How early is it TOO EARLY to travel in a (fairly new) relationship?

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After dating for just over two months, Adam and I made a pretty monumental decision: we sent in our applications to get our passports renewed.

You see, mine was due to expire and his had already been expired. I can’t quire remember exactly when in our relationship we had initially talked about it, but by the time we got there it seemed like the most natural thing. So one Saturday a couple of weeks ago, we went to the local CVS to take our passport photos. I had already filled out both applications, we signed them and away they went!

I cheered today as I realized that the government had cashed my check – it means that the passports are on their way to being processed and soon we will be able to travel internationally together.

When talking with some friends about it all, I realized that this might be deemed as “too soon” by some people’s standards.

Inevitably, the question comes up: how early is simply TOO EARLY to travel with a significant other?

How long should two people be dating before they can take a trip together? How serious do they need to be before spending a significant amount of time together somewhere new, possibly somewhere that they simply can’t escape from each other?

For Adam and I, it didn’t take very long.

While we’re about to get our passports and are planning an out-of-the-country trip, the truth of the matter is that we took our first mini-vacation about two and a half weeks into our relationship. It was a mid-week trip that was about the equivalent of spending the weekend together. We drove to a new city, rented a hotel and spent a couple days exploring before ultimately going home.

It might sound like an incredible leap of faith to go somewhere new with someone I barely knew, but I had no doubts that I was making the right decision at the time. In fact, it was on that trip that we decided to officially commit to each other (“Are we boyfriend and girlfriend now?”) and it was a HUGE step in us falling in love.

That trip holds a really special place in both of our hearts, but I know that some people said “WHAT?!” in their heads when they heard that I was going away with the boy I was dating less than a month.

I’m sure those same people would also be shocked to know that we’re soon taking a week off with my parents, spending a week in New York City with all of my friends in two months and then another week in Chicago meeting all of his family and friends for Christmas. You know, NBD – NOT!

But the biggest shocker of it all might be that international trip we’re planning at the end of November. A trip that comes in just under 7 months of dating and includes a wedding in an exotic location.

To be honest, I probably would have been one of those people right now, judging my relationship and wondering if it was moving “too fast” and whether committing to travel plans well beyond how long we’ve been together is a bad idea. In fact, I can remember not even a few months ago telling a friend that the general consensus of advice seems to be that you should never plan a trip further ahead than the months you’ve been together.

Yet here I am, not even at the three month mark, and already planning how we’re going to spend our seventh, eighth and maybe tenth month anniversary. In fact, we might even have half-seriously joked about where we’re going on our one year anniversary.

Yes, I know this might sound crazy. But the more and more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s just exactly our kind of crazy.

Ultimately, nobody can tell me what’s right in my relationship except me and my partner.

As they say, nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors. It may be a cliche, but it’s been said over and over for a reason. And to be honest, I’ve never been a huge believer in normalcy anyway.

While the slightly more rational person in the back of my mind might be cautioning me a little right now, I know that in my relationship, we are far past the “is this too soon?” stage. Every step we have taken has been miles ahead of what someone else might expect. But that doesn’t make it wrong or weird or speedy. It makes it part of what makes me and Adam an “us.”

As I look at the leftover passport photos and giggle about what kind of new bathing suit I’ll be buying for our November trip, I sure as heck know one thing: it’s not too early for us.

In fact, it feels like we’ve been waiting for this for a LONG time.

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How to make the easiest Dessert Pizza ever [RECIPE]

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DESSERT PIZZA, you guys!

I have to say that in capitals because, well, OBVIOUSLY dessert pizza is one of the best things that any of us can imagine.

Okay, real talk: it’s been kind of a rough week. Okay, it’s been a really really difficult week for those of us who believe in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’ve had a not-so-pleasant time trying to keep some optimism alive after all of the tragedy, but it’s been helping to talk about it.

The other thing that has really helped with this rough week is when Adam comes home from work and we give each other a BIG old hug. Holding the person I love really close after an upsetting week just helps. I can feel my anxiety melting away as he wraps his arms around me, and my happiness level shoots straight up.

Of course, we’re not perfect. And so I noticed that we were snapping at each other a bit toward the end of this week, both probably feeling just generally stressed by the events of the world. It happens, and that’s okay. But how do I best deal with stress on a regular day?

Cooking, OF COURSE!

And so that’s what I did. A couple of days ago, just as Adam came home and took the dog on his pre-dinner walk, I decided to make something very special: a dessert pizza.

