The Big Girl’s Sleepover Survival Kit


When you’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship you forget certain things about what it’s like to be single. For example, what it’s like to wake up in a guy’s bed for the first time with only last night’s outfit to wear home. My ex once told me that he liked how I dealt with our first “morning after” together:

“You were scrambling around my apartment trying to locate your underwear. When you realized you only had the pair you’d worn over to my place you said “fuck it!” – you flipped them inside out, and put them on anyways before calling a cab.”

“I did not do that?! Eww, I feel gross for my younger self”

“No it was actually kind of a turn on. I realized then that you were laid back and low-maintenance, which is a good thing”

Although my ex remembers the moment was sexy and humorous, I still cringe whenever I think about it.

In my advanced age I’ve realized that what was once bearable at 23 (sleeping in last night’s makeup, eyes scratchy from falling asleep wearing contacts, last night’s underwear) just isn’t cute at 32. Now that I’m older and marginally wiser, I hate being caught unprepared. I was reminded of this earlier this year when I stayed over at Handsome Guy‘s house, and had a moment of panic when I realized that I was without my trusty Dr Hauschka Moisturizer and Kiehl’s Avocado Eyecream. In my case, along with greater age and wisdom comes a higher maintenance beauty routine.

No one likes to wake up feeling gross, so I thought I’d share with you the “Skinny Dip Sleepover Survival Kit” I’ve put together. If I have the slightest inkling that I might not be sleeping in my own bed, I make sure I pack my toothbrush plus the following items before leaving the house.

1. Condoms: With the exception of a 35 year old guy I encountered who didn’t have any condoms because he thought they were “too impersonal” (and who was clearly living in the 1970’s), single 30-something guys who actually want to get laid tend to keep condoms on hand (hooray!) With that said, I still think it’s wise to bring your own just in case. I love the selection of top-of-the-line condoms that Luckybloke carries (the Glyde Strawberry Ultra aka, “The  Official Skinny Dip Condom” is A-MAZING.) Because variety is the spice of life, I totally recommend picking up one of their Condom Sampler 6 packs  to prepare for your next overnight mission.

2. Facial Cleansing wipes:  If I could give any teen or 20-something skin care advice it’s this: always remove your makeup before bed. Your face will thank you in ten years. However, carrying around a bottle of cleanser can be cumbersome and messy. That’s why facial cleansing cloths that remove dirt and make-up in one sweep like these ones by Neutrogena
are great in a pinch. Not to mention, they’re flat and travel well.

3.  Mini bottle of moisturizer: Although I’m pretty comfortable with how I look without make-up on, if I don’t moisturize before I go to bed I look ill in the morning. I recommend bringing a travel sized amount of moisturizer in your survival kit (this is a great way to use up all the free samples you get from Kiehls or another beauty counter!) Although I swear by Dr Hauschka Moisturizer, I’m also a fan of Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Moisturizer. It’s free of allergens and harsh chemicals, inexpensive, comes in a travel friendly container and doubles as a hand & body lotion in a pinch.

4. Contact Solution and glasses:  There’s almost nothing worse than falling asleep while wearing your contacts because you don’t have the proper products to remove them (or are too drunk on orgasms or booze… or both… to care) Even if I’m just heading over to a friend’s place to watch a movie I always bring a small container of contact lens fluid, my contact case and my glasses in case my eyes get dry. Besides, girls in glasses are sexy.

5. Earplugs:  Say what?! YES,  I SAID EARPLUGS. Since I’ve already shared my inside out underwear story, I might as well admit that I sleep with earplugs all night, ‘errrrrry night. The habit started when I lived in an apartment located on a very busy street and I kept it up when I fell in love and moved in with a snorer. Now I can’t fall asleep without them in my ears. Feel free to judge and talk about me all you want, I WON’T BE ABLE TO HEAR YOU.

6. Medication: Oh wait! There is something worse than waking up with scratchy contacts: waking up and realizing that you are without your morning dose of birth control/acne medication/xanax/brain drugs/what have you. For your own sanity and peace of mind, don’t leave home without them.

7. Foldable shoes: If you insist on leaving the house in five inch heels, I would suggest packing a pair of foldable shoes like these Sidekicks Womens Foldable Ballet Flats to make your walk of shame a little classier.

