Ringing In The New Year

Let me tell you a little something about my kids – they love hotels. LOVE. They love to move in like they might stay forever. They love to open the curtains and take in a view. They love to eat as many meals as possible in the room no matter how many nice restaurants are nearby. They love to order breakfast off the door hang tag and have it magically appear the next morning. They love to use the key card to open the door.

So I was excited to be able to surprise them this New Year’s Eve with a stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino. We enjoyed a suite on the 27th floor of the Fox Tower and rang in 2017 cozied up in a delicious king sized bed. The room was spacious and comfortable with a stunning view of the woods that surround Foxwoods.

The lobby at the Fox Tower. My girls were oohing and ahhing at all the grand details. They had a gorgeous Christmas tree up that added to their awe. Photo courtesy of Foxwoods.
We stayed way up high on the 27th floor where the pool looked itty bitty down below. My girls were bummed it was closed but I told them we could always go back to check it out.
A suite at the Fox Tower. It’s pretty much identical to the suite we stayed in except instead of a chaise lounge, we had a chair and ottoman. It was roomy enough for us to do some yoga before bed. Plus the bed was giant enough for my daughters to practice headstands (don’t try that at home).
Brace yourselves. This was our view. It looked eerily beautiful in the evening when we checked in and it was dark. It was lush and heavenly in the morning sun. Photo props to me.

We dozed off at 10:30pm but were still able to enjoy a lot of what Foxwoods has to offer. A casino might not be the first place you think to go as a family.; however, when you spend a good part of your childhood in Atlantic City as I did, it seems only natural. Mind you, I’m not a gambler. I just enjoy that a casino hotel like Foxwoods always has a lot to offer under one roof. And in the middle of winter, I can get down with that.

After we checked in and dropped off our bags in the room, we went straight to the Tanger Outlets. I love the selection of stores – Gap, Old Navy, Vineyard Vines, Kate Spade, Fossil, Gymboree, White House Black Market, Sketchers, J. Crew and plenty more. As someone who is always a fan of a bargain, I found the sales really worthwhile. I definitely want to come back when it’s time to update their clothes for spring and back to school.

We forgot our gloves and our warmest winter coats (we used the free valet service and figured bundling up wasn’t a priority) so we weren’t able to enjoy the Foxwoods Rink and Winter Patio. It’s beautifully lit up and looked incredibly peaceful. My girls were most bummed to miss out on ice skating. It’s open until March so I promised we’d come back to shop for spring/summer clothes and make a day of it. Clothes shopping, lunch, ice skating, and dessert.

foxwoods ice skating
The Foxwoods Rink and Winter Patio. It’s open through the first week of March so I’m hoping it’ll be a lot warmer by then and we can enjoy an evening of ice skating and get lots of fun family pictures. Photograph courtesy of Foxwoods.

I had hoped we’d go out to dinner but my hotel loving daughters insisted on getting our food to go and eating in our room. There are plenty of sit down restaurants but also plenty of to go options as well. We stopped in at The Food Market which is laid out like a small food court and got dinner to bring up to our room. So while we didn’t get to enjoy the restaurants, we agreed on our next visit I’d get to pick where we eat.

It was just one night but felt like a perfect little get away. It was less than an hour away and we were able to get back to Rhode Island for an afternoon with friends. At the end of 2016, I promised myself I’d travel more in 2017 so this overnight stay felt like the perfect way to usher in more nights away and more hotel stays in the days ahead.

I received a complimentary night’s stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino. All opinions are my own. 

Dear 2017

2017Dear 2017,

I’m going to live the fuck out of you. Pardon my French but it’s the truth.

Last year was fine. It had gifts to give of course but it was f  i  n  e. And I don’t want any part of my life to be f  i  n  e. Not my food, not my job, not the people in it, not my weekends, not my hair – None. Of. It. I want it all to be big and full and luscious. 

So I greet you not with a word for the year ahead or a deep namaste bow but with an all up in your grill declaration of squeezing out as much life as possible out of the next 360 days.

Got it?

With my eyes set on adventure and travel,
Carla

Single Mom Writing: Those Early Days

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Today’s Writing Prompt
What were those first days like after going from married to single? I’m talking the moments right after “It’s over…I can’t do this anymore…I want a divorce.” How did you cope? Who were the people who held you together? Did you surprise yourself? Let it all hang out. 


