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

2015-10-08

Saying Goodbye to NYC: On Leaving, Change, Grief and Anxiety

I have this grief about leaving Brooklyn that hits me in waves. I am profoundly curious and excited about this new chapter in my life. I haven’t experienced a drastic geographic change in 15 years. I’m a totally different person than I was when I left CA. I’m so curious what it is going to be like. But also, I’m bummed about leaving a lot of the things I love about NYC behind. I’m working really hard not to let my grief and anxiety interfere with my ability to love the process and let go of NYC in a mindful way.

bevinatnybgOn my NYC Bucket List was going to the New York Botanical Gardens, which currently features an amazing Frida Kahlo exhibit. It includes fourteen pieces of her artwork and a whole recreation of the gardens of her famed home, Casa Azul.

When I was 29 and my fiance had just broken up with me and I was kind of a disaster, my friend Kelli Dunham gave me a cd about the grief process. I didn’t realize at the time that you could have grief about things that weren’t death. I just thought you powered through yucky feelings by ignoring them. Learning how to deal with grief and anxiety has been a long road and I’m still working through it.

I am going to miss my friends. I’m going to miss all of the tremendous cultural opportunities living in NYC–mostly all of my weirdo Downtown artist friends’ shows. I am going to miss Fall foliage (strategically moving just after foliage, when the gorgeous Gaywitchmas decor lines the streets and just before deep snow times). I’m going to miss the ability to skip car traffic and hop in a subway car to get places. There is grief about leaving that behind.

FridapyramidSince I’m moving someplace in a warm climate I got a lot of great ideas for my future gardens in LA. I love the way the colors of the plants popped against the bright colors of the buildings and pyramid at Casa Azul.

I want to approach this move in a mindful way that is as low stress as it can be. Last night I mentioned to Dara my anxiety level and she’s like “What are you anxious about?” I said, “Um, how about my impending move across the country?” Even the best laid plans and the most time you have to execute them still come with lots of unknown anxieties and that’s kind of buzzing along in the back of my head. I do all the things I know to do to handle my anxiety, including buckets of self care, meditation, faith that the Goddess has a plan for me and is taking care of everything behind the scenes on my behalf and still more self care. Yet still, part of having feelings that are difficult to experience is just acknowledging them. Hi anxiety. You are there still.

So my anxiety is telling me “Do ALL the NYC things you might possibly miss! Schedule ALL the hangouts with your friends! Fill up ALL of your time with moving prep!” But my self care mind is telling me, actually, slow the fuck down you started getting sick this week. Do what you can. It will all be okay. It will all be okay. It will all be okay.

casaazul

Ever since I stopped doing monthly queer parties, I definitely changed how I interact socially. Going through chemo as Dara’s support was a big part of recentering myself towards hanging out at home. At first it was out of necessity and then it became part of how I interacted with the world. I think this is also a product of getting older, and have heard queer friends in their thirties, forties and fifties talk about shifting priorities and not focusing on nightlife for socializing any longer.

There’s also this thing where everyone in NYC is really busy. There’s a necessary hustle to living here because it’s not cheap and my friends tend to be working artists. So they hold down day jobs/day hustles, side hustles, artwork, gigs, rehearsals, etc…

Remember that line in Clueless where Cher’s dad says “Everywhere in LA takes 20 minutes!!” In NYC I think that’s more like 45 minutes. The subway is convenient but it takes awhile, and busses take forever–often they just don’t show up. So if you factor in 45 minutes to get to Crown Heights from South Brooklyn neighborhoods it is hard to squeeze that into an evening. Am I naive to hope that things are a little bit different in a town where most folks drive?

bevinmacvictoriaThe other day I got to do one of my favorite things which was a spontaneous dinner hang with two of my favorite people at once! Mackenzi and Victoria!

I also just got kind of fatigued with how much work it takes to schedule a hang out in NYC sometimes. When people are busy and you get to the third round of times that don’t sync up… This summer I made plans with a couple of friends of mine 2 months out to go to Spa Castle. I totally guarded that time like a precious jewel because it was so hard to get it on the calendar and I wanted to see my friends.

I have also been on a journey to move towards centering self-care into my life–making taking care of myself a priority. Having blank space on my calendar to work on my day job work or my art work is important, it’s also important that I get to the gym, and not to burn myself out running around. Where I used to say yes to everything and fill up my calendar with back to back plans, now I’m more hesitant because I want to conserve my energy for the work I want to be doing in the world. I changed the way I eat, which means I cook for us a lot. It’s much easier and cheaper to eat a whole foods diet* if you cook at home, but that also means I spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning.

nybglilypond

So I had all of these shifts in my life, many of which contributed to my decision to move in the first place, but it also means so many of my precious NYC friends became people I see only every 4 to 6 months.

When I was doing my “should I or shouldn’t I” thinking about moving I realized that if I move away and am still working somewhat bicoastally, I’ll still see my NYC friends about every 4 to 6 months, just in more concentrated doses during visits rather than sporadically during our busy New Yorker lives. I’m hopeful that will work out.

Each time I catch-up with a friend I haven’t seen in 4 to 6 months (or sometimes longer) I am struck at how connections don’t necessarily have to have time limits. I love the experience of having so many friends with whom I have connections that time does not expire. That’s radical, beautiful abundance. It’s kind of weird to be like “Okay, so in the past 6 months all this has happened” with someone who is not a friend from out of town, but that’s a totally legitimate way to sustain connections with people we don’t get to see day to day. And in NYC there are few folks we get to see day to day unless we work or live with them, roll in a crew that prioritizes group hangs, or you see your neighbors often. (I have some neighbors I really love who I rarely see because our schedules don’t overlap.)

meandamandaAmanda moved away from NYC years ago and it is always a joy to get to see her again! Photo by Sarah Jenny.

So in part, my handling of moving anxiety and grief is going with the flow when it comes to getting my last minute NYC enjoyment in. I can’t possibly go to all the museums I’d like to see before I go, I probably won’t get to squeeze everyone before I go. Having an abundance mentality, where I know I can try to see folks as much as possible, putting it out there that I want to have hang outs while I’m decluttering and packing, sending around potluck invites, prioritizing quality time AND self care… Even looking at my life and being able to acknowledge that I’m having grief and anxiety is huge progress compared to who I was just 8 years ago. That’s what I’m experimenting with to handle my grief and anxiety.

That and remembering that I get to see lots of people I love once we are headed to LA. Both on the trip out through the South and once we get there. Life is change, the Goddess is change, and with change comes grief and anxiety.

bevinpyramid

*It is also not cheap to eat a whole foods diet and food justice programs that work towards making whole foods more accessible to low income folks is work I really admire and want to amplify. Do you do food justice work and want my help amplifying? Please get in touch!

2015-08-20

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

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

thighchafingbandeletteThis is me in Bandelettes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paceline-Chamois-Buttr-8oz-Tube

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

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

Here are my Bandelettes pro tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015-01-28

Why Plus Model Tess Holliday’s Media Blitz is an Important Moment for Fat People Everywhere

So the other day I got a phone call from a reporter friend of mine at the New York Daily News (one of the big dailies in NYC) doing an article about plus size model Tess Holliday (formerly known as Tess Munster) being signed to a modeling agency. Tess is unusual because she’s only 5’4″ and a size 22–much different proportions than the standard for plus size models. By the way, even though plus size models are modeling clothing worn by women of lots of different shapes and sizes, the “industry standard” is under size 14 and 5’8″ or taller.

tessCNNTess Holliday on TV! Source: Tess Holliday Facebook.

I did the interview with the New York Daily News and my quote is good and meaty. Here it is.

“It’s astounding the reach she has and how many people respond to her,” said QueerFatFemme blogger Bevin Branlandingham. “She created a movement around being a plus-size model.

“It’s radical to have an agency willing to stand behind someone and push the envelope about what way models have to look. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. A good model has more to do with how she works in front of a camera then what her height and weight proportions are.”

Since that article came out on Saturday the media has been blowing up about Tess getting signed! I got an excited text from the reporter, Pearl Gabel, that it was the third most popular article on the Daily News’ website! Since the Daily News article came out I’ve seen Tess in People Magazine, Buzzfeed, CNN and just learned she was on Inside Edition!

During my brief interview with the Daily News I had a lot more to say than what my quote could fit, so here are my thoughts on why it’s important that Tess was signed by an agency and the resulting media storm.

tesscuteShe’s so cute! Source: Tess Holliday facebook page.