My logic in coming up with this crazy concoction was basically that a) we both love pizza, b) we need to cheer up, c) dessert is the BEST.

And I was successful!

The first thing I did, though, was figure out how to make the thing. And here’s my BIG secret: I used a tortilla and heated it up in the microwave using a very special and SUPER easy method to make it into a crispy tostada, aka the perfect pizza “dough” for my sweet.

If you can believe it, I’ve actually never done this before. But luckily, I remembered that I wrote an article about how to make a crispy tostada in the microwave a few years ago and I found it, then promptly made it. It takes just a couple of minutes and the tostada comes out perfect.

Of course, typically you’d cover this thing in refried beans, maybe some meat, lettuce, veggies, guacamole even… but instead, I covered it in Greek yogurt, almond butter, bananas and melted chocolate.

Want to try it yourself? Here’s how:

Easy Dessert Pizza with Crispy Tortilla


  • 1 8″ tortilla, made into a tostada
  • 1 5.3oz non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted chocolate chips


  1. After you’ve made your tortilla into a tostada (following these instructions, I microwaved it for 1 minute on each side), pat the plate dry and make sure your tostada is nice and crunchy.
  2. In a bowl, mix the honey into the Greek yogurt. Melt the chocolate chips if you haven’t yet (I used 1/2 cup Lindt truffles here).
  3. Finally to assemble! First, put the honey Greek yogurt as your pizza “sauce”, then the sliced bananas, small chunks of almond butter and finally drizzle the melted chocolate on top.
  4. Serve with a knife and fork, because this will likely get messy! Slowly break up the tortilla and eat it as pizza or sweet “chips”. YUM!

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Aubrey Plaza came out as bisexual and so did I (well, a while ago)

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It’s always a lot of fun for me whenever a new celebrity comes out as bisexual because, as one of the tribe myself, I can’t help but give a little WOO HOO to our little spark of visibility all of a sudden.

This morning I read that Aubrey Plaza, one of my favorite actresses (who also happens to be Latina), has just revealed that she is bi. In an interview with The Advocate, the famously monotone funny woman responded to a question about whether women come to her with:

“Oh, yeah. I don’t mind. I know I have an androgynous thing going on, and there’s something masculine about my energy. Girls are into me — that’s no secret. Hey, I’m into them too. I fall in love with girls and guys. I can’t help it.”

Reading the news this morning definitely made me give a big WOO HOO, as per usual, because I constantly find it impressive that bisexuality can still be relegated to the back of the closet.

In fact, my own coming out story wasn’t much different than what bisexuals face today – being told that it’s “just a phase”, an attention-seeking behavior or, most annoyingly of all, that we’re all just on our way to full-on Gay Town.

And hey, I do know people who initially came out as bi and are now happily 100% homosexual but that’s not me. In fact, I resent that kind of thinking because it puts us bisexuals in a really tough spot of having to prove ourselves to both the straight and gay communities ALL the time.

When I tell someone I’m bi, I am often met with wonder, doubt or perverted stares. The realities of dating as a bisexual Latina are rough because, unfortunately, men tend to sexualize me already for my big booty and “fiery” personality. Upon finding out that I like chicks too, it tends  to get even worse. Lately, I’ve had to actually preface any further questions with “and that doesn’t mean I want a threesome.” Because, yes, that is absolutely the FIRST thing I am asked by (most) straight men.

Not that there’s anything wrong with threesomes, but that’s not why I am a proud card-carrying member of the LGBT community.

Mainly, I just find women beautiful and attractive and sexy. Being with a woman can be a completely different experience than being with a man, and that can be pretty thrilling in and of itself.

And so I’ve known, and been very comfortable with, my own bisexual identity for many years now. Even if my parents are kind of in denial about it and even though I’ve come across some gross and rude comments from the opposite sex, it’s a huge part of what makes me who I am – and not a part I would ever apologize for.

Sure, I mostly form emotional attachments to men (both as friends and as lovers), but that doesn’t make my attraction to girls any less real. And for as long as I’ve been able to, I have fought long and hard to help the advancement of gay rights across the U.S. After all, shouldn’t I have the right to marry the man or woman that I choose?

This simple concept to me has always been pretty obvious, and I’m glad that 2016 is a year that we can continue to celebrate more and more freedoms as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and whatever-else-you-want-to-identify-as individuals. Even as we face unspeakable tragedy like what happened in Orlando last month, I like to think the world is still a little better off today than it was when I first came out in 2003.