In the years leading up to the end of my marriage, I grew with each passing day more and more despondent. How was it so many areas of my life could feel so full and rewarding, yet my marriage caused me to cry myself to sleep? Imagine my surprise when my then husband left me and many nights found me sobbing on the couch.

It baffled me how I could shed so many tears and feel so broken from losing something, and someone, that had long ago stopped bringing me any joy. I realize now, I was mourning the loss of a dream and fearing the uncertain future ahead of me. 

My girls were still young, just 4 and 6 at the time, so my days were spent plastering a smile on my face and pretending the world hadn’t stopped spinning. At night, I turned to childhood friends who would listen to my heartbroken babbling. They comforted me with humor and gave space to anger I couldn’t yet muster.

They even  helped me laugh while trying to figure out where in the world a 30 something mother goes to meet men. It was the first time I laughed in earnest after my marriage ended. I was bent over with laughter and I knew I’d be okay.

I am forever indebted to these beautiful souls for being there for me. They were a reminder I still had love in my life. 

When it comes to the stages of mourning, I dove head first into grief. I’m really good at it. I watched the sappiest movies, read all too much about heartbreak, lamented a life far into the future without any romantic possibility. I let all of it burrow a hole in my heart and I cried.

Let it be known I have always, and will always, enjoy a good cry. It comes naturally to me. When I feel things deeply, emotion manifests as tears – extreme sadness, anger, joy, excitement, fear, you name it and it spills from my eyes. I’d already shed plenty of tears about my marriage while I was still actually married, but these post-marital tears were a unique combination.

The tears before were shed because I was angry at myself for not being able to provide my daughters with a positive example of a loving relationship. I could provide them with so much, but my marriage had gone so far off track, that it broke my heart to know they would not find a healthy example of husband and wife in their own home.

Once things ended, my tears felt shameful. I was embarrassed at myself for being so chained to the idea of marriage that I couldn’t bring myself to end it long ago. I had not been the girl power version of myself I wanted my daughters to witness. These tears were also cleansing, emptying out every last bit of a dream I invested in that was no longer providing any kind of ROI. These tears were making way for what came next. 

Some people might turn to wine or food or exercise (I wish) or even finding a new man to forget the old. Me? I turned to my favorite comfort – movies. When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Holiday – name a romcom and I watched it. They weren’t the answer to anything. They were something familiar while I was treading in unfamiliar waters.

They allowed me to remember the girlish belief that love might be all those hopeful cliches while simultaneously holding onto a new found wisdom that love is none of those things.

I was so fragile in those first days, weeks, and months. I remember the first time someone asked me how  was doing. It caught me off guard. I’d grown accustomed to focusing on how my daughters were doing, how well they’d adjusted, how our daily lives had pretty much gone unaltered. All of this was true but also made for a pleasant distraction from my own open wounds. “How are you?” That’s what those early days were like. A simple question could threaten to bring me to my knees.

I didn’t know how long this phase would last. One day the sadness was heavy and the next it was replaced by a lightness I hadn’t known in a long time. One day I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I cried and even longer since I’d watched a sappy movie. Turns out my heart mends in about 2-3 months time.


Today that version of myself feels very distant. I look back at the end of things and can’t believe I ever let myself become that unhappy. The end of my marriage, without a doubt, was the best thing that could have happened. It was worth those weeks of sadness to come out the other side wiser and stronger than before.

I wanted to write about the first days after a marriage ends because it can look so different for everyone. And, like with so many things, sometimes what can comfort you the most is knowing you’re not alone. That someone else has walked a similar road before, lived to tell about it, and started a brand new chapter. 

I know lots of single moms whose paths were very different from mine. Some were lit with anger while others sat in sadness like me and others who got under someone to get over someone. They are all right answers. If you’d like to join in, feel free to leave a comment below or a link to your own blog post. 

Single Mom Writing: The Honest Dating Profile

girl-writing-in-her-moleskine-diary-picjumbo-comFor years now I’ve had a desire to hold space for single moms. There’s so much about the experience of raising children on my own and navigating single life I wasn’t prepared for. I was and am thrilled to be a free woman but it’s damn isolating. I know I’m not alone. In that spirit, I give you the first in what I hope will be a long and regular series of writing prompts – Single Mom Writing.

Today’s Writing Prompt
Writing online dating profiles is a unique kind of torture. Today write the profile you wish you could publish. Don’t hold back and ask for what you want because you deserve it, got it?


Dear Potential Suitor,

Who did you vote for?

