When Lilly Met Lucas – A Love Story Begins



Me and Lilly (2014)

“No, I don’t want you to have luck,” Lilly said with sassy snark and a pretty pout.

Lucas gaped at her from her computer screen, in the Skype window.  He hadn’t expected that kind of an answer from his remark, “Hey, I’m going to go on my date now.  Wish me luck!”

Lucas finally said, “I’ve got to go, we’ll continue this later.  Goodbye!”

Lilly pressed the “End” button without saying goodbye in return.  She grumbled to herself.  “That floozy doesn’t deserve him.  I don’t want them to have fun and end up together.  I want…”  She stopped herself.

What did she want?  Why did she want this date to fail?  “Lucas is my friend,” she said aloud.  “I want him to be happy.  I want him…to be happy with me!  Oh my God I’m jealous!”  Her hand flew to her mouth.  “I don’t want him to date that other girl, I want him to date me!”  After over a year of friendship, she realized that her feelings had grown.

She threw herself down on her bed.  “I don’t want to date someone half way across the world!!”  Still pouting, she reviewed the past year mentally.  How she and Lucas had met on Facebook, in a photography group.  How he only ever had nice, upbeat things to say to everyone.  How, even when one of the group members was getting on her last nerve and she wanted nothing more than to chew out the nasty SOB, Lucas would listen, calm her down, and handle the matter with class.

Oh boy.  She had feelings for him, alright.  And it was a big ol’ crush.

She put the pillow over her face and screamed.  But then…

Maggie the cat swatted Lilly’s foot with a paw, as if to say, “Hey Human!  You alright?”

Or maybe it was, “I’m hungry.  Feed me.”  That’s usually Maggie’s message.

Lilly sat up so quickly that the cat meowed and skittered under the bed, which displeased the other cat crouching there, who hissed and ran from the room.  Their owner ignored them; she had bigger problems than feline sibling rivalry.

“I may have found my soulmate!” she said.  “I’ve been looking in all the wrong places: in the Marines, all over Dallas, and now—when I wasn’t even looking!—I found him online.  So what if he lives halfway around the world?  There’s Skype, and airplanes, and…who wouldn’t move for True Love?!”

Humming to herself, she went back to the computer to continue editing photographs, which is what she was doing before Lucas called.

Suddenly, she stopped.  She had been humming one of her favorite songs: Marry Me by Train.  “Marry me!  Today and every day.  Marry me!  If I ever get the nerve to say Hello in this café, say you will…mmmm…say you will!”

She laughed at her own subconscious mind.  First things first: Lucas would get home in a couple of hours, tell her about his horrible date (well, she could hope that it was horrible, however selfish that was), and they could talk about whether they wanted to take their friendship to another level.

He would.  She just knew it.

Smiling, she clicked on the next picture to edit.  “Should I call Jules?” she asked Maggie, who had snuck back into the room and was sitting a safe distance away, on the edge of the desk.

“Mrowr,” Maggie answered.

“You’re right,” Lilly said.  “I’ll wait.  I’ll probably see her on Saturday, anyway.  That’s a few days away, will give me time to talk to Lucas and see where this goes.”

She had a feeling that she’d have good news to share with Jules.  Yes, she definitely would!



This is a flashback to a couple of years ago.  A friend asked me to write more about Lilly and Lucas, and make it into a book.  What do you think?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

My Life

I cancelled my date this week because I was still in mourning.  What kind of first date would it be, if I were rambling about Lucas the whole night?  I’m sure that would go over well.

“Jules, tell me about yourself,” he’d say.

“Sure,” I’d answer, “I had this friend Lucas…”

“No,” he’d say, “Tell me about you.”

“Well, I’m pretty torn up about Lucas, and the fact that I can’t get to his funeral…”

You can see why this might not be the best First Date convo ever.

My weekend wasn’t a complete bummer.  I went to a vineyard with friends yesterday.  I’ll tell you all about it, and other California wineries, next week.  As for the move, well, that’s still up in the air.  I’m estimating a 70% chance that I’ll move in June.  Stay tuned for updates as I know more.


NY Resolutions by NN and Jules



Allie Apple & Jules Strawberry, Dec 31, 2015

The fishnets were thrown on the floor without care

In hopes that a maid might magically appear

My party heels were tucked in the closet with care

So I wouldn’t trip over them in the night, and bust my rear.

With a glass in my left hand, and a bottle of Jameson in my right,

I settled down in my bubble bath to end the night.

And that was my Christmas, and pretty much my New Year’s Eve, too.  No family drama, no pesky boyfriend wanting to watch sports, no kids screaming because they were cranky from staying up too late.  I thought about texting one of my guys for a booty call, then decide that it could wait ‘til tomorrow.

