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Different Breakups and How To Get Over Them

Breakups are almost never easy as we have all emotionally grown up since our 3 day relationships that we had in middle school. Each breakup while they might have common reasoning are different as the individuals you are in a relationship are each completely different in some ways. Getting over a breakup can take weeks, months, or even years if you do not handle it properly. There are people who are experts while others seem to enjoy wallowing in their own self-pity. The following are some different breakups and strategies you can use to get over them.

Mutual Growing Apart

The most important thing that you can do in this situation is to institute the “no contact” strategy that so many people try and fail. If you have been with this person for a long time, it can be difficult to come home and not have anyone to tell about your day. This is a time that family and friends can help fill the void that you might feel. By contacting your ex you are both leaving the door open on the relationship. People rarely remember the bad times and being nostalgic can bring you right back into a relationship you know you shouldn’t be in.

A Deal Breaker That Broke You Up

Communication is the most important thing in a relationship so voicing your deal breakers with your partner is important. One huge deal breaker is that of having kids, many men and sometimes women assume that their partner will change their mind. This can lead to rifts and even resentment if the relationship isn’t terminated. There are just some things that people do not want to do or can ruin a relationship immediately. These breakups can come as a shock especially if you haven’t been communicative enough with your partner.  Getting through this breakup takes examining of your deal breakers to confirm that you were right to end the relationship.

Infidelity

Infidelity is one of the main problems that people break up to in today’s world. The world of social media and technology has made it easier for people to cheat in a relationship than ever before. There is a chance that both partners have engaged in this type of activity. This is generally a sign that you should probably go your separate ways as neither of you respected the relationship enough to stay loyal. In the case of one person cheating it is better to cut ties as the person wasn’t thinking about you when they were with someone else. The no contact rule stands for this one as well as many people will come saying they changed or want a second chance. Enough time has been wasted with this person already so cutting them out of your life is wise.

Long Distance

Long distance relationships can work but they will also take a lot of work. Frequent phone conversations and texting can lead a person to get into a routine with their significant other. After this breakup there might not be any real change in routine except no phone calls or texts. This is a time to work on yourself and fill up this time as it will be very easy to pick up the phone and call your ex. Rather than think about how to get your ex back you should be thinking about how you can improve yourself personally before diving into another relationship.

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How I'm Hitting My Stride As A Teacher

What determines a person’s workplace happiness, or lack thereof?

Is it your supervisor’s personality? Their management style? Your coworkers? The task you’re there to do? The amount of freedom you’re given? Or some combination of all of these?

I ask because I am happier at work than I’ve ever been. I’ve been reflecting on the reasons why.

I am teaching at such a sweet little school this year. Our school is small; only 320 students. I know just about everyone there, at least by sight, and by now they know me, too. Kids who aren’t even my students say hi and wave to me in the hallway. A kindergartner who I don’t know kissed my hand this morning.

Even though my school is 100% free/reduced lunch, we don’t have a lot of behavior problems, which are two things that unfortunately tend to go together. This leads to most teachers feeling pretty happy to be at work, which makes for a cheerful environment to go to every day. Any experienced teacher can tell you that a school’s environment makes a huge difference in what it is like to work there. You can feel it and see it in subtle ways as soon as you walk in a building.

I’m also happy because I’m being given a lot of freedom to teach what I want to teach, how I want to teach it. If I decide to pull a group, I can pull a group; if I decide to push in, I can push in.

I don’t have someone breathing down my neck telling me I have to do guided reading at a table in the homeroom class all day. I think once my administrators saw that I knew what I was doing they pretty much left me alone to do it. Which I appreciate! Because by now I do know what I’m doing most of the time.

So I’m getting to teach ESL through really fun, rich content that’s the same things students are learning in their homeroom classes: 3rd grade social studies and 4th grade english/language arts concepts and 5th grade reading remediation (which doesn’t sound fun but is, in this case).

I love my students, and they love me back. Most are eager and want to learn. They are also needy. I am buying clothes and books and making social work referrals. But don’t count them out! I have a feeling our progress this year is going to be something to see.

Years ago I once said that I loved teaching ESL so much that I would do it for free. Over the last few years I lost that. I got bogged down with school politics and who was talking about whom and whose parents didn’t care and which teachers weren’t any good. In some ways I lost sight of why I became a teacher. I still knew why, intellectually, but I couldn’t feel it in my heart anymore. I needed a year away doing something else to come back to it refreshed.

But now when I am teaching about Frederick Douglass or the three branches of government, elements of poetry or phonetic vs. non-phonetic words, I am thinking: This is what I was born to do.

I know no one asked me, but if I have any advice to give new and/or pre-service teachers, it would be the following:

  1. Pay very close attention to the vibe you get from administrators. That will set the tone of the school. Ask them about their management and evaluation style.
  2. A school with a negative environment will kill your soul, and it’s almost impossible for one person to change it despite their good intentions. Visit the school before agreeing to work there, during a school day if you can. What do you see when you walk through the halls? How are adults talking to children? Do kids and adults look happy? This is important.
  3. No matter what the school environment is like, make a work friend! You need someone to talk to about all of the craziness that happens on a daily basis.

I’m feeling grateful and blessed.

What do you think is the main thing that leads to happiness at work, and why? And if any young teachers would like advice from me about work, I’d be happy to give it!

Holly Love writes about marriage, parenting, faith, work, current events, politics, racism and social justice at lovelyintrospection. Follow her on Twitter.

