Get ready to get Glam, Long Island!

A few months ago I told you about the fabulous Glam Me Girl’s Nites Out brought to you by mommyslinks. There have already been three amazing events, but if for whatever crazy reason you didn’t carve out some me-time and attend, you have another chance next week (I very politely demand that you do this for yourself!) That’s right, for my fellow Long Island mamas, Glam Me is coming to town on Saturday, July 7th from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Long Island Children’s Museum.

Now, if you’re still on the fence about a little glammifying fun, oh honey, do you know what you’re thinking of missing? Manicures, massages, hair styling, henna designs, and makeup applications are ALL included with the purchase of a ticket. And oh, what’s that? Swag bags full of goodies AND door prizes AND raffles all night long? ALL INCLUDED? I’m sorry, what was your excuse for not going?

I know, the price. You wonder if it’s worth $35.00, but guess what? Not only is a night of pampering, shopping, and mingling over yummy food and drinks worth that already low price, but if you get your tickets ASAP, you can take advantage of a SPECIAL DISCOUNT taking an additional $5.00 off the total price. That means that you get to eat, drink, and be merry while you prettify- for just $30.00! Simply visit http://bit.ly/GlamMeLongIsland and enter the code 5Off (be sure to type it exactly like this for the code to work.) That’s it! Remember to mention my name or this blog when you buy your tickets. ūüėČ

Look, we’re all moms, busy, generous with our time and energy, doing running doing and running again for others, but rarely, if ever, ourselves. Glam Me gives you a chance to celebrate YOU, for just a few glamazing hours. Fun, friendly mamas are going to be there, sipping and munching and giggling and relaxing. Imagine yourself as one of them, getting a complementary chair massage and a hand scrub, browsing beauty product and food displays, winning a prize for yourself or your children…

Hmmm, sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, stop imagining and get planning, woman! Find a babysitter. Enter the date and time into your appointment calender. And forget every excuse you can think up for why you can’t be there. You DESERVE a night off. You deserve to meet some old friends and new and let your outsides reflect the glamazon mamalicious wonderwoman you know you are inside! Come on Long Island, get ready, get set, get Glam!

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored. No request to share any particular point of view was made, however I will be given a small compensation every time a ticket-buying glammifyer is referred by me or this post. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own, including believing every hot mama should get AT LEAST one night off to spend totally self-indulging!

Forward motion

Three years ago in June I left San Juan, Puerto Rico 5-months pregnant, terrified that every single tug and pain was a signal that something was wrong with the pregnancy and I just didn’t know it yet. I cried and said goodbye to the Isla del Encanto (island of enchantment- for me, it truly was.) I took pictures of every corner of the studio apartment that had been my home for almost a year. I cried and wondered why it felt like I’d never be back there, even though out loud I kept saying I’d return.

Three years ago in June, I moved to a two-bedroom in Massachusetts, where I spent most of every day alone, unpacking box after box and setting up everything and designing a nursery. I went to auctions and estate sales and children’s clothing stores and OB-GYN appointments. I walked on the treadmill and in the mall and I tried to stifle the voice inside that wanted to spiral into panic and doomsday predictions. I was impatient to meet my child, writing a lullaby, practicing raising and lowering the drop-side crib railing, feeling the mambo of baby movement that seemed to begin reassuringly around 11 p.m. every night. And, as always, I put on a smile and quieted my misgivings and told myself everything would be okay.

I was a hopeful, careful, hormone-full mom to be, worried about everything, wondering what would happen. I imagined family vacations and birthdays and laughter and hugs. I imagined the we of us three and a future made of dreams, three years ago, three years ago in June.

I never imagined raising my child alone. I never imagined nightly feedings and diaper changes and potty training and daily meals and swimming classes and museum visits and Gymboree and parks, beaches, playdates, parties, movies, vacations, and car rides as a we made of two.

So of course I never imagined getting on a NYC subway with a toddler, armed with only a diaper bag, screenshots of two alternatives for directions just in case, and a belly full of coffee, on our way to the Central Park Zoo.

But ten days ago in June, I did just that. I stepped out of my comfort zone and onto a train. I ignored the panicky urge to anti-bacterialize my child’s whole body or to keep her from touching anything. I squashed thoughts of kidnappers and crooks, or of getting lost and ending up in some sketchy part of the city. I took a deep breath and exhaled the feeling that the New York City that I loved was actually a giant chasm my child and I might fall into if I wasn’t careful!

