Vicki’s Turn

Girlfriend’s Guide: The REAL Secret To Staying Married: Separate Rooms

The Huffington Post

A couple of Fridays ago I wrote about those moments right before I fall asleep that scare me and bring up the loneliness of being newly-divorced. The responses were many and broke down into four categories.

1. Get a dog (or cat or something else with a pulse that doesn’t back-sass).
2. Smoke pot, take herbs, listen to white noise.
3. Avoid pills at all costs, particularly Ambien.
4. Stop your whining and go to sleep already!

It’s number four that particularly interested me because most of the people who thought I was a big fat baby were married women (and some men) who no longer sleep with their spouses. Most of my friends and acquaintances follow my blogs, which is usually great, but occasionally humiliating (I think they’ve organized a phone tree to make sure I don’t kill myself between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 p.m. because of that last blog. (Just kidding again, you guys!) In the ensuing couple of weeks since that post on sleeping single they have been coming up to me and phoning and emailing me about their own experiences.

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Top Ten Activities to Keep the Valentine’s Day Blues at Bay

The Huffington Post

Divorce isn’t one big catastrophic event, but rather a series of little murders to the heart. The most violently homicidal of them is Valentine’s Day. Between card shops, florists, restaurants and jewelers insisting that February 14 is a high holy day for romance and the delusion that all couples are deliriously in love and showering each other with gifts, poetry and passion, a person on a “time out” from love can’t be blamed for dreading its approach.

Here are some suggestions I’ve collected from my own post-divorce Valentine’s Day near-death experiences, as well as those of my friends who have also confronted the Divorce Demons of loneliness and grief. With this wisdom, you may not only survive this fatuous day, you may beat the crap out of it!

Click to view slideshow

Top 10 List for a Happy Holiday on Good Morning America

Question from Dee in Baltimore, ML.:For all of the families that have lost their jobs, lost their homes, probably unemployment checks, and probably more, how can we make it a Happy Holiday for them? This is a time of sharing and love so what are your suggestions to make this a better holiday and to look to a better new year?

Vicki’s Answer:

Here’s my Top Ten List, collected from my friends, my church, local schools and even my kids, of the best ideas for Happy Holidays and an even better New Year:

1.Clean out the closets. All of us are spending less these days and the temptation is to think that we are getting a little gypped in the gifts department. All we need to do to get over it is to look at all the stuff in our closets, drawers, garages, and under the bed to realize we have more stuff than we can ever use in 2011. Collect all the warm clothes you haven’t worn in the past year, including old blankets and sleeping bags, and throw in a couple of pair of new socks and donate them to your church, community center or other missions who are desperately trying to just keep people from freezing on these cold winter nights.

2.Commit family and close friends and relatives to a Secret Santa Christmas. We always did this on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas morning we had our regular Santa gifts and stockings. Guess what—the Eve’s were always more fun and creative than the big haul the next morning. Now that I can safely assume my kids no longer believe in Santa (my youngest is 17!), we all love the sanity and specialness of the single gifts we’re given by our Secret Santas. Plus, it’s hysterical figuring out who gave what to whom, especially if the gift is corny or the wrong size or embarrassing and we can tease each other about it without hurting anyone’s feelings. Hey, that’s why there’s a December 26—to exchange gifts for something that fits or we like more. We come home and share that with the group, too!

3.Adopt-A-Family. Even if you’re feeling like things just can’t get worse this holiday, I guarantee there’s another family with bigger problems than yours. It’s not too late to call public schools, local relief groups, shelters and hot meal delivery groups for those who are ill and ask them to find you a family with whom you can share the holiday spirit. One of my favorites in Los Angeles is Project Angel Food, which serves meals to those who are too ill to feed themselves; when that ill person is a mommy then you can bet her kids are suffering, too. You can invite them over, or shop for them and deliver the gifts in person. You’ll feel like someone handed you a million bucks—well, maybe $1000—but the glow will last for a year.

4.Get outdoors for some vigorous walking once a day (this does NOT include stop/start strolling through malls while shopping!) with someone you love. Walking will cure the blues and clear the foggy-brain syndrome we all fall into at this frantic time. Best of all, walking leads to talking and talking leads to relieving stress, sharing a laugh, or just reminding someone why they’re special to you.