Fat comes in lots of shapes, and my fat looks really different than someone else who may be the same size as me. And it definitely looks different than a standard plus size model. It’s really refreshing to hear of a modeling agency willing to take a chance on a model who doesn’t fit into the industry standard.

So why does the modeling industry matter in all of this? Shouldn’t we be moving away from more superficial representations of bodies?

I was steeped in this issue when I was working at Re/Dress in its Brooklyn incarnation, 2008-2011. Then-owner Deb partnered with Plus Model Magazine to do a model search for a size 18+ model. I resisted at first, not feeling great about modeling as an industry and Re/Dress as an indie store helping supporting it. I remember a long conversation with Deb while we were sorting clothing on the racks talking about this. (Plus size processing was one of the best things about being a Shop Girl at Re/Dress.)

I came around 180 degrees watching the model contest unfold. There was of course an essay contest in addition to the photos for the entries. As folks who love people who love their bodies we really looked for people who had body positivity as part of their ethic. Seeing how excited people get about modeling and models, I thought it was a great way to use that excitement to feed in messages of body positivity. Additionally, it’s really fun to dress up and look pretty, especially if you’re in a non-normative body that is historically marginalized.

We ended up selecting a regular customer of ours who was so glamorous and gorgeous and, like Tess Holiday, gives amazing face in front of the camera. Audrey Lea Curry, who later went on to co-star in the erstwhile awesome show Big Sexy with my friend and fellow Re/Dress shop girl Leslie Medlik, was the model and won cash and prizes, including a spread in Plus Model Magazine featuring Re/Dress clothing and shot by amazing plus size model and photographer Velvet D’Amour.

audreyplusmodelmagA page from the Plus Model Magazine spread. Photos by Velvet D’Amour.

The plus model industry and size positive movement has been pushing the issue of representation in the fashion industry for a long time and it’s really heartwarming to see a shift happening in this moment. I remember ten years ago mainstream plus brands were barely starting to use standard size plus size models in their advertising. And today mostly you get the really pretty, “curvy” models. I love brands, like Domino Dollhouse, that have been using bigger plus size models all along and work to support them.

I first heard about Tess Holliday when she was modeling for Domino Dollhouse. I got to meet the designer, Tracy Broxterman, at an indie trunk show at the closing of the Re/Dress Brooklyn incarnation. (Re/Dress has since retained an online store and has a storefront in Cleveland, and is now owned by the fabulous indie designer Rachel Kacenjar of Cupcake and Cuddlebunny fame.*)

tess-holliday-anthonyevansPhoto by Anthony Evans.

What I love most about Tess’s media blitz is that not only is there a non-standard plus model in the industry making huge waves, she’s also tattooed and pierced! Tess has been staying on message about believing in herself in spite of what people told her. This quote from the People Magazine online article is really inspirational:

“I’ve just kept doing this stuff recently, thinking, ‘Thank God I didn’t give up,’ ” says the Los Angeles-based Holliday, who had to overcome many detractors to get where she is today.

“I found out about plus-size modeling when I was 15, and I went to an audition in Atlanta. They told me that I was too short and I was too big, and I would never model. But I’m very hardheaded!”

I can definitely relate to being bullied and using that spitfire to rise above the lies people told me about my body and loving myself anyway. Tess didn’t just stick to plus modeling in spite of being told no at that audition, she also began a movement called Eff Your Beauty Standards in order to empower other fat folks. I think it’s amazing when plus models, who could just stay a pretty face in front of the camera, get political with size activism and empower others.

The modeling agency (MiLk Model Management) said that they were driven to sign Tess because of her social media following. I think it was Tess’s inspirational movement that has been a big part of her prolific social media presence that helped get her that deal.

Tess Holliday’s Instagram is a very satisfying feed to follow. Lots of gorgeous Tess shots, of course, but also glamorous behind the scenes of a modeling career and regular every day stuff like hanging out with her babetown Australian fiance and her son. And it’s always a good moment for me when Tess is in her underwear. Swoon!!

tesshollidayforpowdermagazineHeidi CalvertI adore Tess’s vintage aesthetic and her fatshions. Photo by Heidi Calvert for Powder Magazine.

Our society’s ridiculous notions of beauty are being thwarted a bit right now, because of this event and the media avalanche. This is a big story. People who read it who haven’t heard about size activism might have their minds stretched. The modeling industry is seeing that people respond well to non-normative body shapes.

The more people who share about Tess and talk about how great it is to have actual plus size diversity in modeling the more we can catalyze a bigger societal shift towards body acceptance. So share this blog post, or a media piece you appreciate about it. (I’m especially fond of the Buzzfeed article because it shows lots of Tess’s followers using the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag being empowered!)

Fat allies, this is your time, too, tell your people about Tess and let them know that it matters to you that this is representing change in an industry that oppresses bodies. Remember my mantra, All bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are!

And be sure to write your favorite plus size manufacturers to ask them to use models of all plus sizes so we can be sure that MiLK model management and other agencies that follow suit have jobs to send these models on! And support the indie designers that have been using plus models of all sizes all along!

I would love to see this change mean more gateways for other non-normative bodies, ages, ethnicities, genders, body hair status, etc…

20150117_182554-MOTIONI also want to give a shout out to my bestie Mackenzi’s new women’s clothing boutique in Astoria, Queens, Lockwood Style, carrying sizes 0-24! The inventory is really diverse and there’s a lot of turnover in styles. It just opened as the sister store to her Lockwood home and gift store next door. It’s worth a trip to Astoria if you find yourself in NYC shopping while fat! The dress I was trying on was from Cabiria Style, an indie local plus size designer carried at Lockwood.

*If you’re suffering from cold this winter I highly recommend fleece lined leggings, and Re/Dress online is having a Winter layers sale right now. I just bought some in pink and black. Use code LAYERUP for $5 off each piece. I secretly wanted to buy this $98 vintage nightie but for now just practical layers, I will when I am a rich lesbian.

**PS. Be sure to check out Domino Dollhouse’s Valentine’s lingerie line featuring Tess Holliday!

***PPS. Read this article from Huffington Post last week about my friend Sophie Spinelle’s body positive feminist pin-up photography business. I love the title of the article so much! These Pin-Up Photos From ‘Shameless Photography’ Show That Every Body Is Gorgeous. Congratulations Sophie!

o-SHAMELESS-PHOTOGRAPHY-900Bra burning pin-ups is the way to go!

2014-12-01

Queer Fat Femme Holiday Gift Guide

It’s Cyber Monday (I kind of hate that it’s a thing now but it’s a thing now) and I am fresh from watching so many movies about how the spirit of the holidays is not about capitalism it’s about feeling warm and generous. I, personally, love all things glitter and magical and really appreciate the holidays in a take what you like and leave the rest sort of way. I love that people decorate their houses in glitter and lights. I also enjoy supporting small businesses and queer owned businesses. So if you’re going to participate in gift giving, I’m super into connecting people to small businesses. I’m also into giving people good gift ideas.

My holiday gift guide this year is not compensated–I included small businesses owned by folks I know and indie businesses suggested by my followers who commented on my instagram and facebook posts asking for their favorites. I also threw in a couple of wild cards from more corporate origins that were just good gift suggestions for folks struggling with what to give. I’ve got ideas for the femmes, queers, masculine of center, pets and woo/spiritual folks on your list!

My astrologer once told me that money is energy in 3D form and I totally believe in being mindful about putting your energy out there, especially when you’re doing holiday shopping. So here is a big list of possible holiday gifts for all kinds of folks on your list, enjoy!

IMG_20141201_151407The Medusa Bustier modeled by Art Queen Caitlin Rose Sweet from the Leather Coven Instagram.
Leather Coven, “LUXE LEATHER AMULETS FOR ALL BODIES by chicano FTfeMme papi Mateo” was by far the most popular suggestion when I crowd-sourced gift ideas, but they were already on my list! I met Mateo at Hampshire College at a queer conference I performed at with Heels on Wheels and was impressed forever with the design Mateo was wearing! I’m so excited to see Leather Coven taking off lately, with queer babes of all sizes sporting some of these gorgeous designs. I love the Pentagram Harness ($56 and up depending on your choice of hardware) and the Medusa Bustier ($52+) and love love love that the designs work well both for fashion and for kink!

Leather Coven takes Etsy gift cards, which is great if you don’t know your intended’s measurements, or you can just order the gift and send the measurements in when you give the gift. (Their instagram is worth a follow–@leathercoven!) Cyber Monday savings through 12/1 (that’s tonight!) enter code CYBERSAGITTARIUS at check out.

