CGjenny

Please hold…

I’m feeling a smidgen spent (creatively) right now. I have several ideas in my head, but none that I’m ready to polish and publish just yet. I’m looking for inspiration all around me and absorbing as much as I can. I’m hoping to come back full-force soon–possibly with some changes to the blog.

Realistically, I could continue to post rubbish here–just to post something 3 days a week–but that’s not the vision that I have for this blog and it’s not what you want either (I don’t think). So, if you’ll bear with me, I’ll be back soon with fresh, new material.

In the meantime, you can find my articles at Red Tricycle and then don’t forget about these recent posts here on the blog…

Being married to a drinker

3 simple ways to support a newly-sober friend

Am I judging moms who drink?

And then you can always find me on Instagram .

 I post something most everyday over there. Beware: there are lots of dog and cat pics, so proceed at your own risk.

See ya soon–promise!

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CGjenny

One True Love: Beauty tool

image courtesy of:http://www.meganandwendy.com/

 

If you’ll remember, I’m participating in the One True Love monthly writing prompt. It’s tons of fun to read other blogger’s, YouTuber’s and Instagrammer’s One True Loves and I’ve learned a lot and tried some new things as a result. If you’d like to participate, simply write your post, share on Instagram or YouTube and be sure to include the #LSSOneTrueLove tag.

This month is Beauty Tools:

When I first thought about this, my knee-jerk reaction was to talk about my Beauty Blender. But then I thought, “Come on, Jenny. Everybody and their damn dog is going to talk about the Beauty Blender–because it’s the best beauty tool ever.” So, today I’m going to go a different direction. I’m going to talk about this:


1 Best Makeup Remover Magic Cloth Duo – Feels Luxury Soft, Works Like Magic –

I can attest to that–it does, in fact, work like magic. Sorcery, more like it. 

So, in case you’re wondering what these towels are. They’re chemical-free makeup-removing towels. Here’s how they work (or, more accurately, how they’re used because hell if I know how they work):

I wet a small corner of the towel with warm water and wipe my eye makeup off with it. It gets all of my waterproof mascara and gel eyeliner off with nary a tug or a smear. Using only one corner at a time, I can use my towel about 3 or more times in between washes. When you’re out of clean towel to use, you simply throw it in the washer with mild detergent and wash it. Then you let it line dry (which is dries really quickly). Then, boom–it’s ready to go again. I figure that I’ve saved a lot of money already on disposable makeup removing towels and cleansers, just by using this towel.

Speaking of makeup removing towels and cleansers: I’ve used all of the traditional makeup removing creams, tonics and potions. They all leave my eyes red, irritated and seem to only actually remove like 30% of my makeup. I’ve never found anything that works as well as these towels. I take them with me on all overnight trips–they’re a cinch to pack–and love these things hard. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself one. Then give one to your mom, your sister and your best friend.

What’s your One True Beauty Tool Love? Share it with us!

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CGjenny

Being married to a drinker (when you’ve stopped drinking)

(Perhaps you’ve heard this story…) I woke up one day in 2010 and decided that I wasn’t going to drink alcohol anymore.

When I told this to my husband I conveyed it with the same sense of urgency that I did the time that I declared that I wasn’t going to eat meat anymore.

Or when I told him that I wasn’t going to eat dairy anymore.

Or when I told him that I was going to take up running and train for a race.

He was moderately supportive but continued to do his thing.

The thing is though, when I dismissively announced to him that I wasn’t going to drink anymore that day in 2010, I desperately wanted him to stop drinking too. Not because he necessarily needed to–just because I needed his support and I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about giving up alcohol while living with a partner who still drank.

Did I tell him this? Hell no. I didn’t even convey the seriousness in my decision. If I remember correctly, I think I probably said it like this: “Hey. Just so you’ll know, I’m not going to drink for awhile and see how I feel.” Just the same way that I announced it when I was becoming vegetarian–which lasted several years–then I was back to meat-eating.

I think he probably felt like I was doing it to maybe lose some weight. Or that I’d read an article in Woman’s Day about how alcohol messes with your sleep cycles or something. I don’t think that he 1. knew the seriousness that I felt, 2. thought that I’d make it a permanent life change or 3. knew how much I wanted him to take me seriously and support me.

Did this piss me off? Yeah, it did. Was it really even his fault? Nope.

I should’ve told him these things. I should’ve let him see the vulnerable side of me–the side that really struggled in social situations without alcohol. The side that struggled trying to figure out who I was anymore. But, I kept it all under wraps and waved it all off dismissively.

Who knows. Maybe I also didn’t want him to know the seriousness so that when I failed at sobriety, he wouldn’t see me as a washout.

