I Followed My Dream of Moving to California

**Don’t miss the video at the end of this post**

If I had a dime for every time someone has responded with “WOW, that must have been a HUGE cultural shock” or “OMG, that must have been SUCH a big change for you!” when I tell them that I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Los Angeles, California, I would be a …well not millionaire, but pretty damn close. Listen, Indianapolis has a current population of nearly 1 million people. I didn’t grow up shucking corn on a farm (although my Mom did)…I grew up in the suburbs of a metropolitan city.  Yes, Los Angeles is a much larger, more diverse, and more liberal city (which are exactly the reasons why I love it), but c’mon, I was not a country bumpkin that moved all wide eyed and “well, GOLL-Y” to the first big city that I ever visited.

Where everyone thinks I grew up when I say “Indiana:”

rural AF

Where I actually grew up:

I’m a city girl at heart. The sounds of sirens are like music to my ears.  OK, that might be a little aggressive, but I love everything about living in a big city.  Diversity, sightseeing, restaurants, lesbians, events, etc….just STUFF to do!  That being said, moving to LA was one of the most empowering and life changing events in my life.  This August will be my 5 year anniversary with the City of Angels and we are still going strong.

In 2012, after over a year of applying for countless jobs all over California, I finally landed an incredible medical sales job in LA. If you want to know more of the background about why and how I got a job in LA, check out my other post: Saying Yes; My Catalyst to Manifesting

But here’s the thing, I had never actually been to LA.  In fact, I had never been to Southern California at all.  I had always been in love with the San Francisco bay area and had visited there over a dozen times but had never ventured south.  This was mostly because I didn’t know anyone there!  So there I was, 27 years old, and about to move to a city that I had never visited and where I didn’t know anyone.  I had three weeks to find an apartment and move my entire life (including two exceptionally large cats) across the country.

Yep, exceptionally large:

During a quick weekend trip to LA and a whopping 2 days of apartment hunting, I found a super cute one bed/one bath in the gayborhood, West Hollywood. And, lucky for me, my younger brother’s common sense had not yet fully developed and he offered to drive my car with his girlfriend at the time (now wife) and my chunky fur babies on a 4 day cross country road trip. My bad ass sister in law, Katie, who is a much better writer that I, wrote this amazing PUBLISHED short story about her experience on this adventure: What Cheeseburgers Look Like in Kansas.  I don’t want to give too much away but as it turns out, cats do not make ideal road trip companions. I also now know how to purchase a new car in the state of Utah over the phone.  Fun times.  Read the story, thank me later.

Starting from scratch in a new city is both terrifying and exciting.  Have you ever dreamed about dropping everything, moving away and just starting over in a new city, state, or country? Samsies.  Well, I did it, and it was incredible.  I feel like everyone at some point in their life should CREATE the opportunity to reinvent themselves in a new environment.  Not become someone new, but be in a situation where you are vulnerable and introduce yourself to people intentionally as the most true version of you.  It is in those vulnerable situations where you learn so much about yourself.  There were definitely moments of loneliness and pang of homesickness. Many bottles of wine and pints of ice cream were consumed  while “netflixing and chilling” with my cats before I developed a support system in my new city.

Take a trip alone, do that one thing you have always been wanting to do.  Start working on that bucket list that you keep adding to but never cross anything off. Stop making excuses to yourself about why now isn’t a good time.  You just need to save up a little money.  Just stop.  If I had allowed myself to do this…I would still be sitting in a cubicle in Indiana, hating my life.  Not because my life would actually be terrible but because I would KNOW on the inside that I was destined for something different but that I was too scared to make the leap and go for it.  You Know what I mean.. That feeling on the inside that you would just MEANT to be.

Los Angeles is my home now.  I feel grateful every single day for the amazing people I have met and the incredible experiences this city has provided.  This Indiana girl won’t be moving home anytime soon.

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

6 Things About Me That Have Nothing to Do With Being Gay

Lesbians: We’re Just Like You

My Dad called me the other day to tell me that while he loves my blog posts and YouTube videos, he thinks that there is a lot more about me that is interesting other than the fact that I am a lesbian.  He makes a good point!  So here I am – writing a blog and making a video about something other than “gay stuff.”

I honestly didn’t know how to pick a topic for this post/video at first because there are so many things that I am passionate about and things that I could share.  So, instead of picking one, I decided to talk briefly about 6 things that I think are cool and interesting about me.  I am just Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian, after all.

Don’t miss the video that I made about these 6 things at the bottom of this post 🙂

1. I am a certified Scuba Diver

Best.Hobby.Ever.  Seriously, every time I go diving I contemplate all of my life decisions and temporarily convince myself that I should move to a tropical island and become a dive master.  My Grandfather, Dad, and brother are all certified and have been diving for years so I guess it runs in the family.  I finally got certified in 2011 and I am so glad that I did.  So far I have been diving in a lake in Indiana (where I got certified), Key West, Australia, Belize, and Cabo.  My next trip is to Costa Rica in November so expect some amazing underwater go pro videos!

