Divorce & Real Estate Through Wine Colored Glasses

You’ve seen it before perhaps.  A girlfriend you know is going through divorce and is emotionally tied to the family home and wants to keep wearing her rose colored glasses – the ones that don’t show the entire reality of the situation.  On the surface, the home was a place the kids were raised, parties were thrown, and memories were made – maybe some while enjoying a glass of wine.   It represented security, comfort, and a stable environment.  She might think she can go on drinking a predictable Merlot and then fast forward a few years and a tax bomb is waiting to go off equivalent to opening that bottle of Merlot and discovering it has corked!   This could have been prevented.  But it would have required wearing a pair of wine colored glasses – the ones you can see out of with the most clarity.

birdhousecorks This clarity comes in the form of proper prior planning.  I cringe when I hear the stories of the wife foregoing cash for the equity in the family home.  Think of equity like a bottle of wine you can’t open that sits on a shelf that you think is aging and becoming more valuable when in actuality it can go up or down at anytime depending on the market.  You don’t realize the IRS might be a joint investor – waiting to get the biggest pour out of your bottle!

If she can’t afford the family home after a few years pass, or the child support runs out or alimony and she goes to sell the property, capital gains could be waiting for her!  She’s single now and qualifies for $250,000 tax free gains.  If her gain is over that amount, the IRS is waiting with an empty glass – get ready to pour out some of your profits.


If you know keeping the family home is a short sided decision that requires another decision in the future, I hope you factor in the capital gains tax when you swap equity for cash in your divorce settlement.  Did you consider leaving your Ex on the title as joint tenants and then selling later and splitting the equity?  At least you could both take $250,000 provided his occupancy period is satisfied (2 of the last 5 years).

There are two special rules relating to divorce.  So see your CPA.  Under the right circumstances, the spouse that transfers ownership to the receiving spouse might be able to use the spouses time in the property to satisfy the use period.  Be careful though, you need to be clear in your divorce agreement and how title is held is a factor.

sellers market There are a number of ways to divide the house and each of them needs to be looked at closely.  Divorce is messy and sometimes housing issues can not be as clean as we would like.  But you can manage the tannins in the process and eliminate the possibility of becoming corked later.

Consider a Certified Divorce Analyst, Financial Planner, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist® to conduct the proper due diligence and strategic planning with your real estate.  Keep your wine close, and only share it with your friends.


Women – all GRAPES, but as Diverse as WINE

As women, I think we can all agree that we are basically the same – like grapes before they turn into wine.

It’s the varietal of grape that makes us different and the wine we become.  Some of us are a Cabernet Sauvignon, while others a Chardonnay, or perhaps a Pinot Noir to name a few.  Some of us become a blend and keep people guessing!

The important thing is to be in touch with the varietal of your core which is your authentic self.  Don’t be afraid to embrace who you really are so you can pour out an authentic expression of yourself.

Sometimes we can show up in life as something we think someone else would prefer to drink than who we really are. But if you know you are a Cabernet with a strong backbone and complex characteristics, don’t deliver the experience of a Merlot with a weak backbone and flat character!  Go ahead and pop your cork and let all of you out.  The master winemaker made you a unique and special wine designed to deliver a one of a kind experience.


At times in life, you might feel as though you’ve lost your wine label and don’t know who you are anymore.  The varietal of your core doesn’t change – it only gets better with age.   You just need to take care of yourself properly so you don’t become corked.

John Jordan of Jordan Winery & Vineyard said “people of balance age as gracefully as wines of balance” – so it is important to know how to stay in balance and meet your needs.   If you are white wine, you might need to learn how to chill.  Reds can handle the room temperature.

Sometimes in life you need to spend some time in a barrel and re-produce yourself.  You are the winemaker.  You get to decide what adjustments you need for your character refinement.


Other times, you just need to spend some time drinking your own wine to become reacquainted with who you are. Our life experiences add to our character and create subtle changes in the way we taste.   Tears of sorrow will enhance your flavor.  Your personal growth will deliver character.  The tannins of your backbone will become smooth with perspective, compassion and humility.

