Good Bye 2018, HELLO 2019!!!!

I am so happy to bring in a new year! This is the first time in my life I have felt this way.  I have never been a ‘new year, new me’ kind of girl.  I don’t wait for a new calendar year to set goals or evaluate my life and make changes.  But this year felt different for me.  2018 was a shitty year (pardon my French) and I could not wait to leave it behind me!

2018 was one of the most challenging years of my life. In my family we had 2 divorces and 3 deaths.  There was also challenges with my kids at school, my best friend had a major health scare, and many other challenging things. I remember a day in June, everything had been piling up for months and I was barely holding it together.  Something difficult happened in the morning, then that afternoon I got devastating news. I couldn’t hold it together any more, I fell apart and had an emotional breakdown.  I was in my Mom’s arms crying the hardest I have ever cried; I truly felt like I wouldn’t be able to go on. Like I wouldn’t make it out of this in one piece.  It all was too much and I didn’t know how I would move forward from that moment.

I’m not saying any of this to complain or get pity.  We all have bad years and low moments we fear we won’t be able to come out of.  You are not alone in this.  My advice is to reach out to who can help you and tell them you need help.  Go to therapy, talk to friends and family, heal your mind and emotions and focus on moving forward.

Rachel Barkules

I have an amazing family and support system.  They were there for me in my darkest moments.  They helped me stand when I couldn’t stand on my own.  I couldn’t have gone thru 2018 without them.  What helped me the most is when I took responsibility for my emotional healing.  Yes, my family and friends are there for me.  But it’s my responsibility to take the necessary steps towards healing and moving forward.

I think of it like this: my support system helps me stand when I am down.  But I have to make the decision to take steps forward.  I am the only one who can move my feet one foot in front of the other.  In the beginning of my healing process it was a joint effort of my family and friends holding me up while I took my first steps.  Then when I felt strong enough I was able to walk on my own.  Now I can run on my own :)

I took 3 months off of work and made it my full time job to better myself and be a good Mom.  I went to therapy twice a week (90 minutes – 2 hours each session), I was reading every day, working out, eating healthy, praying, going to church.  I took control of my life and focused on being healthy in my mind, body and soul.  If I was having a hard day, I would call someone and talk to them.  I didn’t sit home alone feeling sad.  I reached out and asked for help if I needed it.  After 3 months I was a completely different woman!!

I am currently mentally & emotionally the strongest and healthiest I have ever been!  I have a calm and a peace I have never known.  Small things don’t get me worked up like they used to.  Yes, I still have bad days and get in fussy moods.  But those are now moments or a day.  It’s not my life every day and every moment.  I am still going to therapy every week because I know there is much more I can work on and I want to keep bettering myself.  I want to be the best version of me!  I’m so excited to see what this year brings!!

The last couple weeks of 2018 I felt a change in the air.  I felt like all the bad stuff is behind me and great things are ahead.  I keep getting this picture in my mind of a building with a poor foundation.  You first have to tear down the building, fix the foundation, then you can rebuild.  2018 was a tearing down and fixing things, which is very painful and uncomfortable.  2019 is rebuilding!  I am excited to be in a place to have happiness, joy, fun memories, love, lots of laughter, babies (a friend of mine is pregnant- not me! :) ), new experiences, peace, adventure, excitement and tons of fun!

2019 is going to be a great year!!!

XO, Rachel

Rachel Barkules

BTW- This faux fur jacket I’m wearing is one of my favorite jackets I own!!  I got it last year, wore it a ton then and a ton this year!  It looks and feels so much more expensive than it is!

Life Update, I’m Divorced

I want to talk today about something extremely personal and difficult for me to talk about.  I know that I don’t ever owe anyone an explanation about my personal life, but I want to be real with you.  It may seem like I share everything about my personal life thru social media, but I really only share about 20% of my life.  I tend to be a more private person and keep most matters just amongst my family and closest friends.

My hope in sharing on this delicate subject is that it will help others who are going thru a similar situation.

John and I are divorced.  I will admit, I never thought I would ever be saying or writing these words. This has been the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life.  We started the process of separating in January.  Our divorce just recently became finalized.

What went wrong?  Nothing major, there wasn’t one thing that brought us to divorce.  No one cheated, no drugs, no abuse.  It was more like 1000 small things went wrong.  We got married very young when we were still babies.  As we grew up, we grew apart and out of love.  We became room mates and friends.  That’s how we have lived for a very long time.

