The Other side of fear

When I started this blog a several years ago (under a different name) this was supposed to be a family- lifestyle blog. At the time I was married, so my intention was to share recipes that I made, trips that we took, and everything that would make it a lifestyle blog; but the truth is it turned into so much more. I was not the first one to get married out of my friends but I was the first one to adventure down the road of divorce; my parents are divorced, but no one I knew at the time was getting a divorce so in the world that is so big; I felt so alone in. Then one day about six months after my divorce was final I wrote an article that was titled “How Going to Therapy Saved Me,” at the time it was probably one of the hardest and rawest articles I have ever written. That article landed me a job as a freelance writer position for a New York based company called DivorceForce; I wrote articles to help others that were dealing with loss, relationships issues, divorce and everything in between. Another aspect of the job was to reply to a forum that people would write on asking for advice; so many late nights when Sophia was asleep I found myself devoured in others pain by trying to help them. I am not a therapist, so realistically I had to monitor the way I responded, how the articles were written and how I responded to the forums. This job was one of the hardest jobs I have had emotionally, but it lead to my own healing in the process; we were all broken in some fashion it did not matter if we were the ones the broke our marriages or we were the “victim,” in our marriages; I learned at the end of the day grief is grief no matter how big or small. Last week I received a question from a Facebook friend that is going through a divorce asking me how did my ex and I keep civil during and after the divorce was final; and how do I not allow the affects of my marriage to affect future relationships whether it be romantic or platonic. Surprisingly enough this was always a very common question that is asked when I worked for DivorceForce.

I wish I could tell you that there is a simple solution like two 2 +2 =4 and if you use this simple equation to be civil towards each other that you are going to get the same result no matter what; honestly it does not work that way. At least for me it did not. When I was going through my divorce I was an emotional wreck, there were days I did nothing but cry then there were days I was angry; and then on some days I was completely fine with my choice to divorce my ex. Honestly speaking I was not ok; I felt like the biggest failure in the world at the time. I had a husband that I loved, but I couldn’t help him- no matter what I did to help his drug addiction or mental health issues always blew up in my face, I had no money, I would break out in hives all over my body the size of my palm just mentioning his name and I would have to get steroid shots, I felt like I failed him, failed our daughter and on top of everything else I had a miscarriage that I hid from everyone.

When I was married we would have really good spells, then everything would hit rock bottom- it was a constant revolving door that never ended. I did not want to believe friends and family that would tell me he “isn’t going to change, this is who he is.” I believed change is always possible, if the person wanted it enough. The truth was I believed him every time he said he was sorry, every time he said things will be better, and every time he said that Sophia and I were his world…every…single..time…I…believed…him. We had no money, we lived off my credit cards; I would hide money in Sophia’s socks so he wouldn’t take it, count the pills in his medication bottles, never had any alcohol, constantly watched what I said and did to keep the peace. I was living in my own form of hell; without realizing it. Overtime I became more of a “mother-like” figure than a wife- we became more like roommates in a way. He landed a really good job- making really good money, but was gone 85% of the time. At this point I thought if he was happy, then I was happy…and we can make this work, but the reality of the matter was; I was not happy- far from it. I missed him, but I wasn’t sure if I was in -love with him anymore, I loved him…but in-love with him was something completely different. Part of that feeling was I was so focused on Sophia and Adrian that I put my own feelings and needs on the back burner for years that I was so exhausted. I found that any type of normalcy; was a relief whether if he was around or not. I remember when he would come home and not seeing him for about two months I would be so happy, but when he would leave I would be so relieved because I did not have to deal with the mood swings, avoidances; whatever he would throw my way. Overtime, I become his verbal and mental punching bag, if something went wrong in his life it was somehow my fault, my families fault, the doctors fault, his parents fault, because no one understand his need to have illegal substances in his life to function everyday.

Our last Christmas we spend together was one of the best holidays we ever celebrated, for the first time in a really long time I felt like I could breath. For the first time in a long time that feeling of being unhappy was starting to dissipate. I remember we were standing in the kitchen cleaning up and Adrian said “this was a really great day,” and I replied to him “Adrian it was a beautiful, you have no idea how badly I needed this.” A few hours later he headed back to the apartment; Sophia and I stayed at my parents..we were separated. I walked him to the front door, he kissed me on the cheek and said “I love you…” and I said “I love you too,” and that would be the last time I would ever say it to him. I walked back to my bedroom; watched myself take my earrings out and thought “this is over isn’t it…..something is wrong.” As soon as I thought it, I didn’t believe it; because we just spent a beautiful day together and I was telling him the next day that “I don’t want to be separated anymore and that we were coming home.” I laid in bed that night staring at the ceiling, but nothing stopped me from packing mine and Sophia’s bag the next morning. Adrian called me and I told him I have something I wanted to tell him; I was so excited…and he said “I will call you a little later.” The next time I heard from him was around 5 pm that night, and I knew something was wrong…but I was not prepared for any of what was going to happen next.

Everyone always asks me what caused your marriage to end, I could say it was drug addiction, money issues, lies, cheating, mental health issues because all of those were factors but December 26th is a night I will never forget. A night I was not sure if I was going to survive. I do not talk about that night; and I probably never will, because most people could not handle it. Even though if you’re reading this it may seem “one-sided,” as to what Adrian did to me, I can assure you that there was fault on both sides.

Now lets flash forward to now:

It was imperative that I told you parts about my marriage, because how many times you read quotes that say “keep your head up everything will be ok,” and you’re thinking “I am in hell there is no way my life will be any better, it’s so easy for them to say.” I am living proof that it will get better, but you have to feel the pain work throught it. Let yourself heal, it took me years to get over everything. It took everything in my power to not explode on him; I was not perfect by any means. I know I said some of the cruelest things anyone could ever say to another person, that when I was saying them I would think “omg I can’t believe you just said that.” And then I would feel like total shit after. I am not one to hurt someone on purpose; if you hurt me I am not going to take revenge on you; that’s not who I am.

But our relationship was getting to a really negative spot. I hate to admit it, our divorce was easier than our marriage, I am not saying our divorce was easy and we didn’t argue, but we are better off as friends than we are together. We started to bring out the worst in each other, instead of the better.

