Friday, October 31, 2014

Guess who's featured on Maria Shriver today? That would be me!

Today my article is featured on Maria Shriver and I'm very excited! Here it is. Happy Halloween!

Sex: To Have Or Not To Have, When Is Too Soon?

This article by Lizzy Smilez originally appeared on DivorcedMoms.com
 
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My friend, “Abby,” recently met a guy online, “Stan.” Abby fell hard and fast for Stan. On their third date, the two of them showed up at a dinner I was attending. They looked really cute together and you could tell right away that there was chemistry between the two of them.
 
I knew the look on Abby’s face well, having experienced it with a few men myself. It was that “I don’t even know what’s going on around me because the only thing that matters is this guy I’m with” gaze. If there was a fire in the kitchen, I don’t think Abby would have noticed (or cared).
 
 
I talked to Abby the next day. “I could fall in love with this guy!” she said. Just the sound of her voice made me laugh. It sounds so trite but just hearing her talk was exciting. But, on the other hand, I wanted to caution her– this could very easily end up not going so well. The problem is, who wants to be cautious when it’s so dang fun to just enjoy falling head over heels?
 
Two days later, Abby joined me for my morning coffee run. “Have you slept with him?” I asked.
“Yes! Last night it was two hours of solid love making. This is what amazing sex is like!” she said. She was literally glowing, cheeks pink… Abby never had good sex with her ex-husband and he was the only man she’d ever slept with until her divorce was final. She was discovering her body, orgasms, an emotional connection… all of it.
 
She went on and on, talking about her new love. Stan (according to him) never had good sex with his ex-wife either. Abby was his second sexual partner. There were no girlfriends since his divorce. He was honest, shy, innocent and kind. He was perfect for her and Abby had high hopes for their future.
 
 
That pure excitement and happiness was short-lived. All day, silence from Stan–not a single text or phone call. By Tuesday afternoon, she broke down and texted him. He apologized for the silence, he was just really busy at work. She baked some dinner for her mom and had left-overs and she invited Stan to meet up with her and pick up a plate, which he did. Wednesday came and went. Silence. By Thursday, Abby was confused. She was angry with herself for sleeping with Stan so quickly, upset with his disappearing act, and tired of obsessing about it.
 
She went online and looked up Stan’s profile again and there he was, “online now.” It felt like a kick to her gut. Was Stan honest with anything he told her? Was he coming across as a simple, honest and shy guy when, in reality, he was a serial dater? Maybe. She didn’t know him well at all (it had just been a week, after all), so who knew? She knew his body but she didn’t know his intentions. Heck, she didn’t know how to communicate with him either. Now what?
 
 
First, Abby blocked Stan’s profile. Next, she called Stan and ended their semi-dating relationship. Stan seemed surprised. He said that he didn’t know he was supposed to be calling her every day, and apologized. What was the rush in defining their relationship? He thought they were having fun? Abby said she certainly deserved more than silence. If Stan was really into her, he would naturally want to talk or text her every day. Was that too much to ask? Maybe, but without having that conversation prior, who knows? Certainly they were on two different planets and Abby wasn’t up for the “relationship” on Stan’s terms. If they had kept it casual, if they hadn’t already had sex, then most likely, a casual and slow dating pace would have been perfectly fine. But after sex? It wasn’t ok at all.
 

Divorced Moms: The Chore List: Teaching My Daughters To Pitch In

My latest on Divorced Moms. And it's all about my sweet daughters.

The Chore List: Teaching My Daughters To Pitch In
by Lizzy Smith         
October 31, 2014
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Last week, my daughter called me in a panic. She had a soccer game and her uniform was dirty.

"Put it in the washer," I said.

"I don't know how!" she was nearly in tears.

Lovely, at age 14, she literally didn't know how to use the washer or dryer.

My fabulous daughters, God bless 'em, have almost no concept on what it means to run a home. They believe that clean clothes magically appear in their closet and drawers, food simply grows in the refrigerator, and that angels come in the middle of the night to clean the house. And, quite frankly, I am sick of it. But, really, whose fault is that? Mine. I haven't taught them, nor have I expected them to do anything. And certainly, there were no consequences if they didn't do a thing. So I went on an official quest to teach them some valuable lessons about chores and pitching in.

The reality is that giving my daughters chores is far more work that it was worth. When I asked them to do anything, they complained and argued and made a mess that I had to clean up anyway. My younger daughter actually loves to help but she is super klutzy, so I have been afraid to let her do much of anything. It was time that I got over it and simply allowed mistakes to happen. After all, they'll get better and more proficient at their chores if I simply back off and allow them to do it and hold them accountable. And some day, it will save me loads of time if I get help around the house. After all, doing it all myself is exhausting (not to mention, thankless).

So I made a handy list of things they can (and should) do around the house and divided it up between the two of them. I put their assignments on the refrigerator door and if they don't have a good week of doing their chores, they don't get their allowance.

