Yes, I know…I have fell short on posting this month. I could bore you with excuses…other writing projects took over, writer’s block, a sudden bout with a deadly disease that I’m now cured from, because it wasn’t a deadly disease at all. A misdiagnosis of laziness mixed with some dramatics and now the entire saga is being made into a movie on Lifetime for Women starring Tori Spelling. 

Life has been crazy, but nothing truly spectacular…the month just got away from me. I will be starting a new job tomorrow that I’m absolutely STOKED about. This summer has already been overbooked with weddings, birthdays, out of town trips, kids, family, etc…and whenever I look at my calendar, I get that brief sense of anxiety and have to do a lot of deep breaths. However, despite the crazy, there are some truly fantastic things taking place in my life and that’s what I’m concentrating on.

Recently, a little piece I wrote was published on Thought Catalog. Here’s the link:

This is How Love Gets Easier and Harder As You Get Older

 

I would love it if you, my dear readers, go and leave a comment or two on the link above. Love to hear your feedback and I can’t wait for you to read more of my projects which will be published soon.

 

love

 

Apparently (according to this study) the most popular time to have sex is Sunday morning at 9am.

(Which totally makes sense to me now, considering as a kid my parents handed us over to our grandmother to attend church so they could ‘sleep in’)

The survey of 2,000 Brits by Superdrug found that the desire to have evening or nighttime sex is stronger and more frequent than morning sex, even during the weekend.

Here are more ‘ideal’ times people are getting their horizontal tango on:

  1. Sunday, 9:00 AM
  2. Saturday, 10:30 PM
  3. Saturday, 11:30 PM
  4. Friday, 10:30 PM
  5. Saturday, 10:30 AM
  6. Saturday, 11:30 AM
  7. Friday, 10:30 PM
  8. Saturday, 11:15 PM
  9. Saturday, 9:30 PM
  10. Sunday, 9:30 PM

“Or if you tend to make love last thing in the evening, when you’re both shattered, try moving the action to the a.m. when you have more energy – I thoroughly recommend a cheeky quickie in your morning shower to get the day off to a superb start.”  ~sex expert Alix Fox

Here are days and times people did not like to have sex:

  1. Monday, 4:45 PM
  2. Monday, 3:00 PM
  3. Tuesday, 5:30 PM
  4. Tuesday, 9:00 PM
  5. Thursday, 8:00 AM
  6. Thursday, 1:30 PM
  7. Monday, 8:00 AM
  8. Wednesday, 7:30 AM
  9. Friday, 5:00 PM
  10. Saturday, 5:00 PM

 

Suggested Reading when things are getting stale in the bedroom:

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This week has had me warped in a fog of fatigue. A gross kind of fatigue that sometimes turns me crippled… like a wad of soggy toilet paper. I can’t seem to break through the fog and when I think I have… it’s a trick. I become overwhelmingly anxious and sensitive. I have had to literally talk myself down from the edge…telling myself over and over again that everything is going to be okay. It’s a mantra I repeat over and over:  “It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay.”

Rinse and Repeat.

The fatigue is weird, because I thought the working out and changing my diet would lead to this energy I hear all the fitness gurus rave about. It’s only been ten days…ten days of working out, sometimes twice a day and not eating everything in sight. And it is pretty daunting to find the scale hasn’t moved much in the direction I want. I’m doing all this work and I’m still wearing pants with an elastic waist…and I’m still exhausted.

And my boobs? Well, those babies aren’t getting any smaller. In fact, they’re bigger than they have ever been and it’s not the least bit sexy.

And no, I’m not pregnant. (Thanks Mom for asking.) I’m just fat and yes, I know the drill. When you set out to lose weight the old-fashioned and healthy way, it doesn’t happen over night. It’s a lifestyle change, not a magical spell.

But still. Shouldn’t I see some progress…or at the very least, feel energized and not wanting to collapse back to bed because showering was an exhausting endeavor?

Instead, I feel defeated and tired. SO TIRED. Yet, I still keep going. If anything, the workouts I do on the treadmill which are pretty intense, helps the anxiety. It’s my time to escape whatever I’m freaking out about and focus on seeing the difference in my endurance.  I know I’m getting stronger in that way and yes, that should be enough…but right now, it’s not. I want to see more and it is that want to see MORE  that keeps me from giving up. I’m not going to throw in the towel and gorge myself on chocolate.

