Virtual Valentines 

Since I’m spending today with those people closest to me, I thought I would give a shout out to some of the ‘things’ that are currently brining joy into my life.

My beloved Keurig, 

You are the last thing I think about as I fall asleep each night and the first thing my mind goes to when I wake each morning.  Our relationship is pretty much one-sided, but at least it’s consistently hot. 

To The Best New Show on television; This Is Us: 

Thank you for making us laugh and cry and care about a TV family again.  But most of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity to snuggle my youngest son for one uninterrupted hour every Tuesday night.

Dear 2013 VW Passat, 

You came into our life as a complete and utter surprise.  But ever since, you have provided a safe and reliable mode of transportation for R and me.  What a great feeling it is to jump in you for last minute road trips and adventures! Ps. We really love your ample legroom, sunroof, and kickass stereo.    Danke!

 And last, but certainly not least…

Cupid, 

Thank you for your persistence.  No matter how many times I duck your arrow, your aim continues to be spot on.  Don’t give up on me and I won’t give up on you.

xo 

 

 

 

 

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The Birth of a Queen

These days she has a solid sense of her own significance.

When people ask how she is doing, she replies, “Strong.”

She announces it in the tone of a queen, escorted with a satisfied smile.

She is a new kind of Queen.  Not the kind to execute her subjects, as they serve as reminders of all she is not.

She is no longer bound by the vines of materialistic pleasures, she is not measured by how many things she has purchased.  She rebuffs the shitty labels society reaches out and tries to slap across her chest like a name tag at a trade show.

Little by little she sought her truth and little by little pieces of it appeared.  Some had welcoming faces that she embraced fully, while there were others that were harder to look at…harder to accept.

But change could not happen before acceptance of herself entirely – demons and all.

She was surprised at how the life of royalty would be so ….

simple..

yet significant.

 

**photo credit: pinterest

A Single Mom Milestone

So, after five long years, I made my last car payment this morning.  It may not seem like a big deal to many, but for me it’s a considerable occasion.

In my 29 years of driving, I’ve bought several cars, but I’ve never paid one off.  You see, I am a self-proclaimed “car junkie”.  I generally get the “car bug” and end up trading in my current ride for something cooler.

This event is also special to me because during my marriage I went out and bought this car on my own (without his approval first). I brought it into my new life and one income household.  We survived the five months I was without a job.  There were some close calls where I thought i was going to lose it, but by picking up odd jobs and keeping in close communication with Wells Fargo, we made it through. Thankfully.

Now that it’s paid off, here are some things I need to do~

1.) Celebrate! Besides announcing it on social media, I also sent a text to a few close friends.  I’ve asked one of my girlfriends to meet me for a quick beer after work. The office car wash guy comes tomorrow and I can’t wait to have her all detailed and maybe even snap a photo.

We tend to get so wrapped up in our day that we forget to celebrate the minor things in life.

2.) Make a plan of what to do with that extra money each month.  I have already decided 1/3 will go into savings, 1/3 will go towards paying off old debt and the remainder will be used for “stuff”.

3.) Make notes to follow up with the lien holder in regards to the pink slip.  Once received, I will store somewhere secure.

4.)  Call my insurance company to see if I can lower my coverage.   I also plan on obtaining quotes from other companies.

If you have any other tips, please share!

 

 

 

 

 

Assembling My Tribe

March’s Full Moon was termed The Worm Moon by Native Americans because with the warm weather came the appearance of worm casings above the softening ground.

On a balmy evening the night of March 23rd nearly 40 women from all over Ventura County gathered under a starlit sky for another Women’s Full Moon Hike.

The feedback I received from last month’s was the perfect blend of positive and motivational-exactly what I needed.  In lieu of feeling anxious, like I did in my post here, this time I felt empowered.  This month, I felt a little more  Gandalf -like, leading the women up the hillsides of Ventura.

March’s group was twice as large as our group in February.  I saw several familiar faces and even more new ones.  This time some of the ladies came early to picnic.  We had another adventure trying to locate the elusive moon, but cheered in unison as it made it’s appearance just as we were leaving.  I was overwhelmed with euphoria the entire night.

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Studies show spending time with friends has a larger impact on our physical and emotional well-being than spending time with family.

