Happy Divorcée Morning Routine (yes, a better morning is possible)

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Are mornings one of the worst times of all for you as a divorced woman?   Do you pull the covers over your head and can't bear the thought of facing another day?

Do you feel that you just need quiet undisturbed time to process what's going on in your life and have time to comfort yourself, and instead you're trapped on a hamster wheel of obligations, career, and thoughts about your ex?  

Not to mention the inner obligation that you feel inside in terms of how you're allowed to act and feel.

One of my beliefs -- proven over and over by so many clients -- is that you can greatly accelerate your emotional healing by taking small steps of self comfort that will allow you to begin to see the value you truly have. 

The importance of how you see and value yourself is ultimately much more important the opinions of others in your life.  Even though it doesn't feel like it right now.  I remember I felt I'd been down so long I couldn't even remember the last time I'd felt great or even good.  Marriage had been cutting me down to size for years at that point.

From the outside, friends said that it was incredible how well I was handling my ex's betrayal, all the secrets that kept being revealed by the other woman as if my ex's hidden life was being pumped into my veins by intravenous drip . . . but, on the outside I was cool and sarcastic, making fun of it all.

But it didn't feel that way when no one else was around.

Wallowing in grief and anger didn't give me any relief, so I started to come up with little mind-shifts for myself -- to make my life more about me and less about him.  So here's another one of those strategies:

Let's take back control of those early-morning moments when you have to wake up (like it or not), and let's make them something that adds to your happiness, and gives you the most empowering and encouraging start to the day.  

Morning truly does set the pattern for your day, and a stressful or rushed morning takes time to overcome -- so let’s not have any ugh! oh noooooo! morning scenarios that make you want to pack the day in before you even start.

Want the printable that walks you through the steps and makes it easy?  Get it here:


Unlike other Miracle Morning schemes you may have seen, I'm not going to suggest you wake up earlier.  My clients are already exhausted, and often aren't sleeping through the night, so this is more about using the time you have in a self-nurturing way, not about putting yourself through some kind of high-powered productivity bootcamp.

This is all about using those first few minutes (when you're awake but can't bear to start your day yet), in a way that makes you feel hopeful about today.  Let's find a way to make that quiet time really delicious for you, so that you will look forward to it, instead of waking up to, "Yeah.  I'm still here.  My life is still in the garbage."

1. Get everyone on board.  If you don't live alone, let the others in your life know that you need a little quiet time first thing in the morning, and set some boundaries, if you need to.

 Mom Cave sign, ready for laminating and posting to your bedroom door as part of our rock-your-morning freebie package (see the sign-up box above).

Mom Cave sign, ready for laminating and posting to your bedroom door as part of our rock-your-morning freebie package (see the sign-up box above).

For example, If others in your life are disrupting your quiet time while your bedroom door is closed, you may want to put a sign on your bedroom door indicating whether or not you're ready for interruptions yet.

For more on this, if you have kids at home, don't miss step 3.

2.  Turn your bedroom into a luxury spa experience. What can make your bedroom atmosphere feel more like you're on a luxurious vacation? How about moving your coffee maker into your bedroom, and putting a little mini fridge in there too, so that your morning coffee and cream are no more than a few steps away? Or maybe tea is your beverage of choice. Whatever it is, you can have it set up the night before, and enjoy it before you ever leave your bedroom door and greet the others in your space.

Have a few items on your bedside table that help you reconnect to the person of infinite possibilities who lives inside you, and wants to have the chance to breathe and be herself during this day.  You might have a favorite invigorating scent, read a few pages of a favorite inspiring book, pick a card from a favorite oracle deck to inspire your day.  Or maybe something you feel is a little silly, like a stuffed animal . . . or anything comforting that you sit quietly with for those first few minutes of the day.  Just a way to center yourself: a beautiful and inspiring focus to your thoughts.  A way to remind yourself that "THIS is the way I want to feel today."

