12.31.2012

life's a dance | 2013 resolutions

With 2013 knocking at my door, I spend some time reflecting this last weekend over what I desired for the new year.  2012 has been a great year filled with growth, friendship, and opportunity and I hope 2013 is filled with even greater things. 


 I learned early on in life that I am in control of my destiny and the path I take, therefore if I want great things, I need to work (hard) for them.  In the past couple of years I have traveled down a few bumpy roads and hit a few crossroads due to my divorce.  My plans and aspirations for my future now just don’t include me, they include my son.  Even though he is still pretty young, I strongly believe that what I do in this early stage of his life is vital in building his future.  A good education for him is very important to me in addition to him having proper childcare, healthy meals, and a roof over his head.  Your values and priorities definitely change when you become a mother, and change even more if you are a single mother.  I have a new level of respect for the single, working mom’s out there who are doing it alone to provide and give their children a good quality of life. 


 Alright, back to my resolutions.  Normally, each year I have about 5 or 6 resolutions of high importance and 3 or 4 resolutions of low importance.  The funny thing is, I am not very organized in carrying out these resolutions.  I normally get burnt out in January on the high level resolutions and then only successfully carry out the low level ones.   


This year I’m doing it a little different. I read an article where experts say that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit or form a new one.  This makes a lot of sense as routines can’t be built immediately, they take practice (and practice makes perfect).  I will carry out this 21 day theory in by separating each resolution by month next year.  Each month I will work on that specific resolution/goal and hopefully the end result is a good one. 


January | Budget
February | Time Management/Organization
March| Work Life
April | Writing
May | Exercise/Health
June | Friendship
July | Travel
August | Reading
September| Reflection and Personal Growth
October | Style
November | Giving
December | Love

January | Budget
One thing I think we have all struggled with is money.  Unfortunately, I am not Lisa Hochstein where my only concern money-wise is whether to purchase a Louboutin or a Choo. This year I strive to save more than I spend and really cut back on the wants vs. needs. It’s important to me to have an emergency fund and a substantial amount in savings just in case something happens.  I work for the government and am VERY fortunate to have a job in this recession, but you never know what the future will bring.  I plan frugalizing my variable monthly expenses (groceries, dining out, entertainment, shopping, etc.) and seeing how I can save money.  Dining out is often very convenient, but puts a large dent in the pocket book.  Finding alternatives to eating out like freezer or crock pot meals will benefit me financially in the long run and are often healthier than take out.

February | Time Management/Organization
Managing my time better and becoming more organized is a huge goal for me.  Naturally, I am a pretty stressed out person.  I have a lot on my plate and like any person who is juggling children and a career, one might become a bit flustered.  When I get flustered, it’s easy for me to become overwhelmed and my organization and time management just goes right out the door.  First and foremost, I need to establish a better morning routine.  For a working mom, it can be pretty tiring to have woken up, showered, dressed, eaten a small breakfast, gotten a child dressed, fed, and ready for the day, then driven 25 minutes to the nanny’s house, then another 15 to work by the time SAHM’s are just getting up for the day.  Since I have such a process each morning, sometimes I am not the best at making it to work on time.  I need to fine tune my morning routine and practice a better time management in the process.   

March| Work Life
First and foremost, I would like to say that I am absolutely blessed and am very happy with my job. I don’t ever want to take my job for granted or lose my professional edge.  It’s easy to get comfortable in your career and forget about the small professionalisms and work etiquette that you once swore by when you were first hired on.  This year, I hope to excel in my career and learn new things along the way.  Personally, I like to keep my work-life and home-life separate.  Fortunately, I am pretty good at keeping these two dynamics separate, but I have seen it slip in the past year or so.  I will continue to work on keeping the dynamics separate and continue looking for ways to grow and excel.

April | Writing
A newcomer to the blogging community, I strive to become a better writer.  Putting time, attention, and heart into my posts is important to me.  Like pursuit, wouldn’t feel right to go into this only 50 percent.  Hopefully, with time, practice, and heart, I can create something great.