When I was married to husband #1 (at the ripe old age of 22), I didn’t take much time out for me – let a lone my friends.  I completely threw myself in to the role of wife and mother for eight years.  I naively thought I didn’t need anyone else in my life, but my little family.  In retrospect, there are memories of feeling isolated and even a bit depressed.  If I could share some words of wisdom to 20-something year old me, it would be to maintain some level of independence and connect with other mothers, wives, sisters on a regular basis.

I believe when women continue to come together in a safe place – an immeasurable bond is created.  A sisterhood.  The benefits of female friendship are endless.

I am proud to say, I have found my safe haven, under the moon and within my tribe of these magnificent women that gather with me.

Our next hike is Friday, April 22.

 

 

The Snow Moon


Last month, I joined over 1,000 women on a Full Moon hike in Griffith Park.  This was poignant in my life for a few reasons.  First, the hike was to take place up the street from my ex-boyfriend, K’s house and at the park where he and I spent a lot of time.  We haven’t been in touch in over four months and I had his dry cleaning (long story).  Secondly, one of my goals this year was to venture out of my comfort zone more often. So, I decided to go on this hike alone. Since a full moon represents “release”, I decided this was a good time to rid myself of K’s dry cleaning.  I knew I had to let it go in order to move on.  I thought about dropping it by his house on the way, but with the suggestion from a few friends, opted to donate it beforehand.  He had plenty of time to contact me to arrange to get it back and hadn’t.  On my way to the hike I dropped it in one of those green bins you find in parking lots.  The physical act of ridding myself of these items was really a weight lifted off my shoulders.

While at the hike, I made a new friend and was also witness to sisterhood in its highest form.  The feelings of unity and empowerment among the women were just what I needed at the time.   I wanted to find a way to bottle it all up and drink it in whenever I could.  I wanted to provide this experience to others.

Driving home I devised a plan.  I wanted to host a hike that was closer to home and a bit more intimate.  I not only wanted a smaller group of women, but the experience had to be just as powerful.  I’m not a natural born leader, but convinced myself that this was something I could do (again taking me out of my comfort zone).  All it took was a little coordinating and creating an event invite on Facebook.

Native Americans referred to the full moon in February, as the Snow or Hunger moon because of the rough winters, which made hunting difficult.

Before I knew it Feb 22 was fast approaching.  When I got the reminder on Facebook, my first thought was, “Shit! I HAVE to go to this!”.  The day of the hike, I did have a little anxiety.  Would anyone show up?  Would they have fun?  Would they be able to tell I was nervous?  Also, I was also a little concerned about leading everyone up a mountain in the dark, ( I think it was partly because of the warning signs for the mountain lions and snakes).   About 25 women showed up and all seemed happy and at ease, thus helping me relax.  Once we got going, and with my daughter by my side, I felt confident in my leadership abilities.

We had a little game of hide and seek going with the moon, but once  we reached the point where we had a good view of the moon, we paused for awhile to soak it all in.  I loved listening to the women sharing things with each other.  You could tell some of them were already friends, others were just getting to know each other and there were even a few women who hadn’t seen one another in a few years!  As we descended back down the hill, this time I witnessed the women physically supporting each other through the steep, rocky sections.  Though we weren’t a group of one thousand; we were just as bad-ass.

Last week’s hike was beautiful in so many ways, but it is just the beginning.  My vision is for more women to come together and release the old, renew themselves and regroup with each other.  I want there to be deep conversations and the births of new ideas.  I hope we will support one another in every dream, goal and desire. I want unbreakable bonds to be formed.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and enjoyed something that had caused me worry just hours before. I uncovered another part of me, that I didn’t know existed; I could not only be a leader, but I actually enjoyed leading.

Our next adventure will be to witness The Worm Moon on Wednesday, March 23.

Until then!

xo

The February Experiment

img_5914-1    The month of February was called Februarius during Roman times.  Februarius was derived from the Latin term Februum, meaning purification.  The Romans held a purification ritual the day of the full moon in Februarius.  I found this intriguing because, in February I am going through a purification of sorts.

But for a better word choice, let’s call it an experiment.  I got to thinking, what would happen if I removed drinking and online dating from my life for the entire month (hey, it is Leap Year) of February.

What will happen if I stop drinking for 29 days?

I will probably save money and have 29 hangover-free days.  (insert 2 thumbs up emojis here).

What about if I delete my online dating accounts for 29 days?