Keep reading...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Divorced Moms: How To Kill A Promising Relationship In 5 Easy Steps

Yesterday I hit up Bikram yoga. It was my first time back since last spring when it was still cold outside. Dang I've missed it. I felt so amazing, calm and healthy. For every drop of sweat that ran down my face, I envisioned the stress simply melting away. All my worries and annoyances exiting my body and soul. The Brick Canvas where Bikram yoga takes place is one of the most healing places I've ever been. William asked me yesterday where was my happy place? It didn't take me long to answer. And then I knew... I needed to get my butt to yoga. And so I did. I am so happy to be back.

As I write this, I am doing so while at a surgery center. William is getting his shoulder operated on. Since I have several hours to kill, what better place to write than right here-- in the waiting room with a TV blaring in my ear? Hey, it's cold outside and I stopped by Starbucks so no complaints. And writing is one of my favorite things to do anyway. Enjoy my latest on Divorced Moms. My stories are all real. Gotta love the dating trenches!

How To Kill A Promising Relationship In 5 Easy Steps
by Lizzy Smith                     
October 28, 2014
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Having been in the dating trenches for a few years now, I've experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly out there. Along the way, I've met some great guys who have become my friends. Add to that, since splitting with my husband, I re-established the male friendships I had pre-marriage. All together, I've ended up with a pretty decent plethora of males with whom I can bounce ideas off of when it comes to dating, relationships, and women. So the question of the day for my Male Dating Panel: How to kill a promising relationship?

I gave my "panel" this scenario: You've met a girl online and you've already had that first meet-up for coffee. She's attractive and seems to be fun. You asked her out again and now you've dated a few times. You like her and she obviously likes you (a lot). How can she ruin it? Here goes...

1. She is already too needy
"Ken" tells me of a woman he met for coffee. A few days later, they went out to dinner. After that, she started texting and calling him endlessly. When Ken didn't respond within an hour, she texted or called again asking him if he was mad at her or if there was something wrong. A few days of that and Ken stopped calling or texting her back. "I can't imagine being in a relationship with her. She was already annoying and we weren't even dating," Ken added.

Lesson: Texting or calling once is a nice gesture. Now sit back and wait for him to respond. If he doesn't, it'll tell you everything you need to know about his level of interest in you. If you keep reaching out to him despite his silence, you'll just become Annoying Woman. And it certainly won't make him want you more anyway.

Keep reading...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From Divorced Moms: 20 Stress Busters To Boost Your Immune System (And Your Soul)

I almost forgot to post this one! From Divorced Moms...

20 Stress Busters To Boost Your Immune System (And Your Soul)
by Lizzy Smith                    
October 21, 2014
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Stress causes inflammation, which causes your immune system to weaken, which leaves us prone to all kinds of viruses and illness. Here are some tips on how to live a calmer, happier, and healthier life.

1. Exercise
Do not be a couch potato. Especially when we’re fatigued, stressed out and pushed to the brink of insanity, or simply aren’t feeling well, this can be a tough one. Nonetheless, to the extent possible get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. If the weather is decent, get outside. Fresh air and vitamin D is great for the body and soul. Anything you love, go for it! Even walking around Costco will count in a pinch. The important thing is to move around. Exercise releases endorphins, elevates your mood, strengthens your heart, and makes you stronger. These are all fabulous reasons to move, move, and move some more.

2. Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is essential for health. It’s when your body repairs itself. And it’s also when we emotionally repair and rejuvenate, too. Lack of sleep causes tremendous emotional and physical stress. Take naps when possible and when needed. Listen to your body. You may need six hours or ten hours. Whatever you require, get it.

3. Take Time For You
Do something you love that calms and centers you (and don’t feel guilt for doing it). This can be reading a book, taking a “stay-cation” (vacation in your own city) solo or with a close friend. Take a hot bath or go for a horseback ride or movie. Be selfish, it’s ok. After all, it’s hard to properly care for others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first.

Keep reading...

Divorced Moms: 5 Tips For Surviving The Excruciatingly Painful Brazilian Wax

My latest on Divorced Moms. Enjoy!

5 Tips For Surviving The Excruciatingly Painful Brazilian Wax
by Lizzy Smith                     
October 24, 2014
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One of a girl's biggest dilemmas is to wax or not to wax? Like Brazilian wax. Going bald in our sweet spot that goes well beyond the bikini line. For most of my adult life, I simply shaved my bikini line and then some, so I had a small patch of hair. Was that sexy? I never really thought about it, to be honest.

And then I got cancer, had lots of chemo, and lost all the hair on my body (minus a little arm hair). For about 15 months, I wore wigs everywhere I went because I could not handle anyone thinking that I might be sick. Even at home, I wore a pink beany cap and if anyone came over or I stepped outside for even a second, the wig went on. I lost my eyelashes for several months and wore falsies (they suck, if you ask me; they are heavy and it took me loads of time to get them on just right). I had no eyebrows either for a time and drew them on with a pencil. It was summertime and let me tell you how paranoid I was that my draw-ins would melt off. I carried a little mirror and that eyebrow pencil with me everywhere I went and touched up endlessly. I lost the hair on my legs (whoohoo!) and all my pubic hair (which I loved).

