11/10/2013 01:26 pm ET

The 'Hot' Splurge That Made Me Feel Attractive Post-Split


If there's ever a time you need a little distraction in your life, it's during the divorce process. That's why we launched our Divorce Care Package series. With each post, we'll show you what things -- books, movies, recipes -- helped others relieve stress in the midst of divorce, in the hopes that a few of their picks will serve you well, too. Want to share what got you through your divorce? Email us at divorce@huffingtonpost.com or tweet @HuffPost Divorce

It's been five whole years since Magda Pecsenye and her ex-husband, Doug, got a divorce. Today, they're on such great terms that they run a co-parenting blog, When The Flames Go Up, where they offer "been-there-done-that" counsel on everything from surviving the holidays after divorce, to keeping a 50/50 co-parenting plan running like a well-oiled machine.

So needless to say, Pecsenye has come a long way since her divorce. But below, the blogger looks back to five years ago and reflects on some of the things that got her through the split, from salty fried pork buns to Johnny Cash.

  • 1 The Food
    "My ex-husband and I would go into these mediation sessions and the only thing that would get me through was the thought that I was going to reward myself afterwards with fried pork buns from Vanessa's Dumpling House on 14th Street and 3rd Avenue. They are perfect -- so salty and juicy and fried and just the right spice. It's a shame, because now when I eat them all that sadness comes back to me, but at the time, eating my emotions through those buns was the only thing that helped."
  • 2 The Quote
    "This may be dumb or cliché, but the quote I just kept thinking about was 'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose' from Janis Joplin's 'Me and Bobby McGee.' It reminded me that this was going to hurt, and it was going to strip me down to essentials, but at the end I'd be free."
  • 3 The Book
    "Is this the book everyone's going to mention? 'Heartburn' by Nora Ephron. My friend Deesha Philyaw and I teach 'Heartburn' in our Writing Through Your Divorce workshop and what hits us every time is the idea Ephron has that we each have a right to our own story. No one else is allowed to steal your story from you. Plus it's funny as hell and all the recipes in it are dead on. I get compliments on the key lime pie every time I make it."
  • 4 The Album
    "The entire 'Free To Worship' album by Fred Hammond. I listened to that whole album for an entire year, but it was the song 'Lord, Your Grace' that really saved me." 'As I look back over all the years that I made it through/ I can't imagine where I'd be now if it wasn't for You./ Why Your favor rests upon me I could never explain.' That album dragged me through the first long, scary year. A year later I found out that it was the album Fred Hammond had been working on through the first year of his own divorce."
  • 5 The Movie
    "'Walk The Line' with Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. I'd always loved Johnny Cash's music, but when I saw this movie I knew he was my spirit totem, too. Everyone else saw the movie and was all 'Joaquin Phoenix is hot,' but I saw it and my takeaway was 'Johnny Cash had to leave his marriage to become a decent person. Maybe this could happen to me, too.' I hope it did."
  • 6 The Work Of Art
    "Mark Rothko. I love Mark Rothko. Especially as a person with depression, I love Mark Rothko. I feel like he tells our story. My ex-husband never quite got my love for Rothko, so it was a relief to finally just be able to wallow in him a bit."
  • 7 The Splurge
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    Shoes. I had felt so unattractive for so long in the marriage that when I started coming out of it I started buying hot shoes. They weren't vastly expensive, but I bought a lot of them. Now that I live in Michigan I wonder if I'll ever have the occasion to keep wearing them all.
  • 8 The Hobby
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    Knitting. I've been knitting since I was 6, but it kicked into full gear during the divorce. I wanted to write a book with a few friends about how we knitted our ways through our divorces, because it was so pivotal for us.

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