Now to be civil towards each other it’s almost like being mindful. We had to work at it; we had to find a structure and balance for Sophia. Sophia didn’t chose her parents but as parents we want what is best for our children. There’s no way around it. You have to put them first no matter what. Adrian and I agreed that we fake it until we make it, meaning when we had to be together in the same room with Sophia we didn’t argue or talk about our divorce. Most of the time we hardly spoke to each other, until we could have a common ground. Sometimes it was just a “hi and bye,” type of conversation; then overtime we were able to converse more.

Even to this day I will get comments from people that say “you two make it so easy…” because it can be if you allow it to be. Neither one of us expect perfection from each other; but we make it work. Don’t get me wrong we still have our moments, but we respect each other in the sense of we are doing the best we can, and our main focus is Sophia. We both agreed that when Sophia looks back on her childhood we don’t want her to say “all my parents did was fight when they were together,” neither one of us wanted that to be her memory of us. It was important for me that if Adrian was in-town to visit that it was as comfortable as possible for all of us. He and I are friends, because of Sophia..we set our differences aside, swallowed our pride and we all have moved on with our lives. There has to be boundaries set between both parties; things will never be the same between you two, but boundaries will create a more comfortable-like atmosphere for everyone; doesn’t mean you have to be strangers but you have to know where to draw the line.

When we chose to bring Sophia into this world we agreed to be the best parents we could; as I imagine most parents do. If you have step-children or children with someone and going through a divorce you have to set aside everything for them, because it’s all about them. When you chose to have your own children or marry someone that has children, your main focus are those children and what is best for them. I have learned that children have an impeccable way of making adult problems their fault, and it shouldn’t be that way. What is said behind closed doors, should only be said behind closed doors, children should never have to suffer the consequences of their parents behaviors. That is where the notion of Adrian and I being “civil,” towards each other comes from.

Being a parents has been one of the most rewarding and toughest experiences of my life; but I wouldn’t change anything. I would marry Adrian again if that meant I would have Sophia, because without her my life would be incomplete. Whether I have anymore children in the future or would marry someone that has children; I would vow to treat them with the same -no different than if they were mine biologically.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler made a movie together called Blended; and of course there is comedy to it, but there is a quote that always resonated with me “you have to be there for your kid like 98% percent of the time; the other 2% is for what we want…” it’s all about sacrifice. So being civil towards each other is all about sacrificing your own feelings and emotions for your child. It won’t be easy at all; you’re going to make mistakes, but by making those mistakes you learn from them . Being civil isn’t going to happen overnight, you have to work at it every single day.

When it comes to relationships whether it is a romantic or platonic; no matter what it is going to be work on both sides, because no matter what angle you look at this friends have hurt friends, and lovers have hurt lovers; there is no way around it. We all have a history but those are lessons. For whatever reason besides having Sophia with Adrian I was meant to experience his issues; there was a lesson in that for me. In some fashion I am grateful for those experiences, of course it was not something I wanted to happen, but those experiences have made me stronger in the end. Those experiences allowed to me to help other men and women that found themselves in the same boat as I was in. Did those experiences change me ? Yes, for years I was not able to even think of dating another person, allow myself to feel feelings for someone else, but that didn’t last forever.

During my “grieving process,” of my divorce I stumbled across this movie called Bye Bye Love made in the mid-90’s, the first time I watched it I cried through the entire thing. I think I watched it a few hundred times- each time I watched it I learned so much more about it. It’s about these three divorced men that take their children for a weekend; and how each of them are dealing with their own grief after divorce. Randy Quaid character seemed to be the most healed one, he was at the point of “ohh here we go again…” type of attitude when it came to his ex-wife. Paul Reisers character was the one that was still in-love with his ex wife who was remarried; and how he never moved on past her and their marriage. Matthew Modines Character I will characterize as “the player,” he has one main girl, but others on the side.

When it comes to not allowing your past to interfere with any kind of relationship it’s really tough, we try and somethings it just gets in the way; but this is when I am going to tell you too…NEVER LET IT HAPPEN. I know this is going to be one of those instances and say “it’s easier said than done.”

Matthew Modines character in Bye Bye Love for me was the most complex; because he was so fearful of commiment; that he did everything to avoid it. He allowed his past mistakes and part of his childhood to get in the way. In the movie, he has a “almost girlfriend,” she was apart of his life, but not apart of his life. If you were an outsider looking in you wouldn’t think he had that “player-like,” behavior about him. He kept her close just enough to get wanted he wanted but not allow her fully in. She met his friends, his kids but they were not “exclusive.” I believe in her mind she was committed to him, but he couldn’t give himself to her fully because of fear. It wasn’t that he didn’t like her or care for her, he was scared- scared of growing up, scared of hurting someone, getting hurt and allowing someone fully in. Kim (Modines “girlfriend”) after what I call a tower moment says to him “you know I have been trying so hard to find a way in; that I am not sure I want it anymore.” Initially I didn’t get it, then I realized she is talking about trying to find a way into his heart. For him, to me Kim was his girl, I think he wanted her- I think he was in-love with her, and all those other girls were his distractions, his wall so he could self-protect.

At the end of the movie Matthew Modine says to Paul Reiser ” you know I am going to do it, commitment because Kim is great and no one else compares to her. No matter who I talk to, my mind always goes back to her.” At that point he decided he was going to take that leap of faith; that it was better to take that chance than to walk away from someone that he truly wanted but was scared to want. To allow himself to want, it is so much more easier to walk away then to admit you’re scared.

The thing is, we all have been hurt by someone that we love and care about, unfortunately it’s part of life, it’s how we grow. People are going to hurt you, say things they don’t mean, walk away when we don’t want to, it doesn’t make it right but it makes us human. We all hurt the people we love or care about at some point, it’s inevitable. When it comes to allowing the past to affect a current relationship we bring those fears in and we believe that this new person is going to repeat an old cycle or maybe this person seems too good to be true- like this isn’t their authentic self; and we wait for the bottom to fall out. We nit -pick something without realizing it…something they may have said we normally wouldn’t think twice about- just to prove to ourselves that they are no different that your past. So what do we do, put a wall up with this person, let them in but not all the way in. Put other people in front of them that you know aren’t going anywhere except maybe a decent conversation – no emotions. It allows you to fill a partial void, but it doesn’t distract you fully. Your mind still wonders back to that person, because maybe they are meant to be there. At least that is what I believe.

