Monday, April 30, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Back in Liverpool

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We were happy, well-fed, and slightly tired though none the worse for wear. Our trip was quickly reaching the end of it's happy little life. Lesley and I packed our bags in the early morning and joined Sue and her family for our last breakfast in Fife. Hugs were traded and we all agreed that another trip was in order, and that perhaps next time they would come to the US and I could show them around.

Our bags were stowed in the van and we began the trip back to the airport in Edinburgh. I drank in the countryside and did my very best to commit it to memory, knowing that no camera could capture the feelings the views invoked. Our hearts felt a bit heavy, though the time together had been non-stop smiles. We were leaving Sue in Scotland while we were heading back to Liverpool.

The flight was uneventful and left Lesley and I plenty of time to chat, giggle, and make plans for our final night of holiday. We made our way from the airport to the apartment and immediately began preparations for our evening on the town. It is important to understand that single moms (which we both were) don't usually have loads of party money to spare. We scrimp and save where we can and put those dollars to the best use possible. We had decided it would be better spent on ourselves than on cab fare. We managed to convince Lee, a friend of Lesley's oldest son, Rob, to drive us to where the action was happening.

With Lee at the helm and Rob in the passenger seat, Lesley and I headed toward Mathew Street. Mathew Street seems more like a party to my way of thinking. It's almost like Fremont Street Experience in Vegas without the laser light shows, cheap beer, and crappy $5 t-shirts. My eyes lit up, and you'd have been able to see it too if it hadn't been for that "cigarette" Rob bought me before we took off.

The night had begun and so had the rain. Aside from a few sprinkles in Scotland we had been blissfully sun drenched, but this night was a wet one! The boys dropped us off at the top of the street and we began what would be a night of pinball-esque bouncing from one side of the street to the other. We dodged raindrops and dried off with beers at each stop.

We drank, danced, and flirted shamelessly with every attractive man we saw. The music was loud and the history was palpable. We visited the Cavern Club, the Cavern Pub, and Flanagan's plus a variety of pubs I can't begin to remember the names of. As the wee hours of the morning approached, we made our way outside in hopes of hailing a cab to take our tired behinds back to Lesley's so I could catch a couple hours of sleep before I headed to the airport and gave up my life as an international traveler.

As we waited for a cab the good times continued outside. The rain had stopped and a fog had settled over the city giving everything near a neon light as movie set quality glow. I can only assume that this would be the point of the evening where people would couple up and decide whose flat would be the location of the walk of shame when the sun came up.

I'm not sure whether I saw him first or he saw me first, but the attraction was immediate. He was leaning against a railing smiling in my direction. When we wandered closer I was painfully aware that he was actually looking at me. Typically, I don't consider myself an easy mark, but this man could have robbed me blind and I wouldn't have minded a bit. Lesley encouraged me to strike up a conversation with him, but I hung back and just continued to smile back like a simpleton. Eventually our path led us directly past him, and I felt a hand reach out for mine.

Had there been a visible arc of electricity between us I'd have not been surprised. Avoiding conversation was now impossible. We introduced ourselves and discussed (obviously) what a nice girl like me was doing standing outside the Liverpool pubs at approximately 2 AM. He was from London and in Liverpool playing a gig at one of the pubs we somehow missed on our way.

Remember when I said you can see a kiss coming a mile away? This time I had my eyes open. Lesley had moved on to talk with a small group of people she'd met earlier, leaving the two of us there to get acquainted. We'd been talking for what must have been forever 20 minutes when he leaned in and kissed me. I don't mean to brag, but I must have been a pretty good kisser because when the kiss ended he asked me to go to London with him for a few days before I returned to the states.

Just then another hand grabbed mine. Lesley, being far less susceptible to the accent and the sparkling eyes, stepped in and saved me from certain death. In reality he would have likely chopped me up into tiny pieces and thrown me in the Mersey. She pulled me toward the cab she'd hailed, told me to say goodnight, and that was that. He was no more and I disappeared into the night... limbs intact.

Morning light broke mere hours after we arrived back at the apartment and I loaded my bags for the airport. Lesley's friend Ian drove us to the airport in Manchester, saving me the trouble of finding a train in the early morning hours. Les and I hugged and promised to connect on IM as soon as I arrived home. When I settled into my seat on the plane, I slipped into a deep sleep and stayed there for the better part of the flight from England to Chicago, dreaming of a beautiful stranger, with a dazzling smile, on a foggy Liverpool street.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Conwy

Denbigh Castle, Denbigh, Wales
In case you think you missed something, there was no kissing in Wales, because the Welsh are anti-lip action we had no cab driver for that leg of the journey. Our friend Chas had made a point of taking a little time off to cart us across England and into Wales to do a little sight seeing, and I totally would have kissed him because... well he's cute as heck (and heck is really cute), but alas! He is happily married and I wasn't interested in breaking into the home-wrecking business while on vacation. Nevertheless we had a fantastic time, and I had my first proper fish and chips meal in Conwy.