2. I speak Italian

Or at least, I did. I cannot believe it has been 10 years since I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and fell in love with the city, country, and the people.  Actually, after digging up these old pics and seeing what I used to look like, I can believe that it has been 10 years.

Like millions of other American students, I spent a semester studying abroad during my junior year of college.  Only, I was determined to go back…and I did.  I returned to Florence a few months after my study abroad semester ended to complete my degree required internship.  This time I lived alone while working the front desk/concierge at a luxury hotel in the middle of Florence.  I was the only American working at the entire hotel which allowed for a complete language immersion.  Man, it was so brutal at first. Going from only hearing Italian in a classroom to being forced to use it every day in real life.  At the grocery, the train station, with my colleagues…it was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  By the time my four month internship ended, I was pretty damn proficient at understanding and speaking the Italian language.

Turns out, not so many people in the US speak Italian so I have not had much practice since then.  I am rusty as hell but one day I am going to get back on the horse and re-learn the language.  When I buy my house on Lake Como, obviously.

3. I was a Tourism Management major in college

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Yes, that is an actual major.  Really, it was hospitality management.  But, more importantly, it just sounded fun and there was a ferris wheel on the brochure that I stumbled upon in the guidance counselor’s office.  Studying about travel?  Sign me up.  Most people went on to work in hotels or on cruises.  I just wanted a way to move back to Italy or travel as much as possible working for a tour company. Neither of those things happened for me (not for lack of trying) and I ended up working as an event manager for Marriott for 5 years after college. But don’t quit your dreams kids because that is not where my story ends, obviously!

4. Yep, I was a sorority girl

Girl, I know.  I lived in a huge mansion with 97 other girls in the Theta house at Indiana University for 3 years.  Man, we made some great memories and also killed a lot of brain cells.  I was clueless about my sexuality in college. I really just thought that I hadn’t met the right guy yet. If only I had known…

Also, if you can’t pick me out of these pictures….good.

5. I love reading

I am especially obsessed with motivational books (I refuse to call them “self help” books).  The Jen Sincero book in the picture above was pretty life changing for me.  I am also currently reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte.  Do yourself a favor and read these books.  I never used to be a big reader but I swear that after I turned 30, I became a huge nerd.  I actually look forward to Sunday afternoons with just my tiny dog and a good book. Step aside Netflix.

6. I have been single AF for 3 years

For the first six years of my “out” life, I pretty much went from one serious relationship to another with barely enough time to come up for air in between.  But times have changed and this girl has growed up (yes I meant to say growed even though it is not an actual word).   I have dated girls in the past three years but I have not actually been in a relationship.  I think there is something really special about enjoying your own company and feeling completely comfortable being “alone.”  I am not sure why people have such a need to always been in a relationship.  Some people deal with loneliness and insecurity when single.  I get that but if you can’t be a solid happy human when it just you then how can you be one in a relationship?  You are more likely to define who you are by who you are with and the role that you play in that relationship.  I don’t think that ever leads to a truly healthy partnership.

Anyway, enough making excuses for why I am single.  It has been an amazing experience getting to know myself but I am also completely open and willing to meet someone if the universe delivers.  I hope that happens one day because I am going to be a killer partner.

Check out my video to see my chat about these 6 things:

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Lipstick Lesbian Chronicles – My YouTube Series

Well, I did it. I recently joined the ranks of lesbian YouTubers.  It has been fun so far and I can now add “iMovie editing” as a skill on my resume.  Part of my YouTube channel is a regular series called “Lipstick Lesbian Chronicles” where I address issues specific to femme/lipstick lesbians.

You can expect humor, insight, vulnerability, and plenty of sarcasm in my videos.

Check out my new video below and subscribe to my channel to see more. 🙂

As always, thank you for supporting Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian,

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

What’s the Beef with “Lipstick Lesbians?”

Apparently I have a lot of opinions because I wrote another opinion piece that was published this week.  This time for the lesbian focused website AfterEllen.

Check out my thoughts below on the term “lipstick lesbian” and how feminine lesbians are viewed by other queer women.  Also, scroll all the way to the bottom for a YouTube Video that I made as a continuation.


I despise the term “lipstick lesbian”. The term feels dismissive of lesbians who like to brush their eyelashes with mascara and paint their lips. Yes, I care about my personal appearance: I wear makeup–even lipstick–and style my hair. Yes, I work out and have a fit body. I am an attractive, sexy lesbian.  Why does that make it seem as though my sexuality is open for debate?

