Shared posts

28 Apr 11:18

#TBT: Garden Guy, will work for Heteros Only by Garden Rant

by Garden Rant
Kristen

Ugh.

garden guy-001

Landscapers refusing to work for LGBTs? Back in November 2006. when this was published, you bet, and the legality of doing that hasn’t changed. Indeed—note  recent legislation passed in North Carolina and other states—this kind of discrimination is still in play and often legal. It was Elizabeth, blogging then at Gardening While Intoxicated, who brought the story to the Ranters’ attention. The original 21 comments are worth a read, especially this one by Christopher C (then in Hawaii, now in NC): 

How did Miss Sabrina know Mr. Lord was one one them homa sex yulls from a phone conversation?Did the Lord say fabulous? Did the Lord say it needed to be done in six days for a fashion show? Did the Lord ask for some forbidden fruit trees?
My Sweet Lord!

Here’s Susan’s 11/06 post:

Meet Todd and Sabrina Farber, owners of Garden Guy, Inc., a Houston landscaping company.  They recently created a firestorm by sending this email to a potential customer:

Subject: Cancel Appt – Garden Guy

Dear Mr. Lord,

I am appreciative of your time on the phone today and glad you contacted us. I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals.

Best of luck in finding someone else to fill your landscaping needs.

All my best, Sabrina

All my best, my ass. Sabrina, how do you square that hateful missive with this bit of PR hoohah on your website:  “Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation.”  Which reputation is now being hotly debated in Houston and on blogs everywhere. Their website does show their hand, however, by promoting the “No Gay Marriage” website.

Bigots will be bigots, I suppose.  But to me, the appalling part of this story is the bluntness of the bigotry and the fact that it’s perfectly legal in Texas and almost everywhere in the U.S.  Should customers fight back by demanding that the designers and nurseries whose services and products they buy be equal opportunity businesspeople?  We’ll be following this story.

Thanks to Elizabeth at Gardening While Intoxicated for the alert.

P.S.  Links removed after reading Richard Boyd’s comment.

#TBT: Garden Guy, will work for Heteros Only originally appeared on Garden Rant on April 28, 2016.

27 Apr 18:00

Additional Love Languages

by Mallory Ortberg

The Five Love Languages is a bestselling book that discusses the five essential ways that people "speak and understand emotional love." The primary love languages include Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch, but many readers are unaware of the remaining seventeen categories, which are:

Read more Additional Love Languages at The Toast.

19 Apr 18:31

#855: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome And Accessing Mental Health Support

by JenniferP

Dear Cap,

I recently graduated as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). The entire time I was in school I always felt that I didn’t deserve the grades I got, that I wasn’t trying hard enough, and didn’t know enough. But I kept passing with some As but mostly Bs (a failing grade in this program is anything less than a 75). I had 3 clinicals in 3 different settings for a total of 17 weeks and got high marks in all of them.

I got my first job in a nursing home, which was my favorite setting out of all my clinics. I apparently made such a good impression on the rehab director that she cancelled her other interviews and offered me the position 45 minutes after my interview. On my first day I trained with a seasoned PTA. This PTA’s caseload had some of the most difficult patients I’d ever seen; people that couldn’t follow directions and resisted me during the treatment. By lunchtime I was in tears because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and that I was doing a bad job. I tried to quit but the rehab director encouraged me to go home and think about it. I came back the next day and asked to not go around with that PTA, to be given a small caseload of simple patients and to go out on my own. I had a good day and was told I did well. That was a Friday. By Sunday night I was having a panic attack (I have a long history of anxiety/depression which had been well controlled with medication for many years). I woke up Monday, had a panic attack and quit.
Now I have zero confidence in myself and I don’t know how I can take another job if this is how I handled my first one. The entire time I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I was bad at the job. Choosing another career is not an option. I don’t know how to become more confident or at least fake it until I make it. The only advice I’ve gotten is “go see a therapist”, but I have no job or income. How can I be successful in this career when I don’t believe in myself?

-Zero
(Pronouns: she/her)

Dear Zero,

On your No Good Very Bad Day, you showed up. You may not have been the world’s greatest & most experienced Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) because it was your first day on a difficult job, but you were the PTA those patients had and you did the job as best you could. And then, the next day, you asked for what you needed to learn and you got it, and you did better than fine because you were working at a pace that you could handle. Your employer and their patients were happy and lucky to have you and they recognized that you needed an adjusted case load to help with the learning curve. You absolutely deserved that consideration and those adjustments. You are a beginner, not a failure.

You are a beginner, not a failure. Could you be kind and gentle to yourself? Could you give yourself a break for needing an adjustment period between a school setting and a clinical setting? Could you give yourself a break for being a person with some anxiety and depression who had those things exacerbated when you took on something difficult and new? Could you give yourself a break for having a panic attack and for doing the best you could to protect yourself in the aftermath of it?

The people who are recommending that you talk to a therapist are doing so because your antagonist here is You/Your Brain. Not grades (you’re fine), not the profession itself (you’re fine), not the patients or coworkers (you did fine, especially when you asked for what you needed), not the Platonic ideal of what a perfect person or PTA would do (once again, you’re just fine). Where you are not fine is in the uncomfortable and scary feelings you are having, and in the black and white thinking you’re falling prey to (“I must be perfect or else I HAVE FAILED.”) So the logic of a therapy recommendation is, can you treat the anxiety and have a safe place to siphon off some of the panicky feelings you’re having so that you can function in your day-to-day work? And can you revisit some of the strategies that worked for you when you treated your issues in the past (maybe medication adjustment, maybe some strategies of recognizing cognitive distortions and calming your thoughts when you get overwhelmed)? Maybe there is a larger question to be talked over, like what attracts you to this career, what to expect in the beginning, and what specific kind of employment situation would be best for you. A therapist (aka a fellow traveler in the Helping Professions) might be a really good person to talk that all over with.

It can be very hard to access mental health care when you’re stretched thin, but there are some resources out there. See these posts on locating low-cost and no-cost mental health care, and on green flags for a good therapist. Since we published those posts, a whole bunch of online therapy resources have sprung up, like, 7 Cups of Tea. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a free helpline and a ton of programming. They are experimenting with an app that offers instant peer-to-peer support. Here’s a massive list of online support groups. Maybe one is right for you.

One of the awesome Twitter people I follow made this useful worksheet for organizing yourself to find a therapist. I thought that BuzzFeed had some excellent writing about mental health last year – see this piece on how to get some of the benefits of therapy even when you don’t have a therapist, ways to make yourself feel better when you feel alone,  and this piece on mental health care and race. Ijeoma Oluo is writing some beautiful stuff at The Establishment. I think this NYT op ed about how therapists need to acknowledge political realities is right on. The mental health system has many holes in it and it is not the safety net that it should be for everyone, but you absolutely deserve care, so I hope you won’t talk yourself out of receiving it.

If finding mental health services is totally out of the question right now, could you re-connect with a mentor or teacher from school, the career office there, and some of your classmates? Maybe that network can help you find the right job fit for you, and help you readjust what you can expect at the beginning. Maybe your story of panicking can help someone else know what to expect on their first day.

Whatever you decide to do, you are not alone.

You are not the only one to have a surprising and terrible adjustment period to a new job.

You are not the only one to say “Wait a minute, this doesn’t match what I know from school! How can I tell what is normal?”

You are not the only one to quit something that didn’t feel right for them!

You are not the only one who second-guesses themselves or feel like they are faking it in front of others.

You are not the only one to have a false start (or several!) who has to bounce back.

You may have burned your bridge with that employer, but if you called them and said “I am so sorry, I overreacted. Can I come back with (this adjusted schedule/workload)?” they might take you on. If they don’t (or you don’t want to) that’s okay – don’t even put that job on your resume. The interview skills and resume that made them want to hire you immediately will make you attractive to other employers, maybe ones that are better staffed and have better training/on-boarding procedures for new hires.

In the end, it’s going to be you and the patients in front of you and the work you were trained to do, one patient at a time, one appointment at a time, one day at a time. I hope you can find a way to give yourself permission to be there for them and for that work. Let yourself be a beginner. Give yourself permission to learn as you go. Give yourself permission to have bad days and to not know what you’re doing. Give yourself permission to lean on mental health care when you need to. Give yourself every kindness that you would give to a patient or a friend. Remind yourself that you are a beginner, not a failure, and it’s okay not to know everything yet.

