Tag Archives: safety

Brick Wall

The wall around my heart was built over decades. It was built with tears of frustration from not knowing what I did wrong.   It was built in my own blood to try to stop the emotional pain. It was built in fits of anger to block your words.  It was built with fear to avoid more damage from attacks. It was built to keep in my feelings because so many said they weren’t important.  It was built by my demons who told me I was unworthy so you might as well hide. It has been built by my warrior to protect me and ensure my heart would not shatter into a million pieces.

The wall has served its purpose for so very long. The wall has blocked so many attacks from people who said they loved me. The wall has protected me from the storms of anger that in the end were not about me.The wall has deflected the punches that were meant to knock me out. The wall has stood strong in the face of the demons who wanted me to stay down. The wall has given my warrior a safe place to regain her strength when needed. The wall has served its purpose and now it is time to start removing those bricks.

It is time to tear it down. It is time to be free of those bricks with their painful memories. It is time stand on top of the smashed bricks and be proud of all I have overcome. It is time to stand in front of the it, because I know I have the strength to fight back if needed. It is time for the demons to know that I am no longer afraid of them. It is time for the warrior to take on the world. It is time to trust. It is time to let down my guard and maybe, just maybe fall in love with someone who deserves me.  It is time to be free from the confines of my brick wall. It is time.


~ Kellie

Working each day to be the warrior and leader I know is within me. You can follow me at https://wordpress.com/view/leaderofthepacks.blog


Dating Safely Series-Part 4: Meeting Up For Dates

This is the final article in the four part series on dating online safely.  In the previous articles we decided we are ready to date online, and we decided to put our safety first.  We learned to keep our private information private, and we put in the effort to qualify persons of interest.  Now that we have weeded out obvious unsavory attention we can feel much better about meeting an individual in person.  However, even though we did qualify this person, any person can behave well for a short period of time to get what they want.  So we are going to put in the effort to ensure we choose a safe first date.

  1. Prep an Excuse to Leave

Make a list of a few reasons to leave in a hurry and make the decision

to use them, if necessary.  Give yourself permission to trust, respect and take action on your gut instinct.  Refrain from talking yourself out of it if you feel uncomfortable.  If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most often because it’s not.  If you leave and don’t feel safe, drive to a police station instead of going straight home.


  1. Check in with a Trusted Friend

Be sure to keep a trusted (and capable) person in the loop about when and where and how long you expect to be on a date.  Let them when you are on your way and again when you leave safely.  Also, talk to this person about the individuals you are choosing to date.  Sharing with trusted friends our observations, feelings and experiences makes it more unlikely that we will be able to miss or accept unacceptable behavior.


  1. Meet at a Public Location

They may have a beautiful house on the lake or offer to take you somewhere secluded and romantic but insist on a public first meeting.  Even though we have qualified this person, nothing takes the place of that initial gut feeling when meeting someone for the first time.  Remember and respect that first feeling, for any person you meet, ever.  Whether you drive or take an Uber, be sure to have a quick getaway planned for an emergency.


  1. Take a Self Defense Class

Self defense training is something that is best when taken regularly, at least annually.  These are skills that are to be developed.  Find a class that addresses situational awareness, avoidance and defensive communication skills.  If you have Krav Maga nearby, go with that.  If you are limited to police, dojos or community centers then take them all as they cover different approaches and perspectives.  If possible, a female instructor is ideal.


  1. Carry a Personal Safety Device

A tool that you are unwilling to use is a useless tool, so don’t bother if you don’t see yourself using it.  Take the time to look into local laws (as well as practicability) as a salesperson will often sell you anything.  You can call the police department or a defense attorney with questions.  There is no perfect tool, only the tool that is right for you.  Get training in anything you choose to carry, especially retention – even if you think it’s unnecessary.

Stay Safe!


Carrie Conrad


Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at

Dating Safely Series-Part 3: Potential Qualifying Pursuers

So we are dating online.  We made the decision to make safe choices.  We are prepared to keep our private information private.  Now we are ready to start interacting with – hopefully – available and worthwhile potential mates.  However, we treat every single person as the complete stranger that they really are.  Unsafe and abusive people are often easily picked out once you know what you are looking for.  Take the time to qualify persons of interest before allowing yourself to become vulnerable or emotionally invested.


  1. Know What You Want

Making a list of what is negotiable and not negotiable in a potential partner will greatly improve safety.  If you are open to everything you may accept anything. Take the time to think about it and become willing to reject unwanted attention immediately.  Prep a generic response like,

“I don’t want to waste your time. We aren’t compatible based on my needs.  Good luck!”

Absolutely no explanation or response is helpful or required after rejection of a candidate that falls into the “Not Negotiable” category.


