Dating Diaries: You Need to Learn How to Flirt Again

You need to learn how to flirt again.  I need to learn how to flirt again. We all need to learn how to flirt again.

Last night I ended up on an accidental double date. My newlywed friends had just moved to my neighbourhood, and due to the pandemic we got to celebrate neither their wedding nor their housewarming together. We were having some impromptu cocktails and a catch-up when a friend of theirs arrived. We are all double-vaxxed and the idea of meeting a meeting human is truly invigorating, to me, so when he started making various references to a particular woman in his life I found it disarming. Cool – he’s off the market and this is not at all a set-up. We’re golden. Let’s eat some pizza and get a little toasted. We’re all friends here. We’re comfortable. This is great.

It wasn’t until a couple of hours into the soirée that it unraveled that the woman he kept mentioning had made a very recent departure. He had broken up with said partner of a few years just a couple of days prior. As the drinks wore on, he started to put the vibe out there by caressing my shoulder and back. I hope the word “caress” makes you feel questionably repulsed, because that’s where I was – sitting in a small space with some friends and a super weird vibe. Sure – I’ve been on some pandemic dates, and our small group was all double-vaxxed, but I didn’t know him from Adam and he was tending to some really fresh wounds.

We left the condo and decided to try our luck at a bar, knowing full well with no reservation at almost midnight it was a bit of a pipe dream. Almost immediately, newly-single Sal started pulling me back so we *could talk*. He accused me of disliking him in the most bizarre way: “I think you’re a good looking girl – you’re beautiful, you’re fun, but we need to bury the hatchet.”

What hatchet?

This continued an excessive amount throughout the course of the evening. “Let me buy you a shot and let’s bury the hatchet.” “I’m going to buy us a drink and we’ll bury the hatchet.” “I like you a lot, but let’s bury the hatchet.”

What. Hatchet?!

In earnest, I had no idea if he was flirting with me or if I even wanted to engage in flirting with newly-single Sal. The compliments followed by “BUT” made it seem like they were completely negated by the rest of his sentence. Which was fine, but what was this dude’s point? I kept reassuring him that there was no hatchet, no animosity, no bad blood, but buddy just was not getting it. With every pull of my arm to isolate me from our friends, I was growing aggravated.

To my own dismay, I often play the role of “Good Luck Chuck”. Right now, I’m actually really satisfied only having to parent plants. If someone comes along and is incredibly special and those sparks hit, then absolutely I would love to be in a relationship. I don’t, however, feel as though it’s my responsibility to tend to a random dude’s broken heart on Dundas West on a Saturday night.

Ultimately, because I wasn’t engaging in the kind of behaviour for which he was hoping, he walked away to socialize with another group of young women. Awesome. I had heard about enough about this damned hatchet and wanted to enjoy one of the first nights of liberty as we enter a post-apocalyptic pandemic world without this man’s stressful energy.

He eventually came back as we were served our Gigglewater fries (iykyk) and he told me that I should leave. I’m the one that should leave because he wasn’t getting the kind of reaction to his advances he thought he deserved and the attention he craved. The three of us just stood there less in awe than in blank, exasperated silence. It was late. We were tired. We’re too old to be having a rager of a night, which quite frankly would have been impossible because I have an injury and it’s still Footloose in Uncle Dougie’s Ontario. Dancing is, indeed, still a crime. I don’t know what happened to Sal that night, but our carriage turned into a pumpkin and into an Uber. Our night was done and dusted.

I need to re-learn how to flirt. We all need to relearn how to flirt. But, if you give it a couple of shots and he/she/they aren’t interested, we all need to relearn how to be respectful and give it a rest.

Dating Diaries – Vaccine Badges: Public Safety or Publicity Stunt?

stay home stay safe

Stay Home + Stay Safe = Stay Single

While the pandemic has put most things on pause, it has also brought to light various ethical dilemmas. Uncle Dougie has kept us cooped up, sad, and single for more than 360 days as of today in various twists on “stay at home order”.

According to Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, “In terms of simple business closures, Toronto has probably had the longest lockdown in North America, and possibly the world.” Looking around at the rest of the world, I question the necessity of these extreme measures. I have tried to be the dutiful, respectful, tax-paying citizen doing my part of the cause for the most part, but has it really done us any good?

Dating Apps Vaccine Badges

The Pandemic Has Changed the Apps

There seems to be a bit of a subculture which has made niches of the main 3 apps people use in Toronto. Tinder was for casual hookups, bumble was for beta boys who need the woman to take the lead, and hinge tended to be for those invested in getting finding a relationship. I feel like the pandemic has thrown a lot of this out the window. Surprisingly, most of my friends who have gotten into serious monogamous relationships during the pandemic have met through Tinder.

