Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2011-05-29

Hot Piece of Hipster: Summer Genderqueer Hair

I think a lot about hair. I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about why we have no overlap in the folks we sleep with though we are both 32 year old queer fat femmes who live in the same borough. Given how small the community we queers roll in, I have overlap with friends of mine all over the country. This friend said she has a thing for people with bad hair and I said “Aha! That’s it! I only date people with good hair.” It’s really the very first thing I notice about someone when I am attracted. Hair, style, tattoos in that order.

So when my friend Max Voltage from Portland asked my opinion about good genderqueer summer hair looks I was totally into the task of compiling favorites. And with Max’s permission I repost my email below so that you out there looking for summer genderqueer hairstyles might benefit from my research. (And for those of you who do not start out with hair like Max, I’ve thrown a few favorites that I didn’t suggest to Max below.)

Here’s a picture of Max’s hair, I took it from a bizarre angle at Hey Queen in April while Max was in Brooklyn on tour:

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Here’s a picture of Max from a less extreme angle:

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Here’s what I wrote to Max:

First I considered your hair strengths. Your hair is really good as it is, though I totally understand wanting to do something different for the summer. But you have this very distinct look about you, with the sexy sideswept bangs that works really well with your face shape and I think any cut for you should enable you to keep that sideswept bang situation in your repertoire, even if most of the time you change it up.*

Maybe it’s the weather or something like that, but for the summer in general one keeps in mind getting the hair off the neck for cooling off purposes and humidity (at least on the east coast, not sure about Portlandia summertime humidity). So I looked for cuts that keep the length in the front but got some of the hair off the neck. I poked around my good haired friends on Facebook, my favorite style blogs and then did a search for genderqueer on tumblr.

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Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

When you asked me for summertime hair, I immediately thought about my friend Nic Switch. They are a genderqueer porn actor and starred in my queer retelling of the Outsiders as Pony Boy. Hair was an important factor in our casting (the whole cast had great hair). Attached are two photos of Nic, one from the front and from the side.

I like that Nic keeps their hair longish on the sides (which is still shorter for you) and combs it forward while instead of just having the generic genderqueer fauxhawk (yawn) Nic does a bit of a pompadour/duck tail lift. The lift also has some good height to it.

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Obvy this would involve some product, and product is helpful for anti-humidity.

Now that we’ve gone into nouveau greaser territory I must also taut the pompadour. Pomps come in all sizes these days and I love a casual summer swoosh above the head. With the length of the sidesweep you’ve got good pompabilities. The pomp would also enable you to keep some of the length on the sides though cutting most of it to maximize summer comfort. Attached is a photo of Jessie Dress, my femme friend who is rocking a hot genderqueer pomp these days. You could do something similar, a little to the side which would maintain a bit of the signature sideswept Max look. You could also optionally have fancy curly sideburns. This would require a more heavy-duty hair product along the pomade spectrum.

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[As an aside, I cannot blog about pompabilities without shouting out my pal Alix of the Inverted Eye who sports my favorite queer pompadour.]

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Me, Ains to the left and Alix to the right at Rebel Cupcake/Hot Box collision in Oakland.

Eric from True Blood has some damn sexy hair. His hair is a side part and swept up with some lingering strands towards the face. His hair is also even longer on the sides but clean cut around the base of the head (no rat tail). It’s not quite hipster sexy, it’s just traditional fashionable boy sexy but I think it could work well for you.

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The last look I attached is some damn sexy summer sidesweep. If you kept your sideswept bangs and maybe deepened the part a bit toward the side (What side do you part on? Left? Right?) and cut the back part off, cleaning up the base of it, you could get this look. It’s dramatic and awesome.

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I found this look on one of my favorite style blogs, Ironing Board Collective. I want to be their fat style correspondent!

Also, are you open to color? I think a few highlights of a honey brown, just something a bit lighter than the brown you have now would make a huge difference in your look, brightening it up for summertime.

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I know I was specifically researching for Max’s needs, but I need to throw some honorable mention summer looks for other folks who don’t have the length situation Max does.

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DAAAAAAAANG. Lafayette is looking so hot this summer in this season four True Blood promo photo.

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Danielle is a hot Texan.

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When I thought of good short hairstyles I immediately thought of the gorgeous creatures in this photo I stumbled upon on tumblr a few months ago. The hair sculptures are amaaaaaaaaazing. I know the hats are all wintercore or whatever, but I ache to find out who these folks are and how they work their summer looks.

Maybe next I’ll do my round up of how I beat the humidity and heat with my own long, thick mane.

*I think hair is an important part of branding. Max is an event producer, performance artist, and violinist. Branding/hair is something to consider.

2011-03-15

Magical Smoothies

{Also, stuff I’ve been up to lately}

I have given up on caffeine and refined sugar again (after a happy Fall/early winter free of both and physically feeling great) and other than being ever so tired I’m doing okay. I’m sleeping a lot right now. Curse the late winter blah blah blahs and the traitor daylight savings sun that makes it seem like it should be a lot warmer than it really is!

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My BFF Rachael came to visit from the sunny Southland of Hotlanta. We ate pizza and I met her fabulous and charming beau at long last.

Smoothies are really helping this time, the natural sugar pep is waking me up and ever so tasty. To this end I’ve started concocting smoothies from basic ingredients around. I just made this one up and was super happy about it.

1 banana
handful of frozen peach slices
handful of frozen mango cubes
handful of spinach borrowed from roommate
Enough Trader Joe’s reduced calorie pink lemonade to cover 2/3 of the stuff in the blender
Just a touch of cream
1 packet of lemon-lime emergen-c

It is tart, sweet and smooth. Emergen-C is also helping me to get some energy and not feel so run down and caffeine desperate.