The straight community uses the term “lipstick lesbian” to label girly-girl lesbians who don’t fit their preconceived idea of a run-of-the-mill lesbo  If uttered by a lesbian, the phrase is usually smothered with Hidden Valley’s Disdain Dressing. I tend to use the designation “femme,” because I consider myself feminine and lesbian… a concept that shouldn’t be too complex to grasp. I have noticed also that this term has less stigma attached. The only problem is that I have experienced an assumption that femme lesbians are only attracted to masculine or butch lesbians. Conversely, lipstick lesbians are assumed to only be attracted to other lipsticks. But, it isn’t that simple. I am a femme lesbian that is sometimes attracted to other femmes and sometimes butchier. I shouldn’t be put into a box, where I can only find one type of physicality attractive. So, stop trying to put Baby in the corner!

Wikipedia states that lipstick and femme are interchangeable.  Also, they had some interesting history about the origin of the term “lipstick lesbian”. The first recorded usage was in 1982 when Priscilla Rhoades, a journalist, wrote a feature story called “Lesbians for Lipstick” in The Sentinel, a gay publication.  Later, in 1997, an episode of the sitcom Ellen made the term mainstream after she explained it and called herself a “chapstick lesbian”.  Ellen is the gay Oprah, and we should all bow down as we dance with her.

I digress…Every femme/lipstick knows the perks and downsides of being a pretty and “straight-looking” lesbian in the eyes of the general public.  Our sexuality is merely a turn on for many straight men and we are constantly having to come out to everyone. We have heard and read about these topics before.  But, what I want to address is the loathing that comes from within the lesbian community directed at lipsticks/femme/highly feminine ladies.  Make no mistake about it…lesbians have a beef with lipsticks!

Believe me when I say that I, and all femme lesbians, are actual lesbians…like for real.  We’re not closeted dick lovers waiting for the chance to slide back into the ease of the heterosexual norm the minute things get rough. There is an assumption that lipstick lesbians tolerate or need attention from men, affirming our desire to be attractive in the traditional, heterosexual sense.  Just because we are assumed straight and get more attention from men, doesn’t mean that we welcome it!  In fact, we are more likely to be sexually harassed. Also, if we say we are gay, that doesn’t mean bisexual… or that we will end up with a guy (particularly if we have ever dated men in the past).  Bisexuality is an actual separate identity.  There needs to be respect for that and the fact that attractive, feminine lesbians do not go hand-in-hand with bisexuality.  When I say I am a lesbian, don’t respond with, “are you sure you aren’t bi?”, “but you are so girly!”, or “maybe you just haven’t met the right guy yet!”

A few months ago, when I went back to my hometown in Indiana for a friend’s wedding, my friends and I found ourselves at a popular gay club after the reception. I was in a dress and heels and was thrown some major shade when I walked in the door. They thought I was straight and crashing their lesbo party.  Like “do you know where you are?!”  or maybe she is just a “fag hag” – another offensive label that we place on others.  In fact, a young gay man approached me that night and asked me if I was bisexual.  I said “no.”  He said, “Aw too bad, my friend thinks you are cute” – pointing to a girl in jeans and a backwards hat.  I politely told him that while I am not bi, I am a lesbian and if his friend thinks I am cute, maybe she should come talk to me herself (ok, I can be bitchy).

It’s almost like others lesbians think that femmes/lipsticks aren’t lesbian enough.  Like maybe we are dressing up to conceal our gayness, as if lipstick is camouflage.  Or maybe it’s that they don’t think we are a reflection of the vast majority of lesbians. And when two femmes/lipsticks date each other, the contempt intensifies.  But why?  The feeling I get is that there is a perceived “holier than thou” complex and the thought that a lipstick won’t date anyone that isn’t as “girly” or “pretty”.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that some of the resentment may come from the fact that the general population finds it easier to tolerate lipstick lesbians…probably because they don’t look like lesbians.  Unfortunately, I too fall into the trap of stereotyping. Butch, soft butch, stone butch, bull dyke, stem, stud, boi, chapstick lesbian, sporty femme, femme, lipstick, doily dyke.  An image formed from preconceived notions manifests in my head for each of these terms. Lesbians aren’t immune to internalizing the gendered stigma and misogyny that runs rampant in our patriarchal world. Lipstick lesbians get hit on by women in the same fashion as they do by straight men.  The “love” side of love-hate sometimes looks like licking lips and raunchy and overly forward commentary.   Why is it that these derogatory comments primarily target lipstick lesbians?  And why is that seemingly accepted?  

Communities tend to latch onto traditional roles; a distinct separation between masculine and feminine. So, if you completely embrace the traditional femininity, you couldn’t possibly embrace the masculine.  

A scene from season 5 of Orange is the New Black is case and point:

Piper’s Mom – “ I always thought you would be the girl in the relationship but I guess there was always a healthy dose of testosterone in you so I shouldn’t be surprised.”

Piper – “Two steps forward and one step back but we are making progress.”

As a femme, I can only speak from experience.  No one lesbian can represent or be a reflection all 50 shades of lesbianism, and I hope we start embracing that.  We are all gay. Femme lezzies are card carrying lesbians too.

