Single Mom Adventures: Recoil

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Surprise - I signed back up for a few dating apps recently just to dip my toe back into the water and see what was out there. A few days after being on one of the sites, I received a "like" from a woman who was age-appropriate and "my-type" who lived near me! WHATTTTT! This never happens and I was so excited to start chatting, especially when she asked for my phone number so we could actually text and not go through the app.

But not soon after, I hit the hard realization that I just was not ready at all. The texts came often and she shared pictures of herself (innocent selfies) and talked to me about what she was doing with her day. She chatted ALOT about herself, rarely asking questions about me... which I was totally okay with but after a while, what do you really say except "Nice!" I was getting overwhelmed and bored at the same time and then my heart started to ache and I really missed my ex. The "connection" with this girl just wasn't the same as what I had - nor was it any better.

So after she asked me to send her a picture of myself (I was in sweatpants standing in the middle of the grocery store) I decided enough was enough and I'd have my first chat break-up. Honestly, this all feels super ridiculous. I sent her a quick text letting her know that I was feeling overwhelmed and although I enjoyed chatting with her, I just wasn't ready. She said "no worries and best of luck" and that was that. Immediately after I felt alone. Did I blow my one chance at something else? UGH! So I signed up for Whisper after seeing an advertisement for it. On Whisper you can post anything you want - but a lot of people use it to post "secrets" that they want to get out but don't want to tell people they're close with. This is all done anonymously.

I threw up a post basically saying I was worried I'd be single forever and no one would love me again. I quickly got some random likes and chat requests (there are some major creeps out there so beware ... A/S/L anyone?) but then one came in from a guy asking a bit about my back story. I kept it pretty vague (didn't let on that I was a lesbian) and we chatted about my situation and his experience with his parents post-divorce. We didn't talk for long but I had a better conversation with him in 20 minutes than I had with dating-app girl over 3 days. I don't know if it's because it's anonymous and I won't have to face the fact of potentially "meeting" him, or that he was a guy and I wouldn't be interested anyways but it all made me realize that connections can be anywhere. And I was able to realize I didn't have one with someone and ended it before I settled and was even more unhappy.

It's a scary thing - saying "No" to love/an opportunity when you feel lonely and discarded anyways. It would be the easy thing to keep hanging onto that person as a way to boost your self esteem or feel loved. I've done that before, though, in a relationship and it was awful. I used someone else to get over a super intense love I had for someone previous - and although it did the trick, I hated myself for it the entire relationship. I felt indifferent towards that relationship but I loved being loved. And when my heart finally healed from my first love - I moved on from that relationship because it served it's purpose, to get me over a broken heart and make me realize that I can still be loved. What a shitty shitty thing. I refuse to do that again.

Not going to lie though, I miss being married. I miss the companionship and having a partner to do the "boring" things in life with. I loved waking up and going to the grocery store together or running errands. I loved having someone to talk with during the hardest of times, someone that told me they loved me, someone to plan a future with. And now it's all gone and I feel empty sometimes especially when my girls are with my ex and I'm all alone in my apartment.

Any encouraging words? How do I keep hope that I'll find love again?

Single Mom Adventures: C25K Week 4 - Is this Failure?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Currently, I'm writing this while I chomp on junk food and diet Coke. I want to be mad at myself for not getting through the 4th week of the Couch to 5K program, but I'm not. This isn't the end all be all for me. You might remember that last week I skipped the 3rd day of Week 3 of the program with the promise to make it up this week, which I did. Week 4 then jumped up to longer jogs of which you only do three of them but they are 3, 4 and 5 minutes long. FIVE minutes. I just can't do it.

I did try - I took the girls out for a long walk which turned into me trying to tackle the first day of week 4. I struggled from the start - even on the first 3 minute jog where I tuckered out at 2 minutes. But I pushed through and took breaks where I could. Then the 5 minute jog came up and I just could not get through it. I jogged what I could - sweat dripping down my back on a 60 degree day - with two annoyed toddlers in their stroller (they wanted snacks!!) and I walked the rest of the way and back home. I haven't jogged or worked out since.

What I struggle most with is not the failure of not being able to complete Week 4, but the fact that running/working out DID make me feel good after the work out was complete. That this little bump can turn into a streak where no exercise takes place. Then I'm mad at myself for staying still. And I'm right back where I started out at. I'm not there yet - but I know what it could all snowball into. What I am well aware of is that I'm signed up for a 5K in April. It's a bucket list thing of mine for post-divorce. It's important that I complete it regardless if I walk or jog it. It needs to be done.

