Flying Solo and Why It’s Not So Scary

The waiter/ress probably thinks I’m weird sitting by myself. Are the patrons looking at me? Should I eat slower? Should I not eat all of my food? 

These are all of the thoughts that would go through my mind when I thought about eating out at a restaurant by myself. Not that I have the opportunity very often anymore, but before D was born there certainly were times where I could have. I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that eating at a restaurant is reserved for outings with friends, family, or significant others. I occasionally see people sitting by themselves at a restaurant and wonder how they do that and then I find myself kind of envying them for being secure enough to do so. Because that’s what it pretty much boils down to, right? Security.

I’m an introvert and also crave security. I don’t like being out of my comfort zone and it takes a lot of courage for me to try new things. I don’t even like going out for walks on hiking trails by myself because I worry about – I don’t know – being attacked by someone hiding in the woods and throwing my body over a ravine, never to be found again. I love my mother-in-law’s adventurous spirit and her ability to go out and try things by herself. I long to be that way, but it’s just not me.

Today an opportunity to fly solo presented itself. My husband took D out on a playdate with one of his friends. I decided to take our dog out for a walk on a hiking trail. I didn’t feel too worried walking her by myself since she is a very large dog. Anyone wanting to attack me would have to go through a rather intimidating looking dog. I found the experience very serene. I enjoyed walking with just my dog while taking in the scenery; not worrying about carrying on a conversation or keeping D happy. It felt rather…freeing.

Walking the dog After our walk I was very hungry. I had a hankering for Mexican food and a margarita. Should I? I wondered. A little ball of anxiety began swirling in my stomach, but I put it to a halt. I decided to make myself feel more comfortable, I would swing by the house real quick to grab my laptop so that I could write (Side note: I took my dog home so she was not sitting in the car).

I walked into the restaurant and asked to be seated in the bar. “Anyone joining you?” the host asked. I smiled and replied, “No. Just me.” I pulled out my laptop and opened it up next to me on the table. A little sigh of relief could be felt somewhere inside of me. My laptop was like my companion – or maybe an electronic security blanket. Flying solo at a restaurant The experience was rather liberating. I didn’t have to keep a toddler from throwing his cup of water or food on the floor, and for the most part, the bar was rather quiet. I got to write by myself – nobody to bother me except for the waiter to take my order. How wondrous! Even better, I got to enjoy not one, but TWO margaritas while I wrote. Since I was busy lost in my own thoughts, I didn’t really notice that an hour had gone by.

After today I realize that there is nothing to be afraid of when I fly solo. Being my own company is very relaxing and who cares what anyone else thinks? Chances are they don’t give a flying swizzle stick that I’m by myself. I encourage everyone to try it more often. You might even learn a thing or two about yourself along the way.

Sanity Saving Coffee Date

My friend invited me out for coffee on Friday, her treat.  The invitation felt like a life preserver being thrown to me just as my head was going under water.  I had been treading water after corralling my handful of a son all week.  Foot stomping, throwing himself on the floor, screaming…we have entered toddler tantrum territory.  “Disciplining” and trying to talk through emotions with a little human that doesn’t fully comprehend what you are saying is exhausting.  Needless to say, escaping to a coffee shop for a couple of hours sans little human sounded like a vacation.

As we entered the coffee shop I was greeted by a display case of mouth watering sweets and a menu board of delectable coffees.  After the week I had, I felt like I had walked into a dream and was waiting for someone to pinch me.  We placed our orders and settled in at a corner table out on the covered patio.  The spread before us was a feast for the eyes.  Our coffees, mine an “Almond Rocha” and hers an “Almond Joy”, were piled high with chocolate whipped cream.  We had also ordered two baked goods to share (an almond twist and a bar that was a mixture of chocolate and coconut).  A sigh of relief escaped my body.  I was only ten minutes from home but it felt like I was miles and miles away.

Coffee and Sweet Treats

We took our sweet time savoring each bite of our treats and each sip of coffee, not having to worry about tending to our little boys.  We talked and talked.  Oh, how good it felt to just sit and not have my attention split.  The air was warm but not too hot.  It was a quiet atmosphere considering how busy the coffee shop was.  I was in good company.  I could feel myself relax into the moment.

We sat there talking for two and a half hours.  When we got up to leave I felt ready to take on the week ahead.  My head was back in a good space and I felt like a person again.  A two and a half hour vacation to the coffee shop with my friend was what I needed to save my sanity.

Eat Some Chocolate

I grew up eating milk chocolate and hating dark chocolate.  I couldn’t stand the bitterness of dark chocolate.  Now I love dark chocolate and hate milk chocolate.  Dark chocolate is a brilliant combination of subtle bitter and sweet that really lets the chocolate flavor shine through.  It’s just a lovely, melt-in-your-mouth, silky piece of goodness.

