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

2018-04-06

My Uphill Battle to Interrupt Fatphobia with Tee Shirts

A few weeks ago I was at a three day seminar about building up businesses. I won a tee shirt from her merch table and I went to go pick it up. The business guru had about a dozen shirt designs and several styles to choose from. However, when I went to select my shirt there was no choice available for me because there wasn’t even a unisex shirt that came in a size that fit me.

This is not an unusual experience for me, or for many fat folks. It sucks to feel left out of the inventory of 95% of stores. I don’t like this feeling and I totally don’t want this experience for my customers for Fat Kid Dance Party. I’m interrupting fatphobia and it’s an experience where fat people are centered!

PDX tour stop day two!

I started Fat Kid Dance Party by thinking about who was left behind in dance aerobics. I started my tee shirt journey from the same mustard seed. Who is left behind with traditional tee shirts?

In justice circles, the general call is for shirts that go up to size 6X. This is difficult to find but I basically made it my mission to do it. I feel especially hurt by so-called intersectional feminist stores that don’t carry plus sizes, or barely make it to a 2X. I wanted to create a different experience for my customers.

It is really hard to find a size inclusive line of tee shirt blanks. Different size bodies need different fit configurations and a unisex shirt isn’t particularly comfortable for me as a person with boobs. Even a unisex size 2X basically only fits up to a size 24W. It’s not enough. If you’re in justice movements and you want to validate intersectionality, you need to offer a size range that includes fat people.

Me and Jake in Seattle!

“Women’s” cut shirts are almost never truly size inclusive, a 2X in that cut tends to fit someone who is more like a size 14 not a size 24. Plus size bodies require a different fit and most shirt manufacturers are lazy about it. Often people printing shirts for their merch aren’t focused on inclusion and aren’t accommodating actual human diversity. (I would say a full 15% of attendees at that business seminar wouldn’t have been able to fit a single shirt at the merch mall.)

I hunted around last August for my sized to 6X tee shirt blank solution and luckily Rachel Kacenjar was already creating that.

Rachel has been designing and curating plus size clothes for well over a decade. She was on the hunt for a really good plus size tee shirt blank and knew she needed to design one. A bigger neckhole, a better shape. She found a manufacturer whose minimum order was $50,000 and by cobbling together orders (mine was $1,000, I’m sure other folks had more) and doing the labor of fulfilling all of those sub-orders, she managed to get it done.

With Julia who won my MVP for “traveled the longest to get to class” award in Minneapolis!

It was no small feat, Rachel had lengthy back and forth with the manufacturer to get the fit right and we didn’t get our shirts until the beginning of February. However, the shirts are incredible and so worth the wait!!

I worked on tee shirt designs with Genuine Valentine, a tee shirt company that primarily serves non-binary and queer folks and their allies. GV is a print on demand tee shirt service so as orders come in they are printed and fulfilled by a behind-the-scenes third party. That third party only allows you to buy their blanks and they only go up to 4X in unisex.

Minneapolis!

Fat folks have likely experienced a vendor charging more for a 2X or above tee shirt! True, it costs more to produce because of slightly more fabric and I have experienced the customer annoyance of having to pay $3-$10 more than a thin person. Not surprisingly, the slow as molasses manufacturer charged $2 additionally between the 1X shirts and the 5/6X shirts.

Since my primary goal is to interrupt fatphobia for my customers as much as I can, I just calculated what my cost for all the shirts was and divided it by the number of shirts to determine my cost. I also extended the same price to the print on demand shirts so the cost of all shirts is evenly absorbed.

The nice thing about Genuine Valentine as the home for my online print on demand tee shirt sales is that I can easily do kids shirts and non plus size. (It’s referred to as “straight size” isn’t that funny?) I included some wording in the description letting customers know extended plus sizes are available through my website.

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The shirts are made in the USA in ethical factory, screen printed by queers of color, graphic designed by a non-binary person and in every way as diverse as I could make them. The shirt material is really soft and I love mine. Best tee shirt I’ve ever owned, actually. I LOVE that the printing takes up a lot of space on the tee shirt because the best part of having a larger body is more landscape for art! Tattoos! Clothing! More landscape looks great decorated! #moreismore

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Yay tee shirts helping me interrupt fatphobia—YET—having two sources for shirts is so confusing! I’m still working on the customer experience buying them online. Anyone anywhere can buy the print on demand shirts through Genuine Valentine, but how to get the internet the limited edition fat 4 fat designed babe adorned version?

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Since I got the shirts printed by Stuzo clothing I have been selling them in person at Fat Kid Dance Party classes and on my tour! It is validating and exciting to see my shirts out in the wild! I love the shirts so much I bought all the stock that Rachel the designer had left of them and am printing a fresh run.

My dream is to have people go up to people they see in a Fat Kid Dance Party shirt or with an enamel pin, water bottle or whatever and high five for self care! (Jazz hands are the no touch high five if you don’t like high fiving!)

Jenny, Dara (in the non crop top version from Genuine Valentine), Kristen and I didn’t plan to all wear the Self Loving AF crop tops at the same time.

The beautiful Fat Kid Dance Party website is still under construction. Once that’s done I’ll have a merch section. In the meantime I’ve struggled figuring out how to sell my on hand special plus size shirts in a temporary capacity without confusing things too much with the side piece that is the print on demand option. But nevertheless I persist and I’ve heard that if you’re not embarrassed by your first iteration you waited too long to launch.

I really know how to do a Facebook live sale like a QVC show! I’m excited to sell some of my cute fat vintage hoard and all the tee shirts I have on hand! I’ve been going live weekly with the Plus Bus for several months selling plus size clothing and love doing it!