It's a mini spa for you.  A way to experience those small luxuries as if you are at a 4-star hotel.  A way to open your eyes in the morning and feel excited about those first 15 minutes.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Have a sheet mask on your nightstand and refresh your face while you have your coffee or do a little inspirational reading.
  • Have your favorite song as your alarm wake-up and get out of bed dancing. (I know. You're telling me you're not feeling it. But you will, after the first five seconds.)
  • Prefer a quieter start to your day?  I love listening to positive affirmations first thing in the morning, and you can find something that appeals to you if you search "morning affirmations" on youtube.
  • Have someone who pesters you on the phone first thing in the morning? Try leaving your phone far away from your bed on silent the night before, so that your phone can’t disturb you for these essential first 15 minutes of your day.
  • Get my freebie, above, for a printable to help you figure out what you want your wake-up to be like (plus you get the Mom Cave sign).

3.  Kids at home?  Night-before prep sets you up for a luxurious morning.  Anything that makes mornings more stress-free for your kids, makes mornings more stress-free for you.

Here are a few ideas that have worked wonders for my clients:

  • All lunches and backpacks packed the night before.
  • Breakfast laid out the night before so the kids can grab breakfast while you're calmly getting your mind and emotions as close to where you want them to be as you can.
  • Morning quiet time:  Earbuds on (no loud devices) and no TV before a certain time of morning, if that's something that would make a huge positive impact on your day.

4.  Wake up, give yourself a hug, and set your intention for the day.  You've set everything in place the night before, and now it's time to test-drive your Happy Divorcée Morning Routine.

As you enjoy your in-room morning beverage, relax for a few more moments in bed, take some relaxing deep breaths, and in these quiet moments, visualize how you want your day to proceed. 

If you anticipate some rough spots, see yourself handling them with ease and any difficulties evaporating away. 

If you like positive self-talk, let your inner wisdom suggest a phrase to repeat today that will keep you centered in the mood you want to experience.  (My next blog post will be all about how to create your own morning affirmation audio, and you'll have the chance to download the one I created for myself.)

You can be thinking these centering thoughts and blessing yourself with positive visualizations at the same time that you're showering yourself with love using some of the "spa" suggestions you set up in step 2 the night before.

5.  At around 10 this morning, take a moment to check in with how you're feeling.  Did your new morning routine help (even just a little bit)?  Small gains are incredibly important when healing from divorce, and these gains can be built upon a little more every day.

If you've been following this series of posts, these practices are always there for you to fall back on when something unexpectedly negative happens, when your ex has a fit, or when you have a setback of any kind.

You can use any of the practices I've been sharing (tiny infusions of joy, bedtime ritual, or happy morning routine) to help you re-center yourself and find peace in the midst of the whirlwind.

Life may be pushing you around, but why do the same thing to yourself?

Challenging and emotionally devastating times of life such as the divorce process and the months and years following divorce call for special measures to take back your life.  To recreate your life in a way that has strong positive meaning for you.

And because this is a time that can carry with it so much sadness, and such a big hit to self-esteem and your sense of who you are, this self-creation process has to be soft and comforting rather than bootcampy in its nature.

If you missed the previous posts (and videos) in this series, find them here:

Want the step-by-step printable for the happy morning routine?  Here you go:

As always, I would love to hear your experiences with mornings and these divorce life hacks.

Divorce guest blogger: Everything is possible


by Kathryn Pressly Hunter

Tout est Possible is French for Everything is Possible. I adopted this mantra, of sorts, last fall . . .

After a 24 year marriage, my husband left me for another woman in November of 2016. Having been with him since I was 16 and married at 20, it took me a hot minute to grasp my new world.

Dealing with all that comes with a level of rejection that could easily crush anyone: I chose to move on, heal and not dwell.

I decided very quickly that I was stronger than the storm that I faced. I chose to walk through my divorce not with anger and bitterness, but with self-respect and as much grace as I could muster.

I did, after all, have two young adults to lead who were equally as crushed as I was. I wanted to teach them grace and mercy and not anger and hatred; this world certainly has enough of that. Today, we still deal with some residual ripples of the divorce, but my kiddos and I are stronger together.

Now, back to my “mantra.”  Shortly after my divorce was final in April of 2017 -- maybe even a little before-- it’s like I started to awaken.  I began to dream again.  I began to make myself a priority:  to set some things forth in my life that would set my children and myself up for success. I began writing in a journal. In this new life, I no longer had “my person” and wanted to jot down my thoughts -- however random they were at times.