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Ten surefire gifts for any mom on your list this Christmas

Well, it’s Christmas week*.  I don’t know how that happened (time has lost all meaning since I became a parent), but it did. 

wp-1479752905380.jpgIf you’re anything like me you are still adding last minute gifts to your Amazon shopping cart and praying frantically to the UPS gods that they make it here on time.  And if you’re not anything like me, and all your gifts are purchased, wrapped, and waiting patiently for Christmas Eve so that they can be placed underneath your Christmas tree, well… feel free to keep that information to yourself. 

While I can’t help you come up with last minute gift ideas for everyone on your list, I do have a couple of suggestions for the mom’s in your life (or some last minute suggestions for you to give to your husband, you know, in the off chance that he hasn’t even begun his shopping yet).

Allow me to present to you some surefire Christmas gifts for any mom on your list. 

  1. A full night of sleep. One that is done in a large bed, with plenty of pillows, and covers to be distributed however we wish. Oh, and we’d like to be completely and utterly alone. I’d settle for six hours, but the real gift would be 20.
  2. Clothes. Personally, I am on day four of the same pair of pants. I have three that fit me right now, but apparently the other two are currently in the vast wasteland that I like to call the laundry pile. Maybe the mom in your life needs new work clothes, or maybe it’s yoga pants, but I’m sure that she needs an additional something.  And most importantly, something that fits.  For me, this year it will be nursing tops.  I can survive with the same three pairs of pants, but not the same two sweaters when the newborn comes.  Dear Santa, please bring me a shirt that lets me get to my boobs as quickly as humanly possible, with at least two back-ups. 
  3. Laundry service for a month. We are only a family of three right now but I do about six loads a week.  Sure, the machines do most of the hard labor in this situation, but for every six hours of work they do, it means twelve hours of folding, hanging, and putting stuff neatly away in drawers for mom.  
  4. A family photographer. The White House has a staff photographer that follows the Obamas around 24/7, so I would imagine that Michelle Obama is never missing from any Christmas morning pictures of the family opening presents.  Now, I know that I’m not America’s First Lady, but I am the first lady of this family.  And like most mothers, I’d like some shots of all of us together over the holidays.  A camera with a self-timer, a selfie stick, whatever it takes to be a part of those Christmas morning pictures, Santa! 
  5. Snacks that are both delicious and healthy. No, I’m not talking about chocolate that makes you skinny (and if we’re doing big gifts this year can we please do away with the word “skinny”). I am talking about healthy snacks that are already made. As moms we are often running around making sure that everyone else has what they want and need. We often end up famished and grab the closest and easiest thing to eat.  This thing is rarely a bowl of freshly sliced fruit or cleaned and peeled veggies.  An unending bowl of guacamole that is always freshly made and never turns brown?  That would be the stocking stuffer to beat this year. 
  6. Someone to do the dirty work. I am not talking about the temper tantrums or scrubbing toilets (but please see number seven) I mean poop and snot bubbles. Personally, I would like a week off from thrashing diaper changes that leave me, inexplicably, with poop under my fingernails. But maybe the dirty work for the mom in your life is spit up or changing a teenage boy’s sheets.  I’m sure we all have that one dirty job that we need a break from.
  7. A cleaning service for approximately one month. This one is pretty self-explanatory.  I’d like my month to be from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, or as I like to call, it “5 weeks of 5,000 messes”, but maybe that’s just me. 
  8. A gift certificate for a Mom for Hire (and if that’s not a thing, it needs to be). This can be reserved for any time you are sick or hurt or are in some way unable to mom. It will be good for a surrogate mother for your children, and also one to take care of you, because sometimes a mom needs someone to mother them, too.    
  9. A massage. There, this one wasn’t so hard, and it would easily fit into Santa’s sack. Mine can be given to me by my husband, but only if he suddenly possesses the hands of someone that cracks walnuts for a living. A gentle loving touch isn’t going to help these muscles.  I need someone to get mad at the knots in my shoulders.
  10. A way to freeze time. Or more accurately, a way to hold onto these moments. I know sometimes we mothers complain (and some of us way more than others *raises hand guiltily*), but we know how short our time with our kids really is.  Worse of all, the number of holidays that we get to spend with our kids under our roof is even further  I wish I could bottle this time, these feelings, these moments, and hold onto them forever.  Yes, even the high-on-freshly-baked-sugar-cookies-running-from-room-to-room-screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, moments.  I want to hold onto it all, because some day they will be gone.

Happy Holidays!

*This post originally appeared a few days before Thanksgiving (here)… which I swear was only a week ago…

 

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Lessons About Sex, Courtesy of Olive Oil

I learned the ins and outs of sex and men behind a New York City Sanitation Department, a mere seven feet from Nellie Bly Amusement Park. These dalliances played out on the perimeter of an urban childhood spent shooting miniature basketballs into rigged hoops and riding rickety roller coasters.

The sun-kissed crowds, laughter, and bright, beckoning rides that defined my earliest years stood in stark contrast to the black shadows cast by the sanitation trucks and chain-linked fences adorning Shore Parkway. The shadows that held the secrets to how young men operate, to how young women learn, and to how I would learn to operate for years to come.

Having had as much (or as little) sense as any other sixteen year old girl who finds herself entangled in the backseat of a 1992 Saturn with her crush, I now thank God that cell phones with video capabilities were not a “thing” in 1996 Brooklyn.

I had a curfew in those days. Math and English homework to do for my teachers at Lafayette High School the following Monday, probably. Curfews and homework were threads of 

innocence weaving in and out of the adult games I began to play with boys old enough to drive, but not old enough to trust.

We’d park between those tattered garbage trucks. I’d silently pray that the vehicles would stay dark and still for the night. He’d turn off the headlights, and I’d hope to remain just as dark and inconspicuous.