Sigh, I love my life.

Jules freaked out when she read last year’s resolutions and realized that she had only completed one of them.  So what?  There’s always next year.  Or, here’s a thought, don’t make any resolutions!!  Then you won’t fail!  I’m already gorgeous, successful, and well-loved.  You can’t improve upon perfection.

And Jules—well, close enough.  Not everyone can be me ; – )

Seriously, though, I’ve commented on Jules’ 2015 resolutions.  Pay attention, ladies, this is for all of you bitches!

  1. Date only the best guys. No more going out with whomever asks; no sir-ee.  Even if it would be a good story.  Even if, like Aladdin, he might be a “diamond in the rough.”  Nope, gotta stick to The List.  Unless he looks like David Tennant or Christopher Reeves in his Superman days; then all bets are off.  Nadia approves this one resolution.  Only, it shouldn’t be a resolution – it should be LIFE.
  2. Lose that last 10 lbs. I know this was on last year’s list, too.  I did lose 7 lbs; just found them again.  In 2015, I’ll lose them, and there will not be a Search and Rescue Mission led by Wine and Nachos.  That means cutting back on the wine, and I’ll make that sacrifice.    Just, no.  Somethings aren’t worth sacrifice.  Just make peace with your current size—what are you, a 6?—throw out whatever is too tight, and LOVE yourself.  You’re gorgeous!  Own it!

Of course, my definition of “too tight” and your definition may be two different things.  We’ll talk.

Side Note: Jules was laid off in January, completed and defended her master thesis in September, and completed her last graduate class in December.  That’s enough to make anyone gain weight like a mo’ fo’.  She should be given a f’in medal for not putting on 100 lbs from stress eating.

  1. Cut back on wine. Ok, need to make this a measurable goal.  Wine only once a week.  Hmm, need to make a reasonable goal.  Wine only twice a week.  See #2. 
  2. Workout more. Again, goals need to be measurable.  Workout 6 times a week.  Note to self: buy Advil.  If by “workout,” you mean opening bottles of wine, ok.  But again, this is LIFE, not a resolution.
  3. Pay off those credit cards. To meet this goal, I need to stay out of the Dallas Galleria, even and ESPECIALLY when Steve Madden has sales.  (Don’t take it personally, Steve, you know I love you.  My black, buckled boots are my favorites; that’s why I bought them in black and   They were half price, after all.)  Unsubscribe from Victoria Secret’s mailing list.  (Vicky, I love your semi-annual sales, but my bra drawer is full.  Really, I can go a year without buying 6 new bras.  I think I can, I think I can…)  Avoid Ann Taylor.  (Ann, my closet is full.  I don’t need any new suits or cute dress pants or the best jeans ever.  Really, I don’t.  And don’t send me a coupon, either, because that just makes you look desperate.)  I’ll miss you, old friends!  Jules will be caught up by February.  Close enough – call this one done and drop it from the list.  Wait, I gotta resolution for you: go shopping for sluttier clothes.  You need to get laid, woman!
  4. Spend more time with friends. Just not the couples, so much, because they remind me that I’m alone.  Wait, that’s over half my friend base.  Ok, spend time with couples, but make sure to talk about how much I love my job and how school fills my free time.  Avoid set-ups at all costs (reminder to self: Billy Ray and both my ex-husbands were blind dates).  Hell ya, spend more time with me!  Bring your credit card, since it’s practically paid off.  Next round is on you. 
  5. Finish writing Book 2. Book 1 was completed in 2009; I’ve had 5 years to work on book 2.  In that time, I’ve gone through 2 major relationships (defined as a year or more each), 2 moves (local, but still significant), started 2 new jobs (one was a transfer within the same company, but a major life event nonetheless), and completed most of my master degree at 2 different universities.  Wait, no wonder I haven’t had time to write.  No excuses in 2015!  Don’t beat yourself up over this one.  You did, after all, complete #8.  Relax!
  6. Complete my master’s degree. I’m on track to finish it in December 2015; gotta make it happen!  Only 1 class/semester plus research and thesis, so should be pretty easy, as grad school goes.  I mean, how hard could 1 class be?  Um, except my last class included quantum physics, so maybe I shouldn’t say that.  Shit, I had better buy the book and start studying now.  You survived with a grade of B!  Party time!
  7. Hike more. It makes me happy to walk through forests and climb up hills.  I should do it more, so that I’m happier.  (With that kind of logic, celibacy should be off the table.)  Well, DUH!  Of course you should do what makes you happy.  And OF COURSE celibacy should be off the table!  We just need to find someone who is up to your standards. 