IMG_20141201_151436Vinyl & Sequin Bow Tie as seen on GNATGlitterKink Instagram in the Gender: Queer photo series with Jacob Tobia and Sunny Frothingham. Photo by Chelsea Pieroni.
GNAT Glitter Kink. For vegan kink & fashion harnesses and for other accessories in an array of flamboyant glitter vinyls! I especially love the Vinyl & Sequin Bow Tie for the flamboyant Dandy on your holiday giving list! $25. Use code CYBERME for 25% off through December 1st!

Brownstargirl Tarot! I’ve had my tarot read by Leah Lakshmi Piepzana-Samarasinha many times since 2008 and she’s so amazing! She offers readings all over the world via skype, google hangout, phone and in person where she might travel (based in Toronto right now). Tarot, one and a half hours: $60-140 sliding scale, Tarot and numerology combination reading: $100-160 sliding scale, Group, couple or two-person readings: $80-130 sliding scale. I love what she says about sliding scale: I appreciate my clients with access to financial wealth sharing it as a form of economic justice and accountability. I appreciate this because I love working with other raised or currently poor and working class folks, and if you’ve got money, honey, your paying at the higher end of my sliding scale allows me to make a living while providing high quality divination to badass broke geniuses who have access to less cash.

If someone you know loves woo, get them a reading with Leah! It’s going to help center them for the New Year, or gird them for the Winter ahead!

bobby-pins-print_thLockwood Shop is owned by my friend Mackenzi, who has exceptional taste in gifts. I’ve successfully shopped for 90% of my holiday gifts at her store over the past few years. For bobby pin identified femmes what about this bobby pin print? ($28)

Whisky stones ($22.95) are a great choice for the drinker on your list. For the little one (or space inclined one) on your list, the Galaxy Night Light is so magical. ($8) You should cruise the website to see all of the other things they have, including lots of Queens and NYC inspired gifts. And if you’re in Astoria definitely stop by and get one of the Shop Keeps to help you shop!

il_570xN.681311055_io9hJessika Fancy is a queer femme in Portland, OR with some amazing jewelry and fashion designs as well as gem essence blends. I adore the Full Moon earrings (out of stock right now) and the Queer Magic Femme Hands patch ($11). Maybe someone you know is going through a rough patch and a protection blend aura spray for $14 might help them out a bunch?

Jessika Fancy is also part of the Spinning Wheel Apothecary, that makes seasonal woo boxes!

il_570xN.603522703_jbzvAdam Rabbit Jewelry: So many raw crystal designs at really great prices! These raw amethyst chunk earrings are only $15! Raw crystals are so powerful. Amethyst is great for healing and developing patience and calm. I really appreciate crystal jewelry designs that leave the crystals looking like a rock.

Peacock_necklace-berryKelly Horrigan Handmade! Kelly is really great queer designer and I love all of her stunning pieces of jewelry and clothing. Her peacock feather leather designs are so striking (I’ve seen them in several colors) and for my queer holiday gift guide I had to highlight her new Yoni necklace design.
Yoni_necklace2Regardless of whether or not you identify with a yoni, you can totally wear one as a necklace. Through December 2 you can get 45% off in her online store with code CYBERWOW.

slide3The IRing is a little kickstand device that you adhere to the back of your smartphone case and it acts as a vertical or horizontal stand for your phone. My partner Dara has one and it’s actually really handy. The adhesive doesn’t screw up your phone case, allows you to take it on and off though it is very sturdy once applied. You can hang your phone from a hook, a carabiner, or watch videos. It’s such a great stocking stuffer.

The reason Dara is involved with it is that there is a special fundraiser benefitting a non-profit supporting school improvement in the urban school community. If you buy an IRing for $20 and enter the code “SchoolsThatCan” (all one word) $8 of your purchase price goes towards Schools That Can.

P.S. I star in a video Dara made to promote the fundraiser.

il_570xN.540347972_el51Mister Sister NYC is a vegan bakery run by a queer in Queens. I’ve had the vegan fudge and it’s so delicious! You can get a vegan fudge gift pack for $12! Would make a great stocking stuffer for your vegan or non-vegan pals.

il_570xN.691982428_6iplFemme Anarchist. So much amazing queer and feminist schwag! I love the above glitter queer broaches for queer visibility! ($9.99) Or the Femme necklace for Femme visibility! ($12.99) I also love the trans inclusive feminism always pin, cats against cat calls pin, riots not diets patch, pizza slut necklace (to my friends: no one else get that for Miss Mary Wanna, I already ordered it), or baby got books necklace. A stocking stuffed with prizes from this shop would rule! Use code FEMMEFATALE for 10% off!

IMG_5032Age of Eleven. A friend of mine has been raving about the concept of a crystal dick. That’s right, crystal power in the form of a penis and insertable. So imagine the healing power of a quartz phallus. For $249 you can use it as a toy or a massage wand or an altar piece or whatever you can imagine doing with a penis shaped crystal. They also sell yoni eggs, earrings, necklaces and other jewelry.

cats-are-the-new-kids-3Best in Show SF has a great online store with tons of unique dog and cat items. I especially love the Cats are the New Kids / Dogs are the New Kids tee shirts. ($29.95, sizes S-XXL) Also comes in tote bags and coffee cups.

Paco Collars: I absolutely adore this word bracelet ($40-$50) for a simple way to say something custom to a person in your life. I think the leather is sooo handsome and I really like their font choice. Paco Collars also has a custom dog collar feature on their website and some really great leatherwork for dog and cat collars.

image6For the woo person in your life who loves affirmations, I really enjoy the I Can Do It page a day calendar from Louise Hay. A friend turned me onto it a couple of years ago and I find it really uplifting and enjoy writing folks notes on the back of the pages. It’s $8 right now on sale at the link above. If you need it to be on sale later I just got a circular in the mail that offers free shipping and holiday savings with the code 6124.

Self Serve Toys: Literally anytime someone mentions Albuquerque to me I tell them they need to go to Self Serve Toys and say hi to my friend Matie (even people I’ve never discussed sex toy shopping with). She’s owned and operated this store for five years! It is a gorgeous store and very well-curated.

My gift suggestion is the NJoy Pure Wand from Self Serve, but pretty much anything you need from them you can call and get recommendations. The NJoy Pure Wand is a great indulgence present ($109) that is a welcome addition to a sex toy supply, especially for people who enjoy a g-spot or p-spot stimulation. Check out Matie showing you how wonderful this toy is in this video. “This toy feels different than anything or anyone you’ve ever had inside you.” Shipping is free for $100 orders or over, or flat rate $5 for anything less than that.

il_570xN.683521950_cge4Right in the Childhood has cute masculine of center accessories, like this Lego Wonder Woman Tie Bar. ($17)

il_570xN.679721099_7cshYes Ma’am Designs (you know I love that name!) has fantastic accessories, including this flagging red duct tape clutch!

2013-01-17

Additions to the Queer Lexicography

It’s been awhile since I updated the Queer Lexicography here at QueerFatFemme.com and I have been employing some gems in my real life lately that might apply to yours.

Textversation. This is that tendency to use texting like IMing was back in the day. (Remember AOL Instant Messenger?) Some people are more prone to this than others, but I go back and forth. Sometimes I only want to use texting for pertinent information shares, sometimes I want a meaningful conversation to continue. Also, certain couples I know are basically always in textversation with one another when not in the same room.

“We were in textversation for a solid week and then, BAM, nothing for like four days. What happened?”

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Victoria setting up Apples to Apples at my birthday party. I want to start using the Queer Lexicography words in Apples to Apples.

Sending the Representative. This is a gem my friend Mackenzi introduced to me about that thing that happens when folks don’t show you who they really are when you date them. A particularly hilarious story accompanies this term that involves a suitor who engaged her intern to burn some cds she could keep in her car that would make Mackenzi think the suitor had good taste in music. It’s such a gift when your beau is being authentic!

“We were really vibing but it turns out they were totally sending the representative and I don’t actually know them at all.”

Sex Vortex. See also Kissing Vortex. This occurs when you’re in the kind of chemical magic with another human that time either stands still or ceases to exist when you’re having sex or kissing. I’ve had this happen to me, where I lose track of time and space, and also where my frien was watching me make out with someone at a dance party and said, “Bev, it was like time was slowing down watching you two.”

