Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2015-12-29

See You Laters instead of Goodbyes: My Last Moments as a New Yorker and First Stop on the Road

On December 18th the moving truck came and took all of the belongings we decided were important enough to ship to California. For me, this involved my beloved high heeled shoe chairs and four wardrobe boxes of hanging clothes. For Dara, her karaoke machine, keyboard and guitar. Thank the Goddess for the incredible help of Victoria in that process.

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Pro-tip: if you know someone going through an intense cross-country move, text them “How can I help?” Pro-tip: if you are going through a cross-country move and someone asks how they can help, take them up on it. I have had to work through some intense “I’m an independent babe, I need to appear perfect” in order to be in a place to receive help. I’m so glad I have done that work because we really needed that help. If I had said, “No, we’re okay!” I would have lost out on hanging out with Victoria AND likely devolved into sobbing and fighting with Dara. I did neither of those things in our last few days in NYC. (The closest to a fight we got into was snipping for a few minutes and I thought that was a giant victory.)

I feel like Dara and I said “We’re almost done!” way too prematurely but there was no way to actually know what we had left to do in the packing process, it was all whack a mole dealing with the next right thing. So with the help of Victoria disassembling my desk, unscrewing things in the wall, taping up boxes, showing up on moving day with coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we managed to get through the final firestorm of stress and get ready for our road trip.

highheelshoemovingI worked hard to have the moving process be as low stress as I could manage but just seeing the photo of the high heel shoe chair wrapped for the moving truck only a week and couple of days later I can feel my stress hormones ramping back up again! Probably a good occasion to employ tapping.

So here’s the thing, typically you plan a road trip across the country and it is your primary activity for a period of time before you hit the road (I did this in 2011). Or at least if you are a Capricorn like me, you do it that way. This time, packing for the road trip was the first thing I did after the moving truck left.

Somehow, (I have no idea how this happened…) when planning my wardrobe for this trip I kind of overdid it. As I packed up the clothes in my dresser and vanity (two pieces of furniture I could hold onto until I left that weren’t going with the movers) I just kind of shoved what I thought was going to fit into my two suitcases. Clothing that would have to work for multiple climates (from below freezing to 90 degrees, potentially), professional meetings, possible dressing up, casual hangouts and comfy clothes that can handle being in the car for 12 hours. This is the type of sartorial challenge I excel at, yet still required more edits than I allotted before the movers took the last box. So, we had to pack a bonus box to ship ahead of us. Victoria was great at editing this with me while Dara ran our last minute leaving town errands like returning the Optimum online modem and router–why the return place has to be in the far reaches of Brooklyn is beyond me–picking up prescriptions, etc…

hollyaliceMe and Holly and her pup Alice B Tokeface. Holly just moved to NYC from the Bay a few months ago and was full of great advice for me. So sad we won’t be living in the same city anymore!

The last night in town my friend Topher hosted a really cute mixer right near my apartment. If you’re in NYC and want to meet people, Select All is the party to go to. I walked in and there were tons of people I knew and literally all of them were quality awesome people you would want to meet. It was a great last chance to hug people I love. DJ Average Jo was spinning and played me a 20 minute block of Hall and Oates for old times sake. (During the Yes Ma’am parties we always had a couple of Hall and Oates songs for dance floor nostalgia.)

joandbevinMe and Jo!

My good friend Miss Mary Wanna came up from Philly for the last night to hang out and help with the transition to the new Femme roommate in the Haus of Femmespiration–MMW is a Virgo cusp Femme professional organizer, office manager and apropos to this, mega house cleaner. Paying halfsies for a deep clean was an act of self love my roommate and I did to ease the transition. No question about whose mess was whose or me having to clean after I got everything out of the apartment. Also bonus–keep money in the queer economy. Double bonus–she’s a friend who won’t judge our lifestyle, who we can trust to leave the house while she’s working.

After we got back from Select All, Miss Mary Wanna and I sat up in my living room hanging hard. We don’t get to see each other often and our slumber parties are some of my favorite memories. We met in 2009 when I threw a Zombie Queer Cabaret and she came up from North Carolina to perform. I booked her a bunch after she moved to Philly and we became friends. We were up reminiscing about my favorite memories in the apartment and I was loving talking to MMW and kind of procrastinating going to bed on my last night as a New Yorker. Though I was ready to leave I was also kind of sad.

bevinmissmarywannaLove this babe so hard.

I had all the feels. Excited. Sad. Nervous. Overwhelmed. Relieved that the packing and moving part was pretty much over. Nostalgic. Ready. Exhausted.

Victoria and I had packed our car for the road trip and it seemed liked Dara and I had plenty of room for all the stuff we had left in the house (our “go” bags, overnight stuff, Macy’s cooler with her frozen homemade food in it and my reiki tea making supplies). We parked it overnight in a garage and when we took stuff downstairs on Saturday morning for our departure it was a cluster fuck trying to get everything in there. There were some last minute items ditched and we did the best we could to make it work.

reikiteaArt works well with a deadline, so having decided I was going to give samples of many of my reiki infused tea blends to friends as hostess gifts while we travel cross country gave me a deadline… So naturally I was blending tea the last night in Brooklyn. I’m pretty stoked about how they all came out, though, and can’t wait to get feedback from my friends as they sample the tea. The Feelings blend supports going through Feelings and has a tart flavor as an acknowledgement that even things that are a bit uncomfortable can ultimately be delicious.

Jacqueline made a joke about wanting to be at my last-minute waving goodbye party and it ended up manifesting even though she didn’t come. Like, I couldn’t leave town without saying a real goodbye to my BFF Brian even though we had just had dinner during the live broadcast of Dolly Parton’s TV movie Coat of Many Colors on NBC. (My girl got the highest ratings of any TV movie since 2011!) But every time we saw each other we said we’d see each other one more time, so it was super sweet that Brian and his huzz Arnolfo came by to wave.