8. Ahem, “personal” wipes:  Straight talk ladies – if you’re in a rush or have the misfortune of hooking up with a guy whose shower actually scares you*, sometimes you just need a little something to “freshen up the bits.” For this kind of situation I would suggest the EdenFantasys Toy and Body Wipes. They’re convenient, affordable and will leave you feeling so fresh & so clean.

*If you’re scared to touch the soap in a someone’s bathroom, you should not be dating this person.

9. An extra pair of panties: As someone who likes to change her underwear multiple times throughout the day, I say that there’s no shame in making sure you have an extra pair of underwear on hand. For maximum comfort and transportability, might I suggest a stretch lace thong by Cosabella, Hanky Panky or a reasonable imitation. Super comfy & folds up into a tiny ball? WIN/WIN!

10. If you pack wisely, you should be able to stash everything away in a cute case that says “I’m not a slut. I’m sex goddess with discerning taste who’s prepared for anything”


( The Benefit Cosmetics Gabbi Makeup Bag – J’adore!)

PS. This isn’t a sponsored post. I just thought it would be fun and possibly helpful to share some of my favorite things!

Did I miss anything? What’s in your sleepover survival kit? 


My Life as Told by Katy Perry Songs

I love Katy Perry and not just because I dressed up as her for Halloween two years ago. I like what she’s about: She writes all of her own songs, is completely in control of her artistic vision and is actually musically talented. She also just seems like a nice person.  How many pop stars can you really say that about these days?!  After watching the Katy Perry movie on the plane to Toronto, my inner Katy-Fangirl is back in full force. Walking around the city, hopping on and off public transit, jumping in cabs to go meet friends – The Teenage Dream  has been part of my personal soundtrack.

My stay in Toronto so far has been really intense. Until I’m ready to share details, I thought I’d take this opportunity to be cryptic. Behold, my life currently as told by Katy Perry songs.

Things I have learned over the past 3 weeks: 

In the USA there’s Wall Street. In Canada, there’s Bay Street. Bay Street guys party harder on a Monday than I do…well, EVER. I experienced this the other night when I hung out with one of my best-friends and a few of her older, wealthy gentlemen friends. We danced on table tops, took too many shots…it was total debauchery last MONDAY night. However instead of partying with Kathy Beth Terry we partied with the millionaire boys club. TGI-Mondays?

After a thorough discussion with my girlfriends and some “field research”, I’ve come to the conclusion that due to a variety of  factors (over-medication? porn addiction? cocaine use?) there are way too many guys my age in this city with erectile dysfunction issues. What’s even more concerning is that women are the only ones who seem to think this is a problem. Men, we love it when your penis is hard. Please start taking care of yourself, or I might have to institute a “pre-screening program” where I ask you to show me your Peacock before we get down. 

When you’re feeling disillusioned in a city that no longer feels like “home” it’s always best to spend time with the people who think you’re pretty without any makeup on, who think you’re funny when you get the punchline wrong, who get you. These are the people you love and miss the most.

I’m a total love (lust?) junkie. Give me that Hummingbird Heartbeat feeling and I’m putty in your hands.  Some call it science, I call it chemistry – either way, nothing compares to the rush. Attraction is easy, it’s what comes after – figuring out how to make it work that’s the hard part. With that said, sometimes it’s best not to over-think things and enjoy the feeling for what it is.

I met with another good friend of mine recently who told me about her recent experience visiting a shaman in the jungle of Peru. She feels as though this man healed her  physically and emotionally. I’ve never seen my friend look so happy and at peace. This just goes to show that there is more to this world that meets the eye and some things are simply supernatural. Whatever you need to do to kick depression, anxiety and health problems to the curb – just do it. Stop worrying about whether people will judge you. Live for yourself.

Yesterday I met with my friend & former editor and she said, “You’re doing so well. I see your byline everywhere!” Even though I still feel like I have a long way to go, it feels good to have other people notice my hard work. I left the meeting feeling really inspired and motivated. While pursuing your dreams it’s so easy to  slip into a place where you feel bummed out and discouraged. If the “gospel of Katy Perry” it’s that we’re all sparkly fireworks, and you just have to keep in mind that if you’re ambitious, work hard & be yourself you can do amazing things.