I think I’ll make Jules a Tinder profile and dare her to go out with the first guy who matches with her.  Instead of “engineer,” I’ll call her a “burlesque performer.”  It was true for one night, anyway.  Could make for some interesting dates if guys are picturing her naked while they swipe.

Heh heh, while they “swipe.”  Heh heh.

Before her date, I’ll take her to the spa—she never goes with me, citing #5—and get her a facial.  Melanie does wonders; she can make anyone’s face feel like a baby’s butt.  In a good, soft way—not the “needs a diaper to contain the fluids” kind of way.  And I’ll have Logan give her a massage.  His strong hands are just…yummy.

Jules is making noise about writing a romance novel.  I say, forget the writing!  Go out and LIVE IT!  Seriously, that woman hasn’t had a boyfriend in over a year.  She tells me this is some kind of record.  Eh, I say, not one to be proud of!  Time to end the dry spell!

Anyone else have a Resolution Recommendation for my girl?

Happy New Year!  I hope you all get laid, often and well!

Pass the whiskey!

–Naughty Nadia

From Jules

A new year, a new beginning.

I have started over many times in my 41 years: after a divorce as a single mom at age 19, 6 years later another divorce with twice the kids, another 5 years later after graduating with a bachelor’s degree and moving to Dallas (which felt as far away as England), and most recently when I was laid off in January 2015.  I guess that also extends to the start of my new job in March, which was one of the days of my life; I love my job, my boss, my coworkers.  I have truly been blessed that each beginning has been better than the last.

My advice to anyone else starting over:

Keep moving. Make long term and short term goals. Remind yourself every day of the big picture and your motivation. Celebrate the small successes, even if it’s just paying the rent. Take chances and make new friends. Above all, take care of yourself: bubble baths, reading time, a long walk – whatever recharges your batteries.

If your motivation is a better life for the kids, remember to spend time with them.  If recharging your batteries includes writing, start a blog.  And if you’re a hot guy who can’t get enough of my writing, by all means, send me an email.  We can start the new year together.

Good luck! I look forward to reading about your successes!  Happy New Year!




Burlesque Beginnings

Jislana_undress_backopen_e Jislana_undress_e

“Would you rather watch someone else undress, or would you rather undress for him, knowing that you’re turning him on, like a light switch?” Andrew asked me.

At 16 years old, I hardly knew what to say.  I always thought that kissing led to other things; I hadn’t considered that simply watching another person would be arousing.  And despite the fact that Andrew was a Good Catholic boy, we had done a lot of kissing, etc.  I meant it when I said that the hot tub was hot and wet that night – oh, boy!

However, the thought of having that sort of power did appeal to me.

One burlesque dancer told me, “I don’t dance for the penis.  I never have.  I dance for me.

I get that.  At my last rehearsal in front of friends, I felt sexy and in control.  I could make the crowd (such that it was) shout out by running my hands over my body.  I could get them to hoot by pulling down a dress strap.

One of my classmates said, “I’ve always had body issues; I mean, I never liked my body.”

Sooo many of us fall into that category, thinking that we’re too short or too tall; our breasts are too large or too small; or that our hair is too light or too dark.

I’ve always felt average.  At 5’4”, I’m the average height for an American female.  My brown hair is depressingly boring: not dark enough to be fashionable, not light enough to glow.  My mother despised the red highlights in her own hair, to the point that she died her hair ash blonde for years.  When I found the same red streaks in my own hair, I rebelliously dyed my hair a brazen red.  Still, it felt like everyone was dying their hair red that year, so sadly, I still felt somewhat average.

To counteract this, I work out regularly.  I’ve found that I can keep my waistline slightly below average if I sweat every day.  Since I tend to work out just 3 or 4 days a week, I still have 10 or so pounds that I’d like to lose.  I’m ok with that, most days.  I only occasionally think about calling the plastic surgeon to inquire about liposuction rates.

It doesn’t help that my sister is stick thin and model gorgeous.  My brothers were tall.  We all earned straight A’s in school, so there was no way to stand out there.  Sports were always a struggle for me, since I have allergies and these stubby little legs.  Oh yes, I suffer from middle child syndrome.  I acknowledge it and own it!

Like my siblings, I shined in the classroom.  So it came as little surprise to family and friends when I became an engineer (like Dad and Brother #1).   At work, I must be technical and professional.  I love it, make no mistake, I have my dream job.  But my sexual side is repressed and I can only let it out on evenings and weekends.

But I digress.

I’m often digressing.  I get bored, and I need a challenge.  I worked out at a gym for a while, then switched to another.  I ran for a short time, but my body didn’t like that, so I tried Insanity.  So when Lisa mentioned the Burlesque Experience, I thought, “Why not?  A new dance class would be a different way to work out and stay in shape.”

