BlogHer en Marbleized Metallic Fabric T-Shirt ... Made With Shaving Cream! <!--paging_filter--><!--break--><!--break--><p>It's been a summer of hot craft trends: <a href="">pineapples</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">shibori dyeing</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">woven wall hangings</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">air plants</a>, just to name a few. </p> <p>I'm also seeing all things marbled popping up as a trend. I've mainly seen it in paper and on silk scarves. Recently, I gave this trend a whirl on a tank top, using shaving cream and fabric paint. You read me right, shaving cream.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>SUPPLIES</h2> <p></p></center></p> <ul> <li>Shaving cream</li> <li>Pre-washed T-shirt</li> <li>Tulip Soft Fabric Paint</li> <li>Bamboo skewer</li> <li>Disposable tray</li> <li>Flat object (like a squeegee or spatula) </li></ul> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>WHY SHAVING CREAM?</h2> <p></p></center></p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <p>I hear some people use shaving cream to actually shave. What a waste. My kids love playing with the stuff. You can add paint and smash paper into it for all kinds of cool effects. During one of these crafty episodes, I had the epiphany to try it with fabric paint and clothing.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>SMOOTH OUT THE SHAVING CREAM</h2> <p></p></center></p> <p>Using something flat like a spatula, ruler, or squeegee, smooth out your shaving cream.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>ADD PAINT</h2> <p></p></center></p> <p>Plop your paint into the shaving cream. I made a random pattern using metallic colors.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>MARBLEIZE!</h2> <p></p></center></p> <p>Run your bamboo skewer through the shaving cream in a cross-hatch pattern. Think of it as using the same technique you'd use to add a heart to your frothy coffee drink. This should give your paint the marbled look.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>ADD YOUR SHIRT</h2> <p></p></center></p> <p>Gently press your shirt into the shaving cream. Try to cover all parts without disturbing the paint pattern you have made in the shaving cream. Allow to dry for 4-6 hours.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><center><br /> <h2>LOOK AWESOME</h2> <p>You are all done. Wasn't that easy … and kinda fun? Playing with shaving cream and paint not only looks good, it is downright simple. All that is left to do is wash and wear.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Marbleized painted shirt" /></center></p> <p>Stop by <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a> to follow along with more of my crafty adventures.</p> </center></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Crafts Style DIY Fashion DIY Style marbeled style diy Craft Tutorials Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:51:55 +0000 Jennifer Perkins 1688373 at Shamed for a Bike Ramp: What's Wrong with My Home Owners' Association? <!--paging_filter--><h2>Maybe I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia?</h2><!--break--><p>Let me tell you a little bit about me. I am practical, not elaborate in needing too many material things, I love allowing my kids to experience the world by doing, building, creating, and seeing.</p><p><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img class="size-large wp-image-914 alignright" title="Bicycle Ramp" src="" alt="A wooden bicycle ramp " width="430" height="323" /></a></p><p>Last year Knight and the hubby went to the man store (aka, Home Depot) and purchased scrap wood. The purpose was to allow Knight to build something. And that he did. He built a bicycle jump with no plans and no help. ALL BY HIMSELF. It is awesome! However, based on suburbia standards, this unsightly jump is an eyesore to all the people who must drive by. How do I know? Because my HOA let me know in the form of an official letter. Clearly, the hunk of wood is an embarrassment to the community.</p><p>Really? A bicycle jump built entirely by a seven-year-old is a complete disaster? It works perfectly, and he uses it every day. He drags it out onto the sidewalk where he and his neighborhood friends compare with one another how incredibly rad their jumps are. Should we not be celebrating such an achievement, as parents and community members? Has America become this entitled? It is shameful. I live in a nice house in a nice part of town and yet I am embarrassed at how some people think. Is this who we’ve become? Our big houses in shiny neighborhoods displaying our perfectionism to the outside world&mdash;this somehow defines who we are? This is not ME. I am embarrassed, not of the jump, but to be associated with people whose perceived image ultimately corrupts the very world around them.</p><p>What does this teach our children? To be elitists, or worse, materialistic elitists, perhaps. Not my kids&mdash;they will know that every home you pass by has a story. Every person is equal to the next person&mdash;big house, tiny house, apartment, or living in a box on the street. There is NO difference. Living life with false perception is a wasted experience. My kids will know what defines you is not what you own, where you live, how perfect your house looks, or with whom you associate. You are defined by the compassion you have for ALL people around you regardless of their things.</p><p>Perhaps I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia. If that’s the case, then I apologize for not conforming to this perceived reality. But I doubt that. God alone knows the truth behind all perfectly groomed houses. Some things you just cannot cover up.</p><p>Have HOAs gone too far? Have you had experiences that have questioning the true integrity of people?</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Work/Life Family HOA Harrassment Living with a HOA Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:50:40 +0000 thesecondset 1690122 at Why I’m Scared of Divorce <!