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Godiva’s Croiffle, A Croissant & Waffle Hybrid, Just Achieved Full Breakfast Potential


Breakfast is always one of the high points of my day; breakfast foods rank highly on my list of favorite things to shove in my face. Now, though, I may have found the breakfast food to end all breakfast foods: Godiva has invented the Croiffle a sort of croissant-waffle hybrid which, truly, sounds like my ideal morning meal. You can only get it at one place, though: The soon-to-open Godiva Caf in New York. Looks like Im taking a trip back to my old stomping grounds in the near future.

Ill be honest: I thought wed left the hybrid pastry obsession behind in 2014. Thats when the trend was at its height; kicked off the year before by Dominique Ansels Cronut, which debuted in May 2013, 2014 gave us the Cragel (a bagel-croissant hybrid, not to be confused with the Kragle), the Donnoli (a cross between a doughnut and a cannoli), and mass-market versions of the Cronut, such as Jack-in-the-Boxs Croissant Doughnuts. The trend began decline somewhat after that, and as far as I know, lines for the Cronut at Ansels New York bakery now bakeries, plural arent hours long anymore, as they were during the Cronuts peak popularity. (That's probably a good thing, though, honestly.)

Apparently, though, I was wrong when I thought we'd seen the last of the hybrid pastry, as evinced by the Croiffles newly-minted existence. Available in both sweet and savory options, the Croiffle takes a freshly-made Godiva croissant stuffed with a variety of tasty fillings and presses it in a waffle iron hence the treats name: Croissant plus waffle equals Croiffle. Choose from Three Cheese; Ham and Swiss; Bacon, Egg, and Gouda; and Sausage, Egg, and Gruyere for a savory option. If youve got a sweet tooth, you can get you Croiffle filled with either milk or dark Godiva chocolate. Prices run between $4.95 and $5.95.

Interestingly, Godiva arent the first to have thought of sticking a croissant in a waffle iron and seeing what happens; IHOP did something similar in 2015 with their Criss-Croissants, which consisted of croissants smashed in a waffle iron and filled with fruit and sweet cream. The items were only offered for a limited time, though, both during their initial release and during a brief 2016 revival so in that sense, the Croiffle fills an existing void for Criss-Croissant fans no longer able to get their hands on their favorite treat.

Oh, and while were on the subject, lets talk about the fact that there is a GODIVA CAF now. Or at least, there will be soon and not too long after that, another one is scheduled to follow. In February 2019, the first one will open up shop in New Yorks Penn Station on the lower concourse level utilized by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Its main offerings will be grab-and-go items like pastries and Greek yogurt parfaits, along with coffee, tea, and specialty drinks like affogato with soft serve and hot chocolate the bulk of which will feature Godiva chocolate, of course. In addition to the Croiffles, youll also be able to get regular Belgian waffles, both full-sized and in miniature form. Prices for both drinks and food will generally be in the $5-to-$7 range, according to press information provided to Bustle. A second caf will open up on Lexington Avenue in Midtown East sometime in the spring.

Godiva Cafs have existed elsewhere in the world since about 2010; according to the Financial Times, there are currently about 40 in locations such as London, Istanbul, and Shanghai. The Penn Station and Midtown East cafs will be the first to open in North America. The Financial Times reported in December that Godiva plans to roll out a total of 2,000 cafs over the next six years.

Find out more about the upcoming North American Godiva Cafs here. Happy munching!

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Kate Middleton Rewore Her Purple Oscar del la Renta Suit From 2017 Proving She’s Got A Signature Style


As it turns out, maybe royal family members are just like you when it comes to their fashion. Okay, maybe not, but Kate Middleton rewore her purple Oscar de la Renta suit from 2017. Sure, you probably dont' have a plethora of the high-end designer house's clothing in your closet, but at least, like you, Middleton seems to have embraced a signature style.

On Wednesday, Middleton stepped out to visit the costume department of the Royal Opera House where she was set to learn about how the department uses textiles in their work and the scale of what they do for the opera house. Then, she'd meet specifically with ballet dancers about their costumes. Given that Middleton's whole day at the opera basically revolved about costume and fashion, it's basically impossible to ignore hers.

Middleton chose to re-wear a vibrant purple Oscar de la Renta skirt suit to the engagement, and it's not the first time royal fashion fans have seen it. According to Elle, the Duchess of Cambridge also wore the suit back in 2017 when she and Prince William attended the UK Guild of Health Writers conference. Considering that the suit is two years old, it's not really shoppable, but shopping an Oscar de la Renta skirt suit is probably out of the vast majority of people's budget.

One of the most interesting things about the skirt suit is its color. The vibrant purple is unexpected by royal standards with the Duchess seeming to typically go for more neutral tones. Plus, it comes just a few days after Middleton's sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, also stepped out in a gorgeous purple dress.

While Markle and Middleton's choice of color may be the same, the way they chose to wear it is quite different. The Duchess of Cambridge's look may have been disparate from her typical choices in that she chose to wear such a bright color, but the one thing the ensemble does make clear is that she's definitely got a signature when it comes to royal engagements.

Middleton's look is typically conservative, but the one thing that seems to hold true is that even when mixing and matching separates like her Oscar de la Renta skirt suit she wore today, she almost always keeps her look monochromatic.

In fact, back in November, Middleton wore a Paule Ka skirt suit to a meeting with neuroscientist at University College London where she spoke with researchers who work with childhood development and mental health. For the visit, she chose another skirt suit, and like her Oscar de la Renta re-wear, she didn't mix colors or patterns.

Just because Middleton's looks tend toward the monochromatic (she is married to the future king of England after all), it doesn't mean that she doesn't through in a few gems. Her red tartan skirt was definitely holiday inspo, and her most recent polka dot dress was a great and still conservative choice for the Duchess.

Whether you love Middleton's skirt suits and monochromatic choices or not, it's still hard to deny that Middleton's style is all her own and definitely iconic.

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Lana Condor’s ‘Deadly Class’ Character Saya Has A Complicated Relationship With Marcus, Based On The Comics


Deadly Class may be Marcus' story, but it's Lana Condor's character, Saya, who introduces her new classmate to the underground assassin world. She's the person who convinces him to join the Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts in the first episode. And the To All The Boys I've Loved Before star continues to play a major role throughout the show: Saya not only holds an important rank in the secret assassin school, she quickly earns a special place in Marcus' killer heart. Spoilers for the Deadly Class premiere ahead.

The new Syfy series officially premieres Jan. 16, but the network posted the pilot episode online ahead of time. Plus, Deadly Class is based on the graphic novels of the same name, so there's already a fair amount of information to be gleaned about Condor's character. Just like in the comics, Saya is a student at Kings Dominion in 1980s San Francisco. She is tasked by Kings' headmaster, Master Lin, to get Marcus, an orphan living on the streets, to come to the school. And in both the comics and TV show, Saya lets it be known from the get-go that she's a badass with her motorcycle, katana, and impressive fighting skills.

