How to Get Through a Breakup On a Budget

HOW TO GET THROUGH A BREAK-UP

(style me pretty

Breakups suck, no matter what. But, what if you’re not only heartbroken, but also just broke? If you’re dealing with some tough times while trying to maintain a budget this post is for you.

You’re probably wondering, “Um, Simone…why are you talking about personal finances today? Shouldn’t you be blogging about something sexier…like crazy dildos or something?!” Well, as I’ve learned over the past few years, part of living well is having a sense of control over your finances.

I’ve also learned that I’m very much an emotional spender. I’ll be on track with my budget and then bam, something will happen in my life (good or bad – my emotional spending is an equal opportunist) and suddenly I absolutely need that a new pair of shoes or dress whether it’s true or not (90% of the time it isn’t.)

This Treat Yo Self craving becomes especially strong following a breakup.

I can’t count how many times I’ve gone to the salon or the mall to splurge on something after I’ve broken up with someone. While I’ll never discount the feeling you get from a post-break up haircut (seriously, it’s the best), these kinds of splurges don’t always make sense when you’re trying to stay on budget.

When SA and I broke up, we’d just returned from an epic (albeit costly) trip to California. While I’d set aside money for the trip so I wouldn’t have to worry while I was there, when I came back I had to deal with credit card bills, business costs and invoices that needed to be sent out. It sucks when you feel bummed out from a break-up and broke.

This breakup was a turning point for me – in many ways. I am proud of is how I handled myself afterward. I didn’t go and drown myself in a pool of vodka & I actually managed to stay on budget. I forced myself to find other ways to make myself feel good that didn’t involve a hangover – financial or otherwise.

Although I feel like I’m “over the hump” when it comes to post-breakup impulsive behaviour, I still feel like this is important to talk about – especially since it’s the holidays & it can be hard to resist the ubiquitous message which is “spend, spend, spend” and “indulge, indulge, indulge.”

So, if you’re currently going through a breakup, here’s a few things that worked for me (and might work for you too.)

Spend time with friends.

Usually, when I break up with someone, I’ll plan an elaborate night out with friends, complete with lots of food, cocktails, wine & pricey cab rides. However, this time around I knew that indulging in this kind of blow-out affair was not only unrealistic, it also wouldn’t make me feel good. So, I decided to do something really low key with friends (happy hour at a local tapas place that was having a bunch of really amazing specials). At the end of the day, it isn’t about what you do, but who you surround yourself with.

I needed to talk. I needed to vent. I needed to share a glass of wine with good people. It’s important to do something with friends – even if it’s just sitting on someone’s couch, drinking cheap wine & watching the Muppets Christmas Carol. Being around the people you love helps. 

Have fun making things.

Another thing I’ve been reminded of recently is that I love making things. I always joke that when my love life is in the crapper, Joe the Intern gets all kinds of new DIY gear and gadgets (sidebar: you have no idea how much joy I got out of making him this tiny musketeer hat.) Whether you’re tackling a fun DIY project or being a weird adult that makes doll stuff, creating feels good. If you’re looking for inspiration, visit A Beautiful Mess – their site is chock full of fun, accessible DIY projects and inspiration.

Move your body.

Working out & getting sweaty has always been a great distraction/outlet for me. My gym membership is already paid for so why not take advantage of it? No gym membership?! Take a walk. Practice your ridiculous Drake-style dance moves in your bedroom. It’s free and will make you feel better. I promise. (Drake heals all wounds! Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.)

Start something new.

Breakups can leave us feeling like there’s a gap in our lives. Now’s the time to try something new! I didn’t realize how much I needed to add something new to my life until a friend invited me to help contribute to her new online magazine (more on that soon!) I’ve also decided I’m going to check out some of the free introductory classes at a yoga studio that just opened in my neighbourhood. Even if it means starting a new book or listening to a new podcast, curiosity doesn’t cost a thing.

Give things away.

You know what also feels good? Giving things away. In fact, as a minimalist, I actually get a lot more pleasure from giving things to other people than acquiring more things for myself. Do you really need a item that will forever remind you of that time you broke up with someone? I’m guessing no. Post-break up, I cleaned out my closet and donated a huge bag of stuff to a local women’s shelter. I also signed up to buy gifts for local homeless people (and you can too!) For a fraction of what I’d normally spend on booze & shoes that I don’t need, I can hopefully make a few people’s days a little brighter.