When I went to California, I squealed at the plethora of Jamba Juices. I grew up in the Bay Area, smoothies were always a thing but they started really catching on when I was an undergrad at UC Davis. I was seriously bummed when I moved to Philly and they weren’t as easy to find.

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I attended Mackenzi’s “Come As You Were” 90s party and two of the other party goers were dressed like women I’ve slept with.

A decade later Jamba has joined me out here but they’re all in Manhattan and I rarely leave Brooklyn. Nearly daily on my mid-Winter trip to California I availed myself of the joy of the convenient locations and quick pick-me-ups that made my epic social plans possible.

I decided I was going to start using my awesome blender (leftover from previous tenants, specifically designed for margaritas) to make smoothies and cast about for recommendations for “boosts” like those freebies you get from the Jamba. I’ve had a few suggestions. I’m considering Greens+, a generic whey protein powder, or spirulina. But before I drop a bunch of cash on supplements I want to research more and talk to my doctor.

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I produced an all queer 20 minute retelling of the Outsiders. I also narrated it with Heather who was the director.

The one drawback of being all smoothiecore in the dead of Winter is that it lowers my body temperature. I drank one at work one day and wondered why my teeth were suddenly chattering and it took awhile and a hot tea chaser to feel normal again. I run pretty cold.

That said I am excited to learn all of these new smoothie recipes out there. Soaking cashews overnight is my next adventure.

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I also worked on my taxes for my accountant. Do you have self-employment income? Do you have assets of any kind? Get an accountant.* I’ve been with mine for longer than any other relationship I’ve had, more than hair dressers, pets, or girlfriends. He’s awesome and totally worth the trip back to Philly. Instead of a photo of me stressing out over spreadsheets and drinking tons of hot chocolate last week, here’s another hipster photo of the queer Outsiders. Promise better photos as soon as Nogga posts them!

*I suggest getting one via recommendation from a friend.

2011-02-12

Glitterpositive Valentine Sentiments

Happy Validation Day everyone!

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Chalk art from Re/Dress NYC by Erin Bunny Burrows.

This time of year life is inundated with prix-fixe Valentine’s Day specials at restaurants and single-phobic, glitter-phobic rhetoric. (“Don’t be different! Do everything the same! Don’t be a wild pony! Find one person to love and do it in this totally heteronormative way!”) I find it gleefully ironic that these messages are sometimes sent using glitter*, when glitter to me represents people who shine really bright and really differently without regard for trying to quiet down or dim their shine in order to woo a mate.

I am a big fan of doing good things for yourself on Valentine’s Day, partnered or not. I’ve written about calling it Validation Day before and celebrating the joy of your life on Valentine’s Day. I’m into buying yourself something frivolous, delving into the cheesiness of hearts and confetti** just because it’s fun, or getting together with friends to make lasagna, drink red wine and revel in each others’ fabulousness.

I did the last thing one year with a whole bunch of boys. I was 22, being a fag hag and hiding out from the scary world of actually risking rejection by dating queer women. If I went out with a group of gay boys to a chorus of how fabulous I was*** it became much easier than the bizarre rejection I felt in a sea of lesbians who didn’t acknowledge me out at the queer girl events. I didn’t realize then that most people are just shy and socially awkward in big group scenes, my own awkwardness exponentially increasing the discomfort.

I don’t regret those days at all. I really needed to develop a sense of comfort with the woman I was turning out to be and it was like I was in a special baby Femme incubator. I also really loved Dolce and Gabbana cologne, watching old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and going out dancing and so did they.

I thought I would do a round-up of glitter-positive, fat positive things that have caught my eye lately and share with you so that you, my queer/gender-fabulous/glittertastic lovelies out there can revel in some glitter-positivity out there. Shake off some of that mainstream-media Valentine’s Day hype.

Queerness, for me, is my choice. I am an active agent in choosing who I want to sleep with, who I want to have relationships with, and how I politicize my life.

Glitterpolitic is one of my favorite new blog projects. How is Ashley so hot and so smart? With the addition of her roommate/blog partner Erin their tumblr is unstoppable.

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Ashley at the Femme Conference, with Queer Fat Hungry. Photo by me.

I’m fat positive because I’m a feminist, and I refuse to acknowledge in the magical thinking that if you’re small enough, quiet enough, compliant enough and saccharine enough, you will somehow be enough.

Great article called “Why I’m Fat Positive” by You’re Welcome.

Co-dependent love is constantly represented as the ideal. ‘I can’t sleep/think/ live/function without you, romantic partner’ leads to the inevitable crash of despair when things don’t work out because you’ve set up someone else to meet the impossible expectation of completing you. ‘Forsaking all others’ doesn’t just imply sexual partners but in a nuclear model of family, seems to also speak to friendships and extended family.

Amazing article from Crunk Feminist Collective called Living Single.

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Erin from Glitterpolitic. So much hot in one blog!!

Shame doesn’t work. Diets don’t work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change. Fat people already are ashamed. It’s taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx…You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.

From “Hello, I’m Fat” by Lindy West.

Go forth, live and love radically!

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Source.

*I love a good post-Valentine’s day craft store sale.
**My Butch Ironworker roommate is making heart-shaped mini cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day and I am very inspired.
***I have always adored nightlife fags as they are liberal with compliments.

2011-01-16

2011… Sparkle Hard

When we were reunited after the holiday shuffle released her from her day job, my friend Heather declared to me “My theme for 2011 is ‘2011… Fuck it.’ 2010 was supposed to be 20WIN and nothing ever came of it. So 2011 I’m just saying ‘Fuck it.’” Heather is the kind of person who says to Pollyanna optimists like me “You call it thinking positive, I call it denial.” And though I have not abandoned my Pollyanna ways, I think her logic is sound.