May | Exercise/Health
I hate to admit it, but I am really bad (shameless even) at hitting the gym.  However, when Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is aired I am normally convinced I will be the next Courtney Cook and end up taking my lazy behind to the gym.  Back in my Facebook days, when your workout didn’t count unless you tagged yourself at the gym, posted one of those ‘fat is sweat crying’ inspirational pictures, or updated your status accordingly, I was never jealous or felt bad that I wasn’t working out.  Now that I am getting older, I am scared (read: terrified) of a possible shift in my metabolism.  As much as I don’t enjoy any workouts that aren’t dance related, I am starting to believe more and more than I need to start up some sort of fitness plan.  I’ve recently stumbled upon Barre Ballet and its pure gold.  Another goal I have is to eat a little bit healthier.  I’d eat to be healthy then to eat to lose weight.  Even though, I am no Miranda Kerr, I am pretty confident with my body but I would like to be healthier and have more energy.  With fine tuning my diet and doing barre ballet a few times a week, my goal of meeting my diet/fitness resolution is promising.

June | Friendship
I have been blessed with a few wonderful girlfriends that have stuck by my side for years on end.  I am the type of person that has a few really close friends, but not a lot of female friends.  Some women would hate this dynamic, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  As life took its course, this group of stand-up gals moved away for job offers, found love, got married, and had children.  Due to the life changes it’s become more difficult to catch up.  This year, my goal is to keep in contact and maintain correspondence with these gals that I rarely get to see.  Also, I hope to maintain my current friendships and hopefully find new ones in the new year.

July | Travel
I love to travel. 
I remember a time where I drove to from Washington to SLC for a family party, flew from SLC to Mexico City, travelled from Mexico City to Guadalajara, flew back home to work for the weekend, then flew to NYC on Monday morning for another vacation.  Lately, my travel plans have really just consisted of trips to SLC/Park City, Utah, weekend trips to the Coeur D’Alene Resort, or short stays in Seattle.  This year, one of my main goals is to travel.  Now that I have a son, my vacations are more kid friendly stays in Texas or the beaches of LA and less the booze cruises of Cabo (not that I’d want to do that anyway, no offense to anyone that would). 

August | Reading
This year, I will try my absolute hardest to find the time to read.  Honestly, nothing is more relaxing than diving into a good book.  Unfortunately, sometimes I haven’t used the time that I could be reading wisely and end up filling the time watching Brandi Glanville’s attempts to get along with other Beverly Hills women. 


September| Reflection and Personal GrowthThis year, I really want to spend some time reflecting on the positives in my life.  My recent life changes have made me grow significantly as a person and as a mother and I’m very happy with the new road my life has taken me on.  I’d like to find a way to stay on course and continue going down this road. I’m a firm believer on never settling and feel that if you want something, you are the only person in charge of making it happen.  I’d like to spend some time finding out what else I want in life. 


October | Style
Recently, I’ve discovered a lovely little thing called Pinterest. Okay, maybe I’m a tad behind in what’s popular, but please know when I’m not at work I normally spend my time watching Dinosaur Train, gluing alphabet decals everywhere, and cleaning up mystery messes.  Pinterest has inspired me that weekend wear is not just yoga pants, a Northface, and Toms.  Pinterest is just wonderful.  Anywho, I feel that I have become a little lax in the area of fashion and need to make an extra effort. 

November | Giving
By nature, I am a giver.  I love to give.  This year, I would like to really ‘give’ in many different ways.  I’d like to give back to the community, give of a few random acts of kindness, or volunteer. My birthday is in November and although my mindset is never really on what I am going to get, I’d like to focus that time on service and giving. Note: Hopefully I will be so distracted by volunteering that I will forget my birthday (and that fact that I’m getting up there in age).

December | Love
This year, I am going to really focus on spending extra time with my loved ones.  As of late, everyone in my family has gone down different paths, some good and some bad.  Since life has been changing so quickly for all of us, it’s hard to get together as often as we’d like. 

What are some of your new year resolutions/goals?

12.30.2012

elephant and chevron birthday party

Happy Sunday!