I learned that just because someone cheated on you in the past doesn’t mean the new person is going to cheat on you, just because a friend stole from you doesn’t mean this new friend is going too. We can’t compare apples to oranges, because our past people are not our current people, they are two completely different kinds of people; to hold someone accountable for someone elses actions is so unfair or to put them on the level as someone that hurt you is really….really unfair. Sometimes what we want and we who want is what scares us the most, because maybe we feel that we are not worthy of them because we have a past or our lives are not where we want them to be.

I used to think that if I didn’t allow anyone close to me that I was going to be the happiest, I used to think that if I put a wall up that I wasn’t going to get hurt; but what I ended up doing was hurting myself. It’s scary to let anyone in, especially when the person that you were in love with betrayed you in the worst way; the same person that promised you everything was the same person that broke all of those promises.

Adrian said to me about two years after our divorce “you know I carry a lot of guilt with me- for everything I did, everything I put you through, but I have to let you know that none of this was your fault. You were an amazing wife, you did everything that you could do for me, but I chose everything and everyone else over you and that is something I have to live with. So promise me that when you find yourself moving on with life- take that leap of faith, don’t allow me to destroy anymore of your happiness or from being with someone that you really want to be with. I destroyed us, and I regret it- but you deserve better than I will ever be able to give you.” I never forgot those words, because he was right; I was a good wife to him, I did my best by him but we still failed and that’s ok. It’s ok to fail…it’s ok. We are all human, none of us are perfect, non of us make it of this life alive.

When you find yourself scared, not sure what to do; I urge you to take that leap of faith, because not everyone is going to hurt us. Our exes are not the same people, we deserve to be happy. Matthew Modines character, was so fearful of letting anyone close to him, the women that he dated or talked to without Kim knowing was his wall; his safety net…from Kim and himself. It was until he almost lost Kim that he realized that he didn’t want to lose her; the one person that he truly wanted and connected with. Don’t let yourself to become Modines character, don’t let your past control your future; embrace it, because when you find yourself having to chose to take the easy way out or the “scary” road; I hope you chose the scary road, not run from it, because life is supposed to be scary.

There are no guarantees in life- everything is a gamble. You gamble with your life every single day, by getting in the car, getting a surgery, getting on the plane etc. The way I see it is I would rather fail a thousand times my life than be scared . The only advice I can truly give when it comes to not allowing your past to affect your relationships is communicate with that person- don’t run from them, you may end up surprised that everything you ever wanted was waiting on the other side of fear.

Everything is in Transition

It’s been a hot minute since I have posted anything; July has been intense around the house. Since Co-vid really hit here in March, and we were sent into quarantine, my mom has been working from home. She has decided to give the house a major update; we looked at furniture online for three months straight; it was to the point that I was starting to wonder if anything was ever going to be purchased.


We went from not purchasing anything for three months straight to….4 trips up to a local furniture store to buying a new kitchen table with chairs, couch and an accent chair, new fireplace, a new credenza, to all being delivered within a few weeks of each other.

I’m not done…

We are replacing some doors, taking down decor and filling the holes, cleaning out stuff we don’t like, want, or need…all before the 17th before Jack our painter comes. So within the next few weeks everything is going to look different. My mom said she is going for a more sleek and modern set-up (which is my favorite- I don’t like a lot of clutter) . Mike is just going with the flow and completing his honey-doo list.

Oh and new curtains…and standing lamp…I honestly feel like I am forgetting something; ordering has been a constant around here. Feels like Christmas with deliveries on a every other day basis.

On another note; I am in transition with another job; I have not told my current job because I am unsure how everything is going to pan out with the new school year. If the kids don’t go back to school I am keeping my current job until the schools open up fully. For the past few days I have been getting my PA clearances done and out of the way and filling out a bunch of paperwork on top of everything else.

This week has been getting to me on a more personal level, I have been off for a few days now. My appetite has been off, nothing is sounding good to eat at all; well not my normal food at least. I don’t want any carb food like pasta, no mexican food, no meat at all. It’s like all I want is to eat vegetarian style(I can’t eat enough fish), spicy food or breakfast food and purple grapes. I am not a breakfast eater; I just ate french toast for breakfast for the second day in a row. I am just really frustrated with myself; so I am going to stay calm and positive and ride this “weirdness,” out. I do get in a weird funk every summer with my appetite so this doesn’t really surprise me; it just seems more intense this time around.

However I have not gone running this week; it’s been insanely hot and I am not waking up early to go running; plus I am in dire of new tennis shoes; they’re kind of like a bald tire on the bottom; and I am starting to feel rocks when I step on them. I think it’s safe to say I need to go buy new shoes; I am not much of a shopper so it’s not something I get excited over.

There is this feeling that my life is in full transition mode- which I definitely welcome. Something has been playing in the back of my mind for a little while now; and I am unsure how to go about it, what I should do or out the outcome could be. This is where my indecisiveness kicks in, but I am certain everything will work the way it should.

Although my life seems to be a tad bit intense at the moment; but in the most positive way of course; Sophia is making the best of her summer that she possibly can. She has been playing with the little girl J’da down the street most afternoons into the mid evenings and the two little boys about twice a week; when their grandparents watch them. I am finding that my house is the “snack house,” we have more bottled water than most grocery stores have on their shelves; and snacks. I shop at Sams Club and buy variety snacks for the kids; a must-have are veggie chips, it’s my healthier version of a potato chip for them. Besides the snacks, I am noticing that I am the “cool-off,” house..meaning..when they get over heated they go straight down in to the gameroom, turn on the tv…video games whatever they want to do. All us parents have each others numbers so when keep a group texting session going at all times to keep the communication open.