We've covered Liverpool, where I was kissed by a stranger while I slept like a sweaty homeless bum on the steps of a church, Belfast in which the lively trio took pictures of the goodies inside their shirts and I wore my panties on the outside of my clothes, and Edinburgh where I kissed my friend Gerry and basically robbed him of the shirt off his back by swindling him with kisses and promises of partial nudity.

Since there was no kissing happening in Wales and no scintillating tales of sin for your voyeuristic pleasure, I would love to take a few moments to talk about what makes kissing so damned great. EVERYTHING.

When kissing is done right, it's the pinnacle of romantic expression, whether it's short term or long term. There will be people who tell you that sex is the end all be all of the physical romance world, but I think it's got to be that moment when your lips meet and your tongues dance that tells the true tale. If the kiss isn't working for you, you can pretty much take sex off the table right then and there. Have you ever had a really bad kiss and thought, "Well maybe I should have sex with him/her to find out if it's worth it"? Not likely. If you had sex after a horrible kiss it's probably because you felt really bad leading the person on and were too drunk to put your shirt back on.

Reader's Digest gives a few other reasons to lay a big old kiss on someone too!

5. Kissing naturally relaxes you. For those of you who unwind at the end of the day with a cocktail, try this gift from nature. Snuggle up next to your mate or the person next to you at the bar (you lush) and get your serotonin on! 

4. Kissing keeps facial muscles strong. Your weak jawline might not be all hereditary. Maybe you're just not smooching enough. Keep up the kissing and maybe you can start lifting cars with your face!

3. Kissing burns calories! Remember how you said back in January that you were going to go to the gym every single day until you had the body of a Greek God or Goddess? You've been slacking. We all see it. It's time to get yourself a lip-locking buddy and work off that cheesecake. 

2. Kissing helps you pick the best mate. Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish. How many men do I have to kiss? My mother told me to pick the very best one and you have too much spit. OUT! 

1. Kissing boosts immunity. I'm not saying you can stop seeing the doctor, or that you shouldn't worry about taking better care of yourself, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just sayin'! 

See all of the great things that kissing can do? The weekend is here... what better time to try it out?

Our next stop takes us back to Liverpool for the last night of my trek across the lips and the countries in the United Kingdom. Hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Edinburgh

Authors note: 
1. This post will be my most historically nerdy of the series. It also contains almost as many wiki links as wiki itself.  
2. This post might not be my sluttiest, but it may come across as a bit whorish. You've been warned.

When we last left the kissing bandit of the UK (moi), our trio was ping ponging their way around the United Kingdom, making a spectacle of themselves everywhere they went. England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and back to England. After a short night's sleep we were up and off to Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Steve (Sue's hubby) met us at the gate with a big cheerful smile and loaded our belongings into to van. Once again, my mind managed to rally for the drive. We were to spend the next few days at Sue's home in Leslie, which is located in the Kingdom of Fife. As we made the drive from airport to home, Sue pointed out the major highlights. I was still fascinated by round-abouts and I might have missed much of what she said up until the point where she said "loch". I stopped staring at the roads and immediately started paying attention. Between Edinburgh and Leslie is Loch Leven. If you're a nerd like myself, you'll know this as lake where Queen Mary of Scots was exiled. Just me? (insert look of abject disdain) Okay moving on.

Sue proved to be not only an amazing friend and partner in crime, but like Lesley... she was a true hostess. Our stay was filled with incredible sights, food, drinks, and trips. We visited Rosslyn Chapel (think Da Vinci Code), IKEA (just because, duh), The world's tallest hedge, and Dunfermline Abbey, where you can see the skull of Robert the Bruce (think Braveheart and don't pretend you haven't see it dammit).

Dunfermline Abbey
The most memorable of our trips took us back into Edinburgh. As luck would have it, we were joined on this day trip by our friend Gerry, a cabbie from Glasgow. Through a tour of Edinburgh Castle (where I learned the truth about why Scottish men don't wear anything under their kilts), the underground, old Edinburgh, and Holyrood Palace, Gerry kept us company and kept us guessing as to what the hell he was actually saying.

Gerry and I had met a few years before in Las Vegas, but that did not help me much in the way of translating Glaswegian to my brand of English. What I did understand was clothing. There's something about men's dress shirts that make me giddy. Not for them... for me. Gerry happened to be wearing a shirt that I knew, at the end of the day, had to be mine. It was Italian, white, billowy, and made of the softest cotton I'd ever laid hands on. I pictured myself wearing it to bed or with jeans and some sexy black knee length hooker boots. I was about to go buy myself a parrot to complete my pirate look when I realized the shirt wasn't actually mine.

Like this except not as sexy. 
"Gerry, I need that shirt." I said. He smiled and explained how much it cost, where it was from, what label it was, and everything else I didn't need to know. "It should be mine.What will it take to get that shirt? " I asked.  Gerry asked what I expected him to wear home on the train back to Glasgow if I were to take ownership. I looked down at the clingy red shirt I was wearing and looked back at him. "We'll trade. Do we have a deal?" Again, he laughed and then got a mischievous gleam in his eye.