--paging_filter--><p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="divorce graphic via Brown Girl Long Hair" /></p><p>I just got word that my Uncle Dan and Aunt Tina are splitting after nearly 20 years of marriage. I know statistics say that marriages—yours, mine, the neighbor’s across the street—have about a 50-50 shot of making it. Nothing new here.</p><p>As a child who experienced the benefits of having a happily (for the most part) married mommy and daddy, I used to think divorce was something that happened to other parents; other families. But Father Time has a way of changing things, so I interpret divorce differently now. My knee-jerk response is an aching that resonates on a primal level, followed by an emotional cocktail of fear, sadness, and uncertainty.</p><p>In a cruel twist of irony, my mother divorced my father a mere two months after I married my husband. They had been married for 34 years, and the split was pure hell for us all. Make no mistake, it still hurts like a bitch when your parents divorce and you’re 30. The upside is that there are no custody battles or screaming matches/teeth-sucking/eye-rolling at visitation drop-offs.</p><p>The downside, though, is that you’re protected from nothing because it’s perceived that you’re old enough to handle it. Divorce can turn people—even good ones—into hot-tempered, irrational jackasses. And while it is true that time heals all wounds (you might forget overhearing what your dad said about your mom when you were, say, five), words become ingrained in your psyche when you’re 30. Not enough time has passed for me to forget how my father forbade my husband and me to enter their home to help my mother retrieve her belongings—just to make things more difficult. Not enough time has passed to forget&nbsp; the vile voicemail messages my dad left for my mom.</p><p>I don’t know if it ever will.</p><p>The end result is the harsh realization that divorce happens, and it someday could be coming to a marriage near you. Or me. To be clear, I love my husband now more than ever, and I married him for the right reasons. Our union, which was built on a solid foundation of acceptance, pure affection, and loyalty, is strong. I am happy, completely happy, and I cannot fathom the day when I would feel in my bones that walking away from it all is the better option.</p><p>However.</p><p>Can’t most spouses say the same about the beginning of their marriage? At one point, Uncle Dan and Aunt Tin did. Sure, some marriages are doomed from the start, but I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the couples who went into it with eyes wide open and hearts bursting with love.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><center><img src="" alt="separate" /><br /><em>Image: Mario via <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">Flickr</a></em></center><p>I no longer think any marriage is immune from this thing called divorce. And once you accept divorce as not necessarily a likelihood, of course, but a mere possibility, you begin to wonder if even the smallest of fissures might eventually be the proverbial loose thread that unravels it all someday. I’m just saying.</p><p>And it’s not just divorce itself that frightens me. It’s the aftermath.</p><p>I have long respected those couples who have summoned the resolve to stay put and stick it out. But I also know that it takes courage to strike out on your own for the betterment of your well-being—even if that means possibly facing financial instability, a shitload of what-ifs, and the prospect of knowing that you might end up alone. I think about this every single time I see my 61-year-old mother.</p><p>She never thought this would be her life.</p><p>I can only hope my fate is different.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Courtney Conover, The Brown Girl with Long Hair, is a mom of two and wife of an ex-NFL player. She has more Legos and NFL memorabilia&nbsp;than she knows what to do with. She blogs at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">The Brown Girl with Long Hair</a>.</em></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Divorce Marriage and Commitment Love & Sex #Fear #Marriage #Divorce Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:45:40 +0000 BrownGirlLongHair 1668962 at When Do You Give Up on a Television Show? <!--paging_filter--><p>I've had it. I'm done. I tried, I really tried, but it's not for me. I'm abandoning HBO's series <em>The Leftovers</em> after four episodes. The show's storyline about the mysterious disappearance of 2% of the population, and about the tortured lives of those who remain, wasn't holding my attention and left me feeling unsettled and frustrated with its moody indulgences. &nbsp;Like those two percenters who went somewhere, I'm tapping out.&nbsp;</p> <p>I had expected to like the new series. It's HBO, after all, and the show has the juicy Sunday night slot, perfectly poised to fill the <em>True Detective</em> and <em>Mad Men</em> void. Based on a novel by Tom Perrotta, it has good people behind and on the scene (Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler and Ann Dowd, among others.)</p> <p>I gave it four episodes. Four dreary, meandering, lackluster, poorly written episodes. Now I wish I had stopped at two. When do you throw in the towel on a new show?</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Justin Theroux in The Leftovers" /><br /><em>Image: HBO</em></center></p> <p>Sometimes it does take a while for a show to catch wind or become a favorite program. It can be the audience's issue.&nbsp;<em>The Wire</em>, perhaps the greatest episodic television show ever created, can be daunting and hard to fall in love with at first. "Stick with it," we encourage our <em>Wire</em>-virgin friends, those lucky souls with all of that glorious television ahead of them. Or sometimes it's the series and it takes a show several episodes to find a groove. Season 2 of <em>Orange is the New Black</em> is gaining many fans who were critical of the first season as the characters deepen and the storylines feel less centered around Piper.