Saturday, May 28, 2011

Speed Dating Tips and Tricks!

So the results are in, out of 15 men, 14 of them indicated that they were interested in me.  I feel bad that I wasn't interested in more of them, but alas that's how the cookie crumbles.  I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think I did a few things that led to this number of dates wanting to spend more time with me.

Ladies, listen up- maybe these things will work for you too:

1.  I dressed cute with a touch of "sexy."  I wore a black top, skinny jeans, red patent leather heels, and a tan blazer.  A few guys told me I looked nice, and I think the red shoes gave them something to remember me by.

2.  Even when I wasn't 100 percent interested I made a conscious effort to keep smiling.  It had been a very long day and I was exhausted, but I tried very hard not to let it show.

3.  I shook everyone's hands, immediately, and with a firm grip.

4.  I tried to let them do most of the talking.  I of course answered all of their questions but always brought it back to them.

5.  I kept it light.  Laughing and joking is good.

Now, unfortunately some of the guy did not do these things... so here's some advice as to what guys SHOULD NOT DO when speed dating- or dating in general.

1.  Do not wear a "free" t-shirt (you know what I mean, those XXL shirts that get handed out on college campuses and sporting events) and have it tucked into outdated jeans.

2.  Do not start the date by speaking in a foreign language. (Didn't happen to me, but did to a friend.)

3.  Do not mention that in your free time your favorite hobby is playing with your two cats.  (I like cats but I hope you have more interesting hobbies. - again this didn't happen to me but to a friend.)

4.  Don't have a weak handshake.  You're a man, shake hands like one.

5.  Do not reference your ex-wife.  Especially do not reference her more than 3 times in a 3 minute date.

6.  Do not interrupt other people's conversations.

Have you tried speed dating? Would you?  What advice do you have for daters?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sara Goes Speed Dating...

Last night I crossed something off of my "bucket list."  I went speed dating

My friend and I arrived at D'vine Wine Bar downtown around 7pm.  When we signed in a coworker of mine was there and scored me free entrance*! (Pre-pay is $35, at the door is $40!)  We were each given a name tag with a number on it and a folder that held a sheet on which we could write down each of our "dates" and whether we wanted to have further contact with them, along with any other notes to help us remember everyone.  After sitting around looking at the people that were showing up it was announced that the dating was about to commence.  After one last fist bump with my wing woman I took my place at table #2.

As I sat at my table nervously, I watched men come and sit at all the other tables but alas, table #1 and I were left man-less.  I commented to the woman sitting next to me, "I can't believe I'm getting stood up at a speed date!"  She laughed and agreed.  While all the couples around us began their first three minute round she and I conversed with each other- good practice for our upcoming dates.  The three minutes went by quickly and soon my new friend found herself with a date, while I sat dateless again.  Throughout the first half of the speed date I had about 4 dateless sessions, but the other dateless girls and I got together to chat.  There was a pretty decent sense of camaraderie throughout the event.

Finally, at round three, I had a date.  I'll call this one TD.  TD sat down at the table and was immediately smiling and shook my hand.  I was nervous, not quite sure how to start.  Luckily he took the lead- though I could tell he is a little shy too.  He asked me about why I was speed dating and what I do for a living.  I in return asked the same.  We didn't get too deep into anything, and at the end of our three minutes I decided that while he was nice he just wasn't the guy for me and I circled my first "no" of the evening.

The mix of men that I met was very interesting.  There were guys who were still in college or had recently graduated to men who worked at banks, worked for NASA, or who were divorced.  There were tall guys, shorter guys, bald guys, cute guys, fat guys, skinny guys, red heads, blondes, and everything in between!  I definitely felt like I was attracted to the guys who were confident from the get go and didn't seem to be relying on me to lead the conversation. 

Later in the evening, after the 10 minute break we were granted, I felt I really hit my stride.  I was being more friendly, didn't only focus on what people did for a living, and felt more relaxed.  It was during the second half that I met "Forge".  During our three minutes all we discussed was my hobbies (reading and photography) and our mutual enjoyment of travel.  Forge smiled the entire time, held his own in the conversation, and seemed to be enjoying himself.  He was one of my 4 yes votes! 

People might see that out of 15 or so guys I only said yes to 4 and take that to mean that it was a waste of time.  I don't think that is the case at all.  I had a great time, and most of my "no's" were still really nice guys, just not what I thought would be a good fit for me.  If I were a guy I'd look at the forty dollars as being way cheaper than taking 20 girls on 20 first dates! 