You can actually compare and contrast Saya's big entrance in the graphic novels and the TV show since Syfy provided a "motion comic" of the first issue of the comics. In both versions, Saya helps Marcus escape the cops during a Day of the Dead celebration and brings him to Master Lin, who offers Marcus a place at the school. When Marcus declines, it's Saya who convinces him to attend and also helps to stop him from committing suicide.

When Marcus gets to the school, he learns that Saya is the head of the Kuroki Syndicate, a group comprised of descendants from a Japanese mob called the Yakuza. She's also a skilled student; in the pilot, Marcus' new friend, Billy, calls her, "part valedictorian, part prom queen 100 percent b*tch." With tattoos up and down her arms, she certainly has a tough look, but she seems to have a soft spot for Marcus. As shown in the video below, she later takes him on as her "pledge," which means she's responsible for his actions and is essentially putting herself on the line for him.

The two also clearly have a connection. In an interview on the Deadly Class set with Bustle and other publications, Condor explained their pretty instantaneous bond. "Saya sees Marcus' pain and there's a lot that she can relate to, so even though she might not want to let her guard down, she does," Condor says. "When you connect with someone, you can't help it."

Their feelings for one another are complicated by the fact that Marcus is also romantically involved with Saya's friend, Maria. But just like their classes, the interactions between these three assassins-in-training are anything but conventional. As Deadly Class continues, viewers will see how the relationship between Marcus and Saya plays out, and we'll also hopefully learn about what has happened in Saya's past to make her so darn deadly.

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35 Underrated Movies On Amazon That Deserve A Watch


If you live somewhere where its cold out, youve probably decided its time to comb through your favorite streaming sites and find a movie you havent watched yet. But you might not have noticed that Amazon has tons of underrated movies streaming some that arent easily available anywhere else. If youve been trying to watch films starring your favorite movie stars that you havent seen yet, the streaming service has got you covered. You can watch Mandy Moores edgiest role to date in the dark comedy Saved!, starring alongside some of your other favorite childhood celebs, including Macaulay Culkin and Heather Matarazzo. And then theres Angelina Jolies cult classic, Hackers, starring alongside her first husband Jonny Lee Miller.

But there are also some incredible, critically acclaimed films you mightve missed, like Academy Award winning director Alejandro Gonzlez Irritus Amores Perros, starring Gael Garca Bernal, and touching documentary Dina about a couple with Autism Spectrum Disorder who fall in love.

And if youre looking for flicks thatll make you feel nostalgic, there are plenty of those, too. Amazon has some truly underrated Disney Channel Original Movies, like Right on Track, thatll remind you that before becoming Captain Marvel, Brie Larson had her start on Disney Channel playing a race car driver. And there are also plenty of teen comedies like Sleepover (also starring Larson!) and Teen Witch.

There are so many underrated movies to choose from on Amazon that itll be nearly impossible to know where to start on you're own. So here are 37 that you should absolutely check out.

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1'Saved!'

Saved - Trailer on YouTube

If you love Mandy Moore's mean girl role in Princess Diaries and appreciate dark comedies, you need to watch Saved! ASAP. Both Mandy Moore and Heather Mattarazzo star in this flick, with Moore playing Hillary Faye, the mean queen bee of a Christian high school, who torments her pregnant friend Mary (Jena Malone).

2'Uptown Girls'

BrittanyMurphyVideos on YouTube

This is by far one of the best yet most underrated movies Brittany Murphy starred in. And regardless of whether you've watched it a million times growing up or didn't even know it existed you need to stream it. But good luck getting "Sheets of Egyptian Cotton" out of your head afterwards.

3'Hackers'

Hackers has achieved cult classic status, yet there are still plenty of Angelina Jolie fans who haven't watched it. If you haven't seen Jolie as a badass teen hacker, you need to.

4'Into The Blue'

Movieclips Classic Trailers on YouTube

If you're a Paul Walker fan, chances are you became one thanks to the Fast and the Furious franchise. But one of his most underrated roles was in this flick, that turned Jessica Alba into one of the most popular leading ladies of the early 2000s.

5'Alpha Dog'

Movieclips Classic Trailers on YouTube

Anton Yelchin passed away three years ago, and while he was best known for his roles in big flicks like Star Trek, one of his best roles is in Alpha Dog. And the rest of the cast is incredible, too, including Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Amber Heard, and more. This thriller is based on the true story of the murder of Nicholas Markowitz, and it'll have you on the edge of your seat throughout.

6'Pet Sematary'

Movieclips Classic Trailers on YouTube

Most film adaptations of Stephen King novels tend to become horror classics, like It and The Shining. But Pet Sematary is by far one of the best, yet one of the most underrated, with King as the screenwriter. And you can watch it before the upcoming remake that's set to come out this year.

7'Right On Track'

Brie Larson Fan on YouTube

DCOMs included plenty of empowering sports dramas, and this one, based on the true story of race car drivers Courtney and Erica Enders, shows how the sisters fought to be respected within a sport that barely gave opportunities to women. This one isn't included with Prime, but you can rent it for a small fee.

8'Dark Crystal'

When it comes to fantasy movies with incredible puppets, The Neverending Story tends to overshadow Dark Crystal. But Jim Henson's Dark Crystal has become a cult classic, and it's definitely worth watching before the upcoming Netflix show that's set to premiere this year.

9'Sleepover'

huckhound on YouTube

Alexa Vega, Brie Larson, and Steve Carell in a '00s teen movie? Yes, please!

10'Cruel Intentions'

I could write 1,000 words on why you should watch Cruel Intentions right now if you haven't. But really, this cult classic is a true testament to Reese Witherspoon's acting chops. And Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) was definitely the OG Chuck Bass.

11'Disobedience'

Bleecker Street on YouTube

The Favourite has been getting tons of attention, but Rachel Weisz's other recent flick deserves some love, too. Weisz plays Ronit, a woman who was shunned from her Orthodox Jewish community for falling in love with her best friend, Esti (Rachel McAdams). But when Ronit returns home for her dad's funeral, they rekindle their love and face the consequences.

12'Landline'

Movieclips Indie on YouTube

Amazon has some original movies you might've missed, including Landline, about two sisters coping with their dad's affair.

13'The Cult Of JT Leory'

Marjorie Sturm on YouTube

If you're looking for a captivating documentary, this is the one to watch. It's a deep dive into how author Laura Albert tricked everyone into thinking she was actually a wunderkind named JT Leroy, passing off her novel as Leroy's memoir, befriending Hollywood A-listers and bands who became enamored by Leroy. It'll leave you in absolute shock of how much Albert was able to get away with for so long.