So, I stopped drinking but he did not.

He continued to drink at home after work and on weekends. He continued to order a glass of nice red wine with his steak over dinner at a restaurant. He continued to meet up with friends for happy hour after work, coming home smelling of bourbon and cigar smoke.

Did it hurt? Big time. Did I tell him this? No.

Instead, I quietly seethed when he’d crack open a beer at home, in what felt like a taunt to my sobriety. I’d feel like crying when he carefully perused the wine list over dinner, trying to choose just the perfect crisp white to compliment his meal. I raged when he added beer to my Costco list and left me to heave a giant 24-bottle box of Shiner into our already overflowing cart while I fought to ply my (then) toddlers with more fruit snacks in order to make it through the checkout tantrum-free.

I know, in my heart of hearts, that if I’d simply told him how difficult it was for me that he continued to drink when I had quit, he would’ve stopped for me. He might not have stopped entirely, but he might have tried to survey the scene through my eyes and refrained from drinking in my presence.  As a result, I seethed in silence for a few years early in my sobriety. It wasn’t fair to me, and it really wasn’t fair to my husband.

All that it would’ve taken was 4 simple words from me:

I need your help.

Vulnerability though, man. That’s probably why I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to appear as vulnerable as I felt. Also, the seriousness of the situation scared the living shit out of me. I didn’t want him to suddenly see his wife–the mother of his two children–as an addict. I didn’t want him to think, “Holy hell. I’ve been leaving my children in the care of an alcoholic all of this time?”

Almost 7 years have passed since I quit drinking. I’ve survived all major social occasions, vacations, weddings and funerals without alcohol now. My husband doesn’t drink  nearly as much as he did when I was a drinker, but he does have a fridge in the garage that’s typically full of beer and a liquor cabinet in the kitchen that’s full of all of the “important” ingredients for just about any cocktail you might require.

To be honest: yes, I do sometimes still slam the liquor cabinet shut a little harder than I should when I’m in there, trying to find a place for the salad spinner and there are too many bottles of liquor in the way. I also have been known to shove the beer aside with more force than necessary (oops, sorry about that foam, bro) when making space for our salad greens and leftover casserole in the garage fridge.

All of this to say that, if you need your spouse to quit drinking in order to feel supported in your sobriety, please DON’T BE LIKE ME! Ask for help. Tell him or her. Demand it of them. And, if they can’t fathom giving up something like that for you, then rethink that relationship or suggest that they reassess their own relationship with alcohol.

Don’t be scared to be vulnerable in front of your partner. I can’t turn back time and go back and do it all differently–I wish that I could. I know that the way that I handled the situation was really dangerous–my constant anger could have really done permanent damage to our marriage. How it didn’t, I’m not sure. And all it would’ve taken is for me to say, “I need your help.”

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CGjenny

Life lately

April is a busy month for us. We’re up to our eyeballs in kid activities and busy weekends away. I have a lot going on…what about you?

First things first though:

I wrote an original piece for Red Tricycle about why we discuss our finances with our kids. You can read it HERE. It’s a topic that I feel passionate about because I’ve seen how my kids have embraced being a part of these discussions and how it’s changed their view of money. I’m hopeful that by raising them with an understanding of how money really works, they’ll grow into adults who are good money managers.

I would really love it if you passed the article along if you think it’s relevant to your life.

Next up:

Jack is playing soccer. This is the first time he’s participated in a team sport and it’s really fun to see him out there, doing his best and playing as a team.

And Anna’s art was featured at a district-wide art show.  Her piece is entitled: “Jane Goodall–The Nutcracker.” Originality is her strong suit.

And the birds have decided to call our yard home again this spring, which I love. Because, let’s face it–I need more creatures who are depending on me to feed them in my life.

Speaking of creatures who depend on me…this one has been loving the spring weather here and lounging outside with me. This photo is noteworthy because I took it the day that I eschewed all of my responsibilities for the day to sit outside, read books, listen to podcasts and enjoy my birds. You can see the laundry baskets and laundry piled on the bed in the room behind Angie. It was a rare day of no responsibility for me and I loved every second of it. I highly recommend trying to find a day like that for yourself every now and then if you can.

So, that’s my life lately…tell me about yours.