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Me and Heather performing a staged reading of Steel Magnolias at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Jeep Wheat.

Now, in no uncertain terms, 20Femme for me was not bad. I had a lot of crazy shit go down and it certainly didn’t turn out at all how I expected it to. The lessons and growing I had from my antics in 2010 are among the most pivotal of my life so far. I also had a pretty good time for some of it, existential angst and heartbreak aside. But, let’s be real, growing like I had to is not for sissies and sometimes it downright sucked.

When contemplating my year, I was thinking about the things I wanted to leave behind and the things I wanted to womanifest in the new year. I really want to focus on continuing to grow but just having a good time. Learning how to let go of expectations, keep asking for what I want, and squeezing the juiciest things I possibly can from every moment.

I think a lot of my lessons came to fruition during a Prince concert I went to the week before New Year’s Eve. I have a friend who has a ticket hook-up and is always trying to give me sporting event tickets that I politely turn down. He asked around my birthday and I said “What about Prince at Madison Square Garden?” Since Heather’s birthday is a week after mine I asked her to be my date and we went.

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This is Stuart. He’s responsible for carefully creating the purple rain above Prince’s purple piano during his medley of many great songs, including “How Come U Don’t Call Me?” one of my favorites.

I didn’t know this ahead of time but the tickets were floor seats. Right in front of the stage. For some reason, hardly anyone in the floor seats was dancing in the ample room around the end of the Prince symbol arrow. As soon as his first song was over me, Heather and about six other people were dancing around to many of our favorite Prince songs. It was incredible. I was wearing a gold sequin dress and I think if you’re on the floor at Madison Square Garden dancing you should just sparkle as hard as you can.

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After the show, up on the deck to get a view of the Prince symbol stage.

A lot of 2010 was spent on a collision course between myself as I am now and who I used to be before I gained self-confidence. I would never have worn a tight sequin dress, let alone a gold one, would never have thought to wear something interesting to a concert in the first place and would have spent the entire time at the concert feeling sad that, as good as it was, it was going to eventually end. I also wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to try to go dance away from my seat and even closer to the stage.

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Purple rain on the floor. And my sparkly Christmas purse.

Growing up fat and flamboyant, I learned early on to suppress my glittery tendencies and try to hide my plus size self as best as I could. I always second-guessed how I wanted to look and really took to heart terrible fashion advice. Such gems as “Don’t wear horizontal stripes” and “When you leave the house always remove one accessory.” I say fuck that. Watching Heather get ready is like watching a really cute hen walking around picking up one sparkly thing after another and I think it is probably one of the most fun things in the world to witness.

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Heather always looks as a good as a pin-up.

Having friends as flamboyant and supportive as Heather and the giant network of amazing artists I hold close helped me get and sustain the courage to be as outrageously Bevin as I possibly want to be on any given day. The last decade has been pretty transformative and I am so grateful every day for the unflinching courage to be myself.

Last year I started meditating and focusing on living in the moment. I have some big dreams but the way they are going to come about is by working hard and making my current moments as memorable and fabulous as possible. I can’t possibly recommend meditation more to help alleviate anxiety and increase happiness.

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The Prince concert helps to increase happiness, too.

I want to spend 2011 experiencing every moment, even the mundane inbetweens. I’ve been finding some really amazing stuff on my walks with my dog because I’m using my time and attention to notice. As my life coach said after I mentioned noticing a glittering piece of cellophane in a pile of leaves after our discussion about paying attention to each moment, “Attention makes garbage gorgeous.”

So in the spirit of “2011… fuck it” I’m just going to sparkle as hard as I can every moment. I feel pretty great about it.

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2010-12-24

Hard Candy Christmas

This Fall I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and my art and doing a lot of growing. I have also been spending a lot of time video chatting with one of my BFFs, Spunky, who lives in California. I took time off from my retail job (Re/Dress, one of the three prongs of my current career spiral path) thinking I would somehow by the grace of the universe be able to afford to go out there for Christmas. See my mom, see my friends and heart family and mellow out in some warmer weather.

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World Famous *BOB*, me, Glenn Marla at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

Things have been tight financially for the last couple of months. My main source of my three-pronged career path income has been really slow for lots of reasons, mostly the market and climate. Thus, around Thanksgiving I realized it was going to be toast to any plans to vacation for the holidays. Self-employment/entrepreneurial realness.

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I got written up as one of the 45 Hot Entrepreneurs in Go Magazine in November, though. I think it’s an awesome stamp in my celesbian passport. I have yet to get laid from it. I like to call this photo a Clark Kent/Superman juxtaposition. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

But then I realized that I was having trouble digging into my memoir, my friend Damien has been having great luck working during DIY artist retreats. I could afford to drive to Philly, I have heart family that lives there and needed a cat sitter. It worked out very serendipitously. So, I’ll be going away, doing no work other than art and self-care for several days.

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Damien, watching art. She’s doing so well on her push-up-a-thon! Photo by Quito Ziegler.

And, yeah, it’s sort of sad and isolating sometimes to be single at the holidays and not with your family or whatever. But then I remember my very saddest Christmas ever, when my ex-fiance and I had just broken up the month before, I was going to California to see my family without him on a trip we had booked together. I remember waking up on Christmas day with this ache in my chest, knowing he was with his new girlfriend and her family I couldn’t even begin to think about what to think about through all of that sad. It was so crushing.