My son turns 3 (tear) in April.  Where has the time gone?  Planning and styling parties is one of my passions.  I LIVE for a good party, especially a party for children.  Sometimes I feel I have more fun than the children at a little one's soiree.  Below is a little inspiration from http://thecakeblog.com.

Enjoy!







Vendors & Credits:

 
Birthday boy shirt, onesie and hat:  Initial Here Gifts
Cake, cupcakes and cake pops:  Sweet Art Bakery
Invitations:  Kaylee Bug Designs
Hushpuppies:  Delaney’s Irish Pub
Cupcake liners, straws and tiny chevron bags:  Sweet Estelle Baking Supply
Fabrics:  Texas Susannie’s Fabric Store
Photography backdrops:  Swanky Prints
No. 1 cookie cutter:  The Cookie Cutter Shop
Goody bags:  Bake Me a Party
Photography:  Chad McKinney Photography

12.29.2012

the D word.

The dreaded D word.  
A 7-letter, 2-sylable word that changes everything. No, It’s not deception (although that is pretty bad) or depression (that sucks too). It is Divorce.  There are some people, Elizabeth Taylor types, that find nothing wrong with this word.  The lawyers, the custody battles, and the drama associated is a walk in the park to them.  Sadly, I am not in that particular camp of women.  Divorce is no walk in the park for me, and to put it frankly, it sucks.  The entire process is frustrating and sad.  Splitting up time with you child breaks your heart. 

 In my situation, there were a few factors that led to the break up.  In my mind, it would have been easier if it was one big reason on why we split.  During the process, I stayed pretty quiet about the ordeal.  Only select family members and friends knew, as I wanted to keep the matter private.  I never wanted to be one of those wives who badmouthed my ex to anyone and everyone that listened and went for the jugular in divorce court.  Keeping things civil and maintaining a good relationship with my ex was very important to me because of my son. 

 My parents divorced when I was 13, and although I was unfazed by the situation, I loathed how un-civil the split was.  My mom is a pretty passive person and although, she could have vented and carried on about my dad, she never did.  My dad, unfortunately, was pretty cutthroat in court and did a lot of badmouthing.  I never felt like I was in the middle, I just was uncomfortable hearing those things about my mom.

  After experiencing this, I would never want to put my son in that situation.  As hard as divorce is, I feel it’s very important not put your child in a situation where you are badmouthing your ex or making this child feel like they need to choose.  In my opinion, if you have children and are going through a divorce, the number one concern should be the child.  Luckily, my son was very young and probably won’t remember most of the divorce, but children (no matter how young) can sense emotions and knowing this, I tried to keep my head up (no matter how bad/ugly it got) for him.  Splitting up holidays is very hard, but I know it will get better.  


My advice to anyone going through a divorce (with or without children):


It gets better. 
Remember your first heartbreak and how you were certain that life was ending, the ache in your heart would never go away, and the lump in your throat would be there forever?  Remember how in time, that feeling went away and you can even laugh when you reference the break up?  Don’t get me wrong, heartbreak is awful, but with time it tends to get better.  At the time of your breakup there may not be enough Xanax on earth to ease your broken heart, but if you keep yourself busy, focus on other things, and try to keep a positive mindset, the magical healing process will do it’s magic and you will start to feel like yourself again.  Remember, there is a rainbow after every storm.




 

You are stronger than you think.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”.  Not to get all churchy on ya, but God will never give you more than you can handle.  I cannot stress enough that us women are much stronger than we think.  When I was married, I couldn’t imagine how I would get over something so awful.  I learned that although, the situation was pretty awful, I stayed strong.  A lot of people who are just learning about the split are shocked by my ability to keep it together and continue my daily routine while dealing with the big D.  My son was one of the biggest reasons I needed to stay strong, and I do admit that if I didn’t have him in my life the whole ‘stay strong aspect’ would have been a tad more difficult.  But, I know even without my son, I still would have survived. 