“We were supposed to have dinner at 7:30 but we accidentally fell into a sex vortex at 6 and didn’t realize it until 8:30. Oops.”

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Me and Sexpert Diana Cage at my birthday party.

DTR conversation. My BFF Spunky and I have been using this for years. DTR stands for Define The Relationship and the DTR CONVO is totally important but not something to be rushed. Being okay with ambiguity is something I’ve acquired over the years (see, why I love a date not a date), after a couple of years of really intense emotional work. But, dang, before I turned 31 I would go crazy without a DTR.

“I’m not trying to have a DTR with you but I need you to not euphemize this as ‘hanging out.'”

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Speaking of, let’s talk about the euphemism “hanging out.” I “hang out” with lots of folks. Let’s say I would actually hang out with pretty much all of my facebook friends. But I only sleep with/have slept with a small number of those people. I bristle at that common euphemism because if someone says they’re hanging out with someone I don’t know if they mean just like, chilling, with a friend or if they mean they are going to be doing it.

A friend of mine recently said that about someone she was sleeping with and I said, No, be more specific and she said, “Well, this is a girl I don’t spend money on and I’m not trying to woo. What do we call that? Is that just friends with benefits?” Dear readers who know more slang than I do, is there a term out there that I’m missing? Does everyone use the term “hanging out?” What if you’re not really friends but you just do it sometimes? What if it’s like somewhere before dating? Relationships are so complicated!

2012-12-19

How to Stuff a Femme’s Stocking

I only intend the title of this post to be a slight double entendre. It’s not Gay Sex Week, so this post is mostly just about last-minute shopping for Femmes who have a stocking you’re either creating or participating in. I was inspired by a conversation this weekend with a friend who is stuffing a Femme stocking for the first time (first time seriously dating a Femme who celebrates Christmas/Gaywitchmas). I was spilling my guts about what it is delightful to find in that stocking and I thought it would be helpful to share with you, dear readers. And if you’re the person who wants to receive these treats, Femme or otherwise, you could always print this out and leave it lying around.

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Important and perpetual disclaimer–I subscribed to the umbrella term for self-identified Femmes. All Femmes are different and there are a million ways to be a Femme and receive gifts as Femmes. So look through this list and see what strikes your fancy about the Femme in your life. Pay attention to what they like and you won’t go very wrong.

Okay, so I think a stocking should be delightful and diverse. A hearty mix of useful, whimsical, practical and shiny things.

Make-up

I have always loved treats from Sephora. You can usually get them from the end caps near the check-out line. They have lots of great things.*

A favorite of mine is the Philosophy lip gloss. (That link is to a set but I know they sell loosies at Sephora for about $6/$8.) It tastes amazing and it’s extremely shiny. Probably if you’re kissing the Femme you’re stocking stuffing, you might want to purchase a flavor that works for you. Other flavored lip glosses work well, too, but I am a devout believer in the Philosophy ones.

Nail polish is always a winner, and totally something you can grab at the drug store when you’re scrambling last-minute. The Femme folks I know who use nail polish tend to have quite a stash and it’s always fun to add to it. You can get the NYC brand nail polishes at Target for like $3. Glitter polish is always a charmer and I would be impressed if someone dropped the $9 for an OPI Shatter. Or if you know the Femme is hella into nail art, get her a nail art set! SHANY Nail Art Set is $25.

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A cute compact mirror is also a rad neutral stocking stuffer. If you don’t know what a compact mirror is, they look like this. Sephora has them. Get the Femme a design that seems to speak to their personality. All of the compacts I’ve ever had came as gifts and I really appreciate them.

Any other tiny sample of something fabulous and chichi is nice, too. I got a great sample of mascara once from my ex-GF that I loved (also from Sephora).

Fun Jewelry

Maybe the Femme in your life is a big fan of glamping and partying in the woods. Put in the stocking some glow in the dark earrings or a battery operated light-up necklace! Both bring the party to where you are.

A cute pair of earrings or a big bracelet (make sure it will fit their arm) also make a great stocking stuffer!

Bath Products and Pampering

LUSH is where I send anyone to get things for me and I know they won’t go wrong. All of their products are handmade, not tested on animals, natural, and they smell phenomenal.

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If the Femme is a bath taker (and you’ll probably know if they are or not) Bath bombs are amazing. I’ve gotten them with glitter, confetti, fragrance, soap flowers in them. You just pop them in the bath tub and they do their magic fizzy thing and create an incredible experience. The Sex Bomb is my favorite.

(I generally steer clear of those bath sets from the drug store. Most of those products aren’t great for the skin and could be toxic to the delicate flora of the vagina if this Femme has one of those. Just some Femme real talk for you.)

Massage bars (from LUSH or elsewhere) are great! They melt right on the skin since they’re mostly cocoa butter or something similar to that.

Massage oils are also rad! My mom just gave me a couple of bottles of arnica massage oil she got when she was in Spain last Spring and it’s actually really great. I mean, it’s nice to have someone to give you a massage, but even for the Femme without that, I used it on my heel when I hurt it during a work-out, since arnica helps sore muscles. But any massage oil with some good essential oils would be rad. Mall staple The Body Shop has some, too.

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I made this ornament myself in honor of my friends’ first Christmakkuh together.

Practical Gifts

I highly suggest you tread lightly in this arena. Part of stuffing a stocking is not filling it with useless junk that your recipient is never going to use. So I know a bunch of folks who all agreed that some practical stuff is really helpful. My friend’s mom always gives her a pack of razors, deodorant, other drugstore type purchases which would save her money over the year.

As a Capricorn I appreciate a dose of practical in the context of something larger (as long as there’s still plenty of whimsy involved). If you snoop in this Femme’s medicine chest or bathroom and find out the exact moisturizer they use (I’m talking exact, take a photo of the bottle and compare at the drug store) or the exact lotion, that could be rad. Why stuff a stocking with “filler” when it can be rad and useful?

Sexy Gifts

Are you doing it with this Femme? Do you have an open sexual kind of friend relationship? Lots of sexy stocking stuffers available to you!

Panties! A lacy thing is really nice to find in the stocking. One year a partner bought me lingerie that was too small but we ended up using it for ripping off. But do try to get the sizing right. A quick peek in a lingerie drawer can answer all the questions you might have.

Cute small sex accessories! Swing by your local small feminist sex toy store, like Self Serve Toys in Albuquerque, NM and ask them for stocking stuffer ideas! A magic bullet vibrator or a butt plug might make it a really happy holiday for both of you.

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My friend Leo took off her bowtie at a Christmakkuh party this weekend and several Femmes made audible noises. It was like watching Magic Mike in person, only Leo had no idea. This is why it is good to learn how to come correct and tie a bow tie proper!

Kitchen Stuff

If the Femme you’re shopping for is kitchen-identified, a couple of clever kitchen accessories are a greast way to go. I love this owl kitchen timer from my friend Mackenzi’s store in Queens. And this Vespa Pizza Cutter!

Big Fillers

If the Femme in your life is a crafter, you could stuff the stocking with fabric samples, like big swatches of tulle or even a poofy crinoline skirt. For those of you who don’t speak Femme, this is a crinoline skirt.

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Photo by Randi. This is me and Victoria, showing our pal Clare where baby tutus come from.

You can get tulle at a fabric store. I have a stockpile of it for various craft needs at my home. Also, as a knitter, I love yarn but you should be sure you’re getting the right kind of yarn (something soft and natural fibery is a good choice) and stop by your local yarn shop or craft store to get it.

Also, body glitter or a big pile of craft glitter is never a bad idea, either.

And for whimsy, why not a coloring book with a set of crayons? Last year my BFF Brian and his BF Arnulfo got me the Cunt coloring book. It was hours of fun!

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Arnie colored that himself.

Feet Warmers

Socks (like these moustache socks!) and slippers are classic stocking stuffers! You can easily grab slippers at a small local gift shop or Target. Another great idea is a pair of tights! Tights are vaguely sized and at Target there are only like 3 sizes and you can probably guess which size the Femme falls in. I find the 1X/2X Target tights fit my 5’7″ 24W bottoms well.

I also love Avenue tights and personally don’t feel I can ever have enough textured tights in my life. But this is another lesson in paying attention which is the kind of thing that makes one a great date or good at courtship. Does the Femme wear tights in the first place? What kind do they usually wear?

And if you’re in a situation where you’re providing the stocking, you can get them at lots of places, like Target, any drug store, etc… I suggest pinning a brooch or a letter to the stocking for a personalized touch!

