Apr
08

You Never Know How Strong You Are…

Mailbox Bacon

How could I have known that pulling a manila envelope out of my mailbox would change me forever? But it did – because it set into motion a series of events that scared the shit out of me, yet also presented me with a huge opportunity to face my fears and grow.

My hands began to tremble as I read its return address and then placed it in my lap. I’d had nightmares about this happening since he’d started threatening me, and in a matter of moments that nightmare was going to become a reality.

While my son readied himself in the backseat of the car for the trip to the toy store that I’d promised, I tore open the envelope and pulled the stack of papers out to read them. Sure I could’ve waited until we got home and I’d locked myself in a closet somewhere to lose my shit in private, but in that moment I couldn’t help myself.

Please be advised that this office represents…

As I continued on to read his attorney’s accusations, I felt sick to my stomach. And once the severity of what I was going to have to deal with fully registered in my mind I could not breathe.

He had a lawyer and he’d filed court papers. As if that wasn’t scary enough I wondered how the fuck a single mom like me, with next to no savings, was going to afford a lawyer to protect myself. While my mind raced, everything began to spin.

I was having my very first panic attack in the front seat of my car.

“Is something wrong, Mommy?” my son asked inquisitively.

This was my fault. How could I have been so stupid?! Why couldn’t I have just given in like I normally did?

You see, I’d said no to something my ex wanted and now this was my punishment – a custody battle born from sheer spite.

This wasn’t about trying to take time away from me for being a bad mother, or about my son’s best interests. It was about my ex getting even, and proving that he was still the one in control.

The idea that my child was being used as a pawn enraged me.

“Your father…” I began to spit angrily, and then I stopped myself.

I didn’t want to be THAT mother. I didn’t want to be one of THOSE women that put their child in the middle, no matter how mad I was at my ex for what he had just started. I knew I was a better mother than that.

“Is something wrong with Daddy?!” he questioned, with fear in his eyes.

Fuck. My moment of weakness had just about driven my son to tears. I knew I had to attempt to pull my shit back together for my son’s sake.

Just breathe. You can do this. You have to do this. For him.

I fought back the tears that had formed in the corners of my eyes and opened my mouth.

“No buddy, Daddy is fine. I promise.”

But I’m not.

Why was he doing this to me NOW – years after we’d separated and our son was already happy with the way things were? I knew the answer before I even finished asking myself the question.

I’d said no, and his entire life everyone else had said yes.

For once I’d stood up to him, and his not being able to do anything about it drove him crazy enough to blindside me with a nasty lawyer that could.

A narcissist will attempt to remain in control of his influence over your life long after a separation. Since our split I’d dealt with him trying to control how my child support was spent, what I did during my visitation time, and every other aspect of our co-parenting relationship.

For the most part I’d followed his wishes and instructions to avoid conflict. As much as I hated him having control of my life, it was just easier than dealing with the temper tantrums.

As strong as I’d become, I was still pretty weak when it came to my ex. The truth was, he intimidated me. He’d turned my life upside-down before and I knew he was still capable of it. For that reason I avoided engaging him as often as I could.

But sometimes I had to choose to fight for my son’s best interests. And right now, whether I wanted to or not, I was being forced to. My son’s happiness was at stake.

While my ex couldn’t see past his anger into the future, I could – and the future he wanted just because it was good for him, was not what was good for our son.

I couldn’t ignore or wish away this legal notice – though I did for about two weeks afterwards out of fear. To be honest, I kept hoping someone would jump in and save me until I realized I was the only one that could save myself.

Eventually I put on my big girl pants, picked up the phone, and called several lawyers. I knew I couldn’t win this alone. Seeking legal counsel was one of the scariest things I’d ever had to do.

It took several consultations before I found one I knew was tough enough to fight for me, but when I met with her I knew immediately she was my one.

We both thought it would be an open and shut case – after all I was a kickass mother; I’d never abused or neglected my son. Why on earth would a judge ever take time away from me?

But what transpired over the next few weeks proved otherwise as both of us were tested in ways we never thought possible.

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.

 

To be continued…

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Mar
24

What Fifty Shades Of Gray Didn’t Tell Me

S&M with Bacon

I wondered if either one of us was going to have the balls to make a move. Over an hour had passed since we started watching football, and there was still a decent amount of space between us on his couch.

After weeks of talking, all I wanted was for him to kiss me so I’d know whether or not there was any real chemistry between us.

As comfortable as I was with him, I couldn’t find the courage to make the first move – instead, I grabbed another slice of pizza from the box sitting on his ottoman and shoved it in my mouth.