I lived about a ten minute drive away from our spot in the shadows. We’d stretch our time together as long as we could, usually until about eight minutes before curfew.

At which point he zipped up his jeans, hunched in the backseat. “Time to go,” he muttered, glancing at his watch. “I have to get you home.”         

[ziP.]

Little did I know that the sound of an upward-moving zipper on a pair of man’s jeans would provide the soundtrack to my sex education for years to come.

****

When not hiding in the shadows of our city’s sanitation facilities, we’d retreat to my family’s Gravesend apartment, stealing those rare moments during which I had the house to myself in the summer between high school and college.

 “We need to be out in the living room before your mom gets home,” he’d say, zipping up his jeans as he stood at the edge of my twin-sized bed in the bedroom I shared with my sister on Highlawn Avenue.

[ziP.]

****

“Doesn’t Jane get back soon?” he’d ask a few years later, zipping up his jeans as he stood over the bed on “my” side of the dorm room I shared with Jane, a fellow college sophomore.

College was a little tricky. By the time my fourth semester rolled around, Jane was the only sane, kind, and virtually unremarkable roommate I had ever had. And yet, despite my fondness for Jane, I was too embarrassed, too self-conscious to have “that” discussion, or to hang a sock on the doorknob—as some of the guys down the hall were wont to do. Forays into sexual experimentation would have to occur not on my time, but around my—or his—roommate’s class schedule.

After college I rented an apartment. A little older, a little more mature and ready for an adult life, there was an odd, perhaps even predictable association between the moment I signed my first lease and my plummeting inhibitions. No parents, no roommates, no little sisters to worry about. No need for the dark, still shadows of a sanitation truck. Surely there’d be plenty of time for reciprocation, yes? Plenty of time to get mine.

This particular venue—my new apartment—is where the excuses stopped and the snoring began. As in, the guy would literally roll over and fall asleep, notwithstanding the status of my own frustrated condition.

Whether a lumpy car seat or a firm mattress; be us wedged between the city’s garbage trucks or enjoying the freedom of an actual bedroom; be him a one-night-stand or someone who didn’t mind throwing my dirty laundry in with his, the outcome was always the same: My pleasure was consistently delayed. My orgasm was the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on who you ask) in an unfinished suspense novel. Unfinished in that you never quite got to meet that character after all, but you felt her presence. And while she never made an appearance, she remained the elephant in the bedroom. Or in the dorm. Or in the backseat of a 1992 Saturn parked on the perimeter of Nellie Bly’s and childhood.

****

There are—as there should be—myriad differences between 18- and 25-year-old-women. And yet, whether 18 or 25, all events, all people, all situations had precisely one thing in common: I performed oral sex long before I ever received it.

I never questioned why I was giving more than I was receiving. It never occurred to me to ask. It never occurred to me to consider the possibility that something was off, here. That there were profound imbalances that begged, that demanded a restructuring of emotional and physical capital.

My female friends never complained or made mention of anything similar, although the juicy gossip about dating that bounced off of Lafayette High School’s tiled bathroom walls usually centered on how far the guy was able to go; on how much he was able to receive. The details never, not once revealed that the young woman telling the story derived much physical or emotional pleasure at all. Peculiarly, the stories were always structured around “timing,” as a theme: E.g., “We’ve been dating for a month, so we took it to the next level,” she’d say shyly, innocently, over a chicken parm hero at John’s Deli, a city landmark situated a mere half mile from our high school.

In college, conversations about dating were identical to those that took place in high school.  Instead of gossiping about backseats and dark stairwells over meaty heroes at John’s Deli, we gossiped about one-way oral sex in dorm rooms, apartments, and smoky bars over twenty-five cent beers at Lock Stock, our university’s local watering hole.

“We’ve been dating for a month, so it seemed ok to take it to the next level,” she’d say, a little more forcefully, confidently, practically daring you to question the reasons for her decision.

 “The next level” was always synonymous with permitting a young man to receive pleasure that he, in more ways than not, felt entitled to, particularly if enough time had passed. “The next level” never seemed to have much to do with reciprocation, and if it did, she never said so. Oral sex was simply the enemy weakened by the weapon of time. A gift a guy received for his patience.

She received no such gift, and if she did, she never did say so. Oral sex was a narrow, one-way street. Like eastbound Shore Parkway.

Conversely, I’ve heard many a young man boast about the pleasure he had received, but never about the pleasure he had given in return. The kind of rumors and stories that ricocheted off of classroom and dormitory walls, rumors and stories that echo and pierce and stagnate in only the way these kinds of rumors and stories can. The kind of rumors and stories that destroy a young woman for daring to explore her sexuality, but reward a young man for aiding and abetting those same explorations. A plaintiff in cahoots with the defendant in the court of public opinion.

And of course these topics were not discussed at home—at least not in any useful way. The extent to my household’s sex and relationship education occurred when I was 16, after mom returned home from the supermarket one winter evening.

“See this?” she asked me, rushing into the living room, clutching a tin of extra virgin olive oil. She still wore her gloves, coat, and slush-soaked boots, her hair and shoulders covered in a thin layer of flurries.

“Huh?” I responded, confused. It were not as though I knew how to cook.

This,” she said, pointing to the word virgin on the bottle, “is you.” Her tone was urgent. Her boots, her coat, the flurries…She was on a mission, having devised her sex education curriculum in the baking aisle at the local Pathmark, compelled to execute it quickly, perhaps before she lost her gumption.  