&nbsp;</p> <p>I'm giving up on the mystery of The Leftovers because I just don't care yet, and I sense that the payoff of <em>The Leftovers</em> isn't worth the pain. There is a wealth of great television competing for my attention. I'll probably hear about the resolution of&nbsp;<em>The Leftovers</em>&nbsp;on social media, or I'll look it up on Wikipedia for some random reason some day down the road. At this point, it feels like that is good enough.&nbsp;</p> <p>I could be wrong. &nbsp;Are you sticking with <em>The Leftovers&nbsp;</em>and can sell me on why I should stay too? Have you departed from any shows you thought you would like? How did you know it was time to go?</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Movies & Television Entertainment Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:53:23 +0000 Deb Rox 1692166 at HIIT: The Calorie-Burning Routine You Can Do Anywhere <!--paging_filter--><p>HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is rising in popularity amongst the masses at supersonic speeds. Besides body weight training, HIIT is the top fitness trend of 2014. This upbeat, fast-paced method&nbsp;requires dedication, commitment, stamina, and endurance, but the results are well worth the effort.</p> <!--break--><!--break--> <p><center><img src="" alt="backup" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">woman running</a> via Shutterstock</i></center></p> <p> <h1>How Is It Done?</h1> </p> <p>With HIIT, you alternate between high intensity exercise and less intense exercises in the same workout. &nbsp;Your intensity would look like hills going up and down if it was mapped out on paper. </p> <p>Your mix of exercises might look like this: <i>(For example, you could&nbsp;alternate and do a high intensity move for 30 seconds then a medium intensity move for&nbsp;30 seconds.)</i></p> <p><b>High Intensity</b></p> <p> <ul> <li>Sprinting</li> <li>Mountain Climbers</li> <li>Burpees</li> <li>Lunges/Squats</li> <li>High Knees</li> <li>Jumping Jacks</li> </ul> </p> <p><b>Medium Intensity</b></p> <p> <ul> <li>Jogging</li> <li>Walking</li> <li>Lifting Weights</li> <li>Walking</li> <li>Pushups</li> <li>Crunches</li> </ul> </p> <p>Strategically planned, high intensity intervals are balanced with short, less active recovery periods. These spurts of energy encourage your heart rate to stay up while burning calories at record speeds. </p> <p>For some people who love this form of exercise, HIIT has all but eliminated traditional forms of cardio because, in half the amount of time spent in the average 30-minute or 1-hour session, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">HIIT can burn&nbsp;more fat and calories</a> while increasing your aerobic and anaerobic stamina. HIIT have been can help&nbsp;speed up your metabolism and has been&nbsp;scientifically proven to burn adipose tissue at least 50% more effectively than low-intensity cardio training.</p> <p> <h1>Examples of HIIT</h1> </p> <p>There is no specific form of exercise that is directly associated with HIIT. Anything that can be balanced between giving it all you've got and taking it down a notch, is HIIT. For example, if you like to go running to stay in shape, do it with all your might for one minute, then power walk for two. Keep repeating the three minute cycle for 15 minutes -- that's HIIT.</p> <p>Be sure to go through a good stretch and warm-up before getting started. You want to get your heart nice and ready for the high intensity activity rather than instantly shocking it into action. Giving it all you've got will increase your body's need for oxygen and, as a result, it's hungry for more in those recovery intervals. This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. It opens the door for those calories and that fat to fall off more quickly than normal aerobic exercises.</p> <p> <h1>The Benefits of HIIT</h1> </p> <p>Let's start with how it works on the metabolism. As I&nbsp;mentioned earlier, the balance of high and low intensity interval training creates EPOC, stimulating a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a HIIT workout session. It's one of the only forms of exercise that continues to work for you long after you stop working.</p> <p> <h1>It Works</h1> </p> <p>The fact that it can literally be done anywhere… by anyone…with any style of cardio, makes HIIT a very convenient form of training. This is an added bonus for people who don't have the time or money to go to the gym. Your living room, backyard, even a locked office can all be the prime location for an excellent workout.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Studies show</a> that just 30&nbsp;minutes of high intensity interval training done three times a week can&nbsp;yield more results than an agonizing hour-long run on the treadmill. Keep it up for two weeks and you'll advance your aerobic capacity better than you would've with 6 to 8 weeks of conventional endurance. These benefits almost sound too good to be true. Part of the effectiveness behind a HIIT workout comes from your strengthened metabolism.</p> <p> <h1>No Accessories Needed</h1> </p> <p>You don't have to invest in weights and expensive machinery.&nbsp; For most HIIT sessions, all you need is your own body. The primary focus is speeding up your heart, and keeping it active. You don't need dumbbells to do that, but you can add wrist weight or dumbbells with moves as appropriate. It's up to you. If running isn't your forte, you can easily customize your HIIT routine to fit your strengths.&nbsp;</p> <p>When deciding what to do, target the areas you'd like to improve. Push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, dips, jumps, and burpees can all be included in a high interval routine. If you're creating your own regimen, be sure to rest for 30 seconds between each high-impact/low-impact interval. You can build muscle, and retain the muscles you already have without ever setting foot in the gym. &nbsp;There are tons of great <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">HIIT videos on YouTube</a> and lots of routines posted to Pinterest.