One day, I wrote:

“Power. I have power. I am worth having the power to make the decisions in my life. I hold the key to joy/success in my life through the power I have in my choices. My world is bigger than me. I am not a victim. I am a strong woman and can do anything I want in this life. I can be bold, my voice is there, but I have just always chosen to remain quiet. No more. Being meek only hurts me and mine. Not arrogance, but a boldness with complete kindness of heart, mind, and spirit.”

I decided now was the time to begin anything with the question “Is this what I want?”

As I began to walk in this -- although hard at times -- I found myself making positive calculated risks. This has led me to a new, amazingly positive career path which I am so excited about, a closer relationship with my children, and the self-motivating push to get out of my comfort zone. I still struggle with this, but each time becomes a little easier -- most recently,  yesterday, by beginning a Jujitsu Self Defense class.  Look out world!

I am proud of my progress. I have soooo much farther to go, but I am excited about life, learning, dreaming -- and making those dreams come into reality. Tout est Possible:  Yes, EVERYTHING is possible.

Kathryn Pressly Hunter lives in upstate South Carolina.  She loves to laugh, share time with those who mean the most to her, and strives to learn something new each day. After the discovery of her husband’s infidelity and facing divorce, Kathryn took a sharp turn from bitterness, anger, and defeat toward grace, positivity, and self-empowerment.

Divorce Insomnia: Bedtime ritual for peaceful sleep

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You finally have a moment to yourself at the end of the day, but it's precisely then that the gloom starts to descend.

You wonder: "Will I sleep at all tonight?  Should I just stay up for a while and not even try?  Maybe a couple glasses of wine would be good?"

When the whirr of the day settles down, is that the time when you lose control of your thoughts, and start thinking about your ex?  Or maybe it's the other woman, or the vacation they're on together, or your fears about being alone forever and ending up living under a bridge . . . .

Welcome to part three of a series that gives The Dynamic Divorcée's special sauce to dealing with some devastating and frustrating experiences that almost all of my divorce coaching clients live with on a daily basis.

If you're catching up with the series . . .

Here's the first installment, How to Get Relief From Exhausting Waves of Grief -- all about how to press pause on these exhausting emotions by having tiny infusions of joy at your disposal.

Here's the second installment, How to Create Your Divorce Emotional First-Aid Kit -- which I like to call your happiness treasure chest.  In this post, I share what's in my own emotional first-aid kit and I share a sample Youtube playlist with my favorite mood-changing 2-minute video, some relaxing binaural beat recordings (that would be perfect to try as part of the bedtime ritual below, plus a couple of kick-a** girl-power songs that shift even my most dismal mood in a hurry.

And in this week's divorce recovery hack, we're saying no to having our sleep hijacked by our pain, our fears, and our exes.

Here's a plan for tonight's dance with insomnia

First, let the scared, hurt, and angry person inside you know that help is on the way.  You're not going to let this sleepless situation continue without, at least, trying out a little magic along the way. 

Keep reading for a few questions to make bedtime a much cozier experience tonight, or, you can get a free printable that does most of this for you:


1.  Take a look at what leads up to bedtime being stressful and frustrating.  You might not be able to banish all thoughts of your ex-husband or your worries, but there are some things you can control.  And doesn't any amount of control feel good these days?

Is it that there's zero downtime from the moment you get home from work until your head hits the pillow (so, by bedtime, you're more keyed up than you've been all day)?  Is it that what you're doing to wind down actually contributes to your stress?

Are there ways that you can engineer evenings to be a little more chaos-and-conflict free? You may not feel like thinking about the flow of your evening hours, but rest and relaxation are more important than ever in order to cope with the life changes you're going through.  It will be so worth it to come up with an evening routine that builds in time to relax and recenter yourself.

2.  What does your current bedtime ritual look like, and how does it makes you feel just before you go to sleep?  Take a look at how you wind down in the hour or so before lights out, and how does that activity make you feel?  How would you like to feel instead?

3.  Based on what you've discovered above, what do you think might help?  What sounds relaxing to you?  What could you do (or not do) that would give you a feeling of peace and "ahhhhhh!"  Can you make your bedroom a more restful, quiet place?  Less clutter, fewer electronics, more cozy textures and bedtime lighting?  Soothing music or a trippy meditation track?  Maybe you want to subtract instead of add to your bedtime ritual.  What do you not want to do anymore? 

