May 8, 2015

I Have A Newsletter, Yo!

Me, basically
Hey guys! I haven't posted on here in a while, as I've been too busy slurping ice coffee now that the weather is above 75 degrees. 

As a head's up, I started a weekly newsletter as a fun way to talk about whatever I'm obsessed with. Things I love. Things I wish I could set on fire. Movies, TV shows, beauty products, phone apps, maxi dresses; they're all fair game. You can read the first missive here and you can sign up to receive updates delivered to your inbox below.




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In other news, I’m co-teaching a three-hour workshop called "Tweet Your Story" with my friend, storyteller Hillary Rea. It will be about social media, storytelling and the secrets of audience engagement. It all goes down on Sunday, May 17th from 12pm - 3:00pm at CultureWorks in Philly. Get your tickets here.

And, I'm still writing a weekly advice column for the Frisky called "Make It Stop!" where I nip some shit in the bud. If you have any questions you want me to answer, email 'em to me at anna@shmittenkitten.com. I usually tweet out links when it's up, so keep an eye on my Twitterfeed for it.

Happy weekend, everyone!

March 9, 2015

Flippin' Our Shades At Food Dude, "FX Movie Download" Host, and All-Around Renaissance Man, Adam Gertler


Chef. Harmonica player. Reality TV star. Sausage King of Venice Beach. Karaoke champion. Comic book nerd. Host with the most. Is there anything Adam Gertler can't do??

Philadelphians probably remember Adam as the chef at Locust Street's dearly departed The Smoked Joint: A Barbecue Experience, where both his cooking chops and his karaoke skills were on frequent display. (Yes, that was him, answering to "Doc G" and scooting around the floor flat on his back, squawking along to "Midnight Rambler" on his harmonica, his flame-embroidered suspenders hoisting his chef's pants up). He has since competed on season four of Food Network's "Next Food Network Star," making it to the finals, and hosted two follow-up series, "Will Work for Food" and "Kid in a Candy Store." Although he left Food Network in favor of hosting "FX Movie Download," his love of food drove him to amateur sausage making, and he is now the official Wurstmacher of West Coast-based Dog Haus Dogs. In his spare time (ha!) he lets his inner comic book nerd loose on a weekly podcast, "DC Movie News," and puts those karaoke-honed harmonica skills to good use with The Freedom Ledges.

In short: whatever your preferred flavor of Nerd Hot, there's something for you at the Doc G Buffet.

Adam was kind enough to catch his breath and answer our pressing questions. He doesn't bite unless asked or provoked (and no, much to his chagrin, the Wolverine claws are not, in fact, permanently attached to his adamantium-encased skeleton).
1.What's your idea of a perfect date?
Adam Gertler: One where the conversation is flowing without ever having to think about the flow of conversation. When the date's over and you wish it wasn't. I love food, so I can learn a lot about people from how they eat; what they eat; if they care about what they eat at all. If someone thinks that food is no big deal, and merely a means of sustenance, she's probably not a great match for me. 
2. What do most guys do wrong when they're out with a girl?
AG: I think trying to dominate the conversation and 'sell yourself' is a big mistake. The best thing you can do on a date is make a girl laugh -- but you need to get a sense of her humor, or else you risk the pitfalls of perceived douchebaggery. Being complimentary is good; too much is no good. And there's something to be said for playing it a little cool. 
3. What's the worst thing a girl can do on a date?
AG: Talk about her ex in a positive way. Other than that, general negativeness is pretty unattractive to me. Negativeness about herself, even worse. Confidence is very sexy to me. 
Tell us a secret!
AG: I'm afraid that I'll never find someone that loves me as much as I love them -- or vice versa. The odds of a long-term match seem farther away the older I get. Recently, I've been involved with people that I was pretty into, and it was ultimately unrequited.  Conversely, I'll go out with someone and she'll fall hard and fast, and I find myself wondering, "Is this ever going to add up to something equal?" 
4. What advice would you give a younger version of yourself about dating?
AG: Don't be afraid to approach someone you're attracted to. Don't be so scared of rejection (it's only a 'no'...) Slow down; it's not a drag race, cowboy. 
5. What would you put on a mixtape for a woman that you liked?
AG: "Ramblin', Gamblin' Man" - Bob Seger
"40 Day Dream" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" - The Rolling Stones
"Jersey Girl" - Tom Waits
"Isis" - Bob Dylan (Rolling Thunder Revue)
"Into the Mystic" - Van Morrison
"It Ain't Me Babe" - Johnny Cash
"Alison" - Elvis Costello
"Something" - The Beatles
"One More Cup of Coffee" - Jack White
"Loving Cup" - The Rolling Stones
"Comes a Time" - Neil Young
Yes, gals, he is single and looking, so go ahead and dust off your best karaoke standard / sausage joke / fangirl story about meeting Stan Lee and say hello on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

