Real Talk

The single girl guide to weddings.

Ok girls, let’s just address the elephant in the room and get it all on the table. WEDDING SEASON. It’s almost here and fridges worldwide are filling up with invites. First, I just want to say that weddings are SO much fun and I absolutely love celebrating with my friends and family, or whoever it is that’s tying the knot. BUT For the single folks, it can feel a touch stressful and even awkward to go to weddings alone.

Now that I put that out there, I wanted to put some serious thought into writing a post about how to survive all those weddings SOLO – whether that means without your boyfriend or girlfriend being invited or available or when you actually don’t know any of the guests. These are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up from speaking with my single girls out there, but I also want to know about all YOUR experiences, too, so please share! I’ve never gone to a wedding solo but I do find these tips can also be applied when you don’t know anyone at your assigned table and want to avoid the awkward silence.

wedding this way

Carpool.

If you do happen to know someone else going to the wedding, suggest carpooling or grabbing them in an Uber. Maybe you can grab a drink before the ceremony too, as a way to kinda get a relationship/conversation evolving before the ceremony (where you usually have to be pretty quiet). Going with other people will definitely ease a bit of your anxiety.

Sit in the middle of the row.

If you find that you don’t know any of the other guests at the wedding (which is probably pretty rare), take a seat in the middle of the ceremony. Introduce yourself to the people who are sitting besides you, and they’ll likely catch on that you’re alone and be nice people and include you. Much better than closing yourself off to the edge or very back of the row.

Don’t stress.

In situations like weddings, it’s really important to just let any uncomfortable feelings settle and to remember that NO ONE is as concerned with you as you are. Remember that no one thinks you’re that awkward or single person (and if they do, WHO CARES), and you’re likely freaking yourself out for nothing.

come as you are

Don’t be awkward.

This seems obvious, but the truth is, it’s so much harder to do than you think! Being socially awkward is like second nature to me, so heading into a wedding reception alone, I would probably need to hype myself up to be ready to make conversation with strangers. It’s basically networking, but way more relaxed. You have something in common: the bride or groom, and you can have wine.

Hopefully you’ll know at least a few other people, which always helps, but you don’t want to just attach yourself to that one person the whole night. Don’t be afraid to cut loose a little bit and get to know people. Chances are everyone will be friendly and won’t mind meeting someone new.

Put your phone away.

This kind of goes along with not being awkward. When you’re at a wedding reception, the vibe is going to be FUN, so if you’re sitting at a table…alone…scrolling through Instagram, that’s just going to kill the mood. Go into it keeping your phone in your purse (even on airplane mode!) with the thought that you’re there to mingle and have a good time!

Ask questions.

People are always more comfortable talking about themselves, so if you’re flying solo, chat up your table and ask questions about the other guests – or their relationship with the bride and groom. Share your favorite story about the bride or groom, and then people may do the same.

Consider a +1.

Even if you aren’t coupled up, if you get a +1 on your invite, just bring a friend! Find a guy who you know you’ll have fun with – a first date isn’t the best idea here – even if that’s just your friend or brother! It’ll make the night easier on you, and you are still open to meeting others there.

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Dance.

OK, so I’m comfortable with dancing, so I know this is easier for me than some, but it’s a really good way to survive the night. Of course you don’t need to force yourself out there for every song, but when the dance floor is busy, everyone’s just kinda dancing as a group anyways. The DJ usually plays all the group dances like The Cupid Shuffle or the Electric Slide which is a good place to start, then just stay out there. Even if this is outside your comfort zone, DO IT! The night is really going to be what you make of it, so get out on the dance floor and bust a move! Plus, this will give you the opportunity to meet other guests and show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. AND the bride and groom will probably be out there too!

Limit the booze.

I know it’s tempting to kinda drink the awkwardness away, and a glass or two is definitely needed, but you don’t want to be that drunk girl at the party – ever. Have a couple glasses of champagne, but don’t use it as a crutch the whole night – you’ll regret it.

Remember why you’re there.

This is an important one. Instead of worrying about yourself, focus on being there for your friend that’s getting married and who wanted you to share in that day with them. It’s only one day (or really just a couple hours) of your life and it’ll be over before you know it. No matter how awkward you might feel, it’s important to show up and be willing to embrace the situation for your sweet friend.

Have you been to a wedding alone and have any other tips? I would love to hear your tricks and stories in the comment section below or on Instagram.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

Happy Wedding Season!

XOXO.

B.

Beauty

When to use which types of shampoo.

You know that one physical feature that you won’t always admit out loud that you love it and are very proud of it? For me, that is my hair. I have always actually loved my hair and I secretly love being complimented on it also! Since I have always had long hair that means I have to go the extra mile to take care of it.

My hair care obsession started years ago when I heard about purple shampoo for the first time, or saw it I should say! Because I’m always curious, I picked it up and read what the heck it does for your hair. Turns out, it helps brighten blonde hair and takes brass out of highlighted or lightly-colored hair. Who knew?! Well, this got me thinking about all the different types of shampoos out there. I mean, have you ever stopped and looked at the shampoo aisle? THERE’S SO MUCH.

I’ll admit it, I used to just reach for whatever I liked the smell of and would use that until I got sick of it and moved onto the next scent. It wasn’t until I started coloring my hair again as an adult that I realized I probably wasn’t utilizing the benefits of different types of shampoos. Over the last few years I have not only learned SO much about shampoo, but I have become a master at stocking my own shower. I change my hair up so often and I’m always switching out my blonde shades so it has taken me a while to perfect my shampoo routine and find out what works and what doesn’t work for me.