Until next time, shine bright my little fireworks. boom, boom, boom!

Confessions of a Recovering Emotional Hoarder

Here’s a recap of the conversation I had with my sister the other day:

“Did you see the one where the lady saved and ate all kinds of expired food?”

“Omg, no but I saw the one where the lady was saving her own excrement”

“Yes and I also saw the one where they found five dead cats buried under a bunch of stuff”

“Omg, yes! And then the guy from the show put them all in a bag and was like “hey lady, here’s a bag of dead cats we found in your house”

“I know right. Someone handing you bag of dead cats has to be a sign that your life isn’t exactly on the up and up. The worst part was that I couldn’t stop watching.”

My first confession for the evening: Every now and then I enjoy a good Hoarders marathon. I know I’m not alone. In university I had an Anthropology prof who said it’s our society’s fascination with “the other”  that has made shows like Jerry Springer, Hoarders and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo so popular. They’re horrible but we watch them anyways, if only to remind ourselves that we’re not as dysfunctional as the people we see on the screen. It’s messed up, but true.

I watch Hoarders and think “Hey, my life may not be perfect but at least I don’t have 50 jars of half-consumed expired Mayonnaise sitting in my bath tub”  It’s true – I’m the opposite of a traditional Hoarder. I abhor clutter and I actually find cleaning therapeutic. Although I’m known to be sentimental and save almost all of my old birthday cards, notes & the like – I keep everything organized neatly in labelled pink storage boxes. I’m a Virgo to a fault and yes, a lot of my OCD tendencies drive my family crazy.

Although I am not a Hoarder in the A&E series sense, I recently realized that I have definitely been guilty of hoarding in the past. However, instead of holding on to packages of expired hot dogs and dirty cotton balls, I hoarded my feelings. 

Over the past year I’ve had to let go of a lot of stuff emotionally. It’s only now that I am on the other side of it that I can see just how much I was holding onto and the negative impact it was having on my life. Just like the people on the show who one day find their bedroom barricaded by laundry, I can’t really explain how I became an emotional hoarder. All I know is that by the time I was in my mid-twenties I found myself clinging onto a lot of emotional baggage that I’d acquired over the years. All the first kisses, all the unrequited love, all the emotional bruises and all the people who no longer made sense in my life -I clung on to all of it with the same unhealthy grip. Even though I wasn’t living in my own filth, all of this baggage was holding me back. I’d filled myself up with so much emotional “stuff” that it didn’t leave that much room for new, positive things.

My emotions became my very own bag of cats.

My emotional hoarding really started to kick in right after I graduated university and real life responsibilities set in. While working 50-60 hours a week at a job that I wasn’t particularly happy with, I’d look back to the carefree days of my earlier 20’s. I started to desperately miss that earlier version of myself – the 23 year old girl who was passionate about anthropology and wanted to change the world, but still found time to party & keep up with a rotating cast of (sometimes bizarre) love interests. In my mind she was “happier” and life was “better” when really, it wasn’t. Sure that era of my life was fun and unpredictable, however it was also really dissatisfying in a lot of ways. The rotating cast of dudes were mostly total losers (I just didn’t see it), my apartment always smelled like weed because my room-mate was a stoner and I wore a lot of pastel coloured Juicy Couture-style velour tracksuits. Ballin’ like a playa, I was not. I held on to what I thought was this “golden era” of my life so I wouldn’t fully have to deal with the future. My old feelings and memories became like a security blanket of sorts – one that kept me from being 100% present in my own life.

( via JessLC)

Starting this blog, writing about my experiences as a twenty-something and the relationships I had definitely helped me let go of a lot of stuff. However, even though I wrote about letting go of things and “packing light“, for most of my late twenties to early 30’s – career wise, relationship wise, personal development wise, I still felt stuck.

The reason all of this has been weighing on my mind is that the end of October marks the one year anniversary of my break-up. I’ve learned that sometimes something really dramatic needs to happen in order to get you “un-stuck.” The break-up  has been one of the most painful things I’ve had to go through but also something that was absolutely necessary for both of us. The break-up split us both wide open and forced each of us to finally face our respective baggage on our own.