I will have a lot more time and energy, less distractions, and maybe even more data rollover at the end of the month. (insert Big Smiley emoji here).

Over the last three years that I have been single, the majority of my recreational time has been spent either meeting friends for happy hour, going to concerts or online dating.   I can pretty much guarantee that had you seen me out at any of these events, I would have had a drink in hand.

So, I made a list of the pros and cons of consuming alcohol and as you can probably guess, the cons far outweigh the pros.  Drinking brings absolutely nothing positive to my life.  So why do I do it?  Why do I spend the money?  Why poison my mind and body?  I hope after this “experiment”, I can provide myself some real answers.

As far as dating goes – basically I am exhausted!  Online dating could easily be a full time job and if it were legal here in California, perhaps I would get into it (kidding).  But seriously, to put it simply,  my heart is in need of a sabbatical.

I have a tribe of friends supporting me by keeping me busy with things such as hiking, yoga, good food and meaningful conversation.  Plus, I am spending a lot of time alone and I am really enjoying my own company.  With that said, cheers to a new experience and the many changes ahead.  Who knows, maybe I will make this a ritual of my own…

Stay tuned.

xo

 

 

Men Without Kids Vs. Dads

After my six-month relationship ended, I decided to reevaluate  what I wanted in my next one.  K had never been married or had children and at first I found that to be an added bonus to an already amazingly, sweet man.  Little did I know, it would hinder the growth, I wanted in our relationship.  A wise woman once shared this with me: Men without children do not know the depth of love, like those who do have them.  In other words, they do not know how to really put another person’s needs, feelings, wants before their own.  This doesn’t make them bad or selfish people.  Just different.

I met a nice guy a month or so ago.  He was my age, divorced, no children and had a successful career .  He drove up from South Bay one Saturday to take me to dinner.  The conversation flowed , as we sat eating in a brightly lit Thai restaurant.   Though, I didn’t feel that immediate connection, like  I had with others in the past, he was smart, funny and attentive.  In other words, I was open to a second date.  After dinner and a friendly hug goodbye, he asked to see me again.  Agreeing, I sent him back on the 101 and then a few days later, I sent him a thank you card.  I wanted to let him know I appreciated the time and effort he made to treat me like a lady.  It was comforting to see there were still true gentlemen out there, or so I thought….

He asked me out again, but because of our schedules it took some time to set the second date.  With my son out of town the week of Thanksgiving for his football tournament, we made plans for that Friday.  I offered to go to him, obviously, since he had come up here the last time.

When I woke up Friday morning, I was looking forward to our date and getting out of Ventura for the day.  But after breakfast, I received a text from my ex.  He offered to split the cost of a rental car so I could surprise our son in Vegas.  I knew my date would be disappointed, but when I said goodbye to my son on Tuesday,  I had already disappointed him.

I called my date and began apologizing the second he picked up the phone.  His tone of voice, was less than supportive of my sudden change of plans.  I began to explain what had just transpired with my ex,  I felt like I was having to justify(did I mention he was an Attorney?)  my trip to see my son.  Not once did he tell me “no worries” or “I understand”.  I asked if we could reschedule for the following weekend, but he was “booked”.  When I hung up, I genuinely felt bad.  But then images of my son’s smile quickly replaced any guilt I had for canceling a date.

Once I arrived to pick up my rental car, I received a text that went something like this:

Him: You’re probably going to hate me for this, but …That was a really lousy thing to do.  Thank God R wasn’t injured or some other kind of emergency.  He didn’t  need you there.  You decided you would just rather do that than go on our date.  I’m profoundly disappointed.

 

My Reply: My children will always come first.  Thank you (I really, really wanted to add  MUTHAFUCKKAAAA here, but I didn’t).

I never heard from, nor did I contact Mr. Almost Second Date again.  I really couldn’t wrap my head around his way of handling the situation and I suppose he felt the same way about me.  We are not only from different planets (i.e. Venus/Mars), but perhaps different lifetimes.  I feel I am light years ahead of him in this life.  After all, I have carried three lives in my womb, arms and heart for the past 21 years.  So, perhaps it is time to look solely for those who share the same life as me.  The one where we, as parents come second to everything and everyone else when it comes to our children.  And to that I will always say, “no worries!” and “I understand!”.