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None of this is really goodbye, I will see everyone again, just in different permutations and more intentionally as we become out of town visitors or as I convince people to move to LA, too. (So far mostly just Miss Mary Wanna, Sequinette and Victoria.) I am trying really hard to just say, “See you later.”

All of the see you laters has been kind of overwhelming in a good way. Moving really gets people saying how much you mean to them in a way that I didn’t expect. I am still really moved (pun intended) by some of the incredible things people said about how knowing me has touched their lives. Impacting so many people I respect, admire and love is incredibly humbling.

We drove for what seemed like forever that first day. We hit a bunch of traffic in DC and Richmond, VA, on our way to my friends’ Farmlet in North Carolina. Fae and E have this amazing homestead I’d heard so much about over the past couple of years. Fae’s blog Species Confusion is awesome, I’ve read the whole thing.

The blog is great recipes and stories of homesteading. The amount of knowledge that goes into farming for one’s family is the equivalent of a graduate degree. Both in research and what is learned in trial and error. I love to learn new things and we spent the whole morning on their Farmlet feeding the critters and learning about the mechanics of the Farmlet.

In fact, Fae posted that pigs love pumpkin and I never carved my pumpkin from Halloween so instead of getting rid of it in the last swirls of moving I decided to save it to bring to their pigs, Tofu and Tempeh.

farmletI saw my three year old niece Joey the night I wore these pants and she said, “Aunt Bevin you’re wearing pants.” I’m not much for pants but was trying something for this tee shirt.

They have rabbits and chickens, too, as well as Hamster whose farm product is love. He’s a tiny yorkie Fae rescued years ago who I had only seen in photos on Facebook and was happy to introduce to Macy. They got along well, Macy even tried to play with Hamster, and I seriously regret not getting photos.

Dara and I are working on an adventure video blog and I’m very stoked to have some of Fae and E’s Farmlet tour on the first video! Our 40 day trip West will hopefully have some stops that will allow Dara time to edit the videos.

Right now we’re paused in Normal, IL, waiting out an ice storm at Dara’s brother’s house. More soon!

hopestatueOn our last week in town we stopped at the HOPE statue in Midtown. I thought it was an appropriate bon voyage NYC photo!

2015-08-20

More Thigh Chafing (aka Chub Rub) Prevention and Treatment Strategies

One of the blog posts that continues to get the most traffic for me is my original post about thigh chafing prevention. The summer is hot and sweaty, if you have any fat at all in your thighs regardless of your gender you may be prone to getting uncomfortable rashes between your legs. You can also get rashes anywhere skin touches and gets sweaty like under bellies or arms. I have heard reports from men who wear jeans that they can get chub rub on the parts of their thighs that meet above the leg holes.

thighchafingbandeletteThis is me in Bandelettes.

Finding great prevention for chub rub revolutionized my wardrobe because I never thought I could wear dresses. Chub rub prevention allows me such versatility!

Chub rub potions are also great for helping your arms when you wear sequins, like on formal gowns!

Early this summer I officiated Mackenzi’s wedding and I used my tried and true Body Glide and it gave me a zit on my inner thigh! That was almost worse than chub rub because it hurt a lot and very high maintenance–if it got infected it would be even worse, so I had to keep it really clean and disinfect it a lot.

11053231_10153211931949213_2568513953323858205_nMackenzi’s gorgeous sequined wedding dress definitely required some chafing prevention on her arms, too!

This prompted me to do a new round of testing potions for chub rub prevention and treatment. The results are below!

Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick. This one is my favorite of the new sticks for friction defense. I love it and it works. Not as long as the Chamois Butt’r, but definitely good for a reapplication or a couple of hours out and about. It goes on smooth and it’s pretty inexpensive. Bonus that it is scent-free. Buy a couple and keep the second one in your purse or your beach bag for reapplication!

Chamois Butt’r. This is a potion used by bikers to prevent chafing and is so far my favorite of a chub rub preventative measure that is not in stick form. I found it really easy for applying (it’s a clear cream, so you squeeze out a bit and rub it on). I tend to use it before I leave the house and it lasts several hours. When I find myself really sweaty and needing to reapply, I grab whatever stick I have in my purse. I can’t tell if it has a fragrance, so scent sensitive folks should check the ingredients!

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Anti Monkey Butt Powder. Victoria gave me some to try (she swears by it) and I thought it was fiddly. Pros: It smells nice (if you are into scent) and for a powder I think it’s better than corn starch alone because it has the calamine in it. It is very very soft, which is nice. Cons: It is totally difficult to put on without getting pink powder all over your bathroom. Victoria says she does it in her tub. It’s hard to reapply. I didn’t feel 100% confident in it so I didn’t try it for an extensive walking around time. My vote is to skip it unless you really like powder forms of chafing prevention.

I’m still wearing Bandelettes whenever I want something sexy in the land of chub rub prevention. Let me assure you, bending over wearing lacy chub rub prevention in Bandelettes form is hot and provocative. I now get a 10% commission whenever you buy Bandelettes through the links on my blog! (I have so far used my commission to buy fatkinis.)

Here are my Bandelettes pro tips:

*Tuck them up onto your thigh fat, I use that with thigh highs with the same latex gripper material and it works really well to hold up.

*Be consistent with the orientation you use for them when you re-use. For example, I use the seam as a guide and keep that on the middle of my outer thigh every time so the Bandelettes are grabbing at the same point each time I wear them.

*Use them on a clean thigh as much as possible (i.e. don’t use a chub rub cream and then use the Bandelettes, it kind of deteriorates the latex faster).

I get a few uses out of each pair before I need to replace them by being pretty tender with them.

briansweddingwithbrianActively using Body Glide on my upper arms here to prevent sequin rash during Brian’s wedding in February. I officiated that one, too!

Many thanks to my friends who gave me the recommendations to try these new formulas! Anything new and good in the land of chub rub prevention and treatment you’ve found? Leave a comment!