Ha!  I was sorely mistaken – BE wasn’t a work out class, nor was it really a dance class.  It was—is—an Experience.  On the first day of class, when I realized my mistake, I thought, “Well, this will be fun—something completely different.”

So I stumbled into burlesque.  I wondered how others had gotten into it, so I asked a few of the performers.

The beautiful and talented Anna Mulhouse is a founding member of the Deadly Sins Burlesque and Sideshow in Deep Ellum, Dallas, where she performs monthly.  She occasionally performs as a guest in other DFW shows.  Her background includes some dance and theater arts training, which gives her an appreciation of performance, like most folks from New York.  Anna is very active within the local burlesque community and an alumni of the Burlesque Experience.  And she’s a sweetheart!

Speaking of BE Alumni and sweethearts, Arielle shared her story with me, too.  She said, “After watching the movie Burlesque for 50 million times, my birthday came up and I asked my husband to take me to see a burlesque show.  We went to Viva Dallas @Lakewood Theater (now closed) to see the Bedtime Stories show.  It was very freeing to see regular women on the stage dancing.  I said, ‘Honey, I can do this,’ to which he responded, ‘Fuck ya you can!’  That was in March 2013, and I took the BE class later that year.”

She continued, “I love dancing.  I’ve been dancing since 12 years old, when my favorite thing to do was dance alone in my room.  Later, when I was old enough to get into clubs, I would dance from open until 4 a.m., when my legs were Jello and didn’t want to work anymore.  I took country western classes just to keep being out on the dance floor.  While I excel at partner dancing, I wanted an outlet so that I wouldn’t have to worry about having a partner.  And while I love hip hop, I do not excel at it.  When I tried this [burlesque], it clicked.  People seem to like what I do.  I have my own niche.  I haven’t tried to be a classical burlesque dancer with big band music and the feathers.  My performances are neo.  I may try classical one day, if I can find the right song.”

So, Arielle loves to dance.  I can relate to that; I danced alone in my room, too.  “Sometimes I lock the door, so no one else can see,” sang Madonna.  I also took ballet, country western dance classes, swing dance classes, and salsa over the years.  Others have backgrounds in dance, too, like Carmen Diablo, who discussed her beginnings in our first BE class.

Ophelia Wood, who performed in Hot and Sweaty and is a BE mentor, was introduced to burlesque after she discovered that she had fertility issues.  In her own words, which she has shared publicly previously, she wanted to become a burlesque dancer “to embrace my femininity in a way that is strong, fearless and above all else fun! After a crushing blow on our infertility journey, my husband looked around town for something fun to take me to take my mind off of things.  I’ve always loved musicals and he discovered a burlesque festival in Austin.  It was the first time that I even knew burlesque existed outside of Guys and Dolls.  We had such a blast at the event and was truly able to take a break from our grieving.  Ever since that year, we have been regular attendees of the burlesque festival and enjoy going out.  I love that it’s less about what you’ve got (aka perfect bodies), but more in terms of what you do with it and how you sell it on stage.”

Oh, yes, Ophelia!  That’s it!

“I’ve never been a strong dancer despite my enthusiasm, but I do love fantastic costumes and am definitely famous for my ability to tease!  I’ve taken a few workout classes that focus on burlesque or pole dancing and really enjoyed them, but never have considered performing.  After settling on the fact that I will not have children, I have sought out ways to embrace my femininity in ways that are strong, fearless and above all else fun.  With apprehension and excitement, I want to become a true burlesque dancer and embrace a strong fearless feminine side and get on stage to shake my money maker.”

YES!  Ophelia said it well, “It’s less about what you’ve got (aka perfect bodies)…”  That echoes what Arielle said about, “regular women.”  That is so true!  The Burlesque community welcomes imperfection with open arms.  No one cares that I have 15 extra pounds.  I could have 150 extra pounds, and they would encourage me to be brave, bold, and confident.  I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve cheered on imperfect women myself.  Correction: I don’t see them as imperfect, and I don’t think that the community does, either.  We see beauty, and beauty comes in all forms.

That, and I always have fun at the performances.  I’ve even made some really good friends.  Someone one recently said, “It’s hard to make friends as adults.”  Yes, it really is.  Having something in common—like burlesque—brings people together.

My 16-year-old self, years ago, answered Andrew with, “I want to be able to undress and turn him on like a light switch.”  That’s part of the reason that I got into burlesque.

The question is, why did it take me so long?

Maybe that’s the wrong question.  The original question was, “Why are you here?”

The simple answer is, “Lisa invited me.”

Then the question becomes, “Why do you stay?”

And the only answer that matters is, I’m having a lot of fun!