Maybe I have it wrong…maybe I shouldn’t hate the term lipstick just because others diminish it?  Maybe this means that we should embrace it even more. Just as the word “queer” has been reclaimed as inclusive and “bitch” as empowering, maybe we take back ownership of “lipstick lesbian”, redefining it’s meaning.  I am proud to be a lipstick lesbian, dammit.  We can be sexy, gay, and strong ass women..all at the same time.  

Full Article on AfterEllen

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

My Experience Being a Lesbian on FOX’s Love Connection

Well, that’s a wrap and what a ride it has been!  A little over a week ago, FOX’s Love Connection with Andy Cohen aired an episode featuring lesbians looking for love featuring yours truly.  It was such an incredible and empowering experience.  The support I received from my friends and family was unreal and the reaction from the media and strangers (I received many awesome messages) was also overwhelmingly positive.  If you missed the episode, check it out here:

Episode #8 (second half):

Watch the Episode

Also, I wrote some words (AKA a Commentary) for The Advocate that was recently published and summarized my feelings about this entire experience.  Please take the time to read below.  Also, don’t miss the recap video that I made with Alison (if you are wondering who Alison is, WATCH THE DAMN EPISODE, YO!) at the end of this post.

My Words for the Advocate:

When I was asked to be a contestant on Love Connection’s first lesbian episode, I said, “No. Hell, no.”

I have a corporate job and a conservative family, and the thought of potentially embarrassing my family and my vulnerable self on national television wasn’t appealing. But after I weighed my potential connection to the show against the many opinions of family and friends, I had a revelation: This was bigger than me and more important than any concern or criticism.

I was 23 when I realized I was gay. Many people say they knew they were queer long before they identified as such, but this was not the case for me. Sometimes I wonder, If I had been more exposed to different types of queer women at an earlier age, would it have been different for me?

The L Word is arguably the most successful lesbian-focused show ever aired (and it’s coming back!) and set the bar high with its six-season run. I only wish that the show had been around sooner, so young women like me could have access to a world where there isn’t a singular definition of a lesbian.

I am only one small piece of an enormous community. The LGBTQ demographic, like any other, is created by people of diverse ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds, with countless interpretations of beauty. Yet human nature encourages the impulse to seek out films and television shows that mirror what we look and act like. The media routinely mirrors heterosexual norms, which breeds ignorance and trivializes those who do not identify with the mainstream. Exposure to the LGBTQ community gives a tiny morsel of knowledge to those who don’t experience out LGBTQ people in their everyday lives.

Commonalities are the ties that bind us. I am a kindhearted queer person who wants to love and be loved. How relatable is that? The Love Connection episode that focuses on single queer women lends the LGBTQ community a platform to be seen not as “other,” but as relatable people — just like a friendly neighbor.

Maybe a mom will see me and the other amazing women on the episode and realize we aren’t any different from her daughter or herself. Perhaps she’ll have her own revelation, seeing that the portrayals of lesbians in popular culture are skewed and inaccurate. Queer women are not going through “a phase.” Lesbians are not bored heterosexuals. Maybe a parent who has an LGBTQ child — who just came out or has yet to — will now have a more informed and hopeful perspective. And they’ll feel more at ease because they know there are other people out there like their child. A mom or dad will be comforted knowing their daughter or son is and will be OK. Maybe someone who is in the closet, struggling and suffering, will see this episode and no longer feel alone.

As I reflect on my hilarious experiences filming Love Connection, I feel nothing but gratitude to be on the first queer women episode of that show. A Fox prime-time dating show, based on one that produced over 2,100 heterosexual episodes, will have its first lesbian seeking love. It’is more important now than ever for television and the media at large to continue the normalization of all LGBTQ individuals. People relate to people, not labels.

Link to the Commentary: The Advocate

Check out the Recap Video I made with Alison:

Also, peep my other videos and follow my YouTube channel here: Liz Baxter YouTube

More to come, this is just the beginning for me. 🙂

XOXO

Liz Baxter

Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Today there will be Lesbians on Love Connection with Andy Cohen

Holy Cannoli, today is the day!  I am both nervous and excited!  Tonight at 9:00pm on FOX, the Love Connection with Andy Cohen will make history by airing the first ever gay or lesbian episode. I made a quick video yesterday about how I was feeling (spoiler, I was kind of freaking out):

Also, check out my media page to watch my live interview on KTLA from yesterday and listen to my radio appearance on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM Radio show (Channel 102) earlier this week: https://yourfriendlyneighborhoodlesbian.com/liz-baxter-lesbian-media-love-connection/

I seriously cannot thank everyone enough for all of the AMAZING support!  I have been feeling so much love from friends, family, and strangers…my heart is so full.  I hope that you all enjoy the episode and I will be writing more about the whole experience soon.  ALSO, I will be making a YouTube video with one of the amazing women that I met on the show so follow my YouTube Channel if you don’t already.

Love you all!! XO

Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Saying Yes: My Catalyst to Manifesting

There has been a theme to my life recently.  Well I guess it’s been about a decade but I am just now putting it all together and giving myself credit. The theme: saying YES to as much as possible…including starting this blog.