In this season of parenting, I am finding that I am currently in the stage of “mom you’re embarrassing me.” Come again? There’s this little boy named Finn down the street; the sweetest little boy in the world. He is about 3 years older than Sophia; the one day he came knocking on the front door asking to play with Sophia; I told him I will send her down when she’s done with breakfast. Immediately Sophia asked “is that Finn?” and as I was answering her she said “mom you have to make me look real cute..okay….” so you know what that prompted me to do….”oh you want to look cute for Finn; you like him…awww…so cute!” I couldn’t help it; as innocent as her response was; back in the day when I was 6 boys had cooties, in fact they probably still do…well maybe some. But at 6 I am pretty sure I was sporting a unibrow on top of everything else; right before braces happened too, I am painting you a pretty picture huh lol? So Sophia put on a navy pair of shorts that come right about her knee; a sparkly shirt in rainbow that said “gamer girl,” a headband that has 2 pink and blue fuzzy striped balls on each side (I think they’re supposed to be bear ears)…and her pink glitter sunglasses that has a butterfly on the side of the frame. She was all decked out in color; Finn wasn’t going to loose her.

All in all we are trying to make the best of the summer; considering there really isn’t to much to do; everything is closed. Kennywood opens up this week, but you have to wear a mask; I don’t have any plans on going this year.

I do have a really good salad recipe to share; I have been wanting to share it for sometime now but haven’t gotten around to it.

Have a good weekend!

My Most Visited Websites and Items Purchased

This past Saturday I had some friends over for a very late Cinco de Mayo celebration. Every year we typically either go out for Cinco de Mayo or cook in; and with the current covid situation still taking over the world we opted to cook- in. My best friend Charnaye, whom I have known for seventeen years is always the party planner with me for Cinco de Mayo, we decide on the menu together and among other things as well. This is the first time we saw each other in three months…THREE MONTHS….but we obviously had a lot of catching up to do. We typically text daily but we en up saving a lot of topics for in-person discussions.

Did I mention she makes the BEST Pico de Gallo, it can make you cry it’s that good. I will have to get her recipe and share on here…knowing her as well as I do she probably doesn’t use a recipe.

During our party prep, we ended up discussing our favorite must-haves/repurchases/ and favorite websites to visit; which sparked the idea of sharing with you my list.

If you’re curious the food was a hit, and we ended the night surrounded by Citronella candles, listening to music, bon-fire, S’mores (which I don’t eat…I don’t like them)…margaritas…etc….and me climbing into bed at 3:30 am.

Get ready for THE LIST…’s a long one.

The websites I mostly visit:

Care Of– This is where I purchase all of my vitamins. What I love most about this company is that you initially take a quiz and it narrows the vitamins that you should take based upon your personalized quiz results. For myself I am severely anemic so Iron is always my main vitamin I take; and I also have a shellfish and Iodine allergy so those will be eliminated from vitamins or capsules that contain shellfish or Iodine.

J. Crew– I buy a lot of my t-shirts from this company. In the photo above I am wearing my favorite t-shirt from J.Crew, it’s quite perfect. The fabric is really soft and lightweight. If you’re anything like you don’t like to be uncomfortable….tugging at your clothing…or anything itchy etc.

The Small Things Blog– Kate she is like the internet friend I have never met; I am dying to meet her. I came across her blog with I was about 6 months pregnant with Sophia one afternoon- and I was hooked. I have been a loyal reader for 6 years now. What I like most about her blog is that I can relate to her style in fashion and makeup. We both are very similar. If you need advice on anything beauty related…visit her blog, she’s honest and you can’t go wrong.

Bev Cooks– My favorite “foodie,” blogger. She has one heck of a personality(always makes me laugh on Instagram) and her food is just looks amazing. I have to cook with her, she’s like the modern day Julia Child.

Elisabeth Ashlie– Meet Kate’s sister Lauren. She runs a super-cute jewelry website. I have bought a few pieces for special occasions and I still wear them to this day. A goal of mine when I am done with school; is to build my own home and I want Lauren to decorate it. She’s amazing.

And just like everyone else, Amazon is a weakness so I do shopping on their as well. Realistically I do more reading than anything else on the internet.

My Repurchases & Must haves:

My favorite toothpaste– Yes I am sharing with you my favorite toothpaste. I will switch between Colgate Optic White, but I think I still prefer Arm and Hammer Advanced White.

My favorite deodorant– I can’t use anything that smells like baby powder or anything extremely floral scented either. Plus I found that a lot of deodorants make my arm pits really itchy or burn. Toms so far has been the best.

Zen Party Mix by Archer Farms– Target has a great selection of party mixes, but this one is always my go-to. I really don’t care for the trail mixes that have sweets in them, but this one has a great crunch and Wasabi Peas…yumm.

Red Oil– Are you a mosquitos best friend? I have had my Red Oil for about 6 years, a little goes a long way. If you’re anything like me a mosquito bite can swell to the size of my palm if I don’t treat it right away. The scent of the Red Oil is awful and dissipates a couple minutes after use. It also takes away the itching…and keeps the mosquito bite swelling down.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion– My zit blaster! Works wonders. Another product that smells for the first couple of minutes then goes away. If my chin decides to grow a volcano, I will put this drying lotion on if I have just hanging around the house or before bed; the zit will be smaller and starting the drying-out-process.

Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector– I have been blessed with dark circles, not real bad ones but enough that I need a little help. This corrector works wonders, this is probably the most used beauty product I use. A little goes a long way. Btw Becca is my favorite brand in make-up.

BareMinerals Bounce & Blur– This is my go-to makeup palette. It’s perfect. The colors are beautiful and it’s buildable! I have the tendency to do more of a natural eye than a more dramatic eye, but if I wanted a more dramatic eye this would be my palette to achieve that look.

Supergroup Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40– I have really sensitive skin, everything breaks me out. So when it comes to makeup I either buy BareMinerals or Becca, especially for products that go directly on my skin such as BB Cream or Blush. More importantly than make-up for me is skincare, I love it. I buy more skincare products than makeup, because quite honestly my skin is so fickle. No matter is I am wearing a full-face makeup or going natural for the day…whether it’s winter or summer I always start off with this sunscreen. It’s very lightweight…no harsh scent. And it doesn’t break me out.

Philosophy Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere– I believe this is the only lotion I own. Philosophy is my favorite brand for anything bath related from bath gel…to lotion. The brand is just amazing, their skincare line is just a great as well, but there Fresh Cream or Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere is my favorite. It’s lightweight..not overpowering, and it keeps my skin hydrated on my legs especially all day. I never reapply.

Stila Mascara– I have tried a bunch of different brands of mascara over the years, and I have found this Stila Mascara is my favorite. It’s seems that I like buildable make-up the most. This mascara is great because it doesn’t flake off into your eyes or under your eyes, great for contact wearers.