So if you want a tee shirt, tune in live on my Facebook at 6PM PDT on Monday, April 9, 2018! Turn on notifications so you get reminded when I go live every day to talk about loving yourself more!

2017-11-24

Shop for the Holidays and Smash the Patriarchy (Getting the Deals, Too)

You need to shop for the holidays and you want to dismantle the patriarchy? Me, too! Supporting small businesses owned by women, queers, people of color and other minorities warms the cockles of my heart. Since my wealth is more in influence than it is in bucks for the time being, one of my favorite holiday blog traditions is my gift guide!

This is what I look like when I blog for the holidays. I’m rocking one of my All Bodies are Worthy of Love stickers 1.0 on my laptop and my Stitch Prism necklace of pyrite and blue kyanite.

On Cyber Monday at Noon Pacific time I’m going live on the Plus Bus facebook page. The Plus Bus is a local plus size resale store here in Northeast LA and I’m stoked to get to bring resale plus size clothing to people all over the world who don’t have a plus size resale store nearby. As a bonus I get to help bolster this plus size women owned store and hone my skills as a QVC hostess by curating a great inventory and featuring indie plus designer Proud Mary Fashion. Like the Plus Bus Boutique Facebook page and turn on notifications for live videos so you get reminded!

I love this All Genders are Valid Tee shirt (sized to 2X) from Genuine Valentine. I also love the To Be An Ally is to Show Basic Human Decency shirt (XS to 4X) and the Making My Own Path onesie (to 24 Months)!! (Pssst… I’m collaborating with the designer on a line of Fat Kid Dance Party tee shirts! Stay tuned for those!)

All weekend long use code “PARADOX” for 25% off orders over $60!

If people you know love their pets the way I love mine, these wood pet portraits are exactly the right gift. Rufus Reineck of The Pop Box sent me the cutest paintings of Macy and Biscuit Reynolds shelacked on wood. I cannot express the leaps my heart made when I got this gift from a self proclaimed “big gay family” who are fans of Biscuit and Macy on Instagram! Macy is pink glitter! It looks amazing on the wall and the colors are both true to our pets and make them seem like pop art. I’m obsessed. Get the custom dog portrait here or the custom cat portrait here. P.S. Someone go snag this amazing pop art of Prince before it goes.

Sometimes you just wanna craft for people. For three bucks you can get a PDF pattern for a pretty simple Feminist Killjoy pattern or for seven bucks you can get Nevertheless She Persisted (I would totally do this for a pillow). All I Want For Christmas is a Functioning Democracy is a fav if you don’t have time to cross stitch yourself. Check out the whole inventory of Caustic Cross Stitch.

Leather Coven is your go-to for body affirming leather harnesses and the leather cage skirt I’m forever obsessed with. The Priestess collar is a great smash the patriarchy gift at $27. I have a piece from there I bought during a cyber Monday sale a couple of years ago and it fits perfectly because it was made to measure. The handmade leather ornaments are so beautiful and are the perfect hostess gift for the leather femme in your life or someone who loves modern design. So beautiful and on trend!

Monday only get 15% off with code CYBERANGEL!

I met Scarlett River of Dirty Lola through Dollypalooza when she donated to our fundraising auction for the Imagination Library. (Stay tuned here for a worldwide online holiday raffle to benefit Dolly’s Imagination Library chapter in Belize–the raffle pull is December 16th!) She makes some beautiful fan art–Dolly prints, Prince candles, and darling vintage pussy plates. But apropos for this gift guide is her Smash the Patriarchy print–only $18!

On Monday 11/27 use code DIRTYMONDAY for a deal!

Stitch Prism is one of my favorite jewelry merchants. I have a couple of pieces and absolutely love them and use them in my crystal practice. This Saturn Return necklace is perfect for the 27ish human in your life who is going through it with the taskmaster in the sky, Saturn. I love the double triangle with agate, as well, or you could customize a piece with a type of crystal that speaks to what your pal is going through!

20% off Stitch Prism until Monday 11/27, automatically applied on Etsy!

Joshica Beauty is a Black-owned natural small batch beauty supply line. This Beard Maintenance gift set is under $20 and the beard oil is a five star rated product! This is a great gift for someone who is very excited about their beard. I know a few very beard-identified people who this would be perfect for!

I met the Gay Pin Guys at A Bear Named Troy‘s brunch event at The Plus Bus. They gave me their Spill the Tea pin and I adore it and featured in my Facebook Live video about how to brew Matcha, the cancer fighting delicious elixer. The Rainbow Resist Pin is a great gift for the militant lesbians, radical queers and PFLAG Moms in your life. The You’ve Got This pin is such a charming way of encouraging someone.

Don’t forget the queer/women/POC healers, massage therapists, tarot readers, mediums, astrologers, and other small business hustlers in your life. If someone you know is going through a rough time, a trip to a healer they usually only see when they have cash flow is a really nice thing to crowd fund for. I got a great medium reading as a crowd fund birthday present one year and it is still a treasured experience.

If you want to buy your 5778 Hannukah candles with a portion of proceeds going to domestic racial justice projects (I am not sure anyone else who makes Hannukah candles can say that), head over to Jonah at Narrow Bridge Candles. I have watched their chandelery in action many years ago and it is a truly beautiful and sacred process. It’s more impactful and intentional than buying your candles from Rite Aid. The North Bay fires (where Jonah’s chandlery and herbal apothecary are located) have affected their sales of the candles this year and they are still available! First Night of Hanukkah is December 12th 2017 / 24 Kislev, so get those orders in ASAP.

