Saturday, May 4, 2019

Nonfiction Reads: Spring 2019

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Stephanie Land, Maid, Abby Wambach, Wolfpack, Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold, Calm the F*ck Down, Sarah Knight

There are so many books that I want to read, and each time a new novel or nonfiction book comes out I find myself adding them to my list.

The never-ending and always growing to-read list.

So for today I thought I'd share some new nonfiction books that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this year. (Referral links are scattered throughout this post.)

Let me know which of these you're interested in.

Who knows? Maybe I'll decide to gift you a copy!

Nonfiction Recommendations for Spring



nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Stephanie Land, Maid,

You guys? Maid was so good. Like really good. This book was a powerful and moving read. In sharing her perspective as a single mother who worked as hard as she could to get by and keep herself and her child safe, sheltered and sometimes barely fed, Land pulls us in and doesn't let us go until the very end. Even after you turn the last page or swipe on through the entire book? You'll want to find out more about her and see what she's up to now. And how her daughter is doing. Don't miss Maid, y'all. 



nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris

Regardless of your thoughts about Harris, she was one of the first Democrats to throw her hat into the race for President for the 2020 election. As a woman candidate, there is bound to be so much information thrown around - and I - for one - would love to get to meet her for who she is before I make any decisions about her. The Truths We Hold: An American Journey seems to be a great way to jump into doing just that. 



nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Calm the F*ck Down, Sarah Knight

I really like Sarah Knight. So far, You Do You is my favorite of her No F*cks Given Guides. That said, who doesn't want to read a book titled Calm the F*ck Down, am I right? Fine. Maybe you don't want to. But I do. And I think this is going to be a good one. It was released in December, but who had time to read in December, anyway? Not me. Want to join me in reading this one? Let me know. Maybe I'll send you an e-copy. I'm just THAT big of a fan.



nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Abby Wambach, Wolfpack

The best way for me to describe why I plan on reading this book is to simply state that Wolfpack has been repeatedly showing up in my world in different ways. I can't even pinpoint why or where, I can just tell you that I plan on reading it because it seems to hold something that I currently need in my life. I regret not getting my hands on it sooner. But spring seems like the perfect time to grab a copy. Renewal. Growth. Expression. I plan to walk away from Wambach's book with all of those on my mind. 

So - thoughts? Which might you choose for your spring reading this year?

Care to share some suggestions of your own? Your favorite nonfiction must-reads?

Let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Life Takes Hold

life, motherhood, single woman, dating apps, writing, community, connection


Hello, friends.

I have not written in a while.

Quite possibly over a month. Maybe longer?

Life took hold of me and didn't let go.

I'm quite active on social media.

You know how that goes.

It's my norm.

Facebook is where I talk to all the people.

Twitter is where I talk about whatever crosses my feed.

And Instagram is the new home away from home.

And on all but Facebook I've experienced my own radio silence over the last month.

Why?

I honestly couldn't say.

Because life takes hold, I suppose.

I'm a writer.

I always have been.

I always will be.

I don't have to have my words on a page or screen or whatever other format there might be to say as much.

And yet.

I do.

Because I miss it. I miss writing and updating and sharing and so much more.

So much so that I'm here now. Asking you to invite me back into your space.

Or, well, really, truly, I've returned to my own and I'm asking you to accept my invitation to come back by, have a seat, join me for some coffee or tea - and no worries - I have something stronger if you choose. I'll even bake cookies. I may not eat any, I go through stages of avoidance of certain foods as I've learned more over the years, and even recent months that my body doesn't do well with them. Or without limitations of them.

But I ramble and I sound like the kind of person who can't make changes to my eating without announcing it to the world, right? But aren't we all that person? (Indeed.)

Life takes hold, y'all.

And when you're a single woman in her 40s (fine, late 40s) it's quite an interesting adventure when you choose to journey out into the world of dating apps. If you want to see more of what I've seen? Head to my Instagram stories and click the Still Single or Fishing4Dates highlights. And. Uh. Enjoy?

I'm also trying to read a bit more, and looking forward to getting back to discussing books with you, friends. Because there's no greater escape for me than a wonderfully written book.

But - alas - life takes hold.

And Game of Thrones took the place of alllll the books for a short bit.

And I was introduced to that show by a guy. A guy I met on a dating app.

See? Everything comes back around.

Anyway - I look forward to reconnecting with all of you. And seeing what you've been up to. And where you, too, have been "hiding" for a bit.

It's time for me to take hold of life for a change. And use my time as I so choose.

Join me?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

For The Single Parent: Children and Transitions

childhood, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, coparenting, divorce, single mom, single parent, transitions, childhood transitions, grief, loss, change

When parents and child(ren) live together in one home they're a family unit.

Regardless of how the day plays out, the child(ren) knows that they will return home to that family unit - together - whether they go to work, school, travel, whatever they are out and about doing, that child will - at some point - be under the same roof with his / her parents. Two parents. Whatever the combination of parents that may be.

