Dating In The 21st Century

Dating is not what it used to be. In fact, it actually kind of (REALLY) sucks.  Let me elaborate….

You set up a profile on a website. Pick one website…or multiple websites. Many times you will see the same profile on about 3 different dating websites. You answer some questions that the website poses to you. “Would you date someone who smokes?” “Do you have children?” “Do you have any pets?” Etc.  As if answering any of these questions will lead you any closer to your soul mate. You upload the best pictures you can find, or take, of yourself. You maybe, maybe, write some great little bio that you will hope grab attention (but the truth of the matter is that 90% of people don’t even care to read your bio).

You start browsing through the profiles of some others on the site. You look through pictures. Your eye catches the person’s age, height, maybe the city they currently live in … and then you are back to their pictures. You notice a small imperfection in their smile and you’re not sure if you’d like that, so you exit out of their profile and look through some more. You find another one. Swipe through the pictures again…notice that in one of their pictures they didn’t appear to look all that put together, so you exit out and look through more profiles.

Then it happens. You get your first message. Now depending on if you’re a guy or a girl, your experience here is slightly different. I’m going to speak mostly from the girl’s side … because, well, I am a girl.

****STEP #1****

GUY

Opens inbox/mailbox. “You’re handsome.” Replies, “Thanks.”

GIRL

Opens inbox/mailbox. “Hey sexy.” Replies, “Hey.” “How are you?” Replies, “I’m fine.” “Can we exchanges numbers?” Replies, “Sure…mine is xxx-xxx—xxxx.” Receives a text with a dick pic. :/

eye roll

****NEXT****

You begin browsing through profiles again. Another message hits your inbox/mailbox. Repeat the entire step #1 again. In fact, repeat step #1 about 10 times.

Ok. Finally you stumble upon a profile where you see no glaring imperfections in any of the pictures, the individual’s height and body shape seem to meet your approval and you are able to strike up at least a small, somewhat meaningful, conversation with the individual. Finally…you chat a little, sending messages back and forth for about 30 minutes. You have high hopes. You may have found one! And then…nothing. Silence. You sit there. Should you send them another message? Maybe they just got busy. You wait. And wait. Nothing. You decide to send another message. No reply. Ooook…..

****NEXT****

Repeat step #1 a couple more times. URGHHH!!!!

Now here’s where it gets fun. You finally come across a profile where you see no glaring imperfections in any of the pictures, the individual’s height and body shape seem to meet your approval and you are able to strike up at least a small, somewhat meaningful, conversation with the individual….AND…it continues. You exchange numbers. You text back and forth a little. You agree to meet in person. Aaaand…the individual looks nothing like their profile pictures. You’re irritated and now you find them to be actually kind of annoying and/or embarrassing to be around in public. So you do what any other normal human being would do…you continue the date and you ghost them after.

****NEXT****

Repeat step #1 a couple more times.

Do you see where I am going with all this yet?

Now let’s say you make it past all of this fun and you finally do meet someone and you hit it off with them. You had a great time with each other on date number one (even went back to their house with them after and REALLY hit it off…if you know what I mean). Then there’s nothing. You get upset. Jump back in to your dating profiles, meet someone new…now repeat this particular scenario a couple more times.

Ok, this clearly isn’t working. You’re going to try one more time and that’s it! You’re going to give up if this doesn’t work. But this time…you are NOT going to go home with anyone after date number one. Got it? You meet someone, hit it off…things go great! You go separate ways at the end of the night. You’re still talking after that. Yay!! You’re excited. There’s more dates. You feel like you’re actually in a real relationship now! FINALLY! You delete your dating profiles. Then the 3 people referenced in the paragraph above start texting and/or messaging you out of no where. There are various excuses as to why they didn’t contact you sooner. You engage in a little small talk with them, but that’s about it. You continue on with your current, now partner (so you think). But then you have suspicions that your now “partner” possibly has others sitting there just lingering too (like you do). You two have your first argument/disagreement. Ugggg…you’re so mad. You message and/or call the three people in the above-paragraph, each individually…and hit them with the “Hey!! What have you been up to lately?”…and you re-list your dating profiles.

next

****NEXT****

Does anyone else see ANYTHING wrong with any of this?? There is absolutely no value placed on relationships anymore. People do not take time to get to know each other anymore. You are randomly picked from a selection of photos and then settled for when everyone else before you failed. Then when you don’t have sex right away, or if you do, or you don’t send nudes right away, or if you do…when you also “fail”, you are tossed away and traded for the next person that is waiting there…just one single text message, or inbox, away…that is apparently willing to do all the things you didn’t do…or did do…who the hell really knows anymore.

Let’s not even talk about marriage. You know how many more short-term marriages I see these days compared to what I saw even just 10-17 years ago? If you get lucky enough make it to that lovely wedding date…you’re not out of the woods just yet. You still could be thrown right back into this lovely dating pool pit in the blink of an eye.