Remember everyone’s body chemistry is different so certain things work better or worse for folks! And everyone has differently shaped bodies and sometimes that changes up how chub rub prevention works best!

2012-10-18

What Brian Learned from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child

I have to say I feel complicated about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I am utterly delighted by the show, and the title character’s lust for chicken nuggets, pink, glitter and tulle are quite dear to my heart. The fact that the family portrayed is not at all interested in class passing and are utterly at liberty on camera being themselves makes them so, in the words of Four Four, free. It also challenges notions of what is “fame” and what is “appropriate” on television. The complicated parts I feel about it are wondering if it is poverty porn? Is it creating a spectacle out of people simply because they don’t conform to what are the typically televised “standards” for Americans? I mean, compared to the Real Housewives, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child is actually a lot more loving and interesting, a show based on interesting unabashed characters versus manufactured drama and pretend wealth on Barbie bodies.

Heather likes to tell me I’m really idealistic because I still believe that television can do good things. (She said this after I talked about how much the Real Housewives does to advance women’s spirituality since they all go to psychics.) I think that a television show highlighting a working class family from rural Georgia who don’t conform to body standards is radical in its own way. I mean, Mama on that show has plenty of body shame to dish out on other fat women which I find really sad, but she’s still a fat woman on prime time television and that’s better than yet another Kardashian look-alike.

Anyway, my BFF Brian posted these brilliant recaps of Honey Boo Boo on his Facebook page that he has given me liberty to share with you, dear readers, in case you were wondering what you missed or, like us, are missing the weekly installments of wacky hijinks in South Georgia.

xo,

Bevin

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Me and Brian on his birthday. Our friendship just turned 12!

Last night, Arnie and I sat down to watch the premier of this program. We had a houseguest from China. We baked pasta and poured pinot noir. I learned a lot. These are the top 10 things I learned.

1) A vagina is more properly known as a biscuit. This is becuase vaginas flake open like a really well made biscuit. Like the kind you get at Hardees.

2) When searching for a family home, don’t look for one that is merely near the rail road tracks. Look for one that has freight trains constantly roaring through on an easement you’ve granted the rail road across your lawn.

3) In some parts of Georgia, black men get the confederate flag painted onto their chests and drape themselves in an Ol’ Dixie the size of a bed sheet at sporting events.

4) In some parts of Georgia, bobbing for pigs feet and belly flopping in a puddle of mud are considered sport equivalent to the Olympic Games.

5) You can never have enough living room furniture on which to display pallet after pallet of toilet paper.

6) The best way to lose weight is to fart 12 to 15 times per day, while passing around a bucket of cheese balls. This is because it is a fact that farting 12-15 times per day is a sign of good health.

7) If something like one in three hundred people who swim in a local stagnant pond will contract the flesh eathing bacteria known to be living the local stagnant pond, these are acceptable odds.

8) It is acceptable to refer to your teen daugher as “Chubbs.”

9) Most often, when one excuses oneself from the dinner table, it is because one has to make a poo poo. If you are a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, the intent to go make a poo poo should be announced when leaving the table in the middle of the meal.

10) The only way to avoid having nasty hair is to always wash it in the kitchen sink. Use a stool if necessary.

***

Last night, was another episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I learned a lot. These are the top ten things I learned.

1) Extreme couponing is even better than sex; it’s like doing your crack rock. And if you’re doing it right it takes an hour and a half to get through the checkout line.

2) If you are an adult standing up in a shopping cart, you may fall and take out and end cap.

3) The best place to pick wax out of your ears? The dining room table.

4) If you put a teacup piggy with on the dining room table, it will shit on the table where you eat. This is hilarious!

5) How to have a good time on the weekends: Find the carcass of a deer that has been hit by a car lying on the side of the road. Grind up the deer and put it in the freezer for later eating. Good times.

6) A redneck waterslide can be made from a tarp, a hose, and a bottle of baby oil. It may be a little messy, but God made the dirt and the dirt don’t hurt.

7) Elvis helps Santa Claus make toys.

8) If you and your baby daddy are on an anniversary date, romance is in order. Here are some romantic things you can do. Use a fork, just this one time. Eating with your hands is for all the other days. Feed your baby daddy jell-o off your spoon. Sexy and jiggly both. Give your baby mamma a gift. Wrap up a 40 pound, bronze statue of a deer, no need to box it, and reference your road kill weekends as reason a deer statue is meaningful.

9) Common law spouses are more properly known as “Shack-‘em-up mates.”

10) If there is no sign posted at your business explicitly forbidding pigs, then it is assumed that pigs are allowed in your dress shop.
***
I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. These are the top ten things I learned.

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1. Summers are hot.

2. In some parts of Georgia, goods can be obtained at the Kuntry Stoe

3. Practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice make perfect.

4. Pets like to be fed. This is annoying. Therefore it’s ok to rip a child’s pet out of her arms and give it back to the breeder.

5. It is a good idea to put you 6 year old on a four wheeler especially after getting a good laugh when Crazy Tony gets crushed underneath his.

6. Mama does not like to be thrown in the mud because she can’t get out.

7. Best place to trim toenails is in Mama’s bed. Trimmings should be left behind in the sheets.

8. Mama thinks Sugar Bear should wear his Santa suit to bed in July because it is “smexy.”

9. When having contractions, best not to pee so you don’t have your baby in the toilet.

10. The later stages of pregnancy hurt your biscuit.

***

I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned:

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– New babies smell like poop.

– Cream cheese tastes great straight from the container. Even better when it’s licked from your fingers.

– At water parks folks let their vajiggle-jaggle hang out out.

– If you never remove your socks on account of one time your foot got run over by a forklift and now your toes are mildly deformed, insects will NEST IN YOUR FLESH.

– Spray tan is like poop in a can.

– There is something called a “Rock Star Diva Pageant.”

– If you have sass judges will looooooooove you.

– If your nerves are getting the better of you while you are waiting for that gay up front to announce whether your child has won “Grand Supreme,” just lay down on the floor. Keeping your seat is neither necessary nor possible.