Stay tuned..

xo

 

Navigating Online Dating, Part II

As I mentioned in Part One, online dating can quickly become overwhelming and discouraging.  I am here to share with you what has worked for me.  There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some steps you can take to ease the process; therefore making it more enjoyable.

I was going to start with How to Search for Mr. Right, but more than likely you will have a gazillion messages waiting for you after day one. So, lets get straight to messaging.

1.) Messages from Mr. Wrongs –  I sort through these fairly quickly deleting and/or blocking anyone who has sent something trivial or offensive.  However, if it appears a guy has taken the time to read your profile and write you a nice message, please take the time to thank him with a reply.  An example:  “Thank you so much for your kind words.  However, after reading your profile, I don’t think we would be a match….”

Believe it or not, men can take rejection.  Nine guys out of ten, will be appreciative of your response.  But lets be clear here, there is always Guy Number Ten and more than likely his profile is filled with blurry pictures from the 90’s of him riding a dirt bike, jumping out of a plane, surfing, posing with a large fish, sitting next to a chained up tiger, a few gym pics and last but certainly not least – the shirtless bathroom selfie.  His reply will probably go something like this, “I love music, eat food and breathe air. So why wouldn’t we be a good match?”  Don’t take the time out of your busy day attempting to explain yourself.   There is no point in engaging Action Jackson, his ego or his chest.

2.) Replying to Mr. Might Be Right –  When you receive a message from  someone who piques your interest, take your time and read his profile in depth before replying.  Note things in common and also look for something to mention in your reply that will make him laugh.  When looking at his pictures, keep in mind physical traits that are/aren’t important to you  and make sure those aren’t being “cleverly” hidden (i.e. not showing teeth when smiling, no full body shots).

3.) Moving from the world of Online dating to the real world –  I think it’s a good idea to move fairly quickly to the next step of exchanging numbers.  Texting is a great way to get to know someone, their sense of humor, spelling skills and most importantly their emoji-use. 😉

After a day or two of texting, it’s time to move on to the Phone Date.    Speaking on the phone is very important before agreeing to meet someone.  You can get a better idea of the chemistry between the two of you.  Plus, it can offer a little relief to both parties- I don’t know about you, but if I were a guy and the hot little blond I had been texting the last few days ended up having the phone voice reminiscent of a 60 year old, male chain smoker, I may rethink inviting her for coffee and instead  drag her to a karaoke bar..  But that’s just me…

Which takes us to the next step… “The Initial Meet Up”.  Stay tuned…

 

Navigating the Rough Waters of Online Dating Part 1

The world of online dating is a completely different experience for a woman than it is for a a man.  The second a  woman signs up for a dating sight, she is basically “thrown to the sharks”.  I know this because one of my very first online dates worked for a site and he was kind (or maybe “buzzed”) enough to share some of the tricks of the Online Dating “trade”.

Once a female has created her online profile, she will appear in every man’s Search (whether she matches his criteria or not) for the first few weeks of membership.  With all of that exposure, she will then be flooded with messages.

Online Dating Guy also shared these two ploys with me:

1.) Inactive profiles show up in searches to make it look like there are more members than there actually are.

2.) Your “online now” light stays on long after you logout (which could potentially get you into trouble down the road).

After a few days, you may begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of your fan mail.  But don’t throw in that towel just yet.  Let’s try and organize the process, shall we?

Choosing your site – First off, decide if you have it in your budget to pay for a service.  As a single mom, it is hard to justify $20.00 or more per month to subscribe to a dating site.  In the beginning, it is probably best used towards gas in your car or treating the kids to pizza on a night you are too tired to cook.  With that being said, I recommend going with a free site at first.

These are the sites, I have tried and my opinions of them:

Match (overpriced and unorganized)

Tinder (often referred to as a hook-up site)

Okcupid (so far, so good)

POF (ew, just ew)

Zoosk (lame)

DBG (not enough members, yet)

EHarmony (ridicuously long process and price).

If you’re feeling intrepid, pick two.  Personally, I have had the best luck with OKCupid and Tinder.

OKC offers a free or paid service and is famous for it’s quirky questions that range from super irrelevant to super invasive.  But by answering them you up your chances of finding a good match.

Once questions are answered you can narrow down your choices using the percentage you match with someone.  There is also a really great search feature which allows you to narrow members by age, location, height, and so on.  And with a paid subscription, you get an even greater search tool (for picky daters like me) and are notified of who “likes” you.