 

 

 

 

 


17 Apr 17:00

Recipe: Butter-Roasted Radish Dip — Recipes from The Kitchn

by Kelli Foster
Kristen

This looks good for all those radishes I just planted!

When it comes to snacking on veggies, you've got some choices to make. Sure, you can eat them in their raw, crispy state, or you can follow my lead by roasting them until mellow and tender and then blending them into an ultra-creamy dip.

READ MORE »

13 Apr 14:45

5 things to consider before you ask, "when are you having kids?"

by Minerva Siegel
Kristen

YESSSSS ALL OF THIS

By: kennycole – CC BY 2.0
By: kennycoleCC BY 2.0
"So when are you having kids?"
"Do you have kids yet?"
"Dogs don't make a family; you really should have kids soon. Clock's ticking!"

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard those questions, the purse slouched on the chair next to me certainly wouldn't be knock-off Prada. Questions like these are as common as anything, and can seem so benign that most people don't think twice about asking them; they might as well be talking about the weather. In actuality, asking why someone doesn't have kids is impertinent to begin with — because it's none of your business — besides the fact that these questions are loaded and can be seriously hurtful and triggering.

Other people's reproduction is none of your business, period. Here's why…

1. We're capable of making our own reproductive decisions

Whenever it's revealed that I'm child-free, I get comments like, "You'll change your mind" and, "You just haven't met the right man yet." Telling women that they'll change their minds about their decision not to reproduce undermines their intrinsic ability to make basic life decisions, and thus is both disrespectful and rude. Women are perfectly capable of making the logical, reasonable decision to not reproduce after considering any number of valid factors.

To be fair, some women do change their minds about not having kids, and that's perfectly okay, too! That fact still doesn't give you license to disrespect women everywhere by telling us that we're incapable of making logical reproductive decisions.

2. Infertility

A huge portion of the population suffers with fertility issues. Fertility isn't something you can tell just by looking at someone, so it's incredibly rude to assume that everyone can have children whenever they want and that, if they don't have kids, it must just be because they don't want them. Asking someone who's struggling with infertility whether or not they have children can be an extremely triggering thing that can not only ruin their day but send them into a tailspin of depression.

I've ended up hospitalized regularly since I was about nine years old with bursting ovarian cysts, and other hormone problems, that refuse to be controlled through medication, and I have a tilted uterus. These things combined mean that I'm likely infertile. While I release my maternal feelings by caring for and rescuing animals, and therefore don't really feel the need to have children of my own, there's another component that comes into play for me: I know it's ridiculous, but part of me feels that I'm less of a woman because my body can't produce a child, and people prying into my reproduction status reminds me of this and makes me feel both offended and sad.

3. Socio-economic factors

Children are extremely expensive. They really are. They're time-consuming, demanding, and expensive life-long commitments that shouldn't be taken lightly. Sometimes, couples simply can't afford them at the moment. Other times, people don't have children because they don't want to raise them in the neighborhood they live in. Or they're waiting to tie up other parts of their lives (that, again, are none of your business) before having them. There are any number of socio-economic factors that can contribute to whether or not someone wants children, and it's not your place to pry into them.

4. Genetics

A significant amount of child-free people have chosen not to reproduce so as not to pass on certain genetically-inherited traits, conditions, or diseases.

5. Some people just plain-old don't want kids

Kids are loud little attention-demanding wild things that make everything messy and completely disrupt your life. They also have many good qualities, but some people just plain-old don't want to deal with any of that. And that's fine. Many people just don't want kids personally, which doesn't mean that they hate children altogether… although, if they did, that's entirely their prerogative.

People are completely capable of making their own reproductive choices based on a huge amount of different factors. This is why, "When are you having children?" and "You don't have kids? Your biological clock's ticking!" are two of the most rude things you can say to someone. If someone doesn't want to procreate, they shouldn't ever be made to feel badly for it or like there's something intrinsically wrong with them for it.

Reproduction is a personal thing, and it's about time we stop allowing impertinent inquiries into other people's reproductive statuses to remain common occurrences.

Recent Comments

  • KathyRo: I learned a lonnnng time ago not to ask questions about other people's reproductive plans but unfortunately I had to… [Link]
  • Murphy: Great post! One thing people don't seem to realize is that having children is kind of a thing you can't… [Link]
  • Cassie: That was probably me. I think pregnancy and childbirth are the coolest things the human body can do, but I… [Link]
  • a few: can you put something over the message from SIL? ribbon, bow, scrapbook wedding sticker, heart, picture, etc.? [Link]
  • a few: you both could possibly consider fostering or adopting older kids. then you would lose the parts you don't like about… [Link]

+ 34 more! Join the discussion

11 Mar 13:34

First Lady to Drop in on Gardens Across the Country by Susan Harris

by Susan Harris

Click here to view the embedded video.

Big gardening news – our best advocate, with a bigger microphone and better media coverage than Martha Stewart ever had, will be dropping in on gardens, in a very public way, all year.  From People Magazine:

To celebrate her last season with the White House Kitchen Garden she installed on the South Lawn in her first year, Mrs. Obama is visiting Washington, D.C.-area gardens and surprising fellow planters with backyard-worthy swag. Inspired by all those who have joined her in supporting healthier kids and families through Let’s Move!, Mrs. Obama will be sharing the stories of gardens – be it in backyards, at schools, or in less conventional places – throughout the year.

The campaign was also announced on the Today Show, where it’ll appear regularly.

mo1

That video of her first three garden stops is filled with fun stuff, like seeing the kids react to Obama’s surprise arrival. My favorite lines include:

Obama to kids:” I do know who Joe Biden is.”

A student talking about her school garden: “We’re keeping earthworms and we’re composting.”

AAAMarch20162

Next, Obama saying: “It’s really me.  I can’t believe I’m sitting here digging out worms with you guys.” And holding up the cup: “This is my cup of worms.”

mo7

Another stop was the back yard of two gardening activists who started their garden in order to “demonstrate how to live a lifestyle that was sustainable through growing and eating nutritious and delicious food,” according to Let’s Move. “The family also welcomes community members to their garden, even hosting workshops on various gardening topics.”

So what was it like for Eriks Brolis and Linda Bilsens, who thought they were just being filmed for HGTV? Washingtonian Magazine tells the story and it’s a hoot.

“We got a call from a Home and Garden TV producer, and then last week I met her, and she brought a few people with her,” recalls Brolis. “Then the next day, she brought more people. Each time, more and more people are showing up at my house—finally it was 9, 10 people. Nobody identified themselves as Secret Service or Michelle Obama’s staff. The day of the shoot arrives, and those 9, 10 people turn into 12 then 15 then 20 people. They’re setting up four, five cameras, and still photographers. I really at this point was asking, ‘Who are you?’ I was asking each person to identify their position. And they’d say, ‘Uh, producer.’ ”

First Lady Causes

Obama’s publicity-rich campaign for growing food got me Googling “First Lady causes,” where I read about such causes as the welfare of Civil War soldiers (Lincoln), the Girl Scouts (Hoover), and in my lifetime, awareness of alcoholism and breast cancer (Ford), just saying no to drugs (Reagan), and health care (Clinton).

First Ladies have no doubt done good things that aren’t well known, but public awareness campaigns can be judged by their success at getting attention, and gardening couldn’t have a better attention-getter than Obama.

And on a local note, I’m impressed that her team researched and found the schools and gardening activists most deserving of recognition. So if she comes to your town, expect to discover some awesome people and projects.

Readers in Texas are probably annoyed by now but don’t worry – I’m getting to Lady Bird! She was our first First Lady to promote the growing of plants and did a bang-up job bringing attention to the many benefits of beautification and the unknown cause (at that time) of native plants. If you weren’t born yet, read the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center‘s excellent summary of her environmental legacy.

First Lady to Drop in on Gardens Across the Country originally appeared on Garden Rant on March 11, 2016.