I find all of this so sad. Sure, the whole online dating thing is handy because who has the time anymore to actually go out and meet new people? Who has the time to actually just hang out with someone and really get to know them? It’s SO much more convenient to meet new people from the comfort of your bed, while lying in your jammies, shoving your face full of popcorn and watching a drama-filled television series on Netflix.

I still tend to hold a value to relationships. I have a hard time severing connections (even when I probably really should). Do you know how hard it is to value a person and a relationship these days…when this isn’t the norm anymore? Dating in the 21st Century is not easy!

 

Lipstick

I know every lipstick-wearing woman has always desperately wanted a lipstick that really stays on your lips throughout the day, right?  You’ve tried multiple brands.  Some have worked better than others, but still not a single one has “made it” in your mind.  You’ve spent money, lots of money, looking for the right one and ended up settling for one that was “decent”.

Well…I have stumbled upon a brand that I will swear upon.  SeneGence’s LipSense.  I actually bought my first few tubes of this lipstick a little over two years ago…and I’ll never buy a different lipstick again.  Ever.  Last year I decided to actually get into the SeneGence business and start selling their products.  Now people have tried to get me into MaryKay, Avon, Thrive, ItWorks!, etc. and I’ve never been into starting my own business and never been into products enough to actually start selling them myself.  Don’t get me wrong, there are things I like about some of each of those businesses…but after trying SeneGence’s, well…everything, I’ve never been so committed to a business and product line in my life!

There are some tricks, however, to making your LipSense last longer (actually mine usually lasts from 7 a.m. until I remove it at 9 p.m.).  I didn’t know these tricks when I first started wearing LipSense.  No one ever told me.  So I wasn’t getting that long of wear from my LipSense.  Now that I sell LipSense, I pass my knowledge on to all my customers.  I want them to love their lipstick just as much as I love mine.

try it

Tricks and Tips

First, you have to “prime” your lips.  This basically just means clean them really well with either Witch Hazel or with the LipSense remover.  Either will work just fine.  Then make sure you dry your lips prior to the next step.  Second, shake the living snot out of your LipSense tube of lipstick.  You have to mix up the pigments in there really, really well.  So shake, shake, shake away!  Third, you want to apply 3 thin layers of LipSense to your lips.  To do this, you wipe off all the access LipSense from the wand (wipe it on your tube).  I like to first outline my lips like I am applying a lipliner and then I fill in the bigger part of the lip.  You have to move in one direction with this lipstick.  You cannot go back and forth and you cannot touch your lips together during application.  You have to let each layer dry completely before applying the next.  And then finally, after your third layer is completely dry, you apply your gloss.  THEN you can touch your lips together.  Finally!

 

You need your gloss.  You should apply it here and there throughout the day.  The more you lick your lips, the more your color will wear down and begin to flake off.  Your gloss will help so you don’t lick your lips.  Also, you should apply your gloss before and after you eat to assure your color remains in tact.  Additionally, greasy foods will also break your color down a bit.  So be mindful in what you are eating (we all probably really should anyway).

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The Perks

All of these products last FOREVER!  Seriously.  Due to the small amounts you use for each application and due to the fact that you have such few reapplications (if any) throughout the day.  My LipSense tubes have lasted me more than one year (some more than 2 years).

You can layer the colors and come up with hundreds and thousands of different colors.  You can also ombre the colors or make cool designs on your lips (if you wanted to).  How and why?  Because these colors don’t smudge, fade or transfer.  I LOVE doing ombre colors!  These have to be the funnest because you really don’t know exactly how it will end up (and it almost always looks fabulous).

Ombre

It’s not just the lipstick that lasts forever either.  Everything does.  The foundations, the eyeshadows, the facial products, etc.

To Check Out Products

SeneGence carries so many amazing products.  LipSense is just one of the many.  You can check out my website at www.senegence.com/cosmeticqueen.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I would definitely not brag nor be excited about a company nor about products if I truly didn’t have great results with them.  And don’t forget…satisfaction is guaranteed!

guarentee

Exchanges

Life is really about a bunch of exchanges, isn’t it?  You “exchange” a job for a better one.  You “exchange” a relationship for a better one.  You “exchange” a home for a better one.  In your process of “exchanging” you learn and hopefully grow.

For lack of a better term, “exchanging” is really what we all do.  Everyday.  You know possibilities are out there.  They are endless really.  You can make more money.  You can obtain better benefits.  You can have nicer things.  You can be with someone who treats you like you are their everything.  Because of the endless possibilities, the desire fuels us.  The desire for more.  In your process of “exchanging”, some of your gains may be fantastic and everything you’ve always dreamed of.  And some…well…you may wish you could exchange back for what you previously had.  Sometimes mistakes get made along the way.

What some people really fail to do is to just sit down and examine themselves.  What do you really want?  What can you live with and what can you live without?