My friend Sabine Maxine of A Tribe Called Queer is the curator and designer behind Patty Wack Vintage (some plus vintage available). Sabine is offering 20% off through 11/30 and her shop is worth the look for the photography alone. This sale alone is a great excuse to treat yourself to something cute and new for the holidays!

I watched a lot of Muppet Christmas movies while writing this post and my favorite joke was: Did you hear about the church that burned down? Holy smoke! (Insert Statler and Waldorf Laughing.) Please make no mistake I love churches, of course, and I really love puns.

Do you have a small business you want to plug? I’m looking for brands who want to partner for a giant unboxing party in mid-December. Email me at queerfatfemme at gmail to be included!

When you love yourself, ​everything gets easier. Join me LIVE on Facebook everyday to learn how to love yourself more.

2017-06-20

The Commodification of LGBTQ Pride: How Capitalism Co-Opts Movements

I was cruising through Target the other day, and I saw a field of rainbow gear in the clothing section. At the same Target a year ago, there was one wall of Pride stuff and I thought that was a lot. An entire clothing section dedicated to rainbows for June was pretty remarkable growth within a year. There were pool floats, pride flag shawls, so many tanks and tee shirts with a lot of clever pride sayings, and a whole unicorn costume onesie that I almost called Dara to beg to buy. There were even tee shirts for couples to wear together to complete a rainbow for the ultimate dykealike experience and… PREFERRED PRONOUN PINS. At Target.

It is totally possible to hold multiple conflicting emotions at once and I had a bunch in the Target Pride section.

Surprised! In 1997—just twenty years ago—my gay mom would take her upside down triangle rainbow window cling off her car before I drove it. She didn’t want me to have to take the risk of homophobic hate crimes and I wasn’t out of the closet yet. It surprises me how far the acceptance of LGBT folks has come in my lifetime.

Validated! Listen, it’s capitalism. They are doing this because there are gay dollar$ to be made off of this and they want to cash in on this market. In the 70s being gay could get you fired or killed, and while that is still true today in many places, it is pretty amazing that you can come out and a big box store is giving you a high five by supplying your Pride gear.

My friend Franny at Dyke Day LA.

Delighted! I love rainbow stuff. In school I was very into school spirit, dressing up and rah rah for the team and I feel like my inherent cheerleader tendencies come out a lot when it comes to Gay Pride stuff. I love a good rainbow outfit, I love to wave a Pride flag in the right environment.

Heartened! I genuinely appreciate the show of support Target is giving the queer community by putting out this Pride section. Their show of solidarity in this instance is certainly well-intentioned. And in this political day and age when our rights could be dumped literally any minute, it’s nice to have entities give us that high five. (Though I do wonder if the Targets in Red States have big ol’ Pride sections.)

Annoyed! It always feels a type of way for me when businesses co-opt a movement. It used to be that I could only buy Pride gear on a special trip to a store in the Castro, and now those stores have all shut down and big box retailers are selling our Pride gear. It appears that more and more straight folks are going to Pride events because queers throw the best parties (we do) and they’ll put on a rainbow because it doesn’t matter, love is love! Rainbows aren’t just for queers anymore.

Maybe you’re not rainbow identified and you just want to be queer. Here’s a great shirt for that, available up to 3X, from queer non-binary owned Genuine Valentine!

Angry! At the commodification of Pride. Maybe Target should take a dollar (not even ten percent) of each of the shirts/Pride shawls they sell and give it to an LGBT non profit that benefits the most marginalized in our communities. But they’re not. The webpage selling their Pride gear sports a hashtag but not anything about donating to LGBT causes. The gay + ally dollar$ spent in that rainbow section are going to Target stockholders.

Big businesses mean well, they really do. They think they are helping when they have a big rainbow Levi’s store window or put together a social justice advertisement and slap their logo on the end of it. And in this day and age where most of the US spends their waking hours hypnotized on TV, those social justice commercials do make a difference. I really believe for it. However it does take most of the moxie out of the movement when it goes corporate.

Unbought and Unbossed! I love this Shirley Chisholm Lapel Pin from Radical Dreams–all products benefit community organizations.

Capitalism is a system that centers the privatization of resources. Movements are not owned by one person and are an amalgamation of ideas. Pride started out as a rebellion against homophobic and transphobic policing of queer people.

That general idea of “LGBTQ people deserve rights” pushed Pride forward annually and then as the movement grew, certain facets became privatized. Pride festivals became privatized in lots of ways, I would venture to say most common is someone in the first collective who started a Pride event in a city managed to be the last person standing so now they own it as {Whatever City} Pride Inc. and make curation choices with or without community input, charge admission, get sponsorships and make money off of producing Pride.

I brought my Femme Protection candle from (Queer Fat Femme owned) Last Craft with me to anchor my altar at Dyke Day! I charged a Femme Resilience magical incense blend while galavanting on my blankets with my pals. This candle is fabulous for Femme magic work and my new go-to gift for Femme birthdays.

Now corporations are putting rainbows all over things and making money off of what our Pride symbols mean to us–that same general idea that LGBTQ people deserve rights. They are taking an idea from a movement and privatizing resources associated with expressing it.

As I watch the body positive movement continue to be co-opted by corporations for their profit, it also heartens/validates/disappoints/angers/annoys me. Fifteen years ago when I was yelling Love Your Body on stage it was a revolutionary stance and now Lane Bryant just uses it to sell stuff.

At the same time, it is still revolutionary for people to hear that loving their fat body is an option so I guess net positive? While cashing in on Pride and body positivity feels kind of icky, it is still awesome that so many corporations are standing in solidarity with LGBT people in this political climate, and it is revolutionary that fat teenagers are getting the message however it comes to them that loving their fat bodies is an option.