So yeah - I took a break. I didn't make it through the C25K program. I stalled out. But that doesn't necessarily mean failure. I've realized what it all could turn into if I let it - and what is important for me and my future, especially concerning my health. That includes getting my butt off the couch and get to moving.

Stay tuned ... more on my journey to come. <3

Single Mom Money: It's Okay to Have Fun, Too

Friday, March 25, 2016

I've been focused on paying down debt since I moved out on my own back in September 2015. It was the first time during my relationship/marriage where I was solely responsible for MY money. In my marriage, I sucked at tracking finances and budgeting, so my ex was in charge of it. But now that we were going through a divorce and my money didn't need to be shared and I had to balance my checkbook, I realized that my financial situation was not ideal. I had a bit of debt - most of it was student loans that could not be discharged from my bankruptcy in 2011 (see, I suck at money) but some of it was a brand new car purchased in 2012 and one was a credit card. If I wanted to do all the things I dreamed of when I was married (buy a home, get my girls in a great school district, etc) then I needed to get rid of this debt.

I've been following the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover plan - there are 7 steps and you knock them down until you're financially secure. I'm on baby step 2 which is snowballing all of my debt until it's paid off which I estimate will be some time in 2018 (and that includes all of my student loan debt, car and credit card). I've been pretty focused and have so far paid off 1 student loan and 1 personal loan. I'm about $350 away from paying off a second student loan. But I'm a spender at heart, and there are so many times during the day where I get that itch to spend. Do the girls need clothes? Do I need something? Maybe I can get a new car? Ugh. No, no, no. I do not need any of it!

I also do not want to spend the next 2-3 years of my post-divorce life being miserable. I want to have experiences and fun with my girls and my friends and family. I want to make memories and I don't want to miss out on things. I've realized there's a balance, and I have a need to not feel deprived - even if the end goal is financial freedom. So I started saving money after committing to going on a trip with my friends this spring. It'd be overnight so I'd have to pay for lodging, food and activities. So far, I have around $600 saved up for this trip, and every time I look at it sitting in my savings account, I get a lump in my throat wondering if it should be going to a debt. Am I not being smart by routing that money somewhere else and not using it to pay off a student loan?

It's important to remember there's a need for balance. I'm not charging this trip. I've saved for it. And it's something that I desperately need...I can't tell you the last time I had a real vacation. As you're paying off debt, you're the one that's setting the pace. Yes, that $600 could go to a debt and that would be wonderful to pay off a student loan right this very second. BUT! Emotionally, personally, etc. I need this trip. I need adventure and happy times. I need to get out of every day life and I'm excited about it! Sometimes it's okay to have fun, too. Even if that fun has a cost associated with it. Be reasonable and don't dig yourself deeper into debt - but remember that life is short. Make memories and go on that trip if you can. You're spending $600 to feed your soul and that's priceless.

To the Parenting Police

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We all know the Parenting Police - either we have been them or we have come across them at some point on our parenting journey ... the well-intentioned fact giver that basically tells you what you're doing is wrong and you *should* do it some other way. A lot of times they're actually right, but they're policing this parenting thing and not going to lie ... it can be super annoying.

I recently had my run-in with the Parenting Police online when I posted a question regarding car seats. I wasn't asking for feedback on position of my children but asking about thoughts regarding a specific type of car seat. That question apparently solicited feedback regarding changing my twins forward facing until they're 2+. DUH. The well-intentioned PP did not read my question where I clearly stated I wasn't turning them forward facing until sometime after their 2nd birthday this summer and that I just wanted feedback on a different car seat than our current one. Then a second commenter jumped on the thread backup up the PP stating that I really should wait to turn them until they're 4 or 5 years old. WHAT.

Okay, back up.

Why do we feel it's okay to provide unsolicited parenting advice? If the government (in some states) requires that children stay rear facing until the age of 2, and then it's up to the parent to switch them around - why do we feel it's our duty to convince them otherwise? I understand thinking about the safety of the child, however, I'm making a decision based on what I feel is right for my kid and my family and staying within the legal limits of the law.

According to the NHTSA's website children are recommended to be rear facing from birth to 3 years old. However, it's also cleared to forward facing (see the age overlap!) from 1 years to seven years of age. A booster seat is okay from ages 4-12. Now this all depends also on your child's height and weight in addition to age. As always, adhere to your own state regulations.

The NHTSA's website has a handy tool to determine what your child should be seated in. According to the website TODAY - my girls at 1 year, 8 months old and 23 lbs and 35 inches tall could be either rear facing or forward facing.