When my eyes finally shifted from the TV to him, I realized he was smirking. It was as if he could read my mind and knew I was hungrier for him than that pizza. Still, he kept his distance.

Was he playing hard to get? If so, this was new to me. Usually men tried to rip my clothes off the first chance they could get, yet he was taking his sweet old time and I didn’t like it.

Fuck it, I thought. I’m going for it.

It was then that I threw the slice of pizza I’d been holding back in the box, slid myself closer to him on the couch, grabbed his face with my hands, and hastily kissed him.

As our tongues swirled around in eachother’s mouths I completely lost myself. It was one of the most passionate kisses I’d ever experienced.

He let out the tiniest grunt of approval so I’d know he was into it too.

As I manouvered my body on top of his, I could feel his hands getting tangled in my hair. He pulled me closer to him by my head, and my scalp tingled with pleasure.

Now I wanted him even more.

While the kissing was definitely hot, I decided to take things a step further and slide my hand between his thighs to see how into me he really was.

But as I did, he clenched my hair in his hands and pulled my head back – HARD.

I opened my eyes and glared at him with a furrowed brow, while he stared back at me grinning.

Did this fucker just pull my hair?!

I really wasn’t sure how to take it, as it was the first time a guy had pulled my hair before. I decided to brush it off as an accident to avoid any awkwardness, and continued on with my seduction.

But when I started to move my hand up his thigh again he yanked my head back even harder to stop me.

“Not yet” he moaned. “Not ’til I say when.”

Holy shit, this is a little kinky. He’s seriously pulling my hair on purpose – and I kind of like it!

At this point he flipped me over so he was on top of me, pinning my wrists above my head with one of his hands, and caressing my face with his other. He stopped and affectionately looked me in the eyes to read whether or not I was into it.

Though I wasn’t exactly sure if I was, I lifted my lips up to his anyway to let him know I was willing to keep going.

With all of his weight on me now and my arms unable to move, he was in complete control. I was beginning to see he preferred things that way. Part of me was anxious about being so vulnerable, but another part of me liked someone else taking over control.

My day to day life is filled with making to decisions. It was nice to let someone else take the wheel.

I closed my eyes and lost myself in the sensations of his kiss. As he swirled his tongue around mine, he slowly moved one of his hands under my shirt. I moaned with anticipation of what was to come – until he pinched my nipple and I cried out in pain.

I was NOT anticipating that.

And then he pinched it again even harder, only what suprised me this time was not the pain, but that I moaned because I kind of liked it.

What kind of woman was I to be enjoying things like having my hair pulled and my nipples pinched? A bit embarassed and flustered by my reaction to what had just happened, I slowly opened my eyes to see his face and once again he was smiling.

“I knew you’d like that.”

Holy hell his confidence was hot. I’d never met a man that was so willing to let his freak flag fly, let alone be confident enough that I’d also enjoy holding it with him.

Sure I’d encountered men that were into some weird shit before, but none of them had owned it and that’s what usually made things awkward.

This man’s confidence pulled a freak flag out of me I wasn’t even aware I was hiding.

As things progressed that night, he took me places I didn’t even know I wanted go.

While driving home the next morning, I replayed the events over and over again in my mind, trying to wrap my head around what had happened. The independent part of me was slightly ashamed of how much I enjoyed being controlled by a man in the bedroom.

After all, I’d worked hard to free myself from the confines of my last serious relationship.

But somewhere deep inside of me I still craved moments of being told what to do – where someone else called the shots and I had little choice but to follow them.

I could sit and judge myself, or I could accept the fact that what I wanted in the bedroom wasn’t always going to be vanilla – and that’s okay.

Sometimes a girl needs a little strawberry while having her hair pulled.

Being dominated that night was a fantasy I didn’t know I needed fulfilled – yet somehow he did.

I walked around the next day with a smile on my face and a set of Spongebob Bandaids covering my chafed nipples – proof that amatuer S&M is rarely as sexy as a chapter from Fifty Shades of Gray, but it can still be a whole lot of fun if you’re doing it with the right person.

 

To celebrate the relaunch of the Sex, Lies, and Bacon Blogvel Series, I’d like to gift each and every one of you the best chapters from my first blogvel – all wrapped up in a pretty little PDF bow. Want to see what you missed the first time around? Contact me and put “Take Me On A Bacontastic Voyage” in the subject line to snag yours FREE. Limited time only, though. My generous, bacon-filled offer ends at midnight on Friday March 28th 2014.