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CGjenny

Friday Favorites

I’m not going to lie. I feel like I’m “phoning it in” a bit on this week’s Friday Favorites. The truth is that I don’t have many things that are rocking my world this week–don’t get me wrong. Everything is GREAT. Life is good. But I’m not feeling passionate about much in this very moment. Well, except for these things:

First up:

S-Town

You know how much I enjoy a good podcast. I have to say, while Missing Richard Simmons sucked me in immediately, by about the 4th episode, (right after I posted about it, of course) I felt like it lost steam–big time. As a friend said, “it would have been riveting as an hour-long Radiolab episode”. I agree. I feel like it was drawn out and then kind of fell with a thud. So, I was cautious to dive head-first into S-Town, since, much like Missing Richard Simmons, S-Town shot to the top of the charts and started a wildfire of buzz.

Well, friends. S-Town is not disappointing me (yet).

I can’t even begin to explain the premise of this podcast. All I can tell you is to listen to the first episode and see how you feel. I’m officially obsessed though and Chapter 3 made me gasp out loud a few times. I’m having to ration it right now so that I don’t finish it and then get depressed that it’s over. That’s the sign of a good series.

Next up: A favorite purse for “going-out” (whatever that means these days):

 

DSW Clutch

I’ve talked before about how I like to take a clutch to parties or get togethers where there’s drinking involved (which, let’s face it…is every party and get together). Having something to do with my hands–like hold a clutch–makes me feel less conspicuous about not having a drink in my hand.

This is my favorite clutch lately. I bought this clutch at DSW last fall off of the clearance rack. I feel certain that I only paid about $20 for it–probably because the color that I got is bright, neon, highlighter yellow! I was immediately drawn to the color and and the style. I hoped that I could make the yellow work with all sorts of outfits and indeed it has. I used the clutch last weekend during our reunion weekend with friends.

Going to a wedding last fall. Who new neon yellow could go with so many different colors?

 

DSW doesn’t carry it in my crazy yellow color online, but the camel color is fabulous. And, if you have a DSW coupon floating around in your purse, like I often do, the price can’t be beat on this.

Then the thing that no one wants to talk about…

Megan and Wendy talked about it in their March Favorites video and I’ve been doing it for about a year. Since they “broke the seal” on talking about it, I’ll talk about it today too…

Shaving my face. Yup. I said it. SHAVING MY FACE.

These little things make it all possible:


Tinkle Eyebrow Razor Pack of 6

Do you have peach-fuzz on your face? Does it seem to make your foundation go on wonky and strange? Use these to gently remove the dead skin (and fuzz) from your face and see how good your skin will look. Trust me.

Initially, I was nervous about cutting myself and looking like an adolescent boy who’s just learning to shave with little bloody bits of toilet paper all over his top lip. Not so. For some reason, I don’t even feel like it’s possible to cut yourself with these razors–at least not if you do it gently and proceed carefully. And no, you won’t end up with a full beard after shaving your face. The peach fuzz grows back, but no darker or thicker than before. Fear not! And thank me later…

Alrighty. Your turn…share your Friday Favorites with us!

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CGjenny

3 simple ways to support a newly sober friend

When I decided to stop drinking, I was lucky that i had a great group of friends who supported my decision, but I know  that’s not always the case. So many people decide to go it alone when it comes to sobriety. I get it: you don’t want to be a “buzz kill” (literally) for your friends and you don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But I think that having a strong support system is the difference between successful sobriety and unsuccessful sobriety.

So, here’s how you can be a good source of support for a friend who’s decided to stop drinking–either for good or for awhile.

Continue reading “3 simple ways to support a newly sober friend”

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CGjenny

Reunion Weekend

I spent the weekend with a group of friends that I haven’t seen in years–some of them as long as 17 years, some of them only a few years–but all of them important to me.

These were people that were my “drinking buddies,” so it was a bit odd to be the sober one. Even odder (more odd?) to see them through sober eyes.

The beauty in this weekend is that we all just picked up right where we left off. Everyone looks the same and acts the same (not sure why that part surprises me) and there were times during the weekend that I had to remind myself that I hadn’t teleported back to 2000.

We all left each other today, with teary promises not to let time get the best of us again–not to let 17 more years come and go before we saw one another again. Hard to say if we’ll be true to all of our words, but I know that I have a renewed sense of love and friendship after this weekend. It was balm for my soul.

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CGjenny

Friday Favorites

I’ve had a monumental week, friends. After being in a spending freeze since early January, I went clothes shopping for the first time in 3 months…which is quite possibly the longest I’ve ever gone without buying a single article of clothing.

I write for a newspaper in Houston and am paid enough to make a little extra “fun” money for myself. I’ve been saving my money and had finally saved enough to warrant a shopping trip. I had been wanting some new, bright Spring tops and wanted to see what Nordstrom and Anthropologie had to offer.

So, I rounded up a few neighbors and we shuttled to the nearest high-end shopping center–about an hour from home–and made a fun day of shopping and lunching. It was much-needed and I found 3 great tops, which are a few of my Friday Favorites for this week.