At that point, any obvious relationship between my status as a virgin and that container of extra virgin olive oil would barely last another two years. But in my mind, as long as I was not figuring out—or ever making demands about—my own wants and needs, physical and otherwise, I was able to maintain some sense of loyalty to that dark green tin; some level of beholden-ness to the education I had received on Shore Parkway and what olive oil would come to symbolize in my young mind. If I declined to investigate my own human needs, I’d receive a pass. I’d remain that obedient, “good” 16 year old girl, sprawled out on the couch in her family’s Brooklyn living room, forever unrefined. Harvested in the summer of 1980 and with no foreseeable expiration date. Extra virgin olive oil—like Nellie Bly’s—offered another illusion of innocence.

And for the next ten or so years—in honor of olive oil and those old lessons learned on Shore Parkway—I never learned to give to, or invest in, myself. I distanced myself from most people, and even moved a handful of states away from everything I knew to achieve a physical distance that would make my desired engagement with emotional detachment more fluid. More real. Surely, I remained “active” with the opposite sex, but activity was about all they could reasonably hope to achieve. Any sign that I had an actual need, physical or otherwise, was a form of weakness, or worse, an act of betrayal.

More than a decade would pass before I noticed the link between my earliest lessons about sex and olive oil and the emotional and physical imbalances I experienced in many of my adult relationships—sexual and otherwise. Divested from my own wants and needs, I remained the glue that bonded unstable relationships. I initiated the phone calls that needed initiating. I made the truces that needed trucing.

I gave (to others) what needed giving, explored (for others) what needed exploring, emotionally and physically labored over that which needed laboring, and paid for that which needed paying. I was the sanitation truck that shielded those in need of shielding—particularly that time when I found myself temporarily entangled in the embrace of a married man.

Despite the physical distance from my childhood home and upbringing, from the backseat of a 1992 Saturn, from roommates and dorm rooms, history had developed the stunning habit of finding every conceivable opportunity to repeat itself in my new life. The giving—whatever the kind—remained plentiful, and often (if not always) against my own human interests and needs. With each act of labor, I withdrew that much more from my personal bank of emotional and physical capital.

Oddly, I never lost what needed losing, or learned what needed learning. These particular outcomes were perhaps the most problematic byproducts of those earliest lessons learned about olive oil, sex, and relationships; of those secrets harbored in the shadows of Brooklyn’s sanitation trucks.

****

Recent psychological research suggests that we are at our best adult-selves when we form—and keep—solid relationships from a young age. But if there is anything else I learned while growing up in Brooklyn, whether on Shore Parkway, in Lafayette High School, as a function of the baking aisle at Pathmark, or some other venue, it’s that life does not always work this way. Not in Brooklyn. People come from all over to attend school, and events, and anything else the city has to offer. And when they’re finished, they go right back to the corner, street, enclave, or borough from whence they came, or they leave New York City altogether.

I’m one of those people who left. I left a long time ago. Which means that the research about what it means to be our best adult-selves has left me amply screwed.

Or am I screwed? Am I really?

“We have all the time in the world,” she said, as she curled up even closer to where I lay in her bed, in her world, for the first time three summers ago, her left hand navigating toward the zipper on my jeans.

“Hmmm?” I thought I knew what she had said, I thought I had heard correctly, but I wanted to hear it again.

“I hope this doesn’t annoy you, but I just want to please you, and I don’t really give a damn about me.”

I knew what she meant, damn I knew what she meant, and I didn’t argue. Is this what it felt like, to be on the brink of an adult relationship? Is this what it sounded like, to be entering a stable union? Was this event going to reveal itself as the first opportunity to unlearn everything boys and men and olive oil and zippers and Brooklyn’s various landmarks had taught me all those years ago?  

[Zip.]

Later that evening, after I came that much closer to a response to my own questions, we mulled over what to eat for dinner.

“How about a grilled chicken salad?” she asked. “I picked up some arugula yesterday.”

“Perfect,” I said. “What do you have for dressing?”

“I make my own. With garlic, lemon, balsamic, and spices,” she said.

“Perfect,” I said again.

“Is olive oil ok?” she asked.

I smiled to myself. “Olive oil is just fine.”

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Gift Guide for your Guy (Boyfriend, Love, Guy You're Dating)

It’s always stressful to start dating someone new weeks or even a couple of months before their birthday. What’s the gifting protocol? How much do you spend? What do you give?
Holidays can be equally stressful for newly minted couples. How much do you spend? What do you give? It’s too soon to spend a lot of money. You likely don’t know each other enough to know what they have always wanted. But you can still get them a gift that they will love, that means something, and that will even give you brownie points for being so awesome.

The #1 holiday gift mistake made is lack of communication.
The #2 holiday gift mistake made is lack of thought. 


Communication:
How important are the holidays to your partner? How have they historically spent them? Ask questions and tell stories about what the holidays mean to eachother. What your favorite holiday memories are. How do you spend the holidays? Not only are you learning more about your partner, about their family, friends, traditions, and values, but you are also learning their preferences when it comes to gifts- both giving and receiving. Talking about the holidays can be very revealing.

Thought:
More than anything else, your gift should be thoughtful. As you are talking about the holidays, you can even ask what their favorite gifts are that they have received over the years. Again, you are collecting information. Do they value experiential gifts, the gifts of time, or a certain type of present? This doesn’t mean that you need to ask: “What do you want for the holidays?” But if you listen you will be able to come up with at least a preferred style, and from there you can select something that has the highest chances of them loving.

So what do you give?

The gift of time and shared experiences can be the most cherished gift of all. Buy a couples spa treatment for you and her. Plan a weekend away at a local hotel. Go kite surfing or kayaking. Organize a trip to NY and go skating in Rockefeller Center. Arrange a hike with a picnic at the top. But don’t just give a random experience or one that you really want. Give something that they really want, but you can do together and enjoy. When you give the gift, write a card that explains the itinerary, why you want to do it together, AND give a little gift that embodies the experience so that they also have a wrapped “present.” Because everyone likes a little something to unwrap.