*My ex fiance hit the jackpot in my stocking the last Christmas we spent together when he just showed up at Sephora and said “I need stocking stuffers” and the shop girls really helped him out and everything he bought me was a winner. That was the last time I got a stocking but this year I got the cutest stocking-style Femme care package that really made me feel all glowy inside.

2012-02-24

Balance, Priorities, New Lesbian Tea Basket, Everyday Glitter

Hey, things are really amazing in all of these tender and small ways. I think it’s pretty impressive when I feel settled and calm even when the stuff around me is far from perfect. Boxes everywhere. An ill-conceived pile of shoes in the path to the bedroom door because I couldn’t figure out where they should go until I install their shelves. Macy looking plaintively up at me because she cannot scale the pile of the shoes to the tote bag she is using as a makeshift dog bed because her actual dog beds are still in boxes someplace. My vanity mirror is still packed so my desk is the site of hand mirror make-up application, meaning my day to day make-up look is either more colorful than intended or a little haphazard.

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Me a little haphazard and my fresh niece, AJ. 5 days old. By the next day my hair just looked like an updated version of a witch from a Disney movie.

But still. Even in all that. There is calm. And there is joy in little and big things that make the agita of the post-move bearable.

Someone interviewed me for a school project and asked me how I “do all the things” that I do. The answer is that I live a balanced life with priorities. And it’s not like I am standing rock solid on the teeter totter of my life like Wonder Woman somehow doing it all. I don’t do it all.* But I know what’s important to me and I do that.

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Etta Pearl, big sister, with newbie AJ.

The thing about priorities in life is that they change. As I got to know myself more I started to shift and adjust what I plan to do with my days to align with my core values. I am nowhere near perfect at this. I had to really learn how to have reasonable expectations of myself. When I first started working from home and had my own business my to do list was far beyond any possibility of what I could get done but I thought by creating this giant expectations I was doing myself a favor, that somehow I was going to conform to this perfect superhuman level of task completion. No way! It was sort of like I was doing what the weight loss industry wants to do to fat folks–shaming them into losing the wight. Shame actually has the opposite effect, it causes you to freeze up and do nothing. Feeling bad about yourself is not the way to get anything done.

When I feel seized by my perfectionism and shame, I just check out and play clickie clickie games on the internet. Nothing gets done. I feel the shame spiral. It sucks.

To change this I got simple. Started from scratch.

When I was a teenager this motivational speaker told this parable during an assembly about time management. He was describing life as a jar and the things we have to do every day as tiny pebbles. Our priorities make our pebbles bigger or smaller, depending. He asked how we get as much as possible in the jar. The answer was to fill it first with the big pebbles, your priority rocks. Then fill it with the other smaller pebbles so they can shift around it. And that’s the thing about little rocks. They slide into the rest of it.

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I really wanted an armchair to put next to my fire escape garden. Damien calls it my “feelings chair.” $35 from my favorite South Jersey thrift store!

And that’s what I did with my to do list. I got the big stuff and let the little things slide into it. Sometimes they get done, sometimes they don’t but it is rarely make or break.

In the last couple of years as I’ve learned what is really important to me and learned to let go of what isn’t, how to say no to things and how to check in with myself about what I am doing and how I am doing it. Moreover, I’ve learned how to identify for myself what is important to me, how to turn off all the voices of what I “should” be doing or who I “should” become, what my body “should” look like or how much I “should” love myself even when it’s hard. I got tired of shoulding and wanted to instead be living and enjoying my life. Thus, I have created a practice whereby I check in with myself about my priorities. I try to do this every week, but basically it comes up for me when I feel off balance.

When I let go of the shoulds and am instead leading my life based on my priorities it is a lot easier to get things done, go to the gym, be happy. Let go of expecting to do it all.

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I really wish I could always have time do do fancy make-up and hair. But when I do make time it feels really great.

Moving felt like I was working at work and working at home and trying to keep up with the minimum amount of self-care I could get away with. Which isn’t a very gentle life. And then my new niece was born, so I shifted again, because seeing this little baby at 5 days old was worth another week amongst the boxes, grabbing a cocktail dress and thinking it was a nightgown because I don’t have my closet rods up and my loungerie looks like going out attire inside a suitcase. You should see the weird disaster outfit I came up with for painting. Sure, the perfectionist inside me wanted to have the exact right painting clothes but stuff still got painted. And sure, the perfectionist inside me told me it sucked that my painting didn’t all get done in one night like I planned, but I had to change my expectations when I realized I didn’t have the tools I needed to get it all done.

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Chavon helping me paint.


Post painting lavender.

So, all the imbalance of moving is just a reminder to stop, think about what is the biggest priority, and be guided accordingly. Sometimes it feels like I am flat on my butt on the ground having fallen off that teetertotter. I’ve noticed my attention getting swayed in different directions which are not in line with my priorities and don’t give me balance or peace. Gentle shifting.

Right now my big rocks are my spiritual practice, self care, work and creating a peaceful, artistic and fun home environment. And at some point they will shift as they need to but I know I need to go to the gym to feel calm and I know I also need to focus on what is working and what is delighting me in order to not focus on all the unfinished stress. That’s what Everyday Glitter is for! Focusing on the small joys that make up the whole of a fulfilling life.

Glitter Item the First: There is a new episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! I review Mackenzi’s chalkboard mugs (buy them here) and also this incredible tea I found at a local store in Brooklyn, Choice Greene.

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Glitter Item the Second: The Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit I participated in was really amazing. The last minute addition of Ivette González-Alé of Marimacho clothing, Azucar party and the new web series The Peculiar Kind (omg, totally go watch it, episode one is online), a reality series about queer women of color in Brooklyn.

You can register and download the telesummit recording for free until 3PM Friday, after that you have to buy a pass for the conference and you can download all of the telesummits through the end of March (sliding scale starts at $20).

Glitter Item the Third: I am really into making comfort foods for myself in these days of new job and moving transition and stress. You know how when you’re moving you have to keep eating take-out because your kitchen is in boxes? Between work food and home food being take-out I spent all my money on food. I also got reaaaaaaallly broke from the cost of movers (renting a truck and trying to get friends to do it was going to cost almost as much and eat up all my favors from my friends) and coming up with unexpected first, last, security. So while I waited patiently for my first paycheck (a long month) I had to get unpacked in the kitchen really fast and find something to eat that cost next to nothing.

Twice Baked Potatoes! Seriously, I hadn’t had them since childhood but a friend told me about one she had stuffed with short ribs and then I was ready to make it real for myself. I bought a bag of baking potatoes, baked them in the oven for an hour, cut them like little canoes, shoveled out the insides into a bowl, being careful to leave enough potato on the skin to keep the shape. Added some sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, sauteed onions, cremini mushrooms (I got the fancy kind, since enough for several twice bakeds was only $2) and mixed it together. I filled the potatoes again, sprinkled the tops with gruyere from trader joe’s and also the lids with some gruyere (making potato skins) and baked again for 15 minutes or so. I think I got 10 potatoes out of all of those ingredients for $10. Super comforting food and easy to reheat (toaster oven is best) and great for winter and cheap.

Heather said “Bevin you’re a lawyer, how do you have time to bake this twice??” The weekend. That’s how.

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Heather temped in our office one day when the front desk gay had strep throat.

I also made bolognese sauce from scratch. It took over two hours. It makes me feel really special when I eat it for lunch at work. This was not as cheap but taking the time to make something for so long felt like I was taking extra special care of myself.

Glitter Item the Fourth: I’m on Pinterest. Still not sure what that’s all about but I am enjoying making visual boards. If you’re on there I am @queerfatfemme.


Fashion wins by Heather and Erica.

Glitter Item the Fifth: I made a new Spotify playlist! (Clicking the link opens Spotify, which is free.) An everything bagel sort of playlist, it’s a mix of what I was obsessed with listening to about two weeks ago. A little top hits, a little dance, a little country.

*I also want to mention that I have a lot of free time because I am single. Relationships take a lot of time! I am not saying it’s not worth it but certainly it is more difficult to be both productive and have self-care when you are also negotiating with someone else’s time and priorities.

2011-10-05

Mailbag: Can I Meet Single Hotties at Rebel Cupcake?

Hi Bevin,

I happened to come across your blog and find it fun. I’m average weight but queer. I am interested in attending one of your Rebel Cupcake parties. Do you have a mailing list that you can add me to?