My favorite feature of OKC is the Invisible Browsing.  When I find someone I am really excited about, I tend to read and re-read their profile.  I want to show my friends to get their opinion and before you know it I appear to be Cyber Stalker of the Year. To avoid giving off a premature Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction vibe, just screen shot their profile and pics. By doing this, you can safely refer back to their profile and show off his photos to your friends(and he won’t be concerned for the safety of his pets).

Personally, I have had two boyfriends in the past 3 years and met both of them on OKCupid.  So, perhaps Cupid isn’t so Stupid after all.

Tinder gets a bad rap.  It’s like the slutty step-sister of dating sites.  But I like Tinder.  It’s not only free, but YOU are in charge of who can message you. The only men who can contact you are the ones you  swipe right (like) to.  This saves a lot of time and frustration, as I tend to be a magnet for the guys who have profile pictures that look like they were taken by the local police department or at a retirement home.

In order to create a profile on Tinder, you have to have a Facebook account.  That feature adds to the chances that Tinderfella’s age, photos and friends are legit.  Obviously, this isn’t always the case, so use caution.    I also appreciate the fact mutual FB interests and friends are displayed.  This has been very helpful.  For example, if I am checking out a guy’s profile and I see we have a mutual female friend in common, I will contact said friend to verify how she knows him before I swipe right.

I am still friends with some really great guys I met on Tinder.  If it weren’t for Tinder, I probably wouldn’t have had my first (and only)PBR with a PSB (Pro Snowboarder) or  learned how to play a card game called Tonk with an Ex-NFL pro-bowler, in addition to some other really cool experiences.

Tinder and online dating in general is what you make it.  You are in control.    Make it fun and easy.  But don’t be easy!

Stay tuned for Part II.

 

 

 

My Experience With A Chemical Peel

Like any other newly divorced woman in Southern California, I decided to treat myself to a little something “just for me”, now that my divorce is final.  As tempting as it was to head to The Beverly Hills Institute for a new rack, I chose something a little less invasive on my body and my bank account.

I made an appointment at Pure Skin Day Spa for a chemical peel.  Those two words immediately brought a picture of myself with an itchy, beet-red, peeling face.  I cringed at the thought, but trusted Katrina and looked forward to the fading of my fine lines, fresher skin and my freckles becoming more pronounced and less like one big blob.

We decided on The Perfect Derma Peel.  First, Kat cleaned my face, throat and upper chest with alcohol.  It burned slightly.   Then she painted on  the ‘chemical’ to the same areas-concentrating on my dark spots on my cheeks.  It stung lightly for about a minute and the smell reminded me of (surprise!) burnt skin.   Finally, she used a device which blew air all over the treated area.  The entire process took about 20 mins!  She sent me home with two medicated wipes, a tinted SPF cream and a peel cream.

She instructed me not to do anything to my treated skin at all for the rest of the day.  The next morning, I applied one of two medicated wipes, after my shower and the SPF cream I was given.  I wore a tinted moisturizer in lieu of foundation and applied the rest of my makeup as usual.  My skin look tanned and felt tight.  I had a concert to attend that evening and was concerned about the peeling.  But, per Kat,  the peeling wouldn’t start until day 3!  That night I washed my face and used the second wipe and peeling cream.

Day 3 – Slight peeling around my temples and mouth.  Nothing to be horrified about.  I applied the peeling cream and SPF again and wore the same make up as before.  I did feel as though I had a sunburned face, but otherwise all was good.

Day 4 – Today, I woke up to noticeably more peeling.  My 9 yr old son noticed right away and kept trying to help my peel move along. But no peeling the peel!!!  You must let the skin fall off naturally.  I did use tiny scissors to “trim” the long, hanging pieces of skin

Day 5- Same amount of peeling as day before, a little burning and itching.

Day 6- I feel the peeling today was the worse yet.  I found splashing my face with cool water, patting dry and applying both creams brought relief.

Day 7 – The peeling tapered off and I wore full makeup to Happy Hour.  My skin looks brighter, feels tighter and my dark spots have lightened up considerably.

Day 8 – Saw Kat for my follow up.   My skin is glowing! Dark spots have faded significantly and my freckles look more like they did in my youth.

I am very happy with my results and even happier that my bank balance and bra size haven’t changed 😉