I got this FEMME shirt at The Plus Bus. It was originally produced by Forever 21. Did they mean to print my gender identity on a shirt as a Pride thing or just coincidence?

Pride events over time have become so corporate. What began as a rebellion—honoring what happened at Stonewall, where trans women of color were tired of being harassed by cops. As Pride events gained notoriety and acceptance, corporations started sponsoring them. I remember my first Pride in San Francisco in 2000 leaving with swag bags full of corporate logos and fans promoting Queer as Folk (remember that show?) about to debut on Showtime. It’s only gotten more intense and it has been years since I’ve gone to a Pride event with corporate sponsors.

Instead I have gravitated towards Dyke Marches, which at least maintain a separation from corporate sponsorship, are community run and funded. You see almost everyone you know or have slept with in town which is why some call it “The Ex March.” In LA it isn’t even a march, it’s just a park hangout and it is THE BEST. (I’m still so fresh to LA so I only see people I am excited to see.)

Dyke Day LA was SO FUN. Epic overlapping hangouts with so many rad folks. (Here, EK, Dara, Kean and Corina.)

Dyke Day LA costs thousands to produce and that money is raised through community fundraisers throughout the year. Community organizing is exhausting work and I am so grateful for the folks who put in the time to carve out space in Pride month that is totally separate from a corporate agenda.

It’s nice that we have this space that is maintained because of the values of the Dykes that came before us. We only have it when there are community members willing to do the work and others willing to donate towards it. (It’s also a great way to meet folks—I met a group of people who completely changed my life when I worked on the Philly Dyke March committee.)

In a Kristen and Tristan sandwich!

I have been thinking a lot about how we resist the capitalism that has seeped into Pride. I think it’s by continuing to push the envelope. Queer means a lot of things but one definition I like most is queer as in weird.

Once you’ve opened up to a sexuality that steps outside of the heterosexual paradigm I think you’re more likely to think outside the box in other ways. Most queers keep things weird and push towards justice, whatever they believe that to be. When corporations grab ahold of what used to be chanted from the streets it ends up this kind of washed and faded version of something we have in full color. I love that queers keep making great anti-capitalist signs for Pride and showing up for resistance.

Philly has pushed the Pride envelope this year by changing the Pride flag to add Black and Brown—a sign of solidarity with the too often marginalized LGBT people of color who are and have been essential to this movement. The backlash is as you would expect from White LGBT folks who don’t see how important this move is to queers of color. I’m here for anything that makes POC feel more supported in the movement–and it’s so new that it’s not reflected in the Pride section at Target.

I’ll admit that I totally bought that $12 Pride shawl (before I knew there was a new rainbow flag!) after much hemming and hawing. I’ve never seen a rainbow shawl for sale and I ultimately want to give a thumbs up to Target’s gesture of (economically beneficial to them) solidarity. But I also spend lots of dollars directly to queers for their hard work and craftspersonship.

I know that Pride can’t actually be bought, and you can’t monetize the feeling of a young queer person at their first Pride parade, because even if Absolut is sponsoring the float that baby queer is paying way more attention to their crush or cruising.

If you want to sport your Pride in a more dapper and baller way, consider purchasing exquisite gender equal footwear designed by my pal NiK Kacy a very active member of the LGBTQ community.

I wonder how long it will take for corporations to adjust to the new Pride flag? I wonder what is now chanted in the streets that twenty years from now will be sanitized for the masses? I hope we keep pushing the envelope and I hope we keep prioritizing real queer people over corporations.

BTW this is NOT a sponsored post (I would tell you) but if Target wants to pass some of their profits to a queer artist out here speaking my truth I am open to sponsorship as long as it is my words and ideas!

2017-03-28

General Life Update

Beloved readers, here’s what’s been going on in my life lately. Anyone following me on Instagram probably knows about what doozies life has been hurling at me lately.

Me and Dara at the Cuties fundraising carnival on Sunday. Their fundraiser is going on for a few more days, you can still donate to this vital safe(r) space for queers in LA!

Your Girl is Getting Great Press

I’ve had a couple of fabulous interviews come out in the last week!

Fat Sex Week XXL is coming! It starts on Thursday and I’ve already gotten press about it. I love serendipitous press. I was nominated as a Sex Hero and I was already thinking about another Fat Sex Week because a lot of great content was floating my way and poof! Check out this fabulous chat between me and Noah Michelson Editorial Director of The Huffington Post Voices about fat sex, why Fat Sex Week matters and what you can expect! (Spoiler: Fat Sex Week is always fatter than a regular week.) What an honor to be called a Sex Hero!

Me, April Flores and Tristan Taormino, also big time sex heroes!

I’ve been telling everyone about Jeffrey Marsh’s incredible book How to Be You (seriously should be required reading in high school) and so admire their work helping people to love themselves. Jeffrey and I have such in sync life purposes.

I was totally thrilled to be interviewed for their new Facebook fan page. We had such a beautiful conversation about how I came to be a body liberation activist and how my turning points to love myself came about. Check it out here and be sure to like their page! (Like my fan page while you’re at it! I’m always popping in great articles and self empowerment.)

I Started Fat Kid Dance Party

A month ago I launched my new dance aerobics class Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression). When I heard about EVERYBODY the new body positive gender inclusive gym opening up just six minutes from my house I had to figure out how to get involved. I started taking dance aerobics in LA and was frustrated that the classes were so fast-paced and not really open to all levels, even though they said they were. So I decided to do it my way. I had been producing body positive queer dance parties, this just meant that I was not only Femmecee and Producer but I was the choreographer and DJ, too.

