Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

27 November 2016

Paperless Post for Holiday Card Magic [Giveaway]

Well Thanksgiving is over and that means full steam ahead on the winter holiday season! For many of us that means managing our holiday card list. I keep my list in an excel spreadsheet. Although now that I type this out, I think I need to still update my 2015 list. Oops. Oh well. I missed a year. While holiday cards are tedious, they are one of the highlights of my year. I love sending cards to friends I see often and friends I only see via holiday cards. I even love reading holiday letters that come attached!

paperless post holiday card

But managing the writing, the addressing, and the picking out of cards while working & parenting can be a PITA. That's where Paperless Post can come in! In addition to the holidays, Paperless Post offers great cards for other occasions, such as baby shower invitations or housewarmings. Although snail mail cards are my fave, sometimes it can be too tedious or life throws you a curve where  you find yourself days from a holiday still needing to send out a pile of cards.Who hasn't thrown in a last-minute holiday card when you get one from someone you haven't talked to in awhile? The etiquette can be overwhelming. The idea of uploading your list to paperlesspost.com and hitting send can be handy! And maybe the answer to your prayers? Keep scrolling....

paperless post housewarming invitation

GIVEAWAY:

To help you manage your holiday card list, I'm happy to be able to giveaway 1,000 coins that can be used on paperlesspost.com for awesome holiday cards, electronic invites, thank yous, and notes. This is a $90 value.

To enter:

1) Comment with your email address & what winter holiday you celebrate
2) Extra entries by sharing this giveaway on social media. Either tag me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or share the link in a comment.
3) Deadline is Friday, December 2nd at 9 pm CST. 

paperless post baby shower invitation

I hope this giveaway helps ease the chaos of this year's holiday season!

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal

21 November 2016

Three Years of #FeministSelfie

Three years ago two feminists tweeted out #FeministSelfie in the face of a condescending article attempting to label all selfies as anti-feminist and a cry for help.

Since then countless feminists have used the hashtag, or others it inspired including #365FeministSelfie, #366FeministSelfie (leap year!), and #365FeministLife, to showcase their daily feminist actions whether it is escorting at a clinic, painting a son's fingernails, or exhibiting our bikini bodies from sizes zero to 32. Most days our #FeministSelfie is just the ordinary day of someone who claims the label of feminist. For us a selfie is revolutionary in a society that still worships and values young thin white bodies. It is revolutionary to share one's journey as a transgender person in a world where using a public restroom is a battle. It is radical, not narcissistic, to want to share our selfie that shows our "flaws" and scars. It is radical to show pride in our family composition. It is community building to selfie with our "I Voted!" stickers.

Many hashtags are born of snark and frustration. #FeministSelfie was no different. Yet it endures in many forms to connect those of us in the feminist struggle.

Normally I write a next year post in December, but the anniversary/birthday of the #FeministSelfie hashtag just two weeks after the election of a racist misogynist con man seemed like a good time to make a statement. As we plan to enter 2017 with the knowledge that we need each other more than ever, #365FeministSelfie will be here to help.

#365FeministSelfie will continue on through 2017 and I believe through out the entire Trump-Pence regime. The hashtag will continue to connect us. The challenge will hopefully remind us to do something feminist every day. It will also signal to others that feminists are indeed everywhere. From our college campuses to our baristas. Feminists come in all shapes, shades, sizes and backgrounds.

I also hope the hashtag will challenge us to strengthen our feminism. Maybe we are big city feminists who need to learn from rural feminists - at the same time lessen them from the isolation I often hear about from rural friends. White feminists who want to learn how to make their feminism more intersectional can listen to feminists of color who often speak volumes in their selfies.

I know a selfie can't solve all our problems, but I do have hope that the community we continue to build through the hashtag will sustain us in the dark times and inspire us to keep fighting.

If you have ideas on how we can use the hashtag for education and resistance please leave a comment or connect with me over at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I plan to set out our 2017 in coming days. Until then...

ONWARD!!