It’s not “just the thought that counts” if you put no thought into it, and that’s expressed in the card. So the gift is threefold:
-The wrapped present
-The activity
-The card

EVERYONE GET A PLAYFUL/THOUGTFUL STOCKING
Give him a stocking that is thoughtful and reminiscent of happy childhood moments. Then fill it with little symbols that you care, want to take care of him, pay attention, get him, and encourage his happiness.

A few suggestions:
For the handyman: Stepless Ratchet Tool 
For the guy with a strained family dynamic: Family Time is Hard wine
For the guy you want to love (or want to love more deeply): The Love Game: 36 Questions for Falling in Love 
For the Quirky (or sock loving) Guy. Or for the guy warms your heart (so you want to warm their feet): Awesome Socks! These are the best from Out Of Print

FOR YOUR NEW BOYFRIEND
You just started dating “officially…” in that you aren’t dating anyone else. You consider him someone who has real potential. And you want to explore it. Don’t buy him anything that’s too much. And I mean “too much” in that it’s too expensive, too sentimental, or too intrusive. Give him something sweet and thoughtful, and also low-key. This is an opportunity to show him that you are more than just fun, sexy, and exciting. Show him that you should be considered as someone who has real potential too. Show him that you want to care for him and take care of him. Make him dinner. Even if you don’t know how to cook, you can pull this one off- simply go to a high end market and buy a simple dinner that you doll up with extra special sauces plus a fun drink or bottle of wine. Of course you also want to have something wrapped up for him under the tree, and that will be cooking equipment as well as a holiday card that describes the experience that you are about to give him.

The Card:
Let him know how taken care of and cared for he makes you feel. Let him know that you want to do the same thing, but in your own way. Then include an “invitation to dinner” which will include the date, time, location, and menu (if you’d like).

The Menu:
-Choose something simple and delicious that can be prepared ahead of time. I love the book “Cravings” by Chrissy Teigen. 
-Pizza or Burgers. They are simple but can also be simply delicious. Especially if you make your own dough (here’s the best pizza dough recipe by celebrity chef Hubert Keller)
-Design a specialty cocktail

The Wrapped Gifts:
Cuisinart Food Processor (you’re going to need this for the homemade dough)
Griddler (for the burgers. It’s a cleaner way to grill burgers- delicious and minimizes the mess)
Bicos Water Goblets (Set of 4) by Vista Alegre
Love Who You Want Coasters by Christian Lacroix (they are fun and quirky and will be your special coasters that always put a smile on your face)
Heart Shaped Ice Trays (because a drink is just a drink until it has a heart ice cube in it!) 
Silicone Pizza Mat (you’ll need it to make your pizza look a little less amateurish)

FOR YOUR NEW LOVE
There are plenty of ways to spice it up that have nothing to do with sex. Though… they may lead to sex. It’s time to experiment, explore, and break down some barriers.

The Card:
I have loved getting to know the various sides of you. I feel like there are more that I want to explore. Let’s get deep and dirty together…

The Wrapped Gifts:
5 Love Languages. The book is an essential for all new serious couples. It will help you to love him in a way that he feels your love, and lets him know how to love you in a way that you will feel his love too.
-Make a lasting imprint. Literally. Get naked and roll around in paint, leaving your prints on a gigantic piece of paper. The outcome can be clear images of your bodies, or you can be more discreet and simultaneously more exciting as you create artistic images of your entwined bodies while making love- making it your secret that the beautiful impressionistic painting hanging on the wall is actually your naked bodies. The Love Is Art package has all the materials needed to ensure a safe project, including a large plastic sheet to protect the floor; white cotton canvas; non-toxic paint; and even two pairs of disposable booties so you can walk to the shower to clean up without leaving a trail of footprints.

YOU’RE READY FOR SOMETHING REAL (FOR REAL)
You want to move in together- you’re talking about him moving in or buying a place together. Show him that you’re really ready for real by buying a statement-making gift… and having an experience on it. In fact, make an evening of it. Enjoy a night in bed. And I’m not talking about just sex. I’m talking about having real and deep conversations. Use the 36 Questions for Love as conversation starters. Order Munchery and enjoy dinner in bed. Then break it in. The mattress I mean.

The Card:
List all of the things that you love about him and why. It’s the “why” that makes this card meaningful. It’s not just that he buys you watermelon gum everytime he’s at the gas station. What that shows is that he thinks about you even when you’re not there, and not only does he thinks about it, but he shows you that you were on his mind because he thought to get out of his car and buy your favorite childhood favorite flavor of gum that brings out the fun, carefree youthful side of you that only he has the ability to bring out… List at 5 items, including the “why.” Then tell him that you want to move forward in your futures together, and so his gift starts tonight (or whatever night works for a dedicated evening) and will last all night… It’s time to break in a new bed together and move forward in the future with a fresh start.

The Wrapped Gifts:
-A Munchery Gift Certificate (or another food delivery service)
-A printout of the 36 Questions for Love
-A new mattress (I got mine from Brentwood Home)- one that has zero lingering impressions from past partners. A new mattress is statement making. It says that you are cleansing yourself of your past and ready to move forward with him into the future. Put the new mattress on the bed and tie it up with a big red bow.

FOR YOUR LONGTIME LOVE
You want to give him a gift that is sentimental. Something different. Something that will show him that you love you two and that your memories are precious to you. And something that says that you want to make more memories together…

The Card:
The card will start with a list of vacation memories. Don’t just list locations. Actually write out one or two sentences describing a particularly memorable moment from several trips. Then finish it by describing your next trip… which you already booked for x weekend. OR include a custom giftcard for an Air BnB to the town of your combined choosing, where your next couple memory-making adventure awaits.

