Modern Romance

Key West is a pretty interesting place to be single in your 30’s.  I mean, our unofficial island motto is “Key West:  Where The Weird Go Pro”, so you can imagine what it’s like filtering through the potential suitors.  Much like a bowl of granola, lots of nuts and flakes.  The thing about dating in your 30’s is that you’ve already been through all the bullshit so you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for and at least for me personally I’m no longer willing to lower my expectations to meet other people’s standards.  Step up to the plate or step outta the way.

My girlfriend Alex recently recommended this book Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. If you’re navigating the dating world in 2015 this book is a must read and I guarantee you will find it laugh out loud funny.  And if you aren’t personally navigating the world of dating right now but are wondering why your amazingly awesome BFF, daughter, son, cousin, (you get the picture)… still is, this book is for you too!


Side Note: Amy Schumer you are my spirit animal.

Another thing about dating in your 30’s is that by now hopefully you’ve learned to appreciate the little things.  As Aziz so eloquently says in Modern Romance, “When I’ve really been in love with someone, it’s not because they looked a certain way or liked a certain TV show or certain cuisine.  It’s more because when I watched a certain TV show or ate a certain cuisine with them, it was the most fun thing ever.”  At this stage in the game it’s all about having fun; after all, if it’s not fun while you’re dating imagine how much things will suck if you get married and throw kids into the mix.


10 Quotes That Will Make You Want To Read Modern Romance

  1. “Later I check Instagram, and this clown Tanya is posting a photo of some deer  Too busy to write me back, but she has time to post a photo of some deer she saw on a hike?”
  2. “If you were a woman, you had far less time to find a man.  True Love?  This guy has a job and a decent mustache.  Lock it down girl.”
  3. “That said, can you imagine how insane that must have been to get the first text of all time?  When no one knew what a text was?  It would have been like “WHY ARE THERE WORD ON MY PHONE??? PHONES ARE FOR NUMBERS!!”
  4. “So based on [this] data, the answers are clear:  If you are a woman, take a high-angle selfie, with cleavage, while you’re underwater near some buried treasure.”
  5. “Nobody joins Tinder because they’re looking for something,” Rad told Time.  They join because they want to have fun.” And because his name is Sean Rad, he probably said that quote to Time and then tossed on a pair of cool shades, hopped on a skateboard, and blazed on outta there.”
  6. “Quick die note:  In numerous interviews Mateen is identified as someone with a background in party planning, which is a ridiculous resume item.  “Are you fit for the position?” “Yes, I have a strong background in party planning, I promise you, I can get this party started””
  7. “A few decades ago, if I wanted to research vanilla ice cream, what would I have even done?  Cold-approach chubby guys and then slowly steer the convo toward ice cream to get their take?  No, thanks.  Nowadays the Internet is my chubby friend.  It’s the whole world’s chubby friend.”
  8. “Now, I understand that there is a certain kind of “car guy” out there who would find my choice of gasoline as horrifying as I find the choice of suboptimal tacos.  To that I say:  Stop caring so much about gasoline, you ding-dong!  Spend that money on good tacos like a nice, normal person.”
  9. “Most strange to me is that, whereas “Mrs. Pouterson” is a horrible nickname for a vagina, “Warren G. Harding” is actually a great nickname for a penis.”
  10. “This is my favorite.  I just love the idea of the guy opening up his phone, seeing the boobs, and thinking, “Ahhhh. Okay, you got this Phil!  Let’s nail this PowerPoint presentation.””

Times have changed.  Never before have single people had so many options literally in their back pocket.  Technology has changed the dating game; specifically smart phones and the internet.  Aziz said it best, “the world is available to us, but that may be the problem.”  For me technology, reduces three-dimensional people to two-dimensional displays of information.  I don’t want to converse via text message or swipe right, I want to enjoy conversation and show off my sick dance moves.  Cheers!