How I let go: 

COUNSELLING. Seriously, I cannot express how much going to therapy has helped me over the past year. I started seeing my counsellor as soon as I arrived back in BC.  I needed help dealing with the aftermath of the break-up but I also knew I had lots of other work to do. So, I laid out my “big bag of cats” and over the course of several months we worked through all of it. We talked about EVERYTHING. At the times it was painful process, but so, so, worth it – kind of like doing pilates for your heart and mind.

As I worked through the things that were bothering me, I started to let go of a lot of stuff. For the first time in ages, I felt lighter!


This is all to say, if you’re feeling “stuck” you can get “un-stuck” – it happened to me. 

It’s funny, since starting this blog and launching my freelance writing career, I’ve had people refer to me as a “love and relationship expert” which is kind of laughable. I don’t really know any more than the next person. I’m still working out my own issues, hence the “recovering” in front of “emotional hoarder.” However, here’s one piece of advice I can give with certainty:

If you’re feeling stuck. If you’re feeling numb. If the grass seems greener in the past. If you feel your own emotions are suffocating you….TALK TO SOMEONE. Counsellor, Psychologist, Life Coach – whoever you feel comfortable with. Don’t let your emotions become your personal bathtub full of Mayonnaise. Trust me on this.

When I look at how I felt a year ago and how I feel now,  I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. It’s all a work in process but I’m enjoying this newfound sense of lightness. My friends keep asking me when I’m going to try online dating (they’ve even offered to help me write my online dating profile!) however, besides the fact that my town seems to be a total dating wasteland, I’m just not in any kind of rush. If it happens, it happens. In the meantime I’m happy to just ride this wave.

Let the Matchmaking Begin!

I am back from Vancouver Fashion Week and had a fabulous time! However, before I get into sharing all of my adventures, there’s someone I want to introduce to you…

Skinny-Dip readers, meet my friend Chris:

Chris is the awesome guy behind the new Facebook Matchmaking game CrushHub. We met in Chris at Bloggers in Sin City when he came to talk to us while we chowed down on an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch. (If you caught me chewing during your presentation Chris, I’m really sorry. I have problems focusing when there is bacon in front of me.)

Tired of his Mom asking him why he was single, Chris decided to leave the high-powered world finance  and take matters into his own hands, creating CrushHub – a social matchmaking app on Facebook that allows you to set up your single friends. Personally I think it’s a great idea. Considering I am complete magnet for bizarre weirdos, I’d prefer to go out with someone who comes with some “references” – i.e. a trustworthy friend who can vouch for the fact that the person I’m about to have dinner with doesn’t save his toe nail clippings in jars or have an extensive collection of human hair that he keeps in his mother’s basement.

To better understand how CrushHub works, we did a real life simulation. Nicole nominated the lovely & single Amber Adrian to be matched up.

When you play CrushHub online you list what makes your friend awesome to help facilitate the matchmaking process. Nicole did the same with Amber’s “photo.”

Next, we split into teams, got out the sharpies and got to work, drawing pictures of our single friends that we would potentially match with Amber. Here is Brandy working hard on one of her masterpieces:

After we finished our drawings, we added selling points for our friends like, “Has Killer Abs” or “Simone Has Never Slept with Him” or “Has Killer Abs”

Here’s Almie with her friend Dave, Grace with her creation & Bob with what appears to be a photo of himself.

I decided to draw my friend Ryan because he is awesome and literally one of my only single male friends. Ryan is sweet, thoughtful, and a true gentleman. I have no idea whether he has killer abs, however he does have a thick head of hair which as you get into your 30’s is a real selling point. I’m maybe not the best person to play CrushHub with because I will try and set everyone up with Ryan and pretty much only Ryan. I tried to draw him with “kind, thoughtful eyes.” I think I totally succeeded!

After we were all done, each team presented their top match:

In the end Amber chose Johnny the Costa Rican Surfer who is rumoured to have  killer abs. Because, well, HE’S A SURFER WITH KILLER ABS. Although I was totally rooting for Ryan, I can’t blame her.

CrushHub basically works exactly the same online, however with Facebook profile photos instead of really awesome Sharpie drawings.

