“Divorce School”

Last night I went to the first of two court-mandated co-parenting classes.  These sessions are required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for anyone with minor children who is getting divorced.  I had no idea what to expect of this experience but, I have to emphatically admit that I left the session feeling truly grateful for my own situation and horribly concerned for some of my classmates.

While there is a mandatory syllabus for these sessions, our instructor said that, in his 20 years of experience in teaching these classes, it is far more effective and powerful to allow everyone to simply have an open and respectful discussion.  During a round of introductions we each gave our name, the ages of our child(ren) and the length of our separation from spouse.   During many of these intros, the instructor asked follow-up questions and more context was provided that led to a lot of dialogue among the group. The most powerful situations, to me, stemmed from women who had husbands or partners with substance abuse issues.  It shocked me how many in the class could not afford legal representation and were filing their own paperwork within the court system.  Many others remain in their house with their soon-to-be-ex spouses due to the lack of funds to maintain a second home.

My feelings of gratitude stemmed from the fact that none of these egregious situations pertained to me and that I was very fortunate to have a husband who loves his daughter and desperately wants and enjoys his time with her.  We each are able to afford excellent representation and can maintain two safe, clean homes for our child within minutes of one another.

My standards for good fortune have been lowered by this experience and it reminds me of how necessary it is for each of us to take a step outside of our own reality, at times, and to consider the world at large and where we fit on a relative scale.

x, MAY

Skin deep…

Beauty may only be skin deep but, that said, I like to have nice skin.  It makes more feel confident and attractive and I think that, when treated properly, it can be one of my best physical features.  I recently have decided to really invest both the time and money in making sure that I’m doing all I can to preserve my skin.  Here are some of the changes I’ve made that have made a difference:

  1. Water Intake-This one is super basic but, yeah, it helps…a LOT.  I notice dramatic changes from a day when I’m barely gotten through one bottle of water to a day when I am chugging non-stop.  I can’t tell you why but I’m extremely partial to Smartwater.  I legit think it tastes better and its vapor distilled which is supposed to be good for you.
  2. Routine-I used to have a very loosy goosy routine that was constantly changing and being neglected.  I decided to create some structure and am sure to adhere to it both AM and PM.
    • Morning: I start with a basic gel cleanser by Honest Beauty that I really like. Next, I use a toner by Aveda that I am not in love with so all ears for other suggestions.  Third, I apply a spot treatment by Burt’s Bees (a little roll-on stick) to any blemishes.  Fourth is eye cream and a hydrating moisturizer both by Honest Beauty.  Last, I use a BB Cream by Dr. Jart’s that is pricey but well worth it because it renders your pores invisible.  The cream is literally called Dis-A-Pore.
    • Evening: I use an oil cleanser by Burt’s Bees that I really love.  I used to not cleanse twice a day b/c I thought it dried out my skin but this oil cleanser is the perfect solution.  Next, I use a nice hydrating serum by Elizabeth Grady.  Third step is my Honest eye cream and then a very heavy duty moisturizer by Elizabeth Grady.  I know I should be including the full names of each product but I’m at work and my blanking-blog faux paus #1.
  3. Hydrafacials: After hearing lots of positive feedback regarding these 30 minute, intensive facials, I decided to check it out for myself and I’m hooked.  Hydrafacials use a machine with a fancy little wand to heighten the effects of a “normal” facial and deliver cleanser, serum and moisture directly into the deeper layers of your skin.  The little wand also performs painless extractions which was my favorite part.  After the treatment, my pores were noticeably cleaned out and smaller in size and you could even see all of the junk that had been removed and it was kind of fascinating and horrifying.  I’ve gone back and forth many times with getting botox/fillers but I think that, for now, I’m going to stick to a regimen of monthly hydrafacials and see what sort of natural results I can get.

x, MAY

Single mommin’ it-A Day in the life

I’m always fascinated by the schedules of my friends and loved ones and the working vs SAHM.  Similarly, I love to read “Day in the life” posts on my favorite blogs so I thought I’d combine the two here.  I want to start by saying that I share custody 50/50 with my ex-husband.  Some may think this arrangement is fortunate as it allows me time to myself. Maybe I’ll feel that way when J is an angsty tween but, right now, she’s 2 1/2 and the time apart isn’t my choice or preference.