***
Hey, you guys! I just saw the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

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– Shhh! It’s a Wig. Is is the name of a place.

– Wigs for children are called wiglets.

– In the summer, you can pass time by stayin’ inside and diggin’ your boogers.

– The best time to invest in a new pool is the last week of summer.

– Sugar Bear’s puttin’-together-skills ain’t that good.

– If you get two sides, then why can’t the sides be meat? This is the eternal question.

– There ain’t no helpin’ crazy.

– In Georgia, the “Department Store” is a dumpster in a field. You can get there via four wheeler and they have very good prices.

***

I watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you guys. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

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– The Bam Bam look is when you don’t wear shoes to go shopping at the gas station mini-mart.

– Each roller skate must be put on the correct foot. Otherwise wearing them is uncomfortable.

– Your baby does not come out of your butt. It comes out of your biscuit. But a woman will ew herself before she has a a baby.

– Do not piss on mama’s couch. Do. Not.

– Recipe for lemonade: take five pounds of sugar and add 2 gallons of lemon juice. This is because the secret to good lemonade is a lot of sugar and a lot of lemon juice.

– What’s for dinner? Butter, sketti, and ketchup.

– It’s been a while since Alana done had road kill in her belly. This is because the deer ain’t migrating like they used to.

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The recipe for sketti. It’s actually really good, in case you are out of pasta sauce at your house.

***
Hey, you guys! I saw tonight’s episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned stuff. This is what I learned.

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-Supermodels look like they are undergoing electroshock.

-Mama don’t wear no makeup. Period.

-A good way to earn money if you’re impoverished is to play bingo.

-Bingo is a sport. But couponin’ is mama’s all time favorite sport.

-Miss Georgia 2011 is that tall in real life.

-If Alana can’t talk with her mouth full, when is she gonna talk?

-Miss Georgia 2011 never thought she’d say “fart” on camera, but that was before she met Honey Boo Boo, so…

-Perfect gifts for a 7 year old on her birthday: Hot sauce, soap, and cereal bars.

-Forklift foot and gravity sometimes conspire to prevent Mama from enjoying inflatable water slides.

-One more thing. Look it up yourself. #booboosneeze

Next week is the family sized season finale.

***

Hey, you guys. I saw the season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tonight. This is a photo of Alana’s reaction to being told she may want to avoid chicken nuggets.

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I learned a few final things over the course of this family sized episode. This is what I learned.

-Good place for a family portrait? Under an overpass.

-Sugar bear is not the dress up type. Unlessen it’s a funeral.

-Baby Kaitlin arrived on the Biscuit Express.

-Baby’s don’t smell bad like raunchy biscuit bad. More like formula bad.

-Eleven fingered babies remind Sugar Bear of Swiss Army Knives.

-Chubbs may not be an animal person.

-If you have to choose between going to a pageant and attending the birth of a youngin’, remember that the youngin’ will be born only once. You can’t take that back.

-Alana to gnats: Move to Africa. I’ll help you pack your stuff.

-Says Mama, “I raise my kids to be who they are. You can like us or love us. ” And she’s right. Those are the only choices.

-Alana has chicken nugget power.

2012-03-15

Glitter on the Gravestone: Grief in the Age of the Internet/Remembering CallOutQueen

Last year I knew five people who passed away. A close friend of the family, friends and members of communities I was involved in. There was a lot of pain and loss for me, mitigated somewhat by a well-timed deepened spirituality that has helped me come to a place of peace from each loss much easier than my life prior to spiritual practice.

I am struggling today because someone I “knew” on the internet took their life. Mark Aguhar, who I knew as “CallOutQueen.”* How did I “know” them? I cruised their blog. I appreciated their incisive wit. I appreciated their vanity and glitter. I loved their art. The juxtaposition of “Be ugly/Know Beauty” (this is a genius meditation, if you do that sort of thing). The swish of hair back and forth. Looking dressed when wearing nothing at all. Owning a brown, fat, genderqueer, femme, fag body. Absolute Femme realness at all times. Vulnerability. Stark honesty. Cutting honesty.

CallOutQueen

I mean, I know she died, right? Like, because everyone says so. But when it happens on Tumblr, unlike on Facebook there’s no real clarifying post that says “This is what happened.” Sometimes on Facebook there’s a news article tagged with their name that pops up on a profile. Even when my ex-lover passed away I only sorta knew what happened because her best friend was dating one of my besties, it was never clear, from Facebook. With Luscious there wasn’t a news article. Just a heart broken community of queers putting it together.

So that’s what we have here with CallOutQueen. She’s gone. I was hunting through the tumblz Tuesday panning for a gleam of what happened. PrettyQueer.com and a few other outlets indicated she took her life. I mean. Who knows? I’m not even certain of the pronouns (thinking they with a leaning toward she/her, but when you only know someone through their writing in the first person you don’t always know).

I know what I feel is real sadness. For a lot of things. But so grateful she put her art out there. Expressed herself. Told her stories. Was a presence on the internet for so long before she was no longer a presence. A lot of people depart and haven’t told their stories.

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It feels weird to have this connection to someone from the internet. In this day and age, sometimes the internet is a really important place to connect. Sometimes our friends are in the computer and our community is in the tumblr or livejournal or wherever. Some of my best friends I met on blogging platforms (hey diaryland).

It reminds me about the importance of cherishing every moment and enjoying it. It reminds me that I am a presence on the internet. I was recognized on the street on my way to work Tuesday, before I found out. That’s always both weird and awesome. It made me think. what happens when I leave? What legacy do I leave?

A lot of my friends have had illnesses, knew they were leaving, and had time to get some last words out to the world. Tell us to have compassion, as was the case with V, or to take care of our health, as was the case with Heather. Some had life partners who could say things like “This is what so and so would want.” I think a lot about mortality and how fleeting life is. Treasuring every moment. Sucking the marrow of the bones of what we have, every single moment.