Because sometimes cartoons explain things better than actual humans, if you still don’t understand what CrushHub is all about, here’s a little video…

 Me & my fellow #BiSC-uits have been testing CrushHub in Beta mode since the end of May and it’s actually a lot of fun. Because I’m the typical Virgo oldest child who likes to think she knows what’s best for other people, I’ve had fun playing Matchmaker. Also, one of the best features of CrushHub is that it respects your privacy: CrushHub does not do wall posts.  Period. And the only messages that go to any of your Facebook friends are ones that YOU ask us to send. This means that no one has to know that you’re scheming behind their back, unless you want them to.

I should probably add – given the nature of this blog, I get approached all the time by PR firms that want me to write about the latest online dating app or website. CrushHub is the only dating related app I’ve come across so far that doesn’t freak me out in some way. I’m starting to think that being set up  by people who actually know you is the way to go. However, my Mom may disagree. The other day we had the following conversation:

“Mom, have you ever met anyone that you could see me dating?”


Although the words of my Mom aren’t exactly reassuring, I’m willing to give CrushHub a chance …and so should you. Set up your friends! Scheme! Matchmake! Meet sexy people!

(BTW. In case there was any confusion, this isn’t a sponsored post. I’m just trying to help get the word out.)

So on that note…


Late July: When the Curtain Falls

Every love affair has it’s own soundtrack.

For every relationship I’ve had, there’s music that I’ll forever associate with that person. Sometimes it’s just a song, other times it’s a full album. For example, “Now” by Maxwell  is an album that will always remind me of a complicated relationship I had in my early 20’s. From the heady, giddy moments of courtship, to the complicated middle and traumatic the break-up – each song from that album has a specific meaning to me and it’s hard to listen to it without thinking of that era of my life. Music makes us feel things deeply and has the power to bring us back to a specific time and place with just a single chord. It’s also what helps us get through when things fall apart. A lot of songs have specific memories associated with them:  I still think Maxwell’s “Changed” is one of the best breakup songs ever. Whenever I hear the Rolling Stones sing “Wild Horses” I turn into a sniffling, teary mess. And I can’t listen to  Jodeci’s “The Show, The After Party, The Hotel”  without bursting into hysterical laughter because I once spent 6 hours having sex to that album on repeat and can’t think of anything more ridiculous than making love to a band that was known for performing in matching full-body leather outfits.

Anyway. Where was I going with this?

Oh yes! Love! Music! Feeeeelings!

My singer songwriter friend Nicole of Late July has released a new album called When the Curtain Falls. You may remember Nicole from previous adventures such as the Night of Sausages and Sombreros and that time we were on a reality TV show. When Nicole’s not blogging, playing with her super cute dog Charlie or fending off bizarre men, she makes music. When the Curtain Falls is a collection of songs about love, relationships and finding your place in the world. Maybe it’s just because  I know Nicole in real life and we’ve shared so many stories about our lives with each other, but listening to her album feels really intimate, kind of like you’re sneaking a read of someone’s diary.

My favourite song has to be “Not your Lover” (a perfect, self-affirming post-break up song) followed closely by the title track “When the Curtain Falls” – a song that really captures that feeling of when a relationship is over…but not really over.

The songstress in action.

Because it’s Skinny Dip’s 3 year anniversary and because Nicole is a nice friend, she’s offering all Skinny Dip readers the opportunity to download 3 songs off of her new album for free! To download the teaser, click here.

And yes, that's her real hair. I'm totally jealous.

If you’re in need of a new soundtrack for your life, Nicole is also giving away a hard copy of her CD to one lucky reader. I might even see if Nicole could autograph it for you! woo hoo!

To win you just need to:

1) Comment on this entry & tell me one of your favourite songs (BTW, this can be any song. If belting out Rupert Holmes’ “Pina Colada Song” in the shower every morning is what gets you going, I want to know about it.)

2) Like Skinny Dip on Facebook (if you’ve already done so – awesome!! Thank you!)

Get an extra entry every time you tweet:

“Hey @by_simone I want to win a copy of @LateJuly ‘s new album “When the Curtain Falls” ”

The giveaway will run until end of day on September 18th.

As always….

Good Luck & thanks for reading! xox

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