This is what I came home with:

 

Tie cuff tee

I hate spending this much on a tee shirt, but the cut is terribly flattering on this tee and it’s just different-enough to keep it interesting. I love the bright red color too.

Milla Printed Top

I hate the way that this top looks on the Anthropologie website. I walked into the store and saw it on a mannequin and immediately fell in love–but I’m not typically a purple gal. I tried it on though and really, really liked it but wasn’t sure it was worth the $88 price. So, I walked out without it. Then, I thought about it the whole time we were at lunch. I made my friends go back and look at it with me and I was convinced that it was a “Jenny” top. I brought it home and I think it’s my favorite purchase of the day. I also happened to have a necklace from Accessory Concierge that matches it perfectly!

Kut From The Kloth Jasmine Print Blouse

This top I laid eyes on the second that I set foot into the ladies’ department at Nordstrom and knew that I wanted it. The colors are vivid, the material is sheer yet covers enough (I think? I might end up wearing a cami under it though, on second thought) and the cut is fabulous. Would you believe that I tried it on with my turquoise Kendra Scott earrings and it looked great? I told you those earrings go with everything…

And that’s what I came home with. Sadly, I spent most of my money on these 3 tops, but I’ve learned over the years that investing in a few high-end, truly special pieces always serves me better than buying 12 tops at Target.

 

My next Friday Favorite is the book that I’m reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Eleanor & Park

I don’t think that I’ve read a YA book since I WAS a YA, so this is a bit of a departure for me. But, it’s set in the late 1980’s, so it kind of harkens back to that time in my life. It’s delightfully endearing, well-written and brings back a lot of those teenaged-angsty feels as well as those wispy first-love feelings. It’s not as fluffy as I’d thought–which is good–and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I even found myself YouTubing Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” the other night at 10pm, because of this book.

And, that’s about it for my favorites this week! It was a fun shopping trip and I’m excited to wear my new tops very soon.

Tell me what your favorites are this week!

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CGjenny

Am I judging moms who drink?

Recently, one of my more popular blog posts was featured on Red Tricycle. When I wrote it, it came from a place of anger. I was sick and tired of seeing drinking normalized among the mom-crowd.

When I posted “Mommy Juice” here on the blog, it was warmly received, because in a way, I’m “preaching to the choir” here. Then, when it went out on Red Tricycle’s page, it was met with resistance–a lot of it. Many women said that I was “judging” them for drinking and that, “just because I can’t drink doesn’t mean that everyone should abstain.

Honestly, I was a bit gobsmacked by the resistance. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would be such a divisive topic and it forced me to explore the question: “Am I judging moms who drink too harshly?”

I’ve thought a lot about it in the past couple of weeks and, honestly I think my answer is that I’m not judging other moms–I’m judging our society–and when I wrote “Mommy Juice” I wasn’t able to properly articulate that.

You see, when I was a new mom, I fell for that same schtick. You know, the “have a bottle of wine–you deserve it after the day you’ve had!”-schtick. Now that I’ve seen that that way of thinking can be really destructive, I have strong feelings about it. What I wanted to say in “Mommy Juice” was–“don’t be like me!”

But here’s the thing: I’m not talking about the moms who have the occasional glass of wine. Hell, I’m not even talking about the moms who have a glass of wine every day to unwind once the kids go to bed nor am I talking about the moms who go out and get wasted on girls’ night or in Vegas with their partners.

I’m talking about the moms who are lonely and feeling “off,” who are self medicating with alcohol and are slowly losing control of things.

According to WebMD, it’s estimated that anywhere from 10-20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Of those cases, only half of them seek treatment. This means that half of those ladies aren’t getting the help that they need from a doctor and are potentially self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Even though doctors have come a long way in terms of asking the right questions and opening up the dialogue with new moms about feelings of postpartum depression, there’s still a stigma attached to that diagnosis. Motherhood is funny like that. You spend so much of your time second-guessing yourself and wondering if you’re qualified to be the caretaker of a baby. Then, if you’re having even mild feelings of sadness, you’re not bonding with the baby; you’re wondering if you should even be doing this at all…well, it’s embarrassing to tell someone that–even your trusted doctor.

So, yeah. I’m not judging moms. I’m judging our culture that demands that new mothers do it all perfectly and love every minute of it and then leave them woefully ill-equipped with support when it’s needed. When that happens, “Mommy’s Little Friend” becomes wine and it’s encouraged and heralded as a cure-all for moms at the end of their rope.