14'Kick-Ass'

Movieclips on YouTube

You might've forgotten about this offbeat superhero flick already, but it's time to revisit it or watch it for the first time. And how can you go wrong with Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicholas Cage as a father-daughter superhero duo?

15'What We Do In The Shadows'

Love Jemaine Clements? You should definitely watch this comedy-horror mockumentary about vampires, which is being adapted into a TV series this year.

16'Hugo'

You might have thought, "Hmm he looks familiar..." watching Asa Butterfield grapple with high school and intimacy in Netflix's Sex Education. The star actually had his start in Martin Scorcese's children's film Hugo, starring alongside Chloe Grace Moretz.

17'Lars And The Real Girl'

Ryan Gosling might be the ultimate rom-com leading man, but in this comedy, he plays an extremely different kind of role within that realm. Lars (Gosling) believes his sex doll Bianca is his girlfriend, but he slowly comes to terms with wanting a real relationship after developing a crush on his co-worker.

18'Mars Attacks!'

Tim Burton's most popular flicks are either stop-motion movies, or have the same recurring cast. But Mars Attacks!, which was one of his first, is often forgotten on the list of his best, despite its status as a cult classic.

19'Winter's Bone'

Jennifer Lawrence became a star nearly a decade ago with her role in Winter's Bone, but the Academy Award-nominated film hasn't been talked about much since then. But it's definitely still worth watching.

20'A Fantastic Woman'

Sony Pictures Classics on YouTube

This Spanish film made history at the 2018 Academy Awards for becoming the first film with a transgender lead to win an Oscar. This one's not included with Prime, so you will have to pay to watch it.

21'Love, Gilda'

Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing on YouTube

Many of your current favorite female comedians probably wouldn't be inspired to work in comedy without Gilda Radner. And this gorgeous documentary shows her incredible legacy, proving yet again that the concept of women not being as funny as men is a gross, sexist lie. You do have to pay to watch the doc, but it'll be worth it.

22'Brigsby Bear'

Zero Media on YouTube

Do you love weird comedies? Then you'll surely be into this one, produced by the Lonely Island guys. SNL star Kyle Mooney plays James, whose parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) raised him to believe the outside world is bad, and that the only TV show in existence is Brigsby Bear. But once James makes contact with the outside world, he finds out his dad created the show, and decides to close the chapter on his love for Brigsby Bear by creating a movie based on the show.

23'Rudo Y Cursi'

Sony Pictures Classics on YouTube

Diego Luna and Gael Garca Bernal make an incredible duo, especially when they're in Alfonso Cuarn's films. But one of their most underrated flicks was actually made by Cuarn's brother, Carlos Cuarn, about two soccer players who are half-brothers and have to compete against each other for a chance to try out for Mexico City's soccer team. It's among those that aren't included with Prime, but it's so hilarious it'll be worth paying for it.

24'Don't Think Twice'

Movieclips Indie on YouTube

So many great comedians, including Gillian Jacons, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Birbiglia, and Chris Gethard, star in this indie flick that it'll make you wonder why you didn't know about it before in the first place. And it looks at the comedy world through a realistic lens, showing how much comedians struggle to make it in the industry. This is one of the flicks you have to pay for, though.

25'SLC Punk'

Before Matthew Lillard became a big star, he starred in SLC Punk, playing a punk who begins to re-evaluate his life and identity. It also has plenty of other familiar stars, like Jason Segel, Devon Sawa, and Rent's Adam Pascal. This is one of the rentable ones that aren't included with Prime.

26'Intouchables'

Movieclips Trailers on YouTube

If you want to avoid the Kevin Hart flick The Upside, you should instead watch the French original, which is actually great. You do have to rent this one out, though.

27'Support the Girls'

ONE Media on YouTube

This indie flick shows that a film about women working in a Hooters-type bar can be empowering. It focuses on the bar's general manager (Regina Hall), who experiences an intense, strange day that puts her patience with her job to the test. You can rent it out for a small fee.

28'Operation Finale'

MGM on YouTube

Oscar Isaac stars in this indie flick based on a true story of Israeli agents traveling to Argentina to track down Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the Nazi officer who caused the deaths of millions during the Holocaust. It's not included on Prime, but you can rent it out.

29'Dogtooth'

FilmBuff Movies on YouTube

If you thought The Favourite and The Lobster were bizarre, you should check out Yorgos Lanthimos' other film, Dogtooth. Not included with Prime.

30'Dina'

Dina (Trailer) on YouTube

This is the perfect documentary to watch when you need something lighthearted and will remind you of the joys of falling in love. This doc follows the touching love story of two people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's unfortunately not included with Prime, but it'll be worth paying for.

31'Amores Perros'

WorleyClarence on YouTube

If you love crime dramas, you need to watch Amores Perros. It's incredibly intense and captivating, and easily one of Gael Garca Bernal's best roles. You'd have to pay a fee for this one, too.

32'20th Century Women'

Zero Media on YouTube

Need more Greta Gerwig flicks? You can't go wrong with this one, about three generations of women (Annette Bening, Gerwig, and Elle Fanning) who help raise a teenage boy (Lucas Jade Zumann). This is one of the rentable ones.

33'Eddie's Million-Dollar Cook-Off'

Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-off on YouTube

This is a deeply underrated DCOM, but you should definitely watch it again. In this one, Eddie (Taylor Ball) is the best baseball player on his team, but what he really wants to be is a chef, even though he knows he'll be ridiculed for it by the sexist boys from his school. But Eddie is forced to choose between baseball and cooking when a cooking competition is on the same day as his big game.

Like most of the other DCOMs on Amazon, you have to rent this one out because it's not included with Prime.

34'Three Identical Strangers'

Movieclips Indie on YouTube

There are plenty of movies and TV shows about twins separated at birth. But this documentary looks at what it's like when it happens in real life, examining the case of triplets who were part of a heartbreaking experiment that involved keeping them separate from each other, with their biological families being kept a secret until adulthood. This one's not included with Prime, so you can rent it out.

35'Teen Witch'

Movieclips Classic Trailers on YouTube

Chances are that when you were a kid, you wished you could have magical powers. And this truly underrated '80s teen comedy shows what happens when that wish comes true. You can rent this one out for a small fee.

There are so many movies to choose from, you'll have a hard time leaving home!

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25 Ways Your Relationship Can Change When You Get A Pet


Once you decide to get a pet with your partner, your relationship will change pretty much instantly. From having those initial conversations, to picking up your pet, to finally starting your lives together, there's no doubt the process will change your relationship dynamic in a million positive ways.