John and I mastered how to coexist and run a home and family together as friends.  Not even my family knew I was unhappy.  I’ve always been very good at putting on a happy smile and acting like everything is okay.  But that isn’t a way to live.  Everyone deserves to be happy and in love.  Being married to your room mate is very lonely.  Every woman desires a romantic relationship, full of affection and to be taken care of.

Having children is what made me hold on to the marriage for so much longer than I probably should have.  I put all my feelings aside and neglected my own heart.  I kept thinking that if I try this, or we try that, things will get better.  They have to get better, I have children! I don’t want to raise my kids in a broken home.  But eventually when things get worse year by year I was forced to face reality.  I then thought to myself, what’s worse…  Raising kids in a home where Mom & Dad fight and don’t show any affection or love to each other?  Or raising kids with divorced parents who get along as friends?

It may be easy for someone to say that money has gone to our heads and ruined us.  It is the exact opposite.  John and I have struggled financially most of our marriage.  I would often use financial stress as a reason why our marriage wasn’t working.  “If I work harder and earn more money, our financial stress will go away and we will stop fighting and we will finally be happy”, I would tell myself.  Then we got to a place where we didn’t have financial stress any more, yet we were still fighting and unhappy.  I was forced to face the fact that we had serious marriage problems there were never related to a lack of money.  The root of the problems were in our relationship.

How are Caleb & Sofia? Obviously a divorce with young kids is extremely hard!  There is no way around it.  John and I went to counseling to prepare for how to tell our kids, what to say and what not to say.  They were of course devastated when we first told them.  We talked to them about this a couple months ago while John was still living at home.  Now that he has moved out and has been on his own for a while, the kids are still getting adjusted to it but are doing so much better than they were a few months ago.  They both told me the idea of a divorce was much worse than it actually is.

John and I made a promise we would never talk bad or say anything negative about the other person to our kids.  We are trying to make this process the least painful it can be for them.  A divorce in itself is so hard for children, I don’t want to add to it and make it any worse than it has to be.

How am I? If you had asked me a month ago I would have told you: I have good days and I have bad days.  And some times it goes moment by moment.  One minute I am doing great and very positive about the future, the next I’m bursting into tears.  The loss of a marriage is similar to mourning a death.  At times it has been very difficult to keep myself composed for my children, for my job, or for life.  At other times I feel very motivated to keep moving forward and excited about what my future will bring.

At this current moment, I am feeling great 95% of the time (a month of healing can change a lot!). I feel strong, independent, and excited for my future.  When one door closes another one opens.  I’m stepping into a new chapter of my life full of endless possibilities.  I have kept myself busy with Caleb and Sofia.  I have been working on myself a lot with reading, therapy, church and praying.  When the kids are in bed at night, those couple hours before I go to bed are always the hardest.  Those are the moments I can feel lonely.  I have learned to fill that time with reading or watching a good movie.

When I got married I thought it would be forever.  Last month was my 15 year wedding anniversary.  When I was newly wed I had so many dreams and goals of what we would be doing, where we would be in 15 years.  Only a couple months into marriage I had already started planning a trip for where we would go to celebrate 15 years.  I never imagined on that day I would be getting a divorce and starting over.  One of the hardest parts in losing my marriage is accepting the loss of a dream.

There have been many moments of extreme loneliness.  After being in a relationship for 15 years, I’m not used to doing anything alone.  The first night I was home alone was very scary, and sad.  I have to admit I drank an entire bottle of wine, watched chick flicks and cried.  I have had to relearn how to be on my own (still learning).  How to do everything myself and be completely independent.  All while taking care of my children and my home. Props to all the single Moms out there, it’s hard work!!!

What now? John and I have remained friends (I know that sounds cliche but it’s true).  We still do things together with our kids.  I think this has helped Caleb & Sofia tremendously with this adjustment.  They get to see us as Mom & Dad who are friends, even though we aren’t married.  We both attend family birthday parties, we will take the kids to the movies or have a meal together with our kids.  We plan on spending holidays together with Caleb & Sofia and family.

Now that we aren’t married there isn’t anything to fight about.  All of our problems were in our marriage, in all of the husband and wife stuff.  Take the marriage away, and we get to be just friends.  We have children together, which means we will be in each others lives forever whether we like it or not.  We may as well make the best of it and get along and be friends.  Any time I get frustrated, I picture Caleb and Sofia’s faces in my mind; this always helps me take the high road and do the right thing.

Next steps… It has been an adjustment for me to be single.  I haven’t been single since I was 19.  I went from being single living with my parents, to being married and living with John.  I have never lived on my own.  It’s been very strange (and uncomfortable) going places and showing up to events alone.  I’m told I will eventually get used to it and even enjoy being single.  I really hope that is true!