Seche Vite Top Coat– I do my own nails, very rarely do I go get them done professionally. This top coat gives you that gel-like finish, and I really keeps my nail polish from chipping. My typical at-home mani can last between 7 to 10 days without chipping when I use this top coat.

Drunk Elephant– This is my favorite brand when it comes to my skincare routine, it’s on the pricey side, but it works wonders for my skin. Virgin Marula Luxury Oil is a must-have in the winter, my skin get terribly dry especially about my jawline, chin and mouth. I have tried other products to help with the “dryness,” but others never seemed to work as well as this one. A little goes a long way so there is no need to cake it on. I buy their cleansing Juju bars in the traveling size, because it lasts me all year, I don’t use them everyday..mostly 2 to 3 times a week max.

My Apple Watch– This is definitely the most expensive item I have on my list, and what I like most is that it will last me the longest. I typically run, jog, walk, or power walk daily..depending on what my left ankle feels like allowing me to do. This keeps track of how many miles, calories burned etc. I have a sleep app on my watch that keeps track of the quality of sleep I get, because I am not the greatest sleeper in the world.

I think my list could go on and on forever, but these are the items that I repurchase the most, but most of these products are not purchased no more than twice a year. The most repurchased items I have is the toothpaste, deodorant, mascara, under eye brightener corrector.

**The bold/gold lettering are links- this is note a sponsored post.**

Fitness + Weight Loss + Mid Year Update + Creating a Positive outlook

I realize we are going to be half way through the year; I can’t believe it! This year was certainly not what I expected it to be, but nonetheless it still remains a good year personally. At the first of the year I started taking Pure Barre classes up the street from where I live; the thought of running in 8 degree weather was not appealing by any means, but I knew I needed more cardio in the future. After my surgery I knew I was going to have to kick my work-outs up a notch.

Then covid hit; and I haven’t been to a Pure Barre class since the end of February. I am not much of a at-home work outer; I can’t get into it. I have tried numerous times to get into workout DVD with good intention to only have my mind really wonder half way through the work out; then I end up sitting on the couch watching the DVD. It was never a successful experience.

I need to be outside or in a class type atmosphere.

If you’re wondering what I am doing in this photo; I can assure you that I am wondering the same exact thing right now. Am I stating that I only have one mile left to go or am I completely annoyed the the “whipty-doo” springing out on the side of my head. Choice is yours.

When I started running more intensely than I ever have in my life a few months ago; weight melted off me really quick, each week I was seeing a difference. My legs were getting more defined, my stomach looked flatter, and I was just feeling better all the way around.

Then I plateaued for weeks! WEEKS! It felt very discouraging; I like to see results it’s more motivating.

I have read about plateauing many times but I was adamant on not being in that stated of stagnation very long. So I started running longer and harder; pushing myself harder than I should have. Then one morning I woke up to find the bottom of my heal swollen, and I could hardly walk on it for days. This was right before I was about to leave for vacation….plateauing and then not being able to walk was not exactly ideal; but I ended up thinking “this is as good as it’s going to get…I will never see these people at the beach again.”

The thing is I really don’t care about what people think about me, their opinion of me doesn’t really affect my life as much as it used when I was younger. When I hurt my foot and couldn’t run I was moody…edgy…and then I started thinking what example am I setting for Sophia; then when things don’t go your way you push yourself to the point where you hurt yourself. I didn’t want that; it was something that I certainly didn’t want to teach her either.

Sometimes my mentality when myself stems back from my childhood or not feeling good enough for someone that should have loved and accepted me regardless of how I looked. But I wasn’t. Instead, I was tortured by them for years; I was never thin enough…my hair was never long enough…my teeth were never white enough…there was always something wrong with me no matter what. It was an endless cycle of “lets change you,” that went on for years. It was years of spiteful words of telling me that I was obese, I will never get the job I wanted if someone walked in that was prettier or skinner because companies only hire fat people because they have too, it was doing 50 crunches at lunch time while someone sat over me counting, grabbing my arm and saying “look how little you are,” offering money to lose weight, my weigh in every Sunday, the pointing out all my imperfections to only point out someone elses childs perfections to compare us constantly, the pound I didn’t lose going over what I could have done better- toast one piece of bread then slice it through the center to give the illusion of two pieces of bread, the overheard arguments of “no man is ever going to want her with how she looks.” I was tortured for years – it all started around the age of 12; it got to the point where I didn’t even like myself; I couldn’t even look myself naked in the mirror without looking for something to change. The ironic part was when I look back on photos of this time era I wasn’t fat or obese; I was thin…toned, but the only difference is I wasn’t a walking skeleton.

I quit dance, turned down a lead tap role in a musical because I couldn’t fathom the idea of this person watching me (I told my mom that I couldn’t keep up with the audition-she knew I was lying). I wanted this role so badly until I got it. I excelled at tap; it’s the one thing I will openly admit that I was really good at it and I loved it. In the end I was able to make my feet do two different steps at the same time. The owner of the dance company I went to came to me one day offering me a tap position in their company without audition- basically a full scholarship. When I told this person about it they’re response was “it won’t be any different than what you’re doing now; so what’s the point.” I felt defeated; and at the moment I realized that I was never going to live up to the full potiental that this person wanted me to be; I was never going to be good enough..someone else was always going to do it better no matter what.

I don’t talk about my dance life at all, it’s almost a part of my life that I want to pretend didn’t exist, because when I think about it… I think about what I gave up and how much I didn’t want too. Although it was my choice and mine alone to walk away from it, I still regret it to this day. In fact I don’t talk about my relationship with this person, to anyone, because I no longer have a relationship with them. I walked away from them years ago, I never wanted Sophia to live what I went through, to give up what I did because I allowed someones toxic views to take so much away from me. I want her to have a positive mindset of herself and her body; and if this person was in her life I don’t think it would have been any different for her. There was no way I was going to allow that to happen; I would rather her think the sun shines out of her ass than to think negatively about herself; and think they only way she is valued is how someone views her.

It took years of self discovery to regain myself back, it wasn’t something that happened overnight; and even to this day it will still affects me, but it has taught me some very important lessons; most importantly it taught me what kind of parent I am going to be to my daughter.

