From playing on the streets of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California to performing on Dancing with the Stars, Andy Grammer has a lot to be optimistic about. The “Honey I’m Good” and  “Keep Your Head Up” crooner had our hearts in his pocket at first listen and even has Taylor Swift smiling! Andy gave ME the details on his music career and his take on where to find the perfect guy.
ME: When did you figure out you wanted to pursue music?

AG: I wasn’t exactly sure it was music, I just knew I wanted to create and affect people. From a very young age I was learning how to impress people— like by juggling or magic and learning how I can make someone smile. When I found the guitar I was like, “Whoa, I can make you smile!” Once I kind of latched on to that, that was my favorite mode of creating.

ME: So you would go out to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and play your music? Tell ME what that was like?
AG: With music and this rock star kind of ideology in how this works, you can get caught up in a bunch of other things besides, “Do people like me when I play music?” There are all of these other things like, “I have to look at shoes, I think that will help,” or, “If I had a video concept, that will make—” that’s all important too, but when you go out to the Promenade you can just point-blank say: “Alright, I play music. People either like it and they stop and give me 10 bucks for a CD, or they don’t.” It’s the most basic element of, “Do you like what I’m playing,” and you can really start to figure out where you stand with people’s ears. It’s a great, great way to develop if you go out in the street and just have people tell you whether they like you or not.

ME: That’s super scary! How did you get  the nerve to put yourself out there like that?
AG: You just gotta take a leap; take the leap in putting yourself out there. You have to be one of those people who is willing to take the burn of having someone come up to you say, “You need to turn down, dude, like we’re just trying to enjoy our food and you’re bothering us.”  Handle the lows and you can also get some highs which is like there’s 100 people around you all clapping to a song they didn’t even hear until today, and now they all want to buy a CD. There are highs and lows, and I think that’s the art industry for everybody. 
ME: People kind of do that through YouTube.

AG: Yeah, exactly YouTube does that too. That’s actually really interesting, and that wasn’t quite as big when I was really in my intense development stage. Now it seems like, oh my God, everyone is doing that!

ME: Speaking of YouTube, I was reading through the comments for your song “The Pocket,” and one guy said you rep the guys who don’t think with their, ummm, let’s say man-parts. Now that we know there are at least two of you out there, where do you think girls can meet more guys like you?
AG: It’s funny, to say I don’t think with my man-parts is like— that’s a little bold. I think you just want to find someone who is at least trying. We all have our demons and the things that aren’t the best about us. Hopefully you’re at least trying to work on them— that’s all I can say that I am. I wrote that song and I mean it, you know, but that’s a good day. What I will say is that I genuinely try to be a good guy, and I think there’s a lot of guys out there like that. I don’t think we’re in short supply.

ME: I believe that. You actually touch on not being the perfect guy all the time in your song “Ladies.
AG: Yeah I think there is no perfect guy, there is no perfect girl. I think you just want to be awake and at least try to be a better person, that’s the goal.

ME: “Keep Your Head Up” is a big hit for you! What’s the story behind it?  
AG: So I was out at the Promenade and I hadn’t sold enough CDs at all. I was paying my rent out there so it would get kind of tense near the end of the month when you have so many days left at the Promenade and you’re like, “I need to make this money.” So one day I didn’t sell any and I went home and wrote myself a little pick-me-up track.

ME: So it really ended up helping you out too!
AG: That’s so funny, the way the world works. Thank God I didn’t sell any CDs that day. If I sold CDs I wouldn’t have written that song that’s helping me get on tour with everybody right now.

ME: It’s a great song for everyone a bunch of situations whether they’re facing graduation or trying to figure out how to follow their dreams.
AG: Yeah that’s the thing: It’s always gonna be hard so you might as well just smile. it’s never going to be completely fine. I don’t think that’s why we’re here.

ME: So how do you keep your head up when times get tough?
AG: That’s a great question. I keep my head up by taking in inspiration from other people. So the band that I’m opening for, I’ll go and watch their sets and just really enjoy what they’ve put into it and how it’s working, or listen to other artists and see what they’re doing. When I’m home, I love to see comedy. I love to be inspired; it always helps me stay excited.