I inhaled and exhaled and laughed with my little girl as we hurdled under the streets and she saw a brand new world. I forgot about my fears. I didn’t even miss the stroller I had decided to leave at home for the first time ever.

Because it was a day of firsts.

The first time my daughter rode the subway and the first time she saw a real polar bear. The first time I wondered if polar bears got angry if toddlers tried to “pound, pound, clap” them awake.

The first time my child was offered a New York City hot dog, and the first time I wondered if this child could possibly not be mine as she turned up her nose and gobbled up just the bun instead of the most likely not good for you, tastes so good deliciousness.

The first time we walked, walked, walked all day and she only asked me to carry her for a little while alongside Central Park. The first time I anticipated my own exhaustion but was happily surprised to be rather comfortable, my arms and back and legs ready for the job.

The first time I felt truly free and started planning all kinds of trips for this sun-loving, travel-happy, made-in Puerto Rico child of mine. The first time I could see those dreams coming true.

And then, three days ago in June, I did something I never, ever would have thought of three years ago in June.

Three days ago I stepped into a courtroom and finally, finally got to tell a judge that I want a divorce, more than a year after I filed for it. After all the ways my ex tried to delay the process, never replying to the courts and refusing to sign the divorce papers, sweet talking me desperately and out of the blue whenever he thought it might work, threatening he wouldn’t let me divorce him, after all that I finally got to put an end to that marriage.

I was nervous, I was certain. I was hopeful it would be over quick so I could get back to my life that had been stopping and starting and circling back and stuck in place like train ride in a nightmare.

Three years ago in June I was a mostly scared, sad little girl turning into a mom. Today I am unstuck, living my dreams, trying on adventures and finding my fit. I’m a single mom, stepping out of my comfort zone into a world of enchantment I can’t wait to explore with my little girl by my side. On this day in June, I’m moving forward, and it’s a thrilling ride! ūüėÄ

Pic of the day project moves to Instagram

If you’re a fan of my pic of the day project posts, you’re probably wondering where they’ve gone. Not to fret photo fans, pic of the day has not lived out it’s purpose. I’m just going to post the day’s pic to Instagram from now on. A bit cleaner and more fun!

You can see my latest pic on the sidebar of this blog, or for the whole delicious experience, follow me on instagram. The old posts are all still available for your viewing pleasure in the archives and on the pic of day page.

Look at me, integrating social media and moving up in the tech world! Self-proclaimed techno-phobe turned organized online maven in the making. ūüėÄ

A summer fling could be the real thing

Hello, summer! The days get longer and lazier, and something about that bright, hot sun just makes you giddy.

You twirl out the door. The extra bounce in your step lands you right in the arms of the ever elusive PERFECT man.

Your eyes meet, there are fireworks worthy of the Fourth of July, and the excitement has you spinning faster than giant, half-priced tropical drinks.

Eight weeks of rooftop restaurants, beaches, and barbecues later, and suddenly the heat dies down.

As the relationship fizzles, you look for ways to get his attention again. Or you decide to move on, but how can you get a guy to notice you? Not just any guy, but the right guy this time?

******

Perhaps you’re already in a committed relationship, fighting what feels like the exact same fight all the time. Your exhausted, weary heart doesn’t even notice the sunshine and rainbows and summer magic. And you, too, are asking, “How can I get his attention? Can we be happy again?”

Or maybe you’re like me. You’ve moved on from a failed relationship to living awesomely single, loving¬†yourself. ūüėÄ

But you still don’t know what you really want from another person, except that if¬†there’s a next time, it can’t be like the last time. (If I’m ever with another man, I certainly don’t want it to be anything like my ex-marriage!)

Whether you’re single, dating, or married, relationship coach Rori Raye has some life-changing tips for you. Starting with changing the things about you that make every relationship turn cold and gray.

You’re thinking, why do¬†I¬†have to do all the work?

It feels unnatural and difficult to take some blame and make dramatic changes. But like they say, doing the same thing again and again expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Nothing we do works, yet we keep doing it. The relationship dissolves around us as we slowly go crazy.