Your Child

Age: 1yr 8months  Weight: 23lb 0oz Height: 35in

Recommended Car Seat Types Based on Your Search Criteria

Not saying that I'm going to run out and switch them forward facing - but just trying to make a point that unless a child is in danger, why do parents jump on board and essentially bully others or try to make them feel bad for their parenting decisions? My decision to move my children *possibly* forward facing after they turn 2 years old is well within the legal limits and is a decision that I'll make based on how safe I feel the girls to be while riding in my car. 

I do think there's a time and a place to stand up when you feel that a child is in danger either physically or emotionally, etc. And that's a time when the Parenting Police come to the aid of the child and show the parent what truly needs to be done or should be done for the betterment of the kid. However, if you feel the need to add on your extra tid-bit of keeping a child rear facing until the age of 4-5 "because it's really best for them" I say - SAYS WHO? You? And why do you feel the need to provide that information to me other than to tell me that my parenting decision is wrong. 

I'm mainly writing this post to rant, I realize. But also to send a note to all of the other parents out there - when dishing out advice (and I'm 1,000% guilty too!) let's start thinking about how this provides value to the other parent. Is it a tip or trick to help their life run more smoothly? Did they ask for this specific bit of advice? Is the child in danger? I think if we think about these questions before dishing out our advice, then we build a more "village" type of parenting community rather than the "rights" versus the "wrongs."

Sound off - what do you think?

Single Mom Adventures: C25K Week 3 - Holy Cow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If you've been following along, you know that I'm prepping for a 5K in early April. So that I don't die on the course - or pass out in front of throngs of people - I thought it might be in my best interest to start "practicing" running and get hopping on the Couch to 5K running program. You can check out my progress on week 1 here and week 2 here !

So week 3. Mmmmm. Where do I begin?

It started out okay. This run/walk combo is a tad shorter than the previous weeks at 26 minutes total but has longer jogging sessions that alternate at 2 minutes and 3 minutes. I got the first day out on a Tuesday and was able to finish it but struggled the last 30 seconds of the last 3 minute jog (luckily, I only had 4 jogs total that session). My overall pace was 15:00 and I got 1.8 miles in on the indoor treadmill. Day 2 was done the next day and I struggled again on the last jog but made up for it on the end. My pace went to 14:08 at 1.7 miles as I increased my walking pace a bit. I also got in 30 minutes of PiYo after running!

Then I promised myself that I'd fit in Day 3 at some point at the tail-end of last week or this weekend but the weather was crappy and I had the girls (so I couldn't leave them alone for the gym). Needless to say, I didn't make it. And since I'm a pro at making myself promises, I told myself that I didn't have to run or workout Sunday night (after chasing around the girls at a birthday party all day) IF I squeezed in my Day 3 sometime this week - making me have FOUR runs this week. Let's go ahead and be 100% real and say it out loud - I'M NOT EXCITED ABOUT THIS AT ALL!!

I made it through day 3 though, this week and struggled a ton on the last 3 minute jog. I did make up for it at the end but it was rough. I ended up getting in 1.78 miles at the end of the day and then tacked on some extra walking to get me to 2 miles. But alas - I finished it and now on to week 4. Holy cow, how am I going to make it!?

Looking ahead to week 4 - there will be an outdoor run at some point this week (we are getting some warmer spring weather!), the jogs go to 3 and 5 minutes each, I may collapse in a heap of intangible nonsense. Once this week finishes, though I'll be half-way through the C25K program. And if you're decent at math, you'll probably realize that the beginning of April is less than 5 weeks away, so yes, I have my run during the program. But that's okay. At least I'm somewhat getting used to jogging in general!

Has anyone doe the C25K program before? Especially starting from zero? What were your thoughts? What did you do after you finished the program?

Sometimes, I'm Lonely

Monday, March 21, 2016

Throughout my post-divorce process, emotional healing has been a primary focus. I've been pretty diligent on trying to get myself back and do things that truly make me happy. I've been proud of how far I've come from this past summer and looking at my life now and myself now - I'd never guess that I'd make it this far, honestly. I was in a deep, dark place only 8 months ago. Confused, heartbroken, scared. Angry. A lot of those emotions have dimmed a bit, but they still come around every now and then. The only one that is most regularly present, though, has been anger. She's brutal and she's the one that brings tears to my eyes now a days.

Outwardly, I can seem pretty confident and focused on my future. I can honestly say that I feel like I have a fulfilling life, even while acclimating through the holes that my ex left behind in our family, while trying to co-parent together as well. Overall, I'd say I'm "alone" but not lonely. I've been putting forth an effort to get back in touch with people that I lost connections with, and I also have my girls. But I'm not desperate to be in a relationship, and I can't even wrap my mind around that yet. I'm not ready to hand my heart over to someone else - there's no room for them right now.