A deal was struck. A kiss would be exchanged, documented in a photo for posterity, and we'd trade shirts in the "close" next to the pub we were patronizing. Lesley and Sue readied their cameras. Sue looked at me disapprovingly, shook her head and snapped a photo. Lesley didn't take her picture in time and the lip to lip kiss had to be repeated. From there it was off the the close. I quickly stripped my shirt off and handed it to him while he did the same, albeit much more slowly.

Letting a man see me shirtless in only my bra seemed so risque at the time, but upon further reflection I'm willing to bet my bra covers more territory than the standard bikini top. It was worth it too! I may have shown a little skin, and I might have whored my kisses out, but that shirt is still a staple in my wardrobe. These days it's relegated to bedtime or VCF (very casual Friday), but it still makes me feel tiny and sexy and brings a smile to my face. There is something about watching a brawny, 6'1", Scotsman wearing a women's short, clingy, fire engine red scoop neck shirt under his very manly tweed blazer that just lights me up inside.

Up Next- Back to Liverpool, England's my den of iniquity...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Maybe it's Monday

"It's funny cause it's true." - Karen Walker 
Dear Blog,

I don't mean to be a bitch, but lately it's been pretty hard. Now this, in and of itself, is not new. I tend to lean a bit toward bitchy even on a good day, but usually in a fun-filled-bitch-you-love-to-hate sort of way. The smile on my face when I tell you that I think you're a heinous excuse for a human being sort of takes the sting out of it most of the time.

Unfortunately, while the last few weeks have been blissful in some respects they have been completely aggravating in others. I would like to think I'm capable of being one of those people who take the positive things in life and let all that warm goodness spill over onto the shitty parts, thus brightening the dark patches of my soul. Bwahahaha!

Here's the problem; My friends are too awesome at supporting my angry inner bitch and I've not been able to properly shove down my hatred like a good girl should. It used to be that someone would piss me off, and maybe it was their fault and maybe it was not. Either way, I would go to my special place, which was wherever my friends were, and I'd just blast whomever the hell had dared to piss me off. My friends would nod with sympathy, because they'd been there too, and then they'd tell me that I had to remember blah blah blah, and they would pat me on the head (virtually or physically).  I would come to the conclusion that I was being a jealous hag and then I would grow up and get over it.

The new scenario has been a little different. I pick up the phone, hop on IM, or Skype and I start by saying "Okay, so WTF is the deal with ____?!" That's when the fun begins. Someone will reply, "I KNOW!"  and once you have received verification that you're not the only one irritated by something it becomes good. It becomes valid. It becomes RIGHT. That's the moment when the picture above becomes true. "Look at her over there... smiling at people. I hate that. Fake. Totally fake."

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Yes, I realize that the smiling bitch is usually me. I never said my smile was always because of something nice. It is reassuring to know that you've not gone crazy and that other people are feeling and seeing what you're experiencing though. It's cathartic. Nothing unites people quite like the disdain for some trifling wench that really gets up on your last nerve and grinds a heel in. Solidarity!

The best part about it is that when I am in this sort of mood I don't really give a damn who doesn't like ME. I know who I am. I'm sweet to those who deserve it, supportive to those who need it, loving to those for whom I feel it, and sometimes I am a real bitch. I'm not a formula. I'm genuine in the respect that I'm not the same every day. If you don't like it, you don't have to join my fan club. You can go sit with the bitch with the crackers.

You know what else? I still feel bad for swearing so much when I know my mom will see it. Dear Mom, I'm sorry I said the "b" word so much today.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Belfast

Authors notes: 
1. Irishmen. What can I say? You would be foolish to think that the stories about kissing the Blarney Stone were bogus. I have yet to meet an Irishman who couldn't, at the very least, charm me into a kiss. 
2. When I replay these events in my head I am totally making a soundtrack for a really lame movie. 
3. The images are not mine because I am too lazy to go find my UK disk. 

When we boarded the plane for Belfast I was feeling a little green, and not in the Emerald Isle sort of way. I don't recall what we drank at Lesley's the night before, but morning came too early and my stomach was telling my head that throwing up would be a better decision than flying. Still, we pressed on and made our way to Northern Ireland for a day of sight seeing and shopping.

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It's impossible for me to recall the flights to and from any of the places in the UK we visited without feeling slightly romantic. The United states is laid out on grids where everything is a variation of squares, rectangles, and the occasional perfect circle (still unsure what those are for) thrown in for good measure. The view from above is much different there. The stone fences line properties you can imagine were stepped off and agreed upon between neighbors centuries ago. It "flows" where ours "breaks". This view is quite possibly the first moment (in my life) that I felt like I'd found home. It's also where I first thought that I could live in a cottage on the shore with a gorgeous man and a bunch of wine with my book in progress. Slow, hungover, sexually interrupted progress.

Sorry, hormones distracted me. Where were we? Right, Belfast. The vision I had in mind of Belfast was something from a war torn documentary I'd seen when I was growing up. I questioned the amount of fun one could have whilst dodging artillery and running in a zig zag fashion (good zombie apocalypse training skills no doubt). At this point, the most I hoped for was a sexy cab driver to plant a kiss on. Wish. Granted.