Tell ME: Which Andy Grammer song are you in love with?
-Ashlyee Hickman

Cute couple kissingGraduating high school brings much excitement … and much stress.  You have colleges to choose from, student loans and the haunting question of to break up or not to break up?  Sometimes that diploma can look a whole lot like a death certificate for a relationship with your high school sweetie.  But whether you’re concerned about surviving a long-distance relationship or wondering how sharing the new atmosphere will change you, ME got the scoop on how to make the transition a whole lot smoother.  We put together a panel of high school sweethearts (now married) and got them to share their expert advice on making your love last past graduation!
Think ‘Me before we’ 
Chances are you’ve been told to make sacrifices for love. After all, Bella gave up human life for Edward, Rose gave up a life of wealth for Jack, and Juliet…well, you know.  But the truth is at this point in your life, you should be a little selfish!  As tempting as it may be, don’t settle for a school just because it’s mere miles away from your Boo.  If your dream school or awesome career takes you far away from home (and your special someone), you should pursue it if possible.  If you’re in a supportive relationship, your partner will understand.  Similarly, even if it hurts, try not to be too large of an influence on your partner’s college and career plan.
“Once you start developing a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship…this is your other half and you kind of lose, I think, your identity,” says Micah Elliot, who’s been married to her high school boyfriend, Bruce, for more than 20 years. Micah is a strong believer in independence, pursuing your own dreams before you share dreams with another person. “You have to do things as an individual, I believe, before you can do things together, because you need to figure out what you want out of your life before you can go ahead and say… ‘Would you like to share this particular life with me?’” says Micah, adding that you have know yourself first.
Kristen Harris, who’s been married to her high school boyfriend, Thomas, for two years, has similar advice.  “Be yourself first, make yourself a priority, don’t make your relationship [a priority].”

Take breaks 
“I think we should take a break,” are seven words no one wants to hear.  However, sometimes taking a few breaks can make for a better relationship in the long run.  If you’ve been with someone for the last few years, there are  a whole lot of fish in the sea that you’ve never come in contact with!
Monica Riddle and her husband, Darren, who have been married 21 years and have dated since sophomore year of high school, firmly believe that it is necessary to date other people to affirm that you have found the person you want to be with forever.  They both went on dates in college, but never dated one other person regularly.  Micah and Bruce went the same route, emphasizing the importance of needing to “experience different people.”

While Kristen attended Cal State Fullerton and Thomas worked, the two decided to take breaks from their relationship.  Unlike the other couples interviewed, Kristen and Thomas chose not to date others, using the break more as time to work on themselves.
So what’s best for you and your beau?  That’s a serious talk every couple should have before heading out to college or the work force.  If you’re both comfortable with the idea of dating other people, go for it, and if you’re comfy with exclusivity, don’t fix what ain’t broke.
Be a Wing-woman 
If you and the bf choose to be with each other exclusively, make sure you keep yourself in check.  Sure, get the whole college experience: Study hard and party hard, but when you’re partying it up, don’t put yourself in a sitch where cheating is even an option.
Keep good company. If your best gal pals have boyfriends back home, you’ll be less likely to act like a single girl, and you won’t constantly be jealous of people who do live the single life.  “It’s all in who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with single people, I’m sure it would be very hard,” says Kristen, adding with a grin, “I was a good wingman for a lot of my friends.”
Accept change
Take a moment to think about what you were like four years ago … totally different right?  Different clothes, different music interest, different views on the world and lifea lot can happen in a matter of a few years, and college is when that gradual process of “growing up” goes for a speedy finish.  So when you’re changing from a fabulous girl to a fabulous woman, make sure you account for the fact that your significant other is going through all the same changes.

“Even though you think ‘I’m gonna be this person for the rest of my life,’ when you’re in high school, you’re not, and neither is the person that you’re with, so in order to make it work you have to respect the changes that they’re making, respect your own changes, and not try to be somebody that you’re not,” says Kristen.  Never pretend to be “old” you, just because that’s who your partner fell in love with. If you’re meant to be, he’ll be just as crazy about ‘new’ you.

Hold the wedding bells for a sec 

You’re certain he’s the one, and seriously considering swapping your grad gown for a wedding gown this summer, or maybe the summer after that. All ME’s couples agree bad idea. “I have a couple of friends who married their high school sweethearts and now they’re getting divorced. It’s sad to see at such a young age… Before you hit thirty, to already have a divorce. They thought they could change the person [their partner was becoming],” Kristen said. “Enjoy your youth!” Micah said. And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?  As cliché as it is, it’s true: You’re only young once.  As magical as marrying your high school sweetheart can be, it’s also a lot of work.  It takes patience, communication and a ton of luck.