My husband and I were given a sheet of paper about how to prevent postpartum depression at one of the birth classes we took while I was pregnant.  I retyped the list, printed it out on bright yellow card stock, and put it on the refrigerator.  My favorite item on the list was to consume one ounce of at least 72% dark chocolate daily.  Fast forward to nearly 14 months postpartum, my husband and I still eat dark chocolate (almost) every day.

Just what makes dark chocolate so magical? It helps boost your endorphins and serotonin levels in the brain making for a great natural, yummy mood booster.  You may already know that cocoa contains antioxidants, but that’s not all.  Cocoa has anti-inflammatory properties which is good news for your heart, among other things.  In short, chocolate is not just good for the soul, it’s good for the body and mind as well.  Just be mindful not to overindulge.

Trader Joe’s offers up a 3-pack of 1.65-ounce 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate bars for under $2.  I pick up a pack of these each week while grocery shopping.  My husband and I split one of these bars every day which gives us both just under the 1 ounce recommendation.  When we are looking to indulge a little bit, we go straight for Theo chocolate.  If you live in Seattle you most likely have come across this delicious chocolate company.  We usually go for the Sea Salt, Salted Almond, or the Fig, Fennel & Almond.

Unsweetened cocoa powder is also a great alternative to eating chocolate in bar form.  It’s less processed and doesn’t have added sugar.  I love adding some to a smoothie with almond butter, banana, strawberries, and milk (or any non-dairy milk).

Chocolate and self-care go hand in hand.  Make sure to add some to your next grocery list!

The Healing Power of Nature

When I was little I loved sitting in the backyard watching our giant cottonwood tree.  Like a green giant it would softly sway in the sky.  Now that I am older I hardly sit and look at trees anymore.  It is hard to sit and be still and not have a list of things that I need to get done going through my head.  But yesterday I did just that.  I couldn’t remember the last time I just lied outside and enjoyed nature’s company.  I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and decided to take an hour to myself while my husband hung out with D (our little guy).

As soon as I got comfortable on my blanket I immediately noticed just how difficult it was for me to stay present in the moment.  Even though I practice yoga, my mind became flooded with thoughts.  I tried focusing on my breathing to no avail.  Then suddenly I noticed our trees.  Like really noticed them.  In the three years that we have lived here I have never once just sat and enjoyed our trees.  But at that moment I took notice.


I watched our own cottonwood trees bend to the wind.  I watched as their leaves glistened in the sun while they danced gently on the breeze.  I noticed how the clouds looked like little mounds of cotton slowly drifting across the bright powder blue sky.  I listened to the symphony of birds chirping and leaves rustling around me.  My mind became still as I took notice of these things.  My body relaxed and I felt a calm that washed over me.  By connecting with my surroundings, with nature, I was able to connect with myself.


Just taking an hour to myself to sit outside and just let myself be was very healing.  I awoke today feeling more like myself.  I am now sitting outside typing this while D plays in the yard and my dog lounges by a tree, both of them connecting with nature their own way.  After all, they need some self-care, too.

Nurturing From Within

I love new blogs.  It is like cracking open a brand new composition journal at the beginning of the school year.  I am excited to carve out a little space on the Internet for myself.  I created this blog as a place to record and reflect on an area of my life that frequently gets neglected: self-care.  I’m not talking about getting pedicures, massages, and taking bubble baths every night (though all of that sounds lovely).  I’m talking about the things in life that nourish my body, mind, and soul.  The things that help me reconnect with myself.

I am a stay-at-home mom.  As much as I love being at home with my little guy, it can really leave me feeling depleted at the end of the week.  Giving my all to a little human 24/7 is a lot of work, especially emotionally and mentally.  I’m sure plenty of you can relate.  However, it’s not just us parents who end up running on fumes.  Most of us find that we are so busy with everything else in our lives that we end up not taking care of ourselves.  We don’t take the time to recharge our batteries and listen to what we need.

Recently I have learned just how important self-care is.  As recently as yesterday.  This week was a very long week and I was sapped of all my energy.  I was irritable, impatient, and generally unhappy for a better part of the week.  I don’t like feeling this way and it definitely impedes on my ability to be the best mom, wife, and human being I can be.  It also takes a toll on my own well-being.  I am learning that taking care of yourself does not make you selfish.  On the contrary, it is necessary in order to cultivate all of those warm fuzzy things like happiness, love, and compassion.  You can’t feel any of those things when you feel like a waste heap.

You ARE worth your time!