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World Famous *BOB* has a tissue for you and for me. November Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

What really got me through that time was Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” I had just bought her autobiography on cassette tape and was really digging into my passion for her. It’s such a good song from one of my favorite movies (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas).

This year I’ve been hearing about everyone’s hard candy. Having a family or not having a family is hard. Both are hard. There’s either the pain and isolation/liberation and joy of not having obligations on the holidays. Or there’s the expectations upon expectations upon performance upon pleasing everyone upon love upon celebration of being with family. I think hard candy is part of life and it can bring you sweetness or toothaches. It’s just how you saddle up for the ride.

I have had a lot of blessings and amazing things going on in my life this year. I’m so grateful for this magical unicorn life I get to lead, the costumes I get to wear without even thinking about it, the lives I get to change just by making the art I feel compelled to make. Just this year I can count on both hands all of the new incredible artists and friends who have come into my life and are changing it. I have so much. And even as my birthday and Christmas plans have fallen through because I got the flu for Christmas I feel really lucky I didn’t make elaborate travel plans so it was easy to just sit here under the covers and rest. And now I have some presents to open up while I try not to move too far from the couch.

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Also grateful to have reached a doctor so soon before Christmas. She said “Have you been taking it easy?” I said I’ve been “taking it normal.” Photo by Quito Ziegler from a lesbolesque performance I did before I got the flu.

I got woken up from a nap today by the UPS man delivering a package for my birthday from my far away BFF in California, who I’ll luckily get to see at the end of January. I’ve been able to book a trip to get Rebel Cupcake on the road to Oakland (more info on that soon). So it all works out!!

As a Happy Holidays from me to you, I present this touching video from Rebel Cupcake 7: We <3 Dolly, burlesque legend of our time World Famous *BOB* performing Hard Candy Christmas.

I hope wherever you are you are safe, happy and full of love.

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Me and Sophie at Rebel Cupcake 8: Holidays on Fire. Sophie stopped by my sick bed today to bring me a care package of birthday candles, mac n cheese and feminist literature. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-12-16

Why You Should Buy Elisha Lim’s Calendar Right Now

Let’s start with the facts.

Elisha Lim is handsome.
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Elisha Lim is well-dressed.
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Elisha Lim is a talented artist.
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Elisha Lim has used this triple threat for good by converting it into a 2011 calendar.

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A 12 month calendar of handsome dandy queers from January to December. Full colour images and comics feature sartorial queer style, shopping anecdotes and strategies, and a celebration of walking proud in what you wear.

The comics feature excerpts from “The Illustrated Gentleman” and “100 Butches” and contain a hand-drawn monthly schedule for each month.

I like that it’s small. It’s the kind of thing I could tuck easily into a small corner of my kitchen or by my bed or anywhere on the walls of weird narrow New York City realness apartments. However, you want to make sure it is someplace where you can read each month. Each illustration includes an essay.

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Elisha further offers purchasers of the calendar a bonus.

If you want to send this calendar to flirt with somebody, or just to say happy birthday, I can add a dedication into the package.

I appreciated so much that my version of the calendar was sent to me in brown paper packaging with my name in a fancy script. I loved it. I am going to save it. Perhaps it will become my return address label.

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Support a hardworking queer artist!! Clickie here to go to the calendar shop!

2010-12-07

Holiday Gift Guide #1: Yoga Stuff

Filed under: Shopping — Tags: , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:35 pm

I am producing a multi-part Holiday Gift Guide this year. As per usual, I’m procrastinating about it. That’s real.

I am super into yoga. I’ve been doing it at least weekly for a year and a half, but at this point I incorporate yoga into my day at least once, and ideally three times a week do a full hour/90 minutes. I mentioned in my post, The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Beginning a Yoga Practice, that I was never fond of dvd yoga routines as they felt very Jane Fonda-y. Meera, the host and proprietor of Big Yoga, offered me two dvds to review and promised that they wouldn’t be Jane Fonda-y.

The first I reviewed was her latest video Flex-ability. I have been getting a big tattoo on my thigh this Fall and part of the bummer of waiting for it to heal was restricted motion (you use your thigh for a lot of things) and not getting to do as much yoga (no rolling around on the floor, for example).

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Photo by Adipositivity. Tattoo by Jason June (who did my shoulder piece as well).

Being a little stiff and off my game, I thought I would do the Flex-ability yoga routine to limber up before my return to my regular yoga class. I found the music a little corny, but typical for any yoga class, really. The movements were so beautifully basic and easy to understand. It was also really inclusive of all ability levels, people with mobility issues and people of all sizes. I loved that the instructor (Meera) is a person with a big belly and who acknowledges what range of motion someone with a similar body type might not have. I have a big belly and big boobs and it’s really hard for me to do a lot of yoga poses.

At the end of the Flex-ability yoga routine is a really deep relaxation that, should I need a simple relaxation, I might just skip to that part of the dvd. It’s a full 20 minute guided meditation. I found my lower back really stiff afterward, which is a sign I was very relaxed. (I was using a blanket and a dog bed as a bolster under my knees but I think I need to get a legit bolster for using at home.)

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The biggest surprise for me was that I was sore the next day! I could definitely feel the effects of the routine, and even though it appears to be super gentle and easy it is chock full of the good results of my more strenuous yoga routines.

At a later time I used the Big Yoga Beginner’s Hatha 1. The routine was great, full of modifications you could make for various ability levels. It definitely moved slower than a typical yoga class, but that was fine for my home use. I found myself wishing I had this dvd before I began yoga. It includes a great primer on a lot of what you need to know to begin a yoga practice and gets you familiar with the movements involved in basic yoga practice.

