BlogHer en Is Your Vagina Lazy? <!--paging_filter--><p>Is your vagina lazy?</p><p>I know that, as a wife, mother and a semi-contributing member of society, my vagina’s productivity is something I worry about.&nbsp; As a blogger, this is a question that often plagues me as I plan my day around yelling at my computer and pretending that I am not watching porn.&nbsp; Especially now that I am over 40, and the primary function as a reproductive conduit is a non-issue – I know I could be finding a more practical daily use for my vagina than, say, shooting ping-pong balls at the cat.</p><p>To resolve this quandary, I wisely took to the interwebs, starting with available self-help books:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">Who Moved My Vagina</span></em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">The Vagina Less Travelled</span></em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">I’m OK, You’re a Vagina</span></em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Vaginas</span></em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">Jonathan Livingston Vagina</span></em></p><center><img src="" alt="Is Your Vagina Lazy?" /><br /><em>Image: Aloysius Lowe/CNET</em></center><p>As you can see, there is yawning fissure of available information on the subject of lazy vaginas.&nbsp;&nbsp;Googling&nbsp;“Vagina WTF” did yield some recent findings on activities you can try in order to keep your vagina useful and relevant, which I will disseminate below:</p><ol><li><em><strong>Get Your Knickers in a Knot:</strong></em> In 2013, <span style="color: #ff0000;">Casey Jenkins</span> used “skeins of wool, lodged in her vagina tunnel” to knit personalized Christmas gifts for her family, the postman, her boss and the local Mason’s lodge. HA! Not really! It was “Performance Art,” and I immediately ran out and bought “skeins” of “wool” to “lodge” in my “vagina tunnel” in an attempt to create my own “personalized” line of socks. I planned to call them “Camel Toes,” which was unfortunately unavailable. No matter – while I was able to master the “knit one,” the “purl two” proved to be problematic (it gave me gas).<br /><br /></li><li><em><strong>It’s “Made in My Vagina” Good:</strong></em> Last year, <span style="color: #ff0000;">Cecelia Westbrook</span>, an MD/PHD student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, made yogurt with – yes. Her vagina. Yes. Actually, she made yogurt with stuff that she took OUT of her vagina. After my initial analysis, which consisted of screaming like <span style="color: #ff0000;">this, <span style="color: #333333;">and hiding under the bed, I decided to give it a try. Sadly, this experiment ended when my husband “dropped” the “hammer” on this “nonsense,” which was fine because I prefer Fruit on the Bottom, and don’t even get me started on the Greek angle.<br /><br /></span></span></li><li><em><strong>Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy:</strong></em>&nbsp; 2014 also saw the introduction of the <span style="color: #ff0000;">Vibease </span>“smart vibrator.” It may sound like a laxative, but it’s actually a “personal external massage device” that can be controlled by any smart phone you designate. Yes. Right now, anyone in any time zone can, with your permission, light you up like a front-porch bug zapper on a hot August night. All you have to do is remember to wear it, and not to sit on any <span style="color: #ff0000;">metal chairs</span>. (Seriously. It went off while I was at a baseball game and I vibrated across three sections, right into a vat of nachos.) On the upside, no more awkward morning-afters. No more frantically hiding your Taylor Swift albums, or sneaking out of his place before dawn with your underwear in your purse. Here’s my number. Call my vagina.<br /><br /></li><li><em><strong>But will it work with my X-Box?</strong></em>&nbsp; I give you the<span style="color: #ff0000;"> SKEA</span>, or <span style="color: #333333;">Smart Kegel Exercise Aid</span>. Invented by Tom Chen and funded by Kickstarter campaign, it’s a video game – controlled by your pelvic floor muscles.&nbsp;&nbsp; To alleviate the boredom associated with traditional Kegels (although I believe I had the jump on this concept with the ping-pong balls), this game allows you to make an avatar on your phone run and jump and dodge obstacles – by squeezing your vagina (much like college).&nbsp; It also gives you “biofeedback” when you get it right – in the form of a&nbsp;li'l vibration. I cannot resist this man, or his magic squeezy device. It’s brilliant, it will help you stop peeing your pants when you sneeze, and it’s on my Christmas list – just as soon as they add an option for more than one player. Because what fun is it if I can’t annihilate someone else’s vagina?<br /><br /></li><li><em><strong>Idle Hands:</strong>&nbsp; </em>Do you know why this device exists? It exists because somewhere – someone, in the throes of self-abuse - paused just long enough to think “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could kick my own vagina?” BOOM! The <span style="color: #ff0000;">Heeldo</span> was born. The Heeldo is a hands-free (“big”) personal (“silicone”) massage device (“dick”) that attaches to your HEEL. Oh, wait - no it’s not. I know this, because I just watched the FREE “instructional” video, narrated by our nubile hostess, Ashley.&nbsp; Apparently, the Heeldo is the harness that holds the dildo that goes on the heel that lives in the house that Jack built. Versatile in design, three different attachment points allow for multiple functionality. “Kneel on your favorite dildo while giving oral, leaving your hands free for other things!” winks Ashley, over her shoulder. Like knitting. She cheerfully adds that Heeldo can also be used for “pegging” your partner. (googles “pegging”) Oh, <span style="color: #ff0000;"><span style="color: #ff0000;">PEGGING</span><span style="color: #0066cc;">.