How to Make New Friends as an Adult

Make New Friends

No one told me it would be so hard to make friends once I was out of school. Even as an introvert, I never had problem making connections prior to the age of 22. My classes were filled with seemingly endless amounts of students my age, and parties always included people outside of my usual friend circle who were passionate about literature, philosophy, art, and other things that I liked to talk about.

But when I moved up to Berkeley in 2011 with virtually no friends, I was not only barely fighting off a serious case of depression, I had no idea how to form a new community that was anything as wonderful as the one I left behind in college. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to move into an apartment that had a whole crew of wonderful people to help soften the blow, but I still needed more than my roommates to spend time with. Even though it was against my nature, I began to put myself out there and made a real effort to meet new people to fill in those empty Tuesday nights. Even now, four years later, friends seem to move away so often that I’m always looking for new people that I have a genuine connection with.

So whether you’re moving to a new place or just looking to expand your circle, here’s my advice for meeting new people:

1. Strike up conversations with strangers, and don’t be afraid to ask to hang out if you hit it off

This feels awkward at first, but some of my closest friends I’ve met just from putting myself out there. I’m a total introvert, but every once in a while I’ll find myself in a great conversation with my local barista or another random stranger. I’ve learned from experience to clarify that I’m not asking them out on a date (hey, it is San Francisco), and to just say something like, “I really love chatting with you and was wondering if you’d be interested in going on a friend-date to grab coffee or a drink!” If you’re picky about who you hang out with like me, you have to make a point to get to know the people that you naturally click with.

2. Utilize the internet to find out about classes and meetups

The days of it being creepy or uncool to use the internet to people are LONG over. Classes and meetups are not only a great way to connect with others, they also just help keep you busy and get you out of the home if you’re living in a new place or don’t have many friends. Especially if you live in a more urban place, the amount of classes and events out there is incredible. Ru and I have taken over five dog training classes together, which is always a fun social event. I’ve also found some great classes through Meetup.com, including a tarot card reading class in a woman’s beautiful house in the Oakland hills. It was really fun connecting with people who had similar spiritual interests to me, and tarot card reading is an innately social activity so there was plenty of conversation with the other students.

3. Go to medium-sized social gatherings hosted by friends who have friends you want to know better

One of my favorite tricks to meet new people is to utilize the larger social group of someone who is already my friend. Let’s say you’re getting to know someone and you think they’re pretty cool… maybe you’ve already met one of her friends or even her boyfriend and think they’re awesome as well. Make a point to go to events that will include more of that friend’s community, because chances are there’s loads of friend potential. Medium or even small-sized social gathering are my favorite to attend, not just because I find large parties to be overwhelming, but because smaller hangouts tend to foster deeper conversation and are more likely to lead to remarks of, “We should hang out again!”

4. Get out of the house and go to places that will attract like-minded people

It’s hard to make friends when you’re a homebody, because on a Friday night I’d much rather just stay home, eat Thai delivery, and watch Netflix. But even if going to a nightclub isn’t your cup of tea, just getting out of the house regularly will increase the likelihood that you’ll make a connection. Instead of the loud bar scene, head to a place that you’re confident will have like-minded people. My go-to spot is the dog park, where I kid you not, I’ve met more of my good friends in the last few years than anywhere else. If you don’t have a dog, bars with social activities are a great place to start like pool table or dart bards. Or, use that internet-thingy I mentioned above in tip two to find out about local sports leagues like ultimate frisbee or kickball.

5. Just like dating, accept that most potential friends won’t work out, but the good ones make it worth it

You can’t let a few bad “friend-dates” discourage you. I’ve hit it off with people a number of times only to get together with them later and find that we just can’t keep up conversation or don’t really have that much in common. You have to learn to just shrug your shoulders, cut your losses, and move on to finding someone else that you do connect with.

How have you met some of your friends as an adult?