What if you had a relationship where your man was damn near the perfect family man?  The man who was always there for your children.  Who adored your children, and they him.  The man who had the “what’s mine is ours” mentality.  The man who would keep peace in the house and who wouldn’t allow even the smallest disagreement to occur in front of the children.  He was all about family.  He was stable and if any issues ever came up, they were talked about and taken care of without any real argument.  BUT…this man also had a dark side that was pretty well hidden from you and from others.  He may make up stories, perhaps even lie to you…for some reason or another.  He very well could be living a double life.

Or what if you had a relationship where your man just absolutely adored you?  He was so thoughtful of you.  He’d surprise you sometimes with flowers, or a night out, or a gift.  He always wanted to be with you and around you.  He talked to you multiple times per day…whether by text or phone.  You were always on his mind.  You shared similar interests and desires with this man.  BUT…this man was not really about family.  He didn’t really want much to do with your children.  He didn’t really participate with things that interested the children nor invited them to do things with you and he.  He’s actually pretty selfish and has the “what’s his is HIS” mentality.  He is SUPER sensitive and you’d have to tiptoe around his feelings because if you upset him you’d end up in a week long fight that would occur in front of anyone and everyone and could occur anywhere at any moment.  He was very unstable and would leave you at any moment and for any reason.

When you think of exchanges just know that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world that comes in a perfect little package.  What you need to do is sit down and examine what you desire.  What are you willing to live with?  What are you willing to compromise on?  What is super important to you and is non-negotiable?  And mostly…is it really just all about you?  If you have children…isn’t it about them too?  What are their wants and desires?

Social media, movies and cartoons would have us believe in fairy tale relationships and made-up people.  The people and the relationships portrayed in front of us aren’t real.  They are all just for show.  Yet, many of us desire what we see in these venues.  We aren’t going to find these people nor these relationships.  You may end up exchanging something and regretting it.  Think about the exchanges and the possibilities prior to entering into a new situation.  You may need to learn how to be content with what you have…because things could be worse.  Much worse actually.

Soul Mate?

Sure, I’ve shed many tears in my lifetime.  But none as plentiful as the tears that came when one particular relationship ended.  Those tears were life-changing tears.  A sort of pain I’ve never felt before.  A piece of me was literally taken away at that moment in my life. I got to experience divorce…from the other side of the courtroom. And it was terrible.

So over the past few years, I’ve tried to put myself back together again. I went to church. I made some great friendships. I even entered into a couple relationships that, even though they weren’t right for me at those moments for one reason or another, I learned a lot of valuable information from them. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about what I value in life. I learned a lot about what types of behavior is allowable, and what types of behavior is not. I learned what kind of peace and knowledge one can bring into your life and I learned what kind of shit show another can bring into your life.

Back to the original heartbreak…After the pain, tears, agony…you know my body even went through physical changes? To explain…I would be freezing cold. Everyday. And every night. I would sleep in sweatshirts and sweatpants, year round. The first guy I dated after my divorce would wake up in the middle of the night and put his wrist on my forehead like he was checking my temperature because he would say I would emit so much body heat he thought I was sick and running a massive fever. Yet, I was cold. The second guy I dated after my divorce had a hard time laying too close to me for too long because he said I gave off so much body heat it would make him sweat. Yet, I was cold. I was always cold. During the day I’d always wear longer sleeved shirts and jackets. I tried at one point to google my symptoms. DON’T EVER DO THAT. I went to the doctor and asked them what was wrong. I never got any answers. Ever. For slightly over 3 years, this was just me. I got used to it.  I was just cold on the inside.

So after all the foolishness I dealt with over the past few years … guess who pops back into my life? The ex-husband. There are no harsh feelings and no harsh thoughts anymore. In fact, with everything I had went through after the divorce…I practically ran into his open arms and bawled my eyes out. Practically. Not literally. He immediately inquired about my children (not his biological children) and how they were doing. He asked for their schedules because he wanted to be there for them (like he always had been). Even though I had been dwelling on things and had been thinking of my loss over the years, I didn’t realize so much that they have also experienced loss and my youngest especially was having a difficult time. Probably even more so because my ex-husband was really a great family man and one of the guys I dated recently was not great in that way. I think my youngest really struggled with this because he needed that family foundation and he wasn’t getting it.  Being a teenaged boy, he really needed a male role model/father figure and he wasn’t getting that.

So now the ex-husband has been around. It feels like we just picked up right were we left off. It feels so comfortable. It feels like a family again. I have learned to really appreciate everything he brings to the table…because it’s actually A LOT…and I don’t think I really realized that before. It took the shit show of a relationship to open my eyes to things I realized that were important to me. Which is family. You know what else I realized? That I am HOT! Literally. I have been sweating and cannot even sleep in my bed with the covers on. I can barely dress myself in the morning because I cannot quit sweating long enough to have my clothes NOT stick to me. What kind of weird, strange phenomenon is this?! This is gross. So my peace is back and my body physically changes being warm on the inside instead of cold? So weird!!