Not today, anyway.

I’ve been trying several new things lately with my workouts. One of the things that I’ve actually enjoyed is getting on the treadmill and setting the incline to 15 and walk at something like 3.5 speed. I do this for 45 minutes whilst watching one of those reality shows that makes me want to buy a small dog to carry around in my purse. Sometimes I skip the shows and play music, the louder the better, and completely zone out into a world that I’ve cultivated in my mind. Some stupid fantasy I’ve concocted that is a brief escape from whatever is troubling me. It helps.

When we are discouraged and finding we are talking ourselves down from the edge of angst and tears, it is these things that bring comfort and relief.  The problems are still there, waiting on the sidelines, but more often than not, having these ‘escapes’ are what clears the mind to find solutions. Whether it is walking your dog, reading a good book, yoga, church…whatever it is…hold on to your thing and no matter how bad the fog is…keep at it.

And I’m telling you and I’m also telling myself again and again:

“Do your thing. Because I promise, it will be okay.”

 

 

Naked man is taking a shower in bathroom, rear view

When I was a young bride of twenty-two, I jokingly told my then husband I would be more inclined to “go down there” if it wasn’t covered so much in hair.

Boy, did those words ever come back and haunt me for our entire marriage.

I came home one afternoon to find him locked in the bathroom with an odd smell engulfing our small two bedroom apartment.

“Is there something burning?” I yelled.

“Nothing is burning. I’ll be out in a minute.”

I took his word for it and began to do things around the apartment.

And then…he appeared.

Standing there completely naked in our kitchen.

“Notice anything?”

I glanced at him and rolled my eyes. “Besides the fact you’re not wearing any clothes?”

“Yeah, besides that.”

I didn’t notice anything from where I was standing and then…it wasn’t what I saw…it was what I didn’t see. 

And I bursted out laughing.

Not giggling, mind you…like straight up “I’ma gonna break a rib” laughing.

The poor guy had used my Nair. He used my Nair EVERYWHERE.

What used to look like a nicely proportioned set of balls…now resembled raw chicken skin.

And there he was standing in the kitchen thinking he was Don Juan with a ponytail and all I could think was, “Well, I can’t make chicken for dinner now.”

That was back in 1998 and the term ‘manscaping’ wasn’t a thing. In fact, I wasn’t doing much female scaping back then either, besides the basic bikini shave. And here’s the thing…the ex husband wasn’t even hairy down there to begin with. I don’t think he even got hairy until he was about thirty. I had been sarcastically joking to get out of ‘doing it’ and anything and everything that involved ‘doing it.’ (Guess how many times I had to ‘do it’ after that sarcastic joke? A lot. Guilt makes you horny. We ended up conceiving our son. Now there’s a story to go into his baby book:

“Dear Son,

You were conceived because your mother made fun of your dad about having hairy balls. He used Nair all over said balls which caused his balls to look like raw chicken skin. Your mother laughed and made fun of your father which probably hurt his pride and manhood. Therefore, your mother had sex with your father because she has a heart and no one should make fun of anyone EVER. Even if their balls look like raw chicken skin.

You’re Welcome for being born. “

Needless to say, the ex-husband didn’t manscape again (for me anyway) our entire marriage.

Until The Boyfriend, I wasn’t with any one man seriously. There was one guy I pretty much saw on a regular basics for about three years, but we weren’t exclusive. And then I met Charles. “Charlie”

Good ol’ Charlie. He was probably the closest thing I had to a boyfriend for THREE whole months in 2013. He was this young thirty year engineer/musician, but he looked like a cross between a muscular construction worker and an Abercrombie & Fitch model. I mention all that because I’ve dated a lot of good-looking men in my life…but he was one of the few that was actually handsome AND smart. So I’m going to brag about the guy. (Although, for the intent of full disclosure, he was a vegan and did Crossfit. I know this because the entire three months we dated…he would never fail to mention it.)

It was through Charlie that I first heard the term, “Manscaping.” We were at his condo one night and he made some remark about manscaping.

“Manscaping? What are you talking about?”