The Wrapped Gift:
“101 Nights of Great Sex” by Laura Corn. Get ready to explore a very sexy side of your relationship with these experience invitations.
Gifted Custom Art– Remember that time when you two went on a camping with your black lab when you just started dating, and the three of you explored tidepools (and you got in trouble of having a dog… and a beer, on the beach)? Take the photo of the three of you on the beach and paint it by numbers- remember like you used to do when you were a kid. Send the pic to Gifted Custom Art and they will turn it into a paint-by-numbers (which makes painting easy for any adult) outline printed on a 16”x 20” gallery wrapped canvas. The kits come with everything you need (paint, brushes, easel) to create a beautiful piece of custom art.

The point is that your gift is meant to be more than a present. It’s an opportunity to deepen and expand your relationship. Happy Gifting!

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How I Lost Love and Gained Life on my Wedding Day

Nick was waiting for me when I walked up.

I grabbed both of his hands, leaned in close, and whispered. “Did you remember to feed the cat?”

The cat had been the first thing I got for my first apartment on the first day I moved in: before I bought a bed or a set of dishes or any food for the fridge, I got Zeke. It’s official, I thought, curled up with the cat that night on the bedroom floor in the space where a bed would have gone if I had one. I’m growing up.

I loved Zeke in that irrational and almost annoying way that people who don’t have kids love their pets, and the night before my wedding had been the first night I had spent away from him. It made me nervous.

More so even when I thought I saw a glimmer of something flash across Nick’s face, but my veil obstructed my view and I couldn’t be sure.

Zeke had been in both my life and my apartment before Nick was, and they hadn’t exactly taken to each other. The cat  liked to play a little game he called “pee on all of Nick’s belongings,” and Nick did not find it nearly as charming as I did. He paused at my question, looked down at the floor, and then back to me.

It occurred to me then that I was standing there in a poofy dress in front of everyone we knew and loved (and a few we didn’t) about to marry a man I didn’t trust enough to feed my cat, but I shoved the thought away. It was a little late for that.

The cathedral felt cavernous and despite the chill in the February air sweat pooled on the inside of my dress. I had downed a glass of champagne in the limo on the way over here, ignoring both my mother’s look of stern disapproval and the fact that it was technically still morning, and I wondered now if that had been the best choice.

The priest cleared his throat, and we turned together to face him, the cat forgotten for the moment. “We have gathered here together today to bring Elizabeth and Richard together in holy matrimony,” he started in his thick accent, and my stomach flipped a little, the champagne threatening to make a reappearance.

“Nicholas,” I whispered. “His name is Nicholas. Not Richard.” But he didn’t hear me, or didn’t care, and I sent up the only prayer I prayed that day despite being inside of a church for a lot of it.

God, please let us know what we are doing. 

I meant “us” in the sense of Nick and me, but I suppose I should have included the preist as well since he went on to call Nick the wrong name the whole time. He wasn’t our priest, not the one we had wanted to marry us with the kind face who wrote inspirational books on faith and gave homilies that always made me cry. No, that one had broken the news to us a few weeks earlier after months of planning that he was going to be vacationing in the Bahamas on our wedding day, a pronouncement that had also made me cry.

But when this one pronounced Richard and I husband and wife the relief just that I had lived through the ceremony was so palpable that my hand shot out involuntarily towards the congregation in a thumbs up sign while we (Nick and I, not the priest and I) shared our first married kiss.

We made it, my thumb signaled, and the people who loved me breathed a collective sigh of relief and laughed a little too hard because they could probably see how my nervousness was shining off me in hot waves of champagne and perspiration.

***

The morning after the wedding I woke up to see that Nick was watching me. I rolled over to face him, my head–still pounding from the revelry of the reception–protesting the sudden movement. “Hey babe, do you think we are even legally married? Or am I married to someone names Richard?”

That look flashed again across Nick’s face. “I have to tell you something.”

“I hope its that he’s wildly rich,” I said, dragging myself up in search of an IV of coffee. “Get it? Rich?”

But he didn’t laugh.

“Liz? Zeke died.”

“Wait, WHAT? When?”

All sorts of things flashed through my head, but mostly I remembered how Nick had been waiting for me at the end of what felt like the longest church aisle in the world yesterday and when I got next to him, finally, the only thing I was able to think of to say had been “did you feed the cat?”

And then I thought of how they say you should be able to keep alive a plant before you have a pet, and you should keep a pet alive before you even think about having a relationship, and here I had a shiny new marriage but no pet anymore and maybe everything was doomed.

“Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?”

“It was our wedding day, Liz. I wanted you to be happy.”

I fell back onto the bed.

The next day we left for our honeymoon on a plane so small it looked like something you could buy in the toy aisle at Target. We hit some turbulence and Nick grabbed my hand and I kept holding onto him long after the plane settled. I thought about how while I was doing my makeup and downing champagne, he had spent the morning of our wedding running around trying to find a veterinarian’s office open on a Saturday to cremate a cat he didn’t even like, and then held onto the secret to protect me while I danced and drank many (many) more glasses of champagne.

Maybe we weren’t doomed after all.

An elderly man shuffled slowly past us then on his way to the bathroom and stopped when he recognized us. It was our priest, the one we had wanted, on his way to the tropics.

“Elizabeth. Nicholas. Congratulations and God bless you,” he said, touching each of us on the shoulder before he made his way back down the aisle.

“Now it’s official,” I said to Nick after he was gone. “I hope we can break the news to Richard gently.”