My Dawg. Fo Real Doh…

Skyy @ Ft. Zach

Skyy @ Ft. Zach

I never in a million years thought that I would become a crazy dog lady until I met Skyy.  Skyy is my Husky.  She is the keeper of my secrets, my sidekick and silent judger, and my best friend.

Skyy first came into my life in the summer of 2006.   I was dating a guy from Key West and his mom just literally came home one day with a Husky puppy and was like here you go.  I myself wanted nothing to do with it.  I specifically remember the conversation we had, we had just started dating and I was not into additional responsibility what so ever.  In fact, it was already putting a damper on my plans because we were en route to Shanna Key for some day drinking and to watch the World Cup with one of my girlfriends that was working there at the time.  Then we found out that Shanna Key was pet friendly and that was all she wrote.  We took the then unnamed puppy to Shanna Key with us and she curled up on the end corner of the bar and slept while we proceeded to do one Jagerbomb after another.  Needless to say we ended up keeping the dog.  After all, any dog that can hang with me during some day drinking is my kind of dawg.  Fo real doh.

Long story short, you know what they say, boyfriends’ come and go but dogs are forever.  Ok, so maybe I made that up but who cares, it’s true.  Living in Key West with a dog is amazing and I try to include Skyy in my life and adventures as much as possible.  From trips to the beach, to paddle boarding, to bacon wrapped hot dogs from Five Guys, my dog really does have the #bestlifeever.


Skyy Running For Jaime on 3/17/14   #RunForJamie

John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, nailed it when he said “such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.  It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” Skyy comes to work with me practically everyday, she’s the official office greeter for Last Key Realty.   Anyone who lives in Key West knows it’s not cheap and that many people have to work two jobs to survive and thrive here.  Skyy is no exception; when she isn’t greeting office visitors at LKR she is doing flower deliveries with Love In Bloom Florist .  She also models occasionally.

Skyy Modeling

Work hard, play hard right?  There are so many pet friendly places on the island that you can take your pup to its hard to choose what to do on your days off.

Krystal and Skyy’s Favorite Pet Friendly Spots

Pepe’s, 806 Caroline Street:  A quirky open-air restaurant that features great fresh specials and fresh squeezed juices for cocktails.  Also a fab lunch spot, happy hour spot, or dinner spot.  Hell, it’s just a great place.

The Lazy Gecko, 203 Duval Street:  A Boston sports bar (blah, Go RAVENS!) but their tater tot nachos are on point and so is their Fireball.  Also happy hour from 5-8 with 2-4-1 beer and well drinks.  Hot damn!

Dairy Queen, 1207 United Street:  A traditional favorite that serves up “pup cups” of ice cream for 50 cents!

Little Jazz Room, 821 Duval Street:  One of my new favorites.  Happy Hour from 1-8 everyday and check out these mojitos ($8 for both)!  They also serve light snacks (cheese platter, hummus, and chips and salsa), which is always a plus for us.  We like snacks.

Little Jazz Room Mojitos

Shots & Giggles, 201 Ann Street:  Just a stumbling distance from Sloppy Joe’s this bar always has the same Soup Of The Day:  Jameson.  They also have Fireball flip night where you can flip a coin to see if your shot of Fireball is on the house as well as the house shot which is usually some fruity concoction that is delicious.  They also take music requests (well sometimes, if your name is Libby and you harass the bartender until she puts on Tanya Tucker Pandora).

My friend Alex has a magnet on her car that says “Who Rescued Who” referring to Murphy, her peek-a-poo rescue, and it wasn’t until this past year that I really got the meaning behind the phrase.  Skyy definitely rescued me.  When my sister Ashlee passed away last summer Skyy saved me.  She made me get out of the house, I had to walk her, I had to feed her, and I had to take care of her.  And in taking care of Skyy I unknowingly  was taking care of myself too.  Skyy is my girl, she gives me a reality checks when I need them, gives me silent judgements when I don’t need them, howls at me occasionally to keep me punctual, snuggles me when I’m sad and celebrates with me when I am happy.  She’s become a staple guest at our monthly “girladays” and like her mom is simply one cool chick.