I will try to not get too preachy here about how you all should live your lives and instead focus on my story and the amazing things that happened and doors that opened when I started saying YES to more things.

Mull this over for a hot sec…are you someone who says yes to most things or do you have an arsenal of excuses?  But really?  I was someone who had excuses.  Or as I saw them, very reasonable and grounded explanations for why I wasn’t doing certain things or why some things just weren’t possible.  “It’s actually better if I don’t because…”  Sound familiar??

I was raised to get a good job, work your way up, follow the rules, save for retirement, and don’t do anything too risky.  My parents wanted the best for me so they taught me to be smart but also to play it safe and stay on the beaten path.  I still have an inherent fear inside of me that flairs up whenever I stray off the path…at least initially.  But, that fear is more and more drowned out by the draw of opportunity and possibility.  The “What if?” version of glass half full.  Each time I take a chance and “say yes” to something that is both terrifying and exciting, the fear gets a little less and the excitement a little more when the next opportunity presents itself.

The universe is always providing opportunities, you just have to have the awareness to SEE them and then say YES!

Yes to Italy!

The first life changing “yes” that I can remember is my decision to study abroad in Italy and then go back again, alone, to work and complete my college required internship.  There is something magical about living in a foreign country alone, with some days where you don’t speak a word to anyone except strangers on the street or vendors at the farmers market.  That’s a lot of time alone…a lot of time to get to know yourself.  Will you be scared and lonely or will you embrace the vulnerable situation?  I didn’t realize it at the time but I fully embraced my vulnerability.

I realized that the world was SO much bigger than the tiny bubble that I lived in and frankly my mind was blown.  I went to a state university in a rural town in Indiana and lived in a sorority house for 3 years.  Previously, my time was spent doing the bare minimum to get decent grades in school so that I could have more time for beer pong and corn hole.  When I got back from Italy, things were different.  Beer pong was still fun but I started to think about what I really wanted to do with my life…so many exciting possibilities flooded my thoughts. It was like a part of my brain had been turned on that had never been used.  EXPOSURE…  The more you expose yourself to new experiences, the more “data” you collect to then choose from that helps you visualize and plan what you want to do with your life.  LIFE GOALS, dayum.

All of a sudden, a whole new realm of life possibilities were opened in my mind.  I didn’t have to just graduate college, get a good job, buy a house, have babies, whatever… I could travel the world, get a job where I would travel to other countries, LIVE in other countries, move out of Indiana…WHOA.

Yes to coming out!

Ok, y’all, I am not going to re-hash my whole coming out story because I already did that here: Turns Out…I’m Gay AF. Butttt, looking back, I realize that I accepted my gayness in my own head with much less of a fight than it could have been.  I mean, I could have tried to deny to myself or been too fearful to act on it or talk to anyone about it.  We live in a society of labels and sexual orientation is a large part of someone’s identity. I think sometimes coming out to yourself or the willingness to accept yourself as an LGBTQ individual is harder than coming out to others.  I am proud that I was able to say yes to being a lesbian without too much self-loathing or wasted time.

I actually think that being gay automatically put me into the “not normal” category which opened the door to me embracing being different, in general.  I realized that I wanted to live in a big city with more diversity and more a of gay community/presence.  And more hot lesbians, DUH!  Because of this desire, I set my goals on moving to California and not taking “no” for an answer. I spent a lot of time (YEARS) dreaming about living in California…the warm weather, amazing restaurants, the ocean, the hoards of beautiful gay people.  Which leads me to…

Yes to moving to CA and changing careers!

I had a Tourism Management major and had worked in a hotel for 4+ years after graduating.  I had been promoted from an assistant to a management position and for the entire 4+ years I worked in a cubicle in an internal office with no windows.  I worked nights and weekends usually totaling 50+ hours a week. Most days in the winter I would come in when it was dark and leave when it was dark, never seeing the light of day.  I was miserable.  I just knew this couldn’t be it for me.

I told myself that because ALL of my work experience was in hotels/hospitality (and my major was Tourism) that I couldn’t possibly be qualified to do a job doing something else, something different.  Something where I could work less and make more money.  It sounds too good to be true, right?  No, homegirl, no…I was a quick learner, a go getter, and successful at anything I really put my mind to…I just needed to believe in myself.  I always KNEW I would find a way.

It took me a long time to actually verbalize my goals for fear of ridicule or everyone harshing my mellow.  Which they did anyway.  California is too expensive, you hardly know anyone there, how will you get a job, how will you move your three cats (STOP JUDGING ME), etc. I would spend hours apartment hunting on craigslist in my free time just to envision myself living in California.  I pictured a life where I had a flexible schedule, made way more money, lived near so many cool things that a big city offers, near the ocean, plenty of time to enjoy life outside of my career.