What are the first things that pop into your mind when it comes to a new bedtime ritual?  It might be as easy as a cup of warm milk with honey and an uplifting book that brings you peace and hope.  Maybe it's scribbling all your worst thoughts on a few pieces of paper, tearing them up, releasing them to the dark place they came from, and flushing them down the toilet.  Maybe it's who you do or don't talk to in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime.

4.  The last step is troubleshooting:  What or who might get in the way of your more relaxing, more soothing, more self-nurturing new bedtime ritual?  (Your kids?  Another family member?  Maybe even yourself, if you tend to think, "Why bother?")  Whatever the obstacle may be, decide on your secret plan to make sure your bedtime experiment gets a chance to happen.

The cure for divorce insomnia:  Make your new bedtime ritual so cushy and cozy that you can't help but try it. Click to tweet.

As I mentioned earlier, I've created a free printable with a few questions that will help you figure out just one tiny change you can make to your current bedtime ritual to set you up for blissful, peaceful sleep.  And, how to assess if it's working . . . and what to do after that.  Here's how to let me send it to you:




Divorce Emotions: How to manage them using a happiness treasure chest

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In my last blog post, I made a little 4-minute video with a powerful (and fun) way of coping with divorce grief (those persistent, tormenting thoughts that cycle through our minds and just won't let go).  Give it a watch, and it will tell you all about how to use what I call "tiny infusions of joy" to disrupt waves of pain and grief, and why and how to create your own happiness treasure chest.

You can even get a free two-page printable with prompts to help you figure out what little things bring you joy at a moment's notice, when you really need relief.

Tested on myself, divorcee volunteers, and . . . ultimately, my beloved clients!

Of course, there is nothing that I recommend to my clients that I haven't already created and tested on myself (and on other willing divorcee volunteers).

So, while you're figuring out your own "tiny infusions of joy" and what you might like to have in your own happiness treasure chest while dealing with divorce grief, I thought you might like to know what's in my emergency emotional first-aid stash. 

Check out the photo below, and read on to learn more about why I chose these particular things.  (And, in case you want to try out my picks, there are links so you can get them, too.)

 My sadness-interrupting happiness treasure chest for those tough days.  Clockwise from top: Rescue Remedy lozenges, Kusmi teabags in Prince Vladimir and Anastasia, an old ipod (pink!) that holds only my happy songs and happy videos, homemade affirmation cards which I've laminated, Frankincense & Myrrh rollerball essential oil, my favorite drugstore lipstick, and the rosewood box in which I keep all of these items.

My sadness-interrupting happiness treasure chest for those tough days.  Clockwise from top: Rescue Remedy lozenges, Kusmi teabags in Prince Vladimir and Anastasia, an old ipod (pink!) that holds only my happy songs and happy videos, homemade affirmation cards which I've laminated, Frankincense & Myrrh rollerball essential oil, my favorite drugstore lipstick, and the rosewood box in which I keep all of these items.

I keep my tiny infusions of joy in a little rosewood box because I love how it looks, I find the texture of the wood carving very soothing, and it's easy to carry with me.  Here's one that's very much like mine, but slightly larger (since I could use a little more room in my own treasure box).

The "why" behind what's in my emotional first-aid kit

Let me tell you a little bit more about why I have this particular collection of things, and why they help me break through a cycle of negativity, grief, sadness, or feelings of powerlessness.

Rescue Remedy Pastilles come in several flavors.  I like the black current.  These are Bach homeopathic-style remedies, and the flower essences in these lozenges are supposed to calm anxiety, panic, and fear.  Do they really work?  Who knows?  But they have worked for me for years.

Kusmi Anastasia teabags (Earl Grey, citron, and orange flower) and Kusmi Prince Vladimir teabags (blend of China teas with bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, vanilla, and spices).  These teas smell and taste so luxurious that they instantly make me feel special and cared for.  Love love love.