J usually wakes between 5:30 and 6:30am.  She’s always been an early riser.  She starts calling out for me with increasing urgency until I haul myself out of REM sleep and into her room.  She is currently still in a crib.  She’s had a lot of changes over the past six months and we are now working on weaning from off of her binky along with potty training so the crib conversion is on a back burner.  She immediately asks me for ‘milky and piggy’ i.e. a cup of milk and an episode of Peppa Pig on my iPad.  We bring the milk and iPad into my bed and we snuggle and doze.  This is my favorite part of the day.  All too soon, I have to get into the shower and J usually gets busy in her play kitchen.  We’re currently in an apartment and everything in on one floor and child-proofed which is great.

While I get ready, J brings me assorted cups of her pretend tea, toast and fruit while I cajole her into eating some real food.  She’s often too busy to be bothered and we end up bringing her breakfast with us to school.  The process of ‘getting ready’ is, for me, far too short as I usually skip many of the steps that make for an attractive and professional office presence.   I have, however, kicked my skin care routine back into high gear since the worry lines are getting far too plentiful for my taste.  After dressing in an outfit that stretches the term ‘business casual’ to its outermost limits, I pack J’s lunch and pack her backpack with extra supplies, notes to teacher and Bunny.  I then wrangle an indignant J away from her ‘work’ in the kitchen and its her turn to get ready.  I honestly think I spend more time selecting her outfit and hair style for the  day than my own.  I can’t be alone here, right?  Around this time it clicks that we are going to be leaving shortly so she asks me to rock her.  We sit in our glider in her room and I explain to her what the rest of the day will be like–what’s happening at school, what she has in her lunch and, most importantly, who is picking her up from school and when we will see each other next.  I think this is very soothing to her and gets her in a good head space for her day.  These little rituals are what keep her happy and grounded. Its very, very hard to get out of that chair.

I drive J to school which is about 12 minutes away and, after drop-off, complete the next 45 minutes of my commute (including a stop at Starbucks) with the aide of morning radio.  Work is the easy part of the day.  Its goes something like: coffee, chatting with co-workers, legal work, email friends, legal work, check out blogs, legal work, eat lunch, legal work, email friends, chat and depart.  Two days a week I use flextime so that I can leave by 4:15pm to pick up J by 5:15pm.  The other two days I stay until 6:00pm to make up for my early exits and one day is normal 9-5.  I HIGHLY recommend being an advocate for yourself and taking the initiative to ask for flexible work arrangements if your employer doesn’t already offer them.  This is the way corporate America is trending and I think its crucial for real, sustainable work/life balance.

Assuming that this is a day that I get J, I use the WAZE app to finagle a back road to her school to avoid horrific traffic and pick her up.  We either go to the store for groceries, do an errand or head right home depending on her mood.  We eat a pretty basic dinner (I NEED to work on this) and then she plays until around 6:30pm when our bedtime routine starts.  Bedtime is usually comprised of a bath or shower, diaper, cream (J has excema so this is super important), hair.  She then settles in with another ‘milky’ (for some reason J doesn’t like to drink milk with her meals but rather as its own, distinct AM/PM ritual) and we read several books.  Our favorites are by Nancy Tillman (The Night You Were Born ALWAYS gets me) but we also are loving the behavioral books by Elizabeth Verdick. Pacifiers Are Not Forever-a classic.