17 November 2016

Book Review: 2nd Edition of Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary


Six years ago an inspiring daily mediation on self-love was released. Recently Rosie Molinary released an updated edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.

From my initial review of the book:

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary is a self-help guide for those of us who don't like self-help guides. Beautiful You is a book of 365 daily life prompts that not just asks you to reconsider how you see yourself, but to push you to try new things (stop apologizing: ever notice how many times you start things with "I'm sorry but...") that help you readjust how you view yourself, the world and how you connect to the world.

In the new edition there is obviously a new cover, but also a new introduction, a new acknowledgments and then about 50 posts were either updated or replaced. Rosie's favorite new post is Day 362. Rosie gave me the scoop on the new edition.

When approached by Seal Press to revisit her book for updating she discovered that a few passages no longer spoke to her or she realized she approached the topics differently. Overall, what she realized in her own self-acceptance work is that so much of our pain is really the result of a lack of awareness of our own self-worth.
If you value yourself, you don’t hurt other people. And if you value yourself, you don’t hurt yourself. We want so much to be heard and seen and understood, and the reality is that the very first person we need that from is ourselves. If we can begin to see our own worth, the world expands for us.
I wrote Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance to give people a tool where they could collect all the evidence of their worthiness. This isn’t a book where I tell readers to believe in themselves. This is a book where the readers become the writer and compile all the proof- which is already inside of them- of how very worthy they are. My hope is that the book provides readers with a journey into a relationship with themselves that is not adversarial and that is life changing.
And that my dear readers is why I am happy to giveaway ONE copy of the second edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.

RULES: 

1. Comment with your email & what you think your best friend thinks is the best thing about you.

2. Extra entries are awarded for sharing on social media. Either tag me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or share the link in a comment.

3. Deadline is Friday, November 25th at 11 pm CST.

4. Sorry, I'm taking care of the mailing so I am restricting to US addresses only. 

To get your own copy please purchase from an indie bookstore or Powells.com.

Disclaimer: The only payment I received was the copy of the book.

15 November 2016

Review: Kazoo Magazine


The world of girls magazines is a scary place. Walk up to the magazine aisle of your fave drugstore and flip through girl-centric magazines...then try to sleep well at night. Recently Girls Life came under fire for exclaiming the secrets of dream hair on their cover while Boys Life was all about planning for a solid career. Someone "fixed it" via Photoshop.

I have a ton of issues with the original Girls Life cover, but have some issues with the "fixed" cover as well. First of all is the shaming of the actress on the original cover. Olivia Holt is yet another young woman trying to have it all through the Disney empire. She sings! She dances! She karate chops! She acts! Having a teenager myself, I have watched plenty of Disney shows. And while there are some things to improve in their narrative, you gotta give props to these teens who are slowly building their own empires...critique of Disney aside cause I'm already on a way tangent. Next, while I love that the "fixed" cover includes a headline on careers, an equally large headline is about girls doing good. When are we going to get away from that narrative people? Maybe label that leadership? And "my first miss" as confidence? Nah...let's call that entrepreneurship 101. Anywho, even when we try to fix problematic things for girls we miss the mark.

That's where Kazoo comes in. It's tagline is "A magazine for girls who aren't afraid to make some noise." YESSSS! Erin Bried is the founder and has oodles of magazine experience behind her. She came up with the idea for Kazoo as she was searching for magazines for her 5-year-old. Now there are plenty of other magazines that I got my daughter at that age, mostly from Cricket Media, as well as New Moon Girls, but I am happy to welcome Kazoo to the land of kid media.