06 Apr 12:30

Ask Polly: How Do I Start Believing in My Worth?

by Heather Havrilesky
Kristen

"But you will also start to draw boundaries around your squish. You will start to say, "Many other people are going to define my squish as faulty and not good enough, many other people are going to insult me and roll their eyes at me and they're not going to do it because they're 'just jealous,' they're going to believe in their hearts, that I am bad news, worthless, annoying. I am also going to believe these things sometimes. But I am making a decision right now to trust myself and to love myself and to protect myself from people who are either suspicious of me or 100 percent MEH about me. I am not going to blame them for this! But I am not going to improve myself for those people, either, just to become some imaginary peak version of myself eventually, someday, never. Instead, I am going to find other flawed and broken and loud and rattling things, I’m going to find other angry, self-doubting bags of microbial squish, and together, we are going to feel strong and odd and emotional and also triumphant together. "

Clown Fish

Dear Polly,

I've followed your writing for years, and I am interested in knowing how you went from a (self-described) lame, narcissistic asshole to the emotional guardian of radishes and sharp knives everywhere. Maybe I didn't read Disaster Preparedness closely enough, but I'd like some details: What was the moment when...More »

17 Mar 09:00

My Sleep Button

by mark
Kristen

I'm intrigued....this sounds like it would also be really good for panic/anxiety attacks.

I’ve been using this tool since it was first released in April 2014.

The tool helps me get to sleep faster than I normally would. It also helps me get to sleep at odd times. I’m an emergency pediatrician who work shifts. Sometimes I need to sleep in the afternoon to prepare for a shift even if I don’t feel tired. The other sleep apps are all pretty much the same: They deliver white noise, music, other sounds, or meditation. There’s nothing special about that. None of them implements “the cognitive shuffle” (or SDI, serial diverse imagining).

mySleepButton (it’s free, with in-app purchases ranging from $3 to $5) is truly unique. It’s based on cognitive science. This smartphone app (Android, OS X) reads you a word or phrase, one at a time, and gets you to visualize each one for 5-10 seconds. Each word or phrase is very different from the previous one. It might get you to imagine a pear, a lamp shade, a rock, fishing, trying on hats, skiing, whatever. This is meant to imitate and induce the first stage of sleep (“N1″), where your mind drifts from one “random” thing to another. The app keeps my mind off of daytime issues. And it just knocks me out.

It even has a “mental drawing” mode in which you imagine yourself drawing stuff. (That’s Motor Imagery). This tires me out.

The guy who designed it (Dr. Beaudoin) is a cognitive science researcher from Simon Fraser University.

-- Michael Arsenault

29 Mar 21:39

Hario Cold Brew Coffee Pot

by mark

I’ve used this cold brew coffee pot for a year now and it makes the best iced coffee I’ve tasted. Cold brewing coffee results in a less acidic and more potent brew, perfect for iced coffee. It has gained popularity recently and now is even appearing at Starbucks stores. To make cold brew coffee you simply add about a cup coarse ground coffee to a liter of water and let it sit in room temperature water for 12 hours or in your refrigerator for 24 hours.

Before this perfect little pot the hard part was straining the grounds from the coffee, straining a liter of coffee through nut cloths or drip coffee filters was a ridiculous enterprise.

The Hairo has a permanent ultra fine poly filter that’s unlike any coffee filter I’ve seen. The filter sits in the top of the pitcher and once the brewing time is complete simply remove the filter, unsnap the bottom and remove the grounds.

The resultant brew will keep in your refrigerator for a few days, simply add more water or milk to taste and you have a potent, non bitter iced coffee with no fuss.

Hairo is a Japanese company with a great reputation in the coffee world (their ceramic pour over drip has been a staple for years). The quality and ease of use for under $20 makes this a worthwhile addition to my kitchen.

-- Tim Hollosy

Hario Water Brew Coffee Pot ($15)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

24 Mar 23:20

With the Passing of HB 2, North Carolina Signs Hate into Law

by Alaina
shutterstock_316937825

"What's so scary about HB 2 is that it doesn't seem discriminatory when first read, but the contradictions are all over it. It says that North Carolinians have the right not to be discriminated against, but then makes the basis of that protection "biological sex", immediately endangering anyone who isn't cisgender. This is terrifying."

The post With the Passing of HB 2, North Carolina Signs Hate into Law appeared first on Autostraddle.

23 Mar 18:38

Writing My Way Out

by Jen
Kristen

Written for me yesterday, if only I had found it then.

In college I struggled with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because my diet was terrible and I tended to skip meals. I would get shaky, light-headed, tired, and then start to retreat into myself and shut down. I would go numb inside, sitting and staring at nothing for hours if left unchecked, not caring that I was getting worse, not caring that all I needed was a little food to make the numbness go away. (This continued into my marriage, embarrassingly enough, and it took many long months for John to figure out that the cure for his new bride's glassy-eyed funks was a large tablespoon of peanut butter.)

That's when I first learned how fickle feelings could be. If a crappy granola bar could make the sun shine again and life seem worth living, then how could I trust *anything* I was feeling?

Worse, I later realized that one of the biggest problems with feelings - or at least the crappy ones - is how permanent they always seem. When we feel bad it feels like we're going to feel bad forever. Time just stops, drops, and wallows in all the sadness, listlessness, anger, guilt, etc, and no matter how we try, we can't even imagine a time when the awfulness will fade. It's the world's worst magic trick, a malevolent ghost in the machine. It's the conviction born of a half-remembered nightmare, but one we don't question, because it feels like the truth.

Those are the times we have to hang on with blind faith, trusting in the very treachery of our own nature. Because the devastating, hope-affirming truth is, our feelings are rotten lying bastards.

I still remember my sense of betrayal the first time I had a little too much booze and the room wobbled. I hated the fact that something besides me was making me feel this way. I vowed to never give that kind of control to any drink, any drug. I wanted to feel the truth, not be lied to and manipulated by so many artificial shifting sands.

So these days, when I can chart my days of funks and fatigue and "don't you DARE talk to me"s like clockwork on the calendar, I again feel betrayed - but by my own body. I hate having my moods dictated by some extraneous organ spewing hormones. I hate being listless and sad when I have STUFF to do. I hate when John discounts my discontent because "it's just your grumpy day, babe," and then I yell back that it is NOT that time yet so no it is NOT my 'grumpy day', and then I really REALLY hate it when I check the calendar and John's right. Again.

On the bright(er) side, I've come to see my anxiety and agoraphobia in the same light: as simply more treacherous, fickle feelings that can never be trusted. They whisper, "forever," but they lie. They, too, are artificial shifting sands, the byproduct of something broken - something that I hope one day to fix.

But when I feel happy, and proud of something I've done, or grateful or peaceful or in awe of something beautiful, when I feel inspired and hopeful, when I laugh 'til I leak, or when I'm just cozy in the warmth of John's arms, I choose to believe that those are the times I feel the truth. If life really is what we make of it, then those are the foundations I will cling to.

I can't always control how I feel. Heck, I'm not convinced I can ever control how I feel. What I can control is how I interpret these ever-shifting sands, and how I channel them. I can control who and what I trust, and who and what I believe. I can choose to wait through the darkness, and trust that the light is coming. I can choose to wallow in the good, when I have it, as much as the bad.

I can choose to write everything down, and remember this feeling isn't forever.

I write these things to remind myself, because I need reminding pretty often. Maybe you do, too. Maybe the whole reason you found Epbot - if you believe in that kind of thing - is because you needed these words today. Maybe I'm only posting for you today. If so, then I think I speak for everyone here when I say: WORTH IT. Come wallow with us. We got your back.



21 Mar 17:00

Questions, Caring, And Who Gets To Be The Default

by Jaya Saxena
Kristen

"Rarely do I make a decision without considering how it would affect those I care about, whether it’s whether or not to write about a certain experience or invite someone to a party or decide I have no social energy even though I’m wracked with guilt that at all points there is someone I haven’t seen in too long. "

Do we need to ask less of women or ask more of men?

Read more Questions, Caring, And Who Gets To Be The Default at The Toast.

21 Mar 14:31

Kimchi Cuddles is made possible entirely through viewer support!...

Kristen

Speak the truth.



Kimchi Cuddles is made possible entirely through viewer support! Even $1/month makes a huge difference: https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

And check out the KIMCHI SHOP! http://kimchicuddles.com/shop

14 Mar 02:00

Meet The Newest Hamilton Fangirl

by Jen
Kristen

AGREED. Listened to it this weekend, once a day for 3 days. Dammit this is good.