There is a CD somewhere around the house with pictures of our travels, documenting all the cabbies I kissed while traveling. Jackie is somewhere in there. He was tall, well-built, ready smile, and slightly graying at the temples (no doubt from the vast amount of time he spent being sexually harassed by his many female fares). I'm ashamed to admit that the idea of a tall Irishman struck me as odd. To be honest the most experience I had with the Irish at that time in my life was Lucky from the box of Lucky Charms. Well that and images of short, pudgy, red nosed politicians or law enforcement from bad crime TV shows. Fancy that... my first visit to Ireland and I'd found the one tall guy of their kind!

Being the shy type (shut your face... I was), and mostly sober, I didn't have the nerve to grab that sweet man and plant a big wet kiss on his lips. These days I might have to go to confession to explain the things I might do to him... and I'm not even Catholic. Men have absolutely no business walking around looking like that, much less offering strange women rides here and there. None at all. Regardless, I did get on my tip toes and plant a soft kiss on his cheek. He smelled of soap and something earthy. Moss? Hell if I know. It was sexy.

Jackie drove us to the city center and deposited us curb side. He handed me his card in case I managed to slip away from the girls and needed to have my ovaries rearranged or something. Kidding... I'm pretty sure he just wanted the return fare to the airport. Either way, I was smiling. The sun was shining and the day was warming up. Add to that the fact that the Belfast I experienced was nothing at all what I'd envisioned. It was all that and a bag of crisps.

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Aside from the full body makeovers we gave ourselves in Boots (they have samples all over the store), the amount of glitter on Lesley's eyes, the down shirt photos taken over a few drinks at a gorgeous pub, and the wearing of underwear on the outside of my clothes (Thank you Dunnes) there was so much to see!

I'm not saying there wasn't a lot to be seen in those down shirt moments... holy tits, but have I mentioned the architecture? No? It's gorgeous! Copper roofing details with authentic time worn patina set against aged stone fills me with as much longing as a naughty Irish brogue. The Irish also know how to do a pub. Even on a lazy Sunday you can find a pub with live music, cold beers, and character. I don't know if we were just really lucky or really picky, but we weren't able to find a dive bar to embarrass ourselves in so the classy pub was stuck with us.

We managed to see the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic and her sister ships, and road on the open top of a bus tour down the Shankill Road, which still has the rolling barricades in the event of any trouble. I also managed to nearly punch a Canadian woman and her friend for being stupid. When I heard the familiar sound of American voices in front of us, I cheerfully said, "Oh, you're Americans too!" to which she replied, "God no! We're CANADIAN!" then gave me a dirty look. So I said, "Funny, the last I checked Canada was in North America." Then I stood up and threatened to beat her down, right there in front of God and everyone. Good times.

Before I knew it, the day was coming to a close and we had to catch a plane back to Liverpool. We hailed a cab and headed to the airport as the sun was setting. Our cabby for the return trip was not quite as handsome as dear Jackie, but I kissed him anyway... because sometimes I kiss unattractive people, for educational purposes of course. For the record, before anyone starts to think I am all talk and no game, I did share my bed with two hotties while on vacation. Both Lesley and Sue happened to be excellent snugglers.

Next up: Edinburgh

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Liverpool

It wasn't just my first trip out of the country (we don't count Canada as international travel), it was the first of a lot of things. With the exception of a brief day trip in my bosses Cessna, I'd never flown anywhere. My planning was meticulous. Every tiny detail had been planned months in advance. Small town Angie was about to become International Angie.

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Looking back on it, purchasing my ticket six months in advance seems a little silly, but I wasn't taking any chances. I wasn't going to risk one of the kids needing clothes or food in the future and spending up all the money I'd saved for this once in a lifetime chance to spread my wings. No, I laid the money on the line and bought a $1200 ticket from Omaha, Nebraska to Manchester England. One week later I submitted my passport application, complete with fantastically ugly passport photos in which I look like a very scared and angry fat prostitute. Oddly enough, I still use that damned passport. Not a single customs agent has ever questioned it. Assholes.

Six months later, after several episodes of packing and unpacking and repacking my bags, I touched down in England. As soon as I walked through the doors from customs I heard my name shouted from below. Lesley, Sue, and Lizzie stood staring up from the ground level, baggage carts loaded, grinning ear to ear. Though we'd not met before that very moment, we were best friends embarking on a whirlwind trip of the UK. I should clarify that I was the only one on an actual whirlwind trip. Lizzie and Lesley were Liverpudlians and Sue was a Scot, so this was merely a holiday for them, but they embraced it with as much enthusiasm as first timers.

Our journey began with a train ride to Liverpool where Lesley called home. I'd heard my whole life how rainy and dreary England was, but Mother Nature had other plans for our holiday. The sun shown brightly and the mercury rose with every passing minute. With temperatures nearing 85 F, we stepped off the train and promptly stowed our belongings in the lockers and headed out into the streets of Liverpool. There wasn't a minute to waste and we planned to experience as much as possible.