So obviously my ex-husband and I divorced for a reason … but over the years something great has happened. He has gained some important knowledge. I have gained some important knowledge. I know my heart was shattered by him. He said his heart was shattered when I filed those papers. We both experienced the loss. The heartache. Most importantly … we both know that God isn’t done writing our story yet. Our story isn’t complete yet. He says our story is just starting. And I think he’s right.

soulmate1

To my readers … I want to tell you that it is possible to come back after an incredible heart break. It is possible to forgive. It is possible to move forward. No matter who it is with. The important part is … were there lessons learned? I’ve always been a firm believer that you get your blessins (sic) AFTER you’ve learned your lessons. In my situation … boy oh boy were lessons learned! One thing that can’t be denied is that there is something unexplainable that is connecting he and I. Whether you want to call it “soul mates” or “twin flames” or “kindered spirits” or believe that maybe he and I were connected possibly in a past life … there’s no doubting that there is something that bonds us to each other. This is more than our minds telling us what we think we want to hear. Our bodies physical tells us as well. Our SOULS are telling us. We are each other’s peace. He is my other half and I am his.

Never Stop Learning

Working in family law has taught me so many things. Mostly it has taught me how to act. How to be a parent. How to put aside feelings of hurt, anger and/or revenge and just look through things from different perspectives instead.

I started my Paralegal career 17 years ago. I obtained my first real Paralegal position in a family law firm. I initially thought I wanted to go into criminal law, but after a few months of being in family law I quickly realized that was my calling. I love helping people. I love problem solving. I love feeling like I’ve made a difference for people. I felt all of these things early on in my career.

I was initially hired in my first Paralegal position in 2001 under a VAWA (Violence Against Woman’s Act) grant. The job was only a temporary position lasting 18 months. All of my clients were victims of some sort of abuse (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse or a combination of all of the above). I sat and cried with my clients at times. I would cry if their court cases did not go as planned…so that would push me extra hard to put up the best fight possible for them. Some of the stories I heard where amazing. Some you’d never believe. Some so terrifying that I was worried for my own safety. I created such a great name for myself in the community and in my job that even after this 18 month grant ran out, my employer hired me on for another 9 years to continue this work. With the tears, stressors, fears and sometimes even deaths (yes…deaths) also came the rewards. I was helping people. I’ll never forget some of the stories and cases I had. I’ll never forget the thank you cards. The clients referring to me as their angel. The pendants with prayers and blessings for me and my family. The flowers. Candies. Tears of joy. Hugs. Appreciation.

I absolutely loved this job. I connected on a deep level with my clients. I had to. I was helping through some very sensitive matters. I knew more about them than probably their closest friends and/or family members even knew. I helped them all. But I also learned from them all. When you are dealing with high-intensity cases, very emotional cases, you learn things about people in general. And I am not any different from the rest. We can lash out. We can do stupid things. We can say harsh things. Our thoughts and actions can be so clouded by emotions, by hate, by anger and by thoughts of revenge. We don’t think clearly. Most importantly we forget who is watching us. Our children! We are so busy and focused on ourselves and what we are going through and we may forget that our children are going through some things too.

In family law the children are usually the center of some highly-contested issues. The children are watching the two people they probably love the most in this world…go at each other. Their family as they know it, is falling apart. Of course there were some cases that I had where one of the parents would have been a danger to the children, and therefore it was my job to help protect those children. There were also many cases that I had where the parents were just so angry and hurt by the other that they wanted the other parent to just be stripped of everything. Make them pay. Make them hurt. Make them sorry.

Now I work in an environment where I see some highly contested cases, but I also see quite a few cases where the parties just agree on all things. This is foreign to me. They agree on EVERYTHING? How can that be? Why would they even be getting a divorce if they can work so well together? They act like they are best friends. They get along so well. I’ve had people tell me that they think of their children above and beyond any disagreements they may have. Just because they can’t be together, doesn’t mean that they can’t act maturely and still be these two people that their children are allowed to cherish without any interference. Wow. Mind blown. “I love you BlackMan” is what one of my clients told her soon-to-be ex-husband as they both signed off on their divorce papers in front of me.

heart

So I take this knowledge into my own life. What do I want my children to see? What do I want my children to act like? I want my children to be close with me…AND with their extended family. ON BOTH SIDES. Because I’ve allowed my children to have those important relationships, my middle son is closer to his dad’s family than he is to me. Yes, it hurts me to even say that…but my son’s life isn’t really about me and what I want. That’s his life…and I do want him to be happy and live a happy and healthy life. I want him to form close and loving relationships. You will notice a remarkable difference in your children if they are in a household full of drama…compared to if they are in a household full of peace. Trust me.