He gave me this look that many people in my life give me. It’s this puzzled/amused/ ‘she can’t be serious’ look.

You’d be surprised how many times in a week I’m given that look.

“I manscape. You know, clean up the guys a bit, do some lawn work around the party…”

It takes me a few seconds (okay minutes) and then I get it.

“YOU SHAVE?!”

“Well, it doesn’t just look like this naturally.”

So what is manscaping?

man·scap·ing
ˈmanˌskāpiNG/

noun

informal humorous
 the removal or trimming of hair on a man’s body for cosmetic effect.
If you’re one who hasn’t had the experience to venture in the adventures of manscaping, you should develop a strategy beforehand. According to a study in Urology, there’s actual injuries sustained by manscaping. I’m not joking. You can injure yourself, fellas. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You are, after all, a man and us here ladies…we believe in you. 

 

According to an Indiana University study, fifty percent of women prefer their men to either be completely or partially hair free. I suggest asking your partner their preference. They’re the ones that have to journey down to La La Land. So ask them if they prefer a stroll through the woods with a grassy knoll with sticks that can poke out your eye or if they prefer the feel of a soft pleasant surface to frolic.

I’m all about the manscaping now. I like that area on a man to be a clean surface. I find it insulting when a man has stopped ‘taking care of business’ down there once he lands a partner. That’s bullshit, fellas. You can’t just STOP because you’ve been married ten or whatever many years. You presented her with the feel of a pleasant surface to frolic…YOU SHALL GIVE HER THE FEEL OF A SOFT PLEASANT SURFACE TO FROLIC  FOREVER. 


*Special thanks goes out to Cindy and her co-worker for the idea for this post.
And also to raw chicken skins everywhere.


Suggested Reading:

Woman Anger
 
 
You’ve set out to be all peace and love and some other kind of bullshit you read about. You’re getting up earlier and doing a little yoga to stretch your sore and tense muscles. You have cut out processed foods and junk. You’re mediating and reading a lot about spirituality and metaphysical subjects. You take time to be grateful for what you have and no longer dwell on what you don’t have.
 
You meditate A LOT.
 
You’re getting it. You’re seeing slight changes in your body…not a lot, but enough to keep you motivated. You are digging the energy that you now have. Your new workout routine with a friend and your morning rituals you do alone are giving you something to look forward to that belongs to YOU.
 
You’re transforming!
 
YOU ARE AWESOME.
 
And then there you are…thinking how you’re going to be the best mother ever with all these different thoughts and behaviors. The teenagers will thrive on your ability to be all about peace, love and some other bullshit you read about.
 
You’re the BEST MOTHER EVER.
 
 
 
Until they wake up and piss you off. And then you wonder if you begin drinking alcohol so early in the morning is the key to enlightenment or a sign of alcoholism.
 
Teenagers: Preventing you from being the mother you imagined yourself being since FOREVER.

 

 

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I always wondered what happened in life for a woman to let herself go. As someone who has been pretty vain her entire life, even to the point as a teenager, I would apply makeup and fix my hair JUST TO GO TO THE MAILBOX, so the idea that I would ever let myself go seemed impossible.

In my twenties, I chopped my hair off. As in I BARELY HAD HAIR. I’m talking the Halle Berry haircut of the 2000’s.  And whilst I didn’t wear makeup around the house, our weekly trips to the grocery store did include the basics: mascara and lipstick.

I went through many phases in my thirties. I was doing some modeling and pageants, so I did the makeup and hair perfecto thing. And then…I started to wear less makeup and worked out more. By the age of 36, I probably was in the best shape of my life.

Then 2016 happened. A few days ago, I woke up, got out of bed and took a long hard look at myself in the mirror.

The person I used to know is all but gone.

I have gained twenty pounds, my hair has seen better days and I haven’t worn my contacts in months. Makeup? Hmm, sometimes, but rarely. And unlike in my twenties, I do need a little more than just mascara and lipstick.

It dawned on me that I have let myself go.

This is entirely my fault. Granted, I had some pretty tough blows hit me in the past few years. Illnesses, deaths, divorce…etc. LIFE is like that. You got your highs and you’re gonna have your lows.

Life just decided to give me all the lows all at once.