Kuumba Frankincense and Myrrh rollerball essential oil.  I realize that not everyone is a fan of these hippie/yoga kinds of scents, but I find this one deep, relaxing, and comforting.  I believe that everyone has a favorite calming scent, and can find an essential oil or two with a scent that deeply relaxes you.  And, it's so much fun to go to your local Whole Foods and sniff out the scent that transforms your world.

My absolute favorite lipstick: Milani Red Label.  This is just the right red for me: It's not orangey, but it's not too pink either.  It's the true red I'm always looking for.  And, for me, red lipstick always gives me Super Woman superpowers.  It's that, "Okay, I feel like ****, but I can do it!"  Check in with yourself to see if there's something similar that does the same thing for you.

Some things I keep on the iPod (and I've created a sample playlist for you here):

  • I record my own affirmations/visualizations for morning, evening, and those times when I'm just having a terrible day.  It's easy:  Just record into the voice recorder on your phone, and if you happen to use your phone for your happiness playlist, you can just add your own recorded animations to your playlist.  (I like to dedicate my old iPod for this purpose because it makes it special for me:  When I feel down, it's my special little friend.)
  • Binaural beat audios: These are sound tones that are thought to effect positive changes in mental states.  I do find them relaxing to have playing in the background, or you can fall asleep with them playing at bedtime.  To get the full effect, one is supposed to listen with headphones, but I have to confess that I rarely do this myself.
  • Uplifting songs:  Mine are more kicka** than sweet and uplifting.  I'm more of a girl-power person.  Okay, and while I was healing from divorce, there were a healthy number of revenge songs in there, too : ) .
  • Sunrise video:  For me, this is my #1 go-to, if I have just a minute or two to press pause on a painful mental/emotional state.  Seeing a sunrise (even on a video) brings me so much joy, and makes me feel that I'm being protected and watched over.  Check out my sample playlist below, and click the menu icon at the upper left to see a dropdown of everything that's on the playlist:

Hey, I realize that no one seems to comment on blog posts anymore, but I would be THRILLED if you would comment below and share with me what you have in your happiness treasure chest (or, what you're going to have in there, once you put it all together).


Divorce Healing: How to interrupt the endless waves of grief.

These days (and for way too long) do you drag yourself out of bed in the morning not even daring to think about how you'll make it through one more day?  And, do you tend to end the day feeling the same dark, tired, hopeless way?

I want to suggest something that will seem too simple to work.  You may not feel that you have the energy to start a program to feel better, or to make a commitment to take a series of steps that will lift you up.   And, you don't have to.  It might be just too much to even consider, right now.

But, wouldn't it make today a little better if you could find a way to experience a few brief moments that make you smile, or that aren't painful, and you could go to sleep tonight being able to remember a few minutes from earlier today that made you happy (just for a moment or two)?  Wouldn't even a brief break from the agony be worth it?

(4-minute video below in case you prefer to watch rather than read. Post continutes below the video.)

What is happiness, anyway?

Happiness isn't usually a time of life when absolutely everything is going your way.  Most of the time, happiness is just tiny moments of joy strung together

And it's actually possible to make sure that we have these moments of joy happen throughout the day.  But, when you're going through divorce (especially when the divorce is especially painful), finding these moments of happiness to hold on to takes a little bit of planning.

"Happiness is just tiny moments of joy strung together." -- Rosetta Magdalen (click to tweet)

Happiness treasure chest

Step 1. To bring some tiny infusions of joy into your day, take a few moments to think about songs, colors, experiences, tastes, and sights that make you happy.  (Include on this list only experiences that are good for you, so that the moment of happiness doesn't morph into something you regret.)

Step 2. Find one location where you can access your happiness touchstones anytime you need or want an infusion of joy.  (More on this below.)

Step 3. Remember to use your magical happiness list, especially when you're having a day of overwhelming and persistent negative emotions.  It's empowering to know that you can decide to stop the downward spiral, simply by interrupting it and substituting something small that brings you joy. 

I made a little free printable that walks you through this entire process.  And my promise is that you'll have a unique-to-you magical way to lift your spirits in just five minutes, no matter what (short of some major bomb-dropping by your ex).  You can get it here.

But, if it were this easy . . .

For a while, you'll be measuring your happiness in minutes per day, but if you keep intentionally placing things on your path that you love, pretty soon you'll be reaching a critical mass where you'll be feeling pretty good 10% of the time . . . then 25% of the time . . . then 50% of the time . . . . 