Vaccine Badges

I was asked yesterday how I felt about “vaccine badges”. They haven’t made their way to the apps yet in Canada, but either way – I am rapidly losing interest in swiping left and right and then never talking. A badge isn’t going to change that. When it comes to the vaccine, I have developed a couple of notions for those who declare their vaccine status in their bios. Let’s start with vaxxed and anti-vax.Covid-19 Vaccine Badges

The Anti-vaxxers Aren’t Always Anti-Maskers

If he’s hesitant about the vaccine (or against it altogether), but has taken a dip in the pool at Cabana, I think it’s clear that we have fundamental differences in belief systems and values. By that same token, if he thinks he’s important enough for Bill Gates to have installed a microchip in his arm, he’s probably a little too self-involved for me. I think it’s pretty clear that anti-maskers effect others, while anti-vaxxers risk their own health. If you want to dick around with long-term, mystery side effects, that’s on you, bb.

Covid Vaccine Badge Research

Personally, I think it’s wise to get the vaccine to keep yourself out of the hospital and to leave resources for those who actually need them. My ideal partner understands/ respects the mRNA research which has been ongoing since the 1960’s. He doesn’t have a PhD from WebMD and he doesn’t believe everything his crazy Uncle George posts on Facebook. My ideal partner would have gotten the vaccine not JUST because it would keep him safe from COVID-19, but because getting the jab is a direct contribution to the return of normal, pre-pandemic life.

You would think that based on the aforementioned, I’d be hugely in favour of a vaccine badge. In reality, the badge itself doesn’t really make a difference for me. At this stage, I’m not sure how vaccine badges would be verifiable. This, to me, is just another opportunity for people to lie on their online resume – er, bio. If you’re really interested and it’s really a priority for you, ask the question. Have a conversation with the person. If their values don’t align with yours, u n m a t c h.

The only way to weed out the ones who are DEFINITELY not for me would be if there was an anti-vax badge, and (for obvious reasons) I don’t see the apps doing that. To the men who are advertising that they’ve received their first shot (of two) and stating that they’re “fully vaxxed” – Sir, are you sure you understand the assignment? Yes – you’ve got some antibodies, but we’re not quite out of the woods. Finally, when a dude’s entire online effort is limited to “6′, because apparently it matters”, I don’t think a rinky-dink badge is going to push me to swipe right.

Vaccine, Doctor, Injection, Syringe

For those bragging that they have had both doses – and let’s say, for argument’s sake, that it’s true – flexing that you’re vaccinated is the opposite of wearing a mask. Hear me out: when you wear a mask you’re showing that you’re protecting other people from your germs. When you brag about being vaccinated, however, the cynic in me feels kind of like you’re saying, “hey – Netflix and chill will be safe … for me. Choose your own adventure!” Might as well f*ck without a condom, right bro?

Injection, Syringe, Vaccine, Medical, Health, Medicine

The Badge is Bullsh*t

While dating apps seem to be a necessary evil, I’m hoping that once we’re all vaxxed, waxed, and relaxed, I can delete them once and for all. I yearn for the “before days” of bar-hopping; trying to find the cheapest shots and cutest guys. Dating apps have ruined the magic of the meet-cute. Even if there are fireworks (rare/ never guaranteed), they’ve conditioned us to always look out to see if someone better will come along. I don’t have all the answers; in fact, I may not have any. In my opinion vaccine badges are just another marketing gimmick. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a bio by a badge.

Vaccine Badges Pinterest Pin ThatGirlCartier

2020: I Dated More During a Global Pandemic Than I Did the Last 2 Years

Toronto Dating Stories

I’m 33 and a half and am still single. I know – shocker! As we wind down the year, I tend to be reflective. All year I’ve been telling people that 2020 wasn’t as bad as 2019, because 2019 really and truly was a shit year for me and plenty of people I know. The end of 2020 is really giving me a run for my money, however.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’d say it takes at least 2 years to really ground yourself in new surroundings. Even though I’m a Torontonian born and raised (yes, real Toronto, not GTA) every time I’ve returned it’s been like I’m brand new and all kinds of lost. 2018 and 2019 I met a lot of people, and in 2020 it appears I’ve tried a few on for size at boyfriend auditions.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’ve met some really shitty people here. I’m sad to say my hometown is full of ’em. Hell – I’ve been a pretty shitty person on plenty of occasions. Perhaps that’s why I was recently the target of a catfishing affair. I think I know who it was. This person will feel very vindicated for the aforementioned declaration that I was a shitty person, but in that scenario I was only the villain because they adore playing the victim. They are selfish and toxic and though I’m sad to have had to create a boundary with them, I really don’t miss their energy and how it effected me. Scroll down to the end for more on that *fun* story time.