Life goes on.
‘Oh my gosh, this is the end. The worst has happened’.  This was one of the thoughts that raced through my head when the reality of my divorce sunk in.  Moving from my cute little house that was custom made for us to my mom’s, splitting up assets, transitioning from a Mrs. to Miss, dividing my time with my son, how people would view me, and being alone for the first time in a really long time (I have really never been single, I will get into that at a later time) were all hard things I struggled with.  I feared going back to square one.  Life did in fact go on, and the transitional process is getting better every day.


 
Don’t put your children in the middle.
Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking.  It’s hard dealing with an ex.  It’s even harder when there are negative and hurt feelings involved.  We are all human and our judgment gets a little foggy when we are angry.  In those moments of anger, we really should be thinking of our children.  Before ripping your ex a new one in front of your kids, please think about how they will react hearing those things.  Will your children feel they are in the middle? Will your children feel uncomfortable?  Divorce is hard on everyone, and in my opinion it’s even harder on the children.  Keep in mind they things are changing in their lives too and they may not be as used to adversity as you are.  




Let go of anger.
“Behind every women scorned, is a man who made her that way”.  Ten points to you if you associated this quote with a Miranda Lambert song.  I feel strongly that the quote/lyric above is very true.  Anger is a hard emotion to break.  Many people live with anger, hurt, and resentment their entire lives.  In the wake of a divorce, one has 2 choices on how to handle such anger.  Option 1 – Drag all of your exes belongings onto the front lawn and light them on fire ‘Waiting to Exhale’ style, then log onto his Facebook account and change his “Interested In” status to men.  Option 2 – Take a step back and calmly deal with your anger and hurt.  Read self-help books and find a support group or someone who has been in a similar situation to talk to.  Trust me, Option 1 is pretty dang tempting and Option 2 is easier said than done.  Like I said earlier, anger is tough emotion, and probably the hardest to deal with.  I have dealt with a whirlwind of emotions through my life (I’m a woman, come on) and there is nothing that can make you go from calm and poised to 50 shades of crazy more than anger.  Anger for me was like wearing a backpack filled with 50 pound of bricks 24 hours, 7 days a week.  I mean, who could ignore 50 lbs strapped to your back every day?   Once I started legging go of my anger, and trust me, it was a process, it was like I was removing one brick slowly until there was nothing left in my imaginary backpack.  That is a silly analogy, but it’s very true.



 
Try to keep the badmouthing to a minimum
Alright, before you think I am getting all holier than thou on you, let me remind you that I am human.  Like I explained earlier, it’s really hard to badmouth, but I have done it too.  If you feel that you have to let off some steam, choose your audience wisely.  Try not to vent to anyone in your husband’s family, friends that you both share, or your children.  Venting to your husband’s family or mutual friends puts them in an awkward position and makes them feel like they need to choose or they may feel like they are betraying your other half by listening to the rant.  Mutual friends may come to you with concern or to seek information (come on, everyone loves a scandal) and you may feel inclined to divulge all the dirty details, but try to keep the negative comments at bay.  This may seem silly, but ‘man-hating’ movies help, A LOT.  Waiting to Exhale, 9 to 5, First Wives Club, The Women, Fried Green Tomatoes, Something to Talk About, and Thelma and Louise are all exceptional choices.  All movies showcase anger in its truest form and how to get over it and build yourself back up.  




Find a hobby or pastime.
The more you dwell on something, the worse it gets.  Finding something that interests you and distracts you from your divorce is a huge help.  If you have children, you will have to find something to fill your time on the days/weekends away from your child.  Take a dance class, take up yoga or barre ballet, plan a couple weekend getaways, get a mani-pedi, craft a little (alright, I know you have just about a million things pinned to your craft board on Pinterest), have a girls night, or brush up on your reading.  