Bried says Kazoo is important because even girls at the age of 5 are being indoctrinated by popular media and culture to conform to gendered expectations that result in:
•Six in ten girls stop doing what they love, because they feel bad about their looks. And by age 11, 30 percent of them have already put themselves on a diet.
•Seventy five percent of girls are interested in engineering and related fields, and yet only 11 percent of practicing engineers are women.
Kazoo has a great feel to it. Bried do NOT go glossy! I think the thick paper feel is perfect, especially since there is a coloring page on the inside cover of issue 2. While the incredibility beautiful feature on Jane Goodall was amazing to read, my favorite article is the how-to on parkour. Seriously how many times have you seen a parent scold a kid, especially a girl, for climbing up where you "shouldn't" climb when walking down the street? I mean, if you didn't want a kid climbing on the ledge of building, don't put in a ledge! haha..Kinda kidding, but I was totally that kid who could find every nook to climb up and walk on. The world was my balance beam.

In addition to great content, most of the magazine is illustrated. And the diversity of illustrated girls is what we should expect from any media outlet in 2016.

So what if your girl isn't into the outdoors or climbing on stuff? Does she like puzzles? Kazoo has that. Does she like cooking? Got that too. Issue 2 has so much info on photography you might think the magazine is about photography!

Kazoo is sweet and fierce. It sends all the empowering signals we think we need to send our girls without using most of the jargon. A great example is the parkour article. Not only are there how-tos, but the how-tos come from Alexa Marcigliano, professional stuntwoman. Not once were the safety issues that impact stuntwomen brought up in a sidebar or infographic. While the issues are important, clobbering girls over the head with a negative framing can backfire as I know from working in women in STEM for almost 20 years.

I recommend getting a subscription for that girl in your life. Heck, get a subscription to all the fab girl magazines as a bouquet of magazines! 

Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of the magazine.

14 November 2016

GIVEAWAY: "Modern Girls" by Jennifer S. Brown

That's right! To start this week off on a more positive note, I am giving away TWO copies of Jennifer S. Brown's novel, Modern Girls. I read this book at the start of the summer and thought it was a great beach read. Now that we're entering the hibernation stage of life, I thought this could also be a great curling-up-with-hot-cocoa read! And frankly I thought that many of us are in a deep funk over the election results. This book won't keep your mind from what is happening, far from it, but while it grapples with life as a woman pre-Roe and as life as a Jew as Hitler is rising to power, it does have a sense of hope.

And yes, as I continue to wrestle with what to exactly write about the election, I cling to hope. I don't use books to escape our world, rather I use them to better understand it. This book just might help you do both.

RULES: 

1. Comment with your email & one good thing that has happened to you since the election. Good is defined by you. It can be your kids made you breakfast in bed or you finally got that promotion. I maintain that as we fight, we need to acknowledge the good things in life.

2. Extra entries are awarded for sharing on social media. Either tag me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or share the link in a comment.

3. Deadline is Friday, November 25th at 11 pm CST.

4. Sorry, I'm taking care of the mailing so I am restricting to US addresses only.

07 November 2016

Interview with Sarah Potenza



I get a lot of pitches to cover musicians and musical acts. My usual screening is based on my time and a quick web search. That's when I realized that Sarah Potenza is not the usual musical artist. She's making waves with the title track of her album, Monster, including its fun video (posted at the bottom of this post). I had the chance to chat with Sarah as she prepares to return to Chicago for a show at The Hideout on Saturday, November 12th. This is not a transcript, but taken from notes.  

VLF: I really enjoyed your album. Right now you are getting a lot of praise for your song, Monster. It has been called an empowerment song. Over the past few years, empowerment has been used to describe a lot of things. So what does empowerment mean to you?

Potenza: Empowerment is something that makes you motivated. Something that makes you feel a certain way. I read something about body love and since then, over the past year I have made an evolution about how I feel and see my body. I use to feel "ewww" about my body parts. But I read a story about a woman who learned to love her body, her juiciness, all of that. It empowered me to love my own body. I follow a lot of body positive people on Instagram and Twitter and it matters. When you see someone who can wear a bikini and have back fat it empowers you. It changes the way you see yourself. Especially to see yourself from a more powerful position. As feminists we need to be ok with being powerful. Feminism doesn’t mean angry. Empowered doesn’t mean angry.