  1. Use Generic Responses

When answering questions, use the already planned out generic responses and pay attention to reactions.  Multiple questions about you may be genuine curiosity, but if a person is not accepting or is prying or you feel uncomfortable, that’s a red flag.  A normal person will be willing to be patient while you build trust before giving out private details.  Belittling, challenging or insulting blatantly shows you they are not respectful and is a sign they are potentially unsafe.


  1. Share Your Feelings

Share your feelings to see how they respond.  Be disagreeable at least once.  It doesn’t have to be intentional; an organic opportunity should present itself at some point.  A person who tells another they are wrong for feelings or that they should feel differently is disrespectful.  Please note when a person is insulting or belittling of your thoughts or feelings.  There are safe people who can be disrespectful, or it could also be a sign that they may be an abusive partner.


  1. Trying Saying No

If you have been turning down unwanted attention, then you may have already noticed some are not accepting of being told “No.”  Every explosive response is a bullet dodged.  Any person who discredits, discounts, argues or sidesteps your “no” is risky, too.  Be sure that the people you are messaging and potentially interested in have the same opportunity to show their true colors, too.  This is another time where we are paying attention to their reaction.


  1. Recognize Risky Behavior

There are typical and telling methods used to keep a potential victim from recognizing survival signals – like discomfort, concern, worry, apprehension.  If someone you just met seems too nice, too generous or if they give way too much information or offer a loan, take note and think about how you feel.  When someone challenges your character or willingness to take risk, pay attention.  Note the mention of violence or physical safety, especially offering a promise of safety, and even in jest.  No matter what, trust your gut.


Stay Safe!


Carrie Conrad


Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at

Dating Safely Series-Part 2: Keeping Private Info Private

So, we are ready to be dating online, and we are willing to do it safely.  The purpose of the suggestions in this specific article is to keep our private information private.  We don’t want to provide anything that allows a person to find us when we don’t want to be found.  Keep the mindset that all of these people viewing our profile online are complete STRANGERS.  We have never met them.  We don’t know anything about them.  And we don’t even know if they are actually even safe, available or moderately attractive, so keep your private information private until you consciously choose to share it.  

  1. Create an Email & Phone Number

It’s ideal to make an email account and phone number with limited or false information specifically for dating.  Then when you sign up for your dating site, you can use an email linked only to this dating account.  If you create a Google Voice number, for example, that number won’t be attached to anything other than the information you provide for it.


  1. Make a Generic Profile

List the county you live in or use the zip code for a nearby city instead.  You can always widen the miles of your search to encompass a further distance, if desired.  Also, generalize your career: “Finance”, “Healthcare” or “Fitness” are all appropriate answers.  Same with information about your children keep it all general: “I have kids in grade school”, etc.


  1. Use Safe Pictures

It’s ideal to take pictures specifically for and only used in your dating profile, as images can be searched online, too.  Pay attention to what’s in the background.  Look for identifying information.  Omit pictures wearing clothing with company, school, gym, team or children’s school information on it.  Block out your children’s faces in photographs – or do not use them.  You may love your car or have a favorite coffee place, but it doesn’t need to be pictured.


  1. Communicate Using the App

No matter how inconvenient, use the messaging, call feature and video chat through the dating site.  (Be mindful of what is in the background when doing a video chat, too.)  It’s much easier to block a profile on the dating site than to change your number, block someone on social media, or get a restraining order.  Personally, I don’t give out any private information until after at least a few dates.


  1. Prep Generic Answers

Have generic answers ready for basic questions so when someone asks more about work you can say something like, “I work for a bank/hospital/gym”.  Have a secondary general answer ready for if they ask further, like: “I provide training”.  With effort we can be honest without being revealing.  If they ask for more details we can tell them we are happy to share more in person.


Stay Safe!


Carrie Conrad


Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at www.BeatingDisaster.com or follow for safety tips and tricks at www.facebook.com/BeatingDisaster.

Introduction to the Series: Dating Safely

When I recently joined a dating site I became concerned over how in the heck other women are able to safely navigate the risk infested waters of online dating.  I don’t want to talk about all of the bad, horrible things I’ve seen so far or the statistics of what happens or could happen.  It’s more important to me to provide the reader with suggestions and tools to immensely increase your level of safety and reduce the risk of something happening to you, so that you can safely get through the remaining madness of the online dating experience.

First and most important is the foundation of anything you can do to keep yourself safe: make the decision to put your safety first.  You are responsible for picking your priorities; no one else can do it for you.  You get to decide whether or not you make your safety negotiable.  You currently may not know better, but I’m hoping that after reading this series you will not only know better but be willing to do better, too.  The cold hard facts are that making safe choices is uncomfortable, unpopular and almost always inconvenient.  But it’s worth it because whether or not you believe it: You are worth it and deserve to be safe.