</span> <span style="color: #333333;">In our house, we call that by its Kama Sutra name, “Get The Fuck Away From Me, You Crazy Bitch.” Watch that ACL tendon, Ashley.</span></span></li></ol><p>See? &nbsp;My vagina feels more relevant already.&nbsp; It is energized and ready for something to do.&nbsp; I can tell.&nbsp; Yep....</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Humor Sex Love & Sex Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:45:18 +0000 That Shameless Hussy 2243181 at How to Make Cashew Milk... It's So Easy <!--paging_filter--><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="500" height="375" /></p> <script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script><p>This cashew milk recipe is our go-to for homemade milk. We use it almost everyday in our smoothies. It's so easy to make, just throw six ingredients in the blender and that's it!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="500" height="374" /></p> <h3><strong>What You Need</strong></h3> <ul> <li>1 cup raw unsalted cashews</li> <li>3 cups filtered water</li> <li>1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup</li> <li>1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract</li> <li>1 teaspoon cinnamon</li> <li>A pinch of himalayan salt</li> </ul> <h3><strong>What To Do</strong></h3> <ol> <li>Put all ingredients in a high speed blender (I love using my Vitamix) and blend until smooth.</li> <li>Store in the fridge (I use a glass mason jar), it will keep for a couple of days. &nbsp;Just give it a shake before you use it.</li> </ol> <script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="302" height="438" /></p> <p><strong>Notes:</strong></p> <p>Money saving tip...if you think that you'll be making this recipe a few times a month or a few times a week, find a good source to get your raw cashews.&nbsp;Raw cashews can be expensive if you buy them in small packages from the health store or grocery store.&nbsp;&nbsp;I live in Canada and I find the best source for raw cashews is from</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Cheers<br /></em><em style="line-height: 1.4em;">Sandra &amp; Kim<br /></em><em style="line-height: 1.4em;">Visit us at&nbsp;<a title="" href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"></a></em></p> <script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Drinks Food Recipes Vegetarian and Vegan #dairy free #foodallergies #healthy Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:54:07 +0000 saltsole 2239979 at How to Overcome Shyness & Social Anxiety <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: justify;">Feeling shy or awkward in social situations is understandable. Don't we all have a little nervousness before we go talk to that guy or girl, or get sweaty palms before giving a speech? For some, though, shyness and social anxiety may not be circumstantial, but constant. This can be very frustrating and hard to overcome, but there are some things you can do to help overcome your shyness and approach people in social situations. Here are some tips for doing so.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="310" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;">Image via <a href=";src=download_history" target="_blank" class="external-link">Shutterstock</a></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Learn to Laugh</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">There's something about laughter that makes everyone feel more comfortable. This is why "ice breaker" activities at parties are often designed to get participants to laugh. So don't be afraid to laugh at someone's jokes, or learn a few funny lines yourself (not canned "pick-up" lines, but clever observations or comments).<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Force Yourself to Stay</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Sometimes, shy people feel so uncomfortable in a social situation that they just want it to end; they just want to get away. Consciously resist this impulse. Tell yourself to stand your ground, stay put, and interact. Remember, the other person is not going to breathe fire; he or she just wants to have a conversation and get to know you.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Learn to Be Comfortable with Silence</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Social situations can feel especially awkward if you are uncomfortable with mutual silence. This may trigger shy people to "babble" to fill the silence, which then makes them feel even more awkward because they feel like what they're saying is silly or nonsensical. So be cool - some silence between people is okay. In fact, it helps give the other person a chance to think before he or she speaks. The person you're speaking with will appreciate this!<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Stretch...Socially</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">Just like physical stretching, social and psychological stretching can be somewhat uncomfortable, even painful. But also like physical stretching, it's necessary. If your first instinct is to say, "No" when someone asks you to do something, stop and think first. Tell the person you will get back to him or her if you aren't sure. This will give you some time to pluck up your courage and say, "Yes."<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div><strong>When to Seek a Professional</strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;">There is a point when simple shyness and social awkwardness may be an actual disorder. Social anxiety disorder and social phobia are real disorders that may need the attention of a professional. The difference between shyness and these disorders is how much it affects your life.