Ask yourself, what kind of wine are you and what type of experience do you deliver?  What ever type you are remember you will be smoother on the palate and softer on the finish and more drinkable if you are authentic.  People will want to drink you up for your   consistent experience and richness of flavor.  Take sometime to breath, but don’t be afraid to open up.

We as women are basically as similar as grapes, and yet as diverse as wine and if you’re like me, you always have something to WINE about!

Adapted by the book, Meritage Divorce, by Cheryl Nielsen.  Copyright 2012.



Gwyneth Paltrow “Conscious Uncoupling”



Paltrow announces on Goop her separation from Chris Martin framing it as “Conscious Uncoupling”

Here is her statement on Goop:

Conscious Uncoupling

It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.


Gwyneth & Chris

This statement tells a story of a couple that contemplated this decision carefully and in spite of loving each other they are better separate than together.  They have stated that they will put their roles as parents first.

The use of the word “Consciously” implies to me that there was a thoughtful and respectful manner in which they concluded that permanent separation is mutually beneficial and necessary for both parties and although they will not be a couple anymore, they will still be a family with two children.

Regardless of the underlying circumstances or reasons that led to this decision, I see this couple thus far as a role model to others that reach that point in their marriage that they realize, after perhaps much effort, that the two are no longer suited for each other.  I wish more couples approached divorce amicably and with this kind of dignity and grace.  The process of uncoupling (legally) will be complicated as a result of the mass fortune they have both acquired before and during their marriage.

I can’t help but feel sad when two people express love for each other and that is not enough to sustain the marriage. I often marvel at celebrities that manage very demanding careers, marriage, and children and GP and CM did this beautifully for nearly a decade.

So now they start the journey of redefining their relationship and co-parenting their two children.  I hope the months ahead demonstrate two people who work together to amicably separate while maintaining mutual respect and love for each other as things grow even more challenging.

I would like to challenge GP and CM to show the world how you can “consciously uncouple” forever changing the stigma attached to the word “divorce” – a word that conjures up a host of negativity and failure and evokes in some an adversarial relationship. The reference to conscious uncoupling is a nice phrase that seems to imply love and mutual respect without blame.   Even in marriages that fall apart, as a result of the worst of circumstances, can end without each person further damaging the other and subjecting  children to increased hardships.


I commend the couple for signing up in front of the world to demonstrate a conscious uncoupling and I look forward to the examples they will set throughout the process of separating.  It remains to be seen how this might soften the divorce landscape.


An empty glass is a good thing to have!


We’ve all heard the expression of looking at a glass half full or half empty.

How do you look at a glass that is completely empty without even a hint of a familiar bouquet?  With great anticipation of the possibilities that now have the opportunity to pour in!

Have you ever poured a new wine into a glass that had a bit of a different wine remaining?  I know I have.  The original wine tainted the experience of the new wine.  If possible, I like to start with a fresh glass when I am changing wines. I don’t want the experience to be compromised by even a hint of the previous wine.  Having an empty glass after divorce can be a gift.  Not only does it not stink from the past, it won’t taint the experience of something new, and the possibilities are endless.  You might find yourself drinking something beyond what your palate could dream of.

Keep your glass empty, your heart open, and embrace the possibility of the intoxication of living your best life ever.  You’ll know when you’re there – your wine glass will runneth over!

Letting go allows us to grow!

Excerpt from the book Meritage Divorce by Cheryl Nielsen

pouring wine

I am a recovered control freak.  Letting go taught me a valuable life lesson.  It was important for me to realize that I am not in control.  Only then could I embrace what is and what should be.  I needed to learn to wait for the answers to come and live life in its natural timing. Timing that was not forced by my will, but provided for naturally.

I realized after divorce, that I had viewed my life in terms of what I had created and how I chose to perceive and measure it.  I had missed a deeper human and spiritual experience.  I did not recognize the battle that was going on inside me.