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>Traditional cardio done for extended periods of time puts the body in a "steady state." It gets used to the activity, making it less and less effective the more it is repeated. HIIT introduces a shock factor that keeps your muscles reactive. As soon as it gets used to a low-intensity interval, you snatch it out of the comfort zone and kick things up a notch with a high-intensity spurt.</p> <p>The convenience and results from a HIIT workout seem like a gift from above. Fortunately, you can't argue with the facts. It's about time something came along that will give people the body they want while working around their lifestyle. Responsibilities and demands from work, home -- and everything in between -- used to be an excuse for neglecting physical activity. Not any more.</p> <p><i>Note: Before starting any exercise program, please consult with your doctor. </i><i>&nbsp;If you have injuries that could be worsened, are pregnant, have knee issues, are&nbsp;suffering neck and back pain or have a chronic illness intense exercise may not be in your best interest.&nbsp;&nbsp;Don’t forget to stretch before and after working out to avoid injuries.</i></p> <p><i>This article was previously featured @&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></i></p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"></a></li> </ul> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Body Image Diet & Fitness Health exercise High Intensity Interval Training HIIT Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:49:58 +0000 Ajima Jackson 1691235 at The Obvious Child: New Rom-Com Talks About Abortion <!--paging_filter--><p>The other night I finally had the chance to catch&nbsp;<em><a href="" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" class="external-link">Obvious Child</a></em>, the new film starring Jenny Slate. It's been a while since I've seen a movie in the theater, but I wanted to make sure I saw this one on the big screen&mdash;not for aesthetic reasons but for political ones. I want my money to register as part of its box office take.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: top; border: 1px solid black; margin: 1px;" src="" alt="Obvious Child" width="545" height="307" /></p> <p><em>Obvious Child</em>&nbsp;is the story of Donna, a young, struggling stand-up comedian who after getting dumped by her boyfriend has a bit of a meltdown that results in a drunken hot mess of a stand-up set followed by a drunken hot mess of a hook-up with a guy who happens to be at the club that night (but, perhaps thankfully, didn't catch her shitstorm set).</p><p>What happens next is both routine (that is,&nbsp; if you're a 20 or 30-something female)&nbsp;<em>and</em>&nbsp;surprising. A few weeks later she finds out she's pregnant. Donna is shocked, horrified even, but even as she leans on her best friend for support, she's also remarkably calm about what will happen next: She'll get an abortion.</p><p>And that's when hook-up guy re-enters the picture. I'll stop my plot synopsis here. What takes place during the next 100 or so minutes of the film unfolds like some of my favorite films of late, specifically&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" data-cke-saved-target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><em>Young Adult</em></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" class="external-link"><em>Frances Ha</em></a>--with enough messy mistakes to make me feel as though the screenwriters had taken a page from my own life.</p><p>Which brings me back to the topic at hand: Abortion.</p><p>At its heart,&nbsp;<em>Obvious Child</em>&nbsp;is a modern romantic comedy, a coming of age story ripe with bodily fluid/bodily function jokes and the realization that growing up is really goddamned difficult.</p><p>But of course the reason this film, which stars two relatively not-very-famous actors, has received widespread attention because of this particular plot line. And even though it's not this film's end-all, be-all reason for being (really, it isn't), I'm glad it comprises such a prominent part of the storyline because it does so in a way that doesn't sensationalize or stigmatize it.</p><p>Rather, it just&nbsp;<em>is</em>.</p><p>Here, this act is simply part of a young woman's life&mdash;her experience&mdash;and watching the film, it's very clear that it's an act that will neither define her nor drastically change her. That's not to say that she's not extremely affected by it&mdash;she is&mdash;but it's hardly going to ruin her.</p><p>It's about time a movie like this existed. Hell, it's about time the topic was broached at all. In the 70s and early 80s the entertainment industry wasn't so afraid to tackle it (see:&nbsp;<em>Maude</em>,&nbsp;<em>Fast Times at Ridgemont High</em>, et al.)</p><p>In recent years, however, abortion's become such an openly divisive topic, politically speaking, that it seems to have all but vanished from the modern pop culture canon. Even in a movie like&nbsp;<em>Knocked Up</em>, it was reduced to the comically dreadful concept of&nbsp; "smashmortion".</p><p>Are we really such cowards?</p><p>Yes, apparently we are. NBC refused to air an ad for&nbsp;<em>Obvious Child</em>; the network's head Bob Greenblatt explained during a Television Critics Association Panel held this past Sunday that his network did not have an "ironclad policy" on the use of the word "abortion". Still, according to the Hollywood Reporter, he admitted that the decision came about out of a fear of controversy.</p><p>"The sales group chose the path of least resistance," Greenblatt&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" data-cke-saved-target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">told the group</a>. "They chose the ad that did not have [the word abortion] in it."</p><p>In TV and film--where depictions of murder, rape, mayhem and other forms of violence and assault are rampant--the subject of abortion has become more taboo than it was three decades ago. It's more taboo than it was&nbsp;<em>four</em>&nbsp;decades ago.</p><p>In June, Feministing published a smart piece on the subject:&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" data-cke-saved-target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">"How pop culture reinforces abortion stigma--and can help end it."