But it's also important to keep in mind what the commitment really means not only for your pet but for your relationship as a whole. While you should try to focus on the positives, you might want to consider the added stress you'll encounter, as well as all the responsibilities, and any potential conflicts you might have so you'll both be on the same page.

You can also chat about how you plan to handle things, such as new chores, who will be in charge of what, and so on so it'll be a good experience for all involved. "A new pet can mean a big change in your daily life," Jessica Char, a cat behavior consultant, tells Bustle. "But if you go in ready to make the changes and deal with the challenges, a pet can bring a new joy to a relationship. The shared activities and experiences that come with a pet can turn a couple of people into a family."

Here are the ways your relationship might change when you get a pet, according to experts.

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1It'll Make You Stop And Think

"Getting a pet is a sort of pact," therapist Katie Leikam, LCSW, LISW-CP, tells Bustle. You're agreeing to be there for its entire life span, which could be decades. "That's a big deal in the scheme of things of how long you feel your relationship will last," she says.

As a result, adopting a pet can make you stop and think about the overall health of your relationship, as well as where you see it going in the future.

2You'll Be Less Spontaneous

Once you get a pet, brace yourselves for a life that's a little less spontaneous.

"Spontaneity requires freedom from responsibilities and pets rely on their humans for all their needs," Kelly Kandra Hughes, PhD, a professional pet sitter, tells Bustle. "You can't jump in the car and go to the beach for the weekend when you have a dog waiting for you at home to let them out and feed them."

Of course, there are ways around this, such as taking your dog with you. But it can definitely be an adjustment.

3Resentment Can Build

Once you get a pet, "each person will have to change their life in some way, which can lead to resentment if everybody isn't fully on board," Char says.

So before you make the commitment, have that all-important talk about what a big responsibility it will be, and make sure you're both up to the task.

4You'll Have More Fun

If you have a dog running around the house, or a cat doing hilarious things, there's no doubt your life as a couple will be more fun.

"Pets bring a lot of fun and play into relationships," Hughes says. "They give their humans something to laugh at together and reminisce about in the future."

5You'll Expect More Of Your Partner

"While you would do anything for your pet [...] your partner may not be so inclined," Caitlin Ultimo, resident pet expert at Chewy.com, tells Bustle. And yet that won't change your expectations, or your desire to have them care just as much as you.

Since this can lead to resentment, it's important to make sure you're both on the same page before getting a pet. "In these situations, its better to have clear discussions over responsibilities," Ultimo says.

6You'll Get More Exercise

There's no denying owning a pet means getting more exercise, especially if you have a dog. "They serve [...] as a reason to get exercise or explore the community together," Bruce Silverman, VMD, MBA tells Bustle.

While that can be fun, if you're used to lazy mornings in, this can mean a pretty big change for the pace of your relationship.

7You'll Have To Communicate

From deciding who will let the dog out, to who will pick up more cat food, "the communication between the two of you needs to rise to the occasion," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Nobody wants to feel like theyre doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship."

8There May Be Jealousy

Believe it or not, there may even be a feeling of jealousy in your relationship, from one or both sides. After all, "its hard to compete with the cuteness of your pet," Backe says.

But often all it takes are a few small adjustments, so nobody feels ignored.

9Things Will Get Serious

If your relationship didn't feel serious before, getting a pet will take it to a whole new level. "[It] signifies a certain level of commitment to one another," Backe says. "The dynamic shifts from just having fun with one another to taking the commitment between the two of you more seriously."

10It Can Feel Like You Have A Kid

While kids and pets are obviously very different, they both require tons of time and attention, which is why many people view pets as a stepping stone to parenthood, Dr. Silverman says.

They can be a good test, too, to see how you function as a couple with more stress and responsibility especially if you see yourselves having a baby someday.

11It Creates A Stronger Bond

As Dr. Silverman says, "This dependent living being [...] becomes a tangible bond that requires shared love and nurturing." And as a result, you may find that you and your partner feel closer than ever.

12Negatives Can Be Revealed

Due to the major lifestyle change and all the new responsibilities, getting a pet can, unfortunately, reveal some negatives in your relationship.

"Pets can bring out the unexpected best in a partner or reveal a negative side that is truly an unwelcome surprise," Dr. Silverman says.

If your partner isn't helping out, for example, you might be seeing a lazy side you wouldn't have witnessed otherwise and that can really make you think.

13You Might Argue

If one of you isn't making a big enough effort, don't be surprised if it leads to more arguments.

"A new pet will almost inevitably bring new conflicts into a relationship," Char says. "For example, whose job is it to scoop the litter box or who has to skip happy hour to get home and let the dog out?"

You'll need to figure these things out, so everything remains fair.

14You May Not See Eye-To-Eye

You two may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to raising pets. "Disagreements may arise about many issues including discipline, structure, and even the simple idea of whether or not to sleep with the dog in bed," Robert Cabral, Wag! advisory board member and top dog trainer, tells Bustle.

If you can't find a way to agree, those aforementioned arguments might ensue.

15You'll Learn To Work Together

On the plus side, taking care of a pet can teach you both how to handle responsibility, work together, and sort out your differences.

"The relationship shifts to team work in caring for and training the new dog," Cabral says. And other types of pets, too.

16You'll Have To Compromise

Since it's not uncommon for couples to disagree when it comes to raising a pet, compromise will be key.

"Oftentimes one parent will want the dog to be structured and trained and the other will want the dog to be free and untrained," Cabral says.

You may want to visit a pet trainer for this one, in order to find a middle ground so you'll both be happy.

17You'll Gain A Shared Experience

"Doing something together [like getting a pet] connects you and your partner in shared experience," therapist Carrie Krawiec, LMFT, tells Bustle. You might find that you feel closer to your partner, since you'll be going through all these ups and downs together.

18Your Relationship Will Feel Even More Meaningful

Taking care of a pet together can even provide more meaning and purpose in your lives, and add to what you already have in common. As Krawiec says, "Having a shared description of what you do and why means the story you have about your life is connected."

19Your Roles Will Become Defined

In order to make the experience a good one, you'll have to figure out a few mutually agreed upon roles and rules, such as who is the dog walker, who picks up the poop, etc., Krawiec says. Once you do, it'll be a sign you're working together and communicating effectively.

20There Will Be Stress

"Greater job functions of the household may mean more stress or more to negotiate, navigate, resolve, disagree about," Krawiec says. Basically, even if you figure out who will be doing what, there will still be an added layer of stress that you'll have to sort out as a couple.

21You'll Spend More Time Together

"A new pet means a change in your schedule (walking the dog, getting home to check on a new kitten, etc.) that can mean more time together," Char says. So if you were looking for something to do together, getting a pet may be it.

22Or Less Time Together

On the flip side, having a pet can also mean spending less time together due to all the care and responsibilities and even unexpected emergencies.