Spoiler: it's me.

Yep, my curiosity finally got the best of me, and I decided to see (or more accurately, hear) what so many online and in my circle of friends have been raving about.

NOW I KNOW.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Hamilton is the newest smash hit on Broadway - though even "smash hit" is an understatement. Why? Because it's the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, told through hip-hop. Yep, we're talking rap battles, pop ballads, the works.

If you're like me, you'll understand what all the fuss is about on the first listen, be hooked by the second, and completely in love by the third. I've listened to the entire soundtrack once a day for three days now, and I'm hoping to go 4-for-4 later tonight. This thing is clever, catchy, funny, and packs a stronger emotional punch with every listen. (I don't recommend listening to the last 20+ minutes in public. Two words: BAWLY MESS.)

And you can listen to the entire soundtrack for free  here on Hamilton's Youtube channel.
The handy-dandy playlist means you only have to hit 'play' once.

Or, if you're not ready to dive in just yet, here's quick clip to (hopefully) pique your interest:

... and a longer segment from CBS Good Morning that I found really interesting:


Parents should note the soundtrack has its share of F bombs and a little inappropriate sexy time action, which you can avoid if you skip the song "Say No To This."

 For everyone else, though: GO LISTEN. 

And for those already onboard the Hamilton-loving-bandwagon with me, check out this adorable fan art by the amazing Katie Cook:


 HEE!

Now to start counting down the days 'til the official tour (which hasn't even started yet) reaches Orlando...
11 Mar 12:45

The crocheted window treatment of your rainbow daydreams

by Megan Finley
Morgensonne
Thanks to Morgensonne for uploading these photos to our Flickr pool!

I mean… the kitchen design alone is cause to squee. But then you throw in that amazing crocheted window treatment, and you have a rainbow-y halo-y light-streaming day-dream! Except it's real. And, assuming you had the crochet-ing skills, you could probably make one just like it.

Let's see some more photos…

Wintermorgen

H i p p i i i e e !!!!!

I mean, just look how cool that this treatment includes the valance…

ins Licht

Want a close-up of the disc crochet pattern? You got it…

in progress

A rainbow crochet window treatment in the kitchen. Who knew that would be so awesome? Well, we ALL do now.

Recent Comments

  • Lorijean: I would like to know to get this pattern want to decorate my house with it!!!!!!! [Link]
  • Naomi W: Wow, this makes me want to learn how to crochet. But I'm so lazy...how about I make friends with somebody… [Link]
  • Lizzy B.: I NEED THIS WHOLE KITCHEN AAAAAAAAAAAH [Link]
  • Sherry: Any chance that anyone out there has this pattern. I love the window curtain! [Link]
  • Bubbles: WHERE DID THOSE FANTASTIC CABINETS COME FROM? I must know! I especially love the upper ones. [Link]

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07 Mar 12:45

Put the fun back in funeral: I threw a surprise birthday funeral for my metamour

by Natalie
Kristen

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS

Funeral guests having a time.
Funeral guests.

The idea for a birthday funeral came to me unexpectedly… It was my birthday, and I was fondly reading all the well-wishes posted on Facebook from friends and family — musing to myself that it's not often that people are that expressive with their affection. It seems that such displays of verbose public love are reserved for either birthdays or funerals.

Suddenly an idea hit me: wouldn't it be a thrill to host a funeral for a living person, so they could listen to all the wonderful things people had to say about them? Plus for all my goth friends, a funeral party would be the ultimate indulgence!

But who did I know who would be so morbid as to enjoy being made into a corpse?

I called my partner Chris and said in a rush, "This may be a crazy idea, but do you think we could hold a surprise funeral for Kitty's birthday?"

Chris was silent for a long moment, and I thought, 'Wow, maybe this idea is too weird.' But he replied, "That is an amazing idea. Let's do this."

Kitty is my metamour — Chris's other partner — and a passionate devotee to all things dark, grotesque, and twisted. As her birthday falls on New Year's Eve, she very rarely has a birthday party of her own. I decided to remedy this with a surprise birthday party (no, a surprise birthday funeral!) two weeks before her birthday to really catch her off-guard.

Chris and I spread word of our plans to Kitty's nearest and dearest under strict instructions of absolute secrecy. We assigned various roles to friends based off their talents — one friend was asked to play the role of the celebrant, and a few overseas friends were asked to write eulogies. All guests were asked to bring a plate of food (as is traditional in times of mourning, I reminded them) and to wear their most fabulous funeral garb.

On the day of the funeral, Chris kept Kitty occupied whilst I turned our living room into a funeral parlour… black streamers were draped around the walls, candles were lit, and I turned our coffee table into a cushioned "death-bed" for the guest of honour. Guests trickled in about an hour before Chris and Kitty were due to arrive; we poured wine, set up a playlist of Gregorian funeral chants on Youtube, and cut blocks of cheese into tiny gravestones. We were all getting comfortably tipsy when I received a text from Chris warning me that they were on their way home.

Kitty mentioned later that she suspected something was afoot, and was expecting to find a gathering of friends joyfully crying, "SURPRISE" when Chris brought her back to our apartment. But when she was faced with a black crepe rosette on the front door, Gregorian funeral chants booming loudly down the hall, and a cluster of sombre friends in mourning veils clustered around a "coffin" in the living room, she froze. Our designated usher very gently guided Kitty to her deathbed and laid her down. Two more guests pulled a black sheet over her. I let out a small wail as I laid a flower over Kitty's crossed hands.

Our celebrant James welcomed the guests and began the service. After a dramatic and completely false story of Kitty's peculiar beginnings, he introduced Chris and I as we gave our individual eulogies. I used mine as an opportunity to give Kitty a bit of a roast whilst she was in no position to argue back. As she gave a squawk of indignation from beneath the shroud, James cried out, "Pay no attention to the foul gasses escaping the corpse!" and Chris "tearfully" slipped a nip of gin under the shroud to further "embalm the corpse." Any further noises from Kitty were met with whispers of "such foul gasses" from the mourners.

After James read out the eulogies from overseas friends, our friend Alicia sang a requiem dedicated to her "bad-decision buddy." James followed up with a scripture reading… which turned out to be a biblical language version of "My Humps." My other partner Daniel snapped photos of the mourners as they attempted to contain their giggles by turning them into melodramatic sobs, and dabbed at their eyes with handkerchiefs.

We concluded the ceremony by burying Kitty in soft toys before allowing her to "rise from the dead" with a blood-curdling screech. She sat upright on her deathbed looking a little dazed and overwhelmed (apparently there wasn't a lot of air under her shroud) as the entire party sang "Happy death-day to you" very loudly. Once we gave her a few minutes to compose herself, we launched into a very loud and drunken "wake" for the rest of the night. Black-Eyed Peas' "My Humps" was the first song on the playlist.

There had been a few points during preparation, from the ideas' conception through to the day of the party, when Chris and I would look at each other and ask, "Are we doing the right thing? Is this too weird?" But each time, we reassured ourselves that, if there was one person who would relish the opportunity to attend her own funeral, it was Kitty. Fortunately, she loved it.

After a coffin-shaped birthday cake was served, she said the whole experience was the "loveliest, most gorgeously macabre thing that anyone has ever done" for her.

Our suspicions about Kitty being the perfect "guest of honour" were further confirmed about a week later, when Kitty ran into a friend who hadn't been able to attend. He grabbed her hand and said, "I was so sorry to miss your funeral!"

"That's okay." Kitty replied brightly. "One day, I'll have another one."

Recent Comments

  • Janey: I've been to a a funeral party that was a birthday but there was no ceremony, honestly it just let… [Link]
  • Ariel Meadow Stallings: If you want way more, be sure to check our archive: http://offbeathome.com/tag/polyamory :) [Link]
  • M: (Ahhhhh poly posting on OBH, that makes me so happy, I was stoked to see the word metamour in the… [Link]
  • Kayla: This was absolutely hilarious! [Link]
  • The Freneticist: Dear Offbeat Homies; I know these three, and they are kind, funny, stylish, wonderful people with a gorgeous relationship that… [Link]

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01 Mar 12:45

How I deal with online hate (as someone with 20k+ followers)

by Minerva Siegel
@Spookyfatbabe's Instagram page.
@Spookyfatbabe's Instagram page.

