Online Dating

Fun Fact: Jonathan and I met briefly a couple years ago. A few relationships and heartbreaks later we came together through an online dating app. We chatted as friends and slowly started catching feeling for each other. A few long distance FaceTime dates later here we are, months into a pretty amazing friendship turned relationship.

You can say online dating is taboo or unconventional, but hey, it is what worked for us! Fact of the matter is that most single people are doing it so we decided to give you a few do’s and don’ts that we have learned in the few years that we have dabbled in the field. I highly recommend watching the video if you have ever tried online dating or thinking about it.




Call Me Cupid!


(Scroll to the bottom if you are looking for gift suggestions and want to skip the V-Day rant)

Well… well… look what we have here…  Such a joyous time of year. Aside from the fact that it is February 7th and we are more than half way through winter, we are also ONE WEEK out from Valentine’s Day!

So the day of Cupid… I would be lying if I said I don’t care for the holiday, or that it is no big deal. Trust me I’ve dated some guys that made me convince myself that my love language is TIME… (insert the roll eye emoji here). I don’t mean in the, “oh you’re having a terrible week?… let me grab dinner, your favorite wine and a good movie.” I mean the, “Oh it is Valentine’s Day? Are you sure it is on February 14th?… weird that came up so quickly, I guess I will cancel my plans of watching an irrelevant college football game for a team I have no interest in tonight, to hang out with you…” So I am gifting this guide to the ones that are looking to avoid that fight… this is for the procrastinators or for anyone who is really busy and actually forgot.

I’m pretty sure Jonathan is having a slight heart attack editing this post. Like most men in the world, he is a procrastinator when it comes to planning his personal life. Give him a deadline at work and he is on it like white on rice, but ask him to make a plan for dinner reservations and he is checking for a restaurant while I am putting my shoes on to walk out the door. But let’s be honest there’s a few of us ladies out there that are floating in that same boat. I have to say I find myself guilty sometimes as well. Most holidays I am on Amazon looking for items with Prime two day shipping like its the last pair of perfect boots going at 50% off at the Macy’s one day sale.

Regardless of your gender or the gender of your recipient, I have put together a list of a few ideas for your significant other this Valentines Day. Not to worry… all of these items are available to be shipped in time for you to grab a gift bag from you local CVS after your morning Starbucks, and have it sitting on the dinner table by February 14th.

Before I get in to the guide let me throw this out there as well. For the ones with the partners that truly find TIME as their love language here is a suggestion. Being that Jonathan and I are juggling time consuming careers, schedule packed children for me, extra work projects for him, and a long distance relationship, we decided we would do a weekend trip to Minneapolis. Although he requested a trip with all three of us, he did keep Valentine’s Day in mind and asked me to line up a babysitter for a night so we can actually have a few hours alone and go on date, which will top off the weekend I am sure! So if a weekend trip is in your gifting realm, and you are currently struggling for time with your significant other, I would highly recommend this gift! Aside from that, here are a few other ideas to get you through this unofficial national holiday! I have added price ranges and links if they are available as well for your shopping ease.

Gifting a Woman:

  • Sephora’s Perfume Sampler- This is an awesome idea if you are not sure if she is ready for a new perfume or if you have no idea what type of scent she would prefer. You’re better off with this gift. She gets a few samplers and a certificate to trade in for a full size of her preferred perfume. – $65  (link below)
  • Flowers- Yes, I know this seems simple, but these flowers stay alive for a year! They are on the pricier end but if you are going to buy flowers why not splurge on something she can use as a centerpiece as well for a whole year. Personally I am not a flower person, I’m just not looking to add any more responsibility to my life right now… the watering the clipping etc. however these are an amazing alternative to the standard 12 count rose bouquet. – $249 and up
  • Dinner, Dessert and A Movie- Get tickets to the newest 50 Shades movie, a dinner certificate to her favorite restaurant and another at a bakery for after dinner. Make the reservations a head of time and ask her to be ready for a night out then give her the gift certificates and movie tickets on the way. Romance leveled up! – $150 and up
  • Makeup Subscription– There are a few companies out there that will curate a collection of makeup and skincare products for her every month based on her preferences. You can gift one box for a month, or one every month or anywhere in-between. I suggest Boxycharm as they send out full size products and start at $21 a box. If you’re feeling fancy go all out and subscribe a full year for her! -$21 to $210
  • Jewelry- These suggestions are not listed in any particular order. This one however is last on my list for one reason. Most women have specific preferences on jewelry. I for example am not a fan of expensive jewelry because I literally loose everything. Usually I’m looking for my phone and keys while I’m holding them… but if you know your partner well enough go ahead and splurge. I suppose you can’t lose with a pair of diamond earrings, but proceed with caution and don’t say I didn’t warn you. And if you must go with jewelry here is a little suggestion. $200 and up      