This is what a gender neutral locker room looks like! Now if only they would install in a make-up mirror/vanity for the Femmes of all genders who want to put on their face/take well-lit selfies.

I spend hours on this every week as I learn this new art form and healing modality. I’m so excited how I’ve been able to use the concepts I’ve incorporated in the workshops I teach about body positivity into lessons during aerobics numbers. It is a very unique class and, I think, very healing with high joy vibrations. I’m getting great feedback from folks coming (bring friends, it’s so much fun in a group). Last week we did a cheer dance routine to all Missy Elliot songs, we did an aerobics dance for peace, a Prince song exploring body postures that give confidence, a 90s dance retrospective to Vanilla Ice and more. Every Thursday at 7:30PM! When you sign up online ahead of time, your check-in at the gym will be very fast.

My philosophy is if I would go to a dance party wearing it, I can use it to teach class. I love wearing overtly political shirts to teach aerobics. You can grab this and many other fabulous shirts/tanks/onesies from Genuine Valentine!

Since I often use exercise to prevent depression, I think my partner Dara genuinely believes I am going to be a happier person because I’m an aerobics instructor. Using an actual line of factual reasoning from one of my favorite movies, Legally Blonde.

We’re Finally Moving

My beloved Grandmother POTSA (Passed On To Something Awesome) on January 26, exactly a year after our lease on our little house in LA began. Two days later our landlady told us she was selling our house. Things here haven’t ever been great—it’s an old house and took a lot of work to become comfortable. We put heart and soul into it and even did a very DIY remodel of the attic to create a Mariah Carey closet for my clothes and Femme accoutrements.

Photo by Jes Baker of the Militant Baker. I’m still working every weekday monitoring her social media.

Our landlady used to live in the house behind ours that shares our driveway and while she was there with her grown children it was chaotic but not awful. We even had some really sweet holiday gatherings for Seder and the High Holidays in the courtyard between our houses. However, she moved out in October with her son and things got way worse. Basically, her daughter is selling meth and we suspect that at times have been cooking it. (Based on tells, like rotten egg smells, SO MUCH GARBAGE, etc…)

This is the Epic High Holiday. I used glitter burlap to artfully cover their weird pile of junk that included three old TVs (one was a big screen) that sat there for months until they cleaned it out and immediately replaced it with a broken down convertible that is now collecting a different pile of junk. But this pic is a great example of that old adage “When life hands you a pile of junk in the middle of your event space, break out the dreamy twinkle lights and glitter burlap.” Photo by Rick Sorkin.

I’m a person who believes really strongly in body autonomy and people getting to make their own choices about their bodies and what they do to them. That’s why I don’t shade fat people who make choices about weight loss and that’s why I don’t shade folks who use whatever drugs they want. However, one of the first things I learned as a young adult was “Never trust a tweaker.” That’s really stuck with me and I keep my distance. I also work hard at a 12 Step program for families and friends of alcoholics and drug addicts and I know the realities of that life very well. It’s been hard to have that energy so close by, the Trigger Train is making all stops.


The foot traffic next to our house has been rough. Imagine strangers constantly streaming past your living room and kitchen windows. It’s like having a coffee shop open up but not exactly coffee. The worst part is Macy, my dog, now has cancer and I highly suspect it’s from the stress and energy of the people passing. If you’re not a spiritual person, from an earthly logic place any dog would get stressed by so much foot traffic. From a spiritual place we had Syd, our energy healer, come by to do a healing for Macy and Biscuit Reynolds and she described the energy of the person walking by as being “hit by wasps.”

Things got to the biggest breaking point when we were up in San Francisco for my friend Amanda’s memorial. The folks in the back house had a party and someone was screaming about a gun. 9 cop cars and 2 helicopters later our pet sitters left Macy alone in the house overnight and I just hit my own breaking point. I knew I couldn’t be present for a memorial while scrambling to coordinate pet care from afar. We turned around and drove home the next morning. (Only one arrest, they are very good at hiding their drugs and guns.)

Anyway, we’re happy to have finally found a place! It was a difficult search. I’ll write a post about it in the future, but we were looking at a leap in rent no matter whether we got a smaller 2 bedroom house or a bigger 3 bedroom house. We could say yes to this paradise in Eagle Rock because it is well set-up for a room to be an occasional air bnb, which will help with our rent jump until Bevin’s Tea becomes wildly successful. And once we get the motor fixed, we will have a hot tub! Healing Oasis!! Thank you to everyone who sent us good vibes, woo, and prayers that we would find a great place!

I’m Throwing Myself into Spiritual Work and Grieving

Clinging to anything leads to suffering. I know that intellectually but I struggle with that a lot in grieving. I’m definitely still mourning my Grandmother big time but without a lot of capacity to do so because of the new aerobics class, house chaos and the moving. I’m also grieving all the stuff I wanted to do in our current house to bring it to fruition that I don’t get to finish.

I have been struggling to stay in faith these past two months about finding a place that works for us, and trust that something better was coming along. Many thanks to Alex, my fabulous psychic, for the pep talk that there was something better.

A quick trip to Sacramento last week while Dara attended a conference was just what I needed. My bestie and soul sister Spunky just moved to a fabulous new apartment in Sacramento. We toasted to NOT SETTLING and trusting the Universe to always deliver bigger and better with change.