J usually starts getting very sleepy while we read so then we’re off to the bathroom to brush teeth and wash hands and into her crib.  Some nights , I do songs, some nights, she tells me to leave and we’re done. We always use a white noise machine. Asleep by 7:30pm.  PHEW.  Here is where I want to be able to write that I now fit in a workout, do a load of laundry and am in bed with a book by 10:00pm. REALITY:  I  immediately change into my own PJ’s, do my nightly skincare routine and collapse into bed by 8:00pm.  Yes, people, I need a LOT of sleep.  Always have, always will.  I usually browse what I like to refer to as ‘my boards’ i.e. Instagram, Feedly, Facebook (rapidly waning interest), Pinterest, Vanity Fair, Town and Country, Zillow, Blind Gossip, Radar Online and then read a chapter or two of my latest book and fall asleep while reading. ZZZZZZZZZ…

THE END.

 

 

 

Hypnosis-Help or Hype (Part II)

As I was saying….

I went to my initial VGB session last Friday.  It lasted about an hour and forty five minutes.  At first, we went over any of my lingering questions and addressed the details of the process i.e. how much weight I could expect to lose (5-9 lbs in the first week and 1-3 lbs per week afterwards), what commitments I would have to make in order to help the mental work I’m doing take root and make the greatest physical impact (massive water intake, mindful eating of 3 small meals per day, 2-3 daily add-on sessions with the MP3 recording I’d be sent, 30 minutes of daily activity).  I signed my name in blood (jkjk) and off we were off.

I sat back in a comfy recliner and listened to my hypnotist talk to me about relaxation. He spoke for a long time and I could feel my entire body loosening and my mind began to drift off into that ‘nearly sleeping’ space.  He then took me through a detailed visualization of going to the hospital to get a gastric band surgery.  He didn’t dictate the nitty-gritty, gory details of the surgery like a professor of medicine but focused on positive feelings, impressions and images that made me feel like I was going to the hospital for something sort of fun and healthy.  I was on a gurney going to the operating room, I was very relaxed in the operating room surrounding by well-trained professionals, happy to help me, my procedure was going swimmingly and then it was done and the room was elated and congratulatory.

To be honest with you, I barely remember what he spoke about about once the ‘surgery’ was completed other than right before I ‘woke’ he told me that I was walking down a street window-shopping and spotted a poised, fashionable and fit woman shopping inside a boutique.  I looked very closely at her and she exuded confidence and happiness and health…and that person was ME.  I could see it so clearly in my head and I felt myself grinning.  And that was that.  He slowly brought me out of the relaxed state I’d been in and sent me on my way with my marching orders and an appointment for the following week.

Its been 5 full days since the VGB and this is what I can report to you:

  1. I have not exceeded more then 1,200 calories per day since the VGB–just no desire to eat any more than that.
  2. Everything that I have eaten for my 3 small meals has been clean and healthy foods (I’ll share a food journal at some pt).
  3. I fill up very easily BUT I do get hungry between meals and it IS an effort to resist until my next meal but not anywhere near as much of an effort as it used to be.
  4. I have not yet been able to motivate to get into the gym.  I plan to ask that we tackle that more extensively in our next session.
  5. I have lost weight daily and am currently down 5lbs, 5 days in.

Fingers crossed that this all continues and, of course, I’ll keep you posted and share the goings-on at this Fridays follow up appointment.

Cheers!

Hypnosis-Hype or Help?

Well, friends…this may sound cray but, hear me out. After cycling through more fad diets and wellness trends than Oprah I decided, with the help of a very svelte guinea pig, to try and change my mind in order to change my body.  In short, I decided to invest in hypnosis for weight loss.

Let me give you a little context…prior to being married I was in great shape (I realize that the concept of ‘great shape’ is relative so, to me, this meant working out 5-6 days/week, completing a half marathon and having a healthy, doctor-approved BMI) and was a very disciplined and clean eater.  I have ALWAYS loved food and spent lots of time thinking about what to eat and what not to eat throughout each day but, in my mid-late twenties, I seemed to find a the oft-elusive balance of being able to eat in a clean but moderately indulgent manner while maintaining a healthy weight and a shape that I was proud of.