Keep reading...

I'm Happy. (?)


A few nights ago, William and I finally went to see The Hundred Foot Journey, a story of two amazing but totally different restaurants in a small town in France-- one a Michelin One Star restaurant on a quest for the second star; the other an Indian restaurant. It was fantastic. If you haven't seen it, GO! It was beautiful, fabulously acted, and I afterwards I desperately wanted to go back to France, and find a restaurant asap that served up great curry. It was about finding peace and joy, discovering passion-- your own passion, not someone else's, and knowing your priorities.

It hit me-- I've done all those things. I am happy. I have amazing family and friends that I love endlessly. I know that those in my inner circle and my true friends who I can count on for anything. I trust them with my life and I love them beyond measure. I have two daughters that I love so much that it hurts. I have found my passion-- writing about things that matter (surviving an alcoholic home, cancer, health, divorce and parenting), traveling, experiencing life, constantly having personal growth, and focusing on my health (emotional, physical, and spiritual). Years ago, someone asked me what I would do for a living if making money wasn't important. I wasn't sure. Open a cupcake shop? a doggy daycare center? Nothing? I know now-- write, travel, experience, obsess about health. And I'm doing that now.

For the first time in my life, my priorities are absolutely in the right order. It's all in place. Self, health, family, friends, love, doing things that matter, experiencing all that I can, traveling, discovering, and, well, I am being repetitive here... loving. Oh yes, and being grateful-- grateful for every single day I'm here on earth, alive, breathing and listening and learning.

Which is not to say that all is perfect. I hate that I have myeloma. I hate that I have fatigue. I hate that I am maybe 80-90% of my former physical self and that percent may never increase. This may be as good as it gets. I hate that I'm so dang busy all the time and I can't be more efficient or faster or better because I can't physically or mentally do it. I'm slower and I can't work to improve that. I hate that my body has changed thanks to medications and age. I hate that there isn't a cure for cancer. I hate that I haven't hit the lottery.

All that aside, I'm so blessed and lucky. I am surrounded by love and support. And as I head quickly to my 47th birthday and Thanksgiving, this is my sappy thought of the day.

While up at the top of the mountain in Palm Springs this past weekend, we hiked a bit. And then we stopped, listened, watched, and smelled. It was beautiful. This is how I know God lives-- each time I see his awesome creations, I just know He's there. There was a woodpecker. And a squirrel. The air smelled of pines. It was beautiful. Several weeks ago, I went with Katherine and the kids up the canyon and we walked a beautiful trail. And then a tree fell. Naturally. Out of nowhere. It made a huge crack, then a whoosh, as a tree fell not too far from us. I never had that happen to me before. It was amazing. We laughed and we were all stunned. And we realized how cool it was. These days, I notice these things. In my awful life when married, I noticed nothing of the sort. I was too busy surviving, working, surviving, and grieving. Walking on eggshells. Too busy with my utter disgust with my drunk husband and myself for sticking with him, to notice or appreciate anything. Life wasn't pretty, peaceful, or meaningful. Today, it is. What a stark, vivid contrast. Did cancer make this all happen. I cringe to say that, yes, it did. Enough for now, it's late and I'm tired.

Now go see that movie! Plan a trip to France. Go eat amazingly delicious food. Make your Bucket List and get busy crossing those things off. And hug the people you love.

Goodnight my readers,

Lizzy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My new life's motto: Why not?






So we just got back from five days in Long Beach. We did the older girls' retreat in Palm Springs. That meant that just me, my BFF from college days, Julie, and our two oldest daughters, Morgan and Devynn (both 14 years old), went to Palm Springs for the weekend. The younger girls stayed with Julie's husband, Shane.

We rode the tram and hiked up at the top. Even though I've been to Palm Springs more times than I can count, this was the first time I've gone up the tram. In PS, it was, like, 95 degrees. A 10-minute ride up the mountain, and it was cold and a forest. I loved it. We had a great weekend and flew home yesterday. Why did it take me so long to do something new? I have no idea.

Which brings me back to my story for today: Why not? That's my life's motto. Life is about creating memories and doing new things. So if I have an opportunity to do anything that sounds even remotely interesting, I say, Why not?

William asked me to go to Kansas City. I had never been to Kansas City before. Why not? No good reason not to. So I went.

I just scheduled a boudoir photo shoot. Talk about BRAVE! I've never done a photo shoot like this. Why not? I'm doing it!

In a few days, William and I are celebrating our two year anniversary (minus a two month break in between). We are going hang gliding. I've never done this before so... why not?

I'll be sharing all those experiences with you, I promise. Will I be brave enough to share a photo of my boudoir shoot? Hmmm... not so sure. But maybe. Why not?