And here I am. I don’t have a life partner or anything. Trust that my BFF Brian has the password to my blog and will come make an update if something (Goddess forbid) happens. I want those folks out there to know what happened. Who knew me from the internet.

Also, I want you to know, if anything happens I want you to love yourself as much as possible and remember self-love is a life-long process. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with each other.

What does Mark want us to know? How can we know? How lucky that they left so much of themselves on the internet.

One of my spiritual beliefs is that I think we are all on this earth to do a certain amount of work and we’re done when our work is done. I also believe that we recur and keep working on our higher selves. And we have souls we come back and work with. It brings me some solace to know I was affected by Mark. The swish of pretty hair. The soulful videos of full make-up and emotion. Existing as Femme and solidly as she did in a world that told her she was wrong and ugly at every turn.

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This world is temporal and cruel. This world is beautiful and possible.

I don’t have anything more profound to say except that I’m feeling it and expressing it and those are really important to me on my journey.

Rest in Power, CallOutQueen.

Here is a link to the fund to help Mark’s family with funeral expenses.

Here is a link to an article from The Qu about Mark.

*I’m certainly not the only person who calls people by their screen names in their head, even when I know their real name. I wonder how many folks who read this blog, follow my twitter or tumblr who only think of me as QueerFatFemme not Bevin?

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2012-01-06

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket–Hostess Gifts

There is a new episode of my web series The Lesbian Tea Basket, where I rate and review tea and reclaim tea parties for lesbians. I was heading on my Gay American Road Trip and needed a hostess gift that wasn’t too expensive and spoke to my personality. It’s great! Even if the host(ess) doesn’t drink tea, chances are if they are hosting one lesbian there will be another and we are a tea drinking people.

I have opinions about teas (obvy) and know about lesbians (I’m listening to Indigo Girls right now) so I made a big ol’ craft about it and walk you through making your own lesbian tea basket craft. My BFF Brian films and provides hilarious commentary. Also I am not wearing make-up like Oprah on a behind the scenes show or whatever. Enjoy!

Also if you want to catch all of the tea baskets in one long stream of things, check out this Steeping With The Lesbian Tea Basket on the youtubes.

2011-12-23

Christmas is Coming Look Busy

When I settle into it and pay attention I really really really love the holiday season. I love having lots of social plans. I love the colors. I love the music. I love the fact that folks coat their houses in glitter and lights just for the joy of sharing festiveness. My friend Silas pointed out tonight that it is awesome that other people do lights, buy them, put them up, figure out how you maintain security in your home and provide a power source from a 100+ year old brownstone. Dust them off after snowstorms and pack them up when Christmas is over. And we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Being single and child-free around the holidays can be really hard. I mean, I totally admit to having some holiday blues here and there. My life has lots of reasons to have the blues, I am unemployed and also the whole Seasonal Depression thing. (There is no light! I am a plant I need to rotate toward the sun!)

However, in the last few days I have felt my life perk up noticeably and I think it was because I let myself settle into the joy of the season. On my own terms and not because a TV show or commercial told me to.

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Christmas sweaters for everyone.

First, I recognized that I was putting too much pressure on Christmas THE DAY. There is so much in this season that is worthy of celebrating that it’s sort of like living your Senior year of high school for Prom only and forgetting about all the other amazing stuff you get to do like graduate, sneak around behind your parent(s)’ back, pick colleges if that’s your thing, get a letter in badminton or choir or whatever. There’s a lot to the holiday season that have nothing to do with one day and just about a generally agreed “We are going to be festive this time of year, OKAY.”

Second thing that helped me get into the holiday groove was seeing community care taking. In our queer misfit community more often than not we’re looking to each other for our joy and wonder in this season. Families are super hard to rely on and I have really enjoyed seeing the ways in which my queer community (especially nearby) is really there for each other this time of year.

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Macy in candy cane jammies is so cute it hurts to look at her.

I still have a relationship with my family of origin but they are 3,000 miles away from me, geographically and financially out of reach most holidays.

Thirdly, I just LET GO. More often than not, I have had some giant bummer during Christmas. I feel like twice I had huge partnership break-ups that lead up to me going home for Christmas only to be sort of miserable anyway because I missed my ex. Focusing on Christmas THE DAY means there is so much pressure on it being good and I just needed/wanted to be bummed the fuck out.

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I mean, CANDY CANE JAMMIES. Thanks for the prezzie, Miss Mary Wanna!

It’s extra hard for me sometimes to get into the holiday groove and create plans for Christmas because my birthday is Christmas Eve. I don’t like being the extra sheep at someone else’s family because I want to celebrate my birthday. And sometimes I get so bogged down in “How can I make my birthday perfect” that I don’t just let the wonder of casual plans happen. It is also hard to transition from “This is how we celebrated your birthday as a kid” to “This is how we celebrate your birthday as an adult” when your birthday is on a holiday.

This year I just really let go. I didn’t make any plans happen for Christmas, I just let everything I was putting into the holidays be Rebel Cupcake: Holidazzle on December 10th and after that allowed the month to roll out as it did. And it rolled out really well.

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My look for Rebel Cupcake: Holidazzle was “Fat Red Head Amy Winehouse Christmas Tree Topper.” With Leslie and Mackenzi.

I made cookies for a cookie party in Philly. I love that every year I get to see my niece Etta around Christmas time.

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I stayed in Philly an extra day and was able to go to my friend Miss Mary Wanna’s cervical pink apartment for a tree trimming party the next day in Philly. Four dogs ended up being there!

For a holiday potluck I signed up to bring music and joy. I made a boss holiday mix to play over ipod speakers and wore a christmas sweater set from Quacker Factory and a bright gold skirt.

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I accompanied my pal Lissa to a Murray Little Christmas, Murray Hill’s annual Christmas show. It was so hysterical and heartwarming.

We got queso afterward and it was exactly what I was craving. And apple cider.