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Mar
19

Back To The Start

SLB-Relaunch-Promo

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? ” – Stephen King

When I started this blog several years ago, I poured my heart and soul into my posts. Writing became a release for me as I learned how to navigate my life as a newly single mom.

Each week I released a “chapter” to my story, dancing between fact and fiction in order to keep my readers guessing. My posts were based on things I’d experienced during my first three years as a single mom.

It was easy for people to look at me after the dust had settled from my separation and think I’d always been strong and confident, but those closest to me knew that wasn’t the case.

By creating a blogvel – half blog, half novel – I hoped to continuously tell the tale of how I got from past to present.

But it wasn’t just about telling my story – I also wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it be making someone laugh on a shitty day or being vulnerable to inspire someone else to find their own strength, I wanted my words to touch people.

Not that way you perv…

While my plans for this space were once meant to be extraordinary, it eventually turned into something more traditional.

When the going got tough and my real world and I needed to figure out how to financially support myself and my son, I decided I could leverage my blog to help pay my bills. I don’t want to say deciding to monetize my blog was a mistake, but it definitely changed the way I wrote. There were times it even made writing seem like a chore instead of something I loved to do – plus I felt like a bit of a sell out.

Perhaps I just didn’t go about monetizing in a way that was right for me.

In any event, I decided recently that I would no longer be accepting offers for sponsored posts. I wanted to get back to why I started blogging in the first place – my love of writing and helping people.

Which brings me to the point of this trip down memory lane…

Beginning next Monday, I’m going back to the start.

The Sex, Lies and Bacon blogvel is beginning again!

Each Monday at 9am EST I’ll be releasing a new chapter, and boy are you in luck because I’ve kept more than a few adventures from you guys since I closed the cover on my previous blogvel.

Hey speaking of which, maybe you’d like to catch up on what you’ve missed? And if you were here the first time around (Bacon bless you for sticking with me that long) maybe you’d like to relive all the AWESOME again?

To celebrate the relaunch of what Sex, Lies and Bacon was intended to be, I’d like to gift each and every one of you the best chapters from my first blogvel – all wrapped up in a pretty little PDF bow.

Want one? Contact me and put “Take Me On A Bacontastic Voyage” in the subject line to snag yours FREE.

Limited time only, though. My generous, bacon-filled offer ends on Friday March 28th 2014.

And don’t forget to come back Monday, March 24th for the start of our next adventure xoxo

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Mar
10

Change Is Bullsh*t. ‘The Rebels’ Isn’t.

The Rebels With Bacon

Let’s face it – Change is scary. Especially if you’re a kid.

From the time they are babies, children like things to be predictable. Regular feedings, regular bedtimes, consistent rituals — all of these things help a child feel safe, secure and loved.

So when I had to talk to my 8-year-old son this weekend about the changes that are about to take place in his routine I wasn’t looking forward to his reaction.

I knew he wouldn’t be happy about the new visitation schedule that is being put into place this week. Frankly, I’m not that happy about it either but it is what it is and it was what needed to be done to end a very stressful and drawn out custody battle.

Of course there was a part of me that wanted my ex to have to break the news to our son – after all, he was the one that started this fight so shouldn’t he be responsible for dealing with our son’s tears? But I knew in my heart I was the only one that could have this conversation in a way that wouldn’t freak our son out.

I thought long and hard about what I would say to him. I wanted to make sure I approached the change in a positive way so he had less anxiety about it. I also wanted to highlight the things that were going to stay the same so he knew that his world was not completely flipping upside down.

While I got through the conversation, it wasn’t an easy one. It hurt my heart when he began to cry and discuss his fears about the situation.

“I don’t like this change,” he repeated over and over again, all weekend long.

I wanted so badly to explain to him that I did the best I could – that if he only knew how hard I fought for his happiness over the last six months he might understand this small change was really to protect him from something that could’ve been so much worse.

Of course I couldn’t, so instead I wrapped my arms around him, reassured him all would be ok, told him to trust me, and explained that while change is sometimes scary it often turns into something fun.

When I put him to bed after our conversation I was drained. I needed an escape from the heaviness of what had just happened.

I’d put on my big girl pants and now I was ready to rip them off. After I poured myself a drink, I sat down on my couch and started flipping through my DVR for something funny to lighten my mood. It was then I remembered I’d started watching a show on Amazon Prime earlier in the week, but never finished it.

Someone had suggested to me how hilarious this Amazon pilot was and from the ten minutes I’d seen already it seemed they were right. Seriously, The Rebels had me snort-laughing from the opening scene.

Now was the perfect time to push play again – I needed a laugh!