And part of the magic is to be truly present when you're experiencing your infusions of joy.  Really let yourself feel that you're seeing, hearing, tasting, or experiencing something you absolutely love.

Notice if you have some feelings such as, "How dare I feel happy right now!  I'm supposed to be feeling miserable/sad/angry . . . ."

We have a lot of control over how long we suffer and how much we suffer during and after divorce.  Finding moments of happiness and daring to let yourself experience them is a first step toward taking your power back.

And you don't need anyone else to participate in order to be happy.

And, guess what?  None of these tiny bits of joy requires the participation of another person.  You can give yourself these moments of joy right now.    Anytime.  Anyplace.  And you can do it again whenever you want.

If you'd like to have me walk you through this process, you can get the printable here.

Time commitment to try this: About five minutes to answer a few questions on the printable that will help you get in touch with things that bring you real joy.  Maybe another ten minutes to follow the instructions to create a "home" for your happiness experiences.  (It can be as simple as a list, or as easy as a place online -- I give you a couple of easy suggestions.  And that's it.  You'll have your happiness treasure chest ready for whenever you need it.)

As always, if you try this and it helps, please comment below, because it will encourage others to try this simple, but powerful idea.

Divorcees: 13 favorite things for 2017 (that I hope you'll love, too)

From time to time I post a favorite things list (you can find two of my previous lists here and here), and this time, it's my biggest list ever: favorite books, a few woowoo items, my favorite power lipstick, my favorite retro-chic (and ultra-comforting) scarf, and . . . my favorite reflective-incognito sunglasses (for those times when you never know when you might burst into tears about your ex, your life, your kids . . .), two of my favorite teas, and more.   

Linked text will take you to a place or two where you can buy my faves for yourself.  Let's go!

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The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism.

Why I love it:  I'm always looking for new brilliance to share with women in my 2-hour Invisible to Irresistible coaching, and I wasn't disappointed with this book.

The author pulls together lots of charisma and how-to-influence-people tips you've seen elsewhere, but ties them together in ways you can easily use.

You'll learn about four major styles of charisma and which to use when.  Plus, lots of easy suggestions you can try immediately.

Why you might love it:  You've always felt that you fade into the walls and never really make an impression on anyone.  You feel you have no leverage when it comes to negotiating, whether it's in your job, in your romantic life, or just in deciding where to go out to dinner with friends.  You admire those women whom everyone wants to be with, and always thought they were just born with charisma.  The author has proven that charisma can be learned, and she tells you how, step by step.


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The Mind-Body Code: How to Change the Beliefts That Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success.

Why I Love It:  This book talks about the outcomes of our lives as stemming from various forms of cultural conditioning throughout the world.  Family members and other authority figures cause wounds of shame, abandonment, and betrayal that shape adult lives marred by feelings of worthlessness and judging our own lives by the judgments of our culture.

Seen through this lens, the author offers various reframing techniques to let go of damaging messages from our culture and loved ones, and provides the opportunity to believe in ourselves and live lives of honor and dignity and be loyal to ourselves.

There's also a chapter on what the author calls "horizontal versus vertical love" and explains the qualities that allow to have long and happy relationships together, always finding something new and interesting in one's partner.

I feel these concepts have enriched and added depth to my own method of emotional healing after divorce, and the idea of cultural conditioning can be a great help in forgiving those who have harmed us.  Letting go is such an important part of divorce recovery.

Why You Might Love It: Outside of just one heavy-going chapter on the science behind Martinez' concepts, the book is an easy and joyous read.  If you're looking for permission to buck our society's concepts about the place of women over 40, aging in general, what's too late and what's not, I believe you'll find this book such a good friend and companion.


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Jo Malone: My Story.  The epic story of how a lower-class English girl with less than a high-school education virtually raises herself, picks herself up every time she is knocked down, and somehow builds two amazing companies.

Why I Love It:  Before reading this book, I had never heard of Jo Malone or her fragrances.  I was tipped off to Malone's story by an English entrepreneur acquaintance who was gushing over the new Jo Loves shop in London and this autobiography.