But the anger creeps in when I think of what my life was supposed to be, and who it was supposed to be with. I'm angry because I loved my ex and I loved being married. I wanted to build a life together and create a happy family unit with the 4 of us. And it didn't happen that way and I'm so so so angry about that. Those are the moments where I find that I feel lonely. I start to feel sorry for myself and being single while watching everyone else I know still happily married ... they don't have to split time to see their children. There are not nights where they don't tuck their kids into bed. They still tell the person they married that they love them. They share a life with that person. It makes my heart bitter. It pushes out tears from my eyes. It basically makes me sad and broody.

And, I guess that's part of the healing process. I need to remember that I'm allowed to not be fully moved on and that I'm allowed to feel anger and sadness. Unfortunately, they're a part of my journey and they're what are going to allow me to process what I feel so I can be whole one day again. So, sometimes I am lonely. Sometimes I wish I could go back and catch everything before it fell a part. Sometimes I wish I'd be truly happy once again. I know one day I will be - I know that I have some time to go to grow and learn and become better for what I've been through. But yeah, sometimes I'm lonely.

As a Woman, Your Vote Matters

Friday, March 18, 2016

We had the Illinois primaries earlier this week - to determine which two candidates that the state of ILL wanted to see on the ballot. I got out to cast my vote at my local polling place, and have been excited to see all of my friends in my generation participating in this prelim part of the big race in November!

Did you know that it took 143 years for women to gain the right to vote in the United States of America? Something that we take for granted in the year 2016 is that right to have our voice heard and to have that voice count. It's important that women get out there and educate themselves on the issues, and to exercise their right to vote because we didn't always have a voice, and some pretty amazing women fought for us to have that right nearly 100 years ago!

I know that it can be easy to kick back and think - there are billions of people in the United States. And with our complex political system with voters and delegates and super delegates, etc. - how in the world does my tiny hand raised in the air matter in the grand scheme of things? But we cannot think like that. The moment we begin to wonder if our vote counts is the moment that we take for granted a right that we didn't always have. Make your voice heard! Even if it's a tiny squeak in a big dark room - it's something.

As a mother of two little ladies, I think its even that more important to show them the importance of this right - even at a super young age. I want them to grow up knowing about the election and the importance of voicing your beliefs (regardless of what they are) to support your candidate on the issues that are important to you and your family. I've seen parents take their young kids with them to the voting booths, and hand over that "I voted" sticker - that's awesome! You're exposing your child to one of the great things about this country! And it's so important that we, as women, teach the importance of that voice being heard to the women we are raising.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Single Mom Money: Sometimes Things Can't Move Around

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It's been a pretty long time since I did a money-related update, so I decided to share my journey at re-looking at my current car payment and [maybe] shopping around for some other options. Hoping this will help some of you looking to get the most of your money back into your bank account!

So - [DO NOT SPIT OUT YOUR COFFEE] I have a monthly car payment of $606. Yep. That's six HUNDRED bucks a month. I own a 2013 Honda CRV EX-L with navigation - it's fully loaded (heated seats, sun roof, navigation, etc). I did a buttload of research on this thing, test drove all kinds of small SUVs and my gut told me the CRV was for me. So I bought one brand-spanking new off the lot with like 149 miles on it. I did a bit of haggling on the car which retailed for $29,000 and ended up snagging it for $23,000 before taxes. I was upside down a bit on the car I traded in though, so that kind of brought me around $26,000 when the loan was all said and done.

Anyways, I did a 5 year loan through a local credit union and after 2 years (in 2014), refinanced my car to pull out the equity so that we could have money to move (this was when I was still married). We needed the money but it extended my loan for an extra year so currently I have about 31 months left until my loan maturation date of 10/2018. Boo.

I've talked a lot about the goals I have for the next few years and big, huge one is paying off ALL my debt and buying a house in my preferred school district by the time H&H are ready for kindergarten in 2019. I've been doing great - paying off 1 student loan and so close to paying off a second one. I also paid off our personal loan for our "family expansion" plans which was the purchase of some remaining vials from our donor because we wanted to expand our family. Post-divorce, I wanted to get rid of that debt ASAP because - feelings.

But every month as I write that check for SIX HUNDRED AND SIX bucks - I get a lump in my belly wondering if I should be paying less on a car. Where else could that money be going? It could definitely be helping pay off the debt faster. Let me preface this by saying; I CAN AFFORD MY CAR. If I was in any other situation where getting rid of my car meant having to decide between my next meal or a bill being paid - the car would have been gone long ago. But I'm not and that's part of what makes the decision so hard because it's not causing any financial strife. It'd just be a nice to have that extra money in my pocket each month.