I started my Instagram account purely as an indulgence. The whole account is almost all selfies or words of self-love and empowerment. I was shocked when, after only a few days, I had hundreds of followers. Suddenly, that doubled, and doubled again, and now my account has well over 20k followers. I have thousands more on tumblr, and my blog, Donuts & Dissent, has thousands of followers, too.

I get a lot of messages of support and kindness every day from people, both men and women, who say that seeing me, a fat babe, being so confident and at home in my skin is inspiring to them.

I also get a lot of hate messages every day from trolls who tell me to kill myself, send death threats, and tell me I'm ugly using every kind of language imaginable. Hate accounts regularly launch hate-campaigns against me, during which a lot of trolls go through all my photos at once and comment hateful things in a big wave.

I'll admit that, at first, I was shocked by how hateful people were. It used to get to me. Their cruelty made me question what I was doing and whether or not I'm beautiful enough to be putting photos of myself on the internet for everyone to see.

So, how did I get over it? How do I not let the hate get to me?

Firstly, you have to realize a few things about the trolls spewing the cruelty:

1. They're projecting

Strong, secure people don't tear others down like that. The trolls obviously have very deep-seeded self-loathing that they're projecting by calling me names and ridiculing my appearance. They're unhappy, insecure people who want everyone else to wallow in self-hatred with them.

2. They're pathetic

You have to realize that these people are literally taking time out of their day to sit on the internet, peruse body-positive hashtags, go through my account and spew hate at me. What sad lives they must lead! It's truly pathetic that anyone has the time or level of self-hatred to be that committed to trying to bring other people down. They're obviously not doing anything productive, fulfilling or worthwhile with their lives.

3. They're cowards

The people commenting hateful things on my posts are almost always doing so from behind anonymous or fake profiles. They're absolute cowards. They don't have the courage to stand up and sign their name to their actions. I realize that I'm brave for putting myself out there and open to public ridicule — realize that they're cowardly and pathetic for not fighting a fair fight by making themselves public, too.

I don't engage trolls, and I recommend that you don't, either

In the beginning of having public accounts, I used to try to fight back against the haters, and that was stupid of me — it just fueled their fire. That's what they want. The best thing to do is to report their comments and profiles, ban them from your life and move on.

You're glorious

There is so much to celebrate about ourselves and our unique diversity. There's no one, set type of beauty — we're all beautiful and lovely in our own ways, so don't waste your time trying to conform to one narrow-minded scope of someone's idea of beauty. Revel in your own uniqueness and be proud of who you are and what makes you special.

Don't let the bastards get you down

Remember points 1-3 — that trolls are just pathetic cowards with huge amounts of insecurity and self-loathing that they're trying to project on to you, because they're threatened by your beauty and confidence. Don't engage the hate — just report and block them. If you get fired up about it and fight back, they win.

Stay confident, hold your head up high, and proudly show off that beautiful selfie!

Recent Comments

  • Ariel Meadow Stallings: My first serious internet troll found me in 2002, and I had a period in 2005 - 2008 where I… [Link]
  • Lauren "Wingéd Elf Girl" Sparks: Doooon't feeeed the troooolls. You make me so happy in every way, Minerva - your looks, attitude… [Link]
  • GraceFace: In 2012, I made a YouTube video that made its way to a 4chan board and people were . .… [Link]
  • Beth K.: Thanks for such a great post! I'm not quite sure how such the internet developed into such a hate… [Link]
  • K.: Exactly this. The points she laid out about internet trolls was 100% accurate. [Link]

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29 Feb 17:18

The unspoken dangers of polyamory… contracting your...



The unspoken dangers of polyamory… contracting your lovers’ fandoms!

Kimchi Cuddles is made possible entirely through viewer support! Even $1/month makes a huge difference. Check out the new rewards I’m offering: https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

23 Feb 08:01

Body Image by Thomke Meyer

by Matthew Nolan
Kristen

Powerful.

Say hello to Thomke Meyer!

Erika and I are still catching up after our San Francisco trip, so today we’ve got a wordless, short story all about body image. It’s a very different feel and vibe, a strong sobering effect when put in amidst so many of our pun-heavy comics. I think it matches the subject matter perfectly. I love it and I think we can all relate to it.

Go visit Thomke’s lovely portfolios site and check out the rest of her amazing illustrative work.

23 Feb 12:45

Why is it still socially un-acceptable to discuss your personal financial security as a married woman?

by Chris
Fotos para pauta
By: Jenifer CorrêaCC BY 2.0

I've had two conversations in the past couple months that have set off a bit of a lightbulb in my brain.

It still isn't socially acceptable to discuss your personal financial security as a married woman. I will tell you why that's not cool. (Beware of gendered language ahead…)

Conversation A

I was sitting with three men, one of whom is my legal spouse. The other two were relatives of roughly the same age as us. I recounted a story where a woman gave me some verbal side-eye about not changing my last name, and I expected all four of us to have a good chuckle. "Why does anyone care, right?"

"Well, it's still less common for the woman to keep her last name," one of the relatives said.

Setting aside minor things like the impact it would have had on my career, and the fact that I like my damn last name, I responded with, "It was literally the easiest route. It took less work to keep my name, and oh hey, it's one less massive headache in the case of divorce."

Cue the mock gasps. I expected them, but I wished I didn't have to.

Conversation B

A routine update to a credit card I share with my husband was a mild hassle because I was listed as an authorized user, rather than a joint user. After some research, I came to the realization that an authorized user may not be growing their individual credit, whereas the primary user or a joint user would be.

I mentioned to my husband that we should probably do something about that.

"What's the difference?" he asked.

"I may not be able to use it in my credit history if we separated." I tried not to put it like that, I really did, but I couldn't think of any other way to say it. And because he's intelligent and appreciates financial responsibility, he agreed that was a good thing. But not after a, "tsk, all this separation talk."

Which made me realize…

A woman's own financial security and independence is still a taboo topic while she is married

Why is this?

Couples who have combined their finances often save emergency funds. Often we have disability insurance. We do these things even though no one's planning on getting in a car wreck or contracting a debilitating disease. But we plan for it nonetheless, and we talk about it, and no one's clutching their pearls and saying, "They must have a death wish."

But a married woman preparing for personal financial security carries a special stigma. You said "divorce," therefore you must not truly love your spouse. You said "separation," you must be planning on leaving. I can't believe you had that in the back of your mind all along, how dare you.

Some might argue that I am comparing apples to oranges. A car wreck does not equal a divorce. Okay. You can be just as caught off guard by both.

The divorce rate is common knowledge. How is it financially irresponsible to keep it in mind? In both the case of the last name and the credit card authorization, my husband has as much ownership as he would have in the case of our separation. His independence, in his identity and his finances, is the default both inside and outside of marriage. No one is fretting that he is "planning" for divorce, yet he is better prepared all the same.

It's true that I'm privileged to be able to legally make the same preparations for myself. I'd like the additional privilege of being able to do so without the one-sided stigma.

Recent Comments

  • Cass: Regardless of the OP's reasons for keeping her own financial security, many cultures treat women differently in a divorce. Something… [Link]
  • John Farrier: But then again, I'm a huge believer that one does not say "divorce" or "separation" in the context of one's… [Link]
  • John Farrier: If both parties in the marriage keep their vows, how would a divorce just "happen"? [Link]
  • meiry: So much yes to all of this! I also kept my last name, and for the most part I control… [Link]
  • Tribesmaid OnTheBrink!: I'm always surprised by how people react to the idea of a pre-nup. It definitely isn't romantic but marriage… [Link]

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18 Feb 12:45

Getting stoned with my vagina revolutionized my feelings about my own sexual body

by Roxie Hunt
Kristen

Whaaaaaat. Yes.

Photo by Roxie Hunt.
Photo by Roxie Hunt.

I haven't spent much time, aside from the minimal grooming and maintenance, paying special attention to my vagina. One might say that I have been neglectful of the spiritual needs of my own vagina, having been raised a woman in American society and all that.

I haven't spent much time talking about my vagina either, because, well, it doesn't seem appropriate to talk about the part of me that has been such a source of secret, deep-seated shame and embarrassment for my entire life.