5.Clean and bag aluminum cans. We all automatically recycle now, but instead of just putting your cans out for the Waste Management people, throw the cans and bottles in your car and drive to the busier areas of town; those areas where you see people going through dumpsters and cans in search of them, and give your haul to them. They earn money this way and you may offer a bigger payday with your contribution.

6.Two words: Game Night. Especially where our kids are concerned, it turns out that the most valuable gift we can give each other is our time. Be strict with yourself and do not try to squeeze in a round of Scrabble while wrapping gifts or cooking dinner. Devote at least an hour to any game they choose and play with your full attention and good humor. Fake it if you have to! You’ll end up enjoying it more than anyone else.

7.Serve food on days other than Christmas Eve and Day. Movie stars, pro athletes and sex tape celebrities can be counted to show up on the “glory days,” usually with full makeup and hair, to serve food to the poor and homeless. But on December 19 or January 23 or even in March, when the cameras aren’t around and no one is applauding, there will still be people needing a meal and you can commit to be there then.

8.Phone a Friend. It may seem like everybody is partying and getting together during the Holidays, but most are not. This can be a very lonely time, both for us and for our friends and family. Don’t text! Sit down and commit to calling one each day through the New Year. You don’t have to say anything more than, “I was just sitting here thinking of you and I decided to tell you so.” The rest will go naturally if you listen with real interest and don’t rush.

9.Carve out two hours on a weekend or afternoon for an elderly person, whether they belong to you or not. The ordinary chores of life can be overwhelming to older people. Things like carrying out garbage, buying a few groceries or changing batteries on clocks and smoke alarms can be practically impossible for those living alone. We all get so busy that it’s easy to neglect those old folks who live just a couple doors away, or even our own friends or relatives who live in the next town or city. Be as efficient as you can, but make sure to carve out some extra time at the end to just sit and talk over a cup of tea or coffee. Again, our time is the greatest and most precious gift we can give.

10.Be the first one to smile. In a store, on the street, at work or at home greet everyone you see with a smile. Even better, say something like, “Happy Holidays!” The brave and generous part is in being the first one to say it, even before you know if they are in a good mood or going to meet your good cheer with their own. Almost everyone will respond gratefully and enthusiastically. And, if you encounter someone who ignores you or makes a rude finger sign, just remember—Christmas cooties don’t stick to you!


Vote for my advice and read more on Good Morning America’s “Advice Guru” search.

My GMA “Advice Guru” Quest, Please Help

Hey there, Friends!
I’m back at you again, asking for your votes and Facebook “Likes” in my quest to be Good Morning America’s “Advice Guru.”A tweet now and then couldn’t hurt either, but no pressure.

I’m not too proud to beg at this point. Just tell me what you want in return; a foot rub, to borrow my clothes, to have me care for your aging parent or write your kid’s college application essay. I am not above groveling and pandering ‘cuz I know doing this during the holidays is a fun as hair removal. But think, if I get the job, I will stay out of your hair and send you swag from ABC, like t shirts and mugs and pictures of Sam Champion, the Weather Anchor.

Just click on this red button! Easy, right? Then click the Like box (if you’re a FB member, and who isn’t these days?) and scroll to the end of my advice and rate is as high as you dare without feeling like a total sell-out (a “4” rating would be worth a cuticle push from me.) You can send me your payback demands at the end of January, when they announce the winner.  Love, Vicki

Help Make Me “Advice Guru” for ABC’s Good Morning America!

I’m a finalist for the job of “Advice Guru” for ABC’s Good Morning America. There are 20 finalists, I want the job sooo much. I REALLY need your support! Please start asap! It will only take you a few minutes.

1. VOTE for Me on the GMA Website Please vote for my first advice as an Advice Guru contestant to a GMA viewer. Voting is on the second page, vote “4”.

2. JOIN the Make-Vicki-Iovine-GMA-Advice Guru Facebook Page (comment and hit the LIKE button)

3. FOLLOW Me on Twitter (Kill me now! Tweeting! But I do really want the job)

4.TWEET About It! If you tweet please support me, and let GMA know you’re doing it @gma!

Watch My GMA Pitch

I’ll keep you posted, and let you know what else you can do!