So I listed a ton of pros and cons of selling my car versus keeping my car.

Some pros:
  • I'm already almost 4 years into ownership and paying mostly principle on the loan
  • It's a Honda and has 60,000 miles on it - it'll last until 200,000+ miles
  • I LOVE it - it's fully loaded and a great size for our little lady family
  • I've never had 1 issue with the car
  • I *only* have 31 months left on it
  • The payments are astronomical 
  • Maybe I'd be looked at like a "failure" or be embarrassed to need a cheaper car
I literally have no other cons, except the payments are pretty high. I bounce back and forth constantly on whether I should trade it in for a cheaper vehicle or just keep it. I have talked to numerous people about this - what would they do. I get strong feedback for people on both sides of the fence and everyone has excellent reasons for both. Sell it! Why do you need a high payment like that! Keep it! It'll last forever! Sometimes I feel like it's a ping-pong match in my head.

I called my dad and asked him what he'd do. Truthfully, he's not the most financially savvy person but he has a ton of just everyday knowledge and I respect his thoughts. I wanted to know what he'd do. He asked why I would sell it if I can afford it. He's point blank said, "If you are not having issues on it, and can afford it - why would you get rid of it? You could assume a cheaper, older vehicle that you don't know the history on and end up pouring money into the vehicle to keep it running. At least you know where this one has been. Keep it for another year and then see where you're at and if you still want to lower your payment." 


Well then - I mean, if I wait a year then I only have like 18 months left on my loan. So OF COURSE I'll keep it by then. But I totally get what he's saying. It all makes sense. And do I alleviate a few hundred dollars a month to take on a car with high mileage or a history that I'm not familiar with? It's a risk, and the last thing I wanted to do is pour money into my car for repairs again and again. 

So for now - I'm keeping my car. Every time I send in the payment, I buy myself another 30 days to think about the decision and at this point I think it's something to really really think about. My kids are transported into this car. I need this car to get to work. So - I can't afford to make a rash decision. And so I think.

What would you do in this situation? Would you trade in or keep your car? I'd love to hear what your point of view is!

Single Mom Adventures: C25K Week 2

Hello friends! I'm happy to report that I made it through Week 2 of the couch to 5K running program! woo hoo!! This week was a jolt as the jogging component got bumped up to 1 minute and 30 second intervals - luckily, though there were only 6 of them! Whew! The overall run/walk was a minute shorter at 28 minutes compared to the first week.

I covered 1.8 miles on the first two days and 1.9 on day 3. My pace on day 1 started out at 15:49, which I ran on a treadmill at work. My day 2 was ran OUTSIDE on a track near me and I had the girls with me in the BOB stroller. We had a fun day and the run wasn't that bad. I gave the girls some snacks and put on an episode of This American Life and cranked it out around the pond/track. My pace that day was 15:33 and I'm actually super proud of myself because if you know anything about running - is that running outside is 10x's harder than indoors on a treadmill.

My little running buddies

Don't worry - we had some fun on the run, too!

On day 3 my pace was 15:09 and I did it indoors on a treadmill. My hip was hurting a bit and my shins were starting to hurt a bit. I think  need to fix the way I'm landing on my runs. My hips have been a tiny bit achy this whole weekend. Overall I tackled 5.5 miles and cut 40 seconds off my time by the end of the week!

The girls and I took it easy the rest of the weekend - well, as easy as three ladies on the go could. But I picked up a slide for the girls and we had some fun enjoying it and the nice spring weather that ushered in Chicago this past weekend. I'm so happy to be exercising and being able to be more active with the girls! I can't wait for this summer!

Holland trying out the new slide!
Here mom, I picked a leaf for you! :)

Recipe: Crescent Wrapped Hot Dogs

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I love this kid-friendly recipe that's super easy to make! My girls liked them - I think I loved them even more and probably ate way more than an adult should! A great recipe for a family fun meal and you can mix it up with standard hot dog fixings (ketchup, mustard, etc) or use left over chili and make chili dogs!

1 packet of crescent rolls
6 hot dogs

1. Unwrap crescent roll dough from package and cut into square shaped or smaller pieces, as well as cut up hot dogs into bit sized pieces.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 

3. Spray a pan with non-stick spray and wrap bite sized hot dog pieces within the crescent roll dough pieces, making sure the ends meet on each piece. 

4. Place pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until dough is completely cooked through.

5. Serve with preferred sides and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! It's ridiculously easy and a fun/yummy meal for everyone.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Monday, March 14, 2016

Did you sing that title of the post? I did as I typed it. Ha!

