Sunday, May 27, 2018

The 9 Brutal Truths No One Tells You About Divorce (But I Will)

This post has been about two years in the making.

I keep sitting down to write it, and then just...not hitting publish. I've edited it probably a hundred times, and yet never pulled the trigger until now.

Part of it is that this is such a personal issue for me, sure. But part of why I couldn't ever seem to click 'publish' is that I never really felt like I was done writing it. I felt like there was still more to add.

Today I decided I don't care. This is my blog, after all. I can add to this list later if I want to! But these very personal, sometimes vulnerable, thoughts are something I feel like I really need to share. This post is dedicated to my brother, whose questions, heart-to-heart talks, and friendship mean so much to me. This one's for you, Jon! 

I'm talking about the brutal truths no one tells you about divorce. But I will (you're welcome).

1. It takes a loooooong time (like, years) to feel normal again.

Give yourself a good 12-18 months before you'll feel like your life isn't falling apart around your ears. After that, it gets better. I promise!

A friend of mine recently went through a divorce from his wife of almost a decade. He called and asked "when will it be over?" My answer: A year. Yes, it feels like forever when your life's in flux, but when it's over it'll feel like you blinked and it's done. 

And afterwards, you'll have a whole new sense of perspective. 

2. Everyone takes sides. No really...everyone.

"No one took sides in my divorce!" - Said no one, ever.

This one is the hardest for people to talk about.

I'm in my 30's now, and I've got lots of divorced friends (because hello, statistically about 50% of us are divorced!)

Guess what? Not a single friend or family member got through their own divorce without people choosing sides. Not. A. Single. One. If you're keeping score, that's zero times

Human nature seeks out drama and gossip, and no one is immune to the drama of a divorce.

Don't be surprised if you lose close friends, even family. It will happen. You can be the politest, most amazing exes to each other in public and never say a single negative thing to each other, but it won't stop other people from assuming what they want, or feeling the need to choose. It also won't stop people from being nasty, or even flat-out lying.

I have one friend whose ex torched his support network, destroying his friendships with lies, before she finally admitted to cheating on him - with his best friend. And guess what? His friends stayed friends with her.

I've personally been called a whore, and had people who were dear to me text me on my birthday saying utterly disgusting things. I've had friends who trash talked my ex and encouraged me to leave, switch sides as soon as shit got real.

It's an ugly world out there, and divorce brings jealousy, resentment and ugliness to the surface for many people. And it will for people in your own life, too.

Remember this: It might hurt, but those people are doing you a HUGE favor by weeding themselves out of your life for you. You don't need those people in your life to be happy. In fact, in some cases you'll find yourself taking a deep, relaxed breath when they're gone. For real.

3. You'll see a lot less of your married and couple friends for a while.

No matter how strong the friendships with your married or couple friends are, they're likely to give you a lot of space (sometimes space = straight up ghosting) when you announce you're abandoning the sinking ship of your marriage.

Divorce is scary as hell for married people, and I can totally understand why. You're now a walking, talking (weeping) reminder that marriage isn't bullet-proof, and everyone wants to think divorce can't happen to them.

It's easier for your coupled-up friends to avoid you. And they probably will, at least for a while. Even the ones who stick around will struggle to relate.

Bonus issue? You're now single, and living the dating life, which can spark jealousy for couples who maybe aren't so happily married themselves. 

4. You won't be alone: SO MANY other people are divorced.

No really you guys...everyone. When you're over 30, it's stranger to meet someone who's not divorced than someone who is. You're not alone!

When I got divorced, I was terrified that I'd always be alone and stigmatized, but the opposite is true.

The reality: No one cares. NO. ONE. CARES.

Now when I'm in a room with my peers, the gross number of us are divorced, sometimes twice. Those that aren't, know tons of people who are.

5. Learning to trust your own judgement is empowering af.

The fear of being on your own is real, but being independent is a life-changing learning experience.

My ex and I were together for eleven years, and got together when I was in High School! I'd never been a grown-up on my own, and the freedom/responsibility combo was staggering, and exhilarating.

I learned that making my own mistakes and defining my own life is actually something I can do without the input of another person. I'm not perfect, but damn I'm confidant I can at least take care of myself and my kids, and I really, really like who I am now.

I didn't just gain confidence in myself, I learned to trust my own competence.

I now know I'm 100% capable of taking care of myself, no matter what life throws at me. And I do actually, (sometimes) make good decisions that don't need to be run past another person first. Without a safety net, I'm a lot more sure of myself. And it feels fantastic.