Since I secretly love talking about my hair, I thought I would share my secrets with you and some of what I have found works for me.

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Purple Shampoo

My natural hair is a very dark brown but I have a ton of different blondes in it at any given time and I work really hard to prevent that blonde from turning brassy. I have used so many different types of purple shampoos but my all time favorite right now is the Daddy-O from Lush  This stuff was amazing! I usually end up leaving it in my hair for a few minutes to let it sink in two of three times a week, although you could use it daily if you wanted to. With this, my highlights look cooler and just brighter (but not brassy). If you lighten your hair at all, I’d highly recommend!

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Clarifying Shampoo

They’re a really good idea, don’t over look them! Especially if you tend to get build up, whether from lots of products (like me!) or have oily hair. Using a clarifying shampoo a few times a month essentially gets rid of buildup and leaves your hair super clean. Definitely don’t use it too often though, as they can dry out your hair and scalp if used too much, and make color fade. Also, if you have fine or thin hair, clarifying shampoo is known to add a little extra volume, so if you have a special occasion or need your hair to really be on point, reach for this shampoo in the shower. I would put my life in DryBar’s hands when it comes to their products and I am so obsessed with the On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal shampoo and conditioner.

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Color Protecting / Sulfate-Free Shampoo

This is something I have always used (well, since coloring my hair), and if you color yours and don’t use something like this, get on board now! While there are mixed reviews scientifically, I always found my color to last better and longer if I’m regularly using one of these shampoos. I personally really like the Color Minded by Bumble and Bumble right now and have been using it the last little while. Since it’s super mild, sulfate free and won’t strip color as fast, I’m liking it. Sulfate free is also gentler on your skin, so if you have a sensitive scalp or eczema, more reason to start using one.

colorminded

Frizz Fighting Shampoo

I’m pretty sure we all think our hair is somewhat frizzy, but these types of shampoos should really only be used when frizz is serious and completely out of control. Otherwise, especially if you have naturally oily or flat hair, these shampoos will weigh down your hair even more. Instead, use an oil on your ends after you style or round brush to eliminate frizz while using the right shampoo. If your hair truly is frizzy, find a shampoo that gently cleanses without roughing up the cuticles (and leading to frizz). I’ve heard great things about Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny.

Clear Shampoo

If your hair is fine, stick to a clear shampoo on the regular, as the creamy versions are usually made for curlier or thicker hair and can lead to build up in fine hair. Just a quick tip a hair stylist told me once and I wanted to include! I asked a friend with fine hair and she loves Pantene’s Sheer Volume Shampoo for adding volume without getting all the buildup.

There are obviously a bunch of other shampoos that are pretty obvious when to use and why, but I wanted to touch on these 5 above since they aren’t as generic. I prefer to switch up my shampoos every wash, and though I don’t think that’s necessary, my hair seems to be retaining the specific benefits of each. And, the purple and clarifying have been life-changing additions and I strongly encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t already!

I’d love to hear from you and find out what type of shampoo(s) you use and if there are any specific ones I should try! Lets chat about it either in the comment section or on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Food & Drink

Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes & Feta.

Our amazing friends K & D had us over for dinner a few months ago and since then I have not been able to stop myself from thinking about this Greek shrimp dish they made. It was loaded with tomatoes and feta and all the Green flavors that I yearn for!

After begging K for the recipe I eventually wore her down. She wouldn’t just send me the recipe but insisted I went over to her house and made it with her. That was a win for me and I took it!

green shrimp 1

Since it’s made almost entirely from pantry and freezer staples, it will quickly become one of my go-to meals when I have to hit the kitchen running. You begin by making a quick Greek-spiced tomato sauce on the stovetop. Then you nestle the shrimp in the sauce, top it with chunks of feta, and slide it into the oven to bake. Before serving, you flash the pan under the broiler to brown the cheese and sprinkle the whole lovely dish with fresh mint. All that’s left to do is set the pan in the center of the table for everyone to help themselves. The sauce is plentiful and packed with flavor so be sure to serve lots of crusty bread or pasta on the side to sop it up. Yum!

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I love the fact this this entire dish comes together in just under an hour. When I get home on a weekday from work I just want to be able to put something healthy and delicious on the table quickly and be able to relax in my sweatpants. The weekends on the other hand, I’ll be happily planted in the kitchen for hours with no care in the world.

Here is what you will need:

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup of shallots – finely chopped

4 garlic cloves – roughly chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes (about a 28oz can)

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (adjust this to your taste – use more or less)

1 tablespoon of honey

1 1/2 pounds of extra large shrimp – peeled and deveined

6oz feta cheese

3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint – chopped

green shrimp 4

Here is what you will need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400°F and set one oven rack in the middle position and another about 5 inches underneath the broiler.

♥ Heat the olive oil in a wide oven-proof skillet (see note) over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown.

♥ Add the tomatoes with their juices, salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. About 15 to 20 minutes.

♥ Off the heat, arrange the shrimp over the tomato sauce in an even layer. Crumble the feta over the shrimp, and then sprinkle with the oregano. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked (the cooking time will depend on the size of the shrimp).

♥ Turn on the broiler and carefully transfer the pan to the higher oven rack and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the feta is golden brown in spots. Remove the pan from the oven and let the shrimp rest for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with mint and serve.

♥ ENJOY!

♥♥ Note: If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, simply transfer the tomato sauce to a 9-by-13-inch or equivalent baking dish and proceed from there.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.