Well sarcastically, it's the most "wonderful" time of the year - election time. It's the time where you find out who your closest friends are families are rooting for to take over the next 4 years of the presidency - you might even be shocked or surprised. I know I am time and time again. I hate this time of year. People are dirty and rude and take things way out of context. All the candidates are mud-slinging. And we literally are voting for the FAR FAR right or the FAR FAR left this year. There's no in between or compromise.

Elections bring about heated debates from people - truth and myth get tangled up until no one knows the right side up any more. I think people were so desperate to get out from under the Bush regime and that's how Obama prevailed (I'm Team Barrack) - he marketed hope to the people. They needed hope desperately. Now 8 years into Obama's presidency, people are now tired of him and he get's blamed for a ton. I honestly think after 8 years, the American people just get tired of the president and are in need of a change. The fact of the matter is that it took 8+ years to get our economy, our country to where it is today. No president is going to turn that around in 4 years. They need that second term. But by then you're so sick of them that it doesn't matter what they do. And we're on to the next search.

The year 2045: "Grandpa, how did President Trump ever get elected?"  "Well, we were a bit distracted back then. That was the year adult coloring books came out.:

Personally, I fear what the results will be this fall. I'm terrified of having a Republican president. But that's me and my personal beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their own - that's what makes this country so great. (Except Trump - he can stop talking now)

The Illinois primaries are coming up on March 15th. It's our time to voice who we think the representatives for Republican and Democratic parties will be. Our votes will help our delegates decide which way our state wants to side with (ideally-  but they kind of do what they do anyways). So primaries are a big deal now because we're getting insight into what this fall could look like and who America is siding with. There's a lot of time to sway votes before the fall though!

Anyways - now we just sit back and watch the circus as it displays for the next few months. I can't wait til it's over!

Please note: This post is intended for a light discussion. I am in no way dissing which way you decide to vote. Just hoping that you do get out to vote! Let's keep this a respectful space! 

Movie Review: How to Be Single

Friday, March 11, 2016

My sister came over last week for a girl's day and we decided to take in "How to be Single" at the movie theater. Although focused on a younger generation of women, I still found parallels to my now single-life and navigating what that all means.

Alice (played by Dakota Johnson) asks her college boyfriend for a break, upon graduation. Life is at her doorstep and she needs to find who she is. So she moves into her sister Meg's (Leslie Mann) apartment in NYC and snags a job as a paralegal in a downtown law firm where she stumbles into a friendship with party-girl Robin (Rebel Wilson) who takes her out and shows her "how to be single". Meanwhile, Lucy (Alison Brie) is on the hunt for a real, serious relationship and has signed up for multiple dating websites all in an effort to find her 1 in a million guy in a sea of men. 

We watch as all of their lives eventually entangle - Alice learning who she is without a relationship, Meg working in a successful OB career but shoving down her desire to be a mom, Lucy looking for real long-term love, and Robin ... well, Robin just wants to have a good time. And, she's super good at it. 

This movie when compared to hilarious sister-movies like Bridesmaids and most recently, Sisters, was a far cry from that over-the-top, sides hurting, crying in laughter type of film. BUT I still think this movie was great. It was an easy-to-watch flick, relatable to many different types of single women, and left you feeling inspired and "good inside" at the end. It's one of those movies that is great for a girls' night in chalk full of tubs of ice cream and slices of pizza ... kinda like one of my faves 27 Dresses. There are plenty of funny moments (hello, Rebel Wilson!), and plenty of sweet moments where you don't think dating is the absolute worst (although at times it is!). It's still out in theaters, but probably not for much longer! Great girls' night movie with your favorite friends! 

Sometimes Time Stands Still

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I was perusing LinkedIn the other day and came across a contact that I worked with, who I haven't seen in forever. I honestly couldn't tell you if she still worked for my company or not - it's been that long. But nonetheless, she came up as one of those "people you may know" and I clicked on her profile. What I learned kind of blew me away - time can some times stand still for us that are in the thick of our own lives.

The last time I interacted with this co-worker she was having relationship drama with another colleague. There was a bad fall-out and by then I was in the midst of planning my own wedding and kind of forgot about it all. After I got hitched, life went on and this co-worker and I barely interacted. Then I got pregnant and had the girls and then this summer unfolded. Before I knew it, 2+ years have lapsed.

I creeped on this co-worker's Facebook profile and saw that during that time SHE got married. She met her partner a few months after things had ended with our colleague and over the past 2+ years she was having her own love story and I was shocked to see she celebrated her two year wedding anniversary in August - just a month after I was [NOT] celebrating my own. It kind of punched me in the gut - because for some reason I thought her life stood still. Granted, I didn't think about her much but SO much has happened for her in the same amount of time that SO much has happened to me. It made a lightbulb go off.