In my own life…I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve done multiple things wrong. But one thing I can never say is that I gave up or that I didn’t try. I try, and continue to try, to be the best possible human, the best possible mother, the best possible partner…I try! I don’t want any drama in my life nor in my children’s lives. Do you realize how short life really can be? Why not live that life being the happiest you can be? Are arguments and disagreements going to happen? You bet your pretty little behind they are. It’s all about how you deal with them when they come. You have a choice to participate in the drama of others or to set yourself free from that. Believe it or not, there are other people out there in the world who like having nice, quiet, quaint, happy lives. The best thing you can do is find other people out there who hold these happy, healthy relationships and learn from them. You can also learn from those who don’t hold these types of relationships. I guess my point is … when it comes to relationships especially … never stop learning.

Fake It Till You Make It

Have you ever heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”? According to the good ‘ol Wikipedia, the phrase “fake it till you make it” is an aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life.  It echoes the underlying principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a means to enable a change in one’s behavior.

Wikipedia

Do you ever feel like you aren’t qualified, or just aren’t meant to “level up” so you just stay where you are…in a job, in life…or in a bad relationship even? Sometimes you are just so comfortable being where you are so you don’t even look to advance or better yourself or your life. Well guess what? Life is all about learning, growing and bettering yourself. You deserve the best, and don’t stop leveling up until you reach the best.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reviewed divorce petitions or final judgments and I see some of my clients (who many times are much younger than me) earning $10,000+ per month. Yes, I said $10,000+ PER MONTH. They have more than $10,000 in various savings accounts, they have hundreds of thousands in retirement assets or in other various assets…and little to no debt. Every single time one of these divorce petitions or final judgments cross my desk I say the same thing… “Daaannnggg …. what in the world does he/she do??!!” I always wonder what he/she did to get there. Then I fanaticize about what life would be like to have all my bills paid every month. To not have any debt. To be able to pay for things for my kids when they need them and without any worries about where I’m going to get that extra money. To have more than $50 in my savings account. What’s it like to live like that?

One of my coworkers got me thinking last week. She asked me what I am doing in my job? She knows I have more than 17 years of experience doing what I do….and she asked why am I not going after something bigger? Something of a managerial position or something corporate? And she’s right. Why am I just sitting here…being comfortable in my job, but yet struggling in my finances? Why? Because change is scary. Putting yourself out there is scary. The unknown is scary.

I attended a leadership training nearly one year ago now and one of the many guest speakers there spoke on “fake it till you make it”. You don’t even realize how much confidence this instills in you until you start actually doing it. Do you know what else gives you confidence and makes you shine? Standing in a superhero pose before you go in an important meeting. No, you wouldn’t stand in the pose during the actual meeting (you’d look awfully silly, and frankly, I’m not sure you’d get the results from that meeting that you were hoping for). Try the pose (alone) somewhere before a meeting. All of a sudden you will be filled with confidence. And what grabs people’s attention more than anything? Your confidence.

It’s the same with dating. You don’t even have to be the best looking person out in the dating realm. You don’t have to be the richest. You don’t have to have the best body. If your confidence shines it’s like a magnet and it just attracts people to you. All of a sudden you are standing a little taller. You are holding your head a little higher. The positive energy is just flowing from your pores. People become so attracted to the aura you are giving off.

Wikipedia2
The Hearts Center Community: https://www.heartscenter.org/TeachingsBlogs/FoundationalTeachings/UnderstandingtheHumanAura/tabid/368/Default.aspx#.W18zojaWxaQ

 

 

So what am I trying to say?  Get yourself out there. Be confident in yourself (but don’t be cocky or arrogant). Don’t give up. Keep reaching for the stars. Don’t settle. Keep going. Level up. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE.

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Driving With Lyft And Uber

I get so many questions on driving with Lyft and Uber.  What’s it like?  Is it scary being a woman driver?  Do you get hit on a lot?  Do you ever feel threatened?  What’s your craziest ride?  What’s your longest ride?  How much money can you realistically make?  Has anyone ever puked in your car or damaged your car?  Have you met anyone famous?  Which company is better?  What are the driving requirements?  Do you have to drive a set amount of hours or days?  And many, many more.  Hopefully I will cover most your questions in this blog post, but first let me throw in a little plug for myself:  my Uber referral code is:  JENNYN1851UE and my Lyft referral code is: JENNIFER40096 or JENNYROCKSLYFT.  Now the referral codes will get any new driver who uses them, nice bonuses (up to $700 depending on where you are).  And let’s be honest, it’ll give me a bonus too.  That’s why we throw them out there.  Ok … now on to the good stuff…

First, a little summary into how and why I became a driver (us drivers all have our “why” we started stories).  I have a decent full-time job, but many of you probably know my pain.  After I pay my bills for the month I rarely have money left over for anything else.  I also owned a 2000 Ford Expedition that I owned for about 13 years.  It was still a decent running vehicle, but I knew that sooner or later something major would happen to it and I wouldn’t be able to afford to fix it.  I needed a new vehicle.  I wanted a car.  One that was of decent size to fit my son’s hockey gear, but also good on gas.  I went out and bought a 2014 Nissan Altima.  But now what?  I haven’t had a vehicle payment in about 8 years.  How was I going to fit a vehicle payment in my budget when I can barely afford to put groceries on our table?