If you are going to splurge, put your money where it matters.

Unfortunately, sometimes no amount of quirky crafts exercise classes can quiet the urge to splurge. If you feel the need to make a big ticket purchase post-breakup, be mindful of what you’re splurging on and why. Is it something that will give you a confidence boost in the short term or improve your overall health long term? For example, adding another designer bag to your already bloated collection might not make you feel great in six months. Whereas, you’re probably not going to regret seeking out a dental clinic to finally get those dental bridges done or investing in chiropractic treatments.

Practice gratitude.

Sometimes all you need is a change in perspective. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by practicing gratitude. When I’m feeling really down in the dumps (and even when I’m not), I’ll make a list of five things I’m grateful for. I always feel better after this practice – because, when you see all of the good things you have going for you, it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully it will help you too. 

What’s helped you heal from a break-up? 

A Year of Lust, Life Lessons & Labours of Love

2014- year in reviewAt the beginning of 2014, I decided that my theme for the year would be “GO ALL IN”: with my work, but also with my heart. My intention was to live life without holding myself back or sitting on the sidelines. I think I definitely lived up to this theme because 2014 was a year full of lots of hard work, romantic adventures and consequently, some meaningful life lessons.

I kicked off January with what would be one of my favourite memories of 2014. I took my fourth trip to Vegas in three years and finally had a chance to meet my long time internet friend and colleague Liz. I also tried my hand at online dating again and discovered that Ok Cupid is a totally different scene than Plenty of Fish (Spoiler alert: more beards and less actual fish = proof that maybe I’m not Hipster Kryptonite as I once suspected.)

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, February is peak season for sex and relationship bloggers like myself. I spent my Valentines Day weekend with my best friend and her fiancé hanging out in Vancouver. I also wrote one of my most popular posts ever about the 20 guys you’ll meet online dating in Victoria. The article went viral in my town, which lead to being interviewed by the CBC and a series of radio appearances on Kool FM. It’s funny, because so many people saw the article that whenever it comes up, people are like, “that was you?” I’ve since become known at parties as “that girl that wrote that thing about dating that everyone read.”

In March I shared the 10 things I learned from How I Met Your Mother, waxed poetic about some of my favourite female centric books and reviewed some very sexy pink lingerie. While continuing to date, I shared the 18 photos that you should remove from your online profile immediately – a favourite post of mine that was featured in Business Insider.

April was an introspective month for me. I shared with you guys why I can’t have sex in my own bedroom and other things that I have learned about love, sex and dating at 33. I reviewed more pink lingerie and had the Interns help me with my critique of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video (another favourite post from 2014)

May was National Masturbation Month, so I devoted the entire month of posts to reviewing sex toys. Writing this many reviews back to back made me realize that I was suffering from sex-blogger burnout and needed to scale back on the products I showcase on the blog in order to focus on other writing projects. May also marked the swift return and departure of Fitness Guy – an experience that reminded me that lust be damned, the right guy isn’t the one who disappears. 

One of the highlights of July was that I got a sexy, new work/living space that I totally adore. I also mused on what we can learn about “sensuality” from the 1970’s and wrote about the positive side of rejection & why chemistry is so, so important. I also started dating a younger man and learned a few things along the way.

August found me attending my best friend’s wedding, as well as taking a mini-vacation to Kelowna and Seattle. The month was a heady mix of writing and socializing…and yes, I’m writing a book.

September (my birthday month!) was absolutely gorgeous and I fully took advantage of it with this poolside bikini review. I also discussed how when it comes to dating, everyone has their hardboiled non-negotiables.  This was also the month that I took another trip to Seattle where I met up with Berrak & Kelly.

In October I decided to try eHarmony only to realize that it’s the online dating equivalent of a Jane Austen novel  ( & apparently the computer thinks that my “soulmate” is a guy who dresses up in blackface for Halloween. Shudder.) I may have struck out on eHarmony, but I was chosen as one of Vancouver’s Most Eligible Bachelorettes (wahoo!) which still seems surreal to me. I also shared a story about my fling with the sexy Russian.

In November I wrote about my affair with The European and one of the big lessons I’ve learned this year: that it’s possible to have meaningful, respectful, good sex that’s also casual, without losing your heart or your head.

Although December was a blur of writing and holiday activities, I’m happy that I finished off the year by sharing the story of what I learned from falling for Donny: that chemistry is ridiculously important, however it can’t be everything.  I got my heart knocked around a bit with that experience, but it helped me get a better picture on what I really am looking for.