So, after plateauing for weeks, I decided to just roll with it. I wasn’t going to get upset over it or worry about it. I will just continue to run and keep doing what I am doing.

I went on vacation with the notion that I was going getting to get up everyday and run…I even eyeballed my running route when I arrived. Did I go running? Yes…..twice lol. I still felt really good although I did love running next to the beach; and made me highly reconsider moving down South in the future (not like next year). I want more heat in my life.

After returning from vacation by first day back running, I did 6 miles. It was really rough but such a great runners high in the end. I am no longer in a plateauing stage, we have moved on from it at which I am totally grateful for.

I don’t own a scale… I never will. So when the neighbor lady asked me how much weight I lost…I made an educated guess based on how old clothes fit on me. Just yesterday I tried on an old work shirt, and I am swimming in it. It just hangs on me, you don’t see my figure at all. However, It’s going to be one of those shirts you keep forever just because it’s comfortable.

Then I recently bough a shirt from J. Crew in my size according my by bust size; and was pretty certain that it was going to fit when I ordered it. I received it in the mail and when I opened and immediate thought “umm..what part of my body does this plan on fitting….” while holding it up. Slightly disappointed I figured lets just try it on for shits and giggles…the worst part is I may need help getting out of it.


I slipped it over my head…and holy shit to my surprise…IT FITS and I have room in it. I even could have went down a size.

These following photos are not edited

I absolute jeans (when I find a pair I like…which is rare) and a t-shirt kind of girl. Always a t-shirt girl. This is the J. Crew shirt that I bought, it’s probably one of my favorite t-shirts that I own.

I had a party a few weeks back that I wore something above my knee for the first time in years. It was sort of strange feeling honestly; kind of like when you forget to put deodorant on. I felt kind of naked in a way, as much as I loved this dress…I kept tugging at it all night.

I always find the fitness to be a very personal journey; one that I am never always too open to talk about but sometimes I am more inclined to do so. Although I run every day I honestly don’t have a lot of goals when it comes to it, I do however find it to be a great stress reliever, especially when we were in quarantine. In the end, I have come to terms that I will never have a perfect body; and I have learned to be kind to myself over the years, especially since after having Sophia. A lot of people get hung up on money, looks- materialistic items, I could careless about any of that. Life is so much more than that.

Answering Your questions part. 2

About two weeks ago I did a post on random questions; and that triggered some people that I know to reach out and ask relationship questions, and I was unsure if I was going to do a follow-up to the original post. The people that asked the questions will be notified when this post is live; but I will not be mentioning who they are out of respect of their privacy. Furthermore, I am not a therapist, my answers are solely opinion only.

So lets jump into it…

  1. What advice do you have for going through a divorce? Hmm. I have been divorced for several years now; I won’t talk about my divorce, but from personal experience..I think the best thing to do is to try to make it easy as possible on each other, especially if children are involved and they’re old enough to know what is going on. Sophia was only 2.5 when I was getting divorced so I was lucky enough that she doesn’t remember any of it; but the last thing you would want to make your children feel as if this is somehow their fault and blame themselves. Children had a unique way of when parents are splitting up to think somehow they were the reason for their parents break-up. You have to find that common ground of co-parenting where you set your own feelings aside for the children; and realize that you two made these children. They didn’t ask to be here, and they don’t deserve to suffer the consequences of the break-up. There were plenty of times where I had to bite my tongue…and it was so hard not , but never wanted Sophia to see how ugly things could be; this is tough enough on them to begin with. It’s a whole new normal, their lives are forever changed.

If you don’t have children, I think it is easier to try to be decent towards each other, and my god I know what can be a lot easier said than done. Been there! But it’s ugly enough as is..egos are bruised..hurt etc…but arguing and getting up in each others faces won’t make the process any easier. Keep it off social media, there is no need to have the entire world know your business. I am a private person and I don’t like my personal business plastered all over social media and having a million and one different opinions coming at me. It’s a rough process to begin with why make it any harder.

Another aspect that I found to be really frustrating was how many people told me to “get out there and date,” I was in no mood or the right frame of mind to date. If you find yourself wanting too, then by all means do it. I didn’t date anyone until a year after my divorce was final; the way I saw it was I didn’t want to bring another person in the drama of a divorce, your emotions are all over the place..I felt that it would be unfair to that person.

I understand that what I am saying sounds to Leave it to Beaver way of doing things; but you don’t need to be at each others throats constantly. I am definitely not saying that I didn’t “lose my cool,” going through mine, because we will all have our moments…but to make it an everyday occurrence just makes things ten times more difficult in the end.

2. How do you deal with players & cheat & boys night? lol I don’t. Let them play and cheat with someone elses emotions. The way I look at it, I don’t have time for the bullshit, and I am way too old for mind games and high school behavior. I refuse to be second choice to another woman; I am not talking children, because children will always come first. I have to much respect for myself to play second fiddle. If someone cheats I am done, 100%…I will give you the keys to the hotel room, but I am gone..whether we were together for 5 year or married.

Boys night? I mean do you have girls night? If you can’t trust the person that you are with then why are you with them in the first place? If I can’t trust someone I sure as hell won’t be with them. When I am with someone I want them to have boys night, I know that may sound strange, because so many women are so against it. I am not. I think it’s healthy to have your friends night; you’re allowed to have time with your friends and time away from each other. It’s healthy. I don’t like controlling people, and I don’t want to control someone. If someone is going to cheat, they will find a way to do it, they don’t boy or girls night to cheat…that ludicrous.

3. How do you feel about combined bachelor parties? you trust them? Realistically these parties where thrown for you to have that one last “fling,” or so I read once, I personally don’t agree with that. In my eyes that’s cheating, but I once went to a combined party and it was strange. Not my cup of tea.

But I still believe you need to have respect for your partner when it comes to these parties, and you both need to talk about what you are and not okay with.

4. What do you feel is most important in a relationship? Communication and trust. Like I said before if I can’t trust you I can’t be with you. You have to communicate, we are not mind readers.

5. How do you know you found the one? Hmm. Drew Barrymore in the Wedding Singer said “I always envisioned the one as someone I can see myself growing old with.” Definitely something like that; you just feel it. Can’t explain it, it’s more than finding someone shouldn’t be able to explain it. It’s not who you want to spend Friday night with, but who you want to spend all day Saturday with. There are too many almost out can always find someone else, but the big difference is if you find yourself going back to someone. That no matter what your mind always wonders back to them, and it will probably scare you too.