So soldier on or rock the single life, either way the “real world” can be just as full of romance as the halls of your high school.

-Karina Stow

Photo Credit: Ronnie Gavelin

Prom DateWhen it comes to Prom, sometimes people just don’t get it and you have to take things into your own hands. Maybe you even have to ask them right upfront, and trust ME, we’ve got some great ideas for you. If you are of the timid type (don’t worry, plenty of us are) and need some helpful tips about how to drop a hint you’ve come to the right place. Read these simple tips and you’ll have him or her thinking about you in no time.

Write This Down
Leave notes everywhere in their path. Have one saying “Someone wants to go to prom with you” another perhaps saying, “He/she is closer than you think.” Then leave little presents that will remind your potential date of who you are. Make sure they are specific so that they don’t think it is someone else! Either way, you’ll put prom night, and you, on the mind.

Is This a Setup?
It may seem corny, but try to set your friends up with his/her friends. Or if you know your friend is interested, bring it up to them and add, “How fun it would be if we all went together?” You’ll bring up the idea of how easy it would be to all go as a big group. Lots of guys want prom to be simple, and what’s easier than taking someone plus having friends there as a back up?


Something Seems Fishy
If you are planning to eventually ask him/her if they don’t get the hint, this is a great starting point. Leave goldfish crackers everywhere; their locker, outside their car, even at their lunch table. They will eventually catch on that something is happening and be curious. Follow it up by asking them out with the classic “Let the Fish do the Talking” scheme.

The Casual Mention
In your regular conversation with your, hopefully, date to be, mention the ways that your friends are being asked to prom and how you are still waiting for your date to ask. If they pick up on it, they’ll realize they need to get to it and ask you already! If not, follow up by asking who they are going to prom with or make a joke about how much fun you’d have together. 

Admire From Afar
If the person you want to ask you is more of a secret desire then you need to start building a friendship now, but don’t start it off with prom. Put yourself out there! They will be excited about a new acquaintance that cares about things other than the big dance, and you will be fresh on their mind when they think about who they want to take.

The Girlfriend Card

Your friends are there for a reason. If (and ONLY if) they are mutual friends with the person you have an eye on, have them put in a good word. Your potential date may not even know, or have picked up on the fact that you are interested. Sometimes all it takes is a little name drop from your friends to get the ball rolling. You could even ask them to post a link to ME’s stellar prom ask outs on their Facebook wall! This can only be used once, however, seeing as you don’t want to freak him/her out or overwhelm them.

It’s the Little Things
Talk, but not constantly, about your prom details. Make it blatantly obvious that you are dateless, and ask if they are excited.  Talk about how much fun it’s going to be, but then change the subject after awhile. Make sure you’re pre-date conversations are comfortable so that the other person can think about asking you without nerves getting in the way.

Sneak Attack
Go out on a pre-date before prom! Ask if they want to see a movie or go to the school baseball game that weekend. Don’t come right out and say it’s a date, that way if you both have fun it will definitely get them thinking about how awesome it would be to go to the dance together. They may even think it was their idea in the first place! And, on the plus side, if things are awkward you’ll realize that it wasn’t worth it and will still have time to look for a new prom prospect.

Don’t Seem Desperate
You don’t want that special someone to think you are drooling over them. When you ask who they are taking, they will most likely ask you the same question in return. Say you have a few options, but there’s someone that hasn’t asked that you’ve got an eye on. This puts you more in control, but also signals to him/her that you’re a bit mysterious. This way you’ll be on their mind until they break down and ask you.

Friends are Key
If you have mutual friends, talk to them and try to get some insider info. They won’t be alarmed, and will most likely have the answer. However, be aware that the fact you asked will probably get back to him/her. This is a plus because it means that they will know you are interested. And if they already have a date they will still think it’s sweet you thought of them.

Come Out and Say it!
If all else fails, tell him/her you want to be their date! Say how excited you are for prom and mention you’d love to go with them. Although this may be scary at first, remember to be confident. People respond well to those who aren’t afraid to say what they think. Either way, you’ll feel great about the fact that you said what you needed to say and didn’t beat around the bush.
-Megan Stein

Just Smile

 Prom. Just the thought of the word scrambles nerves and sets your brain spiraling, thinking about the perfect dress, renting a tux or getting the dream girl/guy to agree to go with you. Asking someone tothe big dance can be stressful, especially if the person you want to ask is completely oblivious to your maybe not-so-subtle hints (don’t worry, we have awesoME tips for that, too). For all of you bold girls and guys who need a little direction, let ME help you out with these creative takes on some classic ask outs that will wow your date-to-be and make it absolutely impossible to say no!