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There was even a section I thought was hokey, doing eye exercises. However, I felt it the next day in my eyes (who knew you should stretch those) and I think that makes this the PERFECT gift for the law student in your life. If only I could have popped in this dvd at 3 AM during finals and done some stretching and eye stretching. I had a lot of issues with eye strain during that time.

Really, I think both of these dvds are perfect for the person in your life who has always wanted to take a yoga class but hasn’t gotten up the gumption yet, or someone whose mobility has been lessened and needs a way to move and feel the benefits of yoga.

You can get both of these dvds at the Big Yoga website right here. They’re only $16 each.

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The other fitness/yoga related item I suggest is a double thick yoga mat. I have been craving one of these for a long time. I really love how many different colors there are to choose from and this one seems to be a bargain at only $20. Bean Products Yoga Mat 1/4

You can check out my procrastinator’s gift guide from last year here.

2010-12-03

Guest Post: Damien Luxe and Why She Loves the Gym

Damien Luxe is one of my favorite people and often mentioned here at Queer Fat Femme. She is an incredible femmespiration and she wrote this great piece about how she was able to reclaim her body by going to the gym. I think this is super relevant to anyone of any body type and definitely articulates a lot of what I feel about my relationship to exercise as a fat person.

xoxo,

Bevin

This fall I am celebrating an awesome anniversary: ten years of Going To The Gym. That’s 10 years of learning how to be in my body after 21 years of life kicking me out; 10 years of keeping calm and carrying on; 10 years of getting to be strong and flexible when I thought that experience was only for rich folks.

When I was 21 I went off to the University of Toronto and met another rad weirdo punk girl. We hung out tons and were super similar — except she Went To The Gym and I’d roam off reading Valencia et al. When she asked me to go with her, I scoffed, “um isn’t going to the gym for leisurely rich white people? that’s not me, babe.”

One day after much nuanced discussion regarding how non-owning-class people also benefitted by working out, and appealing to the protestant in me by pointing out that I was paying for it anyway, she convinced me to go with her into our school’s massive gym complex and join her in the pool. I made it fourish laps and then headily woozed my way to the dressing room and thought I might have a heart attack.
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2010-11-30

Winter Layering with Style

Filed under: Fatshion — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 4:24 pm

Something that unifies skirt and dress-loving people this time of year is how to stay warm as well as stylish. As a native Californian who moved to the East Coast ten years ago I have developed some coping mechanisms to maintain my stylish exterior as much as possible while still being a total cry baby about how cold it is outside.

First of all, I spend a lot of my winter being a Plus Size Party Girl. (Time Out New York called me that and I just love that descriptor.)  This means that my base outfit needs to be as cute as possible while reflecting the fact that it is often really hot wherever I go out. 

 

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Take this leopard dress, paired with a foxy multi-chained necklace.  If I wore this outside in NYC I wouldn’t last long enough to accompany a bestie for a cigarette.

So I start to layer it up.  Sometimes I am inside and it is still chilly.  I like to always have a contingency plan for potentially chilly indoor climates.  Thus, a cardigan.

 

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This is a lace cardigan, we have a bunch at Re/Dress right now.  This is a contemporary lace cardigan, but I actually really love to use vintage lingerie as layering pieces.  Those polyester beauties are really warm and also see through (which enables the cuteness of your layering pieces to shine through).

If I am further chilly, I incorporate Scarf 2 as a drapey piece. 

 

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The look is a little Mary Kate, but it works.

Now for leggings.  Tights are cool for me in the Fall and Spring, but in winter I am so cold my legs need more warmth than that.  I’m not afraid to layer with tights. (I actually learned in a Girl Scout wilderness survival training that wearing tights or pantyhose under pants was a great waterproof way to stay warm.) 

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Here at the Re/Dress we have this new fangled thing called a “Tegging.”  It is a word we made up to describe that this legging is more of a tights material.  They’re super stretchy and warmer than regular tights.  We have them in tons of colors and they fit up to a 5X.  I would wear it under these snakeskin shiny leggings for this outfit.

I am also not afraid to wear two pairs of socks under my boots. When changing at the club, I might take a couple of minutes off to the side of coat check to change out of my snow boots.  I am terrified of falling in snow and wouldn’t even consider wearing heels in the snow, even from the car.

 

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Snow boots!

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Heels!

Also I have recently embraced the leg warmer for it’s layering magic.  It is also my secret trick to transitioning socks to leggings with my mary jane TUK shoes.  I just don’t like a sock over legging look. I think it’s awkward.

 

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Here’s where the real fun comes in, jazzing up winter accessories.  I am troubled by hats.  My hair is delicate and I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But sometimes when I wear a knit hat I like to make it more special with hair bling.  I just clip it to the weave in the knit, or use a pin back to pin it onto a hat.  I have a line of hair bling at the store that will soon be online as well.

I haven’t tried scarf bling yet but that’s forthcoming.

I also accessorize my warm scarf with a lighter more interesting scarf.  I have a couple of sequin scarves for this purpose.

 

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Here I have put a lightweight sequin Scarf 2 over a heavier boring but warm knit scarf.

I also believe that the best thing a stylish person can do to stay stylish during the four months of snow and cold in NYC is to get as many awesome warm coats as possible.  I moved to Philadelphia with one lightweight jacket (I thought it was a real winter coat, it was maybe an early Fall weight)  and I now easily have 6 winter coats.  Actually, I probably have more.

 

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I was trying to come up with a rubric of how many faux fur coats one should have.  At least one black faux fur, one solid color, one leopard print and one furry vest. 

I also always lose gloves so I am all about snatching up good glove deals whenever you find them. 