Nick leaned in close. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Why did everyone laugh when we were pronounced husband and wife? Did I do something wrong?”

He hadn’t seen my thumbs up.

“Oh no,” I said, squeezing his hand. “You did EVERYTHING right.”

And I turned back towards the window to watch as we floated over the clouds, wondering if I could spot Zeke as he flew by sporting his new halo.

 

 

This post originally appeared on lizpetrone.com

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A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (PART 2)

Maybe it is the theme for this month, but I have found myself singing and/or listening to Julie Andrews sing A Few of My Favorite Things several times this month. I love this song, especially as a reminder to practice play because it is all about the things that one enjoys and loves, like “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favorite things.”

So I started thinking about some of my favorite things.

Cuddling with my kittens and having them lick me.

Baking cookies with friends and sharing home made meals and creating memories

Read More

Inspiritual: A space for spiritual evolution and transformation

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Latest Trend In Mature Women On Cougar Dating Websites

Did you know that among the 40% of the 97 million in the US that are over 45 and available? According to a recent survey, nearly one-third of older women aged 40 to 69 prefer to date younger men. Being a mature woman dating younger men is no longer shocking, as age doesn’t matter anymore in today’s society. 

Finding Someone

Would you like to discover the latest trend in dating, to have the golden opportunity of finding romance, being naughty, or target the right one to be a partner for life? There is a whole world out there, not limited to the people in our immediate neighbourhood, and the lovely thing about that fact, is that you can be with someone who has been searching for someone just like you. 

There are many reasons why we search for someone, such as to ward away loneliness, to fulfill the desire to have sex, and maybe, for companionship. It is but natural to want a special person to be part of our life yet it is not right to just make a decision on just what is available. We may not like to hang out in bars, and might feel like our resources are limited. The good news is that to go online to find that perfect mate is the norm, and that can be easily done by joining one of best cougar dating websites.

Going Mobile

Taking a proactive move and not being laid back waiting for that special one to find you is the thing to do. There are many, for sure, that are also searching, and you’ll get the opportunity to pick and choose. Keeping an open mind will open up limitless possibilities, and of course, you can still stick to the standards of what is desired in a long term partner, but an occasional squeeze might be the fun part of the wholeness of being a mature women dating, that can be done by with simply accessing a cougar dating website or downloading one of the latest apps. 

Accessibility

The latest trend in cougar dating websites is that of the match being accessible. There are those who prefer to get to know someone online first, and there are the sites that can hook you up with someone in the vicinity or nearby area, not many miles away.

Cultural Phenomena

Instant gratification is the thing, without the need for commitment, and that is not limited to the younger generation who go on Tinder and other similar hook up sites. Those online dating websites make it easy to have a roll in the hay. Yet mature woman dating do prefer that the competition will be on their own grounds, may provide more satisfaction in a relationship that those who lack experience, and might prefer to have more than a one night stand. 

Start Searching

Why procrastinate and wait? There is a way to be proactive, taking those steps to find happiness. Seizing the day, going for that golden opportunity to love life and take all that it offers? To do so is as easy as joining one of  cougar dating websites.

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how to be thankful for your broken heart

I fell in love for about the trillionth time last year.

He was 5’10 with brown hair (they always are, I have no control over this). He had dark rimmed glasses, perfect skin and warm brown eyes. He looked like a combination of The Little Mermaid’s Prince Eric and Clark Kent. Total dreamboat. Every word out of his mouth sounded like a poem or a script from a movie. The sound of his voice is what I imagine velvet would sound like if it had a sound.  Men this handsome and perfect are rarely encountered in real life. Naturally I dove in head first without giving a second thought to my heart’s current condition or where I was at in life, or really anything.

It might be important to note at this juncture the timeline of gentlemen up to this point. This will better illustrate where I was in life and how ill prepared I was for this perfect specimen. We will address each of these “eras” in more detail throughout the blog, but for the sake of organization I have created a timeline for you below.


Ok, so now that we are clear that I had no business falling in love with anyone at that time, we can continue.

Where were we? Perfect human? Right. Ok. So, the Big Kahuna. Full disclosure, I don’t even know what a kahuna is, or why it’s only referenced when it’s large. However, Nicki Minaj claims to be one so I assume it’s a big deal.

This guy was everything. He was smart and funny. He was an excellent cook. He wore a suit to work every day like a man should.  He took me to the opera and the ballet and said the nicest things to me and  I had no choice but to fall ass backwards, head over heels in love with him.

 

I swear to God that I put up a fight at first. I really did. I knew I was defenseless, but I tried anyway. Before long I tore up my whole life in Seattle (my home of 11 years), and moved to the state capital about an hour away where he lived. At times, I made myself sick with how adorable we were. We spent weekends planting gardens, drinking fine wines and telling each other how crazy we were about each other. Everything was perfect!!  Until it wasn’t.

 

Here’s the super bitchy thing about love: whether you end the relationship or not, you still never get to REALLY know what went wrong. There’s always some sort of a reason. But at the end of the day, you never know exactly what the other person was thinking, so you are forced wonder forever. Isn’t it fun? Aren’t you glad you keep doing this?

 

This relationship baffled me. It lasted only ten months and yet it mangled my world into such a vile state that I started a blog? I have always enjoyed writing, but this was a need. An unsurpassable urge to find and communicate with every person on the earth that had felt what I was feeling. If you’re reading this, chances are I’m talking to you. So, thank you. You’ve been one of my best friends.

 

So that was it. It was over. I spent the next month eating a thousand pizzas and drinking wine and crying, like a normal person.  Any attempts I made to get him back were fruitless. I thought for sure I would die. I didn’t, clearly. 