February 23, 2015

Just Between Us: 6 Things I Will No Longer Put Up With in Bed (and Neither Should You)

After more than a decade of sexing my way around town, I've learned a thing or two. Like, that sex on the beach should only be enjoyed as a cocktail. Or that you don’t necessarily have to know his last name-–or his first name-–to enjoy the ride. And with all that hard-won knowledge comes this list of the inane bedroom behaviors that I simply will not abide any longer, and that no self-respecting woman should suffer, either.

Ladies, nod along. Boys, take notes.

1. The Early Morning Jackhammer

POUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUND. You wouldn't want this mishegas outside your bedroom window, right? So what on this asphalt-crusted earth makes him think I'd want his overzealous drill bit inside of me? Look, I get the mechanics. Sometimes, a guy's gotta get it in. But this kind of unrepentant cervix smashing should be reserved for the tail end of an all-night fuck-fest, not a pre-alarm early morning quickie. 'Cause ouch.

I want a one-way ticket to Get Off Me Town
2. He Won't Wear a Condom

Oh, for fuck's sake. His refusal to suit up in a jimmy hat is worse than when he busts out with baby talk. Because thanks to this kind of inexcusable negligence, we might actually need to have The Baby Talk. I don't even know if he's planning on watching the new season of "House of Cards"; I sure as shit don't want to gab about fertility and STDs and the like with his irresponsible ass. My motto: wrap it or I'll slap it. I am not kidding. (And I throw a mean cock-punch.)

Can I interest you in a prophylactic? 


3. BJs for Non-BFs  

Look, I don’t know where that stranger danger mystery meat has been. I’d sooner deep-throat a subway pole then put my mouth on his rando Slim Jim. 

A blowie before we've made it BF GF official? I'm outta here!
4. He Has a Girlfriend

Maybe this should go without saying, but you’d be truly alarmed at the number of guys who don’t think “I’m in a committed relationship” is relevant information worth sharing. But these lies by omission happen all the time. In a perfect world, he'd be upfront about the fact that he isn't available. But instead I get these tight-lipped jerkoffs who bury this exceedingly pertinent info. It sucks because finding out that he’s cheating on his girlfriend with me is the equivalent of dumping a bathtub’s worth of slushy NYC puddle water on my ladyboner. 



5. Dude, Where’s my Warm Body? 

Repeat after me, gentlemen: the word “girlfriend” is not a communicable disease. I promise you that spending the night is not going to magically transform me-–the girl you found charming enough to go home with in the first place-–into a Stage 5 Clinger. There’s no excuse for darting out under cover of darkness, whether you leave a note on the pillow or not. If only because it totally eliminates the possibility of a morning bang sesh.

 

6. Move Along, Body-Shamers  

Once we’re in a relationship, I’m all ears. He prefers a hairless clam? Cool; let me choke down a couple of Advil and a tequila shot and call my waxer. But until his penis prays solely at my sacred altar, I frankly don’t care about his pube preferences. Suggest that I should trim my topiary any way other than exactly as I see fit, and you’ve just guaranteed that your hose will not be watering this rose garden.


What about you, Team SK? What have you learned about what drives you wild (or wild in a good way) in the sack?

February 9, 2015

Quick Rant: Everyone Is in Love but Me

Picture this: the sun is rising in New York. Or at least, I suspect it is. All I can see is a sullen glow behind the clouds, the sky and the roadside slush mired in the same 50 shades of grey (see what I did there?).

I shut the blinds on yet another snow-blown morning while it wintry mixes all over the city and grab that reliable portal to the world when it's too cold to venture outside: my iPhone. And what's blowing up Instagram? Swaying palm trees and enormous drinks with no fewer than three unnecessary (yet campy and delightful) garnishes. My guy friends are in singles resorts named after summer footwear and my girlfriends are frollicking on this island or that. Here I am, marooned on Manhattan island, with nothing but an ornery cat, a DVR full of Kevin Costner movies and a couple of stale phone numbers left over from last summer's #Trampage.

Robin of Locksley would never fly off to Turks & Caicos without me.
There's a poignant, if more than a little bougie, sadness in preparing French toast and mimosas for one. And it's compounded by the dreary, monochrome palate of winter in the Northeastern United States, a palate rendered all the more dull by the vivid, tropical parrot-esque color of friends' Facebook posts from closer to the Equator. Happy hour has gone from commiserating over the inconveniences of Winter "Storm" Juno to me, sucking down a joyless parade of vodka sodas, straining to muster sympathy for everyone else's sunburns.