</a>&nbsp;(The piece is part of a joint reporting project on reproductive rights in pop culture that includes work from Feministing, Bitch Media and Making Contact).</p><p>The writer, who uses the release of&nbsp;<em>Obvious Child&nbsp;</em>as a jumping off point ("<em>Obvious Child</em>" ... has been variously called “honest,” “realistic,” “unapologetic,” and “positive.” My own preferred adjective is “normal”), points out the disconnect between pop culture's depiction of abortion and reality:</p><blockquote><p>The ways that pop culture has reinforced abortion stigma extend beyond just the visibility—or lack thereof—of the choice. A recent&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" data-cke-saved-target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">census</a>&nbsp;by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco—the first comprehensive, quantitative look at abortion storylines in TV and film—tallied over 300 plot lines in which a character considered an abortion between 1916 and 2013, including 87 on primetime network television. Given how common the procedure is in real life—not to mention how frequently totally&nbsp;<em>uncommon</em>&nbsp;things happen in Hollywood—that’s a small number, but it’s not nothing.</p></blockquote><p>Which brings us back to&nbsp;<em>Maude</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Fast Times at Ridgemont High</em>.</p><!--pagebreak--><p>In 1972, the TV character Maude (portrayed by Bea Arthur), finds herself pregnant at age 47. Abortion wasn't legal on in the U.S. as a whole in 1972 but it was legal in New York (in 1973 Roe v. Wade struck down all remaining state laws banning abortion) and eventually Maude decided with her partner to terminate the pregnancy.</p><p>Ten years later the film<em>&nbsp;Fast Times at Ridgement High</em>&nbsp;depicted a 15-year-old character, Stacy, (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who decides to get an abortion after having sex with an older man.</p><p>Both of these are examples of pop culture representations that do not shame, stigmatize or even make a victim of the women who makes the decision. Sure, Stacy doesn't want to tell her parents&mdash;which in and of itself suggests a personal stigmatization. Or not. It also suggests being 15 and trying to find your way in the world even as you clash with your parents (who alternately can be your closest allies and worst enemies).</p><p>Abortion is something that make for such a range of emotions&mdash;I know, because I've had one. And it's something I didn't want to talk about or admit for a long, long time. Not so much because I was ashamed. And not necessarily because I worried about the shame or stigma it might invite (although, certainly knowing how devisive of a topic it is, that was part of it). No, largely it was because that range of emotions is so complex. It's intense. It's extremely personal. You don't necessarily want to invite people to prod and probe at your body and your decisions and personal reasonings.</p><p>In recent years however as certain states have worked very, very hard to strip women of their basic reproductive rights, I've realized how important it is for me to step outside of my personal comfort zone of information and speak up.</p><p>Women get abortions--it's a fundamental necessity.<a href="" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" class="external-link">&nbsp;In 2009, the Center for Disease Control reported 784,507 abortions</a>&nbsp;(the last year for which numbers are available). In contrast, I've seen many conflicting numbers on closures, but one number shows that between 2010-2013, it's been reported that&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" class="external-link">52 abortion clinics shut down across the United States</a>, largely in Southern states.</p><p>Clearly, now is the time to talk about abortion. It is time to talk about it in candid terms that are inclusive of women in all states and across all ethnicities and economic groups (<em>Obvious Child</em>&nbsp;addresses the latter--Donna initially doesn't have the $500 to pay for the procedure).</p><p>Clearly now is the time to continue talking about reproductive rights, and loudly. After all, the Supreme Court recently ruled that "closely held" companies such as Hobby Lobby have the right to decline coverage for birth control rights if it conflicts with the company's collective (and, I guess, closely held) religious beliefs.</p><p><em>Obvious Child</em>&nbsp;isn't a perfect film (I wish it had been longer and thus developed a few of the storylines more concretely) but it's perfect for these times and this conversation: It's a pro-choice, feminist film that includes abortion as part of its storyline in a smart, clear-eyed, non-hysterical manner.</p><p>Pop culture could use more such representation.</p> <iframe width="550" height="309" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Arts & Culture Media and Journalism Movies & Television Feminism News & Politics Entertainment abortion obvious child reproductive rights Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:58:49 +0000 writegrrrl 1685964 at Loving Beyond Gender: What Dating A Woman Taught Me About Dating Men <!--paging_filter--><p>Long before I met my first girlfriend, I knew I had within me the capacity to love beyond gender.&nbsp; I am attracted to every form; all our expressions of masculine and feminine. When I would tell people, they ask me to pick- surely I prefer one.&nbsp; “I don’t,” I’ve insisted.</p><p>There was a period where despite my insistence, I couldn’t quite be sure.</p><p>My first inclination was to reject the idea. I didn’t like the idea of my attraction being tied to gender but the longer I dated A., my first girlfriend, I began to wonder. I was told by a lesbian who’d dated men that “there’s something about two women, the chemistry is stronger somehow.” “It’s the gender norms, heterosexual relationships are so restrictive,” another lesbian told me. &nbsp;When it’s two women, &nbsp;there isn’t that. So it’s so intense.”