In sum, I think the best thing you can do to make winter more stylish is to not be afraid to try a lot of different things, wear a lot of color and layer, layer, layer.

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Me and Zoe on vacay in Toronto. We are not afraid to wear jeans under vintage dresses.

I’d like to thank Glenn Marla for his scarf inspiration and his unadulterated love of layering.

 

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2010-11-19

Secret Agent Femme: Bringing Your Authentic Self on Dates

Long time readers will recall that I have a penchant for dating out of towners. I’m trying to go localvore for awhile, but there is something uniquely thrilling about traveling for a long-anticipated date.

I had such a date earlier this year. It was in a colder climate. I was staying with a good friend of mine and going to go on a coffee date with an internet friend I had never met in real life. We agreed to coffee ahead of time, to ease the pressure, and then a check in about whether we wanted to be on a “date-date.” If we did, we would proceed to dinner or something, if not I would go back to my friend’s house.

This brought about a significant fashion dilemma for me. I like to know what activity is in store for me on a date so that I can dress appropriately. There is nuance in what kind of garment I wear for different occasions and I certainly see a vast distinction between what I would wear on a coffee date and a dinner date.

Typically, I like to wear one of two dresses on a first date. I am very consistent about this because dating is enough of a hassle that I don’t want to stress out about what to wear. 9 out of 10 of my first dinner dates involve one of these dresses. They travel easily (again, see above regarding long distance), they are flattering and appropriate for evening wear.

Hosting a Date Auction for the Lesbian Love Octagon
The blue and brown dress, often paired with boots when it is cold or blue patent leather heels. I am pictured here femmeceeing the date auction fundraiser for the Lesbian Love Octagon.

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The red dress. Here I am photographed with my friend Regan who is a chef. I know my readers enjoy the butches. She is wearing gingham on gingham because she knows I like someone with the fashion huevos to pair pattern on pattern. And I enjoy gingham. Typically I pair this dress with red or black (or red and black) heels or boots in the winter. It also makes for a great post-performance dress. Also on a date I would not be wearing teal sparkly hair bling or (as much) glittery make-up.

The red dress is so ubiquitous I couldn’t even find a photo of it and needed to stage this shoot the other night after a lesbolesque performance. It is Torrid, I bought it at least six years ago. It has aged very well. The blue and brown dress I bought on ebay three years ago from a seller whose inventory exclusively consists of a plus size mannequin so I can only guess they are out of business.

My friend Elisabeth said in shock “You give them that much cleavage on a first date?” And I replied that yes, I believe my cleavage to be a gift from the goddess so I like to share.

I think it’s really important to be as authentic as possible on a first date. Also on any subsequent date. Don’t pretend to like sports if you don’t to impress someone. This is basic but it is amazing how many people I’ve dated who aren’t real with me and really amazing friends of mine who have fallen into the same “I want you to like me” impulse. I just heard a story about a professor getting her research assistants to burn her the latest hits so she wouldn’t have to admit to my friend that her favorite music was easy listening!

In the spirit of authenticity, I think it is important to dress in a way that expresses who I am. But, of course, there is that fine line between “darling of the paparazzi” Bevin and “dinner date” Bevin. Just like there is a fine line between “coffee date with an old internet friend I have a crush on” and “dinner date with an old internet friend I have auditioned and want to have grown-up time with.”

I told this dilemma to my friend and guru Damien Luxe and her answer was so simple it was genius. “Put a change of clothes in your purse and, after the coffee date, change.”

At first I hesitated. It felt sort of high maintenance to change in the middle of a date. But then I thought about my post about redefining high maintenance and reminded myself that I am a professional Femmecee and burlesque performer. I can change clothes in about 2 minutes flat (and do make-up and hair in 10) if I want to. Plus, changing during a date is a very authentic Bevin thing to do. Something I wouldn’t think twice about doing if I was out with friends.

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This is what I wore on the coffee date. It is eShakti. Here I am pictured with Deb, the owner of Re/Dress and Nicolette Mason at Monif C.’s 5th anniversary party.

I had to re imagine my purse for the afternoon/evening and opted for the travel-friendly leopard tote bag that has been serving me since I studied for the bar exam. It artfully hid my dress. I chose the red dress as I thought it packed a little more “wow” factor. And if I was going to secret change, I thought I should bring as much wow as possible.

The coffee date went very well and just before we left for dinner, I pardoned myself to go to the restroom. As it was winter, my shoes stayed the same (tights and black snow boots), and I changed into the dress. I put my coat on and my date had no idea until we arrived at the restaurant that I had changed. She was stunned and commented on it profusely.

That remains one of my favorite fashion moments of any date I’ve ever been on. The reception the gesture got only further reinforced how important it is to bring my real self on dates and never hesitate to express myself.

2010-10-28

I’ll Just Say Fare Thee Well: The Myth of “Getting Closure”

I was at the Miss LEZ pageant, at the last intermission prior to the winner being announced, passing out fliers for Rebel Cupcake and generally being proud of how well Miss Rebel Cupcake was doing in the pageant. In this euphoric, flask of bourbon in my handbag sort of state, I ran into a couple of friends. One of them said, “Last week you wrote on your twitter ‘I’m going to need to create my own closure.’ I have a friend who has been struggling with a break-up for over a year and I repeated that to her and it really helped.” That comment made me so happy I almost cried.

Me at Rebel Cupcake: Halloween Heartbreak with the winner of Miss LEZ, repping Rebel Cupcake, Drae Campbell and Becca Blackwell who was a contestant with me in Miss LEZ last year. Dress: Re/Dress. Shoes, 3 1/2″ leather peep toes by Fitzwell via Zappos. Necklace & earring set: gift from a dear friend.