This winter, it seems that everyone is in love but me.

What's lonelier than browsing my cousin's baby shower registry with one hand while Tinder-ing with the other? Maybe booking my hotel room for my best friend's wedding and staving off a panic attack when the site asks me whether I'd prefer to reserve a room with two double beds or a single (wildly optimistic) king.

Or maybe it's dabbing an unexpected, involuntary tear before it rolls down my cheek while I look at friends' honeymoon pictures -- then realizing that there isn't anyone here to see that tear, or the ones that stubbornly insist on following it, anyway.

It especially sucks because I'm missing out on the best cuddling weather of the calendar year. February was invented for wiggling up to toasty armpit crooks and roasty spoon sessions under flannel sheets.

If any of you are acquainted with that rarest of unicorn species, the Manhattan Man Who Is Ready for a Relationship, well wouldyalookatthat?! A unicorn saddle! Just sitting here in my apartment, waiting for a ride!

Keep hoofin' it, Last Unicorn. Springtime has to be around here somewhere.

50 shades, indeed.

February 5, 2015

Real Talk: He's Too Hot for Me

Before the Self-Esteem Police censor this post, I wish to assert proudly that I love the way I look. My body isn't as thin as it was when I was a high school cheerleader...

This is not me
...but it does all of the things that I ask, including hoisting me up and down the five (!) stories of my walk-up apartment and playing an immoderate amount of co-ed softball. I have pretty blue eyes and legit NYC style. I clock a solid 7, even on a bad hair day.

But the truth is, there are some guys out there who are so goddamn hot, I simply have no business sleeping with them. And yet, I am. And it's awesome, but also sobering.

Picture this: all 5'1" of me rolls into the bar alongside a strapping, broad-shouldered fellow who, were he sporting pinstripes instead of his [perfectly tailored, probably custom] trousers, would not look out of place on the pitcher's mound at Yankee Stadium. We're basically a reverse Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.

Mr. Joel, could I borrow your shades? People are staring at us
While we vibe happily in the corner booth, I can't help but notice that all eyes in the spot are squarely on us. I see them squint, trying to make sense of us as a pair. Yes, good citizens, I can hear you wondering aloud to your friends what the heck he's doing here with me. No, I'm not his cousin taking him out on the town. No, I'm not one of his co-workers gabbing about office politics over a stiff drink. And no, I'm not an Internet date gone awry.

Maybe he digs my rapid-fire wit or the fact that I can rattle off informed opinions about this season's Amazon Pilot offerings. Whatever. He's choosing to be here with me, y'all, so stop leering.

The ego trip of strolling out at last call with the dude every other girl wanted to take home doesn't always make up for a night spent straining to hear what he's saying to me instead of what the cranky jerks next to us are saying to each other about me. All of which is compounded by the fact that he is NOT my boyfriend, thankyouverymuch, and so really, who's to say he's not going to excuse himself to use the facilities and discreetly pluck some better-looking lass out of the crowd on his way? He's a hot guy. I know he has options.

What about you, Team SK?  Has being on the lower end of the attractiveness see-saw than your mate ever put a black fly in your Chardonnay? Tell me in the comments.

January 9, 2015

Where Have All My Guy Friends Gone?

As I'm cruising into my mid-thirties, certain patterns have shifted. For instance, I no longer spend my Saturday nights sweating off my eyeliner dancing with my best friends in a packed club. I've basically turned into a nervous lizard because I can’t eat heavy meals after 8pm. And I don’t stalk my exes on Facebook anymore. There's no point. They're all puffy, balding and look well-fed and happy so what used to feel like a forbidden thrill now feels as exciting as watching a rerun of "Parks & Recreation" while I'm cooking dinner.

But my least favorite trend about growing older is that it is no longer cool for me to hang out with my guy friends one-on-one if they are in a serious relationship. If they have a girlfriend, I'm out. The other stuff I expected. But this, this took me by sad surprise.

Apparently, I missed that entry in my Encyclopedia Britannica
Like a lot of girls, I had a steady stream of guy friends in my twenties. We'd grab beers and gab about well, everything. Work, crazy dates, wild hookups, drama with friends--we'd talk about it all. I've never had brothers, so this is what I imagine it'd feel like. I loved my guy friends.

