This time last year

Last summer my world went topsy turvy. I went through a breakup.

We all go through them, and as far as I can tell, they always suck. Even under the most copacetic of circumstances, breakups are hard. To get us all in the same headspace, I want you to go on a little journey with me. You in?

Think about the last time you had your heart broken – by a friend, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, sibling, parent, whatever. Have that memory at the top of your mind? Does it ache a little bit just to think about it?

I’m sorry, that was kind of a cruel exercise. Here’s a cute picture of some kissing meerkats courtesy of the San Diego Zoo’s instagram (seriously, follow @sandiegozoo – too cute).

Meerkats by San Diego Zoo

In all seriousness though,  I think heartbreak is universal. I’ve had my share (as we all have), and it never gets easier. Each time a relationship is lost, it hurts all over again…even when you know it’s for the best. My first serious breakup wasn’t with a boyfriend, but rather with a best friend. I was devastated. I lost weight, partied harder than I should have, and actually ended up breaking someone else’s heart. (At the time, having two boyfriends seemed like a good way to protect myself from future heartbreak. Spoiler – it did NOT work. Lesson learned.)

Thankfully, I’ve grown up a little bit since then, and I think I’ve gotten much better at breakups. They’re not easier – actually, I think they get harder as you get older and life becomes more complex – but I’ve picked up some healthier coping strategies. One year after successfully surviving a breakup, I present the following tactics.

  1. Let yourself be sad. I think this is the hardest one of all. There’s a lot of pressure to be happy and be ok, but sometimes you’re not. This is going to suck. There’s just no way around it. I called in sick to work one day last fall just to cry it out with my Netflix account – months after my actual breakup. Emotions aren’t linear and there’s no right amount of time to mourn a relationship. Cancel plans if you need to. Take a break from being the life of the party. Cut yourself some slack and let yourself wallow…for awhile.
  2. Get help/access your support system. Feel all the sad, but if you’re feeling like you can’t go on, can’t pull yourself out of the funk, or are engaging in any kind of self harm (including risky behavior and negative self talk) – get some support! Whether it’s a friend, family member, or mental health professional, reach out – you’re not alone. In fact, even if you do know you’re going to be ok, reach out anyway. Lean on the other relationships in your life – everyone’s been there on some level. You might be surprised at how happy other people are to just be there for you.
  3. Set parameters for your relationship with your ex. Figure out how much contact you do or don’t want with this person. Draw the lines where you need them and respect the lines that the other person needs. It may feel weird, and it certainly won’t be easy, but defining those “lines” for yourself will make it much easier for both of you. Sure they will evolve over time, but check in and be clear about that evolution. Getting drunk and going home with an ex is not an “evolution,” it’s a recipe for disaster. Set parameters around social media too. Checking his facebook profile every hour isn’t going to help you move on with your life.
  4. Set non-relationship goals. Many of us get caught up in the narrative that we’re supposed to find the One, get married, and live happily ever after. When that doesn’t happen, it can feel like we’ve failed. News flash: You didn’t fail, and that narrative is kind of bullshit (and viciously propagated by our carefully curated social media lives). My antidote to failure (even though this is NOT failure), is a new goal. Please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT make your goal about your love life. Pick a goal that requires only you. Maybe it’s a great time to learn Spanish, play the guitar, run a 5K, or knock it out of the park at work. If you’re super ambitious like me, your new goal will be to keep a house plant alive for a full year. Not even kidding. IMG_3455
  5. Make decisions about your life. While breakups are really shitty, they are a natural pivot point. It’s a good time to reflect and change the things in your life that aren’t bringing you joy. Don’t feel like you have to do it overnight, but be open to making big changes. I moved in with roommates post-breakup (truly awesome ones too!), but months later I was still uncomfortable in my new world. Over Thanksgiving, my parents suggested I get my own place. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but it was like a light bulb went off! I had put my life on hold because I felt so unmoored by the breakup. I was drifting along. Getting my own apartment – while a scary financial decision – felt like the stake in the ground of my life as an independent person. “This is my life, I belong here.” Don’t put off big decisions waiting for someone else to come along. Move abroad, adopt a dog, get your very own Costco membership- just stop waiting to decide until you get into a new relationship. The waiting will make you nuts, and you’ll have to consider what someone else wants. Embrace the freedom.

So that’s what I’ve got folks. That’s how I navigated the dark waters of my own breakup. It was tough, but I can honestly tell you that today I am in love with everything about my life. Yes, I am absolutely terrified of getting my heart broken again (that shit HURTS), but I’m more open than I’ve ever been. Every single time, the love, growth, strength and experience I’ve gained from opening my heart has been worth the pain of breaking it. I hope you’ve all felt the same.

Enough about me. What about you? Want to share your best advice on recovering from a broken heart? Want to share your breakup story? Hit me with some of that untapped wisdom!


On Marriage Equality

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Bill of Rights, First Amendment of The Constitution

A few things:

1) The pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right.  Sometimes, people decide to get married in the pursuit of happiness.