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Our first stop was the ferry on the Mersey (Thank you Gerry Marsden). Try getting that damned song out of your head after a 40 minute ferry ride. Though I'd scarcely slept in the last 48 hours, I felt invigorated by the breeze off the river (or maybe it was the Lucozade) and was certain I'd be able to rally when we stepped back on dry land. We made our way back to the area surrounding the train station, taking in a series of exhibits at an old church, mostly as an excuse to do some shopping and to escape the growing heat of the day.

The shopping proved fruitless, but the cool damp air of the stone cathedral was like Heaven. As Lesley made use of the "facilities", Sue and I rested our weary bones on a wide set of marble stairs. Had it been possible to melt into the surface at that point we surely would have. To prove it, we laid flat on our backs right there in front of God and everybody, feeling the cold emanating from beneath. We closed our eyes and, for a moment, simply existed. Exhaustion began to set in and I drifted.

You can spot a kiss coming from a mile away. There's a look in the other person's eyes that is unmistakable. It's either soft and tender or fiery and passionate, but there IS a look. I would have recognized that look too... if I'd had my eyes open when it approached.

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The moment I felt lips brush my skin my eyes flew open and I stared into the eyes of a stranger. He looked as shocked as I was, which is comical given the fact that he approached a woman dozing on the steps of a public place then planted his mouth on her. He quickly moved backward and said, "I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. You looked like an angel laying there." He rose, as if in a daze, smiled kindly, and turned around, motioning to the boy at his side, who looked as confused as I must have.

The man gave a quick wave and walked out the door, never to be seen again... by me anyway. I'm sure he was seen by others later, though I wonder if he went missing after returning home. If that boy was his son there is a chance that there was an angry wife at home. Kids are notorious for being shitty at keeping secrets.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wag Vs. Angie: Have that threesome!

Welcome back to Wag Vs. Angie, A new match whenever the hell we feel like it! 
(We’ve switched to a bi-monthly schedule and generally Wednesdays). 

So let’s do a little catch up first.

Getting to know us… getting to know all about us… cue the Von Trapp children!

Shane is an American Midwest guy living in Austria with his wife and 30 children. He enjoys beers with the boys, the kids, the neighbors, and bubble baths. He’s crude, rude, and full of ‘tude. Some of that is true and some of it was just added because I like rhyming words. Shane is the sensitive loving side of Wag Vs Angie.

Angie is bossy and cynical and all about herself.  She’s a bitter divorcee living in the Midwest because her kids, even though it’s been encouraged, haven’t packed up and vacated the premises. She believes in common sense in relationships and has the best advice in the world that she’s, as yet, been unable to apply to herself.

Anyhooters, this week’s topic is threesomes; Nasty, filthy, fun-filled, sex romps that include 3 people and various implements of pleasure. Feathers, whips, hand cuffs, and whipped cream sold separately. Sometimes it's just 3 people partially clothed. Now that we know what a threesome is, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Off with your pants! You can check out Shane's view over here... Wag The Dad 

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Your spouse suggests that you bring in a 3rd party for a threesome. You’re into it, but you’re not sure how far it should go. What now?

Here’s what I’m thinking, folks. You only go around once (I know some of you have been around a few times amiright or amiright) so you might as well make it a hell of a ride. You’re into it. Your partner is into it. Now you just need to find someone who’s willing to be “into it” with you. Let’s go over a few ground rules.

-Talk about what your expectations are and what your partner’s expectations are.

-Determine what is off limits. Is this an oral presentation? How do you feel about watching your partner having full on sex with another person? This needs to be addressed before the action starts.

-The additional person must be slightly less attractive than both yourself and your partner. This will help to avoid any of those pesky “Is he/she better looking than me?” questions.

-Don’t pick someone you know. Trust is important, but choosing your partner’s best friend as the third party will not end well. Count on it.

-You might want to take a camera. I doubt this is going to ever happen again.

-Maintain eye contact with your partner at all times. I don’t care what you’re doing down there… keep your eye on your partner.

These are not hard and fast rules, but should help increase the comfort level AFTER the deed is done. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you start with discussing expectations and ground rules, and then decide that neither of you is as into the actual deed as you are the fantasy. Fantasies are not ALWAYS meant to be fulfilled.

What you do in your marriage/relationship is nobody’s business, but your own. Please remember that when you invite someone else into your bedroom… that’s no longer the case. Keep these things in mind before you ask that cute guy/girl at the bar to come home with you and your spouse mmmkay?

Sexploration within relationships is best done when the couple is secure in their sexuality, themselves, and their love and fidelity to each other. If you don’t meet these criteria there is a very good chance that the outcome will be negative and can even go as far as destroying your relationship. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Night at Icon Lounge

Since Icon Lounge opened last month, I have been dying to check it out. Located just off 6th and Main at the Gourley building, the converted warehouse lounge screamed for my attendance. Okay, it didn’t scream for me to visit, but a friend invited me and I jumped at the chance. To be fair, it was actually my second visit, and it only got better.

The location offers ample parking, both off and on street. Being just a block west of Phillips Avenue makes it ideal for those wanting to take in the revitalized atmosphere of the downtown district, without the hassle of fighting for a parking spot. If you’ve ever driven Phillips Ave. looking for that elusive spot near your destination, you’ll truly appreciate Icon’s locale.