VLF: In an interview with NPR you talk about not being taken seriously because of your flamboyant style. Is that one reason that drew you to audition for “The Voice”? That you would be judged by your voice and not your visual style?

Potenza: No, not at all. I auditioned because I believe in saying yes to every opportunity. Not letting your inner hipster stop you from doing things either. Too many people say no to things they think are beneath them, but I think nothing is below you. I saw "The Voice" as a way to elevate my career and platform. So I decided to walk through that door.

VLF: Oh, great! I asked because I know about the research about blind auditions being great for removing many biases. The classic one is about orchestra auditions and how once blind auditions became standard, orchestras went from being mostly dudes to a better balance. 

Potenza: ARGH!! I hate that. You know I use to send emails with a man's name because I knew I wasn't being taken seriously by some in the music business. Now my husband handles the business side of my music business because he is taken more seriously. This is just one of the many reasons why I early voted! I have been so incredibly hurt and disgusted by the many men I know who hate Hillary. They have a loathing for no reason, but I know it is because of what she represents as a woman.

VLF: Agreed! OK, pivoting back to your music.... Monster is bringing you such amazing attention because in our thin-obsessed society, being proud of your not-size-zero body is radical. Do you worry that the attention is too focused on this one song, this one radical message and won’t carry the rest of your amazing work to people’s ears?

Potenza: No, I don’t really…I'm honored if people just get this one song. I do a lot of work with young women. I teach workshops and I have a lot of fans who are young girls. One girl did her 7th grade career day project on me. I don't know her, but she lives in Michigan. I encourage girls to be their own best friend. My mom and I are now great friends. My mom use to put a lot of energy into her looks. She's a life-long member of Weight Watchers and I use to feel bad that I would never be a size 4 like her. I want to be the role model for girls who will never be a size 4. But yes, I definitely want people to explore the rest of the album.

VLF: What does success look to you? Do you have it?

Potenza: It is weird. After you have been on "The Voice," everything seems small after that. I have had so much success already. I do feel successful in a lot of ways. At the same time I know there are so many more mountains to climb. Success looks like Bonnie Raitt, Neko Case, Alabama Shakes. I’m going to be playing The Hideout and having a hundred people will be a success. I want the longevity. I want to become iconic. I want to get to be where I can be an artist and do what I want to do. I'm always creating. It's funny, promotion wise you’re always living in the past because I recorded the album a year ago and wrote Monster long before that. For me, success is closing that time gap between creation and promotion. Yeah, I want Lemonade success - to write, create, and distribute as quickly as Beyoncé does.

VLF: How do you practice feminism within the music industry?

Potenza: wow...This is a hard question, good, but I haven't thought about this. I think I practice feminism by being myself and being a role model, by writing the music I want to write. I am not writing songs where women are only doing things they "should be" singing about. I do not want to be participating in the gendered nature of song roles. I practice feminism by writing about things like the election, without being preachy in songs, but writing about them. I've been touched by Leelah Alcorn's story. I am thinking about writing about her. But do it from a clever, non preachy way like Monster. Not angry, not sad. I'll be following along the steps laid by Neko Case.

VLF: Thanks for taking time out to talk to me. Good luck in Chicago! And the rest of the tour. 

Potenza: Thanks for wanting to talk!



Sarah Potenza
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
The Hideout
$12.00 - $15.00

06 November 2016

Why I joined #BreakUpwithSalt


I was honored to be asked to join the American Heart Association's #BreakUpwithSalt team. Here is an excerpt of my post:
This December I’ll be 42. That puts me at t-minus five years until I am as old as my mom was when she died. FIVE YEARS. No one does know how long, but most of us do want to live to be little old ladies and men. One thing I am trying to get a hold of is my health. My mom died of diabetes and my dad, thankfully still with us, is battling high blood pressure and heart disease. So yeah, I have a lot of work cut out for me.