That’s how I started driving with Lyft and Uber.  I signed up to drive with both apps.  I went and got my new car inspected and got my background checks completed.  I uploaded all the necessary documents to my driving profiles.  BOOM…I was approved to drive.  Now I was nervous.  What do I do?  I just log in and drive?  I was scared!  I played with the apps and read the practice tips.  And then I did what any other scared person would do.  I was slowly talking myself out of driving.  I had second thoughts.  “I don’t need this money.  I’ll figure out a different way to make my car payment.”  I joined a couple local Uber and Lyft Facebook groups and talked to a couple other drivers.  Then the day happened.  I decided to get in my car and log in to the Uber driver app.  The app went of!  There was a ride request.  MY FIRST RIDE REQUEST!!  It was right up the road from me.  I was so nervous!  I followed the directions and pulled up to the house. I got out of my car (I didn’t know what I was supposed to do).  A couple of women came down to me with a couple of bags.  We put their bags in the trunk and we all got in the car.  They told me they were excited because this was their first Uber ride.  I immediately perked up, “This is my first Uber ride too!!!”  The ice was broken.  We talked for their whole 13 mile trip.  We arrived at their destination and I got out of the car with them and helped them get their bags.  They gave me a big hug and wished me luck for the rest of the evening.  I did it!  I completed my first ride…and I was feeling great!  I don’t think I could have had a better first ride experience…and every driver remembers their first ride.  I continued on and did a few more rides that evening.  I had so much fun!  I was hooked.  My first weekend out and I had already earned enough for my car payment.  The excitement of the money coming in was amazing!  I had never earned money so fast and so easy in my life.

My middle son soon approached me and asked me if he could go to France with his high school French class.  I told him I would work my butt off and make sure I had the money to send him.  I did just that.  I WORKED MY BUTT OFF.  Both Lyft and Uber were offering me bonuses every week, and sometimes daily, for a certain number of rides.  I jumped at every single bonus offered.  I got every single one.  I was putting in roughly 30 hours each week driving (and yes, still working about 40 hours per week at my regular job).  I got the money to send my son to France (he went in March of this year and had an amazing time).  I was paying my bills no problem.  I was keeping my house afloat!  From April-December I had earned roughly $25,000 from just driving alone.  Things were amazing!

Then reality hit.  I knew I was spending ALOT of time away from the house.  I was not keeping up on housework nor on the motherly duties (like cooking dinners or just visiting with my children and asking them about their days).  Even though my boys are older, I started feeling bad.  I started feeling bad I was leaving them all the time.  I started feeling bad that we weren’t hanging out.  I started feeling bad that I wasn’t around to just talk with them.  Yes, I was getting the bills paid…but I was burning out.  Fast.  I also realized that I put on at least 20,000 miles on my car in that 7 months of driving.  So here’s what I say to all potential drivers…if you want some nice, quick cash…these companies are great ways to do that.  But…this job is not made to be a full-time, permanent gig.  You need a back-up plan because it will wear you out, it will wear your car out and the passengers will begin to get to you.  So here I am, over a year of driving now…and now I only go out to get my car payment and maybe a little grocery money…and then I am done.  I now put in roughly 6-10 hours every week and this is plenty for me and my situation/needs.

Now for first time drivers…I would say the most important things to do immediately are: #1…make sure you have a holder for your phone!!  You need to keep your phone propped up in a position where you can always see it and where it’s secured.  #2…download a mileage tracker app.  You need to keep track of the miles you put on your car (for personal use and for business use) for taxes at the end of the year.  I use an app called Hurdlr.  I know there are others out there, but this one I have been using and I am familiar with it so I continue to use it.  #3…download the Waze app or use Google maps for your navigation.  Do NOT use the navigation systems built-in the Lyft or Uber apps.  You can change the default navigation settings in the apps to either Google maps or Waze instead.  Myself, I prefer Waze.  Waze will usually send you around traffic (if it’s possible) and it is usually updated with the most recent road closures and detours.  I love Waze.  #4…do NOT stick your Uber and Lyft stickers directly to your windows.  If you do, you can never take them down…even when you are not working.  Some car washes will also not let you into their unlimited car wash packages if you are a Uber or Lyft driver.  So it’s important that you can take down your signage when you are not driving.  I punched small holes in the ends/corners of my signs and hang them in my windows with small suction cups that I bought at a local craft store.  This way I can take them down when I am not driving.  #5…don’t let the passengers run all over you and don’t let what they say or do affect you in any way.  Some people can be just plain mean, demeaning and/or demanding.  #6…get a couple signs to hang from your seats (so they are facing the backseats).  My signs state the “rules of my car” and yes…I’m proud because I made this sign myself, I laminated it and I hang it so people in the back seats can easily see it (and everyone reads them…some out loud to me LOL).  You can also order similar signs off of Amazon.