As you walk up the steps you’ll find a gorgeous, sleek, well-lit patio area that makes you want to invite a group of friends and kick back with an icy summer cocktail. But don’t stop there, open the door and go inside. You won’t regret it. Let’s take a look, shall we? 

Admit it, you want to invite your entourage (who doesn't have one of those?) and occupy one of those VIP sections! Black leather sectionals, velvet ropes… If you don’t feel spectacular before you leave the house, you will when you settle in. You will feel transported to the days of Studio 54. Iconic, indeed!

Icon Lounge offers an extensive list of wines available by glass or bottle, as well as many bottle only options to tempt the tastes of any wine connoisseur. They also offer full bottle service for those who choose to purchase spirits by the bottle. Not able to finish? No problem, they will put your name on it and hold it for you until next time! Bottle service includes mixers. Also, make sure you check out their list of signature cocktails. I highly recommend the Cleopatra, a decadent chocotini the likes of which you’ve never tasted!

Yes, that is my empty plate, my Cleopatra, and those are my Ahi Tuna & Calamari bites. 
The menu at Icon lends itself to the noshing that goes along with nightlife. If you’re looking for gourmet appetizers, you’ve landed in exactly the right place. We started the evening with the Jumbo Buffalo Shrimp with Sriracha blue cheese dipping sauce. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I finished the sauce even after the shrimp was a memory. The shrimp was followed by Seared Ahi Tuna and Calamari bites with balsamic drizzle and finished the dining experience with veggie egg rolls with a zesty Asian sauce. While I wasn't impressed with the balsamic drizzle on my first visit, the Ahi and Calamari were a perfect marriage to carry the sauce. Just writing this makes me want to go back for more. Every bite was as good as the first, and I can’t wait to check out the rest of the menu!

To look at the venue and the options, you may think it outside your price range. Just because you feel like a celebrity doesn't mean you will be paying like one. Every item on the menu is moderately priced as well as comparable and competitive to the best establishments in town.

I would like to give a special shout out to our server for the evening, Jessica. She was warm, sincere, and accommodating. No matter what we needed, she was on the spot to make our visit remarkable. We were also honored with a tour of the new Icon Event hall that will occupy the south end of the property. The exposed brick and stone work, combined with the standard Icon finishes, will make this a sought after venue for private parties and events. 

To say that Icon Lounge is the hottest thing I've seen in Sioux Falls in a long time would be an understatement. It meets every criterion for class. It’s sleek, sophisticated yet edgy, and everything you've imagined your nightlife to entail. Simply stated, Icon impresses. Stop in, bring friends, and say hello to Hong and his team.

Again, I would like to extend a special thank you to Hong, Jessica, and Michael for the warm welcome and the incredible evening. I know we’ll be seeing each other again soon!

Icon Lounge
402 N. Main Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57104


Find them on Facebook: Icon Lounge
Tweet them: @IconLounge

Hong Phrommany, GM
Summer bar GM 

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Invention of Lying taught me NOTHING

Me- I had someone sitting with me that day, so they will have spoken to Tony. 

Client- Are you leaving me, Angie?

Me- What? No, but I am thinking of getting married... (Why the fuck did I just say that?). 

Client- I see, and then you're leaving me? Are you leaving the company completely or just me?

Me- I don't know. Really, they just put all new people at my desk. I need to let you go now. Talk to you soon. Bye! 

This is what happens when I am put on the spot. I do not like having to lie to anyone, much less someone I respect. I've mentioned before that I have a very free conversational style with my client. He works from an office in NY and I work from the office in SD. He's called my desk before and I've answered, "I thought I told you never to call me here!" We've exchanged new and horrible ways to describe people we don't like. He's allowed me to be honest about how I feel projects are going, and aside from the fact that I simply do not like this particular job and it makes me want to send the kids out to a movie and dinner while I rest my head in the oven, we've got a great working relationship.

Now, in order to not make myself look like a liar-liar-pants-on-fire, I have two options.

1. Confess that I am in fact leaving him and moving to a different position. 
2. Get married. 

Right now I'm leaning toward getting the "fiance" and buying myself a pretty cubic zirconia to show off in the event that he says, "Well congratulations, Angie! Let's see the ring!" Because you know all men are just dying to see the ring. I was able to secure a sexy guy on Twitter today. He has agreed to a 15 year engagement with absolutely no premarital sex. After 15 years of waiting I think one or both of us could explode on the wedding night. And I'm okay with that... as long as I don't have to lie.

Oh hey, there's some other good news. I'm transitioning out which is why I've been training my replacement and my liver is on the rebound. So how do you like THAT for a Monday? I got a new pretend fiance, a reason to shop for jewelry, and a new job. Booyah!