In terms of the high blood pressure, I know that increased sodium in one’s diet is the major cause of that. But I had forgotten WHY this is such a bad thing to do to one’s body.
Head over to the AHA's site to read more of my reasoning and to find resources on how you can also #BreakupwithSalt.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for writing my post on the AHA.



01 November 2016

Why I brought Ida B. Wells flowers


As anyone paying a teeny bit of attention to this year's Presidential campaign knows we are now one week away from election day. Much has been written about taco trucks, emails, sexual assault, and adorable old (mostly white) ladies who were born before or around the time women's suffrage was written into the US Constitution. No matter what the outcome is, November 8, 2016 will be a historic day as it took 96 years from suffrage to having a woman as a candidate of a major political party. Many women have run before, but Hillary Clinton is the first to be steps away from being the first woman to be elected to the highest office in the USA.

This means for many women we are reflecting back. Reflecting on our grandmas and mothers who were our first women's studies teacher, who role modeled strong womanhood, and who could critique Hillary while still sporting a "I'm with her" button. It also means reflecting on the countless women who fought for suffrage including the most recognizable suffragist in the USA is Susan B. Anthony.

Anthony has been memorialized on the dollar coin and since at least 2014 had women voters visit her grave after they have cast their vote. The image of her grave full of "I voted" stickers has gone viral. The fact that I have seen that image frequently in the build up to election day made me stop and think.

First of all, I'm in Chicago. Even if I wanted to say thanks to SBA I can't.

Second, being a Chicago feminist means I know our history is chock-full of kick ass feminists and maybe there's someone here to visit. OF COURSE THERE IS!!!

My first thought was Ida B. Wells.

Wells famously gave the suffrage leadership a big middle finger when she refused to walk at the back of the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC. She was also a journalist, anti-lynching activist, and all-around bad ass. I said a quick prayer and searched for her grave. JACKPOT!!

According to "Find a Grave" her resting place is on the south side of Chicago near the Museum of Science and Industry at the Oak Woods Cemetery. Now to find someone to go searching for Wells. I enlisted Natalie Moore of WBEZ and author of The South Side (go get it now!).

On Monday we met up at Oak Woods, went to the office and asked how to find Ida B. Wells. After some navigating with a paper map*, we found her headstone. I left her some flowers as a thank you. I haven't voted yet, so I couldn't leave my "I voted" wristband** for her.

It is nice when my ideas pan out so well. Feminists of color continue to fight for our place within the movement, call out "white feminism" when it rears its head, and create spaces that center our lives and experiences.  Natalie and I stood there for a bit having a great conversation about racism in the suffrage movement, racism in the campaign, how we need to still have a much needed conversation about racism in the USA, and even swapping stories about our daughters. I haven't studied her work close enough to know for sure, but I'd like to think that Wells would be hella proud of so much of our work, from Donna Brazile to Opal Tometi, Alixia Garza and Patrisse Cullors. Wells would be proud of each of us who have been told to "stand over there" only to show up anyway. Some of us will cast our vote for Clinton, some won't. My visit there wasn't about who you we vote for, but to remember and mark this historic moment by saying thank you to a suffragist who was also a woman of color.

Instead of only thanking Susan B. Anthony for our ability to vote on the 8th, take a moment to do some research to find out who your local suffragists were and thank them too.

* We also got a packet of the Who's Who of Oakwood. Jesse Owens one of the many amazing people laid to rest here. It is also the future resting place of Roland Burris.
**  Chicago voters don't get stickers cause too many people put them on walls, so this year we are getting paper wristbands.

25 October 2016

For Cubs fans past and present


 I have been an emotional wreck since Saturday afternoon.

After we got done with our daughter's soccer match (for the record they lost) I focused on game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS). My Cubbies were heading into the do or die game in a few hours. And yes, while I know there was a game 7, I knew that momentum is on the victors side. If the Cubs somehow lost, I can imagine the Dodgers steamrolling us in game 7 and thus crushing all of Cubs Nation once again. Nerves overcame me. Anxiety was all I could feel. Nausea replaced any appetite. My husband landed last minute tickets and I immediately regretted it. Despite the historical nature and "once in a lifetime" nature of the game, I started to say, "I don't want to go. I can't go." I had the same feeling, times 10, that I get just before the Superman roller coaster starts. I told our daughter, "If they lose, you'll have to carry me home." I knew I would not be able to handle being there to watch our dreams evaporate.