Christmas Eve 2013

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” – John Grogan, Marley and Me:  Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

I know I’m a day early but in closing I’d like to wish my best girl Skyy a Happy Birthday.  Thank you for coming into my life and teaching me more than you will ever know.   Love you boo, here’s to 8 more!  #56andfabulous

1231430_10103475416973373_1484270356_n (1)

Get Your Nose In A Book

Remember back in the day when summer would roll around and all of the libraries would have summer reading clubs and contests to get kids hype about reading throughout the summer?  Someone needs to start doing this for adults except with enhanced prizes such as a bar tab or Target gift card as the prize to the person who reads the most.  Hell, throw in some MAC cosmetics and I know some women that would read novels like a flip book from the 50’s.  I mean, I know a ton of people who like to read but don’t or can’t seem to find the time to read  books they enjoy because let’s face it, as we get older carving out time for ourselves becomes harder and harder.   I guarantee that people would carve out more time for reading if the price of the bar tab or gift certificate is right!

Price Is Right

I decided this summer that I’m going to revisit “The Classics”.  So while I plan on reading Little Women, Tom Sawyer, and To Kill A Mockingbird, I also intend on reading some of my personal favorites which are classics in my book (no pun intended!)

Fun Fact:  My friend Lauren and I started up a book club in our 3rd grade cubbies.  We charged other kids to borrow our Babysitters Club books (we also sold baseball and hockey cards on the side; not kidding).  This was a secret operation, we flew under the radar until the end of the year.  Now when I say we charged kids I should clarify that it was a minuscule amount, 5-10 cents per week and our currency was this:

Plastic Kids Play Money

The currency was also only good at Mrs. Darling’s General Store which sold pixie sticks, erasers, novelty pencils and bouncy balls, if you were lucky!  At the end of the year we had so much damn money that we were like the Robin Hood’s of Mrs. Darlings 3rd grade class.  Pixie sticks for everyone!

Kindle vs. iPad vs. Books.  I’ve had the debate a million times.  If you like to read #getwiththegets and get a kindle.  I’ve had pretty much every model that has come out in the past 3 years and in my opinion, the mack daddy of all eReaders is the Kindle Paperwhite.  Its lightweight, glare free, and backlit.  If you are a book lover and one of those people who says “I just like a book.  I like to hold the book, and feel the pages…” I’ve got a message for you; that’s what everyone says until they get a Kindle.

As a side note I also recommend becoming an Amazon Prime Member.  It’s $99 and hands down the best investment I make all year.  For $99 you get free two-day shipping on most items, to borrow a book a month from the Kindle Owner’s Library, and Prime Instant Video (which has taken the place of my Netflix subscription saving me $8.99 a month now that Amazon introduced an app on my smart Blu-ray player).

Below are some of my fictional favorites, Klassics* if you will, along with some other recommendations for your summertime reading list in no particular order:

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells*:  You’ve probably seen the movie, and while I admit, the cast was fabulous and they did a great job but it’s no match for the book.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet read the book, and if you have seen the movie read the book anyways.  It’s a good story of a lifelong friendship between 4 women and Rebecca Wells does a fabulous job of telling their story.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett*:  See above minus the last sentence.  While I love the movie, and anything with Emma Stone if I’m being honest, I was disappointed when I saw that some of my favorite parts of the book were left out of the movie.  It’s an easy read and will make you laugh out loud.