The Element of Surprise
This one is usually foolproof for girls. Ask her to get lunch with you, or if you hang with her often, offer to be the driver for the day. Tell her she has something on her face and to look in the mirror. Once she pulls it open, have “Prom?” written on the mirror in lipstick or something else that is a bright color and can be easily removed. She’ll be so taken aback that she’ll have to say yes!


 Cute and Cuddly  
Take a quick trip to Build-a-Bear Workshop, or a similar store where you can create stuffed animals, and pick him/her out a furry new friend. Record a message asking them to the dance and stuff it in the bear. Your prospective date will love that you went out of your way to make something especially for them! Also, get creative with the animal. Sometimes unconventional is better, so look at the funny choices, like dinosaurs or elephants, too.

Let the Fish Do the Talking
The classic “Laguna Beach”
Homecoming scenario may seem a bit overdone, but it’s a crowd pleaser. Go to a store, such as Wal-Mart, and buy a goldfish and bowl. Put it in his/her room (after getting permission from the parentals first). Add a sign that says, “Of all the fish in the sea, you are the one for me. Prom?” This can also work if you hint by trailing goldfish crackers around places they usually go, such as a locker or a classroom seat, so that your potential date will be confused and looking for an answer. If you need tips on how to strategically place a hint, ME’s got you covered on that, too. 

Make a Statement
If you are in with the student administration, ask if you can make a special request over the intercom whenever your
 particular school does announcements during the day. Have the principal announce you, and then ask him/her for everyone to hear! This one is pretty gutsy, but it will get people talking about it-and your date won’t be able to stop thinking about your fearless attitude.

Trouble with the Law
This one would be better for the guys. Find an old parking ticket envelope or a good substitute, such as a brown envelope you can find in your school office. Place it on his car windshield with a note inside that resembles a parking ticket. Fill in the proper spaces, such as where the line says, “Violation” write “Prom?” For the date, enter in the date of the dance and then write two separate check boxes saying yes or no. He’ll love that you freaked him out for a bit and will laugh at your familiarity with the law.


‘X’ Marks the Spot
 Make a treasure map that serves as a scavenger hunt for him/her. Leave the map on their doorstep on a weekend afternoon (talk to a friend first to make sure they are available and have someone to help them out) and ring the doorbell. Leave clues around your favorite places in town so that they start to pick up on who it may be. At the end of the hunt, have a sign that says, “Taking you to Prom would be the best treasure of all,” right before the entrance to the final spot where you will be standing. Not only will they get a fun day out of it, but also they’ll love the extra effort you put into your invitation.

Parking Block
At the end of the school day, rush out to your car where you will have “Prom?” decorated on the windshield. Go to his/her usual parking space and block them in. After they get frustrated for not being able to leave they’ll turn around and see you in your car and laugh at your cleverness. It also works to decorate their car before they get out for the day, but make sure not to do any permanent damage!

Up, Up and Away
Fill up his/her entire room with balloons and stick a note in one of them that says,  “
Prom? with your name and a yes/no check box. Put as many balloons inside as possible, after getting permission first, and put a sign outside their bedroom door that says, “Start popping, but be careful. There’s a message in one.” Though it’s a bit obnoxious, it’ll be fun for the person and once they find your note they’ll laugh about the whole scenario and be dying be your date.

Working Class
If you know that they work at a low-key job and get alone well with their managers, or if you work with the date-to-be, this one is great. Pull up to their place of employment with a huge sign asking them
to Prom. Have a friend drive and use a megaphone to start a bit of a scene. Once your date comes out, they will be so surprised and humored at this display that they’ll have to say yes.

Starry, Starry Night
Buy some glow-in-the-dark sticky stars to put on their ceiling. While they are away, sneak into their room and write, “
Prom?” with your phone number underneath it above where their pillow is. When they turn their light off to go to sleep they will look up and see your invitation in the stars. They’ll text you right away and tell you yes!

A Floral Invitation
Fill her locker with flower pedals for the first hint. When she goes out to her car, have flower pedals all over the top and on the windshield. Be ready for when she gets home from school and be waiting with a huge bouquet of the same flowers and just come out and ask her! It may be less creative, but what girl doesn’t love flowers?
—Megan Stein