6. You'll see a side of your ex you didn't know existed.

Know how you've been growing and changing, and stretching yourself a bit since your decision to split up? Well your ex is doing the same thing. Your ex is also deciding who they're going to be, post-divorce, and in same ways that won't match up at all with the person you thought you knew. As their choices become independent of yours, they will do things you don't always agree with, and you just have to deal.

Sometimes it's good. Sometimes you get to watch your ex mature, and learn to stand on their own. Sometimes the good is harder to see than the bad, honestly. My ex is now a man I'm proud to say is the father of my children, even if we're not together. I'm consider myself seriously lucky in my experience, though.

In some cases, it's ugly. I have a friend whose wife accused him of abusing their child in order to get full custody, and another who almost got stuck paying child support for kids that weren't even his (you're reading that right, his step-kids. Who already had a father paying support).

I have a friend who fought for years to prove that her ex and his new girlfriend were making her daughter's life a living hell, before she finally won.

The bottom line is that your ex is going to be a new person, almost a stranger to you, the moment you call it quits. Respect that they're now an independent entity, and not obligated to continue being "the person you knew."

7. You get sweet sweet child-free time, and (not so secretly) love it.

50% of your time is now child free (if you split custody). You're welcome. You can now go on dates and weekend road trips again, and you get to come back to your kids a rested, relaxed and excited parent.

Yes, you're also allowed to enjoy this new free time guilt-free.

8. can totally co-parent without hating your ex.

I thought co-parenting would be brutal. Those first months after your split, you can barely hear your ex's name without gritting your teeth. But working hard at co-parenting nicely and kindly together from day D-day on, pays off big time.

It's easy to forget, but that person you're not in love with anymore is actually 50% of your kid's makeup. HALF, folks. And (hopefully) your ex will still want to share all the joys and pains of those kid's lives, despite not loving you anymore (or maybe even hating you).

I do my level best to include my ex in everything I can, from video calls at bedtime to pictures of them sleeping, to trick-or-treating together. Because however I might feel about him, I sure do love our kids and so does he, for which I'm grateful.

And you know what? It's actually not that bad at all.

The payoff is this: We get along pretty damn well for divorced parents, and my kids will hopefully never feel the need to choose sides (unlike everyone else). My ex and I don't always like each other but our son and daughter are #1 for both of us, and it's totally worth it. Mutual respect and consideration goes a long way.

9. You are allowed to actually like your ex's new partner. 

I was scared of this one.

As it turns out, my ex (my kid's dad) dating has been a really really good thing. My kids love their dad's new girlfriend, and she brings experiences into their lives in areas I don't have any expertise (or don't have the patience for! D&D campaigns, I'm looking at YOU.) Plus, she's cool as hell, and gives my young daughter another example of strong, modern femininity to aspire to. It's win/win.

I thought I'd be jealous of another woman "momming" my kids, but surprisingly, I haven't been.

I actually enjoy my kid's stories about spending time with her and their dad together, how well she bakes (dude, apparently she makes a killer blueberry pie...guess who can't bake a pie to save her life? This girl!) and it's really good to hear how happy their dad is. And ultimately, seeing their dad demonstrating good relationship skills only benefits them in the long run. It's great for them to see their dad in a fulfilling relationship with someone, even if it's not me!

It makes me happy that more good, cool people are around to help love and nurture my kids.

Those are my distilled notes, guys! I'm really hoping that reading this, seeing real talk about how things can go down, will help someone else navigate the turbulence of their own divorce. We don't do ourselves any favors by staying quiet, by making these issues something to be ashamed of. Please speak up! In the comments I want to hear YOUR story, and I'll be adding to this post as I get more input from readers. So speak up!

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Urban Outfitters Velvet Hair Scrunchie DIY

I can't believe I'm even typing this, but...scrunchies are back, in a big way. 

The 90's retro trend has officially come full circle. Since Mansur Gavriel incorporated them into their New York Fashion Week runway show, they're being spotted everywhere. 

As an old person born before 1990, I was straight-up horrified at this news until I saw how frigging cute they are this time around. Were they ever not cute? Maybe they were only un-cute when used for side ponytails? Idk. 