"When you add a pet to a relationship, its like having a new member of the family enter," Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Time with your partner might not be as devoted or present because youre cleaning up the cat litter."

23Your Sleeping Arrangements Can Change

"Sleeping can change when you add a pet to your shared space," Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM, Senior Manager, Veterinary Outreach, PetSmart Charities, tells Bustle. "Some pets are nocturnal, meaning they stay up (and play) at night. Are you or your partner a light sleeper?" If so, you might find that your usual bedtimes are affected.

24There Will Be More Financial Stress

Even if you plan ahead, pets can end up costing more than you think, which can lead to more stress in your relationship as well as disagreements.

As Krawiec says, there may even be a disparity in which expenses you each determine necessary, such as whether or not your pet needs to go to the vet, receive certain treatments, etc.

25You'll Feel More Like A Family

"Even if youve been a couple for a few years, you can feel like two ships passing in the night sometimes," Ultimo says. "A pet really can help connect a couple and merge your lives. The joint responsibility and admiration for your pet can bring you closer and unite the two of you in a more official way than you anticipate."

For better or worse, getting a pet can change your relationship. There's added stress, and tough convos to have. But the benefits still outweigh the negatives especially since pets inevitably bring you closer together.

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Your Daily Horoscope For January 16, 2019


Were constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of MyLifeCreated.com, to tell us all about how astrology is affecting our lives each day. Today's topic: your daily horoscope for January 16, 2019.

The Moon remains in grounded Taurus, putting us in the mood to get stable and grounded too. Since Taurus is a sign that's associated with wealth and resources, this is a perfect day for tending to financial matters, especially as the Moon teams up with Sun in business-savvy Capricorn by the mid-afternoon. Under this Sun-Moon match up, we should also find success when it comes to our professional lives or any activity that requires hard work and determination.

With Taurus and Capricorn being earth signs, today is also a good day for nourishing and caring for our physical bodies. Plus, with the Taurus Moon meeting up with wounded Chiron in Pisces by the late afternoon, we should find ourselves in need of some healing and TLC. By the evening, the vibe picks back up again as the Moon enters chatty Gemini, putting the focus on our communication and curiosity.

Read below to see what the stars mean for your sign today, and be sure to check out your January 2019 horoscope.

Aries (March 21 - April 19)

You could hit a career milestone today or receive some sort of recognition for your hard work. Though to get the most out of today, make sure you're celebrating your accomplishments and not comparing yourself to others or measuring yourself by what you have (or don't).

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

You should be feeling pretty confident today which should help you with moving past a challenge. At the same time, you might find yourself less interested in the validation of others too. And as such, you might find yourself feeling happier because you're living more authentically.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

You could have an emotional breakthrough today that may feel like a weight is being lifted off of your shoulders. If you've been holding on to something, you might be ready to finally release it. In the meantime, trust your intuition. Deep down you know what you need to do.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

A friend could come to your rescue today, so be open to receiving help or letting them know you need it. On a similar note, when it comes to fulfilling something you've been hoping or wishing for, a helping hand could step in. Sharing the load will do wonders for your well-being.

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)

You've got the stamina and dedication today to see your goals through which should have you feeling like you're in alignment with your purpose. If not, this might be a good time to evaluate whether you're on track or not. How can you bring more love and purpose to what you do?

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)

You should be in good spirits today as you're getting closer to making something you've been envisioning come true. You should start to see some results based on what you've been creating. Overall, it's your time to bask in the spotlight. Know you deserve all the accolades you receive.

Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)

You could receive some sort of good news or support at a financial level that helps to improve your sense of security or stability. Perhaps your partner receives a boost in their income or you find a workable solution to make your money stretch. Either way, stay optimistic about the future.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)

Today is the perfect day for meetings, calls, emails, etc. as people will be open to what you have to say. On a similar note, when it comes to getting things done today, your best bet is to work within a team or look to ways you can collaborate with others. People are a resource.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)

Things should pick up for you financially today. You could end up receiving a job offer, a new client, or a bump in income. Just make sure that you remain diligent when it comes to managing your cash. On a separate note, a relationship could use your attention. Check-in.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)

You're feeling more confident in your talents and abilities today, putting you in the driver's seat when it comes to securing a new opportunity. In other words, there's very little that can stop you now. Romantically, you're also winning. Just continue taking care of you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)

You might have a hard time getting going today as your body and soul still need a time out. However, if you've been stressing over something or someone, you might find the strength and resilience you need to find some healthy detachment. Get out of the house and go have fun.

Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)

You could experience a moment of being in the right place at the right time today, which could spark a connection or a conversation that could help you with making a wish come true. Don't be shy in reaching out to connect with folks. There'll will be plenty of time to rest later.

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Chris Pratt Texted Anna Faris About His Engagement, Showing How Much They Respect Each Other


Believe it or not, but exes really can get along and here's proof. Chris Pratt texted Anna Faris about his engagement to Katherine Schwarzenegger in a move that shows great respect. During her Unqualified podcast on Tuesday, People reported Faris commented on Pratt proposing to Schwarzenegger and further revealed how much the former husband and wife continue to support one another.

"Sweet Chris, my ex, got engaged to Katherine today and Im so happy for them," Faris began. "I knew that it was gonna happen, and I love her and I love him. Im just so happy that they found each other."

Then, she opened up about the text he sent her the morning after the Guardians of the Galaxy star popped the question to his now-fiance. Faris said,

"Chris texted me this morning and he was like, you know, I proposed to Katherine last night. And I was like ahhh, thats amazing. And I texted him back like, just want to remind you Im an ordained minister!"

Between Pratt wanting to reveal the happy news to Faris himself and the Mom star reacting so positively proves there are no hard feelings between them post-split. Plus, Pratt and Faris broke up in August 2017 after eight years of marriage, so they've both have had time to move on and find a place where they can both co-parent their son, Jack, and support each other happily.

Early Monday morning, Pratt announced his engagement to Schwarzengger, who he was first connected to romantically in June 2018. Next to an Instagram photo with the author, the Marvel actor wrote, "Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes! Im thrilled to be marrying you. Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go!"

Schwarzenegger shared the same photo as Pratt on Instagram and posted, "My sweet love. Wouldnt want to live this life with anyone but you."

Before opening up on her podcast, Faris commented on Pratt's engagement photo by writing, "I'm so happy for you both!! Congratulations!"

The comedian is genuinely overjoyed for the newly-engaged couple. As Faris said on Unqualified,

"I do want to congratulate Chris and Katherine. I do love you and congratulations and Im thrilled. Theyre both f*cking amazing people and Im so happy."

Faris also revealed why she wanted to briefly discuss Pratt and Schwarzenegger's news publicly. She said that "the reason we're talking about it is because I do feel the need to just have my voice heard on the matter." It's important for the actor to make it clear that there are no hard feelings between the former spouses. "The truth is there isnt any bitterness, and Im just so happy that were all really happy," she noted.