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram

Blueberry Pie with Amaretto Crust

Blueberry Pie 1 Blueberry Pie 2 Blueberry Pie 3

A few weeks ago when I went up to Portland, I spent a day with my old roommate (and one of my dearest friends) Allie and her mom Annette. The two of them are some of the most sweet and creative people I know – you should see the beautiful, handmade butter dish they made me for my birthday this year!

In any case, we spent an hour drinking coffee in the backyard and as we left the house to check out the Pendleton Outlet, Annette threw a couple of scones in a bag for me for later. I tossed them in my purse and completely forgot about them until the next day… and then promptly proceeded to polish them off in about five minutes. Her secret? She included some amaretto in the crust.

Amaretto is a sweet, almond-flavored liqueur that reminds me of almond oil extract. I absolutely love this flavor and smell, to the point where I’ve included almond extract in a few of my previous recipes like Jam and Almond Thumbprint Cookies, Cherry Jam, and even this DIY Almond Body Scrub I made as a guest post for Olive and Ivy. That being said, the taste was far superior when Anette included amaretto instead, and I knew that I wanted to try baking with it myself.

So when I picked up a dozen blueberry canisters on sale last week, I decided to make a blueberry pie and incorporate the amaretto in the crust, knowing it would likely have a similar flavor and texture to the Annette’s scones. You guys, this pie is SO GOOD. I’m seriously not just saying that – the syrupy blueberries provide the perfect balance to the slight hint of almond in the crust. I can’t recommend this dessert recipe enough.

And don’t worry if you’re not a drinker – the extremely small amount of alcohol is cooked out of this recipe, so there’s no risk of a buzz (although Amaretto would be mighty tasty in a cocktail, since you’ll have plenty left over).

Blueberry Pie with Amaretto Crust

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons Amaretto
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Start by making the crust. Mix the 2.5 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and lay it out on a large cutting board or open bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives, and combine lightly until it resembles tiny peas. Sprinkle the Amaretto over the flour mixture one teaspoon at a time, combining with a fork as you go. Add a tablespoon or two of water until the pastry holds together when gently pressed into a ball. Split the dough up into two equal-sized balls and put them in a bowl in the fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 F and start preparing the filling. If using fresh blueberries, wash them and remove any steams. In a large bowl, mix together the 3 tablespoons flour, the sugar, and the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add the blueberries and lemon juice, and gently mix them until the blueberries are throughly coated in the flour.
  3. Place flour down on a flat surface and begin to roll out one of the dough balls until it is 11 inches around. Gently set it in the pie pan and fill with the blueberry mixture. Dot the butter evenly around berries. Roll out the second ball of dough until it is 11 inches around as well, then place it on the top of the pie. Crimp the edges and slice several vents into the top.
  4. Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 F and bake it for another 30-40 minutes until the top is browned.
http://oddlylovely.com/blueberry-pie-with-amaretto-crust/

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram

9 Really Cool Oddly Lovely Posts You Probably Missed

Oddly Lovely Posts You Probably Missed

So my blogiversary has come and gone with nary even a word of acknowledgement from me. This space has gone through quite a few ups and downs over the last few years. I started in mid-2013 with a super scrappy site I built myself called Kittlywinks, even though I’d never done HTML coding in my life. After a couple of months, I became overly busy around the holidays and lost interest in continuing. Then another six months later I picked it back up again with the new name Oddly Lovely and a beautiful new design from Erin of Two Thirds Hazel.

Since that time I’ve had periods of time where all I could think about was creating my next post. I spent all my spare money on advertising and was religious about responding to all of the sometimes 200+ comments I received in a week. After a while life became busy again, and now I’m back to just a couple of posts a week where I’m not always the best about responding to comments. I’m sorry about that, btw – sometimes I feel like I have to choose between spending a few hours writing a new post or spending a few hours responding to comments. I have to assume that you guys would prefer I’d do the former anyways.

All that being said, there are a handful of posts buried deep in my archives that I kind of love. While the photos are often sub-par and the style is perhaps a bit amateur, these are some of my favorite recipes and most time-consuming DIYs and tips very dear to my heart. With the exception of my mom (hi Mom!), I’ll assume most of you haven’t been reading my blog since June 2013. So I just wanted to take a moment to direct you to these slightly old, but still really cool posts.