Toronto Dating Stories

Since February 2020 I’ve lived alone. My home office from which I’ve worked for the past 9 months is 5 feet away from my bed. My “home gym” consisting of two pathetic free weights, a kettle bell, and a stationary bike I had the foresight to buy the first week of the pandemic are tucked away kiddie-corner ten feet from my bed. It’s close quarters here and hard to feel lonely because imagining more than one person’s stuff in this space makes my muscles tense and my heart beat faster than I’d like. Still, this year I’ve dated more than the last two.

Toronto Dating Stories

2020 has been a busy year for finding out exactly who and what I don’t want. Maybe I’ll feel possessed to make this a series down the line, so let’s make a link-able list:

  • Before I moved, I gave the newly-minted lawyer with mommy issues another try. Once was enough this year.
  • My self-proclaimed “Crazy Rich Asian” made appearances up until May, but after two and a half years it just wasn’t going to go anywhere.
  • There was the guy who showed up drunk and heckled the headliner at a comedy bar designed for stoners (genuinely – the quietest comedy bar in existence) pre-covid.
  • Virtual dates never amounted to anything, but made me feel like I was doing something new and cool during a time where the entire world was on pause.
  • One virtual date escalated to a socially distant walk. He talked about toilet paper brands for at least 4 blocks.
  • There was the Hollywood Director who came back to Toronto to finish his feature film. He had ghosted me in November 2019 and by June 2020 was ready to make amends. Candidly – his movie sounds corny with overdone themes. He was so comfortable to be around and I really did like him. Alas, if it could have turned out any other way it would have.
  • The psychiatrist who just wanted to make out on TikTok (I wish this one was a joke, but he’s up there).
  • Mac – the one who ruined Thanksgiving had me commit to exclusivity because of covid while he was putting his dick in whatever would let him up at Yonge & Eglinton. Not giving it up has done me no favours.
  • The date who drove to a coffee shop a 5 minute walk from his place only for me to cut things short after 3 blocks of our “distance date”.
  • A personal trainer who wanted to appear “woke”, but really, really enjoyed his male/ white privilege. Tons of Daddy issues with this one.
  • Kiwi, who I’m pretty sure had the best of intentions, but thought Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and leaving me on read for 3 weeks were pretty cool. Granted, I was in Vancouver for a weekend and didn’t reach out either, but I had kind of assumed things were over.
  • A dude whose entire personality was board games.
  • The one who brought red wine from the freezer and wanted to make-out in a TTC roundabout 15 minutes after meeting.
  • 13 year itch. When I lived in Vancouver this dude took up all the real estate in my heart and mind. He found out I was visiting and asked me out, but bailed the day of, only to attempt a 1:30 AM booty call. Nah, b.
  • A commodities trader who walked with me at a safe distance, then took me somewhere with Christmas lights, Frank Sinatra, and bad dance moves. He claimed there was no spark and he didn’t want to see me the next day. It’s cool – I don’t what what doesn’t want me.
  • The worst texter on the planet. We’re still kind of seeing one another, but I figured if he didn’t text me “Merry Christmas” I’d release the ghost. He did reach out. Santa was good to him. We’ll see if he decides to reach out in 2021.
  • The Catfish. I didn’t send him (her?) any naughty pictures or incriminating information, so sorry if you thought this would be juicier! Just disappointing to have been targeted – especially during the holidays.
@thatgirlcartierStory time/ ##tiktokdoyourmagicplease ##tiktokdoyourthing ##catfished ##catfishedandghosted ##catfishedchallenge ##toronto ##yyz ##dating♬ Whoopty – CJ

Toronto Dating Stories

So there you have it. I may have forgotten some other really boring distance dates (or pre-covid dates – I can barely remember a world without masks and eau de sanitizer), but you have the gist of it all. I have certainly learned what I absolutely do not want, as well as what I do. First and foremost, the vaccine. Baby, I want it. If it was on Tinder I’d swipe right in a heartbeat. Hit me with that love shot, ASAP. Secondly, I’d like an adult man with a kind heart, good communication skills, ambition, and who can make me laugh. My inner child is in a state of perpetual panic these days, so I’m looking for that twin-flame energy that can put my heart, mind, and body at ease. Pretty eyes and nice arms wouldn’t be the worst either.