Why a perfectly healthy, vibrant woman would be ashamed of her own perfectly healthy, vibrant vagina is a different subject all together. We will file that one under "Future bones to pick with the Patriarchy." A different story for a different day. We will just say that hiding and quieting my vagina has just sort of been a major part of my role as a female, and hiding tends to lead to shameful feelings. Am I Right?

Getting stoned with my vagina revolutionized my feelings about my own sexual body. I am still trying to figure out how to categorize the experience in the file cabinets of my mind, so bear with me as I recount the story and my feelings about it.

Here is the story…

A couple months back, a dear alchemist friend of mine gifted me some "Beaver Balm," a pink cinnamon smelling goo, made with a blend of organic oils and infused with sativa, formulated for her pleasure. I was very eager to try it out, what with the stories and testaments of the magic of the stoned yoni which have been circulating in the past few years. With all that and the words of a close friend in my head — "I discovered weed balm for my vag, and I haven't left my bed for the last week" — I had to give it a try.

It seemed appropriate to first experiment on my own, in the safety and comfort of my own bed, on a day when my husband was at work, and kids at school. Today was for me and my vagina. I applied my beaver balm, generously. It melted like butter and felt warm, with a nice tingle. I pulled my pants and undies back up and went about my business, tidying the house, made myself a cup of coffee. Usual stuff. Twenty minutes later, my vagina was stoned. As in fully heightened senses, relaxed, giggly (yes it really was), thoughtful, and with a legit case of the munchies.

The feeling was unmistakably like being high on good pot, but in my vagina instead of in my head. The rest of me felt normal, completely unimpaired. My vagina appeared to be operating as its own entity — asserting its lovely personality and sense of humor. A new awareness set in. My vagina, after all this time, wanted to be friends.

For the next twenty minutes, my vagina laughed with me at the absurdity of our cultures' obsession with the female body and shame around our sexuality. My vagina, in a friendly jab sort of way, told me to lighten up a little bit and stop acting so repressed. My vagina assured me that just because I carried the torch of generations of puritanical thoughts and beliefs, didn't mean I couldn't drop the torch at any point, and keep walking. My vagina confessed that it didn't have a good grasp on what "gender" even meant, let alone how to identify. My vagina said "I'm hungry. Got any snacks?" And I was like, what does that even mean!? How do you… I don't even know what to do with that question. Just absolutely stumped. We laughed, we cried, and then we decided to take a nap.

This experience left me absolutely struck… The discovery of the capability of my vagina to be so insightful and hold its own in a heated discussion, and of its ability to relate, and its quickness to engage with me — even after a lifetimes worth of neglect.

I realized that maybe I hadn't given my vagina the credit it deserved in the past. I hadn't tuned in and listened. I had been quieting it myself, without even realizing it. And after all of this, it forgave me! The Beaver Balm had helped us initiate communication, and begun the process of healing the rift which had divided us all these years.

I can now officially say that I have seen the light, and that I have had conversations with my vagina. What I am thrilled to report is that beyond the heightened sexual experiences that are promised by cannabis lubes, lies the experience of an honest conversation, a good laugh, and a different kind of awareness… and if you are lucky like me, a new-found vaginal kinship.

As we nodded off together, my vagina said, "Hey. Don't forget. We are in this together!" I smiled, and nodded lazily in agreement. I had to ask though If we really are in this together, then how is it that you are you stoned, and I'm not. To which it responded "You! Always analyzing and questioning! Just relax and give in to the mystery."

Which was exactly what I needed to hear.

What would your vagina say in a weed induced state? #pussytalk

Recent Comments

  • Ruth: I live in a pot-legal state (Oregon), and would be interested in a product like this. Any recommendation that actually… [Link]
  • Bird: I am also wondering if cannabis containing balms could be a replacement for lidocaine... [Link]
  • Mouse: Roxie, This post was exactly what I needed to read. I have had a ridiculous gender-fluid-fueled on-again-off-again relationship… [Link]
  • Cass: I suffer from vulvar-vaginal pain, and because of this have a terrible relationship with my lady parts. A product like… [Link]
  • Fate: This article was amazing and I'm still giggling and wondering where I get some beaver balm. I definitely could use… [Link]

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16 Feb 18:00

Reasons Why I Am Totally Fine And Not Freaked Out To Be A Slytherin

by Jaya Saxena
Kristen

TRUTH

1. Slytherins definitely have the best music taste.

Read more Reasons Why I Am Totally Fine And Not Freaked Out To Be A Slytherin at The Toast.

16 Feb 12:45

How a graphic novel helps this millennial cope with living in a cluttered family home

by Miranda Whittaker
Kristen

Very interesting and well articulated. From a daughter of a hoarder, voluntarily living in a group home, I definitely have an almost physical reaction to clutter in my own home.

Privacy-Meme

There's nothing like coming home to find the entry way blocked by five bicycles. I'm not a fan of walking sideways like a crab, but I've done it regularly because I have to to get inside my home. I'm a millennial living in the two bedroom apartment I grew up in. I do this because my beloved job — which I'm lucky to have — is part-time and pays minimum wage. I've crunched the numbers and I can't make rent, pay back my student loan, and eat too.

"But what's up with the bicycles?" you ask. Well, everyone in my family, myself included, has multiple hobbies and side projects. (Repairing and selling old bicycles on Craigslist is one the more lucrative projects, so the bikes are here to stay.) The result, when combined with our mountains of reading material and rescued furniture waiting to be repaired, is a state of constant chaos. Living surrounded by a dozen or so bikes, bike parts, repair tools, stacks of magazines, and piles of papers was normal for me until I went away for school. You can't know that your normal isn't other people's normal until you have something to compare it to.

I love possessions as much as the next person. As a nerd I'm acutely aware how much nerd culture is about stuff. You want to show the world what you love so you buy the shirt that features the game/movie/show/comic symbol on it. This year's merch will let everyone know you were at a particular festival or convention. Fashion speaks and nerd fashion does so loud and clear: This is what I love. This is who I am.

Household possessions are much the same. I like this fact: one look at my room and you know what you're dealing with. My book shelves tell you things about me. The art on my walls tells you where I've been and what I've been up to. On my shelves are a few of my favourite things.

Everything in my room says something about me. What does a cluttered house say? Far too much.

Bad Houses
Bad Houses
In the graphic novel Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil, every item piled around the protagonists' hoarder house holds a memory. Danica struggles to hold onto the life she once had — the time when her husband was alive and when her daughter Anne was a child — and the things that remind her of happier times. Her memories physically invade the house and her hoarding reveals deep emotional pain.

Anne feels like their accumulated possessions are all speaking to her at once — whether she wants to hear them or not. This pains her, making her long for space of her own. When Danica hides some of the hoard in Anne's room, to create an illusion of order for a house guest, Anne is reduced to tears. I imagine I'd feel the same way if my personal living space were taken from me.

The millennial generation knows too well the need for a room of one's own and the ache of lacking privacy. Many of my friends have lamented over not having any truly private space while living in their family homes. But when your parents are paying the rent, they don't see an issue with walking through your space to see if you left the window open or to retrieve a sock that made its way into your drawer. Logically they have a point, but the feeling of violation is almost physically painful.

The pain of losing privacy is second only to the pain of being surrounded by too much stuff. A heavily cluttered space is exhausting to look at. Too many textures, shapes, things can all come together and overwhelm your eyes. I find I'm anxious if I'm surrounded by too many things or if I have too little room to move. Different people respond to their environments in different ways, but hoarding draws out a visceral reaction.

My physical reasons for being unhappy around clutter are pretty obvious. Reading Bad Houses made me understand the emotional reasons for my clutter-anxiety: the things that clutter the main living spaces of the apartment aren't mine and neither are the stories they tell. I worry that the stuff will creep into my room and start to influence the self-expressive space I've curated for myself. Like Anne, I hear and see more stories than I can manage whenever I'm surrounded by my family's things. I can only handle so many memories, or so much information, at a time.

I'm not alone in worrying. My Mom was thrilled when I built her a little bookshelf out of old wine boxes. I did this thinking we'd free up space elsewhere, not thinking about how a collection of books reflect on the owner. When her books were on the shelf, she said she felt like her soul was suddenly bared there in the living room – and I knew exactly what she meant. By trying to help her I accidentally stomped on her sense of privacy.