Perfect On Paper by Maria Murnane:  This is the first of a 4 book series that I stumbled upon a few years ago.  I read the first line of the description on Amazon “Waverly Bryson is a successful businesswoman in her late 20s who almost has it all…”  and was like BINGO.  I breezed through all 3, staying up throughout the night many times because I couldn’t put them down and then was pleasantly surprised when the author, Maria Murnane, decided to release a 4th a final book on Waverly’s adventures.    For all you Amazon Prime members, the books are free in the lending library.  Get on it.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover:  I could. not. put. this. book. down.  It was an ok read until about 1/2 way through, then it was like whoa; I stayed up all night long to finish reading it and told everyone I know to read it too.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah*:  My go-to book.  I’ve given this book many a time to my girlfriends throughout the years, usually for birthday gifts.  It’s a story of a friendship of two women.  It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.  And then you will give it to your best friend to read and when she’s done you’ll immediately have the debate over who in your friendship is Kate and who is Tully.  I love, love, love this book as well as many books that Kristin has written, she is one of my favorite fictional authors.

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park:  A quirky beach read that I just loved.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling:  Seems a little juvenile eh?  Well obviously if you think that you’ve never read the books.  I had heard the hype growing up and in high school often read passages to my babysitting charges before they went to bed but never sat down to read the full series until the summer of 2008 when I found myself book/ magazineless at the pool.  I finished the 7 books in a little over a month.  Luckily I jumped on the bandwagon right before the 7th and final book came out so I didn’t have to go through the torture the rest of the world did while waiting for the next release.  READ THESE BOOKS.  THEY ARE GOOD.  ALL 4,100 PAGES OF THEM.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks:  Again, you’ve probably seen the movie, and while I admit, the cast was fabulous and they did a great job but it’s no match for the book.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet read the book, and if you have seen the movie read the book anyways it’s a good one!  I’ll admit, I burned myself out on Nicholas Sparks from 2004-2006.  It started with The Notebook and spiraled into a slight obsession as I found myself hitting up the Leon County Library and checking out as many of his books that I hadn’t read yet at a time.  But things started to blend together, after reading 10 love stories that took place on the beaches in North Carolina all of the story lines began to run together.  So I took a hiatus and gave Safe Haven a chance the summer of 2011.  It’s a nice easy read that becomes a page turner before you know it.

Off The Face Of The Earth by Aljean Harmetz:  I read this book back in 1999 and recently stumbled upon it again.  If you like mystery thrillers this book is for you.

What am I reading now you ask?  I’m currently reading The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty by J. Randy Taraborrelli and The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.  It’s a pretty interesting combo; that Conrad Hilton was a hell of a business man and I had no idea about their Hollywood history dating back to the early 20th century.  And The Untethered Soul, well just the title has weight to it so you can imagine the content.  Although I have to admit, I’m ready for a good fictional summer read after these.  I’ve been reading some pretty heavy material for the past 8 months and I am ready for some light-hearted reading.


Share your recommendations and summer reading material on Instagram using #shovelingsunshine.


Any Day Can Be Day #1


So the other week I was giving some advice that I think is noteworthy and thought since it was a pretty eye opening conversation for me it would be a worth sharing.   In the front seat of my car and I was telling one of me dearest friends how awesome, amazing, beautiful, cool, and what a good dancer she is; and that any day can be day #1.  She countered with “can we start with 1/2 days?” (you know what they say, friends are a mirror of ourselves…)

On my drive home (approximately 1 mile, #bestlifeever), I started to think more and more about that conversation.  I had just told one of my best friends that you don’t have to wait for December 31st or move somewhere new to make life changes.  Just make a decision to make a change, no matter how small, and it will have a domino effect.  I started to think about how many day #1’s I’ve had over the years, I’m only 30 and it’s been A LOT.  It’s actually a running joke between a buddy of mine and myself, that along with the hashtag #youshouldseeyourlifesometimes.  But just like my man Churchill says, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” And let me tell you, I’m enthusiastic as shit about my future.  Like a fine wine, it seems to get better with my age.