I think what I meant to convey is  this: I’d for like our culture to take us more seriously. To give us more credit for who we are and what we do for our families. Offering us yet another glass of cheap wine after a hard day feels like a patronizing pat on the head. I think what I’m really angry about is that mothers have become caricatures. Easily plied with wine and simple in our needs, when that’s not the case at all and this attitude is harmful for many.

There. I feel better now.

I’d love to hear your take on this. Do you think that I judged moms who drink too harshly? 

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CGjenny

5 ways to cope when you have a weird kid

My daughter is weird. Yes, she’s also incredibly bright, precocious and kind, but she’s undeniably weird. Granted, a lot of people don’t see Anna’s behavior as weird. Those who don’t spend as much time with her as we do probably just see a 10 year old with an active imagination but when you live with her, day in and day out, you would agree that she’s weird.

Understand this: I’m not necessarily using the word “weird” in a derogatory way. She’s not a “lurk in the bushes outside of your house and peep in your windows”-kind of weird. But, she IS a rub against your shoulder and purr in your ear-kind of weird.

Full-discloser: this was Halloween, but still, she felt like her “outsides finally matched her insides” that day

 

You see, my daughter is always an animal. Always. Ever since she was a toddler, she’s loved to play like she was an animal. Now, at the age of 10, it’s still consistently her favorite thing to do. While other girls are playing with their American Girl dolls, Anna is playing with her stuffed animals. While other girls were playing dress up in Disney princess ballgowns from Target, Anna was playing dragon with a homemade felt dragon tail and wings.

But, this behavior has not always been cute. There was the one time that my husband and I caught her licking a strange dad’s leg in the kiddie pool at a resort. She was pretending to be a dog and this kind man was playing along…until she started licking his shin. It ranks as one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to say who was more uncomfortable–us or the stranger. The good news is that this episode opened up the dialog about licking strangers and where to draw the line on animal games.

Over the years, I’ve made some mistakes in dealing with Anna’s imagination. I’ve had to learn as I go and consequently have come up with a few helpful tips for other parents who might be dealing with a slightly eccentric child:

1: Teach your child that there’s a time and place to let their “freak flag fly”. I’ve learned to strike deals with Anna. For instance: she needs to be a human in church every Sunday, but is welcome to gallop all over the house like a horse (or whatever creature de jour she’s pretending to be) for the rest of the day on Sunday. She seems okay with this and it works for me too.

2: Try not to make your child feel any weirder than they already are. I’m 100% sure that Anna has been called “weird” at school and, I’ve been known to call her a “little weirdo” (with only love in my heart) to her face, but by and large, I try to let her know that we love her no matter how she is and that won’t change. We’ve also stressed that “weird” isn’t a bad thing and now she seems to take it as a compliment.

3: Recognize that the current strange stage is just that: A stage. The preteen years are rattling at our shutters and knocking on our door right now. There are times when I see a flash of teenage rage in my 10 year old’s eyes, then, before I know it, she’s back to her sweet, 4th grade self. But I know that in a couple of years, we’ll be longing for the days when it was simpler and she was just a cat, trapped in a 10 year old girl’s body, and not an angry teen.

4: Don’t try to change them. Chances are, if you try and change their behaviors, you’ll only make it worse–believe me, I’ve tried. As long as your child isn’t doing something that’s harmful to themselves or others, I say, let them do what they need to do to be happy. There aren’t enough kids getting to be themselves these days, if you ask me.

5: Don’t try and over-explain your kid to others. So many times, when Anna has been in full-blown cat-mode in public, I’d try to explain her actions to people, “Anna is pretending to be a cat today. She loves cats and it’s her favorite game to play. She’s not always a cat though…she’s actually really bright and caring too!” The thing is, most people find children who are using an active imagination endearing and, to strangers who don’t live with it, it is cute and harmless. So, I’ve stopped trying to justify her behavior and just let it all happen naturally. Nine times out of ten, people say something along the lines of, “My son used to pretend to be a fireman all the time when he was that age.”

One of the harder things about being the parent of a weird kid is worrying about what other parents think of her and how that reflects on me as a parent. What I’ve learned though is that, as with everything else in life, it doesn’t matter what others think of you and also that most people think it’s really cool that we let her be who she is and don’t try to change her.

Now that I’m in the thick of it, I finally understand how fleeting childhood is. I’m proud of Anna’s confidence and the fact that she doesn’t give a flip what anyone thinks about her–that she’s willing to be who she wants to be and readily accepts others for their quirks as a result. One day, I know that we’ll look back on this age and have only fond memories of a little girl who loved animals so much that she wanted to be one. The way I see it, there are definitely worse parenting problems to have.

What about you? Have you  raised an eccentric child? 

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