There IS a solution: stop, think, change, resume love-life.

Visualization exercises, steps to avoiding conflict, and even specific dos and don’ts in your conversations, are all spelled out in Rori Raye’s comprehensive ebook Have The Relationship You Want. You’ll find all the tools you need to change the way you approach a relationship, including how to get a man’s attention and keep it.

Starting from a point of looking inward, you’ll see what kind of a person you are in a relationship¬†when you follow the steps outlined in this book.¬†You can only control yourself, no one else, so you’ll decide what really matters to you, letting everything else go.

To learn more tricks to having the relationship you want, you can also¬†subscribe to Rori’s free e-newsletter.¬†You’ll discover a whole new way to relate to a man – from the moment you meet him, all the way through commitment and marriage.

You can finally have the secure, loving, summer fling turned¬†endless¬†real thing you’ve always wanted!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Rori Raye. No request to share any particular point of view was made. All descriptions of flighty summer flings and lasting romances are a creation of my own rom-com-ridden, Holly-Bollywood addled brain.

Of fairy tales and furniture

a mostly true story…

                        for Zahara whose name means beautiful flower and intelligence, and

                        whose middle name is Noor, the purest light

There once was a Pakistani girl who very vocally proclaimed herself to be “liberal” and yet, in her heart of hearts, she’d much rather have been a soft-spoken princess of olden times, wrapped in layers of silk and the protection of her hero.

Obviously, modern-day New York was nothing like the kingdoms of fairy tales. Still, she held out hope for her very own Bollywood-esque love story, complete with an honest, sturdy man meant only for her. He would fight for the love of his life while preserving her honor, respecting both of their families and above all believing in the strength of true love. He would defend her against anything that dared to even attempt to harm her. And he would prove that good always won, that the pure of heart were rewarded and lived happily ever after. They would be as sure of each other as they were of the sun in the sky, completing each other, challenging each other. He would, of course, have a stellar sense of humor and love to dance and always fill the gas tank and build everything from cabinets to makeshift computer tables to cribs and carseats one day!

Hollywood had left its mark on the girl, but Bollywood! Oh, Bollywood was glamorous and amorous. Any struggle, any problem could be solved in a triumphant and glorious resolution that left tears in her eyes and a swelling in her heart. THIS was what her life was meant to be:¬†Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.¬†Her real-life version wouldn’t be as dirty or bloody or violent, but just as romantic and passionate, full of noble, dignified characters who ultimately realize that real love and strong morality are the same, are complementary, are easily reconciled. And, of course, she would be dressed in just such a gorgeous, traditional bridal lengha, all flowing and golden and regal, as her hero clasped her hand and pulled her beside him and they disappeared into the sunset.

Well, the years went by and this early impression of love remained a steady presence in her life. Love was intense and emotional. Love was full of battles and powerful struggles that eventually led to the happily ever after she sought. So she endured the battles and the tug of war and her war-borne scars deepened, but she kept firm. After all, the women who really deserved happiness only achieved it after remaining steadfast in the face of all danger and sadness. They survived, and so they were rewarded. They stuck by their man, no matter what. They were honest, they were true, they were ferociously committed to making it work. That was love, that was life.

Then one fateful day, all that she had been working to preserve fell apart and the facade of her life fell away. Who was she if she wasn’t a wife? What was she if she no longer struggled to become the golden girl who¬†earned¬†and¬†got¬†and¬†kept¬†the guy?

The years of toiling for the love she thought she’d eventually deserve had left her haggard, gasping for understanding and relief and the tenderness she kept imagining would someday be hers. The loyalty she thought would get her to a place of honor in her own life had in actuality left her laying on the ground, waiting, just waiting, for the hero to appear and save her from her self-imposed misery. It was the point in the story when the hero proves his worth by lifting the saintly suffering princess to her feet. It was the part when he carries her into their happy ending. Instead, she was just waiting. But she wasn’t alone.

The pool of love and kindness and strength that she had kept flowing single-handedly all those years had miraculously produced a beautiful flower, a growing, thriving reminder of all of the hopes the girl had nurtured for so long. The flower was vivid and colorful, alive and touched by magic. A light shone from within it, and even when all of the sunshine had leaked away to a dull gray-black darkness, this flower shone brightly and endured and grew strong.