When came to “going all in” this past year I learned one really important lesson: “going all in” definitely pays off, however you can’t go big in all areas of your life, all at the same time. When I went big with my writing, my social life suffered. When I threw my heart and body into my relationships, (while fun and exciting) my feelings and sense of peace often suffered. I opened my heart, worked hard and took some blows both personally & professionally, however I’m happy with how the year turned out. I rang in the New Year exactly as I hoped I would: with a great group of friends, dancing with champagne in hand to Notorious B.I.G. It doesn’t really get any better than that in my books.

I have even bigger goals I plan on accomplishing in 2015. I’ll need to keep my wits about me, so I‘ve decided instead of another year of going big in all areas of my life, I’m going to place a greater focus on balance and consistency. To make it easy for you to join me on this journey, I’ve finally broken the seal on the newsletter subscription for this blog. If you’d like to get weekly-ish updates from me designed to make your day a little bit more fun and sexy (think links to cool stuff, discount codes & other goodies), you can sign up for the newsletter here or via the opt-in banner on the righthand sidebar of the blog. I hope you’ll join me! It’s going to be an interesting ride.

What’s your theme for 2015?

Break it Off with Smoking. So I Don’t Have to Break it Off with You.

This post is sponsored by Break it Off  — a Canadian Cancer Society campaign designed to help young Canadians end their relationship with smoking for good.

Today I’m going to talk about something I am passionate about: quitting smoking.

“But Simone, I thought this blog was supposed to be about sex, dating, relationships and your obsession with shoes & overpriced hand bags?!”

Smoking and dating are integrally connected – at least for me. Three of my “big loves” have been smokers. Having to watch the person you love slowly kill themselves by smoking (while harming your health in the process) is one one of the most painful and frustrating things to have to endure.

Besides, there’s nothing sexy about kissing someone who has been smoking. The taste of cigarettes is now a huge libido killer for me.  If you smoke, we’re not getting it on.

This is why I thought the Break it Off Campaign was ingenious because they have likened quitting smoking to breaking up and ending a relationship. Because really, that’s what quitting smoking is all about. When you are smoking it’s like  you’re dating a terrible boyfriend/girlfriend who’s super clingy. Your friends & family can’t stand them, they drain your wallet and they stink up your home & clothing whenever they come over. Oh yeah- and they secretly want to kill you. You wouldn’t stand for this kind of treatment from a partner! Why are you accepting it from cigarettes?! You’re worth more than that.

When you are going through any kind of break-up it helps to have support. This is why the Break It Off campaign has come up with some very helpful tools to help you kick cigarettes to the curb for good. Those of you who are interested in saying “Adios” to cigarettes can start by visiting the Break It Off website where you’ll find break-up methods from an unbiased source. Smokers can also upload their phone number to have a Quit Coach contact them. Quit coaches are specially trained counselors available to help you through the break-up process.

The website is divided up into different break-up stages such as “Get it over with”, “Stay Split Up” and “Move on with Life” and  is packed full of information on how to survive your break-up with smoking.

If you are ready to have “The Talk”  there is a section where you can upload a video of you breaking it off with smoking (something you can do even if you don’t smoke but like me, want to end your relationship with smoking) Quitting smoking can be a lonely experience. By sharing break-up videos we can all motivate each other. I’m actually considering making my own video (if I can get over my fear of my web cam) and I encourage you to do the same!

Because no relationship or break-up is really “official” these days until it’s on Facebook, you can change your relationship status with smoking by going to the Break it off on Facebook App that can be accessed via the website.

There is also a smartphone app that you can download for iPhone and Android. The app includes a list of typical “triggers” for smoking and tips on how to overcome them. It also provides the option of calling a Quit Coach.

Feeling jittery and like you can’t relax? The app gives you some tips on how to mitigate this & directs you to a free yoga video! (Can we just take a moment to acknowledge how awesome this is? I wish I had an app that showed me yoga videos whenever I was feeling stressed!)

The app also shows your “break-up timeline” and allows you to track your wins, cravings & slip ups.

For all the smokers out there I hope you join us in “the world’s biggest break-up” and tell cigarettes “It’s not me. It’s you.”

Because not smoking is sexy.

xox

S.

Fuck Broken Hearts. I’m Going to Vegas.