With gratitude, Vicki

The Ten Biggest Misconceptions About Divorce

It’s been about a year and a half since my divorce after 24 years of marriage: Four kids, four businesses, five moves and at least twenty pets over a quarter century. When we decided to separate, I was full of sadness, hope, failure, loneliness and excitement. I immediately began the famous Divorce Diet (inability to swallow food, irritated bowels, chronic insomnia) and I was told I looked fabulous.

That first year was spent feeling buffeted about by the universe, and aside from looking out for the kids, and going through the legal and financial arrangements of the divorce, getting a house and furnishing it AND cutting all my hair off, I was in a spin. I must have looked half-insane much of the time, but I was paying attention to what was happening around me. What I learned is that there are a lot of misconceptions about divorce and I’m sharing them with you now, as your Girlfriend, because you’ll need all the tribal and anecdotal information you can get from those of us who have already walked a mile in divorce moccasins. Here are my Top Ten…read more ›

Girlfriends’ Guide to Teenagers: Smells Like Teen Spirit—All Over My House!

Last Friday, I titled my blog, “We’ll Remember Always, Graduation Day” and was told several times by readers that I needed to clean up my syntax. Really?? Doesn’t anyone remember the Beach Boys’ cover of a song that was first made popular by my mother’s heartthrobs, the Four Freshmen? It’s a song title, people!

So, for those of you who may have taken a pop cultural nap over the last twenty years, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the title of an album and song from Nirvana. Remember them?

“With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us.
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us.”

Anyway, I now know well what Teen Spirit smells like. It’s got a kind of sweet smell that lies somewhere between a newborn’s breath and vomit. It’s full of health and vigor and danger and risk. All I know is, I got a good whiff of it last more ›

Girlfriends’ Guide to Teenagers: School Bullies Hit Parents Where It Hurts

I’ve been working on this blog since the beginning of the week when 9 teenagers were finally indicted for various crimes that appear to have led to the suicide of Phoebe Prince. Phoebe, for those of you who don’t know, was a 15 year-old freshman and new student from Ireland at a middle class Massachusetts high school who made the mistake of having sex with a senior boy on the football team, thereby inspiring several month of harassment and bullying from his female friends.

One day in January, right before the big school dance, a car of these mean girls drove by Phoebe and hurled an energy drink can at her. She went home and hung herself in her closet. Worse, the mean girls continued the hatefest at the dance two days more ›

Girlfriends’ Guide to Life in the Fast Lane: Why Does My Toyota Want to Kill Me?

I’m navigating the road to hell in a 2010 Lexus hybrid, but I started with such good intentions. Not only am I driving a punky little four-cylinder Prius-in-designer-clothing that is the new Lexus HS250H, also known in my house as a Camry with a joystick (for onboard navigation,) but I was the first in my neighborhood to have one. Yay! This car barely makes it up the hill to my home unless I lean forward against the steering wheel and repeat, “I think I can, I think I can.”

If you follow my blogs, you know that I was recently divorced, and this is a time in my life when I’m retooling my image to match my new freedom and independence. I cut my hair quite short, I adopted skinny jeans and worked out to deserve them, I pushed my chef’s clogs (my favorite shoe ever) to the back of my closet and bought several pairs of strappy sandals and peep toes with heels between four and six inches, and I no longer venture outdoors without applying concealer, eyebrows and lipstick with the help of a 10x magnification mirror that allows me to watch my nose hairs grow with the clarity most people watch their Chia Pets more ›

FAT Is The New ‘N’ Word

People used to be afraid to be fat; now they’re afraid to say “fat.” Oh, we can talk about diets and exercise and the paucity of plus-size fashions–CONSTANTLY–but we can’t really use the word “fat” as an adjective anymore. Unless, of course, we’re referring to ourselves and are comedic by nature, like Kevin Smith, the director of such inspired movies as “Clerks” and “Mallrats,” who recently was removed from an airline flight because his girth made him a security risk.

His embarrassment became national because he tweeted obsessively about it and is still seeking his pound of flesh, so to speak, from Southwest Airlines. He may actually get it because he is rallying all people over 200 lbs. to join his boycott. With fat being our national condition, he might well militate enough people to affect the airline’s bottom line, so to speak (again.)read more ›

Vicki Iovine – Girlfriends' Guides