</p><p>&nbsp;I begun to buy into it. That intensity I know well. Before she was my girlfriend, I thought I was beginning to fall for A. &nbsp;&nbsp;It was happening fast, faster than any other adult relationship I’d ever had but that didn’t deter me or her. And it was easy, easier than anything I’ve ever done in life. Like breathing, like blinking, I loved her, the first woman I’d ever been with. I look at my relationship then and my relationships in the past and see something I didn’t have before, no matter how nice the guys were: understanding. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><center><img src="" alt="equality hands" /><br /><em>Image: Caspargirl via <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">Flickr</a></em></center><p>As another queer Black woman, she had a base understanding of me and of what I go through that my straight male partners did not. I didn’t have to convince her of my reality and struggles as a Black woman-- she lived it.&nbsp; There are things I don’t have to teach or explain to women, especially femme women, and that feels so very good. I don’t have to strategize or dual speak or think like a man; I say what I want and I am heard. And what an erotic experience it was to be heard. &nbsp;</p><p>The longer I dated &nbsp;A., the more I saw it. &nbsp;Those first dates with men, those first conversations would feel like we were sizing each other up, squaring off almost.&nbsp; I’d be wary, looking for lines that sounded recycled and he’d look too, trying to see if I fit some archetype “Wifey” or “Bootycall.” At the beginning in my relationships with men, I’d always be dishonest because I felt I had to. &nbsp;Pretending, for example, that I didn’t want to have sex for fear I’ll share my body and lose respect. When an appropriate amount of time had passed, pretending it wasn’t my decision, pretending I didn’t know what I wanted or how I wanted it. Men, I’d learned wanted to be men. Knowing myself, I’d learned, threatened that.</p><p>In the midst of it, I never fully noticed how deeply sexism is embedded in our daily lives, how it steps between two people and keeps them from really seeing, hearing each other. Months, even years into relationships it sometimes felt like yelling over the din of what men had been told about women, clamoring to be seen as an individual.</p><p>After moving in with my college boyfriend, he got me roses. “Your favorite,” he said.</p><p>I wrinkled my face. Roses are ok, but they aren’t my favorite.&nbsp; “No, my favorites are orchids and lilies.”</p><p>“I thought women loved roses!” he said incredulously, as though I personally lied to him. We’d been dating almost two years at that point. It was another thing I was “overreacting about” when I pointed out he was generalizing again.“So I can’t say dogs hate cats, either, I bet.” &nbsp;It turned into another fight that made me feel like we weren’t living the same reality. Just as white privilege makes it hard for Whites to see racism, male privilege makes it so men find it harder to see patriarchy.</p><p>&nbsp;Standing where I am now, after that first relationship with a woman, then dating men, and now dating &nbsp;women and men, I can see something I hadn’t fully seen before: sexism had kept me from connecting with the men I dated. It wasn't just theirs, either, but my own as well.</p><!--pagebreak--><p>I approached women as though everything Audre Lorde had written about the love between women being revolutionary and freeing was true. I wasn’t treating them as individuals cabable of internalizing patriarchy as well. I, on some level, bought into the idea women were the safer option.</p><p>I created an image of all women as inherently more sensitive to my issues and humanity, as incapable of hurting me in the same ways. This is sexism, as was&nbsp;my assumption that every man would be patriarchal. Looking at my relationships with men now, I have to admit I didn’t give them the same things I readily gave women. I wasn’t open or vulnerable, I believed that all men would enjoy the chase. I believed that I’d have to prove my worth by being stand offish when I wanted closeness, that I’d have to analyze their actions and words to find lies (game)…simply because they were men.</p><p>All of this was unconscious. As revolutionary as I thought I was, as feminist as I fancied myself to be, I didn’t give my male partners the benefit of their feelings and humanity. I treated them like archetypes from a relationship advice book.</p><p>This is how insidious patriarchy is. I can see the blatant falsehood of dating manuals aimed at “getting” men to commit and “tricking” women into bed and relationships, but I didn’t see how I’d absorbed some of these as true. We’ve all been taught these things our entire lives, it’s ridiculous to think we aren’t all susceptible to them.</p><p>When my relationship with A. ended, I realized what role I had played. How I had given parts of myself and jumped in too early assuming things about her because of her gender and identity as Black, woman and queer. Admitting those mistakes helped me realize I’d done the opposite with the men before her, giving little to nothing because of their identity as straight men.</p><p>It is humbling. It is jarring.</p><p>It is hard to face yourself as you are when you wanted something else to be true, but this ability for hypocrisy exists in all of us. With feminism and critiquing patriarchy as unpopular as it is in our society, how many of us are suffering or causing pain in our relationships because we won’t hear our partners above the din of “men need…” “women like…”?&nbsp;</p><p>How many of us aren’t responding to our partners or are giving to unworthy partners because we’ve internalized messages about dating and what we can expect from men and/or women? &nbsp;It has taken me 27 years to learn these lies, I don’t doubt it will take the rest of my life to unlearn them. I’m grateful to A. for the ways she’s opened my eyes. I’m grateful for how I’m learning to love beyond gender, grateful for the lessons loving women has taught me.