Sincerely,
A lover of all the people

#kiddingnotkidding

Dear Guy Online,

The Relationship I’m Looking For
I’m a single mom with two daughters. Let’s just cut to the chase. My time is precious AF. If I’m going to take time away from my kids or cut down my time for self-care, you better be a movie loving bookworm who likes to wax poetic about life. Homebody tendencies with a quarterly desire to get out and mingle are a bonus.

I’m fiercely independent but crave the intimacy of a heart to heart, mind to mind connection. Do I want marriage and love? Marriage maybe, love most definitely. Someday. Today I just want a partner in crime who wants to lock lips and spoon. But don’t mistake that for a any kind of fling. Quite the opposite. Some folks might be all “no strings attached”, I’ve been there, done that. I’m no longer built that way. I’m fiercely loyal and demand the same.

While the goal is friendship caught fire, right this moment I’m happy with friendship snuggled warm under a blanket.

What You Need To Know About Me
I’m a city girl with a hippie heart.
Jersey girl gone New England.
I’m on that 9-5 grind but have dreams working their way into the world.
My daughters are my breath.
Let’s skip the small talk. I want to know what you long for and who you want to be in the world. I always want to skip the small talk.
Read here if you want to know more about me.

I love every one but like and trust the ones who earn it.

Things That Are True About You
You’re guided by deep-seated values, a steady moral compass.
Your family and friends are paramount.
You chase your curiosity.
There’s still wonder left in  you.
You have a ferocious drive.
You hold a profound reverence for women.

I haven’t listed nitty gritty details because opposites attract, ya know? And sometimes, the idea of Mr. Perfect is better than Mr. Perfect in the flesh. Like when the world traveling money pants philanthropist Mr. Perfect turns out to be a Lifetime story about a man with multiple wives and multiple lives and maybe a body in his backyard. Did I mention my imagination?

Plus, material things don’t matter to me. It’s what’s at the core of a person that I’m seeking.

You work out? Great. I’m a champion for self-care. You have loads of money? Good for you. Abundance is everyone’s for the taking. Get yours. Fancy car? Spectacular. You can drive. I’ve driven everywhere for the last 3 years.

I won’t measure the next important man in my life by what he has but by who he is and how he approaches the world. 

Sincerely,
Carla

ps. I could very well tell you that if you look like Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Mark Ruffalo, or are pretty much Danny Castellano, nothing else matters. Swipe right!!!! What’s at the core of your being DOES NOT MATTER. But I’m super mature and am totally not that shallow. Thought you should know.

pps. I’ve lurked on online dating sites enough to know it ain’t 2002 anymore. Dating is complicated. Let me uncomplicate things – straight up, if you’re one of these open relationship folks? Good for you but keep on walking.


I was going to kick off Single Mom Writing with something a bit more introspective and heartfelt. But life seems heavy these days post election. So I’m leading with this. I’m working on setting up a link feature so you can add your own post. If you don’t have your own blog but want to join in on the fun, leave your writing in the comments.

Adjusting

I kicked off November enthusiastic to write every day. Then the election came and I couldn’t muster any words.

I’ve consumed what can only be described as an unhealthy amount of news and opinion pieces since November 9th. It’s fascinating – to go on about my days as if nothing has happened while holding onto the frightening reality that America is headed into dark times. It’s a train wreck . I want to look away but I feel an obligation to every one involved to witness every excruciating detail. It is not a healthy state to live in. I’m still trying to figure out what day to day life will look like in the next four years.

I have no idea how to juggle the dreadful reality at large with the peaceful sanity of my daily life. Is raising strong women enough of a revolution? I’m not sure anymore. Can I be a peacemaker in a constant state of protest? I’ll have to learn. 

Thanksgiving drew a firm line for me. It snapped me out of my information spiral. I focused on my girls, family, and friends. I acknowledged how desperately I need to keep writing (sorry, NaBloPoMo, there’s always next year). I took comfort in knowing I have a wide circle of friends who are as worried as I am. I took a deep breath for the first time since the election.

After a reality shattering November, I’m stepping into December focused on keeping out the noise. The two weeks following the election left me spent but I will not start the long journey ahead in weariness. I’m taking inventory of what I consume and what I put out into the world. I’m spending my money with intention. I’m reaching out to our public servants. I’m getting creative AF about ways I can play a role in ensuring everyone is afforded the equal freedom. 

Here’s to December and the year ahead, may she be full of writing and stillness and the good fight.