I kid you not, I am currently living the life that I dreamed about (BOLD).  I manifested exactly what I wanted and I am living it.  I currently live in the heart of Los Angeles, 30 minutes from the beach, two hours to palm springs, 15 minutes to amazing hikes, and an hour or so from mountains and skiing.  The sun is literally shining every damn day…it’s a beautiful thing.  I have an incredible sales job that allows me to travel all over California and work out of my house.  I make at least 3X as much money than in my last job in Indiana, and I actually enjoy what I do!  Last year I won sales rep of the year and a free trip to Mexico. Seriously! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how badly I wanted the life that I am currently living and feel immense gratitude.  SO many things have fallen into place.

Yes to getting fit/crossfit!

My first year in LA consisted of many nights out drinking, smoking cigarettes, and indulging in any and all food that I wanted at any time with no restriction.  Lezbehonest here, I’m talking frozen stuffed crust DiGiorno pizza dipped in ranch at least 3x a week.  I literally did NO form of exercise for the entire year other than an occasional hike at Runyon (the easy paved path of course). Let’s just say, I was living FAR from a healthy lifestyle.

Crossfit people always annoyed me with all of their talking about crossfit, so I had always taken part in a one person boycott.  Bitter Betty party of one!  Anyway, fast forward to finally saying YES, I need to get off my lazy ass and get into a gym.  I bought a groupon to an all girls gym in West Hollywood right near my house.  I showed up the first day and realized it was a crossfit gym, oops!  I had bought a 20 pack so I told myself to keep an open mind and finish all 20 classes.  The first day I could not complete the workout and I spent the second half of the 60 min class sitting outside on the steps for fear of losing my lunch onto the floor…and all of my dignity with it.  Yet I went back…and again, and again.  By the 4th class or so, I was hooked.  Almost 4 years later, the crossfit community has been such a huge part of my life.  Most of my closest friends I met at the gym.  People from all walks of life that I would never have met otherwise.  Also, now I give a shit about how I eat and how I treat my body.  I am more fit now than I have been in my entire life, I drink MUCH less, and I haven’t touched a cigarette in years.  I used to freaking HATE going to the gym and now I look forward to it.  I get to hang out with my friends while doing something miserable and then commiserate with those same friends.  Sounds amazing right?

Yes to the Love Connection with Andy Cohen!

Oh boy guys, this is a good one.  When this opportunity presented itself I initially said no.  Hell no.  I listened to some not so positive feedback from others (AHEM, my parents) and made up a story as to why it was better for me NOT to do the show.  But obviously I came to my senses and I will write about my full experience in a future post…stay tuned!

The bottom line is…I obviously said YES to Andy Cohen and the Love Connection!  Looking back, it was truly a FUN experience!  Being on the first lesbian episode of the Love Connection ever and having it air on FOX…pretty damn cool.  Plus, I met some super cool people and who knows what doors it will open or further opportunities it will provide.  Also, NO , I don’t know what date my episode will air yet but I will let you all know as soon as I do!

Yes to starting this blog!

Which brings me to this website/blog and why I said yes to this as well, despite the MILLIONS of people who have websites or blogs about their daily life, things they like or dislike, and basically everything under the sun.  Initially I had thoughts (fears) such as: What sets me apart? Why would people want to read what I have to say? There are far more talented people out there, will I be just another basic bitch, etc.  I allowed these thoughts to win for a while and then I thought.. why the fuck not?  What do I have to lose?  Maybe someone will read just one story of mine and it might make them change the way they think about something in their life.  Maybe it will raise their awareness for just one day.  Maybe they will say yes to something they wouldn’t have and it will change the trajectory of their journey.  Who knows.

Yes every…damn…day!

It’s not just the major life decisions that impact your life but its the little things everyday.

Things I say yes to every day:

Eating healthy, staying fit, talking regularly with my therapist/life coach, sleeping a lot, not giving a fuck what others think, meditating, reading, visualizing my future, being grateful, calling my Mom, journaling, ETC.

I am living proof that if you say yes to things that good things can happen.

Have you ever thought about how one tiny event or chance encounter lead to something which lead you to someone that told you about something that completely changed the direction of your life?  The universe presents these types of opportunities to us everyday but most of the time we don’t notice them.  Take a week or even a day to pay attention.  Stop making excuses and start saying YES to what the universe is presenting.  Who knows…you could even end up on a stage with Andy Cohen one day.

That’s some deep shit.

XO Liz Baxter

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Twitter: @LizBinLA 

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LA Pride & Resist March 2017

Happy Pride month, homos (and allies)! This year the Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade was cancelled and replaced by a “Resist March.”  The political climate has been stormy to say the least and the organizer of LA Pride thought that our community should take a stand and show that we are resisting those who threaten to take away our protection and our rights.  I absolutely think this is crucial.  We need to stand up and demand to be heard and counted!  We are not going away and we are strong and deserving of more.

But whyyyyy did we have to cancel the parade??  Couldn’t we have done both?  A March Saturday and the Parade Sunday? But really.