1. So You’re in Your 20s and Thinking About Adopting a Dog – November, 2013

2. Gorgonzola Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto – June, 2013

3. Sci-fi Fantasy Shows on Netflix to Binge Watch this Weekend – November, 2013

4. Five Steps to the Ultimate Pampering Evening – December, 2013

5. Birthday Cake Milkshake – December, 2013

6. Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats – November, 2013

7. Chicken Pot Pie – November, 2013

8. Doing It Myself: Quote Coasters – June, 2014

9. 5 Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s – July, 2014

What’s an old post of yours that your readers haven’t seen but that you love? I want to read it!

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram

Totally Awesome Green Owl Sweatshirt

Owl SweatshirtOwl Sweatshirt 4Owl Sweatshirt 3This is not the most flattering outfit I’ve ever shared. It’s certainly not the most adorable or sexy or hip I’ve been on this blog. But let’s please just take a moment to appreciate how awesome this sweatshirt is!

I don’t have very many great stories about my clothes, but this green owl sweatshirt is the exception. Six years ago when I moved into my giant college house, my roomies and I found a pile of laundry in the corner of the garage. Among the items was this sweatshirt, which at the time was an off-white color that was heavily stained with use. But I loved the pattern, so I picked up some green fabric dye and for the first time in my life, tried dyeing my own clothes. As you can see, it worked out fabulously well, and to this day, this sweatshirt remains one of my favorite items of clothing. Gosh darn, is it comfortable.

Dyeing your clothes is a truly remarkable way to breathe new life into a boring or even stained item. Back when I used to have a washing machine, I used both Rit and iDye products to turn my old clothes into new colors semi-regularly. I thought about doing a tutorial on this blog, but it’s honestly so stupid easy. Just buy the product, follow the directions, and presto, you have changed the color.

(I feel I should also take a moment to point out how much I frickin’ love these jeans I decided to keep in my May Stitchfix box! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to keep them, because I swear I haven’t taken them off in six weeks.)

Have you ever tried dyeing your own clothes before?

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram

Six of My Current Obsessions

As promised, I’m finally back and blogging today! No Grand Canyon pictures, however (although I will be sharing a few on Instagram the next few days) – unfortunately I didn’t end up snapping very many since we spent so much time on the water and I didn’t want to risk my camera. My folks brought their waterproof one though, so I’m waiting until I have their photos before I give you guys the full visual tour of our trip. Suffice it to say, we had an absolutely amazing time. The landscape was unspeakably beautiful, and it was such a blast camping, rafting, swimming, and vacationing for a week.

Six Current Obsessions

Today I decided to do a little check-in with you guys by sharing some of my current obsessions. Unsurprisingly, lately I’ve been all about camping and fitness. I spent well over $500 at REI when preparing for this rafting trip on everything from hiking socks to quick-drying pants to a new backpacking pack. It was hard to watch all that money fly off my credit card, but I’ve returned from the trip feeling super reinvigorated about exercising regularly and getting outdoors a whole bunch this summer. And now I have some great gear to get started!

1. Sanuk Yoga Sling Shoes

I first spied these when I popped into REI to shop for my trip, but since I was already spending $500, I walked right by. When I went to return some things last week, though, I decided to splurge on them and I haven’t taken them off since. They’re incredibly comfortable, truly like walking on a yoga mat, and I love all the fun patterns they have.

2. Classpass

Now that I’m done with my six month kickboxing membership, I’ve decided to give Classpass a shot after reading so many great reviews on other blogs. The basic idea is for $100 a month you can take classes at any participating studio, including yoga, barre, kickboxing, martial arts, etc. I’m trying their 10-day free trial right now and I have to say, it is awesome! I love that I can book a class at the last minute at tons of different locations, since I often get bored of doing the same kind of class over and over again.