The way I see it is, everyone is always…and exciting in the beginning, but when you get to know them…everyone becomes “boring,” and somewhat predictable, in the sense you get to know their quirks, and what makes them who they are.

I think the one is someone that makes your life better, I am not talking materialistic, but better. You feel happy when you are around them, like you don’t need to be anyone but yourself. It just works without explanation or reason.

6. How do you deal with wondering eyes from your partner? I don’t. I think it is some of the most disrespectful acts you can do when you are with someone; especially if you know if it bothers your partner and it’s more the evident that you are eye balling someone up and down. Listen I think it’s only normal to find other people attractive, but you don’t act upon it. It’s normal to find someone beautiful or handsome, but you don’t put yourself in the position to act upon that attraction; and hurt someone else. It’s cruel. You have control over your actions, you know right from wrong, you are not 2 lol.

As you can probably tell I don’t put up with a ton of bullshit in a relationship; no one is perfect by any means. I however expect respect from the person that I am with. I don’t have time or patience for drama, I have been burnt too many times in the past. When I am with someone I want them for myself, not to share among other women. I am very straight forward in a relationship, if I feel something is off you better bet I will talk to you about it. I am not perfect, I am the furthest thing from perfect, but I wouldn’t put myself in the position to hurt someone I love or care about on purpose.

Answering your questions.

Last week I posted on my Instagram one of those question things in my stories; and since it’s been a week that I put Jimmy down I thought it would be fun to answer 10 questions I received; and 5 truths request. So lets just into it…..

  1. You’ve been silent the last couple of weeks on your Instagram stories, are you ok? still running?Life updates? Yeah, I have been good. Definitely still running, when I put Jimmy down I took a few days off, but I think it rained most days that week. Feels like a blur, but I am still running. However I am dying for the rain to stop a bit, I get that it is Spring, but I am really wanting to go on more hikes. Find more running places around Pittsburgh. There really isn’t any major life updates, I am finally getting the feeling that things are slowly leveling out; which I am absolutely grateful for. Trust me on that one. Really I am not a huge social media person; I do go through spells where I am more active on it than other times. I just can’t keep up with it.
  2. I saw you made ice cream on your blog; what’s your favorite store bought or local ice cream? Favorite? Hmm. I like a lot of flavors. You can’t go wrong with straight vanilla. Ben & Jerrys Cherry Garcia; is amazing; but locally there is a place down in Bloomfield, Pa..that has my ultimate, Chocolate Almond, not to many places make it. I am really not picky lol.
  3. Favorite way to eat pizza? Hmm. Pepperoni and Mushroom, and I am not opposed to Olives. I don’t care for sausage on a pizza. No anchovies!
  4. What are you currently watching? I have to finish The Office, The Walking Dead from the beginning; they are best episodes. I swear I can smell Darryl through the tv screen.
  5. Do you believe in second chances? Yeah I do. People can really mess up; we’re human you know.
  6. Is there a couple that you look up too? Yeah my mom and step-dad, they have a really good marriage. I believe they only dated for 8 months and now have been married for 27 years. I am not saying their marriage is perfect, but they just compliment each other so well. A lot of the nights when I am laying in bed I just hear them laughing at whatever they are watching tv. It’s when you have that connection is great.
  7. Favorite book? Hands down….Catcher and the Rye and maybe The Great Gatsby is second.
  8. I can’t believe you watched 21 & Over; doesn’t seem like your sense of humor? I feel as if a lot of people take me to be really serious all of the time; maybe that is just how I come off. Not sure, but I have a pretty good sense of humor; American Pie movies are some of my favorite to watch. My sisters brother Paul (Whodunit as he goes by should explain it), who I have known my entire life practically since I was about 4, he’s always posting crazy stuff on Facebook…some of it I’m like “oh god Paul that’s nasty,” then there are times I am in tears laughing. I grew up watching Jim Carrey movies, Adam Sandler, Mr. Bean, etc.
  9. If you a 100 million dollars what would you do with it? 100 million, I can’t fathom that type of money, but for shits and giggles….I would take care of my family and friends; they would be debt free and never have to work again. I would put Sophia, my nieces and nephews through any kind of schooling they would want. I would definitely get into charity work, you have to give back….you have too. The world is ugly enough as is, and if you have the means to make it better for someone else why not? As for myself…I know I would travel and I’m not quite sure what else. Money doesn’t impress me at all; I’ve watched how ugly it can be, and I think that’s why if I had it…I would give to help others.
  10. What is the biggest fear of getting remarried? Will you ever get remarried? Anymore Kids?Geesh, this is a serious one. I think my biggest fear is not knowing the person as much as I thought I did, and I fear that stems back from my first marriage. I thought I knew everything about my ex-husband; like those life-altering facts, but the truth is…I didn’t know him at all. I was with him for about 3 years before we married; lived with him prior to being married etc. I don’t expect perfection from anyone. Then the rug was ripped from under me every which was possibly. I remember thinking “who the F did I marry?” because the person I thought I knew and trusted wasn’t that person at all. When everything was said and done I had to rebuild my life from the bottom up, literally from scratch. The only thing in my marriage that didn’t happen was physical abuse, but I believe that was the next step if I would have stayed. Most people can say “I cheated,” and that’s what ended our marriage etc, but there was other women, there was drug abuse, disappearing acts, etc. It was ugly, a marriage I wouldn’t wish upon someone I strongly dislike. Remarried? Sure, I mean it couldn’t get any worse the the first one lol, but I don’t want to get married tomorrow; I really want to get to know someone first. You learn a lot from your past, but you can’t let you past dictate your future, it’s so unfair to you. You have to let that shit go it will destroy you. Plus I have Sophia, so it makes it a little different this time around. I want to be with someone that I can have fun with but also be serious with at the same time; life is to damn short not to enjoy it. Anymore kids? This is always a favorite one. As of now I am done, I”m hitting 32 soon, and I honestly don’t know. I will say this….I would be open to it if my partner is open to it, but it’s not a deal breaker if we wouldn’t want anymore. I love other peoples babies!