Right now I am focusing on getting myself into a healthy mindset, going to therapy and getting healing, attending church and bible study.  And putting most of my attention on Caleb & Sofia.  I want to build back up a new life, a new normal for the 3 of us.  My love for my kids is my driving force every day to get out of bed and keep moving forward!  I want to show them that their Mom is a strong, independent woman!

I want to thank all of you for your continued love and support for me and my family.  I can’t put into words how much it means to me.  I think about all the DM’s, emails and comments I’ve received from caring people asking if everything is okay. I have seen them all and they have helped me get thru this process.  Thank you so much!  And I’ll see you next blog post :)

XO, Rachel

new start

Life Update & Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

rachel Barkules

I’m sure you have noticed that I have not been blogging for the past 3 months.  And my social media presence has been very minimal.

The reason is, I am currently going thru something extremely difficult in my personal life. I have been going thru this for a long time now.  But the sh*t really hit the fan around the holidays.  And things got waaaaay worse each day after that.  I tried to continue blogging.  But it became to difficult to fake a smile when I was hurting so bad on the inside.  I found it necessary to take a step back and focus on myself.

Although I am not going to share exactly what I am going thru right now (I will one day when I’m not in the middle of it), I can tell you this is one of the hardest things I have had to face.  I am personally going thru my own crisis, plus my loved ones are facing difficult times of their own.  My sister, Jaclyn, just got a divorce.  And my Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) had brain surgery 3 weeks ago.  To say the least, my entire family is really going thru a difficult time right now.

Thank you all so much for your love and support!  I have missed you all very much.  I really appreciate your understanding while I am going thru this private matter.  I love and appreciate every single one of you!!

I have always loved blogging.  It has been an amazing platform for me to express my love of clothes, makeup and accessories.  I have really missed it and plan to be returning to it very soon. :)

Much love! XO, Rachel

Dressed Up for the Holidays

barkules family

Last Sunday we went to the theatre to see ‘The Nutcracker’.  It was so much fun!  I feel so blessed that I get to give my kids experiences like this.  It was such a special night, one that they will remember forever.

I knew I wanted us all dressed up, coordinating without matching.  I didn’t start thinking about our outfits until a week before (eek!).  I had purchased this dress about a month ago knowing I would wear it for something during the holidays.  So I decided to go with all black & white, with a pop of red.

It can be difficult coordinating an entire family.  I recommend sticking with a color scheme or theme.  With that in mind you can pick out pieces that reflect each persons individuality.  This way everyone feel comfortable with what they are wearing while still having a cohesive look.

My Outfit: Dress | Shoes | Clutch | MAC ‘Lady Danger’ Lipstick
Sofia: Dress (huge sale!) | Headband | Shoes
John: Suit
Caleb: Suit Jacket | Suit Pants | Bow Tie/Pocket Square | Shoes

boys suit

rachel barkules

kids holiday outfits

new years eve dress
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My Kids Christmas Wishlist

kids christmas wishlist

My kids Christmas wishlist was soooo long this year.  Between all the advertisements on tv, talking to their friends and the Target toy catalogue; both their lists were very big.  Not only were they big, but they were so disorganized.  I have a handwritten list that made very little sense.  And a Target catalogue that was all circled and marked up with what each of them wanted.

I finally sat down last night to make sense of it all.  Since I ship everything I need to get this figured out now!  (I don’t like going out and shopping at the stores this time of year unless I have to.)

The names of toys this year are cracking me up.  Me and John were laughing so hard looking at their lists because of the toy names!  Sofia’s list literally says: tsum tsum, flip-a-zoo, zippy zac, snuggie tails, hamster in a house, wow wee chip robot dog, zoomer meowzies.  I couldn’t keep from laughing out loud as I read these names!!

And if I had known the whole Hatchimals thing was such a huge craze, I would have purchased one weeks ago.  Now they are no where to be found and tripled in price on eBay.  So if you can find one in a store, grab it quick!

There seemed to be a common theme for each of the kids.  Sofia wants anything to do with pets or animals.  While Caleb wants anything Star Wars, Power Rangers or nerf guns.

I’ve been getting so many questions about gift ideas for kids and what I am getting my kids.  I organized their wish lists to show you everything they are asking for.  If you have procrastinated (like I always do) this will help you so much!  Click on the picture below to shop an item:

I keep getting questions about my Christmas sweater and lip color.

Details here: Christmas Sweater | Lip: Nars ‘Cardinal Red’ Lipliner + Bite Beauty ‘Pomegranate’ Lipstick