2) Government derives their power from the consent of the governed.  Every statistic I’ve read in the past year says that more than 50% of Americans believe in Marriage Equality.

3) Some religions acknowledge marriage equality.  Denying marriage equality would prohibit the free exercise of those religions, no?

My Favorite Date Spot (in honor of Valentine’s Day)

A few years ago, one of my favorite people introduced me to Wo Hop (17 Mott Street, downstairs, go NOW).  Lucky for me, we still go there.  It’s a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant that’s been a favorite of locals and tourists alike for more than 30 years.  I know some awesome folks who’ve been going there since the 70s…and let’s be real, lower Manhattan in the 70s was not such a great place to be, so it’d have to be reallllllly delicious to make that trek, no?

Anyhow, Wo Hop is incredible, and it’s SUCH a fun place to go on a date, be it your first or your thousandth.  If you go on a Friday or Saturday, or really any day when it’s decent out, expect a line coming out of the ground, but trust me, stay and wait!  When you get seated, I need you to order the wonton soup.  I promise you, it is the best wonton soup you will ever have.

The crunchy noodles are optional, but they’re pretty good too.  The wonton soup is NOT optional. SO GOOD.  According to my favorite, Wo Hop is a “noodle place” so he always get’s lo mein.  It’s pretty good, but I like to get a little bit of vegetables in my meal, so I often go with the chicken with broccoli.  The broccoli is always fresh and just cooked enough.
Luckily, the portions at Wo Hop are ginormous, so you can share dishes with YOUR favorite person.  (Honestly, it’s technically all family style…except for the wonton soup, DO NOT SHARE, get your own.)  When all is said and done, I guarantee you’ll be so full and happy, if you weren’t love in the way in, you’ll be in love on the way out ;)~
How could I not love a restaurant that sends me home with this message?
Happy Valentine’s Day!!

How I Ended Up Training for a Marathon

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. ~Epictetus

A year ago today I ran my first half marathon and LOVED it.  In eighth grade I got a B in gym because I refused to run the mile for the Presidential Fitness test (I walked it happily), because I HATED running.  How did I go from someone who absolutely hated pounding the pavement to someone who can’t get through the week without a good run? 

I was very athletic growing up, I was on the swim team, rode horses (English-style, jumpers), did gymnastics, danced, and cheered.  In college I was committed to staying fit, and was a total gym rat.  However, this funny thing happened when I graduated college and moved to New York without a job…I was broke.  Like realllllly broke.  I paid my first months rent, convinced my parents to stock my fridge with Costco goods and was left with $90 and stolen internet to find a job (which I did).  With no free campus gym membership in sight I started running up to Prospect Park, doing a few crunches and pushups and running home.  It started as two one mile legs, and eventually became a continuous three miles.  I started working at a local restaurant to supplement my paltry actor’s income and the chef was a runner runner (He’s like insanely fast).  The idea of distance running sparked my interest and I worked towards building my endurance.  After a year of living in New York I was running about 15 miles a week and actually enjoying it. 

For my 2010 resolution I decided I wanted to run a race…a long one.  The longest distance I could fathom running was a half-marathon, so I signed up for the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon in September and started building my mileage.  I started running 20-25 miles a week and have pretty much consistently maintained that ever since.  I completed my first race in 2h10m02s and I was hooked.  Honestly, if you want to get into running, but don’t like it, sign up for a race.  You will never go back.

(I totally talked my parents into it.)

Ever the casual goal -setter I decided I wanted to try a marathon….eventually.  I decided that 2012 was the year.  I would run 26.2 miles the year I turned 26.  I’d be done with grad school, have the mental, physical and emotional capacity to handle it, and have plenty of time to prepare.  For 2011, I joined NYRR and decided to run the 9 +1(volunteer) races I’d need for automatic entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon (side note: I live a block away from the NYC marathon course and I LOVE going down to watch it every year).  I was ready.  The plan was set, my life was swimming along brilliantly and I had the mother of all marathons to look forward to when grad school was done.

Then I got dumped…by my boyfriend of three years…who I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  That SUCKED.  I was pretty devastated (note the sappy and philosophical posts that dominated the middle of the summer).  I needed something to throw myself into, and fast.  When an invitation to run the Inaugural Bucks County Marathon popped into my inbox, I clicked through instinctively.  It was the first ever marathon in my home town.  It was four months away.  Before I could question what I was doing, my credit card was out and I had a receipt from  I was running a marathon.      

Wooops.  Impulsive much? 

Honestly, I’ve had my doubts about this decision, but it’s brought a lot of positivity into my life over the past few months that I desperately needed.  Marathon training forces to me fuel properly, not get rip roaring drunk, go to bed at a reasonable hour, gives me energy throughout the day, but leaves me exhausted at night so that I sleep like a baby.  On some level, I’m grateful for the heartbreak because it’s given me the opportunity to run this race and focus on myself right now.  I’m working on becoming a better person all around and it’s something I can be proud of.  It’s not the path I would have chosen for myself, but its a path that presented itself, and I’m happy to say I’m enjoying the journey. 

Did a less than favorable situation ever drive you to something good?