I’m one of those people that insists on instituting life changes on Mondays.  I don’t know why but it just works for me.   I myself use the weekend to mentally prepare myself  and then when Monday comes around I’m ready to roll.  I roll out of bed with this January 1st, the world is my oyster attitude and hit the ground running.  Well, ok, that doesn’t happen all the time but it did last week and it felt pretty damn good.

I started last Monday off by trading in my cold brew coffee in for a berry (straw, rasp, blue, and black) and kale smoothie and ended the day with a run through old town with my pup Skyy.  I’ll admit, it wasn’t the easiest run I’ve ever had, Skyy and I were both pretty winded but hey, it was only day 1!  I’ll spare you the boring details but the bottom line is that I kept up that routine 4 out of 7 days.  And!  Only 1 of the other 3 days ended with Hamburger Helper.  Not bad, not bad at all.

My productivity took a slight hiatus when the weekend hit.  Those sneaky weekends get me every time.  Fireball Friday resulted in Sobriety Saturday because of my hangover, but it was worth it.  Totally worth it.

Yesterday was my Super Soul Sunday; I washed my car, took my dog for a few long walks and a bacon wrapped hot dog from Five Guys and even managed to hit up the pool for an hour or two of QT with my Kindle.  I caught up on laundry spent a few hours over at my friends house sipping on vodka lemonades and playing a few friendly games of SkipBo. Needless to say today is my day #1, again.

I guess the  moral of the story is that “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.  You have to get out there; meet new people and try new things.  Have as many day #1’s as you need, who’s counting?!.  Make a change and start a domino effect in your own life, cheers, and Happy Monday!

I Laughed So Hard, Tears Ran Down My Leg

I dare you to watch this video and not smile.

Laughter really is the best medicine.  I mean who doesn’t love a legit LOL moment?  Humor such a good character trait and much more contagious than any cold or flu.  Think about it, if you ask someone what they are looking for in a partner they almost always have “a good sense of humor” at the top of the list.  Now think about the last time you had a good, laugh out loud, un-intentional ab work out laugh.  Doesn’t it just make you smile?

This weekend I’m heading back to my home state of Maryland (represent!) to celebrate my sisters; Kate’s engagement and Ashlee’s birthday, and I cannot wait for the laugh out loud moments to unfold.  It’s kind of like waiting to open presents on Christmas day you know there are good times just waiting to be unwrapped.

You know that commercial “gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now…”, well it’s pretty much my family to a T.  When we have to go, we have to go.  Usually I end up doing a weird gallop dance in place trying to refrain from peeing my pants until I feel I can safely get to a bathroom (which I totally misjudge at least 50% of the time).  As a result of my poor judgement in time I’ve developed a reputation.  I usually get at least 1 package of depends or some other novelty gift that is making fun of my weak bladder, everyone’s always a comedian when it comes to gift giving.  But the best gift is the memories that come along with it.

Needless to say, pants peeing is not uncommon in my family, especially once the alcohol and laughter starts flowing. But who cares, I say embrace it.  I remember the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.  My mom was having a party and all her girlfriends were over.  They were all sitting around laughing and her one friend Janet peed her pants from laughing so hard, do you think she let that stop her from a good time?  Hell no!

Kath: (while laughing hysterically) “Oh Janet! Are you going to go home and change?”

Janet: (while laughing hysterically) “Hell No, I’m having too much fun!  Go get me a trash bag to sit on!”

Now THAT is what I’m talking about!   Over the years I’ve learned to become proactive instead of reactive; I’ve become an stealth squat popper (experience level: expert), I pack extra skivvies for trips and try to stay in my bathing suit as much as possible on my days off in Key West.  I’ve learned to stay away from wearing jeans when day drinking (dresses are much more convenient for emergencies) and how to turn my weird gallop into a dance move so it’s not so obvious when I’m biding time to make it to a bathroom.

If I could spend the rest of my life laughing I would; In fact, I think I shall!  Here’s to a weekend of family, friends, extra skivvies, un-intentional ab workouts and priceless memories.  Cheers!