It's wonderful for not only Faris, Pratt, and Schwarzenegger's sake that they all get along so well, but even more so for Jack. He is clearly surrounded by so much love and positivity, which has to be an amazing feeling. The way Faris and Pratt continue to treat each other with the utmost amount of support and respect deserves a round of applause.

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Demi Lovato’s 10-Year Challenge Post Points Out She’s Skipping The Trend For The Best Possible Reason


The 2009/2019 photo comparisons going around Instagram are fun, but Demi Lovato has a great reason for not partaking in the trend. She's moving forward with her life and as such, she doesn't have much need for dwelling on the past. Demi Lovato's #10YearChallenge post shows that it's totally fine to live in the present, if you don't want to look back to a decade ago.

In the first few weeks of the new year, people have taken to sharing photos of how they've changed over the last 10 years, including plenty of celebrities. It can be amusing to reflect on the past, especially if you've gone through major life changes like graduating or moving to a new city. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, Lovato's reasoning for not sharing an old picture is totally sound.

"Sorry, I'd love to post a #10YearChallenge pic, but I'm too busy living in the moment..." Lovato posted on Instagram Story, along with the hair-flip emoji. The sentiment is short but sweet, and it definitely gets her point across.

Lovato's sentiment goes along with what else she's shared since returning home from rehab, too. She hasn't posted on Instagram too often in the past few months, but all of her posts seem to share a common thread of gratefulness and hope for the days ahead.

For example, on Dec. 31, Lovato shared a New Year's message about how appreciative she is of the people in her life who've supported her in the last year. "So grateful for the lessons I've learned this year," the "Sober" singer posted on her Instagram Story. She continued,

"I will never take another day in life for granted, even the bad ones. Thankful for my fans, friends, family and everyone who supported me throughout this year. God bless."

In a post after her hospitalization last summer, Lovato shared a similar message of hope. She's since deleted it from her own Instagram, but a screenshot of Lovato's post about sobriety is still live on her mom's account. In that post, the singer thanked her family and friends for their support as she continues working on her sobriety.

More recently, Lovato shared an Instagram message about self-love last week. "Sometimes idk who needs to hear it, maybe it's myself, but someone needs to know they are beautiful and worthy of love," she wrote on her Story.

The singer may be living in the present, but that doesn't mean she's totally confident all of the time, because who is? But her message is a nice reminder to fans that everyone is worthy of love, no matter what their situation is. Based on her recent posts, it looks like Lovato is just thankful for every day. And she's working on having a great time in the present, rather than dwelling on the past.

Whether or not fans have chosen to share their own #10YearChallenge photos, Lovato's post is a nice reminder that it's OK to just want to look forward. Life can keep getting better every year, no matter how old you are. And the prospect of a fresh start with the new year brings so many possibilities. So if throwback photos aren't your thing, it's perfectly fine to look ahead instead.

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6 Sleep Hacks To Help You Wake Up Early For Work You Probably Hadn’t Considered


Awesome job, great routine but it's impossible for you to get up at 6 a.m. Or earlier. How do you cope? These sleep hacks to help you wake up early have science behind them to help you get up and stay up before the sun rises. They won't work in a split second, but they might well remake your entire relationship to waking up.

If you've tried multiple times in your life to readjust to an early sleep time and can't make it work, there may be a genetic reason behind your need to rest from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Genetic studies in 2017 found that there appears to be a link between a particularly gene mutation and being a "night owl," or a person who naturally stays awake late and sleeps late. The technical term for being a night owl is delayed sleep phase disorder, and it means your natural circadian rhythms the internal 'body clock' that determines when you sleep and wake send you to sleep at least two hours after most people are normally in dreamland. It's more common among teenagers than it is among adults, though, and a study in 2018 found that it probably only affects 0.1 to three percent of the general population. So chances are that you can indeed make yourself into a morning person with the right methods at the right times. Here are a few hacks to help you get up even just an hour earlier for work.

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1Use Natural Light

Scientists have discovered that natural light exposure is strongly tied to our body's wakefulness triggers. Waking with the sun appears to be an excellent way to reshape your body clock. However, if your ideal wake-up time is pre-dawn, you're going to have to get creative. "Allow natural light to wake you up, reinforcing your circadian rhythms and giving you a subtle energy lift," sleep organization Tuck says. "If you use blockout curtains, ensure they leave room on the edges for the sunlight to break through in the morning. Or use a dawn simulator alarm clock to naturally mimic the sun rising in your bedroom." These light-therapy alarm clocks let your body feel as if dawn has arrived, triggering its waking cycles and pulling you out of sleep in a natural way.

2Get An App That Uses Your Natural Sleep Cycles To Wake You

Alarm clock apps are common and popular, but for early workers, alarms need to be effective and guarantee results long-term. Popular Science recommends the free app Sleep Better because it harnesses your own sleep cycle and uses it to help you wake up at a good point. "You put your phone on your mattress, and the app uses signals from your movements to figure out when you're sleeping most soundly and when your rest is at its most fitful," David Nield writing for Popular Science explained. "You set a time window for your wakeup call, and Sleep Better then picks the best moment in your sleep cycle to play one of 30 different alarm sounds."

Why is this scientifically sound? All humans have four stages to their sleep: stage 1, 2, 3, and REM or rapid eye-movement sleep. We cycle through these stages multiple times in a night, with stage 1 being the lightest. Sleep Better identifies the period of lightest sleep in the half-hour window you're given and wakes you up then so that your body adjusts more naturally to the wake-up time.

3Make Your Bedroom A Sleep Haven

A lot of the work of waking up is begun before you go to sleep the night before. Turn off your phone overnight, cover up your blinking Wifi router and kill the fairy lights. Keeping your bedroom dark when you go to sleep will help you fall asleep more easily, helping you feel more refreshed when you wake up at an ungodly hour. Sleep specialist Dr. Susan Mathison told The Muse, Remove all blinky lights from your bedroom, or cover them up especially blue lights, which disrupt your body's melatonin levels, making you feel alert and awake when you want to feel sleepy.

4Change One Minute Every Two Days

Want to make long-term change? Progressive adjustment of your body clock takes time, but it can be achieved incrementally. "One of the simplest, and most effective, ways to ease into the change is to set your alarm just one minute earlier every second day until you've reached your goal," John Rampton wrote for Inc. "It may take a month or so to accomplish your full goal, but you won't notice the difference. Many people think of the one-minute earlier time the night before they start it and find that they will wake up a few seconds before their alarm goes off."