Energy healing, going to an astrologer, card reader or psychic, or attending a class like a sound bath meditation, yoga or any of the Heal classes at EVERYBODY is a combination of therapy and spiritual practice. I have been throwing myself into all of these things because I know they help and will help me keep my energy moving. Grieving is part of life, and as someone with a lot of losses I want to do my best to process it and still really LIVE. It’s hard to live when you’re stuck in grief and sadness. This blog is a chronicle of my relentless pursuit of joy and I believe you can have joy no matter what, but that you gotta look at and acknowledge your darkness and sadness in order for it to pass.

When I know I’m not processing my grief enough it is really helpful to throw myself into healing modalities. It’s a thing you can do helps to turn on a spigot and let all the feelings out. About a month after Grandmother POTSA, I realized I was constantly in classes and environments where people were guiding me in taking deep breaths.

I’ve been enjoying Jasmine Danielle’s classes at EVERYBODY. They are strengthening, Barre, and yoga infused and so great. A three pound weight packs a bigger punch than you think!

If you feel so moved, take a deep breath right now. Breathe in for four, hold for four, breathe out for four, four times. This Four by Four breath I learned from Tara Magalski, is a real savior in centering.

The next big spiritual work I am going to do is to let strangers pack my house. I will leave my current house with Macy and Biscuit Reynolds on Sunday, let Dara supervise the packers we are paying to pack up our house, and come back with the pets on Monday to the new place. We both have had a lot of work taking up our time, we knew getting packers was essential to our being able to move quickly. Dara said I should just leave and let her handle it (she admitted later it was both a gift for my sanity and it will be easier for her without me around).

California is gorgeous right now. Due to all the rain this Winter the wildflowers (and bugs) are poppin! The hills look like they’re painted orange but these are just swaths of flowers. So beautiful.

I’m a controlling Capricorn and have serious issues with people moving my stuff around but I also know this will open up my capacity to write more and get more done. I can heal more folks and do more work in the world if I learn let other people do things that bring me stress. Plus, my friend Katy is in town and was just going to chill at her pet friendly hotel all day and invited me along. Yes please, Universe, I will accept this gift and learn these lessons while being a fat babe at the pool with Katy.

Bevin’s Tea is Still Brewing

I’m still hustling my tea business, though much of my business development was put on the shelf in October when Grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Right now I’m kind of a low-key tea dealer, selling to my friends and folks through my blog. Soon I’ll launch on Etsy, once I have the photos done and new labels designed. I am thinking about investing in a fancy label printer and I’m also deepening my work as a healer so that the blends become even more powerful energy healing. I want to return to blogging the process of developing a product based business, because the more work I do with Marie Forleo’s B-School the more I realize how much I benefit from reading other people’s small business journeys.

Got to hang out with Jes Baker a couple weeks ago when she was in town for a speaking gig at a college!

So, beloved readers, get ready for the launch of Fat Sex Week XXL on Thursday! It’s going to be fatter and louder than ever before. For now catch up on the last Fat Sex Week!

2016-11-29

Bevin’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide Centering Queer, POC and Women Owned Businesses

I have been doing a gift guide* for almost as many years as I’ve been blogging here (since 2008) and I always center work by queer, POC and women owned businesses. Now, more than ever, we need to be mindful about where we are putting our dollars! If you can buy your holiday gifts or handle your self pampering needs by supporting artists and businesses that are facing a loss of protection after Drumpf’s election, you are able to do a really concrete thing to help folks out. Money is energy in 3D form–it is important to put a damn in Capitalism, reroute it away from corporations and into the hands of folks whose lives will improve because of it!

If you can’t buy but can support folks by amplifying them on social media, that’s a gift, too, for a hustling entrepreneur!

I’m also highlighting folks who live in red states, supporting queers, POC and women in those spaces is especially vital now that racist, homophobic and misogynist nationalists are emboldened. We are in this together and redirecting our spending is an important way to connect and support social justice.

Make Good Choices
OMG OBSESSED. How about for the Femme Jewess in your life, this LIPSTICK MENORAH? Everyone should buy his and his or hers and hers or they and hers or whatever cups for your next queer wedding! I really want the Never Been Gayer mug to reaffirm my commitment in a Drumpf Presidency to get GAYER AND LOUDER AND WITCHIER. I want to buy everyone I know this Hannukah present, Oy to the World mug. NEVER BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE.oytotheworld

The prancing unicorn mug is a perfect idea for a weirdo in your life.youmakemefeellikeprancing

Make Good Choices on Instagram.

Tie By Hand
One of my oldest friends, Christie, just started a woodworking business called Tie By Hand! She makes a lot of really cute and useful accessories and toys. Dad gifts galore! I have always loved watching Christie create, she puts such love and intention to what she builds. 10% of proceeds go to Equitas Health the LGBT health center in Columbus, OH where she lives. Support a queer family living in a red state!

I think her bottle openers are perfect for the rustic masculine person in your life, elegant in their simplicity. tiebyhandbottleopener

The kids’ toys are wooden and adorable.tiebyhandunicorn

I am simply in love with this magnetic knife holder. tiebyhandwalnutknifeholder

Check out all of her unforgettable one of a kind gifts on her website and the LGBTQ mentorship program she is working to implement.

Paypal Christie@tiebyhand.com to buy any of her products!

Genuine Valentine
Genuine Valentine creates apparel for gender nonconforming folks and anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary. I’m so into the simple design and cozy styles. Run by a gender nonconforming roller derby playing drag king performing friend of mine, I’m so excited to share some of my favorite gifts.