You will find love again.
Deciding when to date again is different for everyone.  Some take longer than others and some are ready to jump right back into dating.  It’s all up to the person and what works for them.   I know 2 people who experienced equally painful divorces, where one was already remarried with children in the amount of time it took other to be emotionally ready. 
Starting back at square one when you haven’t been in the dating game for quite some time is ominous.  The game has changed and re-entering post –divorce can seem overwhelming.  One might assume they are less desirable having a failed marriage under their belt.  One might assume that having children in addition to the failed marriage might scare men off.  Truth be told, some men (mostly immature ones) will be scared off (it’s not like we want immature men anyways, right?) but surprisingly enough, most men won’t.  Times have changed. Divorced women or women with children in the dating game has become increasingly common.  Come to find out there are a lot of men out there who find a divorcĂ© with children strong and more desirable than women with less ‘baggage’.  A good percentage of men were raised by a single mom and admire one’s ability to raise a child on their own.  You still may run the risk of finding a great guy (without children) who doesn’t really ‘get’ kids or a great divorced guy (with children) where either your parenting styles clash or your kids don’t get along with his little ones, but being a divorcĂ© (in my case, with children) wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I did go through a series of emotions where I questioned seriously doubted that anyone would want to date me due to my new role as an ex-wife slash baby momma. BUT, turns out…. ex-wife slash baby momma-me is just as datable as pre-marriage slash pre-baby-me.  Who knew?
Fun Fact: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 96 million single adults in the US. There are also 86 single men to every 100 single women.  That’s kind of….a lot. There are plenty fish in the sea.  May the odds be ever in your favor. Ignore the Hunger Games reference.




It’s easier than you think to start over.
I once knew a girl who continually went back to her ex after repeat affairs, deceptions, and verbal abuse.  Her reasoning for going back to this particular man was not because he was charming or because she forgave him, it was her fear of starting over.  See, she had devoted nearly the last decade to him and couldn't fathom how she would get by without him because he was all she knew.  She had been out of work for 5 plus years and doubted that any employer would hire a 29 year old woman whose last job was in 2003.  She doubted that she could provide for her 3 children.  She doubted that she would have the courage to move from her 250K dream house to a small apartment she could barely afford.  But, after 2 years of going back to her ex, she finally started over.  She found a profitable job, moved out, and after budgeting, found a nanny to watch her girls and help out with errands during the day.  Change is tough and starting back at level one is harder.  As I mentioned earlier, God will not give us more than we can handle. 



the downside of holiday festivities

The holiday season is filled with numerous opportunities to indulge in the one thing that I have the biggest love/hate relationship with, food. Company parties, ugly sweater parties, white elephant gift exchanges, work potlucks, Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner are normally jam-packed with all the foods I love to hate and hate to love. 



 I tend to have willpower of steel in every area of my life other than food.  I simply can’t pass up the endless trays of cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cakes.  The phrase “a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips” just goes through one ear and out the other.  The upside of the indulgence (and gluttony) of this time of year is a blessed thing called the
 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  




The fashion show is a yearly occurrence than is broadcast during the winter months.  I live for this fashion show and am probably more enthused than most men. Could it be my girl-crush on Miranda Kerr (I’m a little obsessed)? Maybe.  Could it be all the sparkles and swagger? Quite possibly.  Could it be my love (read: obsession) with anything VS? Perhaps. The main reason I adore this show is the inspiration to get fit.  I know some girls that absolutely despise the show, but still spend around $750 annually on Victoria’s Secret goods.  Why would one hate a silly fashion show so much you may ask? 




 The reasoning is simple.  Nothing can make a women feel more unsexy (and a little angry at her gene pool) than this particular fashion show.  I DVR this show every year to watch when I need an extra boost of inspiration to get fit.  



Bottom line: Everyone is beautiful.  It doesn’t matter if your jean size is in the single or double digits, if you have flawless or acne prone skin, what race you are, if you have curly, kinky, or fine hair, if you are walking or in a wheelchair, or if you rock an A-cup or a D-cup, everyone is beautiful.  Sometimes though, us women let ourselves go a little.  We get comfortable.  It happens to everyone, trust me.  I have become a huge offender of leaving the house in yoga pants.  Yoga pants used to only be for yoga or dance, but soon became my weekend look. 






 We all need a little inspiration from time to time to do that extra something (hitting the gym, spending and extra 10 minutes on hair & make-up) to maintain our looks





Some helpful healthy recipes and metabolism boosters can be found  here, here, and here.

Helpful workout tips to shed those holiday pounds can be found here and here.