Living with my family is a work-in-progress. It won't be forever, but while I'm with my folks we'll have to take turns filling the space we live in. And if all the things get too invasive, I'll always have a book to hide in.

Recent Comments

  • Danikat: I always find it fascinating when other people talk about needing private space because I've almost never had it. I… [Link]

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16 Feb 13:00

View From The Top: The First Time I Knew I Was a Top

by Sinclair Sexsmith
Kristen

"I was holding back, fearful of my own power. It scared me. It felt like a bottomless pit of growling, howling violence that I was just barely keeping in check.

Her dare made me stronger, and made me ask: What would happen if I opened up that part of me and allowed myself to explore it? Could I be trusted to honor safewords, to stop if something went wrong, to be accountable if we went too far? How could I balance this fear, this real and ravenous inner sadist, and reality?"

shutterstock_321006689

The first time I knew I was a top was when a girl I was dating said, "Please, hit me harder," and then, later, whispered, "I can take more than you can give me."

The post View From The Top: The First Time I Knew I Was a Top appeared first on Autostraddle.

30 Jan 17:41

Elven Capes on Etsy

by Lillyxandra
Kristen

WANT for upcoming event!!!

Elven Capes on our ETSY STORE

The perfect addition to your gown to transport you into the fantasy realm!

Sweeping chiffon falls from the beaded collar. The cape elegantly drapes over your arms and back. This collared cape can we paired with both strap and strapless tops & dresses. (The single photo shows how the cape drapes when your arms are down.)

Fabrics – poly dupioni, poly chiffon, beaded lace, crystal clasp

One size fits all. Cape measures 60 inches long at the back (bottom of collar to bottom hem)

Styling your cape with broach 

The black and white capes come with a jewel broach for styling. Pinning the fabric back will allow more of your outfit underneath to be shone.

1.At the front of your cape, mid length down and about 8 inches from the inside hem grab the fabric on both sides.

2. Bring the fabric together at the back to meet.

3. Pin together.

blackcapeblackdetailswhitedetailswhitecapeombrecape2ombrecape1ombrecapewhitecape2blackcape2

03 Feb 13:59

Ask Polly: Why Did My Dream Man Dump Me?

by Heather Havrilesky
Kristen

"even if your jawline pimples turn into a full-blown, treatment-resistant acne and your hair turns gray and you can't deliver dirty jokes to a drunk crowd the way you used to, you will still be good enough. You will still matter. You can turn into a cookie-cutter girl or even less than that — that average, lumpy, rapidly aging kind of woman who's currently beneath your contempt — and you will still be worthy of love."

Crimson Rosella

Hi, Polly,

I have just finished reading through lots of your advice and wanted to thank you. I love your blunt style and honesty. Hoping you can give me a dose of that.

I recently fell hard for someone and was unceremoniously dumped after what should have been a romantic vacation together.

...More »
03 Feb 18:22

#822: PSA that answers about 10 current letters

by JenniferP
Kristen

Good PSA in general.

If you’ve met someone online…

…made plans to meet up for a first date

…but then after you’ve made those plans, the person says or does something creepy (or racist) that makes you reconsider…

IT IS OKAY TO JUST CANCEL.

Use a text medium (preferably the dating site itself):

“Dear (Name), I’ve changed my mind about meeting up in person and am writing to cancel our plans. So sorry for the short notice. I wish you well. Your Name.”

No further explanation needed. You don’t have to tutor them about what they did to annoy you. Send and disengage.

They will react how they react. Rejection never feels great, but a good reaction is “Wow, that’s sad but I understand & wish you well, too” + leaving you alone.

If they react with extreme anger or clinginess or “you’re just like all flakes who always cancel on me” (typecasting), or demands for a chance or for reasons, think of it not as “you making them angry and owing them a correction.” Rather, they are confirming your instincts to not meet them. You changed your mind about meeting up. THAT IS THE REASON. YOU ALREADY GAVE IT. Don’t respond, block them everywhere.

“But,” you say, “I flirted with them!”

“But they told me a lot of personal stuff/I told them some personal stuff!”

“But we’ve been texting a lot, I am worried they will think I am rude or that I led them on if I just bail”

They might think that you are rude. So, do you want to tell them you don’t like them *during* the awkward date? Or afterward? Cancel! Cancel now and risk that someone you have already decided you don’t like won’t like you anymore!

I’ll go back to regularly scheduled posting of questions, but these were piling up and some of you are on deadlines with looming weekend dates to cancel. Cancel away, my friends!

——————————

 

Winter Pledge Drive Week is in effect. Maintaining the blog takes about 30 hours weekly when you add in comment moderation and it’s a big help to have your support. If you’re able to send a few dollars, feel free to use Paypal (welcometoawkwardtown@gmail.com) or contribute via Dwolla or Cash.me. Thanks for your generosity and thank you always for reading.

 

 


01 Feb 04:29

What's In My Skincare Wardrobe: Actives (Prescriptions, Antioxidants, and Acids) Edition

by Cat Cactus
Kristen

Loving this concept of "skincare wardrobe" and this post on the confusing world of actives is very helpful!

It's time for a routine update!  Instead of posting my full routine and possibly terrifying people who get the wrong idea that I use all these steps at once, I've been loving the concept of the "Skincare Wardrobe" and posting a "What's in my Skincare Wardrobe?" series instead.  If you aren't familiar with this concept, it's the idea of having a 'closet' of options to select from rather than wearing everything all at once-- people often look at massive multi-step K-Beauty routines and mistakenly think you throw all of it at your face at once.  You don't.

In fact, I post my actual routine to Instagram on a regular basis, if you're curious to see what a 'real' daily routine looks like.  I can assure you, it does not look like this:

My current Winter 2016 Skincare wardrobe
Yes, this is a photo of my Skincare Wardrobe, from which I might select anywhere from 3 to 15+ items from in a day.  You don't wear the entire contents of your closet in a daily outfit!  You can read more about this key concept is The Painful Path to K-Beauty Wisdom: 7 Mistakes Beginners Make:
I look at my products as a 'wardrobe' of options; I may have items in my closet ranging from bathing suits to winter coats, but that doesn't mean I'm going to wear every piece of clothing I own at once.  However, having a range of skincare options is actually a good thing, in my opinion, because it populates your wardrobe with options that you can mix and match depending on the 'weather' that day.
In the first of these posts, What's In My Skincare Wardrobe: Cleanser Edition, I showed the 8 cleansers I have in rotation + what they're for + when I use them.  Mind you, if I wasn't testing things for review, I would likely need at most 3-4 cleansers, instead of 8.  Most people may be happy with just the two needed for double cleansing, and that's perfectly fine!

I've already covered cleansers, so next up in the order of product application is Actives.

Top row: current actives which don't allow use of any others.  Bottom row: what I'd be using if I wasn't using a hardcore prescription that prohibits me throwing any other exfoliants at my face.
I've held off posting this version because since switching to a prescription Azelaic acid and Tretinoin Rx from Curology/Pocketderm, I've all but dropped actives from my routine.  Why? Because I quickly learned, in the form of broken capillaries, that Tretinoin is a jealous mistress who doesn't tolerate sharing.

That being said, I still want to share the actives that I would happily pick back up and use if I stopped using my prescription, as these have been a mainstay of my routine for a long time.

I'd just like to remind people that the idea of a Skincare Wardrobe is not to have a lot of things open at once, but to allow yourself the flexibility to customize your daily routine.  That's what the multi-step Asian skincare hype is all about, in my opinion.  Customization for the win!

In this post:

  • What are actives?
  • pH adjusting toner
  • Prescription with Azelaic acid and retinoid (tretinoin)
  • Vitamin C serum
  • BHA acid exfoliant
  • AHA acid exfoliant
  • Actives that don't exfoliate
Before we jump into this, I'd just like to remind everyone that these are not meant to be used all at once.  Pick your poison and stick to it until you're ready for more.  Tread carefully.  Do your research, and consult with a dermatologist if you have question or have a specific skin concern you're trying to address.  BE CAUTIOUS.  There is a time to go in guns blazing, and acids are not it.