I met my pal Leslie out at the Bryant Park holiday market and hung out chatting about our forthcoming monthly shopping event Double Chin Win watching the ice skaters circle the rink. Posed by the tree.

I didn’t have money to buy gifts this year but I did a lot of personal shopping for people. (For last minute gift ideas see my tumblr post–if anyone goes with the My Cherie Amour serenade please let me know.)

It’s weird how there is this societal pressure to Have Something To Do on December 24th and 25th. My darling friend Heather made a proclamation: “Henceforth, I do Declare Dec 25, a Day of Eating Nachos & Doin Whatever the Fuck You Want.”

I loved the invitation to come by her apartment (happily around the corner from me).
“Please rsvp w/ nacho supplies & other snacks & friends!
This is what we have.
We will have everything we need.
Me. You. Us.”

On Christmas afternoon my BFF Brian (neighbors with Heather) will be making Christmas ham and I am bringing the main dish for the lone vegan attending. Green chili. Garnished with a red tomato.

Mackenzi popped the birthday question by asking me if she could take me to a Chinese/Jewish fusion Christmas party on my birthday called Woks and Lox (I love New York). Of course I said yes.

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Silas and Macy at Solstice.

I started creating an intentional spiritual practice about 15 months ago and this is the first time I felt drawn to honor the solstice. I got a last-minute invite to a queer solstice party and did a small letting go ritual around a bonfire. It was so lovely. I spent the late evening cleaning the objects on my altar and smudging my house–the solstice is for letting go of things and it felt like the cleansing of energy was exactly what I needed. And I feel lighter now.

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Next week there’s a really fun last night of Hannukah party to attend. And Sarah Jenny is making me a birthday cake for her Christmas Eve for Jews and other Misfits potluck.

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Sure, there are things I miss about the holidays with a partner. I like having the person I love most in the world close at hand and upon whom I am able to shower attention and love. In a different life path I had kids by now and I’d be doing what my friends Christie and Becky do by being Santa for Etta. But that’s not the path I’m on and that’s okay. And by letting go of control of the path, and the direction of December, I was able to have a really amazing month absolutely chock full of the holiday spirit (and cookies, I’m actually sick of cookies).

So, here’s to celebrating the spirit of joy in our darkest times with chosen family, calling family of origin so my mom can wish me a happy birthday eve (she loves doing that, and I really love that she does that) and making some incredible Christmas nachos. Red and green, of course.

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2011-11-30

Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip Part 2: Packing

Dubbed the Lesbian Jack Kerouac by my BFF Brian for my propensity for long distance romance, “A girl in every port and on the road with a broken heart,” he describes me, I set out on a life-changing adventure in November of 2011. This is my tale of deep heart exfoliation via asphalt. Check out all the tales in this series at the Gay American Road Trip 2011 tag.

I am a scattered packer. I am also a procrastinator and while I was very on it in terms of preparing to leave I left packing until the day I left. I eased my anxiety by reminding myself if I needed something I could get it on the road and packing the car was going to take exactly as long as it was going to take. I pecked around my house like a hen gathering things to the couch, relying primarily on my reusable grocery bags to separate things. Macy got her own bag. I meant to bring her Macy-friendly carrying bag but I forgot it. Luckily I haven’t needed it yet.

I packed a bag of snacks―crackers, granola bars, lollipops, some tortillas that would go bad at home. Two water bottles, which is a good thing as it is helpful to have a lot of water available for me on the road. I also have a flat of bottled water in the trunk just in case. I enjoy hydration and I know this means I need to stop to go to the restroom every 100 miles.


Sees Little Pops are my favorites.

I packed three warm-weather dresses and three cold-weather dresses (Northern and Southern route realness), a pair of jeans, boots, teggings, socks. Lots of versatility.

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My friend Fae is on the road, too, and for her six month epic trip she is using the Garanimals method of outfits―everything coordinates so she can just mix and match her three skirts, tops, accessories, two pair of shoes, etc…

I have many layering pieces. A hoodie, a shawl, a coat, a sweater for under the coat, a fur collar. I didn’t bring a scarf but picked one up in San Francisco for lighter layering than the fur. These all live in the backseat behind my driver’s seat so I can easily grab something or deposit something if I need to on a rest stop.

I also packed a fancy party dress and a pair of glittery heels. You know, just in case.

Making musical deliberations was serious business. I packed my laptop and the hard drive that hosts most of my music collection so I could periodically update my ipod. I burned discs of artists I needed to have on hand at a moment’s noticed. I loaded my $99 kindle with several audio books in various genres. Just Kids by Patti Smith, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. My friend Elisabeth loaned me the David Sedaris box set as well. I have well over 100 hours of stories and music to listen to.

I have found so far that I like to listen to lively funny books at night and the more serious books work for the daytime stretches. I also downloaded Rihanna’s “We Found Love” when I left and I listen to it once an hour. Dance music is helpful for those squirrely moments or when I start to feel a little weary.

Since I was going to be staying with so many friends I decided a good hostess gift would be little Lesbian Tea Baskets. I recorded an LTB episode of the preparation of the tins (it’s on the hard drive I left at home, though), but basically I filled sachets with loose tea, tied them with ribbon and put them in decorative tins with a note from me and Macy thanking folks for their hospitality. I figure even if my hostess doesn’t drink tea, she might have guests at some point that do. And it is consistent with my branding. Basically I really thought my BFF Rachael in Atlanta would be tickled pink and I went with it.

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Macy sort of stuck between luggage and the wall in a La Quinta elevator.

I prepared an overnight bag, so all I would have to do is minimal grabbing of items for my overnight stops. The rest of my clothes and laundry live in another suitcase that stays in my car except for layovers and the occasional “Oh, we’re changing clothes for dinner” unexpected couture moments.

So, that’s what I brought!

On the day I was leaving I did stop for a mani/pedi at the place around the corner from my house. For $20 I knew it was worth it to get it done and I am prone to snacking on my hang nails during long drives if my nails aren’t kept up.

