Everyday Baby Steps
Everyone who knows me in real life and through social networking knows that I have been engaged in online dating for several months now. As a newly single mom, who works from home, the idea of getting out there and meeting interesting people was very appealing. I made specific effort to reach out to men who were very different from those I would come across here in my town on a day to day basis. I wanted to expand my work-from-home horizons, to gain new insight and exposure to people with more variety to offer than I would find in my everyday life. As I wrote in a blog post shortly after the New Year, I was rather successful in my goals. I met an incredibly diverse array of men, who possessed some absolutely wonderful qualities. And, for that, I will be always grateful. What I haven't shared with many is the emotional downside and stress that can come from playing the dating game. If you're ready to hear it, I think I'm ready to tell it. Here goes.
It Can Be Intimidating
Letting your guard down enough to present what you hope is your best self to another person can be a very raw, intimidating experience. Especially if you haven't done it in a while, and you're an introverrt by nature. It's scary as hell putting yourself out there. I was, and still am, petrified. Every time I meet someone new, I get butterflies in my stomach from the nervousness involved in that first meeting. I've heard friends tell me that they feel this way even in online interactions before meeting in person. Because I've been networking as a blogger online for years, I actually feel rather comfortable behind the computer screen. It's the whole in-person thing that sometimes makes me want to run and hide. However, I've managed to push through it and remind myself that there could be an amazing encounter just waiting to be had. It also helps to remember that the worst-case scenario is that we don't like each other and we call it a night. Meh. No big deal.
Sometimes It's an Emotional Roller Coaster
Except sometimes it can become a big deal. When you get along quite well and think you've got something good going that you enjoy, and then something happens to make you realize that maybe things aren't as good as you'd hoped. Let's be realistic. We're human, and that can happen. People naturally want to make connections, and when we make them, it can be really awesome. However, should the time come when disagreements occur, personalities clash or there's simply a realization that values are not in alignment, deciding that things aren't working out can really take an emotional toll. The idea of setting yourself up for that kind of letdown is also, quite frankly, scary as hell, and your emotions can totally be thrown out of whack.
It just is. Absolutely fucking exhausting. You receive that notification in your inbox saying you've gotten a message. You're excited because this could be the beginning of a real, legitimate experience with someone nice. Then you head over to the dating site to read... "Hi." Hi? What the hell is that? That is a huge letdown. That's what that is. "Hi." That tells me absolutely nothing. I don't have time to even deal with that. So I don't. The whole "hi" phenomena is nothing compared with the raunch, the hostility and the degradation faced regularly in online dating encounters. I've been known to share some of the more interesting interactions on Facebook, and my friends tend to think they're humorous. They can be rather funny. They can also be tiring, and even frightening, as hell. To have to be bombarded with, "Hey, sexy." And then, "I said hey to you. Why don't you respond? You're a fucking bitch for not responding," on a regular basis really makes you begin to question just what the hell is out there and if it's worth considering meeting up with any of these assholes in person, even on that rare occasion when you get a thoughtful message or interaction. And then? You get to start the dance all over again with the next interaction, hoping it may lead to a positive outcome with a decent and interesting human being. So tiring.
These are just a few of the realities I've faced in my online dating experience. Because it has become a bit overwhelming, I've decided to take a break from the online dating world and have deactivated all of my accounts. My intention is to focus on family, work and home pursuits for a while because I think that's what is best for me right now. Again, I don't have any regrets about my dating experiences. I needed to have them when I did. It made sense for me at the time. Some people take a relationship break first, then dive in. I'm not like most people, and I've come to accept and embrace that. Dating right off the bat helped me to get away from my tendency to be reclusive. It pushed me to expand my horizons and gave me the opportunity to see what I like and don't like about different kinds of people. Now, however, I need a break. So, dear dating sites, I'm breaking up with you. For now. xoxo
I was recently asked to try out a new app called Hot or Not! that helps you meet people in your area. Since most of you know that I've been using dating sites for a number of months now since my separation and now divorce, it only made sense to give this one a go. Hot or Not! is a matchmaking sort of app for both mobile and Facebook use. I took some time to play with it and check it out, and I have to say it was kind of fun!
I will admit that I haven't had a lot of time to use the app, but so far I've set up my profile and rated guys in my area as to whether their apearance and profile are appealing to me. Setting up my initial profile was easy. I just filled in an About Me secton and added a photo. Here it is:
After a little more exploring, I discovered you could add your interests to your profile. The list of possible interests is extensive. That's good because you can be thorough and maybe discover that someone who has a quirky interest similar to yours. It can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming to wade through, though.
After setting up my profile, it was time to play Hot or Not! My best friend and I had a ball looking at photos of local guys and choosing a heart for those I thought were "hot" or an X for any who just were "not." At first, I was confused about whether I could do anything more than view the photographs, but I did soon find the icon that allowed me to read the profiles of those I found attractive. It really was fun to do. Now, it seems, that if someone I thought was hot also chooses hot for me, I'll get a notification. Then we can decide from there whether to reach out and make a connection.