Sure, I wish that some people still didn’t have the mentality that bisexuality isn’t real or that bisexual men don’t exist (something that REALLY bugs me, let me tell you) or that we’re attention whores or just plain whores… But that kind of thinking is changing. And by speaking out about who we are, whether the person speaking out is a famous actress or little old me, we serve as a reminder that we’re here, we’re bisexually queer, and GET USED TO IT!

Thanks, Aubrey, for this little reminder today.

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My life turned into a rom-com cliché and I’m okay with it

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I have a confession to make.

Just over two months ago, I was single AF.

Like seriously… I haven’t been in a serious relationship since 2011. Not for a lack of trying, necessarily, but it just hasn’t been in the cards for me lately. I’ve dated – a LOT, in fact – but with a few notable exceptions, I haven’t really found anyone that I wanted to spend more than a couple of evenings with.

The guys were always pleasant enough. Unlike most of my fellow single females in New York City, I never had any insane dating stories. I always joked that it was because I had an amazing screening system (mainly my ability get a good sense of people from an online conversation, I guess?) and am the luckiest girl on the planet.

No, seriously. Really, really lucky that I haven’t run into anyone that made me pay on the first date, suggested something totally disgusting or who just was horribly awkward or boring AF. Instead, my dating life was pretty average.

The journalist in me could always keep a first date going for hours. In fact, I half suspect that several of the guys I’ve gone out with in the past were fairly disappointed when I declined their invitation for a second or third date. But I liked learning about people, and always had a pleasant time – perhaps something that ultimately gave some people the wrong impression of my true interest in them.

But anyway. Dating was fine. Nothing special, and frequently frustrating, but ultimately just fine.

And then I moved back to Southwest Florida, where I grew up, at the end of April. It was a little bit of an unexpected move at the time, but something that I needed after 12 years of living in NYC and five years of being single and kinda hating it more every year.

In fact, I had taken a dating hiatus through a large part of 2015 and, after “getting back out there” in October and November, decided to take another one in December. So when I packed my bags into the back of a van and drove the 1,250 miles back home, I didn’t exactly have very high expectations for a social life.

My plan in coming here was to take a year “off” to find myself again, to focus on some personal writing projects and to just figure out exactly what my next steps in life would be. And, because I only have a couple of friends here and no other semblance of the kind of life I was used to leading, I decided to get back out there on the dating scene after my five month break.

I had pretty low expectations, to be honest. Dating in NYC was its own very special kind of crazy, but I was used to it. I was used to the endless texting before setting up a date, I was used to the “let’s get drinks” question and then taking a week to coordinate our schedules, I was used to meeting emotionally unavailable men (my specialty) and I was used to coming out of a date feeling like the guy was “too nice” but just not for me.

It was frustrating, but it was familiar.

And then I met Adam.

When I say that I “went back out there” upon moving back to Florida, I mean that it really didn’t take very long. I officially arrived back on a Friday and, by the next Tuesday, I had reactivated all of my online dating profiles: OKCupid, Tinder and Bumble. After all, how else do young people meet other young people these days?

Adam was one of the first people that I swiped right with on Bumble (cause Tinder sucks, just as it did in NYC, and OKC took too much time). Immediately, I liked him. He was cute, a little nerdy and just my type – even had an adorable photo of his dog as part of his profile. So I started a conversation asking about Moose (what I learned his pup’s name was), and from there it went.

We switched to texting not long after, and on Saturday, I was meeting him for an afternoon coffee. Just a week after moving down here, I was going on my first date in Florida and my first date in months.

The date lasted four hours, followed by just as great of a second date and then a third date that lasted another seven hours and ended (finally!) in a kiss.

I. was. HOOKED.

Flash forward to two months later, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world more than ever. Adam turned out to be absolutely everything that I had ever been looking for in another human being, in a boyfriend, in a partner-in-crime for life.

He is generous when I don’t feel I deserve it, he is kind when I feel like I am being needy and he is sweet on a daily basis.

The love and support he has shown me in these last couple of months has been far beyond my wildest dreams. Really.

When I dreamed of the kind of relationship that I wanted, I couldn’t have dreamed that it would EVER be this amazingly wonderful. When I saw friends enter into happy unions and wanted the same for myself, I never thought that I would get it in spades and then some. When I thought about what I hoped my future love would have in terms of physical, mental and emotional qualities, I never ever imagined that I would find exactly what I always wanted. And more than that, I could have never planned to meet the literal man of my dreams in freaking SOUTHWEST FLORIDA.