And slowly, without warning, I lost a huge part of me. I lost my confidence. I lost the fun part of me that used to laugh a lot more and didn’t allow things to get to her so much. I was a pretty cool chick and somehow…I lost my way.

I was talking to a friend last week who is going through the same funk as I am. Our lives are eerily similar, we have the same relationship issues, same weight issues and the same problems with our hair. Except, she’s actually doing something about it. Instead of watching episode after episode of Rich Women Doing Stuff, she is doing yoga and working out. She no longer devalues or questions herself like I seem to do DAILY.

“You should really come do yoga with me.”
::Me stretching as far as I can to reach the Apple TV remote without actually getting up from the couch.::
“I’m actually doing yoga right now, Karen. You don’t live my life.” 

It is so easy to watch TV and read books without engaging in any physical activity. It’s been pretty easy to check out of life, because dealing with the lows of life seemed unbearable. The fun chick I used to be has turned into a cranky crab wearing a purple bathrobe and of course, her boyfriend’s socks. My next step is yelling at kids to get off my lawn not caring if said kids are actually mine.

My friend has encouraged me to write about this journey. You see, I believe one can change the downward spiral of ‘letting yourself go’ at any time. The first step is choosing to change. I can choose to look good, feel good and STILL keep the attitude and bathrobe.
“How do you see yourself in June of this year?” my friend asks, “Don’t think, just say the first word that comes to your mine.”

Without missing a beat, I blurt: “Glamorous.”

So here’s to it my beautiful readers…Day 1 of Operation Glamour. 

(Stay Tuned as I detail my plans to this high level and secure Operation.

Be prepared to either be bedazzled or bored. Choice is yours.) 

Want to join Operation Glamour? Click Here.

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“When I finally became willing to change my life, I decided I didn’t want to just quit drinking…I also wanted to become really awesome.”

AS A  TEENAGER, Blaze Bell describes herself as a “goody-goody.” A teenager who didn’t dabble in drugs or alcohol, but also a teenager who didn’t have an arsenal of healthy coping skills to get her through a darkness. A darkness that she was  thrown into by abuse. In the midst of this darkness, she was prescribed medications by well-intentioned doctors and psychiatrists. “I’m assuming they thought I would be very messed up, in every way, from the abuse I endured.”

“In one year of being attacked, my step-dad left my mom and then my biological father died. I was in extreme pain. I never felt suicidal, but I definitely wanted a short break from reality. I turned twenty-one and then started drinking…a lot. I couldn’t just drink and stop, so I found myself in lots of risky behaviors. I was a high functioning addict for many years, but as time went on, I was losing friends and all of my pride. I was stuck in the story that my addiction was someone else’s fault and I was a victim…”

“When we are in a state of  being a victim, there is no room for empowerment and nothing will change.”

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Today, Blaze Bell is a far cry from the teenager and young adult who relied on drugs and alcohol to escape from the pain that she couldn’t relieve on her own. She is a Mother, a Wife, a Professional Singer, Holistic Health Coach, Speaker on Overcoming, Course Creator,  and Performance Coach.

She is simply…an Amazement.

How does your music/art/creativity help with your sobriety?

Performing on stage was helpful in my sobriety. I used that time [on stage] to release a lot of emotion. It took quite some time to get comfortable singing in bars. A lot of artists and creatives actually have a big drop in their creativity when they first get sober/clean. Many of us were in the habit of doing creative things in an altered state. Before I could really feel confident performing, I had to dive deep into healing work and find my way back to myself. I had to remember who I came here to be.

How do you deal with temptations?

“Just like anything, your success is dictated by the actions you take.”

I’ve been sober for over five years and I rarely feel a strong craving or temptation. When I finally became willing to change my life, I decided that I didn’t want to just quit drinking, I also wanted to become really awesome. I joined a Women Only Twelve Step Program and worked the shit out of it. I got honest with myself and with a mentor I trusted. I became the Queen of Workbooks! I observed the people in recovery and the happier ones were always the ones who had put in more work and done more of what was suggested. The people that did the bare minimum for themselves were the ones who were complaining about the exact same shit day after day. Just like anything, your success is dictated by the actions you take. After soaking up all that the Twelve Step Programs had to offer, I decided to also branch out into other healing modalities. I saw a Life Coach a few times and loved it! I enrolled in nutrition school and became a certified health coach. I began to shift my mindset. I used to live in a reality based on fear, being a victim and a life based on lack. I now see the world as loving and abundant. I have trouble even saying the word, “victim” because I am so far out of alignment with that energy today. I am an empowered woman who takes responsibility for the highs and lows of my life today.  It’s all creation and perspective.