Following the big break-up this fall, my romantic interactions with the opposite sex have not proven to be successful. This post is just a small fraction of the whole story. There’s lots more. Too much to share on the blog at this point. I prefer to air my dirty laundry only once it has been hung out to dry for a long time and is considered old news. Long story short, on Monday night I had my heart stomped on. That’s all I’m going to say right now. I know that whatever I write at this point is probably going to be tinged with anger. I don’t want to put something up here that I’ll regret later. I prefer to write about matters of the heart once I’ve had time to reflect.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I am no stranger to romantic disappointment. It’s just that with everything that’s happened over the past few months, I’m emotionally exhausted.

Monday should have been the happiest of days – it was Bloggers in Sin City registration day! Remember that amazing event that I went to last year that I couldn’t stop blogging about?! Yes, THAT. I was super psyched to sign up this year but then over the weekend my excitement started to wane. My anxiety kicked into overdrive (making me feel sluggish yet wired at the same time) and I got a terrible headache that wouldn’t leave me alone no matter how many Advils I popped. My body always knows when something is up. It just does.

I started to wonder whether going to Vegas again was a good idea. I told myself “Should I really be doing this now? Maybe I should just save the money? Didn’t I just write a post about personal finances?!” Even on Monday morning, while I was sitting at my computer, head pounding, waiting for registration to open, I was on the fence. Is this really a good idea? But you know what?! I’m so, so glad I signed up again.

There is something slightly magical about Bloggers in Sin City. After the disappointment on Monday night, I was huddled on my bed, wrapped in a blanket and feeling pretty fucking hurt. One of the only things that made me feel better was when I decided to go on the BiSC website and read through all the profiles and tweets from the other attendees. I said to myself:

“How I feel right now fucking sucks…but I’m going to Vegas. In a few months I’ll be with my tribe of crazy, glittery, hilarious, wonderful bloggers”

I woke up yesterday morning and everything looked different – literally – I looked out my bedroom window and saw my Mom’s backyard which is full of bamboo and palm plants, dusted in a thick layer of snow (a West Coast rarity). I took a deep breath and finally started to process something I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around until that moment:

I am single. 

There is nothing or no one holding me back from doing whatever I want from this point forward. There is so much I want to do….

Travel to Latin America. Travel to Asia. Drink sangria in Barcelona. Live in New York and LA. Travel the world and write articles from every corner of the globe. Write a book. Be perfectly happy being roaming gypsy for awhile sans any kind of attachments.

casino online
I called my best friend yesterday morning to let her know I was feeling better. I told her “I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me”Her reply: “You always did Simone”

 & I’m starting by going to Vegas. 

(PS. If you too are suffering from Wanderlust, check out my post I wrote about Toronto over at my friend Abby’s fabulous travel blog The Jungle Princess.)

How to Survive a Breakup, Big Girl Style.

The strangest part about being someone who regularly writes about relationships is that people actually assume you know stuff about relationships. (Really, it’s like the blind leading the blind here. I thought that was painfully obvious?)

So, when someone asked me this summer “What are your tips for getting over a bad breakup?” I actually had to think about it. I tried to think back to the last time I broke up with someone (6 months before my 25th birthday) and what I had done to move forward. I had visions of dramatic hair style changes, lots of vodka, weekend benders, random make-out sessions and long days spent laying out in the sun by my apartment complex’s pool. Oh, did I mention vodka?

Now that I’m actually in this exact predicament, I still don’t have any concrete answers. In the past, the guys I dated usually did me a solid and broke up with me or made it incredibly easy for me to walk away from them by doing something horrible like sleeping with another girl or peeing in my friend’s car… or something else that was so ridiculous, so atrocious my only option was to say “I’d be fucking insane to stick around for any more of this shit!” before fleeing the scene. Until a month and a half ago, I’ve never had to break up with someone that I loved, who I had a life with for 6 years, someone who is one of the good guys. I’ve never broken up with someone not because of some horrible reason but instead, simply because I knew deep down it was the right thing to do for both of us. I’ve never had to move out of my home I built with someone else and start over. Up until about 4 years ago I had never even lived with a man. I’ve never had to do any of these things and doing it all has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Everything just feels different now.

I haven’t gone out and purchased manic panic hair dye, or gone on a bender where I drank so much that I’ve thrown up in my co-worker’s sink. I have no desire to do any of these things… and thank god! The cast of Jersey Shore has already fulfilled the world quota of highly functioning alcoholics with bad hair. The reason everything feels so different is because for the first time, I am experiencing the aftermath of a break-up as an actual adult.