It’s funny because as I watched, I not only laughed but I also realized I had more in common with the main character of this comedy than I thought I would.

Julie is facing some major changes when her husband suddenly dies and leaves her as sole owner of his pro-football team, The LA Rebels. I don’t want to give too much away, but this former cheerleader turned “Real Housewife” shouldn’t be mistaken for a ditz – she’s got some lady-balls and knows how to use them under pressure.

Definitely check out this tv show if you need several giggles, or a reminder that while change is scary it often becomes less so when you laugh and treat it like an adventure.

Hello, that’s my motto!

The Rebels pilot is free to watch with Amazon Prime and if you don’t have Amazon Prime, there is a free 30 day trial. If you love the episode as much as I did, make sure you rate it 5 stars – your vote decides whether or not the show will get picked up for tv – and damn it, I’d like it to get picked up so I have another episode in my arsenal next time I need to laugh my single mom stress away!

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Mar
06

Bittersweet

I’ve wanted to write about this for weeks, but knew I couldn’t until the ink was dry and my son was safe.

Today is bittersweet.

Today my ex FINALLY signed papers to put our new visitation, holiday and vacation schedule into place.

Today marks the end of my six month long custody battle – a battle that truly changed me.

The whole process taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow into a woman and mother I am 100% proud of.  That is the greatest gift I got out of this whole ordeal, knowing and now BELIEVING I’m a great mom. My ex had me convinced I wasn’t with his comments over the years – and especially during the last six months – but I know now what I’m made of.

I don’t think anyone will ever be able to take that away from me.

For a few weeks I looked back at everything that transpired not fully understanding the awesome it took for me to get through this and win the fight. It kind of felt like I stumbled the whole way as I was going through it. It was six months of ups and downs, of always having to be on guard because I never knew what my ex might try to twist and turn into something he could use against me in Court.

But the truth is I didn’t just stumble through this. I was a fucking warrior. I never gave up or gave in to my ex’s ridiculous demands. I faced my biggest fear and I survived because I was stronger than I’d ever been.

While it wasn’t always pretty, I pride myself in doing most of this with grace. I never let my ill feelings for my ex cloud my judgment and always kept my son’s best interests at the forefront of my mind.

I’m proud of myself for taking the high road and doing what was fair – even when my ex and his lawyer did everything they could to try to take me down, but today I’m also sad that this will be my last full weekend with my son.

So you see, it’s bittersweet -the realization of who I’ve become, but also of what I have to let go.

I know the change might be a little hard for Aidan and I in the beginning, but in the grande scheme of things it was a much better alternative to what would’ve been if I did not stand up for us.

With my fear behind me and my next journey ahead of me, it feels like a fresh start. I can’t wait to see where this one takes me.

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Feb
28

Apparently My Inner Guide Thinks I’m A Judgmental Beotch

School Bus With Bacon

I’ve been on a spiritual journey the last few years. While I’ve always believed in something greater than myself, the idea of God and organized religion never really spoke to me.

What did finally speak to me was the Law of Attraction when I watched the movie “The Secret” a few years ago. It changed my life for the better once I realized I was in control of how I felt about the things that happen to me.

Every day since I’ve tried my best to practice gratitude without faltering, and in doing so I’ve been blessed with a surplus of happiness and good fortune. My life might not be perfect, but to me it’s pretty damn close. Sure there are shit-covered bumps in my road every so often, but my positive attitude has helped me roll over them, wash myself off and start smiling again.

The thing is, I’ve never been religious. I just wasn’t raised that way. And while I was baptized Lutheran as a child, my religious upbringing didn’t go much beyond that.

I didn’t read the bible. I never made my Communion or Confirmation. There was no church on Sundays or saying grace with dinner – which never seemed to bother me when I was growing up anyway.

It wasn’t until I had my son that I started to feel like there might be something missing in my life without some form of religious belief or practice.

As he got older I began to feel a bit guilty for not having anything to teach him about religion or spirituality, so I started reading books from all sorts of spiritual visionaries to try to educate myself and figure out what I truly believed in.

Most recently I’ve been engulfed in a book by Gabby Bernstein called Spirit Junkie which is basically a lesson in A Course In Miracles for dummies.  This week I came to a chapter that speaks about opening up to “spirit” so that it can guide you through the lessons you need to learn to help you figure out your life’s purpose.

One way to do so is to pray each morning to whatever “spirit” you choose and then do five minutes of meditation afterwards with the hope that some sort of answers will come to you.

Yesterday was the first day I decided to start this ritual so I got up early and prayed to my “Inner Guide” since that is what felt right for me.