5 Truths

  1. I love to paint (not walls).
  2. I hate ice.
  3. I actually wore two different types of black boots to a funeral once. One was a pointed toe and the other was a pointed square toe and didn’t notice till I got home that night. Same height though.
  4. I tried to get back into wood – burning and absolutely HATED it.
  5. I am really good with knots….I can get anything out of a knot. You know that scene from National Lampoon Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase gives Rusty that big ball of Christmas lights to untangle. I can probably get that out in no time. It’s weird.

Jimmy & Links

I am hitting a really tough streak; and none of it I saw coming; but do we ever? On May 4th I had to put my dog Jimmy down; I’ve had him for 7 years. The day before we traveled up North a bit to a local Petco to get his annual vaccinations; but when the doctor listened to his breathing she said “I am afraid if I administer these shot, he will go into cardiac arrest.” I remember that feeling of “punch in the gut,” honestly though I knew his time was becoming limited but sometimes the confirmation of something makes it harder. He is the second dog that I had that died from Congestive Heart Failure; but he was my first “adult dog” and boy did I love him. He could do no wrong in my eyes. Jimmy was the sweetest dog in the world…if he liked you, but to my sister she called him little lucifer; he wasn’t too fond of her for some reason. He waited for me to get home if I was out late, always ready to cuddle, always the first one in line for treats and he loved his sweaters. He was just my little man.

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Homemade Vanilla Maple Syrup

This quarantine has me reaching back into cooking days like something fierce; it brings back the very fond memories of when I attend Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh. It no longer exists, the school closed in 2012; I was the last graduating class in 2011. Quite honestly it is probably one of the happiest seasons of my life, I was young…had tons of ambition…and completely in love with my school. My goal was to live in Washington, Dc and be the presidents pastry chef; that was seriously my goal. Didn’t happen obviously, and I am completely fine with it.

Anyways, I commuted to the city everyday, I was on a bus at 6:30 in the morning and some days I didn’t return home until almost 8pm. This was right after I completely dropped out of college to attend cooking school; that was a very bittersweet day, but I believe it took me to where I needed to be in life. I had some of the best teachers that I could ever ask for, probably some of the best teachers in all my years of schooling. This is where I got my opportunity to move down South and work at one of the top golf resorts in the US; an experience that I will never forget.

But here I am almost ten years later and I am no longer working in the field; it wasn’t for losing the passion…well… in a different way. I absolutely hated resort’s not doable being a single mom. The hours are way to unpredictable, my typical shift was 4am to sometimes 7pm; it’s a tough field. More than what I ever expected it to be.

However, I felt that the only reason why I was brought into the direction of of this was to meet Sophia’s father and bring her into the world…without quitting college..and entering cooking school; who knows if I would have had Sophia. And also to make food for you fine folks and share it….

SOOOOOO….without procrastinating any longer


Curious….do you say syrup as seeerup? (PLEASE SAY NO…PLEASE SAY NO…)



Seeerup makes me cringe….like the sound of someone crunching on ice…or for most people of the world it’s nails down a chalk board. Either way…it’s a whole potato…patato situation that I avoid like the plague. My brother on the other hand says SEEEERUP….I definitely think just to get until my skin…or the way he calls me Sarris…ugh..that’s just horrible.

Joanna Gaines Maple Syrup from her Magnolia Table Volume 2


1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of water

2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. of our maple extract.

**I trippled the recipe**

  1. Bring your sugar and water to a boil
  2. Add your extracts
  3. Allow mixture to simmer for 20 minutes- stir it
  • Refrigerate up to two weeks.

My grandma used to make homemade syrup and I remember her telling me how easy it is to make, but I don’t have her recipe anymore. So Joanna Gaines recipe I think is very similar to hers; and tastes quite like it as well.

Anyways this is going to go perfect with my famous french toast as Sophia calls it; that’s a recipe for another day.

Sesame Chicken Noodles

“How you feeling……”….”how you feeling…hot……”- sung by Merrymen that had me singing. Meeee oooooh my…THIS! This right here had my taste buds singing….Chrissy Teigen you did it to me once again, I mean your cookbook brings by cooking to a completely different of level of hot and fun. I am finding myself cooking outside of my comfort zone; using ingredients that I never take a second glance at the grocery store. For instance Tahini; I thought it was something that went into those fun beachy drinks….but I couldn’t have been anymore wrong; then I couldn’t find it at the grocery…that was fun; but I ended up buying a big bottle of Tahini…and Sriracha, because why not, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

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Stovetop S’mores

This takes me back to about seventeen years ago when I was around fourteen years old; especially during the summer vacation. My family are not campers by any means; my mom basically requires a Hilton in the middle of the woods, so it’s strange to admit that my first real s’more wasn’t until I was about eighteen; at a bon fire.

Most summer days I spent with my friend Teresa at her pool; I attempted to lay out but bordem would kick in real fast and we would end up swimming for hours. By evening we were back at my house and we always did the same thing…scary movie night and stovetop s’mores. Teresa always called sitting in the middle …my brother was on one side of her and I was on the other….always. Even to this day I think she would still require that certain seating arrangement…and of course the s’mores.

Tonight was the first time I’ve had these s’mores since I was about fifteen; quite honestly speaking I wasn’t too sure if I would still like them. Sometimes I think my taste buds never matured past the age of five, because I love cereal as much as the next kid; probably one of my favorite things to eat.

So I am just going to jump right into how to make this: it isn’t for the faint hearted…it’s soooooo sweet.


1/2 stick butter

1/2 to 3/4 back of Chocolate Chips

1/2 regular size box of Golden Graham cereal

1/2 bag of Marshmellos

How to make them:

  1. Melt the butter on the stove- keep stirring
  2. Add your chocolate- keep stirring
  3. Add your marshmallows- stir…it will turn into a rather gooey-sticky mess….then
  4. Add the cereal- you need to use your muscles….this part is tough…stir everything together. If it’s to hard to stir melt a little more butter in the microwave. It will help.
  5. And enjoy.

Sophia has been asking for a movie night for the past couple of days; so I exchanged my scary movie night to watch “How to Train your Dragon,” and introduce Sophia to the s’mores. I definitely could not eat it the way I used to as a teen; it’s so rich that you’ll crave something salty. I am definitely more of a popcorn girl these days….

Anyways I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far!