I’m still figuring this all out but here is a short list of some things that have helped me (as told through photos of Betty Draper)

1. Let yourself feel it. If you’re feeling sad, angry, lost – allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Acknowledge it, have your moment & then move on. Everything you are feeling at this moment will in time pass.

Even Betty Draper is a hot mess sometimes.

2. Spend time with friends! This has always been a big thing for me. I’m really lucky that my best friend lives here and we’ve been able to hang out lots since I’ve been home. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. However, a few weeks ago when she wasn’t around, I started to feel lonely. I’m actually proud of myself – instead of moping, I reached out to a bunch of people I used to go to school with. I’ve been catching up with people I haven’t hung out with in years and it’s been really great. My social life is actually quite busy right now….in my hometown…who would have thought.

Friends and booze. Let's go with that.

3. Go to counseling. I started seeing a counselor a few weeks ago and it’s SERIOUSLY THE BEST THING EVER. It’s really nice to sit down and talk to someone about your life without any judgment. My friends are wonderful but sometimes you need someone who doesn’t know you to call you on your shit. I just started going but I already feel a lot calmer.

Therapy. Luckily, times have changed and going to see a misogynist prick who tells all your secrets to your husband is no longer your only option. My therapist is nice and she's a woman.

4. Take Care of yourself. In the past I thought this just meant getting a hair-cut, a pedicure and buying a whole bunch of new underwear. Although all of those things are great and do help to a certain extent, it’s also important to do the big stuff. When I got to my Mom’s place my feet hurt, my back hurt, my teeth needed cleaning – my body was basically a mess. Now, most of my mornings start with some kind of doctor’s appointment. I’m finally doing all of those long overdue things. For the first time in a long time, my body isn’t in constant pain.

Putting on the Big Girl Panties. Conquering the world.

5. Spend time working on you. In addition to what I’ve mentioned above, I’ve also made a huge to-do list of everything I want to accomplish from now through to January. I’ve divided it into three sections body/mind, career & personal development. I’ve already crossed off a few of the items which makes me feel really good. At the end of the week instead of taking stock of everything I didn’t do, I write a list of all the good things that happened during the week. The list is always longer than I expect it will be (and no, my therapist didn’t suggest I do this – I actually came up with this on my own.)

Personal development. It's a good thing.

6. Allow yourself to do that “One Crazy Thing.” When my room-mate separated from her husband she purchased a brand new TV, another friend booked a crazy all-inclusive tropical vacation, some people get botox. I haven’t done any of these things. Since everything has happened, I’ve got a haircut and bought two shirts – things I would have done anyways. Total damage: $150 tops. Not exactly crazy. I keep waiting for my “crazy moment.” It finally happened on Friday night. I went with my parents to my Dad’s friend’s place to hang out with a couple of their old friends from university. We had BC Salmon, BC Wine and (in true BC fashion) for dessert my Dad’s friend brought out a fat joint of BC Weed.

“It’s government issued. Medical grade. Want some?”

This scenario really isn’t that unusual. Growing up, there was always someone you knew whose parents had a stash of “Dad’s Surfer Weed”. It’s practically like having a wine cellar on the West Coast. My parents both declined the joint as it was being passed around. When the joint reached me, I looked at both of my parents and said,

“What the hell!”

I inhaled deeply and after years of not doing this, it actually felt kind of nice in the moment.  To just say “fuck it” and do something anyways even if it’s a bit crazy.When we got in the car to go home, I said to my Dad:

“I know you probably didn’t want to see me do that but I’m 31 and going through big life changes…it’s about time I did something weird. Now I can say that I have”

“Are you stoned? Was the weed… uh, good?”

“I’m fine Dad. Let’s just go home”

“OK”

It's OK to go a little crazy....just maybe not this brand of crazy.

(Even though my parents didn’t indulge, I think my Dad caught a bit of a contact high. I haven’t seen him laugh like he did on Friday…in years. I think that was my favorite part of the whole night)

My life is not all sunshine & rainbows & getting massages while listening to new-age music – I’ve also had my share of moments where everything just feels uncertain. All I’m saying is that doing these things have helped me – even if it was just to be able to simultaneously add and cross off “smoke pot with my parents” to my life list.

What helps you get through a break-up?

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