The girl found herself drawn to it, warmed by its internal sun that needed no outside light to survive. She watered it, sometimes with tears, and laughed when the petals danced without wind. She was entranced by it, by this flower that grew by her side and the magic that grew in their midst.

Little by little, gently, slowly, the girl replaced broken shards of the life she had once lived, with the soft, self-replenishing petals of the magical flower. Somehow, the flower was always whole, no matter how many petals the girl needed to fill the holes her former life had left. The flower entwined itself around the girl’s fingers, giving her the power to create her own light, enveloping them in a glowing, constant, visible circle of protection, and filling every crack with its magic.

******

Then came a day when the flower required more and more from the girl. And she found herself surprisingly capable of meeting those needs, singing and dancing, building and transforming their world so the flower had all it wanted.

The girl was more woman than girl now, but that young hopeless romantic was still inside her somewhere. She looked around at the life her and the flower had together, and she was shocked at how bright that life was. The circle of light they had created together was immense now, the ends barely even visible. The flower was more a strong plant now yet its magic was still unlimited.

The woman asked herself what else she could do for the flower, what it needed from her now, and then it came to her. She needed to find someplace new to accommodate the size of their joyful cocoon, which was now too big to remain in the same place where they had first found each other. The woman vowed she would find such a place, but in the meantime, she could at least build the flower a pretty promise of that new home.

When the woman was done, she stepped back and surveyed her work. Not bad for a princess-wannabe waiting for a hero to construct everything it took to make a life. She had done it all herself, with the magic powers the flower had infused into her, and now it looked perfect. Well, perfect except for the two screws somehow left over… the woman worried for just a moment that the whole thing would come crashing down, but after checking and inspecting every inch, she realized she had made it stable and secure and safe for her little glowing flower.

She saw where the screws were meant to go and realized she had somehow fused the pieces together so tightly that they weren’t necessary anymore. Sometimes, all the pieces didn’t fit and sometimes what was meant to be didn’t have to be. And she had used her own judgment and her own hands and made something sturdier than any man and safer than any layers of fabric and forced compliance.

In fact, she thought as she sat back and watched her little flower shine even brighter, in fact, a hero had come and fought for her and saved her and lifted her into the clouds of happily ever after. A hero, who very vocally proclaimed herself to be liberal, and who was the queen of her realm, wrapped in layers of protection and magic she herself had helped sew. A hero, who was meant to hold the hand of a tiny flower princess and stand tall and regal and golden and whole, as they walked off into the sunset together.

THE BEGINNING…



Single people don’t hate couples

So I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and saw this:

Now, I was an English Literature and Creative Writing major and a high school English teacher once upon a time, so critical reading is basically second nature to me. I may HATE an author’s opinion, but I try to understand it anyway.

I clicked the link with an open mind and was immediately hit by this obviously incendiary title:

Umm, okay. So she wants readers, and comments, and you know, people like me to blog about her so she gets more visitors on her page. The title is meant to catch your eye and make you do that thing Eminem raps about in one of his songs: “Ah, wait, no way, you’re kidding, he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he?”

I get it. Say something outrageous and just wait for the interwebs to explode with conflict centered around your work. Brilliant.

Except, she writes this inane little piece about how she’s soooo happy with her boyfriend J and she’s soooo annoyed with her single friends and their “single behavior” and they must be sick of her rainbows and roses and so in ruvvv happiness.

First off, if you have to explain over and over again just how insanely Snow White singing to the forest animals full of joy and laughter you are, maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re trying to convince yourself that everything is that perfect. Or maybe it really is, but you’re that girl who can’t just be happy with her man but has to go around making sure EVERY SINGLE PERSON knows it, because that’s what makes it real for you, showing off instead of sharing your joy. Yes, there IS a difference.

Did you ever think that maybe your single friends don’t want to hear you “ooze” happiness as you say, not because they’re jealous, or in a different place in their lives, or don’t get it like you sort of smugly think, but because you just ooze a little too much? I mean, even the verb you chose is sort of gross and overdone in the images it brings up. Open sores ooze. People in love gush. Gushing is cute, oozing is something best left for pus and other such unstoppable, disgusting things.