My husband, our daughter, and I got on the Red Line and headed to Wrigley Field. My husband asked many times if I was ok. Apparently anxiety stole the remnants of my summer tan to leave a ghost. I swallowed and said, "I'm ok," in an attempt to convince myself.

But once we got into view of the Friendly Confines its magic started to set in. This was my happy place, despite being there for far too many losses. This is the one place I definitely want my ashes spread. We walked around to look at the merchandise, but committed to not buying anything until "this is all over." Not after we win, but when it is over. No jinxing allowed. I did take a photo of the Eamus Catuli sign because I knew it would change no matter what.


Now we are safe inside one of the holiest places to me. Our rally towel in hand, my scorecard purchased, and a peek at batting practice. Kudos to the crew who picked the music. It's all perfect. As the game moves along and I'm keeping score, watching us take out the Dodgers 1-2-3 each inning, the feeling starts to build. This might happen!

Then the life flashbacks start to happen. Am I dying? Nope, the Cubs are merely inching closer to winning. The entire game I wished my dad was with me. He's the reason I am a Cubs fan. Many summer days were spent watching games on TV. Many days of school were spent ditching to head east to Wrigley Field. Ironically the Dodgers were one of our fave teams to go watch as I was a kid during FernandoMania. When we would sign guest books on vacation he'd add, "Go Cubs!" But he moved to North Carolina almost 20 years ago and there wasn't time or money to get him to the park in time.

I also thought of my mom who died 13 years ago. The long-suffering spouse to a Cubs fan who had daughters who grew up as Cubs fans. She eventually learned to love the Cubbies and enjoy coming out to the park with us...as long as it wasn't an icy Opening Day. How she would have enjoyed watching us lose our mind over this season.

The next morning I walked out to our alley and ran into the woman who lives behind us. "The Cubs won last night!" she reported. I told her I knew, we were there. "We finally had enough angels to make it happen." Her husband who died a few years ago was a huge Cubs fan. I couldn't bring myself to say, "Frank would have loved it." I can barely type it! I remember my husband & I talking to him shortly before he died about maybe, maybe the Cubs would win before he passes. Alas. Then I thought of a friend whose dad recently died. Then I was drowning in ghosts of Cubs fans before me. Thinking of those of us who were carrying our lost dads, grandmas, and best friends into the stadium or sitting with us on the couch.

For most of us, we cried on Saturday night because we never believed we would live long enough to hear the words, "The Cubs are going to the World Series!" But we also cried for those who did not.

Go Cubs!


22 October 2016

Clean Air Moms Action

Every year it gets worse. As we move from hot & humid days to cool & crisp air that tiny bit of allergy-induced asthma I have gets worse. My dependency on an inhaler grows.

From past allergy tests, I know most of what I am allergic to is Mother Earth. Her glorious trees and flowers make my life hard and clog up my nasal passages. But I also know from experience that air action days make high pollen days seem like a picnic. What makes me feel worse about those days is that for my health I need to stay in air-conditioned spaces. Even if AC is part of the bigger problem!

That is why I consider the health of our environment is an important issue for me. Despite it not receiving the needed attention during the presidential or vice-presidential debates, our environment is a national issue...even a national security issue!

I really don't understand why such an important issue and one that should be one we can all rally around wasn't truly addressed. I know that Trump has tweeted that climate change is a hoax and that many in the GOP do not believe the science, but even more so why it should be addressed.


That is why when Clean Air Moms Action asked for people to write about why air pollution is an important issue for the upcoming election I said, "HELL YES!" They are traveling the country with a documentary film crew capturing the stories of parents who are fighting daily to protect their children’s health effects of exposure to oil & gas productions, high-tide flood waters, and ground water contamination from coal ash waste sites.