&nbsp;</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Dating GLBT Sex Love & Sex Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:17:21 +0000 FireinFreetown 1688930 at What Sort of Person Attends a Blogging Conference? <!--paging_filter--><!--break--><!--break--><p>Back in 2010, when I started my little blog and was quietly following some other blogs, I started hearing a lot about <a href="">BlogHer</a>. I looked into it and found this great community. I started interacting with some other members, signed up for <a href="">my own account</a>, and eventually had a couple of my posts <a href=";crumb=22">featured</a> or <a href="">syndicated</a> on their website. I joined the BlogHer Book Club and got to <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">review a couple of books</a>. It was all very exciting, and it was my first introduction into blogging as more than just a hobby.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>After a while, I noticed a lot of the bloggers I regularly read were talking about a conference in New York. I was amazed at the number of people -- from all over the country -- who were making plans to go to this event. Curious, I kept up-to-date through various posts on BlogHer, and on the blogs I read. People were writing posts about what to wear, what events to attend, who would be speaking. It was very exciting.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="backup" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">BlogHer</a> from the 2013 BlogHer Conference</i></center></p> <p>After the conference, there were even more posts! I loved reading the recap posts about favorite sessions attended, and the pictures of blogging friends meeting face-to-face were amazing. I found myself only slightly jealous. But a conference for bloggers? Surely that's somewhere I don't belong.</p> <p>I watched via the internet (especially <a target="_blank" href=";src=tyah" class="external-link">Twitter</a>!) as the bloggers I was getting to know attended the conference again in 2011 (San Diego), 2012 (New York), and 2013 (Chicago). Each year I found a good excuse not to go. San Diego was the closest the conference got, but a blogging conference just wasn't for me. It's for people who make their blog into a business -- people who do reviews and are brand ambassadors and have tens of thousands of pageviews every month. It's for the bloggers who get hundreds of comments on every post.</p> <p>Right? </p> <p>New York was too far to travel, but by Chicago, I was actually starting to feel like I might want to attend the BlogHer conference. But, again, it was too far to travel. The cost of the conference pass, the flights, the hotels... plus I'd have to find somewhere for my son to go while I was there. It just wasn't possible.</p> <p>When BlogHer announced the 2014 conference would be in San Jose, I really wanted to go. I may not get many pageviews or comments, and I might not be a brand ambassador or interested in doing a million reviews a month, but I was certain there was stuff for me at this conference. There are sessions focused on writing, editing, getting a book deal (!!!). There was a session on freelancing that I was intrigued by. San Jose is only about a 4 hour drive from where I live, 20 minutes from where my parents live. No flight required, and I could crash at my parents' if need be. My son could stay with them. I could make this work.</p> <p>But I didn't have the funds when early registration opened. So I figured I wouldn't be able to go.<br /> Then, last month, I noticed a lot of tweets about another discounted conference pass. I'd been working for <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a> for a while and had some of that money tucked away. I could justify the cost for the conference if it was my editing money. I spoke with <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">a friend who had attended BlogHer</a> (multiple times) and other blogging conferences, and she encouraged me to attend. It would be worth it. She was sure of it.</p> <p>On Twitter I happened to see that <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Robin of Farewell Stranger</a> was selling her ticket at the early bird discount because she was unable to attend. I bought her ticket and made the commitment.</p> <p>I was going to BlogHer.</p> <p>As it got closer to July, I found that my emotions were still mixed about going. I still don't see myself as a blogger on scale with the other bloggers attending. I still think it might be a little weird that I'm going to a conference on blogging, when there are plenty of specific writer's conferences that I could attend instead.</p> <p>But, the truth is, the sessions aren't the only reason I'm going.</p> <p>I'm going to meet my friends.</p> <p>I have made so many friends through blogging, and they live all around the country. I don't know that there will be another opportunity like this to meet so many of them. So far I've only met a small handful of bloggers <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">who live in Reno</a> or the Bay Area. And each time it's been a wonderful experience. This will be like that, but on a larger scale.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>I'll be rooming with <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Erin Margolin</a>,&nbsp;who lives in Kansas and I met once when she was in San Francisco for <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">The Gay Dad Project</a>. I'll see <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Lizz Porter</a> from the Bay Area, who I've met on a couple of different occasions and&nbsp;have developed a real friendship with. Mandy from <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">In Mandyland</a>, who I worked with at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Write on Edge</a> and is a fellow <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Bannerwing Write Club</a> member, said she might drive up just so we can meet. <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">JC Little</a> will be there! <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Alexandra</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Greta</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Yuliya</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Cam</a>, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Jennifer</a>...