Alright kids, tell Angie all about your Monday. Make it good. If you've got nothing good to offer give me the bad. Let it out. You'll feel better!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What you can expect

I'm in one of those phases in my life where I just don't think I can deal with any serious business outside of my own life. Yes, I am going to keep up with my obligations and do everything that they require of me. I am not going to back out of anything I've committed to. However, in order to answer any questions to follow, here is what you can expect of me for the next couple of months:

1. Job referrals and kick ass references. Go ahead and tell people I was your boss. It's cool. Just let me know what you did for me first mmkay? Oh and mention that they should keep the call under 2 minutes. Thanks.
2. Dead silence and what seems like I am not really connected to the conversation.
3. Me bursting into song for no reason except that there's a soundtrack playing in my head.
4. Lots of stupid smiles and ditzy nods. Sorry about that. (not really)
5. Blogs. Like 3-5 a week. All full of romantic conjecture and hypothesizing and theorizing and other izings.
6. My phone going to voice mail.
7. More tweets less sweets! (this is my new diet plan. if I think about eating junk food I'm going to tweet instead)
8. Me being totally capable of relating to ANYTHING  by saying things like, "OMG ME TOO!" Let's not talk about your swollen prostate. That just makes it harder for me. (that's what she said)

In the meantime, this is the crap going through my head:

Friday 9 PM- 11 PM
How in the hell can my hair get curlier with dry weather AND humid weather? Who in the hell put Air Supply on this play list? Me? Alright, but only one. YAY BILLY JOEL! How in the hell long have I been watching the TV on mute? Grimm was awesome tonight! Ding fries are done! Did I seriously just sing into my Diet Dew bottle like a microphone? I did. This is an all time low. Maybe this is one of those Jennifer Garner moments when I'm really still 13. Seriously, when you sing into this bottle it's like a ghetto version of Mr. Microphone. I should go to bed early. Twitter works on my phone. Great. I'll never get a damned thing done now.

Saturday 8:30 AM- Present
Sonofabitch! I have two hours to get ready for the wedding. I wonder if fashionable fucked up hair is still in. Dress or pants dress or pants... dress. Those stockings have a run. Why the hell do I have stockings with runs? Okay... dress, makeup, something with my hair, card, new stockings, gas in the car. ARGHHHHHHHHHH

Alright kids. I'm off to make another drive to Iowa for my cousin's wedding. Don't do anything I wouldn't do while I'm gone and if you have a party I expect to be invited even though I can't go and if you have it at my house please tidy up before you leave... oh and someone put my treadmill together. Put it in the office. Thanks.

Here's a little mood music for the day (I wanted to dress like a Winette for the wedding):


Thursday, April 12, 2012

I won't hear one more word about changing

"I admitted I was wrong. What more did you want?" he asked.

My eyes filled with angry tears and a list began to form in my head, filled with everything he did that drove me insane.

1. Stop talking to me about politics. 
2. Stop criticizing my parenting.
3. Stop telling me everything that is wrong with "my people".
4. Stop using the race card every time things don't go your way. 
5. Stop trying to make me see how superior you are. 
6. Stop complaining about the time I spend with my family. 
7. Don't mention one more thing about how I need to change.  

By the time my mind processed number seven, I realized that I had become exactly what I despised. There was not a single thing on my list that would have been accomplished without a complete shift of who he was at his core. It would mean asking him to do exactly what I had flat out rejected from him. Changing.

Over the years my friends and family listened to me cry, complain, love, and nearly hate this very man. For every single moment of hell we'd been through there were equal moments of love, and for every trait I wished he would change there was a redeeming quality that kept me coming back. I listened to people tell me he was a jerk (or worse), but in my heart and often out loud I would defend him. "I know why you think that, but he's not a bad person. He does love me. You don't know him."

To this day I still believe those words to be true. I simply couldn't go on being someones project. I didn't want to be with someone who always wanted to tweak some fiber of my being. Did he love my heart? I have no doubt. Did he wish I could be more like him so that we would be compatible enough to make it work? Yes.

As he extended the olive branch, I gently pushed it away. Part of me screamed to throw it back in his face, tell him to change, and show him how it felt. I just couldn't do it. If you love someone, you love them for who they are, not who they could be if they just ____. Seeing him in the position he had put me in so many times in the past didn't feel as great as I'd imagined. I've said before, "Its funny because it didn't happen to me." But it wasn't. I don't want to talk about changing anymore.

Do you ever feel it's acceptable to ask someone to change for you? Have you ever made a change to who you are to satisfy someone else? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Never let them see you parent

Parenting. There are no hard and fast rules about how you do it except to avoid abuse of any sort. No two parents are exactly the same and what you say to your child, someone else may quite possibly think is outrageous or over the top. Whether you have children or not, you've likely looked at a child and thought, "What the hell sort of parents raises THAT kind of child?" Maybe me?

Image Source
That being said, I fall on the outrageous side of parenting. I pick on my kids. I tease them. I tell them inappropriate jokes. I taught not biting by biting. We yell, cry, and sometimes stomp or slam doors. We also have fun. We are the most awesome road trip family EVER. There is singing, embarrassing other drivers, more inappropriate jokes, and we're damn good at it.