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[All photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake. These are from the John Waters Rebel Cupcake on September 9.]

I have another question and am a little embarrassed to ask it but here goes… Do you get at least a few unattached butch women showing up to your parties (and I mean very butch)? I don’t know how to meet these kind of women and they’re my favorite.

Thanks,

[Name Withheld]

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Diana, AfroTitty and Bev.

Hi [Name Withheld]!

Thanks for your compliment about my blog! Rebel cupcake has two ways to stay in touch–there is a Facebook group (if this link doesn’t work search for the group named, aptly, “Rebel Cupcake”) where you’ll be automatically invited to each event and a text list where I text you once a month and remind you about the party. The text list gets in for $2 off the cover price to all of my events.

As for your question about unattached butches, the thing to know is lots of the folks in the queer community, while they may present masculine of center, don’t always identify as butch. You might find some of them attractive if you like butches but it is always best to let other folks tell you their identity preferences instead of assuming. I met my GF at Rebel Cupcake and she is not butch identified. But she looks and acts like a fag, which is how I like my women.

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This is the John Waters quote I wished I had used in the pool in Atlantic City.

Folks all along the gender spectrum and body spectrum find a home at Rebel Cupcake.

Also lots of other folks met their sweethearts at Rebel Cupcake (butch or otherwise). So yes, lots of unattached folks but it is a really low-pressure easy environment and not explicitly creepy or cruisey in a non-consensual way. Sometimes I poll the audience during the show to ask who is actively looking for action. I once got scolded by a regular because I forgot. Anytime I am nearing the end of the show and it looks like I’m forgetting, please remind me! I love a gentle heckle.

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Rebel Cupcake is up for some awesome GO Magazine Nightlife awards. One is for Sexiest Vibe (what happens on the smoking deck stays on the smoking deck), Most Eclectic Crowd, Best Queer Party and I am nominated for Best Emcee. Anyone on the internet can vote, and voting is open until November 5th! Please vote for Rebel Cupcake!

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Look! It’s Rebel Cupcake favorite Bambi Galore! Rebel Cupcake is also home to lots of Femmes. And we encourage the wearing of sexy clothing and burlesque.

I think Rebel Cupcake is a great place to meet people regardless of whether you are looking for a sweetheart, a meaningful overnight relationship or just friends or meet no one and just dance (though usually I try to introduce myself to everyone who is there between 10 and 11 before the show starts, thus if you are there early I might meet you). The smoking deck is not very loud, it is easy to strike up a conversation, there are grottos to chill out in and the performance at 11pm is meant as a way for me to break the ice for you. PLUS the photo booth is a great way to stay in facebook touch with the folks you meet.

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Also Rebel Cupcake is really fun and it’s an explicitly body positive dance party which is not really common. Support the queer nightlife that supports you!

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(Sometimes there is a discount for wearing costumes but there is always discount for being on the texty list.)

And if you are really interested in explicitly Butch-identified extremely Butch and you mean VERY Butch women, I suggest the NYC Butch-Femme socials. Story dropping time–I know someone who went to those socials explicitly hunting for her future Lesband* and she totally found her dream Butch. I am not saying anything about how Butch anyone who goes to those events are because I haven’t been in a long time, but I bet if there is a VERY Butch woman really looking for the Femme of her dreams she would probably go to those. But I hope she’d also show up to Rebel Cupcake.

Hope to see you there!!

xoxox,

Bevin

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I look a little crazy in this photo but I feel it was in the theme.

*Lesband: Addition to the queer lexicography. Lesbian spouse who is maybe not all the way husband identified. My friend Lauren and I came up with this when we were in college and I was exploring my new lesbian identity and wondering “HOW DOES IT ALL WORK???”

2011-08-31

Fatting Around The Premier Party for TLC’s “Big Sexy”

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My dear friend Leslie is on a new show on TLC called Big Sexy*. It follows the lives of five New York City women aged 24-30something who are all plus size and work in the thin-centric fashion industry. Big Sexy premiered last night and has two more episodes that air on Tuesday nights at 10PM. I’m sure the first episode will re-run a few times this week.

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Me and Big Sexy star Audrey.

Leslie and her fellow cast mates organized a viewing party for their friends and family at a big sports bar in Times Square.

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It was studded with the NYC plus size fashion glitterati. From my perch on the third floor I spied Monif C. (whose fashions were all over the fashion show and Nikki’s photos on the show), GabiFresh

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Wilbur of SK Wilbur Designs. (and his mom!)

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Plus size stylist Steffany Bready Edwards.

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Local celebrity Glenn Marla kept screaming “Curvy girls rock! Big is beautiful!” In the spirit of the evening. Glenn didn’t think the show was “overwhelmingly offensive.”

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Mackenzi, who shares a name with a lot of the stars of Toddlers and Tiaras.

It was also very Times Square realness, which is a different experience from typical Manhattan nightlife for those of us who live in NYC and rarely go near tourist-packed Times Square. This German tourist told me that she wouldn’t know I was a lesbian if she just looked at me. Mackenzi told her “She even goes to Michfest!” Femme invisibility strikes again!

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This other tourist wanted me and Audrey to pose in a photo with him so I asked Audrey to act like a tourist with me, thumbs-up style.

The cast worked hard to make the party happen, getting various sponsors including this vodka. We had $5 drinks all night (I enjoyed the Big Sexy Tini) and while outside on a smoke break with Mac I noticed that the vodka was low calorie via this giant billboard. Not that you could tell in the beverages, or that it really mattered since each drink was made with sugary mixers.

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It supposedly has electrolytes.

I brought my girlfriend Cougar, and it was really fun to point out all of the outfits the girls on the show were wearing that they bought from Re/Dress. Three of the five cast members got their New York Fashion Week outfits from our store.

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After being single for so long it’s fun to have a plus one who really likes going out.

I was excited to finally see the show, having heard about the concept since Summer 2010. I was impressed at how it turned out. I was especially happy to see all of the fat positivity that managed to seep through the editing for TV/entertainment process. They made the cast seem very relatable.

Big Sexy Premiere

Things I loved about the show:

Seeing Re/Dress (the store Leslie and I work at)–it looked great, fun and huge, which is hard to convey to folks when they haven’t been to our warehouse-sized store in real life.

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Tiffany asked her ex-boyfriend whether he dumped her because she was fat and he said “No, it was because you’re crazy.”

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Tiffany.

Tiffany dressing down a boy who said he only did it to fat girls when he’s drunk.

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Heather making fun of self-identified wizards who want to date fat girls.

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Leslie delivering clever lines like “Double chin win.”

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Leslie and Audrey shopping at Pat Fields and discussing using dresses made for thin women as accessories.

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Nikki and her BF.

Audrey admitting to being a 24 year old virgin, which I thought was a brave choice, especially contrasted to many other reality shows that make it seem like everyone is having sex by high school in our society. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 21 and had graduated from college and I think being a late bloomer was a good choice for me, but something I had a lot of shame about when I was living it.

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I wasn’t thrilled with the show’s depiction of the BBW party the cast attended. I thought they portrayed the women who attended as dowdy and desperate, which I didn’t think was fair. I also thought they were policing the sexuality of the women participating in the thunder thighs contest–sure it’s not the classiest portrayal of sexuality but I think policing bodies of any kind is disempowering to everyone involved. Body shaming is certainly more degrading than participating in something sexual and fun that might be bringing a lot of empowerment to the women who are involved.

In that same vein, I think all bodies should be celebrated and my body liberation politics cringe when I hear the show’s tag line “Once you go big you never go twig.” Everyone deserves love and dignity, no matter their size.

Of course since this is a queer blog I have to comment on the lack of queer content in the show so far. I did offer to be Leslie’s gay bestie on the show, but so far the production company hasn’t taken me up on the offer. I imagine myself to be like NeNe’s friend Dwight, but stealth queer in appearance, at least to German tourists.

And you have to talk about commercials. As someone who has considered a couple of different reality show projects, one of the concerns that is always brought up is “Will all of the commercials be weight loss commercials juxtaposing our fat positive message with interests capitalizing on insecurity?” I noted in the first commercial break a long commercial for Weight Watchers.

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But then the next break had a commercial (that elicited cheers from the crowd) for Lane Bryant/Cacique.

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And later on there was a pizza rolls commercial. So I think it really spanned the weight-related commercial spectrum.

Overall, though, I love the show and I can’t wait to see the next two episodes. I hope it continues to talk about the real frustrations and triumphs of living big and sexy in New York City!