Cocktails, Highballs, Drinks, Toronto

While most of my closest friends are already happily married and quite established, one of my dearest friends is newly single. Normally, I’d have taken her out to shamelessly flirt with cute boys we’ll never, ever see again. I’d have told her to hold off on downloading the hell-on-Earth apps until absolutely necessary. Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, let’s do this dance – preferably on a table at 2Cats vibrating at just the right frequency so that next year I’m only dating the one.

Repat Dating Diaries: The Trash Takes Itself Out

If there’s one thing a man should know when dating me, it’s that I have a very close relationship with my parents. While they don’t know everything, they know most things. I try to avoid telling them things which will hurt them or make them worry. Sometimes they’ll surprise you when you do end up over-sharing.

dating diaries alley

In this episode of the Repat Dating Diaries, I can’t decide whether he was a cheater, cheater pumpkin eater or if this was a turkey dump. I’ve been seeing someone for the past couple of months. Things were going well! I’d see him once a week, we’d text nearly all day, and I was actually mildly hopeful. I loved waking up to an article or cute video from him, and made sure to say goodnight before crashing. I enjoyed the whole “taking it slow” thing; not just due to trying to let a relationship grow naturally rather than the warp-speed I encountered dating other expats, but also due to the global pandemic. Hugs make people nervous, understandably. Anything more than that is, of course, even riskier.

dating diaries red flag

Red Flags

When we discussed dating exclusively I wasn’t actually all that excited, but I thought it was wise since both of us have parents in their 70’s. What came as a mighty surprise was when yesterday, on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, I received a text from him giving me a glowing review, but saying that he was “progressing” with someone else.

dating diaries thanksgiving train

I wasn’t aware the real reason he was sending me off on a horrible guilt trip rather than saying bon voyage for a 45 minute Go Train journey from Toronto was not due to the fact that he thought my conservative outdoor activity would put my parents at risk. In fact, the real reason was that he clearly expected all of the ladies he was dating to be monogamous. Bit unfair that he couldn’t return the favour, no?

dating diaries turkey dump

Love Lockdown

Not only did he make me unable to see my family on Thanksgiving, he ensured that as we go into Lockdown 2.0 I’ll be alone. He restricted my opportunities and put me in danger of getting Covid-19 with an extended bubble I wasn’t aware I had. I’m glad he’s got a girlfriend for the upcoming cold and lonely nights, but I resent that he limited me from being able to have someone, too.

dating diaries trash

Trash

Once a mother has written you off, there’s no getting back in her good graces. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Mum says that she won’t be wishing anyone “Happy Thanksgiving” this year because “Mac ruined it”. I FaceTimed with my parents this afternoon and my Mum asked what I was up to this evening. I told her I had some blog maintenance to do, Netflix to watch, some leftovers to reheat, and trash to take out. Her words?

“I thought the trash took itself out last night.”

dating diaries trash

Dating During a Pandemic: Virtual Dating or Bust

If Love is Blind was any indication of what was to come, virtual dating is the new normal. We’re going into week 6 of social distancing and isolation. Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives in some way, shape, or form. I think we’ve all put on a few pounds, questioned whether some hypothetical socializing method out in the world is okay (newsflash: sadly, it’s not), and romantic relationships may never be the same again.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The first week of the Great Canadian Quarantine, my Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder were busier than ever. These Toronto skeezbags were using the coronavirus as the ultimate wing-man. I’ve never had so many offers to “Netflix and Quarantine” in all my life. As we learned more about the virus and its severity, it became really easy to just unmatch those who wanted to bring beer, wine, and germs over to my place.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

Week two I experienced a change in the behaviour of men on these apps. Conversations were longer. Men were opening up, being vulnerable about their emotional fragility during this uncertain time, and sharing their hobbies and interests on a deeper level. Chats like these can seem amazing and fulfilling, but don’t get caught up in the excitement. Both sides have time to come up with a response, and Prince Charming may only be able to sweep you off your feet due to preparation time and good old Google.