</div> <div><br /> For example, if you are so shy and embarrassed by just the thought of having to introduce yourself to others or attend a party that you go to great lengths to avoid the situation, it might be a social disorder. When it's social anxiety or phobia, you have trouble living a normal and productive life due to your social fears.</div> <div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Finding Balance Work/Life #shy #confidence #selfconfidence #overcome #tips Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:23:47 +0000 WOBC 2236302 at What Not to Wear to a Professional Photo Shoot <!--paging_filter--><p>When it comes to a professional photo shoot, there are certain recommendations that you should follow in terms of what you should wear, especially if you're going to be taking professional headshots or photos for your website. In order to look your best and make the best impression on everyone, including the photographer, check out the tips below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" />Image via <a href=";src=download_history" target="_blank" class="external-link">Shutterstock</a></p> <h2>Don't Wear Clothes That Are "Loud"</h2> <p>A classic look is a lot better than the ultra-trendy fashion that may be popular on the runway and currently at the mall. Trends come and go, but classic is always classic, and you definitely want to look refined and clean during your professional photo shoot.</p> <p>It's a good idea to stick with dresses and suits that are in neutral hues like greys, black, blues and browns. Solid colors are also better than <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">patterns, which should be avoided</a>. But you can add some color by wearing a shirt that pops a bit against the rest of your neutral outfit. Even when it comes to accessories, like your scarf or your tie, you don't want it to grab all of the attention, so keep it subtle and neutral.</p> <h2>Don't Wear Clothes You've Never Worn Before</h2> <p>It's also a good idea to wear an outfit that you've already worn before. This way, you'll know that you definitely feel comfortable and confident in your outfit. If you opt for a brand new outfit that you've never worn before, you may find that it doesn't fit as ideally as you thought it would, but there's nothing that you can do once you get to the photo shoot. The key is to focus on your pose, not your clothes, so <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">reaching for a favorite outfit</a> is a great way to dress for a professional photo shoot.</p> <h2>Don't Wear a Lot of Jewelry</h2> <p>Accessories and jewelry should also be kept to a minimum so you can stick to that classic and refined look that you're after. For example, attractive studs, simple hoop earrings, or a modest chain necklace with a small pendant. Men can wear classic, simple cuff links, a watch and a ring. Avoid wearing really bold, big, shimmering jewelry that can be distracting and get in the way of the true focal point of the photos, which is you.</p> <h2>Don't Wear Glasses, Unless You Have To</h2> <p>The problem with glasses is that they can reflect light in all the wrong ways, and they can also shimmer too much. This can make it harder for your photographer to properly light you. If you wear contacts, use those instead. But if your glasses are preferred or something you always wear, you should keep them on and have the photographer work around them.&nbsp;</p> <p>Seek out advice from professional photographers, like those at <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"></a>, in advance so you’re ready to go on the day of the shoot. Studios will provide you with valuable insight and direction so you can look your absolute best during your professional photo shoot. Wear the right clothes, show up on time and be open to taking direction so you’re sure to look fantastic in the final images!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Fashion Photography Style fashion photography pictures Sun, 29 Nov 2015 18:02:18 +0000 thesocialbeing721 2240902 at 10 Survival Tips for Managing the Pain of Rejection <!--paging_filter--><p>You are smart, pretty and completely datable, but guys don’t seem to want to stick around. You get a new haircut, lose weight, say all the right things to please them, bring little surprises and gifts, act the temptress, try being the girl next door. Nothing seems to work. Maybe you start lowering your standards, calling too often, ever-so-slightly chasing. Maybe you ignore the fact that he isn’t responding and make excuses for his non-attention.</p><p>At some stage in our lives, we’ve all been there – hankering after a guy who doesn’t really want us. I went through this repeatedly in earlier dating years and did my share of blaming the guys, blaming myself, being miserable and generally thinking things would never change. The worst thing I did was believe that there was something wrong with me.</p><p>We cause ourselves most of this pain by choosing to look at events in a particular way, attaching meaning in ways that are most hurtful to ourselves, and doing things that propagate the negative emotions. It would seem crazy to willingly choose to feel bad, yet we do because we don’t realise in the thick of emotion that we have that choice.We don’t have to do this.</p><center><img src="" alt="10 Survival Tips for Managing the Pain of Rejection" /></center><p>When the latest date hasn’t worked out and you’re feeling rejected and down, follow these tips and you’ll see how much easier it is to get through it:</p><p><strong>Allow yourself to feel it, don’t fight the emotions</strong></p><p>Our well-meaning friends and family tend to try to jolly us out of the dumps, tell us to buck up, forget it, and so on. But you need to allow the emotions to release, so give yourself the luxury of wallowing in pity, hurt, anger – whatever it is you feel. Don’t fight it: give it full flight. When you allow emotions their run, they will dissipate sooner. When we try to suppress them, they linger on beneath the surface. So cry for 3 days if you have to. Just ensure that you put a deadline on it – make this agreement with yourself.