Life can change in an instant. You never know when you do something or experience something and just like that, the course of your future has shifted. Did you ever think you'd be right where you were when you were a kid or in college? I know I didn't. But events led up to everything that is your life today. While time was standing still for me (and it really wasn't), life was moving right a long for her. And my how our two stories are so different across the same time period.

Just thought I'd share - for those of you stuck in something awful, or a non-ideal life situation ... to know that in an instant everything can change for you. You'll look back on this time in your life and vaguely remember the pain and the darkness. You'll wonder how you ever made it out of the murk. But you will have - and you'll be enjoying another part of your journey.

The Effect of Negative Speak on Children

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Any divorce article, as it relates to children involved in the divorce, will tell you to NEVER speak bad about the other parent in front of your children. Regardless if your ex is a scumbag, has a new fling, doesn't pay child support, etc. - these articles look at the point that your bad-mouthing of the ex reflects poorly on the child's self-esteem. If they love that parent and you think that parent is terrible - they are they terrible for loving a bad person? What if they see some of the traits you despise in your ex, in themselves? And while you may be just airing your frustrations, or even [crazily] trying to win your child to "your point of view," this bad-mouthing is truly doing more harm than good in the overall health of YOUR relationship with your child.

What some people fail to realize is that by bad-mouthing your ex, you're also impacting the relationship you have with your child. I am a product of divorce and I have seen first-hand, a parent bad-mouth another parent. And, I can tell you that 100% of the time, it negatively impacted how I thought about the bad-mouther. I saw the anger and the bitterness and it drove a wedge between us in our relationships. Do you want your child to associate you with all of that darkness? 

I think as parents, we have an option as it relates to our children. We can be bitter about the end of our marriage [and many cases we have the right], and let that bitter consume every part of our life until it totally eclipses all of the good stuff. OR we can accept that the marriage is over, and try to focus more on our relationships with our children - in being a light in their life, being a sustainable part of their life, in being their anchor. I want my children to see me and smile. I want them to know that my life doesn't revolve around what my ex is doing now or what bitterness or anger I still hold in my heart. I want them to see the love I have for them, and that it shines so much out of my eyeballs that they can't stand it. 

The next time you feel those negative thoughts bubbling out towards your lips in front of your children, try to choke them back. Think about it they'll see you and how it'll hurt them. Put those words away until you're in a place where it's okay to vent (send a text to your bff or sibling or write it down in a journal). Chances are, the anger will subside eventually anyways and leave you more rational, which is super great when dealing with the grief process of a divorce.

Single Mom Adventures: C25K Week 1

Monday, March 7, 2016

I've previously mentioned that I've signed up for a 5K race with friends in the beginning of April. In an effort to not die while on that short 3 mile run, I've forced myself to get my butt into the gym and start exercising! It hasn't been the easiest but I finally [after a month and a half of exercise!] that I'm in a little groove. Once I built up my endurance a bit with walking on the treadmill and some classes offered at my gym, I decided it was time to start the Couch to 5K program - which if all goes well I'll be on week 5 but the time my race rolls around.

The first week is a 29 minute run/walk combo. There is a 5 minute warm-up walk and then intervals of 45 second jogs and 1 or 1.5 minute walks. Once you run through that combo about 9-10 times you then finish with a 5 minute cool-down walk. On my first day, I made it allll the way through the entire thing. I was SO proud of myself because I have started and stopped the "first day" of the C25K program so many times over the past few months and to finally be able to accomplish the first day felt GREAT! I worked up a good sweat, was not in any physical pain and felt ready to go for the next day!

Day 2 went pretty much the same, and I thought I'd be all adventurous and hit up kickboxing class afterwards. However, our instructor decided it was "leg day" in class and after about 15 minutes my legs started cramping up and I had to leave. Lesson learned. Do what you can but don't overdo it. I then took a rest day with hopes of doing PIYo at home and then hitting the work gym on Friday (for a work out not to run because my run was saved for Saturday). PiYo didn't happen. Neither did Friday gym-day. But I woke up early on Saturday, hit up my apartment complex gym and finished day 3 of the program (ie. finished the first week!!!!) and felt great! Then I had indoor volleyball on Sunday.

Overall, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting through the first day and also finishing the first week!! Yes, there were pitfalls during the week where I wished I had hit the gym on one of the days I had planned and rested instead but I'm okay because I was still able to finish day 3 of the running program without any issues.