This shirt is a great gift for someone who is interested in showing solidarity/acting as an ally for gender nonconforming folks! Comes in XS-3X.
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I have been giving gifts of clever onesies for all the amazing babies born into my life. I love the sentiment, Dolly Parton said in her Pure and Simple Tour that her mom did great by her to let her make her own path and parents could support their kids by just letting them be themselves. I think the Making My Own Path onesie is a great reminder of that great advice.
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The Future is Genderless–I love this kids’ shirt. genuinevalentinefutureisgenderless

Use code QUEERFATFEMME for 15% off orders at Genuine Valentine!
Genuine Valentine on Facebook
Genuine Valentine on Instagram

Furface Pet Portraits
If you know someone who loves their pet, buy them a digital pet portrait from Fur Face Art! Ketch is a queer artist who has two remarkably cute rescue pekingese dogs and draws really compelling art of pets! It’s been a longtime dream of mine to get portraits done of all of my pets! Order soon because Ketch usually gets full up closer to the holidays! furfaceartshihtzu
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Fur Face Pet Portraits on Facebook
Fur Face Art on Instagram

Hello Holiday

I found this shop through queer fat femme fashion icon Nicolette Mason. They are based in Omaha, Nebraska–red state! They also rep Black Lives Matter on their instagram, which immediately got my attention for folks I want to support!

I’m so into the Girls Support Girls tee shirt–it comes in pink or white and all the way to 3X and is $33. Bust up internalized misogyny! Great gift for pre-teen and teenage feminists!helloholidaygirlssupportgirls
This Intersectional pin is sooo cute. Great gift for academics and social justice types who go to a lot of conferences and wear blazers or denim vests with bling. $13!helloholidayintersectional_2048x2048

Hello Holiday on Instagram
Hello Holiday on Facebook

How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh
If you have a pre-teen or teenager, especially a weird one, in your life, get them this book! As soon as I cracked this book I knew that every single teenager should read it and work through it. It’s part memoir, part workbook to ask yourself the right questions to get to know yourself. When you are growing up as someone who is not a “normal” it is really isolating and lonely! How to Be You is permission giving and beautiful. I think it is suicide prevention and self care to do the work to get to know yourself, especially during adolescence when it is particularly emotionally difficult to not fit in.

Jeffrey Marsh (they/them pronouns) grew up a genderqueer in a small Pennsylvania town and became a social media superstar with their affirming and positive Vine messages. You can buy it here on Amazon and I get a referral for the purchase, or buy it from an indie shop like The Strand or even better an LGBT bookstore!

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Jeffrey Marsh on Instagram.

Stuzo Clothing
Owned by queers of color, Stuzo Clothing, was nominated over five times on my solicitous Facebook and Instagram posts when I asked my followers and friends for recommendations! “A genderless clothing company designed to invoke thought and emotion” Stuzo has some cute presents! They have a store in LA and a robust online store. Also, if you are a person wearing their Koas Kontrol Coat at a party I will stop you to talk about it. STUNNING piece of art.

I LOVE the black mesh button up shirt–I think it’s so sharp and the kind of thing that is timeless if you have strong style. $75 but only goes Small to XL. (If you’re a bigger person who wants to wear it, contact them and ask them to let you know if they do a bigger run!)stuzomeshshirt

The LEZ hat is so stylish–the bandana brim is a fresh update to the tall letter snapback.

The Adipositivity Calendar
Photographer and Fat Activist Substantia Jones set out to show the world fat bodies in an effort to normalize them. Her cutting-edge work has evolved over the years, and she perseveres doing this stuff through a lot of internet BS from haters. Her play with light, her use of bodies to paint a picture is really beautiful and extraordinary. Modeling for her has been such a great experience. I’m plotzing over this photo from our shoot in June–my eyelashes and tattoo are so incredible in the shot. I feel like art!

Her calendar is an annual collection of never-before-seen shots. I’m in it this year for the second time! It’s such an honor to be Ms. July! (My shot is below–a special sneak preview! I’m a YARD SALE PIN-UP in a rainbow snakeskin lamé bikini.)adipositivity16-06-la-203-yardsale-tagged-1100

In Substantia’s words: Every freaking penny of profit goes toward defraying some of the costs of keeping the Adipositivity Project alive, so stuff ya some stockings with these things. You’ll be supporting fat activism, body positivity, and pushback against bigoted patriarchal jackwaddery. Plus it’s all pretty an’ shit.

Buying this calendar funds the body revolution! Sharing about it helps fund the revolution more! I would love to see Substantia make so much cash off this calendar she can shoot Adipositivity art full time and comfortably for all of 2017! (Share this post on Facebook!)adipositivitycal-page-07-july
Adipositivity on Facebook.

Xiomara Lorenzo Designs

Xiomara Lorenzo Designs makes 3D Printed Hoop Earrings. They come in a variety of bright colors and the process seems really cool. I love the large earrings, I feel like in a bold color they would make an amazing statement piece. If you have a Femme who loves modern design on your holiday giving list, consider these. I would get a color you know she wears a lot (red for red-lipped femmes is a solid choice). If I were buying them I’d get them in hot pink because I’m wearing a lot of black and white lately.
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Xiomara Lorenzo Designs on Facebook

Eye of Crow Herbs
My friend Lizanne is a queer femme herbalist out of Oakland who sells herbal remedy products. We bought some Tumeric Oxymel at the QueerCare LA event in June and we loved it. I am excited to try her other remedies. The 3 of <3s blend is great for anyone you know going through a difficult emotional time, including grief. And the Sleeptime blend would be great for someone you know who is losing sleep at night. Or Lickable massage oil for your lover/love interest/poly side dish / whatever. Lizanne rules. Buy her potions!
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Eye of Crow Herbs on Instagram

Stellarium Jewelry
Stellarium Jewelry is owned by a queer femme friend in Baltimore. Her pieces are beautiful, woo and striking. “Stones that are used in this work are hand selected for their energetic and aesthetic qualities.”