You might have noticed a little blog silence going on for a while. I find it really hard to write sometimes when I’m going through a lot of emotional upheaval. I like to write from a place of having a grasp on things and there’s nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you to make you feel like you don’t have a grasp on anything. That’s what happened five weeks ago, the details of which are still a little too fresh and muddled to explain. So, you know, I throw myself into my other work that doesn’t require me to feel like I have a grasp or whatever.

If there’s anything to come out of this pain I’m glad it’s helping people. I like living out loud in that way and my art is often my expression of the experience of living and loving as a queer fat femme/party promoter/shop girl/lawyer/performer/aspiring talk show host in this world. Lately expressing in soundbites like twitter and tumblr is what I’ve been able to do.

I believe the idea of “getting closure” is a myth. I think we idealize “getting closure” where you meet your ex at a neutral coffee shop and share lattes like you’re in an early 90s episode of Friends and you talk about your relationship and get all of those answers you are really missing that will help you tidy everything up like you fold your sweaters and put them away for the summer.

Emotions are messy and crazy. You have no control over the other person and what they’re going to say to you. Sometimes they won’t “give” you anything (as I’m experiencing now) or they’ll just do or say the same unsatisfying shit that lead to your break-up in the first place. Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide says (the gist of) “Try not to worry about how or why, try accepting that it is.” Learn your new normal. But, I think, unless you’re in the best possible break-up working in out in couples therapy or something, you won’t be able to just walk away and say “that was all neatly packaged, it feels closed.”

I mean, maybe there are couples out there who communicate SO WELL that they’re able to actually have closure and a satisfying break-up and to them I say kudos. But my twitter comment about creating my own closure had as much to do with what I’m going through now as it is poring over my previous break-ups (as I tend to do while heartbroken).

I had an ex-lover pass away this summer–there is no further closure I’m ever going to get from her. I really had always fantasized that at some point we’d be across the aisle from each other at our best friends’ wedding and we’d salvage a tender friendship out of our brief courtship. Any closure I get from my relationship with Luscious is going to be from working through my process, as it actually cannot come from her.

I think there are certain aspects of relationships that can see some tangible closure. One time I had an ex who owed me a bunch of money and I didn’t let it go. For years I watched friends walk away from top surgery loans and laptop loans of thousands of dollars to scoundrel exes or just plain sad exes. They did this because they just wanted a clean break and to not worry about it. For me it was important to close that element of my relationship. Plus, my electricity got shut off because he left this huge debt on our electric bill and the company rolled it over onto my new account and I had to come up with the money on my own, which was really hard at the time.

Self-advocacy is really difficult to do for yourself, especially when emotions are involved. But I kept at it, with letters and copies of joint bills and the bitter recollection of that week of living with candles for lights and no internet. And then I finally got checks every other week until it was paid off. I settled for slightly less than what I thought his debt was, but it was worth it to get it all done.

So I had financial closure but it still took months and even years to work through the emotions of our break-up and the closure I needed. I’ve got three years of perspective now and I still can only guess why or how. The damage of being cheated on, being broken up with in an email with no face to face conversation and all of that took a lot of work on my own terms.

Some closure won’t come until you start dating again. I wondered if I could ever love again as hard as I loved him. And it turns out I did and I can.


Me & my friend Berlin saying hi to his GF/my friend Ally who was in Portland. Berlin is the Ethical Butcher. Go to his classes & dinners!

Sometimes it helps me to write letters. I don’t like cutting people out of my life who did something horrible to me without explaining in plain language just exactly why I won’t ever speak to them again. Once someone lied to me so much I wrote her a letter detailing the 21 lies I had caught her in. I gave it to her and I’m certain that she managed to distort her reality around the contents to make it feel okay for her. But that letter helped me to create the peace I needed in order for me to walk away. The key is in sending it with no expectation as to the response.

One time I actually received great closure from an ex. A year after we broke up we ran into each other on campus and I smiled at her. She sent me an email with great accountability and apologies. At the time I couldn’t see it as the great closure it was, but three years later I re-read it and I was like “Wow, that was really great accountability.” But it wasn’t closure for me at the time because I wasn’t in a place to see it as closure.

Wanting closure is really hard. But the thing is, you have the power to make it happen for yourself in the way that works best for you. Break-ups are a selfish time period, where you stop looking at the us, mourn the pretty picture of the us you were creating and work on yourself. There’s so much possibility in your own closure.

Sometimes you’re not going to “get” closure at all because parts of our emotional histories are sagas and can’t be wrapped up like winter sweaters. My heartbreak feels like part of a bigger saga right now, so I’m not even working on closure. What I’m trying to do instead is turn my pain into the opportunity to create the solid base inside myself where an emotional event as jarring as what I just went through doesn’t make me feel like I don’t have a grasp on anything. I’m developing the tools to stay peaceful and strong as other things blow around me.


Like one of those inflatable bop bags from the 80s that you punch and they float right back up to upright.

Things are going to get better and most of the time I believe it. And those times I don’t believe it I have the tools to call a BFF and ask them to tell me everything is going to get better. And I have art to express what I’m going through. And I have you, my sweet and wonderful readers, reminding me that expressing my pain is helping you, too. And 2,000 hits a week reminding me you’re still out there wanting to know what I’ve got going on!


9021-homo from Rebel Cupcake! All photos from RC by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-09-20

Heartbreak MFA: Additions to the Break Up Survival Guide

One of the most amazing things about being an artist is that people tell me all the time how art I’ve created or produced has been really important to them in times of trouble and strife. Many times I hear “I have been going through a really terrible break-up and Episode 2 of your podcast really helped me out.” I’ve also heard more than a few times about how Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide has been passed around like a water cooler article to friends in need.