I was wrestling with my will to be done and missing out on a richer life experience.  I believe we have inherent purpose to our lives, and if we get our ego out of the way, or destiny will unfold.  And this life is more fulfilling and comes easier.  Doors open when the timing is right.  You don’t have to beat them down.  All of our experience prepares us for the journey and seasons us for our destiny and purpose.

Letting go of control and relaxing into the loss initially felt like I was jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, but then as answers came, my faith grew and I began believing and trusting that I was not only going to make it, I was going to enjoy the adventure of the journey-an exhilarating ride I had never been on.  The closest thing to jumping out of an airplane I will probably ever know-but never say “never”!

My divorce and life circumstances forced an awakening of my spiritual self.  It took this magnitude of loss and life change to break through my ego.  I found an under nourished part of my being.  I became hungry for more enlightenment and understanding.  I was learning a new way of living and relating.  Yes, God, you are in control.  Thank you for taking the reins, and for setting me free on a new life path.  I hope I am always enlightened enough to stay the course of my highest and best use and the destiny for which I was created.

God, thank you for re-producing me so I could have the depth and nose of Cabernet Sauvignon  without a bitter aftertaste.  I am much more balanced and smooth on the palate.  I can wait for my life to decant because I know the experience with be more than I can taste today.





Clearing the energy after divorce

IMG_0680I’ve recently came to a greater understanding as to how important it is to create a new environment for yourself after divorce.  It was a lesson that did not come soon enough after my divorce.  Sure, like many, I downsized from a larger home into a much smaller one that forced me to get rid of things in one way or another yet my favorite things (furniture, artwork, dishes, etc.) went to a new place.

Most recently, I came to the realization that my environment was not providing me a rejuvenating and uplifting space and I stopped to ask myself why.  I’m not sure how I missed it.  It was starring me in the face.  It was the bedroom furniture my ex and I purchased when we moved to a new house.  Artwork with an Italian scene reminiscent of our vacation in Italy.  It was the wedding dishes.  REALLY?  The wedding dishes?  My past was weighing heavily on me emotionally in my possessions.  They were bringing my energy down with reminders of the past.  I needed a makeover.

It can be an expensive endeavor to think of replacing everything in your home all at once.  I knew I had reached the point where I needed to completely clean the slate and have a fresh space.  I decided to use the holiday season for uninterrupted time, when most people are busy, to work on my space. I first found a consignment store that would take my furniture and sell it.  I filled boxes for the Salvation Army and clothes for charity. Who wants to wear a dress that was purchased for a special event with their ex?  I also found a consignment store that would accept some of my quality clothing for consignment.

I then carved out a re-decorating budget from the anticipated proceeds from the sale.  I decided that less would be more. I would not be replacing my bedroom furniture or an eight piece formal dining room table and chairs.  I was only going to concern myself with MY needs  which included a place to sleep, eat, sit, and a desk for my computer and a dog pillow for my dog Stubbs.

I planned a change in color from warm colors to cool blues.  I took my budget to the consignment store and purchased new items in a contemporary style.  At a Pottery Barn sale, I found some decorative pillows and a throw for the couch.

IMG_0676I am happy to report that the energy and space is lighter, brighter, and uplifting.  I came out ahead financially as well. The proceeds from my original furniture paid for the re-decorating and allowed me to pick up a few new basic pieces of clothing as well.

Don’t underestimate the negative emotional energy of tangible items that can carry emotional triggers and weigh you down.  You’ll feel more refreshed, energized and focused when you change your environment by removing things of the past.


When should I date after divorce?

The question of when to start dating after divorce has many answers.  I’d like to offer just one.  When you are comfortable being alone.  Alone does not mean you are lonely.  It means you are WHOLE and that  you have re-built your life with a new identity.  One that is no longer defined by a relationship.  You can run solo and feel complete.

woman in wine glassIf you are not healed and in a needy place it is easy to make relationship mistakes.  Picking partners from a place of neediness creates blinders or what I like to call ROSE colored glasses and incase you didn’t notice, our goal is to see perfectly out of our WINE colored glasses that offer the most clarity.