Chrissy Teigen's Cry Face

This past week I finally gave virtual dating a try. I had 1 phone and two video chat dates. The phone date was uncomfortable. The guy was definitely already wasted, talked about giving up on his freelance work in favour of CERB, and told me I was going to marry him.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

My second virtual date was through an instagram video chat. At first, things were flowing pretty well. While he did seem to look like his pictures, right away I felt as though I wasn’t attracted to him. We have actually worked in the same industry. I worked for a company (years ago) that developed the first iteration of the platform about which he was complaining. You have to give someone the benefit of the doubt with technology which can lag, but it didn’t take too long to realize that he was just talking over me and wasn’t willing to let me get a word in edgewise.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

I would ask him questions – a pretty normal practice to engage in conversation. He would answer, but would not reciprocate with a question for me. Eventually we just sat there nodding while I waited for him to bring something to the table. Lags in conversation can be really unbearable in person, but when virtual dating it’s really tempting to just X out of the chat.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The last virtual dating experience actually went really well. I poured a glass of wine and immediately spilled it everywhere. He laughed, but was cool about it. Conversation flowed really well. None of it was the standard small talk. We talked about our families, our passions, and what we would do on our first “real” date once extreme social distancing ends. He was rugged and masculine. His mannerisms and body language were chill and relaxed. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m into it. It might not be magic in person, but at least I know that he’s not going to cut me off each time I go to speak on “in-person” date #1.

Love Is Blind

Ultimately, the virtual date is going to be awkward and tense at first. The new normal requires a change in perspective. You can either adapt or get reaaaal comfortable with isolation. Online dating can be a colossal waste of time, but I’ve had a couple of nice relationships thanks to their help. If you’re getting butterflies, kick things up a notch. Love is not blind, as we’ve discovered. The pods can only last so long. Save yourself some time and energy. Virtual or bust.

Love Is Blind

Have you tried virtual dating throughout the pandemic?

Let us know what app and method of virtual dating you’ve given a shot (and how it went!) in the comments below.

Valentine’s Day in Toronto: A Date With Dasha

Valentine’s Day in Toronto

I spent last Valentine’s Day getting filthy. An early morning sweat session was just what the doctor ordered, and I went for it first thing in the morning. It lasted about 45 minutes, and it was a mad dash to get ready and get to work.

I spent last Valentine’s Day working out. What did you think I meant? 

Last Valentine’s Day was actually quite sweet. I got up and headed to F45 where my Valentine’s at St. Clair West got my endorphins going. I did, in fact, rush to work, and was greeted by one of my favourite security guards handing out roses. Nice work, Brookfield. I spent lunchtime with my on and off beau of a year and a half. We’re still talking, but I’ve since set some boundaries since we ultimately just want different things. He’s one of the guys on the The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto  and his name actually rhymes with Dasha.

A couple of weeks ago I got a canned e-mail from the team at Dasha advertising their Valentine’s special. No longer being part of a couple (and a little burned by the naming convention reminder) I cracked wise on instagram asking if they’d like to have me hunched over a bar stool singing Céline Dion. Turns out – they were into it. With that in mind…

Join us on February 14th for a Date with Dasha!

An upscale karaoke party for singles, friends, lovers or whomever else your heart desires!

TICKETS: $25 (Click here to get yours!)

WHATS IN IT FOR YOU:

  • A welcome shooter (to set the mood – I’m calling it a “Love Shot” for EXO fans)
  • Appetizers (canapé-style food in Dasha’s private dinning room)
  • Access to 5 unique karaoke rooms ALL NIGHT LONG!

We will have a cash bar in the Private Dining Room (featured above) stocked and loaded for your night out.

Our bartenders will be serving up the best of the best – whether it be a customized cocktail from Dasha or a classic shot of tequila to get your pipes ready; you pick your poison.

This is a 19+ event and tickets are non-refundable.

Dating Diaries: How to Attract What You’re Least Expecting

The concept of manifesting your goals has been rattling around in my head for quite some time. There’s great power in positive thinking, and harnessing that power and honing it has been a big focus for me, especially toward the end of this year. It’s amazing what happens when you focus on something very particular and send out a very specific request to the universe. The answer certainly surprised me!

Lately I haven’t been focused so much on dating, but more on fitness, rest, healthy cooking, and just generally making it to the next day. After a tumultuous first year back in Canada, my aim is to focus on the positive, release the negative, and practice gratefulness.

It seems that the best things come to those who clearly envision their goals and make solid plans. This year, I wrote down that I wanted to see Angkor Wat. On my birthday, YYZ Deals came out with a massive list of destinations from Toronto on China Eastern. One such destination was Siem Reap. The goal I envisioned (and wrote down) turned into a reality in less than three months. I decided that was enough to get me on the path of the vision board making my dreams into goals, my goals into plans, and my plans into reality.

I often write about dating, so how do you make your vision into a reality when it comes to love? I mean, as much as it’s been on the back-burner, I’d be very happy to have a partner. They say you find love when you least expect it. How does that work with the law of attraction?