But as they've each entered long-term relationships, our solo hang time has dwindled rapidly. It's almost like our friendship can't exist if he's close with another woman. It sucks. Over the past few years, my band of brothers has steadily dissolved. Our friendships, which used to be so casual and fun, are pushed aside. It sucks extra hard because I know it isn't this way for his male friends.

"Let's grab a drink, old buddy!" "I can't. I have a girlfriend now."
Now our interactions are limited to hearting Instagrams of his cat and liking his Facebook post about how there's a Game of Thrones beer. That's it. That's what years of friendship has boiled down to. It's pathetic.

Don't get me wrong. I understand why it's happening. I know that kickin' it with women who aren't his girlfriend is not an acceptable way to spend his spare time once he reaches a certain age. And I know that a lot of girlfriends can be threatened by the bond we share. And that sucks. It feels like a wall has been erected, slicing me out of his inner circle. I'm now a relic of his single life, one that doesn't translate to his new reality.

So, yeah, I get it. But, I miss my guy friends. I miss the make-believe family I cobbled together with these loose sibling bonds, which made me feel so rich but now feel hollow.

I'm so emotional about this!!!!! Scott Stapp knows what I'm talking about!
I never thought I'd say this, but I guess having best dude friends is something I need to relegate to my twenties, like rockin' short skirts and wearing pigtails in public. As much as it stings, I've learned to let go. But I mourn the loss in little ways. I'll hover over his name on my phone, debating whether I should try to arrange plans to grab a drink like the old times, but I know our moment has passed. I respect his decision.

Is this just me or have you experienced the same thing? Do certain friendships have a shelf life because your buddy is the opposite sex? Tell me in the comments.

October 17, 2014

RE-POST: "I Feel Like My Chances of Finding Love Are Hopeless" via The Frisky

I'm not sure if you've seen it, but I've been doing an advice column called "Make It Stop!" over on The Frisky for the past few months. Mostly I field questions about pesky co-workers and thorny family problems. But this week's question was the most profound one yet. It was about how to deal with feeling hopeless in love. I've re-posted it in its entirety below. I'm proud of my answer and I thought it might help some of you out there that are struggling with the same thing. And if you have any questions you want to submit, email me at anna@shmittenkitten.com. Hopefully I can nip some shit in the bud for you.


I’m 31 years old and I’ve never been in relationship, nor have I ever been in love. I look at couples — married, cohabiting, dating — and I’m so envious of their ability to open up and create something with another person. Sometimes I feel like I’m too broken to even be considered by the universe to find love. I’ve never suffered any emotional or mental trauma that would provoke these thoughts, but I wonder if it’s self-preservation. I feel as though I’ve put myself out there, but each time I’m unsuccessful. Any advice for someone feeling a little hopeless? 
The bad news: your attitude needs an adjustment. The good news: adjusting your attitude is free! Instead of telling yourself that you’re a failure, correct that narrative in your head and say that you just haven’t found the right person yet, which is totally okay and super normal.

You say that every time you put yourself out there you’ve been unsuccessful. How you’re looking at these interactions could be part of your problem. Put it this way, is it a failure if you ordered crappy nachos at a restaurant? Would you say that you “failed” as a customer? Or would you say, “Hey, at least I tried this restaurant’s nachos but man, they sucked” and go about your day? You learned that you don’t like salsa out of a jar and that you prefer fresh jalapenos to pickled ones. That’s what dating is: trying new things, seeing what you like.

One day you will order nachos and you will recognize why they’re incredible: the chips are crispy, the cheese is perfectly melted, the guacamole is tasty and the jalapenos are fresh as hell. And you will know how kick-ass these nachos are because you’ve had so many shitty orders of nachos. You’re now a nacho expert and you can say with certainly that those nachos currently in front of you rule the hardest.

Dating is the exact same way.

Each time I dated someone who wasn’t a good fit, I learned something about myself. I learned that I can’t be with someone who scolds me if I stuff my face with brownies when I’m PMSing. I can’t be with someone who makes me feel bad for loving Fall Out Boy. I can’t be with a smoker. And I can’t be with someone who refuses to watch movies with subtitles.

Are these relationships failures? Hell no! I now know myself better than ever because of these “failures.” That’s a gift.

Speaking of gifts, and I tell you this as someone who spent most of my 20s and early 30s single, this time you have alone is a gift. You have the time and energy to throw yourself in whatever projects you want. Travel to the places you want to go. Make you the best version of yourself that you can be.