What a story.  Malone went from a childhood in poverty with two irresponsible parents (having to leave school at 15 to go to work) to creating a multi-million pound business which she sold to cosmetic giant Estee Lauder while she was still in her early 30s.  And that's just one part of her story.  There's a horrible bout with cancer, how she engineered act two of her career, and much more.

Why You Might Love It:  When I was in the midst of divorce and after, I was reading any encouraging stories I could possibly get my hands on.  I was big into stories that were even worse than mine, thinking, "Well, if she could keep living after all this, than I can, too."

While divorce is not part of Jo Malone's story, oh my god, she does go through so many deprivations, hurdles, and setbacks.  I found this book so inspiring -- and it's not about being perfect in order to succeed.  It's about just being an imperfect, ordinary person with a dream plus the desire to work hard for it rather than feeling sorry for herself.


Ok, before going on to yet more books, I have to share my favorite lipstick of 2017.  It's a drugstore brand, but it's not just my favorite drugstore buy of the year; it beats department store brands hands down (in my opinion).  It's Milani 05 Red Label.

Why I Love It:  It's semi-matte, not too shiny or glossy, but not drying, and (at least on me) it lasts a long time if you apply, blot, apply, blot, apply.  Not too orangy, not too pinky, and under $6.  Plus expensive-looking gold case.

Why You Might Love It:  Because it's the perfect red!  And because red lipstick makes you feel powerful.  It's like your magic wand.  Wave this lipstick in the air, proclaim what you want to have happen today, swipe this lipstick over your lips and become a honey-tongued influencer.


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Ask and It is Given.  This is an old book, and one I go back to almost every year -- anytime I start thinking that achieving my goals is just too hard . . . and it reminds me that mindset is everything.

Why I Love It:  Easy read, lots of processes in the back that you can sift through and use immediately. ("Processes" in Esther-Hicks-speak are suggested ways to actually use the principles in the book, and make fast positive changes happen.)

Why You Might Love It:  The book identifies various negative states that you may be stuck in, and suggests easy-to-understand ways to move up to a slightly better state, rather than expecting you to move from despair directly to joy.  It's such a practical, useful book and a great starting point to learn about the power of mindset and the law of attraction.  Another quick and life-changing read from the same author: Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness.  Also highly recommended by me, and this one used to come with a CD in the back -- perhaps it still does).


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Louise Hay: Self-Esteem Affirmations CD.  Another oldie, but lifetime favorite.  Something by Louise Hay had to make it onto my list this year because she passed away in 2017 at the age of 90, and has been such an influence in my life for the past 30 years.

Why I Love It: First of all, the soothing and loving voice of Louise Hay.  And the positive affirmations in her voice truly make you believe that what she is saying is true.  In a way I can't accurately describe, she gives you permission to believe in yourself, and when I believed her words I also believed in me. I'm linking to the CD because I'm amazed it's still available, and it's always nice to have a hard copy of audios that you'll turn to again and again.  If you're more of a download person, I would recommend any audio by Louise.  This particular CD is one that saw me through every excruciating day of my separation and divorce.

Why You Might Love It:  I don't think we can ever get enough positive reinforcement and acceptance for who we are.  And there's no one remotely like Louise Hay on the subject of self-love and affirmations.  If you want to get a feeling for Louise's style, check out this blogpost from earlier this year that includes a video where she talks about self-love.  And, another of my favorite Louise Hay audios that was a daily companion during my divorce:  How to Love Yourself.


And now, on to tea, planners, calming fragrance, and going incognito when tears are likely to start streaming down your face at any moment.

First, a couple of luxury teas that make me feel all better (and maybe you, too).

Both of these are made by historic Russian/French tea company Kusmi, and both of my picks are Earl Grey-based, because I just can't help myself; I love Earl Grey.  However, if you're a tea lover, you can definitely browse and find a Kusmi tea that will intrigue you.  For example, a new favorite of mine is their Chocolate Spice, and I can't wait to try their Violet black tea blend.

But, here are my top two Kusmi loves:

Anastasia.  Inspired by the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Czar Nicholas II, this Earl Grey blend is flavored with orange blossom, bergamot, and lemon.