“Dear Inner Guide, Where would you have me go today? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?”

During my meditation afterwards I hoped a message would come through to me, but my mind was a bit cluttered and I couldn’t seem to quiet it – so I went on with my day like I normally do figuring whatever I needed to learn would come to me anyway.

My day was pretty normal. I signed on to my computer for work. I dived into some projects. I actually got pretty lost in the hours until the alarm on my phone went off to alert me it was time to get my son off the school bus.

I put on my jacket and stared out the window just like I normally do, waiting for the bus to drive by and turn into the cul-de-sac across the street. That’s how I always knew when it was time to walk down the block to greet my son at his stop, but the bus never passed.

Or at least I somehow never saw it.

I don’t know how I never saw it go by when I never moved from that window, but I didn’t.

As the minutes passed I started to get irritated that the bus was late – and then I heard a knock on my door.

When I opened it up my son was outside, with a look of fright on his face.

“I thought something happened to you, Mommy!”

Turns out that bus DID go by, and because I wasn’t down the block at the bus stop my son had run all the way home by himself in a panic.

I grabbed him and wrapped my arms around him and apologized profusely, as I could feel his 8-year-old heart beating against my chest.

As tears streamed down both of our faces, I felt like the shittiest mom ever.

And then my phone rang and it was my ex calling me a bit frantic because the school had called him to make sure Aidan had gotten home ok since no one was at the bus stop, and I felt EVEN SHITTIER.

Great. All I needed was my ex judging me now too, and calling me a bad mother after I’d fought so hard to prove I wasn’t during the custody battle we just went through.

But the thing is, HE DIDN’T.

After I explained to him what happened and waited for him to berate me, HE DIDN’T.

“It’s ok, I understand.”

Am I hearing that correctly? After he recently accused me of being an inadequate mother?

Wait, he understands that our kid just ran home alone?! Because if the tables were turned I surely would’ve ripped him a new one.

In fact, I’ve ripped him a new one several times before over even being a minute late to the bus stop – let alone not being there AT ALL.

But for whatever reason, he chose not to dig into me – though I completely deserved it.

It took missing the school bus yesterday for me to see what a judgmental bitch I’ve been towards my ex.

I’ve had many thoughts and written things about him over the last few months that have been scathing.

And to be honest I’ve been on a pretty high-horse since winning our custody battle, though it’s probably only naturally for the ego to deem one of us better than the other when it comes to a case of winners or losers in a Court of law.

But the reality is I’m really not better than my ex, and my Inner Guide wanted me to see that.

My ex isn’t perfect, and my missing the school bus proved that I’M NOT PERFECT. After beating myself up for several hours following the incident, I finally realized that’s ok – because no matter how hard I try I will never be perfect.

SHIT HAPPENS.

Maybe the realization that we’re equals can serve as a turning point in our relationship as co-parents. It certainly feels like a turning point to me since I now see myself and my ex differently.

The next time my ex makes a mistake I won’t be so quick to judge him, and I hope he will continue not to judge me.

All either of us can do is our best. All ANY of us can do is our best.

Seems at the heart of it, we’re all pretty equal in this life.

Thanks for the lesson, Inner Guide.

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Feb
27

Just Because I’m A Single Mom Doesn’t Mean I’m Less Than

Less Than Three With Bacon

This April will mark my five year anniversary as a single mom, and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way (baby)  since I was first delivered the news that my ex was leaving me for another woman.

At the time it was devastating to hear. Honestly I didn’t even know how the hell my son and I were going to survive with me being solely responsible for the both of us.

I’d never even been solely responsible for myself!

Feeding us, clothing us, and keeping a roof over our heads all by my lonesome seemed an impossible feat – yet I’ve managed to learn how to do it and do it well.

Five years ago becoming a single mom felt like a curse, but life taught me that my ex’s unexpected exit from my life was the greatest gift the Universe could’ve ever given me.

The thing is before I had my son I went from long-term relationship to long-term relationship. Why? Because being alone scared the shit out of me.

But becoming a single mother was my divine intervention.

It saved me from the vicious cycle of unfulfilling relationships I repeatedly found myself in because it forced me to reevaluate what I wanted out of my life and what type of role model I wanted to be for my son.

While my ex’s priority at the time of our split was running into bed with another woman, my son’s well-being was mine – so instead of immediately looking for another relationship I faced my fears of loneliness and ventured on with my life solo.

My singleness was never a sign that I was still pining for my ex – it was a conscious choice I made to better the lives of myself and my son. Making our well-being more important than me getting laid or falling in love or lust was what felt right for me.