But hey, you want to talk about the love of your life CONSTANTLY and you want to ooze out the details just so nobody ever forgets that you. are. in. love? Okay, go ahead. Just don’t get concern and advice mixed up with scorn. You write that you’re annoyed some of your friends worry you’re moving too fast. Honey, that’s called friendship! Friends are the ones who tell you that new haircut makes your ears stick out or you have snot hanging out of your nose or hey, I’m so happy you’re happy but please be smart. Be careful. Maybe go a little slower. It’s not that they don’t get it. It’s that they care so much about you, with your gushing and your oozing and your tra-la-la mentality that they want to make sure you don’t get blindsided and you don’t get hurt. Because frankly, you sound like you could easily be hurt, and that’s not a judgement against your coupledom, but an opinion based on how much you feel you need to “ooze” about it instead of simply being comfortable and secure in loveland.

And you are right about one thing. Sometimes friends grow apart. Sometimes even the best relationships end, but guess what? Your friends are saying that that’s true of friends, boyfriends, and even marriages! If you’re really as mature as you feel you are, you can accept that fact and realize that some people are only trying to get you to acknowledge it by advising you step on the brakes a little. You don’t have to do what they say. They might be wrong and this really is THE guy for you. If they’re real friends they’ll look out for you AND be ecstatic for your happy ending.

You can be friends with both singles and couples, with the happily ever after in love and with the happily solo, passionate about something else. And those women who are genuinely annoyed with your relationship or your career or any other personal success? Frenemies darling. The very definition of the term.

Okay, so maybe you have some real friends and some jealous, competitive frenemies, I thought. And then I got to this little snippet of pure judginess:

Hi. I am a 30 year old single mom. I am a Disney/Hollywood/Bollywood love-loving romantic, full of idealistic notions and career goals. I spent my 20s on a “serious love” that turned out to be a hell of a lot more serious for me than it was for him. We singles do not all hook up or go out every night or act like we’re teenagers until we find a mate to settle down with and settle our unstable lives. People like to do millions of things that have nothing to do with living a party scene, whether they’re in a relationship or not, and I’m sure your friends have much more to tell you than just that. But some people do like all that party all night, every night stuff and hello, plenty of them are social both before and after coupling up. Why are you so judgy of those who do? Maybe you don’t want to listen to them?

I haven’t given up on love and I don’t get bitter when my friends find it. I have three weddings in my family this summer, two weddings of friends, AND my best friend’s engagement. She’s told me all about finding the man that makes her heart skip a beat and had me grinning because he makes her so gleeful. All three of my closest friends in a mom’s group are now happily pregnant with their second children, glowing that pregnancy glow that’s a mix of sweat and pure joy.

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I’m overjoyed for all of them and all of the great things happening in the lives of the people I love! I wish all of these relationships more and more love and God’s blessings to remain intact and get stronger with time. I wish all of the moms health and sanity and easy deliveries and the magical chance to sleep once in a while! Just because my marriage ended doesn’t mean my friendships need to dissolve. Just because I have one amazing kid and am nowhere near redoing the newborn thing, doesn’t mean I can’t love all the rounded bellies and eventual little balls of huggable goodness. I would be a very selfish person if I made it all about me.

And that’s where I think your problem truly lies. You come off as this selfish, self-involved woman who doesn’t seem to believe her friends have anything else going on in their lives other than “random, crazy hookup stories” OR you have been so very very unlucky as to never have made a real friend, ever. I feel sad for you either way. I make amazing memories with friends who are single and friends who are in relationships, with people who have kids and those who never want to parent. We get coffee or a meal, go to movies and the mall. We go out in groups where I may be the only single one or the only divorced one or we’re all single and NO ONE CARES. We have fun. I hang out at the park for a playdate or attend a girl’s night out or a mom’s night out and it’s all the same, because I enjoy the lives and stories and experiences of all of these amazing people I choose to surround myself with. That makes me ooze happiness.

Here’s the thing. You say you’re a grownup ready for grownup things like serious relationships and all, but you’re making a huge, childish mistake if you allow yourself to ostracize and let go of a friend just because you two aren’t doing the exact same things at the same time. It’s time to really grow up and be able to love your life and your friends’ lives in a mature, caring, sensible manner. You’ll experience much much more that way.

Variety really is the spice of life, honey. I should know, I’m all about spice.