*The name stumped me for awhile until I was told that Big Sexy is something that fat girls get cat-called with. Here’s hoping we can reclaim that from cat calls by saying Hey Big Sexy to each other.

2011-07-14

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Preventing Chub Rub aka Thigh Chafing

New additions to this post added August 23, 2013! See the bottom!

My mailbag yielded this great question from a reader.

Hi Bevin,

I have a bit of a sensitive question. On your blog, you’ve got all these pictures of you wearing FABULOUS dresses…but what do you do to prevent chaffing? (Or is this not a problem for you?)

(I did a search at your blog before I asked. I hope it’s not too personal!)

Thanks for your blog–it’s fantastic!

–An amateur queer fat femme!

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Camping at FemmeCamp! It got fancy.

Dear Amateur Queer Fat Femme:

Thank you so much for your question and the compliment! I’m so excited to be a resource for you and others. In fact, I have never addressed the timely and relevant issue of chub rub on this blog. (Chub rub is also known as thigh chafing, summertime thigh sweat issues, fat thigh rubbing and the like. But I like chub rub.)

When I was a baby Femme I didn’t think I would ever get to wear dresses all the time for two reasons: the mysterious chaffing between my thighs that made wearing them excruciating, especially in the summer, and my aversion to carrying purses.

And then something magical happened. When I was about 22 I discovered there was a name for this mysterious chafe, and it was chub rub. And there are numerous solutions for it! Also around the same time I discovered a purse I absolutely fell in love with that made me want to carry a purse. And once I had the freedom to carry more things than a wallet and my keys (like femmenabling items like lipstick, hand sanitizer, safer sex supplies and chub rub solutions) I decided there was no going back with this Femme thing, I was all in.

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This is a replica of the purse I fell in love with and carried to death. I used to collect Marilyn Monroe purses, though this one is a photo of another blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield.

So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others’ backs and we’ve been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.

First is wearing shorts under your clothes. Not just any shorts, tight fitting shorts. Bike shorts help some.

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Mackenzi found some bike shorts she swears by from Target in the athletic wear section this summer. Here she is in front of her amazing store! It has a brand new ecommerce site so go visit and buy lots of gifts and housewares from her and support a queer fat femme owned business!

I use shaping garments for my shorts-under-dress solution. The best I ever found were from Lane Bryant about 9 years ago. I am grateful that when I worked there I bought a bunch so now they’re only just getting tattered. I have never found such good quality and comfort in a shaping garment since. I think you can get some good ones still from the girdle section of your local department store.

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Me & Sarah Jenny. Sometimes you’re wearing something so clingy that a full-body shaper situation helps to keep the dress aligned. I’m one of those people that doesn’t buy into the thought that shapewear actually makes you look any thinner, I think it just moves your fat around so dresses might fit a little bit differently than if you were freefatting.

This Macy’s light control girl short is exactly the shapewear I am talking about and about half the cost of the ones I bought at LB (that have lasted years). I think shapewear can be a great investment if it isn’t Spanx. Those disintegrate far too quickly and I find them a poor value.

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Me, Leslie and our friend Kwame at a Fourth of July BBQ wearing dresses in the heat. I am freefatting.

I have tried the Lipo in a Box brand (unfortunate name for shapewear) and I found their shorts bunchy and fiddly but they will do the job in a pinch.

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Coordinating tights/leggings/teggings are also a great chub rub solution along the lines of shorts-under-dresses.

If the idea of shorts under dresses sounds hot, well, it usually is (which is why you want shapewear that breathes). So I love the option to use a specialty cream or lotion to ease the chub rub.

My brand of choice is Bodyglide. You can get it online or at running stores because runners chafe, too. I walk right into the running store, buy it, and I’m sure the staff knows that I am a fat girl in their store for the chub rub cream. I use Bodyglide to both prevent chub rub and treat it when it has already happened.

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I think body chemistry has a lot to do with how and whether a certain cream or lotion will work on you, but other friends have suggested:

*Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel, which you can get at drug stores in the ladycare aisle. I don’t love it because I like the ease of the stick application of Bodyglide.

*Raw Shea Butter Lotion, the brand I prefer is Nubian Heritage. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha turned me onto this brand and it is my very favorite, both scented and unscented versions. But I use it as body lotion and not chub rub cream.

*Deodorant. You’re putting it under your arms already, try it on your thighs?

*Silky Underwear Dusting Powder by LUSH I love LUSH from the bottom of my heart and my coworker Afrotitty suggested it to me as a sweet-smelling solution. I have some, I’ll try it.

Macy and My Block
Paparazzi moment! Meeting up with my friends Brian and Arnulfo for brunch on 4th of July. Photo taken by Arnie while I was on the phone with Brian and Macy was taking care of business. I’m wearing my favorite denim mini skirt that is actually a skooter (shorts built-in under a skirt that you can’t see are there–different from the kind where it’s just a front flap and you can see the shorts in the back, I hate those). I’ve gone hiking in these, climbed trees, clambered over rocks and walked for miles and miles with no worry about chub rub.

So, AQFF, I hope this list helps you grab those dresses from your closet and wear them comfortably through the rest of this summer and the rest of the times in your life you want to wear dresses!!

P.S. Anytime you purchase anything using the Amazon referral link on QFF.com I get a referral bonus and stash it away to buy myself fun stuff like books and toys. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks to whoever bought a lot of stuff in January!


Here are a couple more additions to our arsenal of thigh chafing prevention!

Bandelettes! 6″ bands of lace that grab onto your thigh fat and prevent chafing. My whole review of them is at this link! $14.99 and a bargain!

Here’s a great natural remedy for the chafing when it happens–a coconut oil calendula infusion! Take about an ounce of coconut oil and melt it, add some calendula (available wherever loose herbs are sold) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then let it cool and rub it between your thighs for relief. Coconut oil is also another idea for chafe prevention.

*Butt Paste, an all natural diaper rash treatment and prevention! It comes in lots of sizes, and I found Butt Paste in 2 oz for $5.99 on Amazon. There is also a Maximum Strength Butt Paste. According to some of the online reviews folks prefer it because it is natural, effective and has a pleasant slight vanilla scent and most other diaper rash creams smell like medicine. Apparently the maximum strength is also good treatment if your chafing has gotten to the point of open sores.

Again, all chafe prevention creams and oils really depend on how your body chemistry works with them. If you have other methods not mentioned I’d love to hear about them!

2011-06-07

Everyday Glitter

After months of seemingly endless rain/fog/end of times weather, we’ve finally got summer in full swing here in Brooklyn. I thought I’d celebrate this by doing a round-up of the little things that are delighting me lately.

ITEM THE FIRST: Hot Summer

Summer always starts so suddenly, like she throws you up against a wall and gets you all flustered, making you forget your own wardrobe. That you do, in fact, own 90 degree weather appropriate fare, except you begin scrambling. Before the Trans Women Belong Here dance party (we made $379!) last week it was so incredibly hot. I tried a new outfit three times and ended up wearing a dress I’ve owned for at least five years. I’ve learned that once I try three unsuccessful permutations of a new outfit I must accept that it is not happening, and thus I need to turn to a tried and true favorite. Same thing happened with my hair, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like but after three attempts I just did my femmepadour and called it a night. The following photo is not what I wore to the TWBH benefit (still waiting for the photographer’s shots).

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This was my favorite going out outfit in May–a black and gold rosette tunic with teggings and black and gold boots. Sadly it’s too hot to wear that now.

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Speaking of hot summer wardrobes, Cristy Road introduced these shorts as “nightlife shorts.” Too short to take the bus in Bed Stuy, just short enough for the dance party. Photo from Rebel Cupcake.

Since as I write this it is Prince’s birthday (June 7), he has released a new song called Hot Summer. It’s a good listen. Google for it, as the link I’ve had keeps going away.

ITEM THE SECOND: Monday Funday

Since I work a non-traditional schedule and Mackenzi owns a store that is closed on Mondays we often partake in Monday Funday activities. This ranges from mani/pedis to going to the beach to trips to the suburbs for soup and breadsticks to meanders in local neighborhoods. This Monday Funday we went to Park Slope for lunch and had a delightful stroll. I didn’t realize how much walking we would be doing but we ended up clocking a lot of blocks. By far the most awesome part of our day was getting glitter tattoos at Exit 9 in Brooklyn.