This is an approach backed up by scientific research into behavioral change. Humans respond much better to changes in routine when they happen gradually over time, rather than radically and immediately which is why so many New Year's resolutions about instantaneously exercising five times a week fail. If you can, ease into waking up earlier and feel your body gradually readjust to the change.

5Wake Yourself Up Fully

When you do wake up, you may stumble around feeling sluggish and unable to focus. There are a number of approaches to help you feel more alert. "Consider buying an aromatherapy diffuser for your bedroom. Inhaling a stimulating essential oil can awaken your senses and get you energized," Healthline wrote, noting that peppermint, spearmint, citrus scents and bergamot can increase your alertness. Expose yourself to natural light as soon as possible to increase your wakefulness, put on some tunes and jump around to get the blood pumping, and drink a glass of water, an act which has been shown to increase feelings of alertness.

6Give Yourself Social Reasons To Wake Up

Still can't get yourself out of bed? Get sneaky and make it necessary. Sarah Peterson, writing for Fast Company, said that peer pressure can be a very good motivator. "Set a meeting with other early risers first thing in the morning," she said. It works because it "creates accountability", puts "your reputation at stake", and "uses biological signals; studies have shown that when we have something important to do at a certain time, our bodies will wake us up naturally. Thats why you wake up right before your alarm if the task is important enough".

Make it to the meeting and you have the reward of looking like a diligent early riser and getting stuff done early in your work day. Ideally, make the meeting something important or fun, so that everybody else gets a sense of achievement too.

Work on your own or at home? Make other social appointments early with people you don't want to disappoint. Motivation is important, so your friend who'll definitely forgive you if you rock up an hour late isn't a good candidate for this one.

Getting up early can be hard to do, and if your body clock definitely doesn't want to adapt, you may simply be genetically unsuited to early morning life. If, however, you can make it work, over time you'll gradually become one of those people who gets up at 5 a.m. and flourishes.

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‘This Time Will Be Different’ Is A New YA Novel About Family History, A Flower Shop, And Moving Forward


When it was published in 2017, author Misa Sugiura's debut It's Not Like It's a Secret took the young adult book world by storm. In addition to being included on several "Best Of" lists from publications like Seventeen, Kirkus, and Paste, it was nominated by YASLA for Best Fiction for Young Adults and went on to win the Asian Pacific American Award for YA Literature. This summer, the critically acclaimed author is back with This Time Will Be Different, a brand new young adult novel that explores trauma, history, and the ways a community interprets the past. It doesn't hit shelves until June, but Bustle is thrilled to reveal the cover for This Time Will Be Different alongside an exclusive excerpt, which you can read below.

Seventeen-year-old CJ Katsuyama has spent her entire life failing to live up to her mother's type-A ambition. She is perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family's flower shop. Although she doesn't buy into Hannah's romantic notions about the meaning of flowers, she does knows her away around an arrangement. In fact, putting together the perfect bouquet might be a skill she can actually be proud of.

But when her mother decides to sell the shop to the family who swindled CJs grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII a rift threatens to splinter not just her family and friends, but their entire Northern California community. For the first time in her life, it seems, CJ feels like she has found something she wants to fight for.

A rich and heartfelt story about family, community, and the long shadow of history, This Time Will Be Different is being released by Harper Teen this June, but you don't have to wait until summer to see it. Bustle has the exclusive cover reveal, below. Take a look:

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura, $18, Amazon (Pre-order)

Just in case the stunning cover design isn't enough to draw you in, Bustle also has an exclusive excerpt from This Time Will Be Different, which you can read right now, below:

Chapter 1

Hannah calls it a state of becoming, but most people would probably call it chaos. The floor and work spaces are littered with leaves, stems, and thorns that havent made it into the giant wastebins by the tables. Flowers and greenery explode out of buckets on every flat surface that isnt covered in piles of more greens and more flowers, all stripped of their lower leaves and thorns. The room is a riot of scarlet, green, ivory, and dusty pink.

In front of me sit twenty-five empty vases, their open mouths crisscrossed with grids of thin tape. When were finished, the empty grids will be transformed into a lush carpet of red and cream-colored roses and pure-white anemones, accented with holly berries, pepper berries, eucalyptus leaves, and ivyperfect for tomorrows mid-December wedding. Perfect for the beginning of somebodys happily ever after.

Hannah calls it a state of becoming, but most people would probably call it chaos.

That is, if you believe in that kind of thing.

As I trim the thorns off a rose stem, Hannah quizzes me.

Fate, my aunt says.

Flax, I reply, and she nods.

Self-worth, she says.

White roses. Another nod.

Reconciliation.

Filbert or hazel . . . branches, I guess?

Nice! My aunt beams at me. Great job, CJ!

Most kids get quizzed on stuff like state capitals, or French vocabulary words, or the elements on the periodic table. I get quizzed on the language of flowers. Hannah claims that by using it in the arrangements she makes for her clients, she can help fulfill their hearts desires. I have serious doubts about the scientific validity of her claim, but she says that if I want to be her apprentice at the shop, I have to know my flowers, so here we are.

By here I mean the workroom of Hearts Desire, the flower shop that weve had in our family since the 1930s. This guy named Robert McAllister pressured my great-grandfather into selling it for almost nothing when the government threw Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II, but after years of struggle and hardship, my grandfather eventually bought it back because, as Mom and Hannah both like to say, Katsuyamas never quit.

Katsuyamas Never Quit. Its practically our family motto.

The McAllisters have never quit, either. In fact, theyve never quit so much that the family are now billionaires. My high school bears their name, as does the hospital I was born in and the library where I borrow books. Its not exactly Capulets and Montagues or anything, but I cant say that I dont feel kind of resentful and weird about the whole situation. Mom is a partner at McAllister Venture Capital, so that tells you how much she cares about the family sort-of feud (not at all). Hannah, on the other hand, despises the McAllisters. Her second choice for the Katsuyama family motto would probably be We Hate the McAllisters. But Ill come back to all that later. As Hannah and Mom also like to say, we need to be here, now.

Now, the phone rings, and even though weve just closed up for the night, Hannah answers it. You never know what a difference that last-minute bouquet might make in a persons life, she always says. It might be just the thing that a grieving widow needs to brighten her evening. Or it might lead to a romantic reconciliation and then a baby. Or, if you want to be pragmatic about it, it could lead to another sale and possibly even a regular customersomething we could definitely use these days.

You never know what a difference that last-minute bouquet might make in a persons life, she always says.

Turns out its one guy who wants one thing: a boutonniere. He says hes right around the corner and hell be here in a couple of minutes. Doesnt sound like a life-altering possibility to me, but Im not running the store.