Five years later it still does -which is why I’ve remained single for the most part. Ok, I’ll be completely honest – there were a few months of my single mom life where I fell vagina first onto men as I was finding my way. Nobody’s perfect.

I’ve had a few almost relationships here and there, but nothing has really stuck, mostly because of my high standards (Which aren’t a bad thing, btw). I just know what I want out of a relationship and partner these days and I refuse to settle for anything or anyone that is less than I deserve.

I’ve felt pretty badass for conquering and enjoying my life as a single woman, but a few weeks ago I realized not everyone see’s my independence as something to be proud of.

There are still people in this world that think single somehow equals less than.

My ex is apparently one of them.

One of his arguments during the mediation process of our recent custody dispute was that I was fighting so diligently to keep custody of my son not because it was in his best interest but because, unlike my ex, I don’t have a significant other in my life.

And then my ex went on to elude that because I am single, my son is all that I have to live for and that my being alone is an indication that I haven’t moved on from what happened between us five years ago.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure my ex has moved on to another relationship to no longer be single – but I’ve moved on in ways that have more value to me than a relationship status.

It’s in being a single mother and choosing to remain single unless I find a partner that is the right fit for me and my son that proves I have moved on.

I’ve moved on from being a scared and timid girl to being a completely independent, opinionated, and self sufficient woman.

I’ve moved on to love myself enough to not get into relationships with narcissistic assholes that try to control me.

I’ve moved on to become a woman and single mother my son can look up to, be proud of, and be inspired by for the rest of his life.

So yea, I’d say I’ve moved on.

I’ve also learned that your relationship status does not limit or define you. And I’ll never forget it.

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Feb
26

There’s Urine In My Moisturizer. And Other Things I Learned From Netflix.

My Son's face After I told him we're becoming vegans

I might’ve ruined my son’s life this weekend when I told him we were going to become sugar-free vegans. Yep that picture above is basically what his face looked like as the words came out of my mouth.

“I don’t want you watching any other documentaries on Netflix, Mommy.”

The boy is right. I should never watch another food-related documentary on Netflix EVER AGAIN if I want to continue my love affair with bacon.

It all started when I thought it would be fun to watch Vegucated, a documentary that followed three meat and dairy loving New Yorkers over a six week period as they learned about and adopted a vegan diet.

I pushed play thinking I’d be exposed to new info on how a plant based diet could improve my health, but when all was said and done I was exposed to SO MUCH MORE information. The bulk of the film uncovered some nasty facts about animal agriculture the industry doesn’t want us to know – hence my current desire to throw out every piece of meat I have tucked away in my fridge and freezer.

The film brought up some serious concerns for me regarding how most animals are bred, raised and treated for large name brands of meat and dairy. And when it revealed that some of these companies are also genetically mutating animals to produce certain types of meat in larger quantities (HELLO big chicken breasts and more white meat!) my head nearly exploded.

Do you know how the milk is made that you drink or eat in your cheese? I didn’t. I thought happy cows frolic through lush green pastures naturally producing milk all year round because that is what cows are born to do – but that’s not the case.

Like humans, cows don’t produce milk unless they’ve given birth. So the reality is female cows are artificially inseminated, give birth, have their baby taken from them, and then they’re milked for all they’ve got until they AIN’T GOT NO MO’.

Once they’re out of milk the process is repeated over and over again until they die.

Sidenote: I have an uncle that is in the midst of setting up his own farm so I called him up to see if this was true. He said yes, but assured my that in most instances the calf stays with its mother until it is weaned, and that after it is weaned a farmer begins taking milk from the cow for human consumption. I have a hunch this really doesn’t happen in cases of the milk that is mass produced for our grocery stores, but I’m really no expert.

I think learning where my milk comes from was the most alarming thing I saw in the entire movie. Perhaps it’s my maternal and feminist instinct. The thought of having my body used for milk and my offspring repeatedly snatched from me was depressing.

My mind was so blown by Vegucated that I decided I couldn’t stop educating myself there and so my Netflix marathon continued with Hungry For Change, a documentary that promised to expose all the “shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don’t want you to know.”

As a woman that’s been on a perpetual diet since the age of 15, I just HAD to watch this.

What did I learn from it? Sugar is the devil and all those low cal and low fat versions of the food most diets tell me to eat have TONS of it.

I never realized this but your body reacts to sugar much like a drug. Seriously. Ingesting it causes a beta-endorphin rush in your brain, stimulating the production of morphine-like chemicals.

Totally explains why when I’m under stress or bored I want to makeout with a jar of Nutella – it makes me feel goooood.