The Resist March had a published start time of 8:00am and I pride (no pun intended) myself on being timely.  The first announcement on the loudspeaker came at 8:45am.  There were a string of gay white men (mostly…besides Ru Paul who was incredible!) that came on stage one after another, speaking to the crowd.  Most of the speeches were fiery and angry.  I cheered and showed my support.  But it kept going on and kept getting more angry and many of the speeches turned into political rants.

The news, my social media feeds, and many of my in-person interactions on a daily basis are dominated by people’s anger towards the POTUS and his administration.  The Resist March was no different.  And BELIEVE ME PEOPLE, I am on your side!

The early March crowd turnout was not huge and didn’t seem overly engaged (not a lot of cheering).  People just seemed to be waiting for the march to start so that that feeling of unity could begin.  This was how I felt.  We actually began marching a little after 10:00am.  Once the marching began, the atmosphere changed for the better.  The crowd  interacted with each other and marched together into West Hollywood.  It seemed that about half of the LA Pride participants just waited for everyone to arrive in West Hollywood so that the party could start.  I was towards the beginning of the march and when we got into WeHo around noon, the streets were lined with people and the bars and festival were already full.

LA pride was different this year.  There was a definite missing piece in the heart of weekend.  I know a lot of you are probably reading this thinking “This is not a time to celebrate, we need to be protesting and fighting!”  Damn, I agree but can’t we also have time to embrace WHO we are as well?  The parade isn’t just about a fun party, it is about love, acceptance, and support.  We are LGBTQA and we rely on the our close knit community to keep us strong. Every year, there are tears in my eyes during the parade as I see the PRIDE in people’s eyes to be out and comfortable in their own skin.  I just missed that.  Am I the only one?

Here are my “day of” thoughts in my very first awkwardly composed YouTube video.  If you like hearing the word “UM” a lot and enjoy a healthy amount of cleavage, you should definitely watch:

XO Liz Baxter

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Twitter: @LizBinLA 

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Turns out…I’m Gay AF

Coming out – 9 years later

At 23 years old, I literally woke up one morning and thought, “Holy shit, I am gay.” Seriously, it was so clear in my head that I almost uttered those words out loud. The night before I met up with a friend from high school that I had fallen out of touch with, had a lot to drink, ended up at a gay bar for the first time in my life, and made out with a super cute blonde girl. I kissed a girl and I liked it…Yep, I’m gay.

Although the thought had briefly entered my mind before (but I quickly dismissed because I would not imagine myself sexually with another woman, ick – HA!), I really had not figured it out until this day. I always dated men and I liked a lot of them but there was always a missing element. Butterflies. You know!? I had never felt butterflies from a guy. I just thought I hadn’t met the right one yet. Turns out….
So many people say that they knew they were gay long before they identified as such but this was not the case with me. I had close relationships with other girls/women but nothing ever felt like a sexual connection. Until it did…and the fog immediately lifted.

It actually felt damn good because things finally made sense in my head. This moment of bliss ended quickly because I started to think about the reality of the situation. Telling my friends and family and the rest of the world…wahhhhhhh. Nope.

It was 2008, a year after I graduated college and I had figured out I was gay. Within about a day I had my first girlfriend (obvs). I started leading a double life from that moment.

In my new lesbian life, I had almost all lesbian friends and was out and proud! I went to gay and lezzie bars on the regular, marched in the Pride parade, and I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH. It was so much damn fun. It was a rebirth of sorts and it felt freaking amazing. My life the way it was before, continued as normal…sort of. I did not tell any of my family, friends, or colleagues about my revelation… For a really long time. I told one or 2 people about 6 months to a year later but it was not widely known that I was gay for another 3 to 4 years.  I was fearful and ashamed.  Ever heard of the term “self-loathing homophobe?”  That was me.  I didn’t like the label or what people might think of me so I just avoided telling people.  Which meant a lot of lies.  I can only imagine that the suspicions were alive and well as I started to change the way I dressed. I mean…I wore vests and a silver wallet chain on the regular.  And you remember Zumiez, the mall skater shop?  I was a regular. *Gay AF*

Examples A & B:

 

I distanced myself from previous friends and kept my new friends away from my family. It felt so much easier to be myself with my new friends instead of explaining to everyone who had known me for years that I had been lying to them for my entire life and that I am actually someone completely different from who I had sold them on…or at least this is how I felt. I didn’t necessarily feel that people would reject me, I just felt like people wouldn’t understand…that this would be so out of the blue for everyone. And that it would be a disappointment. I underestimated good people in my life because the fear and guilt was so freaking huge.