But now Topshop, Forever 21, Francesca's and Brandy Melville are all selling versions of this ugly-cute hair accessory. This pear-dotted version actually sold out at Anthropologie! But the holy grail of them all seems to be this set of velvet hair scrunchies in deep jewel tones from Urban Outfitters:

Now, I learned how to make hair scrunchies back when I was ten years old (*cough cough in 1994  *cough*) and not wanting to pay full price for these luscious velvet scrunchies, yet still wanting to know what all the fuss was about...I decided to make my own. Check it:

Well, they turned out amazeballs. Not only that, but they were SUPER DUPER cheap to make, and I kind of made, well, a lot of them. Each scrunchie takes about 5-10 minutes to make, start to finish. 

And I used scraps of fabric I already had, and repurposed old clothes to make these, so they cost me about zero dollars. 

Eat my dust, Urban Outfitters (j/k, I love you, please take all my money).

Aren't they pretty? And I'm giving you all the instructions you need to make your own! And you should, really. Your street cred alone will increase by +5.

And by the way, if you don't have any sewing skills, you can totally buy a pack of 16 velvet scrunchies for just $11.99 on Amazon.

Here's me, jumping face first on the scrunchie bandwagon:

To be honest, I sort of loved them. My hair definitely thanked me for using a soft, squishy scrunchie instead of cramming it mercilessly into an elastic hair tie like usual.

The only drawback I can see is that I did kinda feel like I was 12 again.

There was some initial stress when I realized that although I knew how to make scrunchies when I was 10, I did not, in fact, actually remember how. But after making about 15, and experimenting with different lengths of elastic and widths of fabric, I've nailed down the perfect stretchy : scrunch ratio for you. 

My daughter stole all but two of them, so I can say it's definitely worth clicking through to get the full instructions:

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Healthy Greek Yogurt Curried Chicken Salad

So, it's totally not spring yet here in Boise (there's snow outside...for real). But all the spring style and decor inspiration I've been seeing on Pinterest has me craving lighter foods already.

And since it's no secret that I freaking love Indian food, I decided to add my favorite flavor to a healthy chicken salad: Curry. I've already tried yogurt marinated curry chicken and curry-crusted top sirloin. A lighter, summer-y dish was next on my list.

This Curried Chicken Salad is made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, making it extra light while still packing a powerful amount of flavor.

Get the full recipe after the jump!

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Monday, January 22, 2018

13 Amazing Ideas for Making this Valentine's Day the Best Ever

Did you forget something? 

Not yet you didn't! But Valentine's Day is only three weeks away, so now's the time to get your romance game plan on before the big day. Check out these DIY ideas for making this the most romantic Valentine's Day ever:

1. DIY a "gold-dipped" heart jewelry dish with supplies from the dollar store.

2. Make this amazing tulle gown without sewing a stitch.

3. Frame your kiss to give him a gift he'll keep forever.

Get the rest of the ideas after the break!

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Men's XL Sweatshirt to Scalloped Crop Top DIY

Cropped sweatshirts are everywhere right now, and I was a staunch hold out in true old lady fashion. 

Until I thrifted a giant lavender Izod sweatshirt and cropped it, and now I'm in love. I am now cropping all. The. Things.

I literally can't believe I can, like, get away with actually wearing what amounts to PJ's in public and still look "cool" or whatever the kids are saying these days. 

After cropping the hell out of several 90's vintage men's sweatshirts, I decided to up my game and make this cropped scalloped version, which to me seems just a little bit cuter and more feminine. 

Click "read more" for full instructions after the jump!

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Monday, January 15, 2018

5 Lazy Girl Tips for Workout Motivation (When the Couch is Calling Your Name)

I don't know if you've noticed, but this girl loves food.

This girl also really wants to keep myself in shape, but when you'd rather sit and crochet (or eat that fourth gluten-free waffle at midnight) workout motivation can seriously lag.

In honor of January and New Year's Resolutions, here's my top 5 lazy girl tips to stay motivated to work out when the couch is calling your name:

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Best, Most Perfect Dinner Roll Recipe Ever

A dinner roll recipe might seem strange coming from the blogger (me!) who specializes in gluten-free food and baking. And it totally is. 

But I got a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas this year, and I've been making all. The. Bread. 

Don't worry, I'm still making tons of gluten-free and healthy goodies! It's been a bit of a bread-splosion at our house lately. 

All that practice has yielded this, the Best, Most Perfect Dinner Roll Recipe Ever. I made these for Christmas, then again for NYE, then again just family and friends wolfed them down.

You need to make some too. This recipe is foolproof and yields delicious, buttery, soft fluffy flaky dinner rolls people will swear you bought at a bakery.

full recipe after the jump!

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