#7…keep your car clean at all times.  Passengers love it when your car is clean and it may bring you better tips.  Many car washes offer you unlimited car wash packages for a nice monthly fee.  And finally, #8…get yourself an in-car camera that will record what goes on during your rides.  This will protect you in case of those “bad” passengers.  Yes, passengers do try to report some Uber and Lyft drivers for things they did not do…in order to score free rides from the companies.  What passengers don’t realize is that this affects you negatively and have an impact on your earnings.  So protect yourself!

Now to answer some of the most asked questions.  Is it scary being a woman driver?  No.  I am not scared.  I have done over 2,000 rides total on both apps and out of those 2,000 rides I have had maybe 2 issues that caused me concern (I think those are pretty good odds).  I actually think that being a woman plays a big factor with how people treat me.  I think people tend to treat women drivers better than men drivers.  Plus about 80% of my passengers are women too and let me tell you…they love seeing a woman driver pick them up from the bar after they have been out drinking!  I did have a woman give me her mace one night (she said I needed it more than she did) so although I carry that on me, I am not sure what I would ever do with it.  If I ever did have to mace someone in my car I’d also mace myself.  So that might not work very well for me.

Yes, I do get hit on.  Not everyday, and not every week, but it does happen.  I’ve had guys ask for my number and had guys ask if they could leave me their number.  I’ve had guys ask me to come with them to parties, bars, in to their houses, etc.  I even had one guy ask me to marry him.  I had one guy tip me $40 on a $10 car ride because I was bringing him to the strip club and I think he felt some type of way about me bringing him there.  I had one guy be totally disrespectful one night.  He kept trying to touch me and grab me.  I was actually getting SUPER upset with him, his friend kept telling him to stop and I kept hitting his hands off of me and yelling at him, but he continued.  I actually wanted to kick him out of my car, but I got scared because if he didn’t get out, what was I going to do?  There were two of them and only one of me.  Thankfully, it was only a short ride so I just kept watching my GPS, “only one more mile to go”.  Otherwise, I consider everything else completely harmless.

Most of my driving has been late-night, bar close driving.  This is where the most money usually is…but unfortunately, this also where the most danger can be too.  Danger because you don’t know what you are going to get at 3 or 4 in the morning.  Danger because so many drivers pick up passengers who throw up in their cars.  I thankfully…and knock on wood…have not had anyone throw up in my car.  I’ve had a couple of close calls, but have thus far made it puke free.  Yes, both Uber and Lyft charge passengers a big fee if they do puke in your car…but you still have to deal with it and get it cleaned before you can drive again.

My longest trip was 420 miles, one-way (so then I had to drive 420 miles back home).  Yup…I drove a couple of guys from St. Paul, Minnesota to Chicago, Illinois.  Yup…I was scared and nervous and I could have canceled on them.  But I didn’t.  I wanted to see what the payout would be.  They paid all of the tolls on the way there and gave me $50 cash for the way back to pay for tolls or whatever I wanted to do with the cash on the way back.  I made roughly $350 off of that ride and spent $50 in gas.  This was a 13 hour trip…and I am not totally sure I’d accept a ride like that again…but at least I can say “this one time, I did this trip…”

Which app is better?  Which ever one is paying!  When I first started driving I would have told you that Uber was better (because I was earning WAY more with Uber than I was with Lyft).  Lyft has since stepped up their game and expanded their service area and now both apps are very competitive.  I will log into one to get my ride bonus, log into the to the other to get any ride bonuses there and once I get my bonuses (if any are offered) then I turn both apps on at the same time and just accept which ever one hits first and then turn the other app off (you get used to toggling between the two after a bit).  There may be times when one app is slow and the other is not.  There may be times when one app is surging and the other is not.  I go with whichever one is going to pay me out the best money.  Warning though…Lyft passengers can sometimes be a little more trying then Uber passengers.

Unfortunately…I have not met anyone famous…that I know of.  I very well could have given a professional athlete a ride and I didn’t even know it.  I did pick up a passenger from a Philadelphia Penguins player’s house one night (my son knew who the player was, I did not).  The house was amazing and there was a big party going on there.  The passenger I picked up from there told me who’s house it was (that’s how I knew)…so that was my only famous person experience…thus far.

And finally, the last question that I will touch on is do you have to drive a set amount of hours or days?  No.  You sure do not.  That is probably the best thing about this job.  You log in whenever.  You work whenever.  You work as long or as short as you want to (with the exception that the apps will log you off if you’ve worked a consecutive 12 hours I believe…I’m not totally sure because I’ve never hit that cut-off).  You can do as many rides as you want to.  There have been times I’ve done one ride and then logged off because I just didn’t feel like working anymore.  There have been times I’ve dropped my son off at hockey practice, went out and did a couple rides and then came back to pick him back up at the end of his practice.  What’s also nice is whenever you want to go home, you can sent a destination on both apps stating that you’re going home.  The destination filter will send you rides going your way (if there are any) so then you’re actually paid for your time and mileage driving back home.