When couples divorce, it's a brand new world for them. And for their children.

Brand. New.

These kids, they're learning that what they trusted. What they expected. What they thought would last their entire lifetime and beyond? Is no longer there.

And boy, it hurts. It stings. It's freaking confusing. Painful. Head-shaking.

And so, when this child, this beautiful child of yours who you love with your entire heart, goes off to spend time with one parent instead of both, as they used to? It is perfectly normal for that child to feel torn. Like, almost literally, because the confusion and pain they feel, to them, a kid, small or big, is severe.

Maybe mom talks about dad to the child.

Maybe dad is rude to mom in front of the child.

Maybe it's the most amicable divorce known to (wo)mankind.

But these kids are experiencing the transition to beat all transitions.

And when we parent our children from two separate households? The transitions multiply.

I won't infer that they double, because that would lead one to believe that all co-parenting arrangements fall equally at 50-50. Which would be bullshit, as we know they do not.

But they multiply.

Think of when your kid had the most meltdowns as a toddler.

Transitions.

Think of how they struggled with the unknowns.

Transitions.

Think of how you soothed their fears whenever something startled them.

Transitions.

Now think of what their life is like. Packing a bag to go back and forth from one home to the other. Reminding themselves that this - THIS - wherever this is - is also their home now.

Backpacks. Schoolbags. Duffles. Suitcases. Stuffed animals. Electronics. Journals. Books.

And clothes. Oh, goodness, the clothes.

All new transitions. These things lived in one home, under one roof, for so very long. And now they, just like your child, travel between two.

If you are the primary parent, you may find that you receive the brunt of the frustration of transitioning. You probably find that you're never quite sure which version of your child will be returning home to you that particular day.

I'd like to say this will go away.

But I can't.

It does, to some extent, as our kids get used to the changes. As they find themselves more comfortable in two houses. As they make the other place "home," too.

But it doesn't disappear.

There will always be those days when they return home and give you so much attitude you don't know what to do with it.

You'll want to tell them to go to their room and stay there until they get through this shit.

You won't. Or you might. But try not to. Not right away.

Although, honestly? They're probably going to WANT to go to their room. And not process this shit, but just to hide for a bit, ease into returning home to you, their pets, their space. And maybe - depending on their age - they'll yell at you. Or maybe they'll cry. Or maybe they'll say "At Daddy's!!!!" or "At Mommy's!!!!" and fill in the sentence with what the other parent lets them do.

And you'll bite your tongue because Daddy or Mommy doesn't see what you do. They see a different version of the child. Or they do see it and want to make everything okay. Because their time is limited. It's changed. It's different.

Transitions.

When your child(ren) returns home to you from their other parent's home, it's so so different. And regardless of what point you're at in your separation, divorce, or co-parenting journey, you'll find that your child is emotional, probably exhausted, and really just needs you. Just - plain and simple - you. To listen, to not. To hug them, to not. To cook their favorite foods, to watch TV with them, to make them finish their homework and clean their room. And before you blink you'll be back on track on your own routine again.

Until the next time.

Because transitions. They're a part of life.

And as our kids (and we) experience them, we want to do all we can to make things easier. And smoother. And so, we try. And we may fail. But let us remember. We're doing the best that we can.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Divorce as a Nonparent

So many women find themselves in a new stage of life, a change that they can't seem to wrap their minds around. An unexpected one. Prompted by themselves. Their partner. Both of them.

One doesn't need to know how things started, or - more likely - ended - to consider exploring the emotions experienced when it comes to divorce.

Divorce is difficult.

It does not matter if you're a mom or a dad, or quite possibly someone who is defined and described as a wife or husband, without that parent moniker attached.

So, if that is you? I am writing this for you.

divorce, separation, break-up, nonparent, life alone, transitions, changes, new life, what next

And no. If you've known me for any period of time, you know I'm a mom. So you know that this label - this "wife" label without the mom attached is not who I am. I haven't been a wife for some time. (This is not a play on words, I am not referring here to my own separation and divorce - but to that day in 2007 when I became mom, as well.)

But for those of you out there who are watching your life as a wife shift and change. Watching it disappear. You've got so much ahead of you and I'm here to let you know that.

It won't be easy.

Shoot, it'll flat out be HARD.

It won't feel right. Normal.

It will feel confusing. Different.

You will find yourself questioning, was that even my life?

Because when you're divorcing someone and you don't share a child together, the process is different, and the post-divorce communication is different.

In fact, for some, and this may or may not be you, there isn't any.

No communication at all.

And goodness, how hard is that.

The person who was your home. The person who you discussed every decision over the last however-many-years with. The person who you fell in love with and shared big dreams with.

Gone. Vanished from your every day. In a way you never ever expected.

How do you move forward?

Is it better or worse? Would you prefer to see that person regularly and have to discuss your child's well-being with them via phone and text and face-to-face?

Do you want pictures laying around so your child feels like their other parent is still there somehow?

Or is it easier to feel this clean break?