I’m so glad these resources exist, especially in light of the huge break-up they came out of for me.

Having (yet another) friend need this list this weekend prompted me to add a few updates. I share them with you below.

1. You already have all the tools you need to get through this.

It’s true, Dorothy.

Dorothy

Remind yourself of this every moment you feel desperate. Nowadays I can use the benchmark of “my fiance cheated on me for 8 months” or “I got laid off after 5 years with the same firm” as a way in which to gain the perspective I need to keep moving. I survived those things, I know I can survive whatever else comes my way.

As queers, fat people, people of color, women, gender non-conforming folks, etc… we have been put through the paces so much by society, our familes and ourselves, we are already survivors. Hell, the fact that I made it through my teens without succeeding at suicide is a testament to an inherent survival instinct that I attribute to being very blessed and watched over.

I will say that knowing that I have the tools to deal with heartbreak is sometimes cold comfort. At this point, almost three years since my ended engagement and having dated some women who have fucked with my heart big time, I feel like I have a Master’s Degree in Heartbreak. I’ve been through this, I know I’ll get through this again and live to love again. My heart doesn’t always know that, though. Having the gentle reminder from my brain is helpful.

2. Get co-defriendant with someone.

In the first few weeks of my big break-up I really needed help knowing what to do because the terrible echo of pain so consumed me. It was nice having a friend I could call on a moment’s notice and bring my shih tzu and an overnight bag and have somewhere to be that wasn’t my empty house, or have plans to go out or whatever I felt up to at the moment. When you designate a Captain Distraction, it’s especially nice because you will likely feel so different from moment to moment it’s hard to keep yourself abreast with your feelings, let alone your myriad friends. So if you have someone who has a lot of emotional and time availability see if they’re up to be your life raft for a little while.

3. Create community around your break-up.

When I was going through my big break-up I made a special filter on the blog community I was in of other people who were dealing with big break-ups around the same time. It was really comforting to know I wasn’t alone in the pain, to hear their process and to exchange mix cds. It was also interesting to notice our different benchmarks, how rebounding affected people and how their recovery was so varied. Maybe now you might do a twitter feed or facebook filter or just have a group email list.

I also threw a big New Year’s Eve party/ritual that year for me and 10 friends where we burned letters to our exes. It was nice to get to do that as a community.

4. Take lots of hot pictures of yourself.

If you have the cash, I suggest seeking out a queer photographer home girl like Molly at Fat Bottom Boudoir or Sophie of Shameless Photography. They know how to shoot you looking your best (in any body) and will help you reclaim your body and sexuality.

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If you don’t have the cash, get a bestie, go to the MAC counter, get a free makeover. Then go to the Torrid dressing rooms or some other place full of hot fat girl clothes and try things on that are impossibly sexy with shoes that are ridiculously tall and take photos of each other.*

Use these hot pictures as new profile photos on Facebook. Looking hot is great revenge. It’s like a photo affirmation.

Advice Column

5. Throw yourself into a big art project.

My mom gave me this advice when I was crying on the phone to her during Thanksgiving. Thus, FemmeCast was born. It was a huge project (and continues to be, anyone know a good audio editor?) but being able to do something productive with my pain was totally helpful. It gave me something else to talk about and something else to think about during my worst moments.

Do you have something percolating you’ve always wanted to do? Just start.

6. Rebounding is a terrible idea.

Zoe told me when I was having my rebound that you end up having to “deal with that shit PLUS interest.” She’s totally right, too. Rebounding feels great. Why feel the heartbreak when you can focus on the joy of new love and not see any of the other red flags about how bad of an idea it is to date that person? I used to be queen rebound and I can attest it just makes things harder in the long run. Your gunk gets all jammed up and it takes a lot longer to sort through it. It also puts a lot more pressure on the new relationship to be the big savior for the heartbreak that came before.

There is no ibuprophin for heartache. It’s just through it. Rebounding is like creating a migraine out of a bad headache.

7. QVC.

I used to turn on QVC in the background whenever I was home alone to make me feel less lonely. A few months later I got a roommate, which definitely helped more. But if you’re walking around a newly empty house, QVC is nonstop enthusiastic chatter and it helps to drown out the terribles.

8. Heartbreak is an opportunity to learn about yourself.

I got a great email from my friend Genne after the disastrous rebound from my big break-up ended that began with the sentence “I don’t want to say that your picker is broken but…” and included some really great thoughtful questions to ask myself and work through in my recovery. Now, at the time I was a little taken aback at the idea that I was responsible for bringing in the inappropriate people in my life but I did see what she was saying.

My artist’s life coach Lynnee Breedlove said something similar to me during our last session. There is a reason you bring the people into your life when you do. If you can work through the reasons they’re in your life and what you can learn from the experience, it only makes you a more attuned to how to pick the next time around. And just like taking a hot photo for your facebook or creating some amazing art, it’s all about taking the time you need to create something beautiful out of your pain.

***

I hope these nuggets are helpful to some of y’all out there. Comment with your favorite heartbreak tip below and one random commenter will get a copy of a break-up cd mixed by me. I’ll pick at midnight EST on September 27, 2010.

And while we’re on theme, the next Rebel Cupcake is heartbreak themed. Lots of danceable heartbreak songs and halloween costumes!

*Always be kind to your shop girls and if they ask you to stop taking pictures be nice about it. For $10 an hour no one wants to have to tell you about store policies, so they’re doing it because they have to. Also always hang up your clothes neatly and right side out on the hangers.

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