If you have any more questions … leave me a comment.  I’ll answer all that I can, as soon as I can.  If you decide to start driving…good luck to you and I’ll see you out on the road (and oh ya…use my referral codes)!

Live Your Best Life

Why do we care so much about what other people are doing?  What other people are saying?  What other people think?  Especially after a break-up.  “I bet my ex is out partying…I’m going to go out and party it up.”  Or … “I bet my ex is having sex right now.  And what am I doing?  I’m sitting on this blog.  I better go have sex.  BRB ….”

Who cares!  This is how major mistakes are made.  You’re all of a sudden living your life by someone else’s standards and not living your own life at all.  You’re spinning off a whole slew of unhealthy vibes and developing unhealthy relationships.  In this process you’re not only damaging yourself, but you’re damaging others in your tornado path.

The best thing you can do with yourself…is just be yourself.  Practice getting out of the mindset of wondering what your ex is doing and start getting into the mindset of thinking about what you want to do.  Whenever a thought or image of your ex pops in your head, catch it, throw it away and replace it with, “let me call up some of my girls and see if they want to go have a beach day”, or “let’s do some research on google to see how I can start a blog”.  Look up some things on Groupon and find fun things to do…things that YOU want to do.  Read a book.  Watch what you want to watch on t.v.  Go to the movies.  Organize and declutter your house.  Find little odd jobs to do to earn some extra cash.  Before you know it…you’re all of a sudden so happy and content with YOURSELF!

Then BOOM…you’ve become this strong independent person.  The right person will enter your life at this moment…and will stay there because they will see how happy and content you are with your life, they will see how motivated and smart you are…and these are such attractive qualities to have.

Friends…readers…get out there and live YOUR best life.

Saturday Mornings With Teenagers

If you have teenagers then you know what I am already going to refer to in this post.  Saturday mornings with teenagers.

I am so used to getting out of bed early and getting ready for work in the mornings that I normally can’t sleep past 9 a.m. on the weekends (unless I am out really late the night prior, which rarely happens).  So I get out of bed on Saturday morning, make myself a cup of coffee and debate on whether I should make some breakfast.

Why debate on that?  If I make breakfast it just sits there on the counter until about 1-2 p.m.  Why again?  Because that’s when the boys decide they are going to crawl out of the deep abyss of their rooms.  So many mornings I wonder if it’s even worth it to make breakfast.  The food would sit out for hours (yes, we would still eat it, we aren’t that bougie)…but by 2 p.m. I am thinking about that to start prepping for supper.

So what do I do with my Saturday mornings now that I have teenagers?  I drink some coffee.  I clean up some things around the house.  I start some laundry.  I do some work on the computer to try to get a small paycheck.  I lay out in the sun if it’s nice outside.  Do you know what I realize every weekend though…and it hits me more so as the boys get older…that I am alone.  And partly by choice.  I partly am enjoying the peace that the alone brings.  And I partly don’t.  So blog readers…you are now becoming my connections for Saturday mornings.  And I hope that I am becoming yours.  Happy Saturday.  Time to get out there and soak up some of those rays.

The Hustle In Me

Do you ever have those moments where you just get to sit on the couch, kick back and watch tv?  What’s that like?  As a single mom, I find that I rarely get those moments.  I seem to live my life for my children.  And you know what?  I don’t think I’d have it any other way actually.

I work my regular 8-4:30 full-time job.  I bring home a decent paycheck.  But kids are expensive!  I try to keep my kids busy too because this day and age you don’t want a child getting bored nor succumb to isolation.  Back when we were children there was really no such thing as isolation…unless you got in trouble and you were grounded to your room.  Other than that, we were almost always outside running around with our friends.  We were always at friends’ houses or had friends at ours.

Now, children play with each other via internet connections…from their own individual homes.  My boys sit in their rooms, or in the basement, and talk to their friends online either on FaceTime or on the Xbox.  They rarely actually hang out in person.  So I encourage theem to get active.  To play sports.  To do things.  The problem with this is…everything costs money.  And usually not just a little bit of money.  It’s usually upwards of $100 or more.  Incurring these extra expenses every month is, and can, be so difficult for a single parent!

So the hustle in me just won’t quit.  It can’t.  I find extra things to do, to gather extra money, to keep my kids going!  I drive sometimes for Uber and Lyft.  I have a cosmetic business I run.  I am on a freelancer website doing data entry, transcription work or setting up Excel or Word documents for people.  I download various apps where I snap pictures of all my receipts and submit them and as a result I get gift cards.

In between all this hustling…I am also trying to be a good mom.  I try to do fun things with my boys.  I try to cook good meals.  I try to keep my house clean.  I try to keep up on laundry.  I try to be at every single sporting game that my  boys have.  I try to go to school conferences.  And then finally….I try to DATE!  The days never seem long enough.  The weekends never seem long enough.  No one can ever say that I didn’t try though.  I sure try.

So what’s it like again so sit down and relax?