Week 2 is next up and it is a 28 minute run. Jogs are bumped up to 1.5 minutes (EEEEEEK!!!) with 1.5-2 min walks. Stay tuned on how week 2 turns out!

Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf

Friday, March 4, 2016

Squeeeee! I made my FIRST ever meatloaf last week! Not going to lie - I had zero idea how it was going to turn out but [insert pat on back] it was great!! It was really moist, and flavorful so I am excited to share the recipe with you! I snagged the original recipe here but tweaked it a bit.

Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 50 min | Serves: 4-5

1/2 lb of diced, trimmed mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
7 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 lb. lean ground turkey
3 tablespoons Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees while adding chopped onion and vegetable oil to a pan to fry.

2. Continue frying onions until they get soft, stirring every few minutes and then add in mushrooms and minced garlic.

3. Once the onions and mushrooms are cooked down, put into a large mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

4. In a separate bowl, mix well breadcrumbs and milk and let stand for a few minutes. 

5. Add breadcrumb mixture to onion/mushrooms and mix well. 

6. Mix in 2 eggs, ketchup and mustard. Then add in turkey, salt and pepper. Mix well!

7. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in turkey mixture evenly. 

8. Spread BBQ sauce evenly across top of turkey mixture and put in the oven for 50-55 minutes.

The Sweet Baby Ray's gave it a twinge of spiciness which I loved! I also opted out of Worcestershire sauce from the original recipe and subbed with mustard and think the taste came out just great! I am a mushroom FREAK, so the recipe has a slight mushroom taste to it, but really impacts the moisture in the recipe which is great since turkey meat can dry out! I hope you enjoy!

Full Speed Ahead

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I was flipping through my planner the other day (it's a Simplified Planner by Emily Ley and I love it), and noticed how many months that have gone by since I received this baby in the mail. It's just as many months since I realized my marriage was officially over. To me, it's insane to look at it this way - laid out in an actual stack. Over half of a year has already whipped right on by. 

I remember being in the thick of it, during the late summer, and just wishing over everything to fast forward time and not be IN the pain part. That if I could just get some time wedged between the rawness of everything, that I would be okay. And for the most part, that is true. 

In 7 months, I've moved out and my divorce has been finalized. I've experienced all of the ups and lows that come with a long-term relationship, specifically a marriage, ending. I've started, stopped and restarted counseling. I've drank my fair share of wine, ate my fair share of crap food, and cried my fair share of tears to friends and family (thank you for listening <3). I've moved into my own place and decorated the way that I want - and it's filled with pictures of happy moments with me and my girls. I've started to exercise again, and took up personal coaching over the phone through a program at work. I've also had some dips in self-esteem, but have discovered parts of myself that I'm not proud of and that I want to to fix. Self-discovery and self-realization is key. 

There's a lot that's happened in such a short amount of time, and I'm curious what the next 6-7 months will bring. Where will I be at when I'm officially a year out from my divorce being finalized next winter? I have a ton to look forward to and a ton of things still left to experience, and time, sweet time, has been as faithful as ever. I was promised that time helps heal things and it might not patch together my relationship with my ex or mend my emotional wounds, but it has helped provide perspective, and ease the ache that I held onto for so long. So now, I focus on moving full speed ahead.

Single Mom Adventures: Cardio Dance

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I've been sharing my exercise adventures with you and the last class I tried at my work gym was Cardio Dance! I've already had fun with two other gym class adventures like PiYo and kickboxing. I was excited about cardio dance because it's essentially like generic Zumba :) Latin infused dancing in a structured class environment - the opportunity to let loose, show off my moves and get some cardio exercise in!

Not going to lie - I was a bit terrified that there were going to be some professional booty shakers in the class - you know the women, those that have attended every class and know the moves by heart so they're super confident and basically dance circles around you. So I slipped into the back of the class, hoping to keep my eyes on everyone who looked like they knew what they were doing. I was surprised to find that out of the 8 of us in the class - maybe 1 person looked like she knew what she was doing, but she was in the midst of a weight loss journey herself, so it was awesome to see her kinda take the reigns and show us newbies how to move it and lose it!

Taylor Puckett                                                                                                                        I want this on a tee!:

The music was all Pitbill and Enrique Iglesias - so Latin pop - many of the songs that we're all pretty familiar with. There were a lot of movements that were easy to mimic and get down and I felt like it did keep the heart rate up! Other than the body rolls, though - it was my favorite class so far! Seriously, I felt like a beached whale while trying to body roll - I'm no longer a 23 year old at 'da club. Luckily for me, everyone looked kinda silly. Even the instructor, who is actually pretty good at it! :)

I'll definitely be attending cardio dance again!! Can't wait to practice my hip shakin!