But just like a drug, that awesome food-related high comes with a cost – it’s wreaking havoc on the inside of my body.

Scarier still? I found out most of the convenience products (i.e. processed food) I grab off my grocery store’s shelves aren’t even food anymore – they’re food-like products made from ingredients created in laboratories.

The blueberries in the packs of “Little Bites” muffins my kid loves so much AREN’T FUCKING BLUEBERRIES!! And here I thought I was making a healthy choice for him since they’re portion controlled.

FAK!!

Then came the part of the documentary where they talked about what manufacturers put in beauty products. Turns out the Clinique moisturizer I’ve come to love because it makes my skin feel so nice contains URINE. Ok it’s synthetic urine (Urea), but still.

Why was I not alerted to this before?! Perhaps the saleswoman at Macy’s simply forgot to ask me if I like to engage in golden showers daily when I purchased my last tube from the Clinique counter.

Suffice to say, I’ve stopped using that crap pee on my face and switched to moisturizing with Coconut Oil – which is actually working out pretty well so far.

I’ve even ordered some Shea Butter and scented essential oils to try to make my own body butter.

This week I threw out every package of food in my pantry that contains sugar, partially hydrogenated anything, dyes, or has a laundry list of ingredients I can’t pronounce. After a trip to Trader Joe’s this week I’m pretty well stocked on healthier and gluten free versions of things.

(I’m sure my son will hate me for that when he comes home from his Dad’s tomorrow, but I’m going to attempt to sneak things in and see how he reacts.)

I plan on relying less on convenience foods moving forward and making more things from scratch. I love to cook anyway, so why not? The time it takes to cook and plan meals is the only real factor, and if I need to block out time to do it on the weekend then so be it.

Shit’s gettin’ real around here – literally.

As far as going completely vegan, I’m still on the fence – though I’ve refrained from meat and dairy this week.

“Sex, Lies & Veggies” just doesn’t have the same appeal – though if there’s anyone that could make vegetables look sexy it’s me.

Only time will tell…

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Feb
11

Leveling Up In Self-Love

Confetti with Bacon

Leveling up is a concept in games when a character experiences some sort of progression that usually involves unlocking new abilities, skills, access to new items, or as a benchmark of how far they’ve come.

Well last night I leveled the fuck up in self-love and I want some god damn confetti – because that shit was rough for me!

About a week ago an ex-boyfriend came back into my life. Though his reappearance was completely unexpected, I’ll be totally honest and say it was welcomed.

I’d really freakin’ missed having him in my life.

I’ll be even more honest and say that although his initial text was friendly, the moment it appeared on my phone a part of me hoped he’d contacted me because he realized what a mistake he’d made when he broke my heart and let me go back in August.

As our text exchange progressed this conflict began to brew inside of me over whether or not I should even be talking to him after everything that transpired between us.

When you date someone for a significant amount of time they become your best friend – then when the break up happens and you lose them, it feels as if you’re losing a piece of yourself too.

Break-ups are always tough, but ours was significantly harder on me since he was the first man I opened up to as a single mom. I hadn’t seen a real future with anyone before him.

It took a few months for me to let go of the fantasy of the happily ever after that I’d built up in my head, but eventually I moved on and as I did hindsight was 20/20.

I started to see a destructive pattern in the relationship and all the relationships I’d found myself in before it.

When it came to romantic relationships I ALWAYS sought out love from sources that were incapable of giving it to me. I wanted to know why, so I used the ending of our relationship as an opportunity for growth.

I started seeing a therapist, doing yoga, meditating and diving deeper in spiritual practices.

After a bit of soul searching I realized my life was lacking a whole lotta self-love and so I worked hard for months to fix that. I didn’t want to put myself in a position again where I was settling for a relationship that was less than I deserved.

Emotionally unavailable men = WAY less than ANY woman deserves

Over the course of five months, through trials and tribulations, I learned to accept my faults and flaws and realized even with them I’m pretty damn awesome. I also learned relationships are supposed to be containers for growth, not containers for proving how much pain you’re willing to endure for someone else.

Winning the custody battle I’d been involved in with my ex was the icing on the cake of my finally seeing myself as the kickass woman everyone else has. Having the courage to stand up for what I believed in and being brave enough to protect my son made me fall in love with myself in a way I never thought possible.

It changed me – but I didn’t really understand how much until I leveled up last night.

You see, the ex-boyfriend that came back into my life tried to convince me we could be fuck buddies.

Sweet pornographic baby jesus his words were tempting because the one thing he and I were ALWAYS really good at was the sex part.