</p> <p>I can't help it. I'm excited.</p> <p>I've never been to a conference of any kind before. I keep looking over the <a href="">sessions schedule</a> over and over, trying to nail down which ones I&nbsp;<i>absolutely have to attend</i>. The one on blog monetization I can skip, and the one on video isn't really up my alley. I'd like to attend the visual voice one because JC is speaking, but it probably won't help me overall. I'd rather attend Be Your Own Editor, or The Freelance Lifestyle, or Getting Your First (Great) Book Deal. There's also a mini-con on the future of personal blogging that I'm finding myself interested in.</p> <p>I still find myself worrying that I won't belong, or that people will think I'm weird for attending. But, when it comes down to it, I do think this is going to be a great experience for me. And I really need to stop caring what other people think so much. Seriously.</p> <p><i><b>Are you attending BlogHer this year? Let me know so we can meet up!</b></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media BlogHer Conference 2014 Blogging Events blogger blogging conference BlogHer14 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:03:10 +0000 roxisbrilliant 1612778 at Top 10 Things I Learned at Last Year's BlogHer Conference <!--paging_filter--><!--break--><!--break--><p><center><img src="" title="Top 10 Things I Learned at Last Year's BlogHer Conference" alt="Top 10 Things I Learned at Last Year's BlogHer Conference" /></center></p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><strong>10. For several days following the conference you will amble around BlogHerized</strong>. Definition: The mind-boggling state of sorting through the Who, Where, Why and When of What you experienced at the conference.</p> <p><strong>9. Some bloggers will look exactly like their online photos</strong>. Others will look like older versions of themselves. Some may even resemble the foods, flowers, or fetishes they blog about.</p> <p><strong>8. The words “free” and “food” do not always go well</strong> together in a sentence or in one’s digestive system.</p> <p><strong>7. Speaking of free: All that SWAG could cost almost $100.00 to take home</strong>. Note: I hope that nice TSA gentleman with the friendly smile got lucky with his wife for bringing her a bottle of Windex and some Trojan lubricant.</p> <p><strong>6. During keynote speaker presentations</strong> some people will snicker under their breath, while others will find themselves crying. Which only goes to demonstrate the subjectivity of the entire business of blogging. You can’t to appeal to everyone.</p> <p><strong>5. It’s dangerous to carry a Voices of The Year poster through the hall</strong>, up the elevator, and across the lobby. This behavior can only be performed with “real live” friends. Beware: A lasting bound will most definitely be formed.</p> <p><strong>4. “What’s your Twitter handle?”</strong> is to bloggers as “What’s your sign” is to strangers meeting in a bar. Sometimes neither of them make much sense.</p> <p><strong>3.Sharing a bathroom with an online friend</strong> will turn them into someone you hope you get to see again soon.</p> <p><strong>2. 99.5% of bloggers want to write a book</strong>. My advice: Do it. But grow a thick skin. And nurture your patient side. There is no such thing as Instant Gratification in the world of publishing.</p> <p>And the number one thing I learned is:</p> <p><strong>You are not your blog</strong>. You are not your ranking. Or your SEO. But one woman writing. Writing something you want the world to hear. And if you can give someone an “aha” moment, get them to realize they are not alone, or make them laugh, then you’ve done your job as a blogger.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media BlogHer Conference 2014 Blogging Events BlogHer Conferences #blogging #conferences #friends BlogHer Conference 2014 Updates Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:33:22 +0000 Janie Emaus 1690407 at Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetable Gyros <!--paging_filter--><p>I'm always in favor of Greek food, and through the years I've certainly gobbled down plenty of gyros made with meat. But I also love grilled vegetables, and when I saw this idea for <b>Grilled Vegetable Gyros</b> from <b>Oh My Veggies</b>, it sounded like a perfect <b><a href="">Meatless Monday</a> </b>dish.&nbsp; Mushrooms, red bell pepper, zucchini and onions are grilled (or cooked in a stovetop grill pan if you don't have a grill.) Then they're served inside warm pita bread with the traditional cucumber-dill sauce that always makes gyros taste so amazing.<b></b></p> <p> <div align="center"><img src="" alt="veggie gyros" /><br /><em>Image: Courtesy of Oh My Veggie</em></div> </p> <p>Get the recipe for <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><b>Grilled Vegetable Gyros</b></a> from <b>Oh My Veggies</b>.</p> <p><b>Have you made something interesting for <a href="">Meatless Monday</a> this week? If so please share the recipe link or your recipe in the comments. You can find more Meatless Monday recipes by clicking the tag <a href="">Meatless Mondays</a>.</b></p> <p>BlogHer Contributing Editor Kalyn Denny is proud to be <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">an official Meatless Monday blogger</a>. She blogs at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Kalyn's Kitchen</a>, where she's committed to low-glycemic cooking, and also at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Slow Cooker From Scratch</a>, where she features "from scratch" slow cooker recipes. Kalyn probably won't ever be a vegetarian, but she does love to make meatless dishes such as <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad</a>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Food Vegetarian and Vegan Meatless Mondays Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:00:42 +0000 Kalyn Denny 1691305 at