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Mac had her existing tattoo glittered. The shop keeper expertly and quickly filled it in.

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I just went all lesbian cliche, with a rainbow glitter dolphin on my dominant wrist.

We capped off our adventure by getting burritos at the new taqueria on my corner and ate them on my stoop. It was so peaceful and lovely.

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No Mexican food for Macy.

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ITEM THE THIRD: More Stoop Sitting

Stoop time is really my favorite part of the beginning of summer. My friend Heather lives around the corner and one night at 11pm she texted “Come have a beer on my stoop with me.” I was already in my loungerie and settled in front of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy* but something about the ability to be outside and have a heart to heart compelled me to throw on real clothes and walk Macy over to Heather’s. And it was exactly what I needed. We talked about being artists and summer and love lives.

You know how sometimes your friends tell you something really simple and it’s exactly what you need to hear? Heather said “Bevin you have to remember that you’re really pretty. Don’t forget that.” You do all this work around self-love and unlearning the hatred and feelings of ugliness and whatever and yet sometimes the scared little kid inside you forgets and you just need someone to remind you that you’re pretty and you’re worthy just because you’re alive.

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So that’s what good friends are for. That’s why you let people in. That’s why you show people the tender underside of yourself because you need them to help. To remind you of the basics. When you’re different in a way society deems unpalatable you need ways to undue that armor that gets built up just to exist. You need ways to develop tender connections to other people. My relationships with queer femmes and other folks who are supportive of my identity was crucial to becoming an actualized human being and not just a robot going through the motions before I die.

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Anyway. Heather. Magical. Thank you.

ITEM THE FOURTH: Femmespiration

Speaking of Heather, she invited me to be on a panel of young** Femmes that was going to compliment a panel of Femme performance artists from NYC and London as part of the MUSING MUSES: A FeMUSEum conversation with Lois Weaver, Carmelita Tropicana, Amy Lamé and Bird la Bird.

The panel was so inspirational! And in such a meta way, too, because the panel was about the muses for each of the participants. Dolly Parton, Divine and everyone’s grandmothers were mentioned. Sometimes it is really helpful to hear other artists talk about how they find their motivation to create in order to rev your own mojo.

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Each of the artists on the panel has done so much, too, it was very femmespirational. I am especially excited to see Lois Weaver’s work on femmes and aging, see a performance of Carmelita’s, and visit Bird La Bird and Amy Lamé in London. Um, Amy is producing a pageant called Burger Queen. What I wouldn’t give for a patron to fund my trip across the pond so that I could compete. I really love the artistic format for pageants and one of the categories is cooking–I have a great recipe for Spotted Owl Casserole. And Amy is gorgeous and accomplished and I just want to follow her around.

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Amanda Cheong as a giant vagina. Amanda’s writing something new for Rebel Cupcake: Love Long Distance on Thursday.

Amy interviewed Kate Bornstein on stage. I couldn’t love Kate more. She makes me want to be a better artist. She, as an artist and a human being, truly has the ability to make her audience feel safe and loved.

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Kate’s Femme swagger is killer.

ITEM THE FIFTH: A Pig Grows in Brooklyn

Almost as quickly as we said hello to Penelope the pet piglet that my roommate was raising here, she moved upstate to my butch ironworker roommate’s boyfriend’s farm. Turns out my roommate is allergic to her, and Penelope was a lot happier being able to roll around in real mud instead of scratching herself on our (turned off) radiator.

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Silas, Penelope and Macy.

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Brian, Arnulfo and Penelope.

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It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday, Penelope. We’ll miss you. Hopefully I can go upstate to visit her in her new digs with the baby goat and the baby ducks.

ITEM THE SIXTH: Random Hotness

I was surprised and delighted to find out I was listed as one of the Autostraddle’s Hot 100 Real Gay Ladies***. It’s an honor that such a rad popular website is so supportive of my mission to promote self-acceptance. I’m also pleased to be on a list with so many other hot queers.

And just today I found out I am nominated for a “couple” of awards at the Go Nightlife Awards. Won’t you join me on June 15th? What I love about it is that it brings out such a cross-section of NYC nightlife. I went to the event last year and it actually did end up getting me a couple of dates with a steamy 20 year old. I’m bringing Taylor as my date so we’ll see how I do rustling up some casual action this year. He is an excellent wing man. 1,000+ people on the dance floor…

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*I have recently rediscovered this show. I never liked Grey’s Anatomy before but it is watch instantly on netflix now and for some reason it is speaking to me. In a month I’ve watched 50 episodes.
**I love to be reminded that 32 is young.
***Yes, I made it on an internet hot list and I still need my friends to remind me sometimes that I’m pretty. Self-love is a daily practice!

2011-04-04

Everyday Glitter

My yoga teacher says at the end of each class “The light in me bows down to the light and the teacher in all of you.” I definitely feel that teaching is a two way process. I get just as much out of mentoring people, teaching workshops and writing this blog as people tell me they get out of those classes or this website. I treasure each compliment and appreciate them more than you know. But even more so, doing the art I do, blogging, writing, performing, producing, helps me to keep going on this journey, this lifetime journey, to loving myself. Teaching the gems I’ve mined about learning to love yourself and your body helps me mine even more gems.

At my workshop at Swarthmore I compared and contrasted the mainstream standards of beauty with what an alternative standard of beauty would look like. The gist of the mainstream standard is that it is virtually impossible to achieve and creates insecurity. An alternative standard is fluid. I said to the attendees, “You are all beautiful right this minute. The thing we need to learn is how to see ourselves as beautiful.”

I’ve talked about celebrating the fact that we are glitter identified people on the blog before. But I’d like to get deeper and start thinking about what are we doing every day that is putting together our amazing glittery lives? How are our lives beautiful right this minute? Where is our “too much” coming from, piece by piece?

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Sometimes my glitter literally comes in fistfuls from gay boys at dance parties. Hey Queen, July 2010.

Sometimes I find reading other people’s shines* really inspirational so hopefully you will find mine inspirational, too.

1. Spring! It’s still hovering in the 40s but today we got a couple of moments where it was downright near 60. I took my hoodie off for a precious brisk walk from the car to the grocery store. And not to be deterred, the birds are back chirping up a storm in the morning and some of the more dedicated early bloomers are thrusting forth.

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I spend a lot of time with my face toward the sky inspecting the trees for budding leaves. You can just barely make out silhouettes of buds here. All photos taken today in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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2. The perfect color of aubergine. For months I’ve wanted these deep purple sheets I saw on a reality show. Today at an impromptu trip to Ikea with Mackenzi I found a bedspread in that exact shade of aubergine, perfectly slippery so as to repel cat hair.

We went to scope out entertainment center options for my great living room redecoration project. Might as well start with a fast and easy fix to revolutionize my bedroom and acknowledge the continued need for comforters. I feel like the reverse of the Princess and the Pea. Instead of adding mattresses for comfort I am adding comforters for warmth!

3. The ridiculousness of an ornate cat food bowl. I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting for my cats to eat from, and a nod to old school Fancy Feast branding. (Note I feed them Nutro Indoor Senior food, not Fancy Feast.)

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They have to eat atop a chair so Macy can’t get into their food. I think it needs some sort of silver tray.

4. Mackenzi shouts to me, “Sugar Free Bacon Vinaigrette!” from across the aisle in the grocery store. I yell back “What has you speaking my love language?”

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It’s this miracle my lovelies. I can’t wait to try it out. It’s made with real bacon and comes from some maple farm.**

5. New gays moved into the loftiminiums across the street from my apartment!

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6. Trading coffees with Heather! Bedford Hill, the new coffee shop on my corner is awesome. They have a board where you can buy your friend a coffee and chalk it up for them to find. I bought Heather a coffee to help her with planning her tour (hey midwest! go see the Heels on Wheels Road Show!) and she reciprocated! I went down there and worked on my memoir today.

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Also the staff is really nice and cute. Their egg, avocado, cheese bagel sandwich will change your life.

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Heather and Damien are going to put on an amazing tour as soon as they finish reading this book about unicorns at a house party!

7. Brunch with friends! I am on this aggressively pursuing brunch on Sundays kick. I have worked retail so many weekends it kills it for me trying to do muggle brunch timing. But I miss my friends and I want to share cheap eats with them!

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I hope you are all putting your glitter out there this week!

*Shines and whines were something my college Resident Advisor staff used to do at staff meetings and I love them. It’s a way to communicate your highs and lows.
**Recall how much of a maple chaser I am.

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