Why I Love It:  It's my favorite tea -- yes, we have established that's Earl Grey -- with the bright and happy fragrance of orange and lemon.  I am not a tea afficionado, so I can only say that when I drink this delicious tea, I just feel so cared for, indulged, and uplifted.  The whole experience is so beautiful, from the gorgeous tea tin, the beautiful look and scent of the tea inside, to the scent of the tea, and then the rich, elegant taste.  And, in case you think that this tea won't wake you up in the morning, the caffeine will do its magic.

Prince Vladimir. Created in 1888 in honor of Vladimir the Great, this is also an Earl Grey blend, along with citrus, vanilla and spices. 

Why I Love It:  All the reasons above, but in this tea, the vanilla predominates, making it more of a relaxing experience than a happy/orange experience.  These are two very different teas; both magnificent.

Why You Might Love It:  Kusmi Teas are such an amazing experience.  In my opinion, other teas are just meh by comparison.  Of course, I still do enjoy other, more affordable, brands of tea, but I feel so special when I drink one of my Kusmi Teas.  If you love tea and you want to do something a little special for yourself, please search these out (links to the two varieties I love are in red in the descriptions here, but there are so many more varieties).  At around $19 for a 4.4 oz can, that's equivalent to only four stops at Starbucks and you get to enjoy for many, many, many servings.


Zum Mist Frankincense & Myrrh.  The fragrances of the teas above made me think about including one of my favorite day-to-day scents, which I'm as likely to spray in the air or on towels or pillowcases as on myself.  In fact, this scent is also available in laundry detergent (which I have not yet tried).

Why I Love It:  First of all, I love heavy, grounding scents (including patchouli, amber, sandlewood, vetiver . . .) like frankincense and myrrh, and I learned about Zum Mist from a friend, who then gave me a bottle of this stuff.  It's grounding, calming, centering, and it's always on my desk for use when the day gets a little crazy.  

Why You Might Love It:  In one spray, your whole day gets better (if you like this particular scent).  It's like magic.  The beautiful scent allows you to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and feel completely renewed.



My Best Year Ever Happy Planner!  This is an undated package deal where you customize the dates.  Now that it's already 2018, it may be a little difficult to find the Happy Planner of your choice still available for this year, but follow the link above if you like the design to your left.

Why I Love It:  It's so cheery and colorful and the dividers for each month give you beautifully designed words of inspiration (so pretty that they're suitable for framing).  I love the ring-disc system that allows you to easily remove and replace pages, and I also have the disc-system hole punch (see next item below) that lets me insert practically anything I want into the binder. It also works with the ARC system looseleaf pages and accessories from Staples (although slightly different in size).

Why You Might Love It:  It's happy.  It's pretty.  It's mood-elevating and makes planning fun.  And, unlike other planners, it's 100% customizable.  Pull pages out, reorganize pages to suit yourself -- and, the classic size (7.75” x 9.75”) feels so good in your hands.  Not too big, not too small.  This kit comes with some stickers, magnetic page markers and other fun stuff, but you can also buy accessories to your heart's content to make this planner feel completely your own secret guidebook to 2018.

For those who love to customize your planner, here's the most affordable disc-system punch I've found.  However, if you're happy to pay $34 rather than $22, you can find punches that can handle more pages at one time like the one at this link.

If you buy the Create 365 punch (the first link above), do not punch more than 3 sheets at a time.  I pushed the boundaries with my first punch, which broke.  I'm now treating my new punch with care, and . . . no further problems.


For the first year or two after my divorce, I never knew when I'd burst into tears in public, so I finally decided, why not do it in style?  Here are my new faves (though I'm no longer crying at the grocery: these round, mirror-lens tortoise shell frames.

So when you're uncontrollably tearing up in public, at least no one has to know but you.  Plus, mysterious rather than tragic.  And just $12.


My go-to scarf for this year (and goes great with the sunglasses and red lipstick above, I might add).  Many animal-print scarves are available everywhere this season, but my favorite at any price came from Old Navy.  Looks so expensive, and as of this moment, they're still available here.  Feels retro-chic, powerful, and so soft and comforting.

That's it, Dynamic Divorcées:  My favorite things for your divorce healing toolkit, 2017 edition.

If you like any of my picks, would you comment and let me know?  It would be amazing to hear from you.