I say that with incredulous shock primarily because neither of us fits in very well down here. First of all, we’re not old or Republicans (hah! quite the opposite, in fact). Secondly, neither of us enjoys the various outdoor (and indoor) activities that are popular down here. And with the exception of him loving the weather down here and me preferring the four seasons, we seem to have more in common than is probably realistically possible.

And that’s how I realized that I ended up in what must be some sort of rom-com cliché movie: the girl that moves back in with her parents to “find herself” only to find the love of her life instead.

But that’s exactly what happened.

So here I am, a mere two months into a relationship, and already planning far ahead into the future. I find myself almost rolling my eyes as I think “you find it when you least expect it” and “when you know, you know.” Yet that’s how my story went, and I couldn’t possibly be happier that it did.

The best part? My new love feels just like I do. For the first time in my entire LIFE, in fact, I don’t have to guess if he cares for me. I don’t have to fight for him to devote time for me over his friends (thank you, boyfriend #1 for that trauma) because he prioritizes the “us” as much as I do. I don’t have to live with the knowledge that he’s going to eventually leave me to move somewhere else or isn’t ready for something long lasting (oh, boyfriend #2, you messed up fool) because we talk about our future all the damn time.

And I mean that. It’s our future. It’s my future, and his future, and what we both want – and what we want together on top of it all.

It feels wonderful.

It’s nice waking up with him and knowing that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hopefully never, if I have any kind of say in it (and I do). It’s nice feeling comforted and loved and supported in everything that I do. In fact, as I write this, he’s just made me tea and given me some breakfast. Now he’s patiently keeping himself busy until I finish my daily writing for the day so that we can get lunch and go on with all the other things we had planned to do today.

Because, for the first time ever, I realize that a great relationship isn’t about second guessing myself or wondering if he loves me as much as I love him. I know that he loves me just as much as I crazy love him. And with his love and support, I feel stronger.

So much for my “finding myself” year, huh?

When I set out to figure out my next steps in life, I never thought that my next steps would involve building a life with the amazing person I was meant to meet in the unlikeliest of places.

But let me tell you… It’s much more fun this way.

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I’m about to turn 30…

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In the past few months, and I couldn’t tell you if this is coincidence or some weird algorithm or simply because I am more aware of it, my Facebook feed has been full of “hey you’re turning 30!” articles.

And it’s true. I am turning 30. In exactly a month, to be precise.

To be honest, I am not yet sure how I feel about the whole thing. At times I feel like the it is kind of silly. All of the pressure that we face, as women and as human beings in general, to have checked off certain life milestones by this age. A great career, a nice home, a semblance of independence and some vague definition of being a real adult now that our twenties are behind us.

Oh yeah, and can’t forget the whole life partner thing.

Whether married, engaged or simply paired off with the person that you’re thinking you probably *will* marry, the pressure to “Have It All” seems to really start at this age when we have graduated from those years of growing and finding ourselves to these years of settling into our lives.

But what if you’re not actually quite settled or ready to be settled yet? Is the pressure to have it all figured out by 30 real, or is it something that’s just in our heads?

Irina25thBdayAs I read through what seems like the 27th list of things I should have done/read/watched/experienced/learned by the time I hit the big 3-0 next month, I’m left wondering: isn’t there more to figure out after this? After all, life doesn’t begin at 30 and it definitely doesn’t end there either.

So that’s where I find myself now, thinking that turning 30 is both a really big deal and absolutely no big deal at all.

Sure, I have some things figured out, like that really awesome career that I love. But some things are still in the To Be Determined folder, like that life partner-type figure that’s looming somewhere on the horizon. Maybe.

In the end, though, I know I still have some work to do on myself. I don’t really think that work will ever end, because what’s the point of life if you just stop improving yourself? But since I’m turning 30 and all the hoopla that supposedly comes with it, I am taking this year to especially focus on some of the things that are important to me.

I’m calling it the Map Your 30s blog. It’s basically a vehicle for me to focus on the things that are important to me and the parts of my life that I want to work on, strengthen or improve in some way. That means my career, relationships, finances, home environment, health and confidence/spirituality.

I doubt it’ll only last a year. That’s quite a big undertaking that I am planning to tackle. But the truth is that it’s really not about a year-long project or because I’m turning 30 and all of a sudden some sort of alarm is going off in my head (it’s not), but simply because I want to do it. And I want to do it now.

Being 30 (and maybe having learned a thing or two in the last decade) is just a perk.

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