Looking outside ourselves for someone to make us feel loved, validated, or worthy is risky business.  If the relationship ends, we can set the healing process backward only now we have complicated it with the mourning of the loss of a relationship.  If you do not depend on a relationship for your happiness, then you will choose and attract partners with a healthy emotional state.  This person will compliment your life, not define it.

Dating can offer us an opportunity to heal if done properly.  Casual dating (I did not say casual sex) gives us a chance to better understand our likes, needs, and preferences in a partner AND how to maintain self control.  Think of it like wine tasting.  You can swirl it, smell it, taste it, and spit it out if you don’t like it.  But don’t get too intoxicated or drunk on the experience. You know what corked wine tastes like.  Divorce is nothing more than knowing your great bottle of wine has corked.  You’ll eventually land the right bottle but let it open slowly.  Good wine takes awhile to decant.   Let it linger on your palate before swallowing and make sure it doesn’t have an aftertaste.  This takes time.  Then when it is right you can take the bottle home.

I made my share of mistakes, such as “revenge sex” and jumping into a relationship too fast after I felt healed.  Just because I was ready doesn’t mean to dive into the wine glass head first.  I needed to sip it for awhile to make sure the experience was consistent.  Anything can blow your palate the minute it hits.  It matters if it delivers a consistent experience that is enjoyed over time.  One reason I avoid Pinot Noir is for this reason – it is  slippery when it goes down but often does not offer up enough depth of experience over time.  Fun and inviting, but not well suited for a long term relationship.

Swirl many, sip few, and never by the whole case until you know you can handle it and it passes the taste test time and time again.



A smile can change your life!


What if I told you putting a smile on your face could change your life?  If you left home every morning with a smile do you think people would respond to you differently and you would have your best opportunity for a happy day?

There is a lot of research that shows a smile has some wonderful benefits both internally and externally!

A smile can reduce stress, make us attractive, boost our immune system, and lift our face and make us look younger.  A smile releases endorphins and serotonin – our natural pain killers.  WOW!  Wearing a smile can change our day and therefore our life!

I’d like to share a story of how I found my smile again.  My REAL smile.  I recently decided to have some updated professional pictures taken.  I was meeting with a new photographer.  When he asked me to smile for the camera, he looked at me and said “that’s not your smile” and I replied “whatever do you mean?” He went on to tell me that something took my real smile away.  What I was using was a modified smile.  At that moment, I became consciously aware that I had carried something with me since childhood.  I recalled be laughed at when my permanent teeth were coming in by my stepfather when pictures were taken.  I can hear his words “look at those big ugly teeth” – so I adopted an automatic way of hiding my teeth.  It became a habit to modify my smile.

The photographer directed me on letting my smile go in such a way that it was okay to show all of my teeth.

When I received my proofs, I barely recognized myself.  I had never smiled this way before.  I looked like a different person.  I looked like the REAL me.

After sending my pictures out to the universe (Facebook) and other social media sites, something profound happened that validated my smile and that it was acceptable in the world.  I received random email messages from perfect strangers.  One telling me that my smile was an intoxicating breath of fresh air that could make a man do anything.  Anything?

I also received a comment followed up by a poem.

He writes:  The best moment of your day comes when you can wear that cute smile, so don’t let anything take that away from you because you look your best in it.  With the attached poem:

I have always believed in smiles, I believe it heals the pain in this life’s miles, I believe smiles open the window to our soul, fill our heart with hope and make us feel whole, rejuvenates our spirit and inspires us, I believe all that we owe this life is a smile.  I hope our friendship makes us share the best smiles….

Perhaps this poem was used to connect with many.  But it reached me at a very interesting time.

Mother Theresa understood the value of a smile.