The Secret: “Under the Law of Attraction, the complete order of the Universe is determined, including everything that comes into your life and everything that you experience. It does so through the magnetic power of your thoughts. Through the Law of Attraction like attracts like. What you think about, you bring about.”

If thoughts become things, then how could you find “the love of your life” when you least expect it? Knowing that there isn’t a unique thought left on the planet, I dove headfirst into black hole of Google. Turns out the answer was on the very first page:

The Law of Attraction: “Focus on your intention, hand it to the eternal energy of the universe to contemplate entirely. You will have stopped the experience of wanting; therefore, you will have automatically placed yourself in a better position to receive. Just like those aha moments when ideas and solutions have entered your mind unexpectedly, you suddenly received what you wanted. 

If you are desperate to have something, you are in a state of need. Thus, you remain needy instead of becoming successful. The universe receives your needy energy, and politely sends you more needy energy since it is programmed to deliver your primary focus.

Your life might still be enhanced greatly when you receive gifts from the universe, and in this sense, you require what you obtain. However, you are not urgently crying out for a result when it occurs. Recognize that you also need to throw the energy of ‘want’ that you have created to the wind. When you have done so, good things will blow into your life.”

I had sent out a request to the universe to find, in essence, a unicorn. I wanted to meet someone who wasn’t from Toronto since the pickings have been so slim. I wanted to meet someone who has goals and ambitions; has his own thing going on. Someone who could make me laugh. A man who believes in monogamy. Physically I don’t really have a preference, but I like someone who is active and ready to try new things.

…and then he appeared.

I had a fantastic date with a man I seem to have dreamed up. It may not stand the test of time, but as far as the concept of asking the universe for what you want? I’m sold. Ask the universe for your wildest dreams with very specific details, then let all that focused, yet impatient, energy fly away; released to the universe – no longer something on which you need to fixate. The universe unfolds as it should.

Believe your own B*llsh*t

As I settled into shivasana in my after-work hot yoga class last week, I began thinking about some basic b* generalizations. In the pursuit of happiness, I’ve come to wonder whether the best things in life are basic. If so, maybe I should be.

Hear me out…

Without getting too far into gender identity, I’d like to discuss some stereotypical female-presenting gender roles and why it’s OKAY to to subscribe yourself to even the worst ones. Society on the whole has a set of ideas expectations about how men and women should behave in certain situations; everyday life being one example.

Criticism is all too easy. The moment I step out my front door I’m open to judgment, disapproval, and self-deprecation due to various instances of the aforementioned over the years.

If we’re to reclaim the word “bitch”, let’s reclaim the other pervasive female stereotypes. Sometimes I’m angry and sometimes I’m a cheerleader. I can be emotional, feminine, masculine, tough, and weak. I am an Ice Queen and perhaps that’s one reason why I’m single (and lonely sometimes, but thanking my lucky stars others). I can appear fearless while shaking in my boots. I can be polite and accommodating and aggressive or bold. Sometimes I’m the token female at the table, and I take my position in the boys club to heart. I am strong.

I’m not just one stereotype – I’m a person. My thoughts, feelings, and emotions can change at the drop of a hat based on my circumstances. If I don’t like what’s being said, then surely I can change the conversation. So, why not change the little voices inside my head and heart telling me “you can’t”? Even it’s it’s total bullshit you’re telling yourself right now, in time you can make it all a reality.

I sure as hell can be a basic bitch. Alternately, I can also be a shoulder to cry on, a person who loves to celebrate the success of others, and an expert on topics at work and at play. I’m passionate, generous, and adventurous. On paper I might be pretty basic (my Tinder profile is not exactly an oeuvre), but IRL I’m absolutely unapologetically me. As we rock up to 2020, find out who you are and don’t apologize – that’s one female stereotype I’m striking-through next year.

Expat Dating Diaries: Travel Romance

The Travel Romance is just one part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. I have been avoiding writing this section for the better part of 3 years because the first one really and truly shook me to my core. While I’ve moved on, I still haven’t quite recovered. I’ve realized, however, that there’s a difference between a Travel Romance and Travel Love.  Travel Love has potential. It makes you want to work for, nay, fight for something intangible. It sweeps you off your feet and keeps you dangling – waiting for the other shoe (er – you, in this case) to be dropped.

This one shouldn’t be avoided altogether, but you must know upon entry that your risk of heartbreak is about 90%.  Meeting in vacation mode gives you the opportunity to live without the stress of work and other responsibilities at home.  You are at your peak around one another.  You’re consumed by the bliss of being in a new place with exciting adventures at every turn.  Give in to the Travel Love, just don’t give away your heart completely.  It will fly away to the other side of the planet to taunt you with ransom letters every time your time-zones allow you to connect.