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My beach sheet has been helpful more than once.

2011-10-30

What You Could Be Watching Instantly Right Now

Filed under: Queer Oprah — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:18 pm

Oh my lard, readers, it has been a crazy adventure. And by adventure I mean I have done literally nothing but convulse/rest/look pathetic in bed for a solid seven days, then in my recovery period I went to work, came home and fell asleep. The flu. Bad. I am paler than usual and have very little creative juice available.

I know I left you all hanging in the middle of GAY SEX WEEK. Never fear, it shall resume next week. Having the flu is totally not on my sexy lifestyle agenda and every time I thought “It’s International Fisting Day I need to finish my blog post” I followed up with “Oh my goddess this hurts so bad (good thing everything is temporary).” I like to add the good thing everything is temporary to the end of unpleasant experiences, it is helpful in maintaining a good attitude. So next week, patient readers. I have more GAY SEX WEEK gems!

The one thing I am really up on are the things you can stream instantly on your computer, since that is what is seeing me through these days. Most of what I’ve been watching are courtesy of the recommendations of friends. Hopefully this blesses my fellow crusaders against the flu virus. Grab a popsicle and some clear liquids and start streaming!


It snowed in October on Saturday. It was crazy. And cold.

What I’m Streaming Lately on Netflix Watch Instantly
Yeah, I know they went through it with their whole “We’re raising prices, we’re splitting in two, wait no we’re not!” thing. I dumped my DVD component and I think I’m just fine with streaming only. $7.99 a month isn’t bad.

Breaking Bad
Basically, this chemistry teacher who is living the American reality of barely making it on his salary finds out his wife is surprise pregnant, his son is 16 and has cerebral palsy, and he is diagnosed with lung cancer with 18 months to live. His money making plan to ensure his family’s future? Cooking crystal meth. There are three seasons available on Netflix and I have ripped through the first two. The show is high intensity, moody and moves slowly. The acting is exquisite. I am often reminded of the advice I got when I was in college “Never trust a tweaker.” This show is like Weeds meets Bill Nye the Science Guy meets Dexter. Queer content: minimal.

Friday Night Lights
My sports knowledge and interest are about even at zilch. I thought briefly about cruising gay softball leagues for dates but even the chance to get laid didn’t bring me out to the ballgame. So it speaks volumes to the writers of Friday Night Lights that it kept my interest for five seasons straight that I binged on for about 2 months. The characters are riveting, the marriage between Kyle Chandler (I mean, Coach Taylor) and Tami Taylor is very realistic, so is their relationship to their teenage daughter Julie. The dreamy Tim Riggins is basically the brooding alcoholic most girls dream of. Football plays a major role in the plot and I found myself learning and caring about the game. I found it much easier to follow the show on Netflix than I did when it aired on tv–sometimes it moves slow but then turns on a dime. Queer content: a couple characters come out but the plots never really go anywhere.

Joan Rivers: Piece of Work
Joan Rivers is all show biz all the time. This documentary of a year in her life is really fascinating, I love how she constantly reinvents herself. I also really admire her admitted workaholism well into her seventies. Did you know she and Melissa Rivers processed the suicide of Melissa’s dad by writing and starring in a TV movie about the experience of his suicide? It’s bananas. Queer content: it’s show biz. Lots of queers around.

Kevin Smith: Too Fat For 40
I wish Kevin Smith would jump on the body love bandwagon, considering what a good advocate he ended up being after he got kicked off a Southwest flight for being too fat.* Body accepting he is not, but he is a great storyteller and this performance video of his 40th birthday party/live performance in Red Bank is really interesting. Essentially Kevin takes a question from the audience and tells one riveting story after another from his life as a director and midlife developed pothead. I aspire to being able to be that good of a storyteller. Queer content: Kevin goes on at length about his gay bear friend who teaches him about gay bear terminology–pretty accurately.

What I’m Streaming Lately on Hulu for Free

American Horror Story
Starring Connie Britton, the mom from Friday Night Lights, and Dylan McDermott, I was sold on the cast already. It was created by Ryan Murphy of Glee/Nip/Tuck fame and this show is as scary as Glee is obnoxious/addictive. Now, this really depends on your definition of what is scary and I am more of a psychological horror movie person. But they play the strings like a good violin and yet I find it compelling and want to know more about this creepy murder house (flashbacks to different histories of the house pepper each episode) and watch more. Queer content: former owners of the house were a gay couple, I can’t decide how I feel about them being discussed the way they are–mostly I’m annoyed at the kinkphobia and wonder if that will get resolved later on.

Pan Am
While this show doesn’t have the amazing storytelling, characters or cast of Mad Men, it certainly has the costumes and props. It’s very adventurous, much like a Nancy Drew novel, and a great eye candy sort of thing to keep your mind off your ailing body. I suggest watching the behind the scenes content on Hulu–lots of real Pan Am flight attendants from the 60s talking about their real experiences and how it is incorporated into the show. Queer content: So far none.

Parks and Recreation
This is a show I tried when it first aired and couldn’t get into it. Then I binged on it one night while working on my taxes and was swayed. The characters are hilarious–I especially love government hating bureaucrat Ron Swanson and the ceaselessly self-promoting Tom Haverford. It is rare I’m interested in anything enough to watch it more than once but I’ll happily go through the first few seasons on Netflix again and again and the most recent episodes on Hulu. Queer content: minimal.

What I’m Borrowing From a Friend on DVD

The Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 2

Someone on TMZ was tweeting that if you have a favorite Housewife you shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. I think that is crap. The Real Housewives is a really well-crafted show based on folks who have (or appear to have) lots of dough and lots of time on their hands to wallow in drama. On the surface this would drive me crazy but for some reason the alchemy in certain casts is really great. My BFF Brian loaned me this season of this cast and I found it helpful to watch to keep chugging through the agony of the flu. All of these women are incessantly complaining about castmate Danielle, who is one of those people who is so out of touch with reality that knowing her might make you question your own grip on reality–I’ve known a lot of Danielles in my time. Also I love Caroline’s no-nonsense attitude and her wacky adult kids. Queer content: gay friend of Caroline’s son makes a few appearances (more in season 3).