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Attempt, from the deepest recesses of your heart and soul, to be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” – Mother Theresa

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”.  – Mother Theresa

The moral of this is to not let anyone or any circumstance take your smile away.  Wear it as a badge of honor that you hold up to the world to say “I am worth a smile”, I will give my life a smile today.  I am worth it!

A smile needs no translation.  It is the simplest form of communication and the most understood.  It has many interpretations – All positive.

Just smile!



Top 7 Reasons divorcing couples should sell their real estate now

This holiday season I’m celebrating the landscape of today’s housing market. Good news for divorcing couples that were previously “underwater” with their real estate and it makes my job as a housing planner easier to come up with solutions for my client’s housing transitions.

sellers market

Our research team at Teles Properties has poured through the data and crunched the numbers to give you an edge in this dynamic real estate market.  We have compiled the Top 7 reasons why now may be a great time to consider selling a home.

  1. Shifting Unprecedented Demand
  2. Significant Price Appreciation
  3. Low Mortgage Rates
  4. Higher Negotiated Sales Price
  5. Changing Inventory Landscape
  6. Improving Distressed Market
  7. Cues from Renters

A Seller’s market is defined as one in which there are fewer than 6 months of inventory on the market. Sellers have more pricing power since there is a higher demand for available properties. This number has changed from 4.5 in June to 5.3 in September, and it is quickly adjusting and the sellers may only have a distinct short-term advantage.

Even with recent volatility in the interest rates, we are currently experiencing some of the lowest mortgage rates in history. New legislation that goes into effect in 2014 may dramatically change the financing vehicles that are available.

Sellers have strategic control over price as they are making approximately 95% of the original asking price. This is up from 90% in August 2011.

Inventory levels remain low from a traditional market perspective but since Q1 2013 there has been a 31% increase in active inventory. Overall, inventory still feels “tight”, but this is changing quickly and sellers have a unique short-term advantage while the market self-calibrates.

Over 2.5 million distressed properties return to positive equity in Q2 2013, primarily driven by price appreciation. We predict that this will begin to contribute to the active inventory pool and may start to put downward pressure on the rate of price appreciation.

Significant price appreciation often creates short-term dislocation between rents (YoY+9.6%) and home prices (YoY+36%). Many buyers are switching to renting as the cost of renting relative to the price of the property makes renting seem more attractive, which should be a big clue to homeowners regarding the relatively higher value of their homes.

If you’re seriously considering selling, these 7 reasons may help you finalize your decision.  Call me if you’d like to discuss your specific situation.


Divorce Provides an Opportunity of a Lifetime!

I used to hear the “D” word and cringe much the same as most people do.  It’s a word that carries a negative connotation often synonymous with failure.

That was before I went through my own divorce.  I now hear the word and think of the positives that come out of the experience and the opportunities to be gleaned.
First, never equate divorce with failure. There are lots of reasons why people get divorced.  Perhaps as you mature your taste changes as wine does when it ages.  What once blended well no longer compliments the other and the two of you paired have aged into a concoction that you no longer recognize or have the taste for.  People grow apart and sometimes we marry someone for all the wrong reasons.  A comfortable fit that feels familiar.  Maybe the way we were treated growing up.  Maybe we weren’t treated all that well and we are repeating the dynamic in our marriage.  What’s the shelf life on that blend?  Maybe the blend wasn’t healthy to begin with.  I call these “emotional viruses” and they need a host to enact the dynamic of past conditioning.  I played this tape out in my own life with relationships until I recognized the pattern.  Sometimes it take a BIG wake-up call to learn about yourself so you work on healing some aspects of yourself.
What if I told you the divorce could be a symptom of something buried deep inside of you that needs healing?  You see, you can use the experience of divorce as a transformational opportunity to re-produce yourself and deliver the new you on the other side of the journey.  It’s like going back in the barrel and becoming the wine you want to be – a kind of barrel refinement process.  You get to spend sometime drinking your own wine.  Deciding what you swallow and what you spit out along the way.
Allow yourself to embark on self discovery during your time in the barrel and remember to let yourself FEEL.  Sometimes the demons of the past will show up as you allow your emotions to surface.  Identify them. Demons don’t like light.  That is why they show up in the darkness.  By confronting them, they will lose their power and evaporate into thin air!  Once you release them, they will no longer have control over you to negatively impact your life.  You have to be honest with yourself and be willing to go through the discomfort.  This is the only way you will have the opportunity to glean the wisdom, grow from your understanding, and heal.   This is a journey you might not have taken otherwise that will give you an opportunity of a lifetime to heal, change your perspective, and reconnect you to your authentic self.
Consider adding a mental healthcare professional to your divorce support system to help guide you through the emotional turmoil of divorce.  Use this time for your greater good!
At the end of the day, divorce does not define you, it refines you and realigns you therefore providing an opportunity of a lifetime!