Ten minutes after closing time, I let him in the front door. Hes not young, maybe forties or fifties, wearing rimless glasses, khakis, a blue button-down shirt, a blazer, and a bow tie kind of an unusual look in Silicon Valley. Especially the bow tie. Or maybe not Silicon Valley is full of quirky people. Itll only take a minute. I just need a little flower to put in my lapel, here, he says, and glances down at his blazer.

I happen to know that this will take about twenty minutes, not just one, but I smile and say, Special occasion?

Blazer Guy blushes a little. First date. Thought Id do a little something special, you know? Make a good impression.

Before I can respond, Hannah comes bustling in from the back. Oh, how sweet! What a lucky . . . woman?

Uh, yes. Woman, Blazer Guy confirms with a nervous laugh.

And its been a while since youve dated, perhaps? Hannah continues.

He turns bright red and says, Oh . . . is it that obvious? How could you tell?

Because, you funny little man, I think, youre wearing a freaking boutonniere on a first date.

Oh, I just have a feel for these things, says Hannah with an airy wave of her hand and a dirty look at me, as if shes reading my mind. Did you tell her that youd be wearing a flower? Did you specify what kind?

Blazer Guy shakes his head. I just figured something like this . . . ? He points to a yellow carnation. Something bright, you know? Friendly.

Oh no! No, no, no. CJ, come on over. Hannah beckons to me. CJs my apprentice, she informs Blazer Guy. CJ, tell Im sorry, whats your name?

Richard.

Tell Richard about yellow carnations.

For the record, I never actually asked to be Hannahs apprentice. Ive more or less grown up at Hearts Desire, but I never really did anything beyond take the occasional phone order until this fall, when Hannahs assistant found a better-paying job and left. Not long after that, Hannah asked me if I wanted to learn the art of floral design, and it turns out I kind of love it. I love the colors, the textures, the shapes, and the scents. I love how each flower has its own personality, and I love figuring out how to put everything together in ways that mean something.

Yellow carnations say no. Like literally, thats what they mean. N-O, I say obediently, and Hannah nods her approval as Blazer Guy winces.

Oh. I dont want that.

I mean, they certainly have their uses, says Hannah sweetly. But I can tell youre more thoughtful than that. You must be a bit of a romantic at heart.

Blazer Guy scratches his head and smiles bashfully.

You deserve better than carnations, and so does your date. Let us personalize it and make it perfect for you.

Hannah proceeds to pepper Richard with silly questions: favorite color, favorite animal, favorite vacation spot. Then she gets personal: Whats his defining quality? What are his hopes for this particular date?

I guess I hope she likes me enough for a second date? he says uncertainly. And I hope I like her.

Hannah turns to me and asks, Well? What do you recommend? To Richard, she stage-whispers, Prepare to be impressed. Shes really gifted.

Right. No pressure or anything. Hmm . . . First date, first date . . . I drum my fingers on my chin, stalling for time. Its the wrong season for lilacs . . . pink rosebuds for new love?

Even before Hannah frowns, I know Ive failed. Pink rosebuds? Could I have picked anything more clichd? He could have gone to Safeway for that advice.

Mmm . . . Pink rosebuds . . . Hannahs nodding as if deep in thought, but its just for show. Those are nice, but maybe a tad conventional, dont you think? And a little presumptuous. We can do better. She smiles at me kindly. Try again.

I feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment. I wonder if Hannahs wishing she hadnt talked me up so much. But shes still smiling at me, so I try again. Think. Flowers that convey what Richard wants . . . what was it? He wants to like his date and he wants her to like him. So. Asters for reciprocity? Or purple pansies and white violets? Think of me; take a chance on love?

Bingo! Hannah claps her hands once, and I practically melt with relief. I love it! Unique, unassuming, but still makes a statement. Pansies and violets are tricky to use in boutonnieres, but I think I can manage to make them last a couple of hours for you. CJ, get the materials ready. Ill get the flowers. What do you think, Richard?

Asters for reciprocity? Or purple pansies and white violets? Think of me; take a chance on love?

Sounds great, says Richard. But I mean really, whats he going to say? When the Hannah train is rolling, you either jump on or jump out of the way.

Hannah goes upstairs, where she grows some of the unusual flowers and potted varieties that she likes to use but are harder to get from wholesalers. I prep the materials as orderedsponge, tape, ribbon, pinand lay them neatly on the countertop for Hannah before heading back into the workroom.

So do you think that guys gonna have a good first date? I ask when Richard has gone and Hannah returns to the back.

I have no idea. But with those flowers, something good has to happen. He looked really hopeful, and thats half the battle. Perfect choice, CJ.

Its just one tiny thing Ive done well. Against the boundless field of bad decisions and disappointing performances that have been my life, it hardly even counts. But something unfurls inside me, fragile and tender as a new green leaf, and I cant help smiling as I place a bunch of freshly declawed roses in a bucket of water.

You have all the tools, and tons of talent. You have a natural feel for structure and color. I think you could be great, says Hannah.

That should make me feel even better, but instead, my wobbly new confidence buckles under the weight of her praise and the looming expectation of greatness. I sweep a pile of leaves into a wastebin and say, I dont know. My arrangements kind of suck. Its true. Everything I do is like the zitty, sloppy, thirteen-year-old boy cousin of Hannahs creations.

Hannah stops her own work and regards me for a moment. Her eyes are full of affection and her voice is serious when she says, Its not expert work yet, but Katsuyamas never quit. I know youll get there, sweet pea. The only thing that concerns me is your reluctance to open yourself to the magic of romance.

At this, I forget my new leaf feeling altogether and roll my eyes. I love what we sell, and I love making people happy with it. But lets not kid ourselvesits all an illusion.

The only thing that concerns me is your reluctance to open yourself to the magic of romance.

Dont you roll your eyes at the magic of romance, CJ, or youll end up like your mom.

Hannah.

Oh, you know what I mean.

I do. Its not like Mom is some lonely, bitter old hag whos dead inside. Shes beautiful and smart and funny, and she could probably date whoever she wants. But, to use her words, she has better things to do with her time than root through the trash heap that is online datinga sentiment that Hannah finds highly offensive, since she, herself, has had a lot of romantic relationships that started online. Mom would say that proves her point.

Because the thing is, Hannah isnt exactly a reliable authority on romance. However much positive influence her so-called magic may have on the happiness of other couples, it doesnt seem to apply to her own relationships. Like, at all. Ever since I can remember, shes gone through at least one, sometimes two boyfriends a year, each time convinced that this is the One, each time soaring on an updraft of romantic optimismand each time, plunging to a bruising, painful breakup. Her life is a rom-com on an endless loop, cutting back to the beginning before it reaches the happy ending. I dont know how or why she keeps at it. Youd think shed know better by now.

Bottom line: Katsuyamas may never quit, but we also never succeed, at least when it comes to romance and true love. And if my own history is any indication, I may never succeed at anything else, either.