You are worthy and deserving of a safe and respectful dating experience and relationship.  If that statement is something that doesn’t sit well with you, please stop dating and invest in yourself until you are able to accept that fact. It doesn’t matter what route you take; there are many.  You can use therapy, yoga, meditation, inspirational speakers, mantras, affirmations – to name a few.  The method is irrelevant.  You will not decide to make your safety a priority unless you accept that you have value and deserve to be safe.

In this short series, we are going to address a few different types of concerns relating to online dating.  The first is having a safe online presence and ensuring we aren’t providing identifying information that allows unwanted followers.  Next, we are going to talk about qualifying the people we find of interest to ensure we aren’t picking unsafe or abusive partners.  Then we will discuss staying physically safe while meeting on a first date or dates thereafter, and lastly we will cover leaving carefully.  Keep in mind, the foundation for everything covered and addressed, is making that decision that your safety is not negotiable.

Stay Safe!


Carrie Conrad


Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at www.BeatingDisaster.com or follow for safety tips and tricks at www.facebook.com/BeatingDisaster.

Don’t Be Stupid Girls


(aka P. Charlotte being not so funny because she loves you)

(aka Watch, “Looking For Mr. Goodbar!”)

Because I, and half the universe, partake in the pleasures of online dating, the perception that it is “safe” has slipped into our collective consciousness – at least for those who don’t read headlines or watch Lifetime movies. But alas, online dating has paved the way for a new world of financial scams, emotional abuse, and even physical danger.

Often women are on multiple apps, dating multiple men, swiping hundreds of profiles and making decisions to meet up with someone based on very little or no information.  Slow the crap down!

I don’t mean to yuck your yum regarding the world of love via technology. You should do it. But if you aren’t savvy, it is easy to be duped (or worse). With hundreds of men on the Interweb, just know some losers are pretending to be someone they’re not. While most of the universe is guilty of presenting photos or writing profiles that perhaps shine a positive light on the truth (we would never do that, would we?), some dudes create sham profiles looking to exploit vulnerable women. (I’ve been one of those vulnerable women.)

“Catfishing” is a scam wherein some d-bag creates a fake profile with false information in order to trick another person into some sort of relationship.  Motives vary from boredom to revenge to monetary gains or worse.  (We will examine this ugly, bottom-feeding fish-dude freak in a later chapter.)

But do not despair, tender Tinderettes. Do not let fear deter you! Rest assured, there are red flags, common sense, and tangible precautions to take so you can freely enjoy the world of online dating… and have the fun you so rightfully deserve.


* His social media profiles are set to private:

He’s hiding something.

* He goes dark for large periods of time:

As in, he consistently responds to your texts, then suddenly doesn’t respond

for three days sending you into a state of extreme anxiety, creative

rationalizations, and manic texting with your friends… then he texts again

then goes dark again… while you completely freak out and piss off your

friends because you’re acting like Jan Brady in the “Marcia Marcia Marcia


* You receive a text meant for someone else:

“Hey Peggy, whatcha wearing?”

* He avoids answering personal questions:

If he won’t give you his last name, DELETE.

* He turns even the most innocent text into a sext:

“Hey, P. Charlotte. Whatcha up to?”

“I’m working.”

“Oh, yeah? Are you working… in bed?”

“No.  I’m paying bills at my desk.”

“Oh, yeah?  I like to pay my bills… naked.”


“What do you like to wear when you pay your bills?”

“I’m wearing flannel pajamas and pink fuzzy slippers.”

“Oh, baby, that’s making me so hot.  Whatcha got goin’ on under

those pajamas?

“Uh, a maxi pad and cotton underpants.”

“Ohhhh, baby.  You’re gonna make me explode…” etc…

* He flakes on plans at the last minute:

As in, he doesn’t really want to meet you in person, because you’ll find out

he’s actually a thirteen-year-old* boy… or a chick.

* He sends you an unsolicited dick pic.

Need I say more?

* When you don’t respond his text, he sends you forty-three more.

As in he’s obsessed, drunk, or most likely crazy.


With over 2,500 sites to choose from in the U.S. alone, it’s a good idea to stick to those with proven reputations. Ask friends, read reviews, and check the site’s security measures. Some of the big online dating sites do background checks for sexual assault, identity theft, and violent crime.

But even with these precautions, things can slip through the cracks.  And let’s face it, the security measures available are using information given by the potential member. Ergo, it’s a good idea to do your own background checking. You haven’t lived until you and your gal pals have done margaritas and cyber sleuthing.

  1. CYBER SLEUTHING (Some places to poke around):

* Google:

The first stop for everything.

* LinkedIn:

You’re not going to get much personal information, but you will get a sense of his work life, whether he’s lied to you about it, and if he has a job.

* Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.):

While there are some older gentlemen who perhaps do not partake in this new-fangled phenomenon, generally, most do.  And unless he’s hiding something, he’ll be out there somewhere.

(True story:  One of my girlfriends, upon some crafty Instagram investigation, discovered the man with whom she’d been dating and boinking (at the time she referred to it as “making love”) was, in fact, in a serious relationship.  She contacted said girlfriend (via Facebook), and together they taught Mario the Lothario the what’s what. Needless to say, he is now single, no longer on Instagram and his Facebook page said “buh bye.”  And no, this is not being made into a chick-flick buddy-comedy for a next summer release.)

* Criminal Checks:

If you want to take your sleuthing to the next level but don’t have the time to jump through the hoops required for an official state search, there are actual sites designed specifically for the online dater. Just search “online dating background checks” and you will find a smorgasbord of sites willing to play a game of bust-a-perv and deliver you a full report.


* Get to know as much about your date as possible before your initial meeting.

* Drive yourself, meet in a public place, and stay there.

* Never go home with a first date or bring him back to your place. (And if you bring him back to your place while your kids are there… I have no words.)

* Tell a friend where you’re going. Better yet, synchronize your mobile tracking devices. Even better, have your posse show up at meeting place in disguise. (Trust me, it’s fun.)

* Do not disclose too much personal information (i.e. your home address, social security number, mom’s maiden name, kids’ schools…)

* Keep your purse and phone with you at all times.

* Don’t get wasted.

* Keep your panties on.

* If he’s from out of town, he can rent a car and stay in a hotel. Do not go back to his hotel, and follow the above rules.

* Trust your instincts!

Many victims of online predators say they felt something was off, but didn’t do anything about it. If your tummy says, “I should get the hell out of here,” then get the hell out of there


* Let the relationship grow slowly.

* Continue to listen to your gut.

* Do not take any shit.

* Do not introduce him to your children or parents unless you are sure he’s a keeper.  Come to think of it, do not introduce him to your children or parents until after you’ve been married for one year.


Now go, be safe, and have fun!

You deserve it!


Dating Tips

Dating these days is just insane compared to the way it was when we grew up or even when our parents grew up.  The internet has made meeting people easier, yet I think it has made “real” relating much harder.  I have learned from personal experience that the relationship that you can develop with someone over the phone and via text is NOT the same once they are standing in the room.  No, I did not internet date by the way…any of you that know me know that I am not a fan of internet dating or online dating profiles.  The influence of being raised old school I suppose.

Here are some do’s and don’t’s of dating.  We are also going to start answering  your dating questions, which can be emailed to us at noelle@fortunatopartners.com and put Dating Question in your subject line or you can message The Working Single Mom FB page.

Here are some simple dating ‘rules’ to consider.  Enjoy.

  • Finding a romantic partner is NOT the end all be all, it is a nice addition to an already healthy and functioning life. LIKE and LOVE yourself first, be comfortable in your own company, don’t be looking for someone to fix or solve your life.  Only YOU can do that.


  • Do NOT, we repeat DO NOT date someone to try to fix or save them. Don’t fall in love with their potential—SEE CLEARLY who they are right in the moment and pay attention to that.


  • Don’t pay much attention to pretty, romantic words or promises. WATCH WHAT PEOPLE DO.  Their actions will tell you EVERYTHING, just keep watching.


  • If you see a red flag early on—pay attention and get out then. Don’t make excuses for behavior that doesn’t work.  The longer you let it go, the worse it will get and the more attached you will get.


  • DATE—like actually go out to dinner, for a walk, to a movie, to a museum. TALK in person, get to know each other.  If you have sex too soon then you will introduce emotions that don’t yet belong there—be patient….what is meant for you will find you.


  • Do not be a needy, pain in the ass…do not act like a psycho. Don’t call 5 million times, don’t text incessantly…let him give chase…don’t you dare chase him and don’t stalk him…Please act like the grown-up woman that you are, a woman that has a great life of her own to live.


  • Do not sell yourself short and do not act like a pathetic, desperate woman that needs a man to make her life work, there is nothing less attractive than that to a real man…and any man that likes you to act like that has issues of his own…so stay away from him.



  • A first date is not an audition for marriage. It’s just a tryout for a second date. This is a process and it takes a good, long time to see who someone really is.


  • If someone tells you they are too damaged, untrusting, neurotic, creepy etc—then they probably are so get the hell away from them:)


  • If something doesn’t feel safe then it probably isn’t. TRUST YOUR GUT.  Go on first dates in public places and meet them there, don’t get in secluded situations with people until you have a good sense of who they are, please!


These are just some points to consider—don’t forget start emailing us with your questions and thoughts on dating.