status of "Best.Day.EVER" an hour ago! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I've taken note over the last couple of years that most of my friends have had some of their biggest disagreements over Facebook and Myspace. It's a BIG DEAL for some people to not have their 'relationship status' publicized by their significant other. Now personally? My 'Relationship Status' isn't likely to change unless there's a ring on my finger and a new last name that needs explaining. I just don't think it's that big of a deal - my friends know who I'm dating and that's good enough for me. Feelings get hurt when the comments left are generic or better yet? When they're told to leave generic or 'just friends' type comments yet are constantly reading very racy comments left by others. (3) One of my friends laughed at me yesterday when I was working through this subject with her and said, "You know, I'm MARRIED to the guy now and he STILL doesn't leave sweet comments on my page or declarations of love. I just don't care anymore because I have the ring on MY finger so those other flirty girls can suck it." (4)

I'll be honest; I always thought they were nuts. (5) I mean, come ON - it's a SOCIAL MEDIA site, for cripes sake! And for the most part, I still hold true that if you're in a stable relationship with someone? Still shouldn't matter - just have to trust the person you're with has decent judgement and is an honest jane or joe. But, what if you're NOT in a stable or established relationship? What if it's still new or you're just really 'dating' someone and so therefore you DON'T know what to expect or how to read things? I was discussing this with a guy I've been 'getting to know' and he said there should be some sort of ettiquite blog on how to handle this sort of thing and what's ok to do/not do on people's pages. So... I'm going to. Here's a sneak peak as it pertains with how to deal with the stuff you see on your significant other's/person's you're dating page(s):

1) DO recognize you likely don't know the person who made the comment and the nature of their relationship with your person. It might be totally innocent. So... if you have a question? Ask - and then accept the answer and let it go.

2) DO NOT use it as an opportunity to 'mark your territory' back. Comments like "Last night was amazing" or "I love you more than life itself" right after some questionable comment by some other chick/guy? Is completely transparent and is not only going to not mean much to the person you are dating/your S.O - but it SHOULD be embarrassing to you. Rise above, I say...

3) DO NOT start stalking the other people that are leaving your guy/girl comments. It's flat out unbalanced. Now, I totally get the natural curiousity to check them out - and that's probably not going to be a restraining-order level if you only do it ONCE, if you must. But, if you find yourself going 'cyber-spy' on them (6)?? Close the computer, use your 'phone-a-friend' lifeline and get some help.

4) If you can't do/refrain from the above three?? Stop looking at their profile completely - or better yet, find someone else to date that you actually CAN and WILL trust. Because at the end of the day? That's probably what it boils down to, anyway....


(1) By the way, if you're trying to find me on a social media platform? Just try whatever website with the extension /theonecrystal, /the1crystal, or /crystalgmiller - I'm pretty well branded that way :D

(2) Besides, I tend to think you kind of look like a tool when you're in and out of a relationship enough that people start thinking you're a 'Jack-in-the-box.'

(3) Seriously, I remember leaving a conference to help a friend that I thought was going to have a panic attack from how upset she got reading one of them - granted, the chick leaving them was TOTALLY doing it to induce that exact reaction from my friend, but still... wowzers.

(4) That might have been paraphrased; but I think it's funnier this way and is still true to the spirit of the comment. :p

(5) Until a recent experience with it myself that doesn't bear going into because it's a) embarrassing and b) makes it hard for me to pretend like I'm above it all. :p Suffice it to say MY experience was extremely pale compared to some of the stories I've heard and lasted a total of a week or so before I slapped myself back out of the insanity.

(6) Or creating an alter-personna of the opposite gender to stalk them on a more personal level? *cough* Jasper *cough*

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One Fine Day... We'll Figure it Out

Dating is fun. Dating is fun. Dating is fun. For some people, this is a mantra they have to repeat ad nauseum in the hopes that they might one day believe it. For them? Dating is decidedly NOT fun. Others enjoy it so much that they never stop dating... even after they get married! As usual, I'm kinda somewhere in the middle. I almost always enjoy myself when I'm out on a date with someone (excluding some of the just obvious awkward moments we all have to deal with); but arranging it and fitting it into my schedule can be something of a whip. (1)

I was talking with a guy recently that was by absolutely all accounts A-dorable. He was funny, handsome, outgoing, active and outdoorsey... loved God, kids, and big dogs. Seriously, all that was missing was the conversation about a penchant for the East Coast in the Fall and I would have likely supposed he came out of some kind of fairy-tale. Until, that is, he started talking about? Dating. For those of you that haven't dated in awhile; evidently, dating is a huge topic of conversation amongst single people. For the first few dates, it's not uncommon to talk and joke about former off-key dating experiences; in fact, it can be something of a bonding experience when you realize that you're not alone in feeling smothered when someone comes and "accidentally" leaves stuff at your house and then tells you to clear out a drawer for them. After you've only dated for a month. (Can you say CLINGY??) The various little antecdotes we share regarding our dating mishaps can humanize us ... and that can be a good thing, I think.

But on the other end of the spectrum, there's the guy (or gal) who can't stop belittling dating. Enter Frank. Met Frank on Match.com - which is of course, a dating site. This would imply to most that Frank wanted to date someone. Just sayin' - 'cause it's kind of what you do on dating sites; want to make friends? Go to meetup.com - there's a group for you. One would further think that Frank was interested in dating based off his proactively contacting me - and of course, I responded back because hello??? Did you READ the first paragraph? He sounded too good to be true.... And? He was. Turns out, Frank exhausts all the topics that make him cute in about 45 minutes. The next month? Was spent talking exclusively about how much he hated his job, his friends, and ... dating. And then how much he hated dating some more. And then some more. And then... get the picture?? Total.WHIP. So, of course, I dropped him like a hot potato. (1)

Tip for those who were previously unaware: negativity? Not so much attractive to most. An injection of saracasm is fine now and again; but to be submersed in it all the time is just .... bleh. If you're having trouble seeing something positive in dating, then perhaps it's time to stop. Take a breather; get to know yourself again and figure out where it went off the tracks for you. Otherwise, your dates are likely to categorize you as I did Frank - the whip that continually dampening my 'One Fine Day' and will find someone else with whom to spend their time. :)

(1) But, I console myself with the realization that, to some degree, that's probably going to be true of pretty much everyone else, too. At least the people I tend to see. ;)
(2) Come on, like you wouldn't?? Don't care how great the packaging looks; if the inside is reminiscent of decay? Moooove along. Furthermore, I have to ask myself what's the motivation behind these continually repeated conversations - where/what's the gain?