He was the best lover I ever had and I’d never been drawn to anyone else the way he drew me in – BUT I knew myself well enough to know what would happen if I started sleeping with him again. The consequences that would eventually weigh on my heart and psyche weren’t worth the multiple orgasms.

Though I knew this, I was still conflicted because the sex was that good.

I spent a few days trying to convince myself that having sex with this guy could just be some really hot sex, but ultimately I knew the minute we started sleeping together the oxytocin would start flowing, all my old feelings would come back up, and I’d find myself falling in love with him again.

I assure you loving someone with PTSD who is incapable of feeling is no fun.

The more I thought about what was transpiring, the more pissed I was at him for even thinking about putting me in a position where I could get hurt again. If he cared for or respected me at all(and shouldn’t he after we had a three month relationship over the summer, and prior to that were friends for two years?!), he shouldn’t have gone there.

And then I got even more pissed when I realized this man I had once loved was willing to just use me for sex, instead of seeing me as a woman with a heart.

It was then that I mustered up all the self-love I had, walked away, and took the power I’d earned during the last five months back.

I even went so far as to tell him I could no longer have him in my life.

A few minutes later I realized I didn’t have to prove to this man I was worthy of anything by having sex with him or even being his friend – because I already know what I’m worth.

I’ve finally stepped out of proving myself, and into being myself.

Level up, bitches.

Now where’s my confetti?

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Feb
10

Vodka Is My Soulmate

Soulmate Vodka and Bacon

Ah, soulmates. Not just anyone can fulfill you the way your soulmate can.

They say your soulmate brings out the best in you, and makes you feel complete.

If that is the case, Vodka is surely my soulmate.

Few things makes me happier than that warm and fuzzy feeling Vodka gives me as it kisses my lips. Whether I’m celebrating a victory or need some comfort after a shitty day, Vodka has always been there for me in a way few men ever have.

We met in my twenties and fell in lust immediately – though every time we were together that little minx Cranberry was around. She was a bit of a third wheel the first few times Vodka and I got hot and sweaty on the dance floor, but back then I wasn’t really looking for a commitment so I let her get in on the action.

We had several good years together, Vodka and I. Vodka was my go-to partner when I wanted to let loose or get wild, but at the age of twenty-five I said goodbye to my party girl ways to become a mother.

That’s when I decided to end things with Vodka.

Our weekend threesomes, foursomes and other orgy-like situations didn’t fit into my life anymore.

Sipping on wine and beer seemed the more appropriate thing for a mother of one to do, but wine and beer never made me feel as good as Vodka did.

Beer made me feel bloated instead of sexy. And wine – well wine made me emotional if we hung out for too long.

That’s why when I became a single mom at the age of thirty I decided to give Vodka another chance. I was finding myself again and Vodka seemed like the perfect partner to lead me in the right direction.

Vodka had rarely steered me wrong before – aside from the times it convinced me to drunk dial my ex-boyfriends. But hey, nobody’s perfect!

Sometimes we still get frisky and invite other ingredients to our parties, but mostly I’m content with a quiet evening at home with my Vodka on the rocks.

Through good times and bad, we’ve definitely built a solid relationship over the years.

Valentine’s Day is Friday and in honor of my love for Vodka, I’m sharing a few recipes I got to try this weekend – all completely AMAZEBALLS, by the way.

They each feature Van Gogh Vodka and were created by “The Cocktail Guru” Jonathan Pogash.

If you’re not familiar with Van Gogh Vodka, you need to grab yourself a bottle IMMEDIATELY.

With twenty-two smooth flavors such as Cool Peach, Rich Dark Chocolate & Pomegranate, and a super affordable price point (even this single mom on a budget can buy it!) there’s no excuse not to get yourself to the liquor store pronto to fall in love with your own a bottle.

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 5.36.26 PM

My Honey Valentine

1-1/2 oz. Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka

3/4 oz. pomegranate juice

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water stirred until the honey dissolves)

Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into martini glass or over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime.

Cool Peach Bellini

1 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka

1-1/2 oz. Peach Puree

3 oz. Prosecco

In a mixing glass stir the vodka and puree well. Add the Prosecco with ice and gently fold the ingredients (without stirring too much, as this will remove bubbles). Strain into a chilled champagne flute.

Spice It Up

1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka

3/4 oz. milk

1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup

Shake well with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a pinch of chili powder sugar (equal parts cayenne pepper and sugar)

Is vodka your soulmate too? Celebrate your love with one or ALL of these Van Gogh Vodka cocktails. 

Because in my world, Vodka makes everything better.

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