Read more »
28 Jan 20:11

Seed Exchange FAQ

by WashingtonGardener


I have been getting a number of emails and phone calls about the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges. I thought I'd put together the following FAQ. Feel free to pass it on to any fellow gardeners:

- Yes, you can still register. We have plenty of spaces open. The preregistration deadline is by Friday, January 29 for the Brookside event and by Friday, February 5 for the Green Spring event. To register onsite, you can still fill out the registration form and bring it with payment to the event starting at 12:00noon on Saturday. The form is posted here: 
or email wgardenermag@aol.com with "Seed Exchange" in the subject field and we can email it directly to you.

- We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. We have filtered water - if you have a travel mug, refillable bottle, or cup you like, please bring that to fill up. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible.

- We will have generic blank name tags -- but we ask participants to be creative and make their own tags or if you have your own name tag from work or another event, by all means bring it. We will do prizes for the most creative name tags :-). Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event eco-friendly.

- When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.

- If you are bringing seed/garden catalogs for our give-away table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order insert with your personal information on it. 
 
~ We also welcome gardening books for swapping, so feel free to bring those too!

- We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. See the listing at: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/toc.htm. (We do not allow GMO seeds in either, but chances are slim that any home gardener would have access to them.)

~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden. Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know you can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here: http://tipnut.com/seed-packets/
   Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into the table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time.
    (No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them. Store-bought is fine.)
    (Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)
   (Older seeds are fine, if you can test for viability that would be great. The exceptions are lettuce, onions, and impatiens seeds, which should all be less than a year old.)
 
~ Make a list of your seed “wants” in advance.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day and forget the basics that you came for or the rarities that you had been seeking.
- Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff & Volunteers

12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview
12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
 1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break and Seed Swap Preview
2:30-3:00 Seed Show and Tell**
3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation (only at Green Spring location)
3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks - Kathy Jentz Washington Gardener magazine


*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

**Show-and-Tell participation is voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or groups that you are involved in. 
 
27 Jan 15:26

#819: ‘Ware The “Frozen Chosen”

by JenniferP
Kristen

Fuck those people. Say something, every time (Personally working on it myself)

HI!

So I know church is maybe not your milieu, but I hope this question has some broader applications and maybe deserves a broader answer.

I’m a lady in my early 30s who has been dating my wonderful boyfriend (late 20s) for a few years. We’ve been attending our church for 3 years, which we chose together. I was raised small town Protestant and my bf did the recovering Catholic/atheist thing for a number of years. We chose our church because, although it’s very formal (incense, fancy vestments, the whole bit) it’s a denomination that’s known for being really open-minded and liberal. We also liked the individual church we chose because it’s really beautiful and historic, and located downtown–so really, right in the thick of things. I wouldn’t call it a bad neighborhood per se (mostly because the idea of a neighborhood being “bad” is pretty racist) but during the crack epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s, there were a few scary incidents and membership took a nosedive.

Fast forward to today. Our church’s membership is growing, and about 2 years ago my boyfriend decided he was interested in pursing a career in the church. To that end, he created a ministry that focuses on homelessness and food insecurity, which is an issue that’s very close to his heart, as both of his parents were homeless at different points. The bulk of the work is that, once a week, he hosts a lunch for anyone who wants to attend, free of charge. The demand is great, and seeing 100 people come through in 90 min is not unusual. Most of the people who come through are either homeless or food insecure, and many of them are people of color.

This is a ministry that a lot of people are really excited about–our priest has been a total treasure throughout the whole process, and Boyfriend is quickly gaining a reputation throughout the diocese. But there are others in the congregation who are…less enthused.

Having grown up in a really small town, I’m used to the petty politics of church life. Boyfriend is really, really not. I think the thing that’s been most surprising to me is how many people we consider close friends, despite the age and income gaps (lots of older, upper middle class white people), have said some really nasty shit just out of earshot. Just this last week, I found out that at our summer kickoff street festival (which was attended by a number of Boyfriend’s lunch regulars) a woman who I considered a friend apparently said, “This isn’t the [local homeless shelter]. This is disgusting.” I ended up making the decision to not tell Boyfriend about this, as it happened several months ago, and there didn’t seem to be any point in tainting his image of this particular woman. But suffice to say, this was not a one-off comment; there are A LOT of people who overtly or covertly agree, one or two of whom have been openly hostile.

I’m just flabbergasted. I think Boyfriend’s work is really important, and I’m super-proud of him. I’m just really disgusted because I feel like he’s really trying to walk the walk, as far as the Christian message goes, and he’s supported by the administration, but markedly less so by other people (some of whom I thought were our friends and/or are very influential in the community.) I mean, Jesus KINDA TALKS A LOT about the poor and the destitute…

How should I handle this sort of malarkey when it comes up? Chalk it up to an age/income/culture divide and let it lie? Quickly slap it down and put them in their place? I worry that not saying anything at all enforces the status quo, but equally I worry that going on the warpath against a bunch of old ladies isn’t a good look, either.

Thanks,

WWCAD?

WWCAD?

Captain Awkward was raised Catholic and educated by Jesuits, and while she may no longer talk the whole theological talk, she’s pretty down with the whole “Be kind to and take care of the people at the margins of society” message of the gospels and she’s met plenty of passive-aggressive church ladies and men in her day. Additionally, Captain Awkward has zero time and zero respect for crappy racist people who think that poor people are “disgusting” and who furthermore have the terrible manners to say that out loud and/or imply that they should not be included in church events. She also was raised not to say “Something is disgusting here; pretty sure it’s you and your repulsive views and not our guests” to the faces of little old ladies at church, so she understands that your question comes with a lot of taboos and received social norms.

Captain Awkward also sincerely promises to leave this whole talking-about-herself-in-the-third-person thing behind by the next paragraph.

There is a thing that a certain kind of terrible person (often a person of a certain age and social standing) does, where they rant about something in a way that is obviously meant to be overheard by everyone around them, but if you respond to it with anything but agreement they pull the whole “Well I wasn’t even talking to you, so you are the rude one for intruding on a private conversation!” gambit. They get to spout their terrible views AND act like a victim if someone actually calls them out on what they said. Racist ranters use the same tactics as rape-joke tellers to test the waters and see if their views will be challenged or tolerated by the people around them. If you stay silent, you offer them tacit approval or, at very least, affirm that they are socially powerful enough to get away with being assholes in public.

Don’t. Fall. For. That. Bullshit. You are not overhearing this mouth-garbage by accident, you are overhearing it because they want you to overhear it. They want you to know that they don’t like the work your boyfriend is doing and they think that he & you & people like y’all are “ruining” their church, but they don’t want to confront the issue directly by say, talking to the pastor, because on some level they know it makes them look like bad Christians (Hint: It does!). Furthermore, if you can overhear it, the people they are talking about can also hear it, ergo, they must be stopped. Age is not an excuse; if you can learn to Skype with your grandkids, you can learn to keep your goddamn racist thoughts to yourself.

When you run into these comments, I think there is a great deal of value in saying something back and not just silently ignoring it. That something can be:

  • Well bless your heart.” Def. use the tone that means,”Well, fuck you very much.”
  • Wait, did I hear you correctly? Did you just say that (Name) and (Name) are ‘disgusting’?” Use their exact words and include people’s individual names if at all possible, it’s a sharp reminder that they are talking about actual human beings & community members and an indication that they aren’t gonna be able to get away with, ‘you know what I meant’ or ‘you know, those people.’
  • I hope you’ll come to lunch service sometime and help out with the other volunteers sometime. I think you’ll feel very differently once you do.” That’s right. Out Church-Lady the Church Ladies.

If you start speaking up when you overhear this stuff, you’re gonna get pursed lips and clutched pearls and “Well, I never” or “You know I didn’t mean that” reactions and a lot of side-eye and harrumphing. Nobody likes being publicly called on their bullshit, especially not people who see themselves as the chief arbiters of what is acceptable. Just know that it’s coming and ride it out. And know, too, that you probably won’t change or open anyone’s mind by speaking up. Someone horrible enough to publicly express “ugh” reactions about guests at a church event probably isn’t going to have an epiphany at your doing, you know? That’s okay, because you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for yourself (so they’ll stop doing it around you, and to remind yourself that you have power here, too). You’re doing it for your boyfriend and the work he does, and for the younger people who are watching you for how they should be, and you’re also doing it for the guests of your church who will hopefully continue to find both food and welcome where you gather.

You’ve got this.

P.S. You might like this fantastic short film.