THANKS CATHOLIC UPBRINGING, THANKS A LOT. *insert sarcastic tone*

To this day, there are friendships that I have never recovered…not because they found out I was gay and didn’t want to be my friend but because I distanced myself for so long that our lives went on in different directions. I feel sad for those friendships and those years that I led a double life. I could not have imagined at the time how good things would be “on the other side.” Things are so ridiculously good right now and I have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life that I can’t imagine feeling any type of fear telling someone that I am gay. It definitely helps that I moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis 4.5 years ago. When I moved here, no one knew me before so it was a clean slate and I was not afraid to fly the rainbow flag. Ain’t no way I was going to put myself in the awkward position of staying in the closet again. Being femme, people don’t know or assume that I am gay…so I have to tell them. So I quickly got a lot of practice at “coming out” to people. It wasn’t the first thing that I told/tell people but as a single, good looking (or at least I would like to think), girl in her late 20s, it didn’t take long for people to ask if I was married or have a boyfriend.

Them – “Are you married or do you have a boyfriend??”

Me – “Nope.”

Them – “Oh I should set you up with so and so.” or “what is your type in men?”

Me “Oh actually I don’t date men”….*Silence*

Them – “Oh. Well, do you have a girlfriend?” *exhale.*

That’s literally about how it went and still goes pretty much everytime I meet someone new.

Sometimes I forget about how hard the first few years were (thank you to my therapist for recently reminding me)…not because of how other people treated be but because of how much fear and shame ruled my life. Fear of disappointing people that I loved and and shame that I would never be the person that my family had dreamed I would be. In reality, none of my friends gave a shit and my family warmed up to the lesbian daughter idea quicker than I would have anticipated. I can’t say that my Mom was or is particularly thrilled but for the most part I believe that if I am happy, she is happy. And THANK YOU DAD for being amazing when I was scared shitless.
I am now out and proud, on the other side, and i’ll be damned but it did get better! So much better…

XO Liz Baxter

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Twitter: @LizBinLA 

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You Better Belize It!

I am a planner.  Which means I am also a researcher.  My roommate and bestie, Aimee, and I knew we wanted to go on a vacation that had tropical beach vibes but also some options for adventure.  I love to lay by the pool drinking daiquiris but not EVERY day.  I probably put a good 30 hours into internet research on which location would be the best for our trip.  We wanted someplace that neither of us had ever been.  After plenty of back and forth and indecision between islands in the Caribbean, we finally landed on BELIZE in Central America and I am so happy that we did!

We stayed on Ambergris Caye, a small island off the mainland, reachable by water taxi or tiny ass airplanes.  We chose The Phoenix resort, which turned out to be the nicest on the island.  The property only had 40 or so units and the “rooms” are actually huge condos all with ocean views and excellent amenities.  We had a waterfront unit with a wrap around patio that was incredible!

A note about Ambergris Caye and Belize in general: Most Belizians are POOR.  I mean really poor.  This island is not your typical tourist town with fancy or even basic amenities.  You see people living in shacks and in conditions that some would consider sub-standard.  There are no CVS stores or any chain or recognizable type of store.  There are little local hole in the wall shops (many with dirt floors) that are very overpriced (for example, $8 for a dozen eggs at any of the grocery stores).  Regardless, the people are incredibly warm and friendly to everyone, including tourists.  But let me re-iterate, this island is NOT fancy. Even at the nicest restaurant on the island, you can walk in wearing a bathing suit and cover up and fit right in.  Seriously.   You would be out of place in heels anywhere on the island.  I did not do my hair or wear one ounce of makeup the entire trip. I would have only if I had know that my roommate would be turning all of her video documentation into an incredible video:

BELIZE!!! from Aimee Warner on Vimeo.

Ambergris Caye is a perfect vacation spot if you are looking for a super laid back island with an authentic Belizian feel.  The food was YUM and not super pricey.  The diving (scuba) and snorkeling was ah-mazing!  Out the water front gate of our resort, I would walk just two piers down to the best dive shop on the island, Chuck and Robbie’s. The water was warm and the visibility was great!

Almost everyday we did some type of partial or full day activity including two day trips to the mainland for cave tubing, zip lining, and a Mayan cave exploration.  On the island we did snorkel, diving, spa day, a jet ski tour, and lots of eating and sun bathing!

I would say the single most memorable part of our trip was actually the excursion that I was least excited about, the ATM Cave tour. No write up can describe this “tour” with a description that would do it justice.  Just watch the video, ok?!  Let’s just say it was 5 hours of hiking in the jungle and over a mile into a pitch black cave THROUGH rushing water.  Imagine hiking in a stream, against the flow of the water, in the pitch black.  There had been so much rain recently that many parts were too deep to walk, so we swam.  In our clothes and hard hats.  The lights on our helmets were the ONLY source of light during our time in the cave.  But it was SO cool!

If you go to Belize at all, just do the damn ATM Cave tour.  We took a puddle jumper to get to the main island and it was included in the tour price which made it really easy.

If you are boujee AF and used to all-inclusive resorts or Americanized tourist spots, Ambergris Caye is NOT the destination for you.  If you have a sense of adventure and appreciate local culture and island life, check out this island and you won’t be disappointed!

XO Liz Baxter

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Twitter: @LizBinLA 

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