After the event was over my friends and I stayed and chatted with a few of the guys we found interesting before heading home.  It was nice to get a little more conversation out of people.  While I was talking to Forge some more, another guy, who I'd like to call "Orange" came up and stood by us.  When "Forge" asked him if he needed something he said, "I just came to listen to Sara tell stories."  We both smiled awkwardly and I responded, "I do tell really awesome stories" and then continued on with my conversation.  He ended up quietly slipping away taking his awkward social skills with him. 

If you're thinking of speed dating do it.  It was fun and an interesting way to spend a Tuesday evening.  And who knows, maybe you'll be like another coworker of mine and meet your future spouse at the event!  I'll update you all when I get my email telling me who was interested in me!  I will also be writing a post of "tips" for speed dating... especially what guys should and shouldn't do...

*Even though I got in for free it had nothing to do with me writing this post as neither the coworker nor the woman running the event knew that I would be talking about it on this blog.  It was just a surprise perk!

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Sara's Kitchen- Bruschetta

There is one dish that I make for almost all family get togethers- Bruschetta.  It's amazing and I honestly think it's better than any restaurant's around!   I decided to be generous and share a step by step guide to making my amazing go to appetizer!

Things you need before you start...
Salt, Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic Cloves, French Baguette (sliced), Olive Oil, Baking Pan, Knife, Cutting Board

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

2.  Take a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

3.  After drizzling with olive oil sprinkle with salt- sea salt is best, but if all you have is regular salt in a pig shaped salt shaker- it will do.
4.  Take the slices of baguette and place them on the baking sheet.  Move each one back and forth a few times to get some oil and salt on them, then flip them and do the same to the other side.  Leave sitting while you start the next steps. (you may need two baking sheets- or to reuse this one)

5.  Take your basil and remove the stems.  Then chop up as finely as you'd like.  I use a whole packet of basil from the grocery store.  Place in a bowl.
6.  Cut your tomatoes in half and de-seed them.  The drier your ingredients are the better as it keeps the bread from getting nasty and soggy.  Dice your tomatoes into approximately 1 centimeter cubes.  This time I used one and a half large tomatoes.  I would have used more, but I dropped one half into my dirty sink. (ooops)
7.  Stick the pan of bread in the oven (leave for around 5 minutes).  Mix tomatoes with the basil.
8.  Take several cloves of garlic- depending on how garlicy you want it- or how likely you are to make out with someone later.  I used 3 in this recipe.  Mince.  DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH PRE-MINCED GARLIC- THAT'S GROSS AND CHEATING!  Fresh garlic is the only way to go.  
(Sorry, I forgot a picture of the minced garlic.)

9.  Take the bread out of the oven.  Turn each piece over and put it back in (3-5 minutes) Add the garlic to the garlic and tomato!  Taste, if it seems good then leave it.  If not, add more garlic- or basil, or tomato. 

10.  Remove the bread from the oven.  Let cool.  Spoon the tomato, basil, garlic mixture onto each piece of bread (this is best to be done immediately before serving, and when the bread is already on the serving platter.)  

This batch made enough for 20 pieces.  I had enough bread for more- and could have done more with a little more tomato and garlic.  It took me just shy of 30 minutes to complete this.  If I had better knife skills, and knives in general I could probably do it in 15-20.

A variation- that is very tasty but no longer an option for me is to add fresh mozzarella cheese!  Don't bother with dry shredded mozzarella.  If you want to add cheese, after you take the bread out of the oven the first time lay a slice of mozzarella on each piece of bread before sticking it back in.  Leave in till melted, then remove.  In this case I do not let it cool before adding the topping- but still encourage people to eat immediately so there is a contrast between the hot cheese and cool topping.  So delicious.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sara Thinks...

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. ~Souza
 A few days ago I was reading a post on Wedding Bee and saw this quote.  It struck me, because several times lately I have told friends that I feel as if I'm in "limbo" and am "waiting for my life to start."  As I've searched for a steady job in my chosen career and for a steady relationship I've felt that when I find these things I will finally be an "adult."  My life will begin.  
This, is stupid. 
The random jobs I've had, if even for a year have been a part of my life.  They have helped form my life.  
The numerous first dates?  The short term relationships?  They've taught me a lot and have provided me with some pretty fun experiences.  Movies, plays, music, restaurants all that I might not have seen.  
I need to stop waiting and just enjoy what my life is now.  Of course I will keep pursuing my things, but I can also be satisfied with where I am now.  I can at least recognize that this is my life- imperfections and all, and THAT is O.K.  
Enjoying life, in the moment, on my last day at my first school of the year.