What happened?  Stress, anxiety and emotional eating got the best of me.  I would love to blame my relationship/marriage and, frankly, that WAS a part of it but I can’t realistically blame anyone but myself for the loss of my ability to self-regulate.  The weight came on slowly at first while I hung on to the vestiges of my fitness regimen and then very quickly once I moved to the suburbs and began to drive everywhere for a grand total of 50 lbs gained.  GASP. Calm down-at one point it was 60.  Side note: This was BEFORE I had my daughter. Fortunately, the 37 lbs that I gained ON TOP OF THAT while pregnant came off very quickly, as most of it was water weight.

So…what to do? what to do?  You name it, I was game.  In no particular order, these are the things I tried (often in various combinations) Shakeology, Ketogenics, Weight Watchers, ClassPass, Get in Shape for Women, Atkins, South Beach, 17 Day Diet, Terra’s Kitchen, Blue Print Cleanse, Revitalive Cleanse, 21 Day Fix, Ultimate Fix, Body Love, Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution, nutritional and mental health counseling, personal training, Tone It Up, The Virgin Diet, The 21 Day Sugar Detox, and many, many more.  The common denominator in all of these great initiatives has been that MY BODY CAN’T DO WHAT MY MIND WON’T LET IT.

And, so, with little fanfare, I decided to try and change the way I think about food with the help of hypnosis.  I was skeptical of hypnosis and had no idea of what it truly entailed until one my best friends from college took the plunge after having her second baby. What she described to me were very pleasant and relaxing sessions wherein you received positive affirmations on a sub-conscious level that manifest in physical reactions like decreased appetite and cravings for fresh, clean foods as opposed to processed junk (like the McDonald’s feasts that I was eating on the reg).

Its never taken me much convincing to jump at the idea of a new weight loss methodology.  To be honest, its become sort of a strange hobby. Needless to say, as soon as I returned from my visit with her, I did my research.  I found tons of reputable options near where I live (in the Greater Boston area) and reached out to a few providers that had impressive reviews. I had two initial consultations by phone with certified hypnotists.  I had good conversations with both but preferred one for no reason other than the tenor of his soothing voice. He sent me a LOT of intake forms but it was well worth the time to thoroughly complete them as they clearly identified certain behavioral trends that need to be refined in order to allow me to lose my weight.

After completing the forms, we spoke again and decided that I was a good candidate for a virtual gastric band (VGB).  I am no stranger to weight loss surgery, as my father had a successful one years ago, but my doctors have never felt that I was necessarily a candidate.  This was a different story because the gist of this process is that my hypnotist planned to help me visualize going through the surgery and, in effect, trick my mind into believing that there was a physical reason that I can no longer eat more than 3 small, clean meals per day.

My appointment was last Friday…  Curious?

More to come…

Starting anew..

Weelllll….after 7 years of marriage and one beautiful little girl, I am single once more.  I have ended a tumultuous, heart-wrenching and, often, toxic relationship and I am ready to start fresh and become the best version of myself.  This is my real story.  The real deal.  Some of it will be fun to observe and some, not so much.  I wanted to come here and share this tale in an effort to make other women and men in similar situations feel that there are kindred spirits out there and that there is endless possibility for life after the end of a marriage, relationship, partnership, etc.  There is health to preserve, there is fun to be had, there are new relationships to be forged and, in my case, there is co-parenting to do.

I plan to offer my insights as to the divorce process and “lessons learned”, I want to offer you the benefit of my extensive trial and error in how to manage the process gracefully and intelligently while acknowledging some massive failures and mis-steps.

I’m also SO excited to focus on the future!!!

I just turned 38 and that milestone, along with the culmination of my divorce process, have inspired me to create and pursue three goals for myself: 1. wellness-mental and physical; 2. happiness-DUH; and 3. security-for my daughter and myself in every way possible.

These are three big goals that each cover a lot of ground and I need to start somewhere so I’ve decided to first tackle: WELLNESS and, specifically, re-inventing my shape and size.  In other words, finding my ideal weight.  I have already taken steps in the right direction and can’t wait to share with you my slightly controversial first leap.

Stay tuned!!

MAY