Are you okay to be around others who drink?

I am usually fine being around “normies” AKA  people who can drink socially and party and know when to stop and hand over the car keys. I have a brain that can not make sense of moderation. I see my addictive “more must be better” brain in many areas of my life. I’ve taken the really dangerous addictions out of the picture but the same thought processes arise with certain types of sugars, certain types of hot dudes, and my lover, Caffeine. But, I also see a big difference in people that don’t think like me. I’m married to a man who is a social butterfly. He  loves to tie one on and have a good time. He behaves nothing like I do when drinking and I see no reason to try and make him change on my account. We made compromises in the beginning of my recovery that we wouldn’t have alcohol in the house but even that doesn’t bother me today. I know this is very different for each person and I have a lot of friends in recovery that would never choose to be in a relationship with someone who drinks and I totally get that too. We needed to heal before we start testing our limits.

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“Anxiety comes from worrying about the past or the future. Things stay pretty groovy when we know how to be in the present moment!”

What (if any) are your triggers? 

Anniversaries of deaths in the family. Fear around past traumas are triggers. But, I’ve healed so dramatically in the last two years. I had PTSD for many years and I’ve used Tapping aka Emotional Freedom Technique as a great cure for PTSD and anxiety! I teach that to my clients too and it’s really incredible. Triggers often start as weird daydreams that go dark side but today I know that I don’t need to believe everything that pops into my head. I have a ton of mindfulness tools to snap me back into the present moment. Anxiety comes from worrying about the past or the future. Things stay pretty groovy when we know how to be in the present moment!

How do you find the right balance between work and relaxation in your daily life to remain sober?

Balance? What’s that? I think that everyone, addict or not, has the challenge of figuring out how to balance work, family, and play. That’s an ongoing process. I’m an entrepreneur that works (mostly from home) as a Holistic Health Coach, Speaker on Overcoming, Course Creator, Singer, and Performance Coach. I get out of the house for a few singing gigs per week and a day or two of one-one-one coaching with my amazing clients but my sacred daytimes are spent at home with my two kids. Finding the balance of being the best mom ever and the best coach ever and the best wife ever and the best singer ever, is exhausting and unattainable. I invest in myself a lot by taking courses, reading books, and attending lectures on topics that will help me thrive efficiently. I made a pact with myself that I would spend as much on healing myself as I did on making myself sick. Ten years as an alcoholic, addict, overeater, and party animal really adds up financially. It feels great to re-invest in my body and soul in a completely different way!

What advice can you give someone struggling with addictions? Any advice for those who have loved ones who are having problems with addictions?

If you’re struggling with addiction (which can be to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, eating, gossiping, negativity, etc) there is so much help available. Twelve-step programs are amazingly supportive and really helped me realize I wasn’t alone. If you think they’re too religious (some pray, some don’t) then you can find groups specifically for atheists, agnostics, and free thinkers. There’s online support these days too! Therapy is good for some people to talk out their old stories. Life coaching and health coaching are great for getting clarity around your present goals and having some amazing support and accountability. There are blogs, podcasts, youtube pages, etc with so much great info. A few of my favorites are Gabrielle Bernstein, Ester Nicholson, and Tommy Rosen with Recovery 2.0. And you can always contact me! I’m a wellness coach who completely understands the unique challenges and advantages of the addictive brain so I love working with people in recovery who are willing and ready to shift into love.
If you’re the worried loved one of an addict, I recommend ALANON meetings. They’re specifically for family, friends, and spouses of alcoholics and they have their own confidential support system and tools. If it was as simple as loving someone to make them quit using, then there would be no addicts. It’s not that simple and only they have the power to become willing to step out of the comfort zone and see the magic that’s waiting for them on the other side. Have clear boundaries and your own self care practice.
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“I made a pact with myself that I would spend as much on healing myself as I did on making myself sick.”

For more information on Blaze Bell, visit her website at BlazeBell.com