I can tell you all of these things and it is up to you to believe me or not. We don't have a reality show where cameras follow us around all day and night so you can see our quirky, yet humorous, dialog. You won't hear the "I love you" moments. I can't prove to most of you that I even have kids. Unfortunately, just when you think you're doing a pretty good job at it, someone will witness your skills. It will not always look as awesome as you think. The key to maintaining the impression that you're just naturally good at your job is this: Never Let Them See You Parent.

Case in point:

My son is in concert choir. In December I purchased new dress pants, dress shirt, dress shoes, socks, and undershirts. I carefully packaged all of it up and mailed it 3 hours south to his father's house. When my son moved back home in January he returned primarily with clothes and a few electronics. We've been doing swimmingly since.

Jacob informed me of the upcoming concert choir contest last week. We verified the things he would need, location of the contest, permission slips to be signed, etc.

"Do you have your dress clothes out and pressed?" I asked. "What about dress shoes?"

"I only need the dress pants. We wear robes so I don't need a dress shirt. I have the shoes you bought me in December. They're good." he responded.

It was settled. He would be ready to go and for a change my last minute nagging seemed unfounded. As I spoke with a friend on Skype before turning in for the evening, our conversation was interrupted by the sound of a knock on the stairwell wall. "Do you have my shoes up there?" said a deep man-child voice.

Honestly, when you're having a conversation with someone you are used to talking with, Skype is merely an extension of communication. It is not a theater performance and I tend to forget that the other person can hear every thing I say and see every face I make. This was one of those moments.

I carried on a conversation with my son as if he and I were the only ones in the room. I believe it went something like:

Bitchy Mom Face

Me- Why would I have your shoes in my closet?
Him- They are nice shoes. I thought you might have taken them.
Me- Why would I take your shoes? I do not have them.
Him- I called Dad's and they aren't there. I can't find them.
Me- You have contest tomorrow and you just now looked for the shoes? You said you had them.
Him- I thought I did. I just can't find them.

At this point I looked back at my screen to find that I was being watched with a look of amazement/horror. "What?" I asked. It was then that I noticed I still had "the look" on my face. Bitchy Mom Face. "He said he had the shoes. Now he doesn't have the shoes. Contest is tomorrow and he just NOW looks for the shoes?" I explained. This seemed to do little to justify what apparently came off as a bit of a harsh conversation.

Things only got worse when I told my son he would have to wear my Doc Martens and squeeze his big feet into them with no bitching or moaning. WHAT?! They look like guy shoes anyway!

Update: My son was able to call a friend (Thanks Jake M.) to loan him some men's dress shoes for contest as well as provide him with a ride to school. Obviously the threat of having to wear girl shoes was enough to put him off asking me for a damned thing today. #ParentingWin

What is the most embarrassing thing you've done as a parent? Has anyone (other than your poor kids) witnessed your cruel and unusual parenting skills? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bandwagon Effect

If you've ever been single for any amount of time, and are/were active on the dating market, you will find that it's often a case of feast or famine. We've talked a bit before about the things that make a person sexy; Confidence, class, humor, sincerity, etc. One of the things that failed to make the list was "in love". I know that I'm not the only one who has noticed it, but I'll explain for those who haven't.

It never seems to fail that if I am in the market for a date no one will call, but let me fall in love and the tides change quickly. There is something relaxed, confident, and attractive about the look of love. Whatever feeling that evokes in the opposite sex draws them to the twitterpated like flies to honey. They've written songs about the look of love, but I have another theory.

One of my best guy friends swore that he got more action from women when wearing a wedding band. He's not married, has no desire to be married, and really just enjoys a nice piece of a$$ from time to time. I can't fault him. He's single. It's his life. I've since watched it occur and I was both amazed and disgusted. When he wore the wedding band his admirers increased twofold. His personality didn't change. He was wearing the same clothes. He had the same smile. The only difference was that when he was wearing the ring he was "unavailable".

I'm obviously slow on the uptake. I listened to this song on the way to school and on the way home and on the radio in my room and and and... and you would have thought I'd put two and two together. It's a cheesy 80s ballad based on the truth, folks. You don't know what you've got, until it's gone. It would also seem that many people don't want what they HAD until someone else has it.

Do you have Facebook? If you're a single person (male or female) on Facebook, and you have past partners as friends you might notice the following phenomenon:

Weeks go by without a word, not a syllable, no calls, no texts. You resign yourself to the fact that you won't be dating that person again, regardless of how good the chemistry seemed. After all, what use do you have for someone who has no time for you? Then something miraculous happens. You find someone that makes you happy. The clouds part, sunlight floods through, and angels sing.

All of the sudden those people that didn't have time to talk before are coming out of the wood work. It's all about the bandwagon effect. This is the only way I can think to explain it. "I didn't want you until I realized other people wanted you, and if you're that special then I want in on the action." They don't know what they had... until it was gone.

Is it human nature to want what you can't have? What is your experience with the adult version of the Toddler's Creed? 

If I want it, it's mine.
If I gave it to you and I change my mind later,
it's mine.
If I can take it away from you,
it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago,
it's mine.
If it's mine, it will never belong to anyone else,
no matter what.
If we are building something together,
all the pieces are mine.
If it looks like mine, it's mine.

My Zimbio
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