3. The Generation Why Podcast

You guys know I’m a podcast devotee, and this indie show is my latest obsession. Put together by two friends in what I assume is a garage or basement, the general theme is “murder and mystery.” Featuring everything from notorious serial killers to high-profile missing person cases to famous supernatural events, I cannot stop binging on episode after episode. If you’re a fan of Serial or mystery shows in general, you’ll get a kick out of The Generation Why Podcast.

4. Roxy XY Neo Shorts

This was one of my most unnecessary purchases for my rafting trip, but I’m so glad I decided to splurge on these shorts because they’re 10x better than a typical swimsuit. I’ve talked before here about how I have serious issues with razor burn around my bikini line. These super sexy shorts look like bikini bottoms, but they cover up a bit more of my thighs, making shaving around there unnecessary. Plus, they have that totally adorable “surfer girl” style and are more flattering than a teeny, tiny bikini bottom.

5. Gregory Overnight Backpacking Pack

This was my largest purchase for my rafting trip, and like my Roxy shorts, also completely unnecessary. That being said, I’ve been coveting a backpacking pack for a while and decided to use this trip as an excuse to get one. I can’t recommend REI enough if you’re shopping for a backpacking pack- they have great advice about what kind you need and will help you get it perfectly fitted to your body. I selected this bag because it will work either for a one-night backpacking trip with a sleeping bag and food or a month long trip backpacking trip with just clothes and toiletries through a foreign country.

6. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

The entire world freaked out a few months ago when the third and final book in this series was released. Knowing it was about witches and vampires, I had been meaning to read it ever since I heard about it, and this trip I managed to polish off the first two novels. Harkness has managed to create a thoroughly interesting world featuring a main female character who is realistically strong yet feminine. The most impressive aspect, though, is her understanding of history. The second novel in the series features time travel and rarely have I seen it done so believably well except in the equally addictive Outlander series.

Now I want to know – what’s something you’ve been obsessed with lately?

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram

Guest Post: Make the Decision That is Right for You

We’re ending in a high note with the last of my guest posts for this series! I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading the tips and thoughts from my kick-ass blogger girl friends the last two weeks – they have some of my very favorite blogs to read. I’ll be back next Monday with a post all about my Grand Canyon trip and then we’ll get back to our regular posting schedule. As for today, Rosie of Eat, Read, Glam was one of my very first blogger friends when I started last year. The two of us share very similar book tastes, so I can always count on her for a good recommendation, but today she’s talking about making tough decisions.

make-the-decision-thats-right-for-youThere are times in our lives where we will find ourselves at a cross roads, agonising over big decisions, and being held back by the “what ifs?”

I hate the “what ifs?” They force us into living in a state of limbo until we can pluck up the courage to do something.

Three years ago, I quit university after realising the subject I was studying was not an area I wanted a career in. It was a daunting decision to become a “dropout”, but my family and fiancé (boyfriend at the time) were much more supportive than I expected them to be.

I went back and forth in my mind for months before voicing my thoughts and plucking up the courage to speak to my tutor and start the process of leaving.

To my surprise, it was my sister who gave me the push and the courage I needed. It was simple to her: there was no point me staying at university, getting into more debt, doing something I didn’t enjoy, and getting a qualification in an area I had no interest in working in. My time would be better spent quitting and finding something else to do.

I followed her advice, quit university and began moving in another direction.

Three years later, I find myself replaying her advice.

Just before Christmas, I started a journalism course but I’ve found that trying to give it the attention it needs, alongside a full-time job, and everything else I do, hard. I don’t see the point in doing it unless I’m going to do it properly, which means something has to give.

The thought of being on a part-time wage, rather than full-time, is nerve-wracking, but a couple of years of pain seems better than looking back in years to come and wishing I’d tried.

We’re told that we’re supposed to live without regrets, and I hate the thought of looking back on my life feeling bitter because I didn’t have the courage to try harder to make my dreams become reality.

If my dreams don’t come true, I will be ok with that if I can say, hand on hard, that I did everything and tried my hardest.

The “what ifs” make that hard, but all you can do is make a decision that is right for you at this moment in time.

Facebook * Twitter * Bloglovin * Pinterest * Instagram