Hold on to your laptop because I have a giant spoiler alert: relationships don’t magically make everything better. That feeling that you’re looking for, that all-encompassing love and acceptance, starts with you. Until you have it independently, you can’t have it instilled by someone else. That’s the huge secret of relationships. Once you realize that no singular relationship will complete you, you will truly be free.

Listen, I’ve been in your fuzzy pink slippers. It’s not easy to keep hope alive especially when it seems like a romantic relationship is less likely than “Homeland” being good again. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t find myself in a committed relationship until I turned 35. It’s not our parents’ world where if you didn’t find a partner by 25, you’re branded a spinster. If anything, the sooner I realized that the longest relationship in my life was with myself, the happier I was.

And keep in mind that relationships—even the happy, healthy ones—take a lot of time and work. There’s no magical happily ever after. Committing to a life with someone takes a serious amount of negotiating, compromising, and communication skills. Those happy couples mooning over ricotta pancakes at brunch? I guarantee you that their relationship navigated some bumps too. It’s easy to forget that when you only see them at their best.

Anyways, you know what’s worse than being alone? Being with the wrong person. That’s a hell unto itself. That would be a true failure for you. So far you’ve avoided that, which is fantastic. Seriously. You haven’t settled just because you’re lonely. You’re pushing through the loneliness and I promise you that it will be worth it in the end. Just keep being the best friend and family member you can be. Because when you do meet the right person, you will need support from time to time. By having a web of positive people in your life, you will be happier and richer for it.

Your mission is to keep being open to new experiences and learn about yourself, so that you will be able to recognize when you’re with the right person. And that’s the true measure of success.

July 29, 2014

Real Talk: I Need A Date To My Friend's Wedding

As wedding season draws to its (merciful) close, I'm faced with one final nuptial hurrah, courtesy of two of my nearest and dearest friends who -- in a shameless attempt to make the rest of us feel bad about our lives -- had the nerve to fall madly, dizzily in love with each other. They're getting married this fall, and I will almost certainly be invited with a plus one. Which raises the question: who the hell am I taking to this wedding? Tempting as it would be to reinstate my OKStupid or Tinder accounts and troll for tail, the more practical approach seems to be tapping into the pool of available men right in front of me. To wit:

1. The Friend-Plus

We all have one: the rad dude you spend tons of time with and occasionally think, "Hey, should I bring this guy in off the bench?"

Pros: He's fun, friendly and easy to be around. He also looks great in a suit and will follow my lead on "Let's slow-dance" vs. "Fuck slow-dancing; where's the bar?"

Cons: Finding a guy friend who's fun, friendly and easy to be around is no small feat. Do I really want to risk losing him to ex-boyfriend-ville if things don't fly?

2. Out of Town Guy

He's not from around here -- which is the point.

Pros: It's virtually guaranteed that this guy's going to put out, if only because his options are:
a) spend the night on my Put Out Couch (it's like a pull-out couch, but...well, hence the name) 
or  
b) do battle with the money-grubbing androids at Amtrak to finagle passage back home at 3 a.m. surrounded by the kinds of humans who are willing to brave Penn Station and its homeless shower facilities known as bathrooms at that hour of the morning.
Cons: IT IS VERY HIGH STAKES. I'm importing him for the evening, which means I'm contractually obligated to show him a good time, monitor my Prosecco consumption to keep from being too drunk to fuck, and serve as a human shield during potentially limitless embarrassing social interactions with the requisite pack of predatory bridesmaids circling any dude without a ring on his fourth finger like taffeta-draped sharks dabbing Paris Hilton perfume behind their gills -- er, ears. It's enough to send me straight to the open bar, and let's be honest, after a dozen or so well vodka sodas, I'm not going to be much good to anyone, even myself.

3. My Actual Crush

At this point in the #Trampage, I'm edging towards the inevitable "Do I Want To Make One of These Dudes My Boyfriend?" portion of the program, and while there are several candidates, there is a clear front-runner.

Pros: The meet-cute anecdotes practically write themselves. After all, where better to suss out a guy's true relationship potential than at an emotionally charged, well-dressed, liquor-fueled gathering of most of my social circle?

Cons: What if he says no? Oh, God. What. If. He. Says. No. 


indiana jones animated GIF

(It turns out that despite my best efforts to Keep Calm and #Trampage On, I do, in fact, still have feelings that can be hurt. Which, I guess, is nice to know.)

The invitation hasn't even arrived yet, and already I'm tempted to RSVP myself and my cat. At least she always wants to cuddle and won't judge me when I wake up the next morning with mascara-blacked eyes and a spiny blonde disaster where my sleek pixie cut used to be.

Which one is my best bet? What's worked for you? Tell me in the comments!