Clean air is an issue that is wrapped up in other issues. Normally we talk about it as a side issue to energy or climate change, but really it should be THE ISSUE. Then we break it down into trade, health care, economy, immigration, etc. Let's flip the conversation! 

No matter who wins the election, we have a lot of work to do to clean up our environment. So make sure you get out there and vote!

Join me in pledging to vote on November 8th (or earlier!)





This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action.
All opinions are, of course, my own
.

17 October 2016

A GIF recap of Cubs - Dodgers Game 2

The Cubbies lost game two and instead of moping, I bring you my recap of the game in Steven Universe GIFs:

We started the game off with three up, three down. We felt good then, right?

via GIPHY

And then the Dodgers hit a homerun. I wasn't going to let it get to me too much:

via GIPHY

Joy at the Cubbies solid defense getting us out of a jam:

via GIPHY

When Zobrist caught that ball!

via GIPHY

More joy after Javy made a genius call to let a hit ball drop so we can get out of an inning:

via GIPHY

Trying to will my Cubbies to find their mojo, juju, whatever magic they used to win over 100 games this season:

via GIPHY


Mad at the ump and frustrated at our lack of hits:

via GIPHY


And then we lost...

via GIPHY

Now off to LA and game three. Good luck, Cubbies! Go get 'em!!

via GIPHY

16 October 2016

Here’s to Planned Parenthood #100YearsStrong


100 years today Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in New York. It was soon shut down because 100 years ago birth control was outright illegal. While Sanger is fraught with complications due to her strategy to partner with wealthy eugenicists to bankroll the development of the bitch control pill and other aspects of the birth control movement, her work lead to the founding of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is where myself as well as many friends first sought out reproductive healthcare. It is where the protagonist in Judy Blume’s Forever heads to when she decides she is ready to have sex with her high school sweetheart. They have always been a target of conservative forces who wish to reduce women’s access to healthcare. From being painted as abortion mills to targeting communities of color, Planned Parenthood has had to fight for its existence from day one.

As an 18-year-old I was lucky to have plenty of Planned Parenthood clinics to choose from when I needed reproductive healthcare. Alas, too many parts of the USA have only one Planned Parenthood for too wide of geographic area.

Planned Parenthood as a brand is good for the entire reproductive health care movement in terms of knowledge. Being able to be name dropped in a timeless novel is important to young people identifying where they can obtain services without having to ask their parents. On her 13th birthday, our health care provider gave my daughter more privacy on our account. Now she can make her own appointments, but I can’t see how the system can give her total privacy since we do have health insurance and get statements. That said, I am glad that our health care provider gives young people a sense of autonomy. But that is why Planned Parenthood and other clinics are so important – privacy.

After college I volunteered at one of the Planned Parenthood clinics. I checked in patients, filed records, and other things required as the first face people saw. I will never forget a young woman, probably in college, who was frantic about her privacy, “My mom will never know, right? Even if she calls?” That said, I saw young women escorted to the clinic with their mothers as well.

In 100 years, Planned Parenthood has offered the women and men of the USA the opportunity to access confidential healthcare. From birth control, abortions, mammograms, and STI testing, Planned Parenthood has done a lot for us. I’m conflicted on what to wish them for the next 100. Ideally women wouldn’t need a separate healthcare clinic for pregnancy terminations or low-income women need to seek out free mammograms outside of their regular healthcare team. But until we get to that day, long-live Planned Parenthood and their kick ass services.

13 October 2016

The Mystery of Boy's Clothing

While I'm the mom of a girl, I wasn't shy to shop for her in the baby boy's clothing section or later as a toddler. The boy's section has non-glitterized clothing, solid colors, and superheroes. One of my daughter's favorite pajama sets was a Superman one with a cape. You can't find that in the girl's section.