Travel Romance, on the other hand, is fleeting. It’s a fling on the road never designed to be permanent. It has a mutually communicated date of expiration. Feelings might evolve, but you have perspective. It’s a paragraph; not a chapter.

I genuinely don’t understand the mating rituals of singles in Toronto. On vacation, with just a lingering gaze and a tentative wave, you’ve got the opening to conversation which could lead to a night of passion or following your newfound bliss across the country. Here in Canada, even at a designated “meet market”, all you’ll find are raggedy men glued to their phones or yelling about real estate.

My first Travel Romance after starting The Toronto Seoulcialite was in Shanghai back in 2015. It was my first truly solo trip, and I was shaking in my boots waiting for take-off. When I approached the hostel (with a printed out map and walking instructions – no SIM card), I was tired and nervous and wasn’t sure if I should venture out or wait until daylight broke. As I walked to the lobby a voice called out; “We’ve been waiting for you!”

It turns out he was from California, was staying at my hostel, had spent the last 5 years learning Mandarin, and had had a series of seizures in Beijing. He wasn’t sure if his health was up to finishing his months-long trip and hadn’t made any plans for Shanghai. I, on the other hand, had planned my trip down to the minute. We met up the next day and ventured around the city. It was nice to have a flirty new friend with whom to wander. People assumed we were married, and we didn’t correct them.

All things considered, he wasn’t a bad insta-husband for 2015!

The charade was all too pleasant. We walked all over for two days and the extent of our physical relationship was a bit of hand-holding and a tender kiss on my forehead. It was better than traveling solo. Better still than traveling with certain women. An intense flicker of chemistry with a well-established expiration. I was hooked.

After my little taste of Travel Romance I dove well into the deep-end with Adonis. After him, I thought I’d never fully let my heart go again. Then, I met an American (ex-Co-P) who confirmed it. I’ve never been as happy with anyone as I was when we were wandering through the dusty back roads of Phuket with a snaggle-tooth pup in tow. Since ex-Co-P, there’s been the Gentle Brummie in Seoul, the Tazzie with Trust Issues in Bali, Mr. Non-Monogamy in Toronto (who I met when home felt like a real trip), and the Dutchman in Hoi An. He cooked for me and I reworked his resume. We’re still talking, but that’s just for fun. That’s the key to a successful Travel Romance: make it all about fun in the moment.

The Publicist Group – Beauty Inside Out

Publicist Group: Beauty Head to Toe & Inside-Out

The Publicist Group is made up of a small, but mighty, group of motivated, business-savvy, stunning, and strong women.  Led by Melissa “MJ” Jovanoski and Cheryl Willberg, the entire TPG squad is worthy of a mega girl crush/ #WCW/ #goals. The women of TPG would have sat at the “popular table” in high school. This time, however, they actually want you to be the best you can be (and they invite you to every party!) Over the past year I’ve been invited to a number of events and activations all with a common goal: Beauty and Strength Inside & Out.

We are The Publicist Group aka TPG! We are a full-service communications agency that offers everything from traditional PR programs and marketing initiatives to ambassador programs and direct-to-consumer activations at the retail level, utilizing both traditional and digital platforms. Most importantly – we work with brands we love, including fashion, beauty, food, health & wellness, and lifestyle. Check us out @PublicistGroup! #TPG

Be seen and heard in all the right places with The Publicist Group. As a full-service communications agency located in the heart of downtown Toronto,
TPG offers an array of services from PR and marketing to events and influencer programs. Our team executes 360-degree strategies; delivers original, creative and result-driven campaigns; and loves to make noise across  the country with our clients’ initiatives.

We’ve got you covered, literally.

The Publicist Group is a collective of digital strategists, event planners, marketers, creative geniuses, social media gurus, and publicists. We don’t follow trends; we are trendsetters. Staying in tune with current events around the globe, the TPG team identifies shifts in the marketplace and are experts in creating relevant, newsworthy, and impactful programs that leave a lasting impression.

Fit Factory

The Publicist Group introduced me to the Fit Factory Fitness when I was right in the middle of tapering off at Big Hit Studios and kicking off a challenge at F45 St. Clair West. Conveniently located on King St. West a few blocks East of Spadina, it’s billed as the #1 Gym in Toronto. Personally, I found their Bootcamp to be overcrowded. With only one trainer providing a very quick overview of an intense workout, I was concerned about my safety as veterans tossed around heavy weights and newbies tried to follow suit. The boxing class, on the other hand, was a stellar workout. The trainers were energetic and the class itself had varying levels of intensity. The water bags were also pretty wild and fun to smack around!