Ladies -New Year, New Life, New Heels?

Ladies -New Year, New Life, New Heels?
As a certified divorce coach, and with first-hand divorce experience, I wanted to address preparing and facing our new selves as we head into a new year.
You might be stepping out in the new year newly divorced with a new life in front of you.  May sound a little scary at first.  It might be a little like wearing your first pair of high heel shoes, scary, but you soon strutted your stuff with great confidence.  It’s a whole new walk in a new pair of heels.  Just remember, you’re built for this!   
first heels
Be courageous and find your center of courage.  This will create your balance. I believe courage is fueled by the motivation to take the first step into the unknown.  So I ask you, what motivation is fueling your courage?  Could it be a desire for a better life?  
As you contemplate your options to re-build your life, I encourage you to think big!  At least four inch heels.  No flats.  You might want to create a Vision Board for yourself.  This is a collage of images that represent the vision you have for how you want to rebuild your life with your heart’s desires.  Note I did not say with your mind!  This should be a right-brained creative download of tapping into your underlying passions and desires.  You can use a magazine for images.  Cut the images out and paste onto a poster board from an office supply store.  Or, you can arrange your images on Pinterest, the on-line pin-board.  In Meritage Divorce, I call this Vision Board a “Wine Life Vision Board” – why?  Because you are a re-produced wine and ready to go on the tasting appointments of life!  
A Wine Life Vision Board to reflect on is a constant source of inspiration and barometer of staying on track with your dreams and goals.  If you have children, you can create a family vision board to help empower the children towards their new life as well.  
Here is an example from my vision board:
  1. Travel-a picture of Italy’s countryside
  2. New Friends – a scene of a dinner party with food and wine
  3. House – a picture of a small bungalow beach property
  4. Financial stability – a drawing of money
  5. Good Health – a picture of a marathon runner
Next, create some goals for each of your images.  Perhaps you will start a special vacation savings account and commit to a savings goal each week. 
If you would like to loose weight, establish your plan for exercise and eating. Give yourself some realistic goals.  
You have a lot to ring in for the new year.  Because the possibilities are endless.  Celebrate you and your family, how far you have come and how much you have to be thankful for and to look forward to in future.  Celebrate your victories no matter how small! 
Embrace your authentic voice and leave behind the judgment you feel others may have towards you for your dreams.  Just Dream!  Soon, it will be a new year and you will be one step closer to a new life wearing a new pair of heels.  
To read about creating your own vision board, check out this link.

Roasted Pears & Wild Blueberries paired with Cakebread

Roasted Pears and Wild Blueberries

Staff favorite, gluten free, vegan, paleo. Wild blueberries are a concentrated version of the well-established superfood, containing much less water and much more flavor. In this light alternative to traditional holiday desserts, pears are dusted with palm sugar (low on the glycemic scale) and cardamom, and then roasted and served over a pool of rich blueberry sauce. Ripe pears will give a bit when pressed at the stem end. For nonvegans, serve this light dessert with a dollop of mascarpone cheese or vanilla ice cream.

pears and berries

Preheat oven to 425˚.