This crescent etching earring is a great choice for someone who loves the moon. stellariumcopperetchingearring

Black, White, and Grey Chalcedony Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain is so beautiful. The stone can help with self doubt or help lessen the effects of dementia and senility. Great gift for someone who could use a tangible reminder that you believe in them. stellariumhowlitenecklace

Last Craft
Last Craft is the work of the amazing Amanda Stilwell, a queer femme in Chicago. If you know someone who loves 80s/90s culture, shop here for them. The New Wave Tarot deck is really cool for anyone who loves New Wave and Woo (a pretty big cross section). As a fan of the movie Heathers and body positivity, I must shout out the Big Fun pin.lastcraftbig_fun_large

Last Craft on Facebook
Last Craft on Instagram

Lockwood Shop
Lockwood is my go-to NYC gift store. My friend Mackenzi owns it and her buying is always on point. When we met 7 or 8 years ago she had one tiny shop in Queens and now she has four! It has been so inspirational to see her work hard and hustle her dreams over the years and I LOVE her baby and kids’ stuff. Like this Metrocard plush rattle!!!nyc-rattles-baby-metro-card_th

Or this dinosaur hand puppet!dinosaurhandpuppetlarge_th

Lockwood Shop on Instagram
Lockwood Shop on Facebook

New York Toy Collective
This dildo and accessories company is owned by a queer woman of color and it is such a labor of love. They work to foster a sex positive world and make gender affirming and fluid products. I met them while they were tabling at a party on mine and Dara’s first one on one outing! (First date according to Dara but since I didn’t know it was a date I don’t count it.) I have the Mason in hot pink and LOVE it as well as the Shilo. Quality pieces that have lasted for the past three and four years, respectively!

I got my Mason as my payment for modeling for New York Toy Collective (it was a “lifestyle shoot” and in the video from the shoot I’m juggling dildos–possibly one of the funnest things I’ve been caught doing on video). I’m super honored to be in this shot with Erika Hart, an amazing breast cancer body acceptance activist who is making big waves right now!
newyorktoycollectivegroup2
If you have a friend getting married, consider one of these (or collecting gift cards) for Bachelorette party gifts or wedding shower gifts or I’m in your bridal party gifts. Or maybe give one to your partner to sizzle things up this holiday season! They can make a sex toy out of any genital through their 3D scanning!

New York Toy Collective on Instagram
New York Toy Collective on Facebook

Massage and Body Paint with Julia Cameron Damon
My friend Cam is an amazing body painter and masseuse. She’s based in Longmont, CO, so if you ever are driving through definitely get in touch with her about booking a massage. (I did that once driving cross country, stayed at her place–which is also an airbnb–and got a massage. It was perfect. It’s gorgeous in Colorado.) cammassagetable

If you want the most incredibly unique and romantic experience to give your partner for a holiday gift, book a body paint session with Cam! She will also fly out to you and do a whole body paint/photography session. It’s amazing, such a beautiful embodying experience. In Cam’s words, “Sometimes folk fly into Longmont Friday have dinner and a massage before bed. Then get up Saturday and we paint and shoot all day. They rest and leave Sunday–I have gift certificates for this experience too. Models come away with 100s of digital downloads.” Since Cam is deaf, it’s best to text her–303 243 2240. She does baby belly painting! She travels a bunch, so seriously just get in touch and talk about it. Read all about my experience with our body paint session in Brooklyn five years ago! cambevin

She posts her travel schedule on her Massage Facebook Fan Page.

Novel Idea Crafts
I love bibliophiles and bibliophilic intimacy, thus I love this woman-owned shop with cute crafts made from old books! Much of them are Christmas-oriented, but she does custom work and that’s what I would love to suggest. If there’s a person in your life with whom you have a connection over a book–like if you were Forrest Gump Jr. you might get your dad an ornament made with rolled pages from Curious George.
novelidearolledbookornament


The Paira Birds

If you want to give affordable, really cute art, Tabitha Brown’s digital portraits start at only $15 and really pop. I find them so compelling and joyful. Especially the fox clutching the tea mug (obvs) and many representations of Black folks. foxtea
I feel like this Trini Transistor is a great decor item for a kids’ room.pairabirdsboombox

Bevin’s Tea
Mackenzi said that I hadn’t mentioned my tea in awhile on my blog so I’m making sure to remind readers I’m building an energy healing tea business. The tea is a vector for energy healing when maybe you don’t have the time or money to go have a full Reiki session.

My goal is always to have delicious tea blends, so everything is luxury level blends of organic ingredients. I blend with certain healing properties in mind and emotional effects. Feelings tea is great for when you’re going through it, so is Find Your Chill (especially if you need a sleepytime aid). Dolly Mint is meant to help folks get dollars, stay positive, and ease digestion. Hibiscus Coconut has nettles for anti-inflammatory help and positivity enhancement. Self Love is caffeinated and meant for self loving. I also have a Lesbian Tea Basket sampler pack so you can try all the flavors. My Earl Grey is positively the most popular for folks re-ordering after having the Lesbian Tea Basket. I’m still working on getting up on etsy, but for now you can order it from this page on my blog! I want to make energy healing as accessible as your pantry!lesbianteabasketround1

Bevin’s Tea on Facebook.
Bevin’s Tea on Instagram.

*Inclusion in my gift guide is always free and it is a true labor of love–it takes me 30-40 hours to curate, write, html code, research and resize photos for this post. Dara reminded me I always say I want to start it sooner because I annually forget how long it takes. I’m totally indebted to my friends and followers who help me source a diverse roster of folks to include!

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