In my not dying, and living in a town where I knew very few people, I was left with a lot of time for reflection. Once I cleared all the pizza boxes and wine bottles out from around me, I started to think a bit more clearly. I cut back the drinking, amped up the vegetables, did a ton of yoga, got proper amounts of sleep,  and only did things that made me happy. Please note that this process will piss a lot of people off and you just can’t let it get to you. I’m realizing this is probably the first time in my life that I’ve been making decisions per what I really want with no one else in mind and no one else to please. I’ve realized it isn’t selfish, it’s self-care.

 

This brings me to why I am thankful for my heart being broken.

 

I have been doing a lot of research about love and emotions and relationships as of late. I came across an article the other day about the similarities and differences between a soul mate and a life lesson. I use the term “soul mate” begrudgingly, because I’ve always hated it, but you know what I’m talking about. The person you love so much that you can’t fathom it’s even real. I won’t go on and on about it, but it’s someone like the boy this post is about. Duh.

 

The article suggested that perhaps these people are only with us for a short time to teach us a lesson, or point our lives in a new direction, or help us decide to change. If a relationship came and went with little connection, we would simply move on and repeat all our old habits and think nothing of it. But when you lose someone your heart was really attached to, it creates space for a better relationship with yourself.

 

So today I’ve decided to be thankful for this experience. I haven’t recovered fully, and I still miss him nearly every minute of every day, but I am getting closer. Closer to myself, closer to being truly happy, closer to experiencing life in a different way and closer to being a better version of myself. A broken heart usually just means you love someone, and for that, we should always be thankful.


Cheers!

 

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The Top 10 Ways to Meet Rich Elite Singles

 

Dating a prosperous man would feel more secure than an ordinary person. We all know that many elite singles inject more effort in online dating websites, as they are so busy to meet people one by one. To enhance your probability of dating an elite rich man, look for reviews of the most excellent dating websites and choose the best dating sites to sign up. But relying on the chance of online dates alone is not enough. You can also increase your chances further by identifying the top places frequently visited by the wealthy people.

 

 Dress to kill, carry out yourself with dignity and visit the elite clubs, and you will win the jackpot. 

 

Try to meet the elite class in the following ways and places:

 

#1 High-end pubs

You won’t find the top-level clubs located just anywhere. Such clubs could be located near major offices or in cities highly populated by wealthy persons.

Next, you have to select the right time to drop into these clubs. Think of late hours after work and weekends or holidays.

Of course, you have to present yourself in the most charming way. However, finding a chance to these exclusive pubs may not be easy; use every available opportunity!

 

#2 Participating in luxurious sports club or courses

Wealthy elite singles do associate with particular games; for example, tennis, and golf.

Look out for a chance to be in the golf or tennis club. If you can’t play those games, why not sign up for a once week training course? It’s all about frequenting and mingling with rich people.

 

 #3 Taking part in charity events 

Most people who actively participate in giving donations or aid are most likely the top cream of the society. Make an advance plan and secure a ticket (within your budget) to the charity events.

 

#4 Online dating sites

Many sites do provide private dating grounds for millionaires. Carry out a research and join best dating websites. Ensure you have a complete profile. Don’t compromise on your picture quality.

Signing up to elite dating sites could be the best chance of meeting prospectus partners. Most members of these places are similarly looking out for dating partners. You, therefore, stand a splendid chance of uniting with the right person.

  

#5 Look for a job opportunity in the fancy clubs 

Since well off men have selected meeting places for relaxing or drinking, you have to be creative enough to meet them.

Most of these expensive country clubs offer valuable services. As a result, the average gorgeous girl could find such places unaffordable.

The trick is, therefore, to apply for a part-time job at the high-end pubs. Even if you get a chance to work as a waitress or behind the counter, it doesn’t matter.

You could then have unlimited access to a variety of wealthy single men.

  

#6 Visit the top-notch spa resorts 

When you are stressed and tired, one of the few places you could think of is the spa resort. Just single out the areas providing unique spa services.

Only well to do men can afford the expensive health bath and massage offered. Look out for places offering the health services to both sexes. By frequenting these resorts, you stand a higher chance with a well to do businessman.

 

#7 Master and perfect a given art

Identify an art or activity where your ability lies. For example, you could be talented in singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument.

Perfecting your skills will make you a star and therefore admirable by many people. You then have a good chance of dating the elite class.

 

#8 Visit auctioning centers 

Auctioning places can be another gathering for rich men. People with a keen interest in pieces of artworks are usually keen followers of auctioneers. You could land a likely stable man at these places.

 

#9 Be independent

 Focus on your dreams and business goals. Make a stable financial ground for yourself.

If you don’t have the talent to sharpen, why not pursue your career or ambition to the highest level? A higher achievement will equally make you valuable as a precious commodity.

 

#10 Maintain good grooming and fitness

Wealthy men would always choose the best single ladies from the many young girls at their disposal. So you have to be visible among others. Just carry out yourself with dignity so that you earn it also from others.

In all the parties and social gatherings you attend, be elegant.  Your dressing style should not portray you like a cheap and promiscuous lady. Strive to earn that dignity from the crowd.

When in the company of the wealthy elite singles, do more listening than talking.  Good listening can be another way of showing interest in someone.

 

Visiting the best elite dating sites for elite singles is only the first step in the quest for thriving businessmen. No matter you are a young woman like older man or older woman seeking a younger man, you have to believe and present yourself with modesty when in a company of the elite class.

 Finally, if you could be gifted in any area, make a good use of it. Sharpen the talent and shine like a celeb. Only men who matter would gather the courage to approach you then.

 

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