Peel and quarter pears. Cut out seeds and stems. In a shallow dish, combine 5 tablespoons sugar with cardamom. Place coconut oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Dredge pear pieces in sugar mixture and place in skillet. Lightly brown on all sides, turning as needed. Place skillet in oven and roast for 10–15 minutes, or until pears are fork tender. Shake pan to mix juices and coat pears.

While pears roast, combine blueberries, rum, lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon, and half of the lemon zest in a medium saucepan; mix well. Place over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to mediumlow and cook until thickened into a sauce.

Remove sauce from heat and divide among dessert plates, spreading evenly. Remove pears from oven and place two quarters on each plate. Garnish with remaining lemon zest.

PER SERVING: 154 cal, 3g fat (0g mono, 0g poly, 2g sat), 0mg chol, 0g protein, 33g carb, 5g fiber, 29mg sodium

from http://deliciousliving.com/recipes/roasted-pears-and-wild-blueberries

Paired with a wonderful CAKEBREAD CHARDONNAY

“Our sumptuous 2011 Chardonnay Reserve offers creamy, complex aromas of lemon custard, ripe golden apple and white peach, complemented by subordinate notes of jasmine, buttercream, light yeast and oak toast. Round and creamy on the palate, with deeply concentrated peach, apple and melon flavors, the wine picks up zesty citrus, spice and mineral tones in the long, elegant finish. This big, beautifully balanced Chardonnay is delicious now, but it will handsomely reward another 5-7 years’ aging,” www.Cakebread.com

cakebreadI’m a Cakebread nut. Some of the wines you can only get at the winery in Napa Valley, but if  you find yourself in Napa, visit.  It’s worth the time.

Survive the Holidays during divorce!



The holidays can be stressful even in the best of times, divorce magnifying the stress.  How do you survive the holidays while in the midst of divorce if you are running solo or with children?  Below is some practical advise to help you consider your options:

1.  Plan your holiday season – this way you establish boundaries and expectations with friends and family early on.  You won’t be caught off gaurd on how to respond to holiday invitations with family and friends.  Choose only those gatherings with people that you would feel completely safe, loved, and supported by.

2.  Don’t make the topic of your divorce your holiday conversation – Take a holiday break from divorce drama and graciously bow out of questions by responding “I’m not making my divorce my holiday theme, thank you for asking though.”   Your thoughts will set the tone for your holiday experience.  Try to focus on the positive and the abundance all around you.

3.  Take in some sites that uplift your spirit – from churches, to hotels, to well decorated streets and nature.  What speaks to your soul?  Feed it the joy of the season through your eyes. There is beauty all around, look for it.  Try getting out of your head and embrace something outside your regular schedule.  Delight in your surroundings.  Check your paper’s calendar section for some seasonal adventures.

4.  Consider going away for an indulgent self-care weekend – perhaps a nice hotel with spa services for a massage or facial.  Take in some local shopping and treat yourself to something special.  Buy tickets to a play or musical performance.

5.  Volunteer in your community – help those in need and they end up helping you!  Work in a soup kitchen and feed the homeless, or visit a nursing home and offer to do a reading from a book or take a flower for each resident to let them know they are not forgotten.  If you like animals, check into volunteering at a local animal shelter.  The point is, get involved wth your community and you will feel a sense of community during the holiday season.


If there are children involved they are most likely feeling uncertain about the future and the ways the holidays will change.  Get them involved in the planning of the season.  Maybe they would like to go to a ice skating rink, drink hot chocolate or bake cookies.  Maybe they would like to be involved with a community project too.  Plan as a family and you will provide your children with a sense of empowerment in an uncertain time.  They’ll have something fun to look foward to.

As for me, this year I am hanging with new friends in Los Angeles after moving here about a year and a half ago and taking a few days to go to Napa with my brother Adam to visit our Father.  I promise not to WINE too much, but Jordan Vineyard is calling my name.

I hope you look for joy in the season and embrace life with an openness to see that there is companionship, love, and joy that comes in different packages.

Don’t forget to wine a little:)












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