Anyway, friends, back with more soon. Send your healing vibes my way! Happy streaming!

*By the way, I will never fly Southwest. Ever. I don’t care how cheap it is, they keep kicking people off their planes for really fucked up reasons.

2011-01-21

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Sleeper Crushes Edition

Sleeper Crush: Similar to a sleeper agent, a sleeper crush is someone who has a crush on you that you don’t know about. I know from later confessions there were lots of people who had sleeper crushes on me when I was a teenager (haaaaay, girl scout camp) that I was oblivious about. Sadly, I knew not how to smoke out the sleeper crushes so I was unable to take advantage of the possexibilities* (haaaaay, late bloomer).

The invention of social networking, and especially Facebook has made having a sleeper crush much easier. With no way of effectively tracking the stats of who looks at your profile on the daily, how will we ever know who has a sleeper crush on us?

Sometimes a sleeper crush manifests for you when you’re monogs with someone else. In that case I just call it “bookmarking” someone for later, putting the sleeper crush to bed until you have room in your heart/relationship negotiation for someone else.

“This dry spell is out of control. I wonder if there are any sleeper crushes on my Facebook who want to take me out for some date steak.**”

Going Out of Business Sale: My friend Jessie Dress declared this term during a skype date the other day. This is when someone moves away and suddenly they are the hottest queer in town. Seriously, it happens so often. Move away, broadcast it, and you’d be amazed at how it really gets people spurred to action. There’s something exhilarating about only getting a chance to do it for a few weeks/days.

Beware, though. I had a friend meet her love during her Going Out of Business Sale and then they had a complicated, sad parting and then moving across the country to join her 3 months later thing. But it’s all happy ending, they’re still together.

“If I declare a Going Out of Business Sale will it smoke out the sleeper crushes in my queer community?”

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Sophie just moved across the country (the most recent of four friends in my immediate social circle who moved out to the Bay from Brooklyn) but I don’t know that she actually had a Going Out of Business Sale. I just miss her.


Lesbian Tea Basket with me and Jessie Dress!

Making Bad Decisions: In the spirit of sparkling hard in 2011, I am now totally into using “bad decisions” as a euphemism for lots of things relating to making mischief–going out and drinking too much, being too loud, late night texting “Where are you we are having soooo much fun! You should be here!”, going after a red flag waving queer.***

I am so drawn to making bad decisions lately! It’s not like I am turning into a wild woman (I’m a party promoter who hardly drinks at her own parties) but I am loosening my tight grip on behavior and just having fun this year.

“I went way out of my way to walk to Heather’s house at 11PM on a Wednesday to try to get her to go make bad decisions with me at Metropolitan Bar.”

Bluetool: My BFF Brian brought this to my attention. This is when someone using a bluetooth device appears to be talking to themselves. Also anyone who is wearing a bluetooth device as an accessory. Bluetooth devices are not earcuffs. They are for function not for fashion.

“The other day during my wait for tasty brunch at the Morning Glory I passed the time watching a bluetool with bad hair walking back and forth and looking cray.”

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Brian and I toasting sausages on sticks at the sheep & wool festival. Brian is a self-proclaimed bluetool.

Bluetool
Bluetool, put that thing away you’re on a date!

*Nod to the ever fabulous Femmes Guide to the Universe.
**Date steak: Steak bought for you on a date. That you don’t have to pay for and then you follow up with a good make out or some sex. See also, Steak and Blow Job Day.
***Note: I am doing well not going after any red flag wavers for the moment. A departure from my history treating red flags like air traffic control. However, I am totally counseling friends to just walk eyes wide open into big red flaggy situations. 2011… fuck it! At least when you see the red flags coming it won’t surprise you when they act all red flaggy, doing the things the red flag queers do.

2008-12-21

New Episode of FemmeCast! Homo for the Holidays!

Filed under: Events and Announcements,FemmeCast — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 7:51 pm

“My mom gets offended by me cooking broccoli. It’s deep, dude.”–Grover, Epsiode 6.5 of FemmeCast

Don’t forget to bring FemmeCast with you home for winter break. A little queer fat femme love on your computer or portable music device will give you an extra dose of glitter and identity politics while taking a break from family excitement!

Episode 6.5: Homo for the Holidays. Running time: 58 minutes.

In this special minisode host Bevin Branlandingham and FemmeCast contributors discuss their strategies for loving themselves and their families during the holidays and throughout the year.
www.Femme-Cast.com

Her cohost for this episode is Big Gay Agenda Correspondent Brian, whose family is Fundamentalist Christian and Southern.

“I am never afraid to say ‘I don’t think I’m going to answer that question.'”–Rachael, FemmeCast Sexpert

“I mostly spend a lot of time online when I go home for the holidays so I blog about the fatphobic things that they say and get support that way.”–Social Justice Correspondent Zoe

“If I can do something that doesn’t hurt me and gives my mother a tremendous amount of comfort, I’ll do it.”–Tranny Superstar Glenn Marla

We read from Self Help Correspondent Genne’s parents’ Holiday Wish Lists!
“Photograph of you in a place that you love” / “A collection of well-written picture books whose themes reflect a commitment to consciously avoiding gender-typing.”

FemmeCast: The Queer Fat Femme Podcast Guide to Life is a FREE audio newsmagazine for Queer Fat Femmes, Fatshionistas of all sexualities and Queers of all genders. Hosted by Bevin Branlandingham with a cadre of regular contributors, we’re discussing dating, fat fashion, social justice, friendships, sex, gender, tranny talk, culture, travel, community and feature new music by Queer artists. A whimsical This American Life meets a radical queer how-to novel with MTV generation timing, FemmeCast will keep listeners laughing, connected and inspired.

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Happy Holidays from FemmeCast!!

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