HAPPY SATURDAY!

12.27.2012

things you should never say to a working mom

“I couldn’t imagine letting another person raise my children”

“Wow, I wish I could be more like you, but I just don’t have it in me to leave my children all day long”


“Don’t worry, you will find a guy in no time that will make more than enough to support you so you can stay home” – this is post divorce, of course (Note: I was able to stay home on my ex’s income if I chose to)


“I bet that is really hard on your son. How is he dealing with it?”


Nowadays the decision to stay home vs. go to work is more complex than it seems.  In today’s society that empowers women to work side by side with men in the workforce and be breadwinners, there is still a prejudice in wanting this.  When I became pregnant with my son, both my husband (at the time) and I were in a common agreement that I would work.  We actually never even talked about me staying home. 


From time to time, I would entertain the idea of being a SAHM, but was never fully swayed on the idea.  My family, friends, and in-laws were all happy and respectful of my choice to stay at home.  Once my 2nd trimester hit, people (mostly co-workers) started questioning what was to happen after baby.  At this point, there wasn’t a negative reception towards my choice. 


As my pregnancy progressed, the amount of questions increased and the negative comments started.  It wasn’t too bad at this point… The occasional female would end the conversation with “I’m sure you will change your mind after you have the baby”, “You’ll do what is best for the baby at the time”, and my personal favorite “That’s cute, how femme of you”. 

This was a great buffer for the interesting (read: mean) comments, questions, and assumptions I would get post baby.  There is definitely a huge divide between stay at home moms and working moms. It’s unfortunate, but I have been in several conversations with other moms and when I mention that I work, the whole dynamic changes.  What once started as a friendly, happy conversation, has ended in a touch a judgment and a knowing look exchanged by the SAHM and SAHM’s friend.  It would be unfair for me to look down on SAHMs, so why look down on me? 


The bottom line is everyone is different.  Everyone has a different way of parenting, different views on how children should be raised, and how much you value your career.  Us women should empower each other and not exclude each other over such a silly minute detail.

Below is an excerpt from a post by a fellow working mom with some very valid points:

I'm not saying that being with your baby as much as humanly possible isn't noble or ideal. In fact, it is -- it's so, so important. But it's all important. All those years. They're all mind-bendingly, heart-breakingly important. And the good parents are the ones who take the whole picture into account and respect other parents trying to find their way the best they can.

Source: here

12.26.2012

christmas update

                                                                        

pajamas.

blue and gold tree.

orange juice and cinnamon rolls.

happy baby.

puzzles.

books.

basketball hoop.

train set.

shopping cart.

breakfast at IHOP (no judgement).

pretty jacket.

presents with grandparents.

VS pajamas.

candy.

present opening session with daddy.

finding out no stores are open.

Lakers game.

more candy.

stocking stuffers.

present opening session with my momma.

remote control cars.

pajamas for baby.

cute sephora gift box.
                                                                   

Goodbye Christmas.    
Hello Christmas clean up.
More to come soon!

12.23.2012

sparkle and shine.








staying stylish after baby

Happy Sunday!

All of the mothers out there will probably agree with the fact that maintaining your pre-baby look becomes a little difficult after the baby comes.  For me, I was quite naive.  In my mind, once I had my son I would be a total MILF.  Pre-baby, I assumed that since babies sleep most of the day that I would have endless amounts of time to primp, fluff, manicure, and beautify myself before leaving the house.  In my ever so naive imagination, I pictured myself leaving the house in my pre-baby jeans (because come on, it's not hard to lose baby weight) with perfect hair and make up toting cute little one in his designer baby clothes.  I mean, my mom was an image of perfection post-baby so why wouldn't I be as well?

Reality Check Time.

 I learned I wasn't my mom.  I learned that you can't just fit into those pre-baby size 4's and it's pretty depressing when you try.  I learned that your hips get bigger (who knew!).  I learned about a lovely thing called sleep deprivation. Lastly, I learned that looking smashing post-baby is pretty dang hard.

What I envisioned:
What actually happens:



A great article on how to bring sexy back as a new mom here and here.




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