Gifting A Man:

  • Tickets to a sporting event or concert- win him over with this one. Do a little research if you don’t already know his favorites – $50 and up
  • Sephora’s Perfume Sampler- (for both genders) This is an awesome idea if you are not sure if he is ready for a new perfume or if you have no idea what type of scent he would prefer. This is an essential toiletry so it definitely won’t go to waste – $65
  • Watch- Timeless 😉 HAHA get it? Men don’t accessorize as much as we do but every man needs a watch. It might just be me, but I am a sucker for a man with a nice watch. – $100 and up                                              
  • Dinner, His Kind of Dessert and A Movie- Get tickets to the newest movie he has been talking about, possibly Black Panther, dinner at his favorite steakhouse and bottle of his favorite scotch. -$120 and up
  • Tour of a Brewery/Distillery– If you’re guy enjoys a cold brew or a beverage on the rocks he’s probably going to love a surprise date at one of these. Top it off by gifting him a beer or liquor from the brewery or distillery before you go as a hint on your surprise date. – $80 and up
  • Car Detailing- If he is really into his car purchase a car detailing certificate for him. Throw it in a gift bag with a few other fun items like a gas gift card and a few air fresheners. I know a few men that obsess over their cars and this would probably be their top pick! – $100 and up
  • Comedy Show- Aside from the standard dinner and movie option take him to a comedy club for a show. It is probably an upgrade from your usual scene. -$100 and up

I hope these tips will help you on your gifting struggle this week! If you are looking for help finding a more personal gift, send me a message or DM me on Instagram @stilettosinasandbox and I would love to help! May the odds be in your favor.

Healing of a Heartbreak

Photo by “That’s Nice Photography”  Fargo, ND

Everyone has had their heart broken, shattered in to pieces at least once in their lifetime. If you haven’t, and you happen to be sitting on your couch with your high school sweetheart sipping on wine on a Thursday night, catching Monday night’s Tivo’d episode of the Bachelor, as he is folding the laundry and the kids are tucked in bed… this may just be your entertainment for the week. For the rest of us, this tale is as old as time. Girl meets boy, girl falls in love, boy is a terrible human and breaks girls heart. Just kidding… this is just my story on how an amazing individual was just not the right fit for me and how the man upstairs may have had a different plan in mind.

As promised, I am sharing my life with you, heartbreaks and all. This post isn’t just about the single mom trying to find love and instead finds her self in the closet… again with wine and ice cream. This is where I began to appreciate my life and truly see all of my blessings.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am hard to please, stubborn, strong minded, easy to lose attention and always seeking a challenge. That applies to my dating life as well. You can just imagine how difficult it is to date me… In the past 10 years, 9 of which I have been a mother I have found myself wasting my time filling it with friends and partners that didn’t necessarily challenge or excite me. After getting divorced I faced a challenge of feeling like I needed someone to complete me. These people filled my time in between work and my random few weekends without my kids but I never felt like my life was more complete with them. I had a few relationships and ended up breaking a few hearts trying to figure out who I was and what my place was in this world.

This was all until I met whom I thought was the perfect man. I had decided to focus on my career and I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone. And just like that I met an attractive, intelligent, driven, independent and interesting individual. For the first time, I felt like the man I was dating had all his ducks in a row. He was prepared for the present and planned his life for the future. He easily charmed my family and friends and showed more than just a slight interest in my children. We shared a few interests and made enough time to keep doing the things we loved doing on our own. It seemed like time was flying by and we couldn’t get enough of each other.