To close the door and throw away the things they left behind and never truly have to see them again.

There is no answer.

There is no easier way.

Both transitions, changes, losses - both ways? Kinda suck.

Even if they are what you wanted. Even if you initiated the change in your relationship.

They're both really really hard in so many ways.

So, if you are someone who is no longer able to place your former spouse's face in a crowd, or if you're someone who is trying to figure out what this new life will mean for you - you're not the only one. You're not alone in experiencing loss. You may even feel it more deeply because there are no remnants of before. Or there is no covering up your own pain while loving and supporting your child(ren).

Allow yourself that. Do what you need to take care of you.

And remember. You're not alone. And you're going to be okay.

It will take time, but you will find yourself again. You will figure out who you are. What you need. Where you want to go next.

And I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, virtual or otherwise, however you need me to. Now get out there and get it! Whatever you determine it may be.

divorce, separation, break-up, nonparent, life alone, transitions, changes, new life, what next

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Dunhill Hotel and The Asbury

I had the recent pleasure of heading to Charlotte for a weekend, and was given the opportunity to stay at The Dunhill Hotel and eat dinner at The Asbury, the incredible modern southern restaurant on site.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

The hotel accommodations were available to us at a discounted rate, and our dinner was comped, with us adding just a few essentials. Like dessert. The Asbury's pastry chef is very well-known, and you'd be a fool to pass up any of her creations.

My friend Kate of Life of a Ginger and I can't say thank you enough to the staff for ensuring that our stay and our meal were both phenomenal.

The hotel is pretty. I loved the decor. Offering the perfect mix of boutique and historical design throughout, The Dunhill Hotel is a destination in and of itself, not just the 'place you stay' when you're in town.

The staff is so friendly and accommodating. The room was perfect. Beautifully designed, super comfortable, and they even left us chocolates! (If you look closely you can see them on the bed on the left.)

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

We had planned to stop at the bar after the concert, but honestly? I was still full from dinner. But even the bar is cozy. There's no intensity. No fast pace or super crowded battle for a drink. It's just the perfect place to sit and relax while sipping your beverage of choice. I'll definitely be stopping by the next time I'm in town.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

Now. Let me tell you about dinner.

You guys. The food.

Let me tell you about the food.

The Asbury has the perfect set-up with an upscale but casual atmosphere. The artwork is stunning. It's a small restaurant on-site, right off the lobby of the hotel. And the staff is super friendly and really helpful.

And even if all of that were not the case? I'd still go back.

Because.

Look.

At.

The.

Food.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

Now, I know what you're thinking.

First, did I actually eat ALL of that?

No. No, I did not.

And second, some of that stuff looks like regular food.

Yes. Yes, I know what it looks like.

The unfortunate thing about blogging is that there's no way to express exactly how food TASTES. And goodness, y'all. This. Food. Was. AMAZING.

From the upper left-hand corner of this collage, let me introduce you to much of my meal.

I ordered the Daily Cast Iron Biscuits, which were, as The Asbury describes them, "Chef's whim" style. Which means the chef changes how they serve these daily. Or whenever they want. And thankfully this particular day included delicious preserves and just gloriously fluffy drop biscuits. Guys, I ate two of them. At the table.

And then I brought the other two home for Monday's breakfast. I kid you not.

Next you'll find the appetizer that Kate tried. I was unable to steal any from her as they were pork belly beignets - and I don't eat pork. But they were pork belly and pimiento cheese beignets, and she said they were fantastic.

Continuing clockwise you'll find my main entrée. I ordered the Fried Chicken Sammy and found myself enjoying the most tender and delicious chicken sandwich I've ever had. I'll get back to what I ordered with them. This side needs its own special spotlight.

And lastly, dessert. I wasn't going to do it. I was already quite full. But I had to. And so. I did.

I ordered the Miso Blondie. It came with caramelized white chocolate, miso butterscotch and vanilla ice cream. I'm not usually a blondie fan. I'm all about the brownies, honestly, but the waitress suggested this was her favorite, and so I followed her advice. And I'm glad I did.

Now. One step back for a second, because the Brussels sprouts? Deserve a full post of their own. But I'm not going to go that intense on y'all. Instead I'll show you a close-up and leave it at that.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

These Brussels sprouts were made with black garlic aioli, toasted peanuts and dried cherries. And they were the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. No question. I wanted to see if I could get a tub of them to take home with me, but thought it might not make it home if I did. 

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

If you can't already tell, I really recommend staying at The Dunhill the next time you're planning a trip to Charlotte. And whether you're doing an overnight in town, or just passing through, be sure to head over to The Asbury for a meal you'll never forget. You'll thank me - I'm quite sure of it.

* My stay at The Dunhill Hotel in Charlotte, NC was available at a discounted price. My meal was primarily hosted by the hotel and The Asbury, with some extras purchased on my own tab. None of this has influenced how much I loved the location, the food, or the people, and I remind you of that to ensure that you know that this disclosure is 100% accurate. *