Y’all know all about my penchant for porn shops, so when I went to Los Angeles to visit my high school BFF we went sex toy shopping. We did other stuff too – great restaurants, Venice Beach, the Burbank farmers market, non-sex shopping in The Grove – but sex toy shopping was high on our must-list. After all, this friend and I bought each other black lace garter belts for our eighteenth birthdays. We felt so wicked!
I consulted Eden Bradley, another LA native/erotic romance author/BDSM practitioner/helpful person to see where we should go to get the most bang for our time. Here’s what she said: “I have two recommendations. First is The Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood. Amazing selection, especially if you want to see the kink supplies, but also an excellent selection of vibrators, lube, etc. The second is the Hustler store in Hollywood, where I’ve done a lot of In the Flesh readings. They also have a nice li’l cafe with yummy baked goodies and a really nice book selection. Both places are clean, have nice folks working there. Oh-and the Hustler store has an awesome selection of stripper shoes. “
Sounded good to me.
I love to go to sex shops with people who don’t usually frequent them. I’m afraid I’ve reached a point where I’ve tried a bunch of things and haves drawers full of inventive accoutrements. I don’t really NEED another vibrator when my favorite works so well. (Although I was rather smitten with a bumpy on one end, swirly on the other glass dildo…) But I can say to a friend, “Oh, I love this! Try this! Ever used one of these before?” Shop with me if you don’t want to go home empty handed! I am shameless about soliciting opinions from salespeople too. I’ve made more than one impulse purchase because it came highly recommended by a sex shop girl. In fact, the Come Again series was born in a sex shop in Toronto. My BFF walked out of The Pleasure Chest with the biggest bag they had. She let me hold it for this photo.
I will admit I bought a toy simply because it was called “Bottoms Up” and it looked well-made. I also couldn’t resist the sweetest-looking pink thong whip, although I have since discovered it isn’t as sweet as it looks…
My friend got the Lelo Ina vibrator, which is why they gave her the big bag. Worth every penny, she says. Reviewed in O Magazine, even. She sure can pick ‘em! Her bag was crammed full of other stuff, too. I made her buy a single-use, sure to be a winner cock ring in honor of SoloPlay. She also bought a lube called Sliquid. She’s got sensitive parts, so if you do too, this might be the lube for you! It’s organic!
Another favorite moment from the trip – my henna tattoo. I covet tattoos, although I don’t have one myself yet. I’m old enough not to regret it, so it’s only a matter of time. What to get? Where to put it? When I know, I’m totally getting ink.
It was a marvelous trip – with unique souvenirs. My husband was really happy to see me, and my friend’s husband thinks I am a very good influence. I bet both of them will be willing to let us swan off to a swanky hotel for a weekend again in the future…
Almost the entire length of the continental US separates me from this friend of my heart. We met when we were fifteen, more than half our lives ago. She has been through every heartbreak with me. She was my first reader, the first one to believe I would publish my stories. We’ve stayed close despite the distance, the children, the husbands and our other great friends. I cried on the Flyaway bus to the airport. Before this visit, the last time I stood in her house was a decade ago. It won’t be another decade before we get the chance to spend unhurried time together. Life is too short. We will find time, make money, prioritize. Taking time away from my everyday reality brought things into focus for me and I want to keep that clarity now that I’m back home. So far, so good…
How about you? Is there something big that you are denying yourself that will bring clarity, value or positivity to your life? A trip with a friend, like me? Another degree? A job change? A baby? Can you make it happen? How?
Hey y’all! I’ve been blogless lately because I wore myself out. I worked my butt off to get Hook Up and Power Trip in to my editor before I started teaching a five-week night class.
I also turned forty.
I considered blogging about turning forty, but even *I* don’t want to read about how great my life is even though I feel conflicted about dying my hair and, yup, these hands on the keyboard look like my momma’s. Hell, naw! Blah, blah, blah.
Instead I bring you juicy inspiration from the Michigan/Ohio Tough Mudder Challenge! It’s an obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. Twelve miles of mud, fire, monkey bars, walls, barbed wire, electrified wire, hills, dales, rusty pipes and a ton of other crazy shit that was great fun to watch – so much fun that I’m considering doing it myself next year. It was that inspiring. And did I mention the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project?
I should also probably mention I had to sign a death waiver just to be a spectator.
My husband struggled with a groin injury during his training for this event. He wasn’t sure how the challenge was going to go for him. Actually he wasn’t even sure he would be able to complete it – and he didn’t care. It was all in the name of a good cause, and he’s doing his own fight against forty. Apparently, it’s hard to feel “old” when you spend the winter months going to the gym getting in ass-kicking shape. He recruited a friend from work to be his “Muddy Buddy” and they cheered and insulted each other through their training.
Lucky for me, his Muddy Buddy brought a friend to the event, because I suck at reading maps. We tromped around the outside of the course and took pictures, hooting and hollering. I did him the service of pointing out several fine female asses and he promised not to rat me out for stalking these guys and taking multiple pictures.
I mean, seriously, holy hotness! I have no clue who they are. I don’t care who they are. Let’s just call them inspirational erotic romance research heroes. You’re welcome.
This guy helped my husband over a fourteen foot wall, and then caught his hand and pulled him up to the top of monster Mt. Everest.
It was amazing, amazing to see my husband kicking obstacle ass and grinning, amazing to see the stamina and endurance of so many people engaged in helping each other complete the course, amazing to think maybe I could do it too. I watched a woman try to fly up Mt. Everest fifteen times and slide back down into the mud pit at the bottom. She made it to the top when she reached high enough to catch the hands of the people who were reaching down to catch her. The whole crowd howled in triumph. Sometimes it’s the people you meet along the way who haul your ass to the top. Nobody went over that barrier without stopping to lift a few people up after them. And that’s pretty much how I feel about life at forty. Grateful. Blessed. Humbled. Inspired. Ready to fly at the wall with my hands reaching up and willing to return the favor.
There’s a writing parallel in this experience. Although I don’t by any means feel like I’ve reached the top of Mt. Everest career-wise, I have achieved goals that others are still trying to reach. I didn’t do it alone. When I first started writing, I joined a writing group and the other members of the group lit the way, pointed out the road and then a few of them hauled my ass out of the slush pile by critiquing my work and giving me advice. I feel like I’ve learned enough by finishing a few books and going through the editing process that I now critique for others in the group. Wherever you are, whatever you do, whoever you are, there is probably someone behind you who could use a boost. Lifting others high doesn’t diminish us. Life isn’t a competition. It’s a challenge, a shared experience. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience the triumph not only of reaching your own goals, but of helping others reach theirs. If you’re really lucky, there will also be beer.
Lastly, because I just can’t resist, here’s a video my awesome Muddy Buddy took of the guys going through the last challenge “Electroshock Therapy.” My husband gets zapped in the balls and his Muddy Buddy takes a nose dive through the mud. Make sure you turn the sound up!!! XOXO
But not my husband.
I’m working nights now, teaching pastry arts at a local community college. My husband is home with the kiddies, and sometimes they do arts and crafts. I can just see him, gathering the kids at the kitchen table, getting out the crayons, the Wikki-Stix, the Play-doh.
The kiddies sculpt things like this:
After he put them to bed, my husband sculpted this:
And on drawing night, the kiddies made these:
It must be made clear that he doesn’t do these things when the kids are awake. Thank goodness! Because I color in between the lines, and I’d have to ask him to cease and desist with the naughty artwork. That would be a shame because I think he has talent…and I’m looking forward to carpentry night.