Just like that when everything was going great I felt like I started sabotaging my relationship. What seemed like innocent questions like “who is she?,” and “who was that on the phone?,” translated to insecurity and mistrust. It wasn’t necessarily anything he did wrong, in fact he made a huge attempt in making me feel comfortable in my own skin. Some how for some reason I wouldn’t allow it to just sink in. Today, I feel as if I truly didn’t want to let it sink in because I had found comfort in my personal insecurities and didn’t leave much room to grow from that. As bickering turned to little fights we started to loose the passion and excitement of just getting to know each other. Our lives seemed to have merged as one, far too quickly. Our plans always seemed to include one another whether we liked it or not. Our relationship felt like we were suffocating one another. Looking back at the past, I now realize the person you are meant to be with should smoothly transition in to your life, a fairly seamless transition at least. Felling their presence and the ambiance they bring should feel like a blessing. Their contributions in conversation, emotional happiness and adventure should in fact give you joy. Not every second of every day but for a majority of the time you spend with them. (Keep in mind, I was stubborn in accepting that during this relationship and only realized that this was not the man for me when I met Jonathan months later.)

Soon the inevitable happened and he woke up one day and told me he just didn’t love me anymore. The words that can cut like a knife, and well… it did. You can just about imagine the dramatic response I gave him. This continued for a few weeks until we both let go. Aside from the initial heartbreak it was the weeks following that seemed to break me even more. You start asking yourself what you did wrong? Could you have avoided this fight? Could you have held in that insecurity and let it heal itself?

And then for me, I had a breaking moment where I decided I couldn’t let this break up define me as a person or the life I had built for myself. I am blessed to have two children who are a constant reminder of what is most important in my life. In between baseball and basketball practice, nights at the skate park, summer days at the beach and bed time stories I didn’t have too much time to sulk. It is in those following weeks I realized that dating has a funny way of fogging up your common sense. For me, as a mother, for years I found myself living many lives in my own. All the different parts of my life travelling in parallel lanes. I realized I was a mom and a girlfriend in two different lanes, hoping at some point they would intertwine. I had dated this individual who was so set, in his single man in his 30’s way of life that I would be disrupting everything that was set in stone for him. I was so blinded at the thought of finding someone that kept my interest that I forgot to remain somewhat grounded. I forgot that sometimes you can meet amazing people, that can treat you well, genuinely care for you, that are just not right for you. It can be timing, and not just the bumping into the attractive guy on the subway as your going opposite directions kind of timing, but timing like you have yet to grow out of your insecurities, find comfort in who are are and love the life you live. This was a tough realization for me, because it forced me to think about the fact that I may not find the right person at the right time… for a long time. As bitter and cynical as that sounds, it was something I had to honestly think about. I realized the next time I decided to share any part of me with someone I would have to be completely transparent. This is my life. Long days and even longer nights are common. Breakdowns and losing my cool happens more often than I would like to admit. Everything and everyone comes second to my children, and this is the life I fit best in.

Realizing all of this and deciding to own it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. As ironic as this is, while I was learning to heal from this breakup and learning to grow, I ended up meeting Jonathan. In the time we have spent together I quickly learned that love is not always about the butterflies in your stomach feeling, although I still get them every time I see him. Love truly is about someone appreciating the person you are today and not the person you might become. It really is about enjoying each other, finding interest in their story, the paths they have taken in life, in love, in their careers and wanting to really be a part of what the future has in store for them. Jonathan has truly allowed himself to intertwine in the madness of my life in the most beautiful, possible way. It hasn’t been about finding someone that completes me anymore. Once I was broken I realized I had every piece to complete myself. The person that walked in to my life, only compliments the beauty in all of it. Today, I have that in a man who is not only my boyfriend but my best friend. Don’t get me wrong I am still the same stubborn, extremely impatient, sarcastic girl with way too much attitude. There are still days I lose it and want to strangle him. (In the most loving way possible of course ;)! The 1200 mile distance between us doesn’t help either, but I will have to say  I am lucky to find a man that embraces the challenge and wakes up everyday willing to go another round ;).

This is my story on how I let a heart break truly break me and build me back up to an even stronger woman. I hope if you are going through a break up now, as cliche as this may sound, you will get through it and come out a stronger individual. Healing takes time, it is a tricky process. I am a firm believer of there being someone for everyone in this world. I also truly believe your best relationship will come when you have become the best person you can possible offer to someone. I mean if all else fails there is the wine and ice cream option 😉