City Shred

City Shred is a massive group workout hosted once a quarter by The Publicist Group and sponsored by Genuine Health. The energy is electric and it’s an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in fitness in Toronto, as well as special guests from around the world. I missed the July edition due to the rat situation, but back in March I crushed their Women’s edition. I got to enjoy a day which started with round-table discussion with the coaches who would be leading us through the day.

The key to mastering City Shred is to go at your own pace. I’m not the machine I was 2 years ago, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to compete with fitness professionals who coach several classes a day while I’m at my desk. Find your own space, take yourself beyond your comfort level, and have fun making friends and admiring those showing off their bad-ass muscles. Ps. Can you spot me in the preview of the video above? #SweatyBetty

Sproos Life

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Taking a collagen supplement can help improve your skin, relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, promote heart health, aid in digestion and gut health, and make your hair and nails grow. The benefits of adding collagen to my diet weren’t clear until I stopped taking it daily. Subtle aches and pains after sitting at my desk for a while suddenly returned. Bouncing back after a night out wasn’t quite so easy. My poor bleached and butchered hair started to break again. Sproos Life is a collagen supplement to which I was introduced by TPG at the gorgeous Pray Tell on College St. We mixed cocktails and mocktails which each had a serving of collagen mixed-in.

sproos-02-grass-fed-tub-A-front@2x

Hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised North American cattle, to help restore and rebuild your body’s natural collagen.

  • 10 g of grass-fed bovine collagen per serving
  • Pure collagen – nothing else added
  • Highly soluble
  • 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
  • Free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides
  • Add to your favourite hot or cold beverage, or even to soups or oatmeal

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The 4th Annual T.O. Vegan Social Pop Up

Toronto Vegan Social Pop-Up is happening Thursday September 5th from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM at Love Child Social House!

Reserve your tickets by 9 PM EST on Monday, September 2nd, 2019, to automatically be entered in the draw to WIN AN EPIC $1,000+ VEGAN PRIZE PACK!

Tickets are $35 and available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/toronto-vegan-social-pop-up-presented-by-vegan-social-events-tickets-48658251139

This year, Vegan Social Events will be collecting donations on the Eventbrite page, in support of Save Our Scruff, a registered charitable organization dedicated to rescuing dogs.

Vivier

At the end of February, the team introduced me to Vivier. We learned about how to combat signs of aging using skincare products including retinol and spf. With my upcoming vacation to The Philippines, I wasn’t quite ready to play with tools which would initially irritate my skin (the purge!). So, I waited until the beginning of May to get started with this line. I haven’t yet written a full-scale review because 3 of the 5 products in the kit we were so generously gifted are still trucking along 4 months later!

Myndful Me

Myndful Me was sadly a bit of a bust for me. We went checked out the space and learned how to make charcoal cookies with adaptogens after being led through a meditation practice. The music and the direction made for a very pensive, but relaxing evening. I purchased their $30 unlimited 1-month special and was told I could use it whenever. I had a couple of upcoming trips, so I didn’t want to use it until the new year. When I tried to apply my purchase I was told it had expired. Correspondence to correct the issue was never responded to. Not so zen, eh?

Toppik Canada & Viviscal Canada

Big thanks to @publicistgroup for bringing me along to the stunning #LoveYourStory event at @stregistoronto! I got to hear from a plethora of women who have learned to love their own stories of struggle and trauma and turn them into an armor of confidence with a lining of understanding.

  • Events with this team always have motivational speakers, the most stunning décor, phenomenal food, and an interactive component so you don’t just see a product/ brand, you become part of it.
  • I woke up the next morning and treated my stressed tresses to @viviscal@viviscalcanada shampoo, conditioner, and desensifying elixir. My hair is already thick, so this leo was rocking a full mane that day! It actually dried faster and was easier to manage when straightening. I typically have a lot of breakage (bottle blonde) , so let’s see if we can put an end to my split ends! 👱‍♀️

Featuring a PR team on my personal blog isn’t exactly the status quo around here. Every time I get an e-mail about an event or activation from TPG I think to myself, “Wow – that’s out of the box”. There’s only so much you can see on my  feed/ in my stories, and because of this I wanted to share something a little more permanent. Over the past year The Publicist Group has proven that  being true to yourself and your vision, rather than accepting business for the sake of having business, goes a long way.