You can also find Facebook friends with the app or even use it on Facebook. Check out the Hot or Not! Facebook page to learn more. There's also a contest going on right now from Hot or Not! where the winner will be awarded a $1000 gift card from a retailer of their choice. Head on over to the sweepstakes and sign up for a chanceto win. It's easy!
So if you're looking for a fun way to connect with or meet dates in your area, I'd recommend trying the Hot or Not! app.
Although asbestos hasn’t been used in decades to build homes and in the construction of most major appliances, the unfortunate fact is that millions of families in the United States live in older homes that was constructed during a time in which asbestos was heavily used. Years of research and studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral, was the direct cause of extremely dangerous diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. Many asbestos victims have filed lawsuits against asbestos companies due to the devastating effects of asbestos on their health.
If you and your family live in an older home and/or have older appliances in the home, it’s important to understand just how hazardous asbestos is and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones.
What is Asbestos and Why Was it Used?:
According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos is a group of six minerals that’s found naturally in mines and under large boulders. It has a strong resistance to heat and fire, and therefore was once used extensively in products, equipment, and buildings. In the late 1970s, after many upheavals, the EPA regulated asbestos after it was found that the mineral’s fine fibers can easily be inhaled. Once ingested, these fibers will eventually wreak havoc inside the body and they are almost impossible to remove. When asbestos fibers stay in the body for too long, people risk developing life-threatening diseases.
Even though asbestos was banned from most job sites and products, anything previously built with asbestos, such as homes and appliances, were not demolished. As a result, there are arrays of older homes, built with asbestos, that are still occupied to this day, as well as a multitude of appliances.
Before Your Repair or Renovate Your Home
If you live in a home that was built prior to the early 1980s, do not do any repairs until a state-certified, qualified asbestos technician can inspect your home. Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye, and most states require a thorough inspection by a qualified technician before you can make any renovations on a home that contains asbestos.
For older appliances, be certain that children never play anywhere near the area. Asbestos is typically safe unless it’s disturbed. Even doing small repairs on appliances that contain asbestos may disturb the fibers. This also goes for old shed and/or abandoned buildings. Make sure your kids know to never play around these structures as there is a chance they may ingest airborne asbestos fibers.
Remember, if you have any doubts at all as to whether your home or any appliances contain asbestos, it’s best to not take the chances of disturbing the fibers. Instead, seek qualified help in order to ensure that your family stays safe.
Do you even know what's in your food? Really, really know? Yeah, neither do I. I've been rather complacent for most of my adult life when it comes to the food I put in my body. I have friends in real life and in the blogging world who are very cognizant of the ingredients in their food, and I'm learning through them the benefits of eating more natural ingredients.
Real, Convenient Food
Good Food Made Simple, a pre-packaged food company that only uses real foods grown on farms, wants to help in the pursuit of eating better and more naturally. They just launched their Eat Clean, Eat Simple campaign to challenge consumers to read the ingredient lists of the pre-packaged foods they eat. That's definitely a goal I can get behind. As a single, work-at-home mom, I must admit that I serve pre-packaged and frozen foods quite a bit. With Good Food Made Simple, I don't have to be ashamed to make that admission. Their food is all-natural; it doesn't contain preservatives, artificial flavors or other harmful additives. Good Food Made Simple is also convenient. Their meals can be ready and on your table in minutes. Can I tell you what that means to me? It's huge because I don't have to feel guiltyl for not feeding my kids something healthy on those days when I just can't take the time to prepare a meal ahead of time. Did I mention there tend to be a lot of those days lately?
Here's what Good Food Made Simple sent me:
Check out the variety! My children love the mac n' cheese, made especially for kids. My favorite was the Mac & Jack. It's made with Cabot cheese. Yum! And the breakfast burritos? Loved them all. I'm not usually real big on the idea of egg whites. They just don't usually do it for me, but the egg white burritos contained enough other flavorful, real ingredients that I didn't even notice I was missing the yolks.
With the Eat Clean, Eat Simple campaign, Good Food Made Simple is working to educate consumers and to help them understand what to look for when reading food labels. They've set up a website that features an unacceptable ingredients glossary, food myth of the week, ingredient quiz, valuable coupons and a sweepstakes opportunity to win a shopping spree with a food expert to explain smart label reading and clean food purchasing. I'd love to win that.
Good Food Made Simple conducted a survey to find out who's reading food labels and whether those who do are really understanding them. Turns out only about 35% of Americans always read the ingredient lists of packaged foods, and only half of those people make sure the ingredients are all clean. That was really surprising to me! The survey also found that 50% of respondents actually expect to find additives in their food. That really paints a vivid picture of our society's view of our food consumption and standards. I found it to be an alarming statistic.
I'm so glad I had the chance to take part in sharing this campaign. it was an eye opener for me, and I now have a better idea of just how tasty and convenient real, clean food can be. I urge you to take a look at the Eat Clean, Eat Simple website to learn more about Good Food Made Simple and the ways you can make better, healthier choices when reading the labels on your food.
* I was chosen to participate in the promotion of the Eat Clean, Eat Simple campaign and was compensated for my efforts. All opinions are my own.