Recently an 8-year-old girl made this discovery and her mom made a video of her disgust. Not only did she realize that boy's clothing has stronger language on them, but girl's clothing has some pretty dumb messages.
Daisy begins her spectacular rant by gesturing at the girl’s shirts. She says, “Well, the girl’s clothes say “hey,” “beautiful,” “I feel fabulous”.” She then points out the shirts in the boy’s section. “The boys — “desert adventure awaits,” “think outside the box,” “hero.””  

And then there are times when boy's clothing have messages that are disgusting and insulting to girls. Forever 21 sold boy's clothing with messages about only dating models before a backlash forced Forever 21 to pull them. In recent years we have seen the GAP market boy's clothing as smart and intellectual, while girl's clothing gets the cute treatment.

The divide between boy's and girl's clothing has become an issue not because of what we print on them, but as we become more open to kids blurring the gender clothing divide. Much is still speculated about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Does Shiloh go by John? Is Shiloh transgender? Or does Shiloh just really like to dress up in suits?!

I think too many people see girls wearing suits as a rejection of femininity, but I've seen some deliciously feminine suits for women! In fact, the best suits for girls and women are fit to our bodies. And flip for boys who want a little glitter on their dump trucks. 

I forecast in the near future seeing children's clothing no longer labeled boy's or girl's, but rather we'll sort them by attribute: color, glitter, nature, superheroes, etc. This will allow for a parent to shop for a green tulle skirt to go with the Incredible Hulk tee. Or maybe some cargo shorts to with a sparkling Wonder Woman tee? And who cares which gender is wearing either of those outfits!



“This post is a partnership with Nakturnal."

07 October 2016

EVENT: Fantasy Island For Dummies (too near, too near)

I received information on what looks like a fun show in Chicago. I hope to make it there before it closes. If you get there first, let me know what you think.

THE TRAP DOOR THEATRE presents

The world premiere of

Fantasy Island For Dummies
(too near, too near)

Written by Ruth Margraff
Directed by Kate Hendrickson

Cast: Holly Thomas-Cerney, Casey Chapman, Skye Fort, John Kahara, Lyndsay Rose Kane, Emily Lotspeich, Chris Popio, Bob Wilson

Opens: Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 8PM Saturday
Closes: November 5, 2016 at 8PM

Runs: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8PM

Admission: $20 on Thursdays and Fridays; $25 on Saturdays, Special two-for-one admission on Fridays

Where: TRAP DOOR THEATRE 1655 West Cortland Ave. Chicago, IL 60622

For Information/Reservations: 773-384-0494 To purchase tix online www.trapdoortheatre.com

What: Fantasy Island for Dummies (low cut daydream too near, too near) is a new music-theatre work inspired by an episode of the iconic television series about the pleasures and perils of wish fulfillment. Devised in a collaborative exploration with Trap Door Theater actors, the piece is written by Ruth Margraff and directed by Kate Hendrickson, with original music composed by Pink Velvet. A 1980 “Fantasy Island” episode about a ventriloquist and her devious dummy inspires a voyage into suppressed identities, ancient Babylonian sex goddesses, and a “perfect wife” struggling with her defiant side.

06 October 2016

FLASH GIVEAWAY - Together Conference TONIGHT

Together, an event for women is coming to Chicago at the Rosemont Theatre - TODAY - Thursday 10/6. Created by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh (head of WME’s literary division and the woman behind Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah’s book tours), Together will feature real women sharing their true and vulnerable stories. The amazing women at the helm of Together’s Chicago event include Glennon Doyle Melton, Seane Corn, Valarie Kaur, Chicago native Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and special celebrity guest Sophia Bush.

While most conferences limit space and come with a substantial price tag, Together is inviting thousands of women to attend, with tickets starting as low as $25. Together wants women in Chicago from all generations and backgrounds to come experience this joyous night of storytelling, laughter and community.

BUT....If you can get out to Rosemont TODAY and want to bring a girlfriend or sister, I have TEN pairs of tickets to giveaway by 4 PM.

Just comment with your email address and they are yours!

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