</p><p><strong>Keep your focus firmly on the future</strong></p><p>To stop thinking about the past, you must think about the future, which is hard to do if you see nothing there. So get clear on your goals – even if those goals are simply the happy state of mind and being you aspire to. Get a clear picture of what you and your life look like 6 months in advance and start embellishing it with detail. What is inspiring you at that time? What is exciting you? Add these things in. Create a Vision Board and look at it every morning. With your eyes firmly forward on this golden future, you will find it much easier to resist looking backwards.</p><p><strong>You wrote the script</strong></p><p>Look at the recent events as though you wrote them to happen that way, that it was all deliberate and intentional and according to YOUR purpose. When we do this we separate ourselves from victim mode and feel more in control. This also helps us to take responsibility and learn.</p><p><strong>Look at what you can learn</strong></p><p>I like to imagine that a universal entity (whatever you believe is fine) is looking down on me and directing the course of events. I ask myself “What am I being shown here? What do I need to learn?” For instance, if you have spent your whole life never speaking up, and then through the same fault your latest dating experience bites you, then ask yourself “If I were the universe, what would I be throwing my way to challenge me and help me fix this problem of not speaking up? I would be sending exactly this bad dating experience. I am being given opportunities here to overcome this fault.” When you see the rejection as a purposeful act being sent to you to help you achieve a breakthrough, it becomes a positive opportunity.</p><p><strong>Keep your physiology strong</strong></p><p>When we get down, our bodies tend to follow. We slouch, we have low energy, we become lethargic. But it works the other way around too. Start with your body – stand tall, exercise, breathe in fresh air, do things with physical energy, and your emotions will follow.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Accept that you will not get answers – don’t “What if…” yourself</strong></p><p>You need to understand something: you are unlikely to get closure from the guy. This is a matter of pure acceptance, but it’s something you need to do. He is not going to tell you the real reasons he didn’t want to continue with you, he is not going to apologise and rue his mistake, he is not going to change his mind. For as long as we continue to wish for any of these things we will remain in a rut. Be a little tough on yourself on this – tell yourself you’re not going to get the answers you crave so stop obsessing on it. Go on to the next tip.</p><!--pagebreak--><p><strong>Attach a helpful meaning</strong></p><p>The beauty of not getting answers is that we get to make up whatever we choose! So rather than think that he stopped dating you because there was something wrong with you, create a new reason. After all, none is more truthful than the other. The first, hurtful meaning you chose has no more truth in it than the second, positive meaning. Both could be true. Both could be untrue. You will never know, so you might as well just choose one that suits you. How about “He stopped dating me because he liked me too much and got scared”? How about “He’s on his own journey and has issues to deal with – I happened to trigger those because he felt something, and now he needs to go to deal with those and was unable to cope with more than that right now”. It really doesn’t matter, choose something that suits you.</p><p><strong>Shower yourself with kindness and love</strong></p><p>This is SO important. You’re already feeling low and probably a little lacking in worth, so it’s essential that you do not compound this. Demonstrate to yourself that you are worth every bit of attention and love that can be given. Praise yourself. Encourage yourself. Do nice things for you. After all, if you want someone else to do all of that you need to ask yourself why they should if you don’t even think you’re worth doing them for.</p><p><strong>Remember it's not about you</strong></p><p>One thing that’s incredibly useful to learn in life is that what other people do and say is never actually about you. You might happen to be the trigger to their reaction and they may very well direct their response at you, but what is really happening is a complex piece of psychological patterning – reactions linked to triggers that were determined long before they met you. So remind yourself, “It’s not about me”. People’s behaviour is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Feel pity, feel understanding, feel patience, but never take it personally. Someone’s choice not to date you says more about their inability than about any possible deficiency in you.</p><p><strong>He's a piece of lego</strong></p><p>I like to think of men as Lego. Each one is a building block that enables you to create your final Lego Man. Each one teaches you one more thing about what you do and don’t want&nbsp;so that you are better able to search and recognise the right thing for you when it comes along.</p><p>The reality we experience is a choice – how we choose to interpret and attach meaning creates it. So when your latest object of affection does not respond as per every romance novel you’ve ever read, then you can do something about it in the way you choose to look at and handle it. Choose acceptance, peace and learning – it’s a lot easier on the heart than resistance, upset and inflexibility.</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Love & Sex love rejection relationship Sat, 28 Nov 2015 22:23:08 +0000 Stephanie Chan 2236911 at How Do You Know If You're Bisexual? <!--paging_filter--><p>There's no precise method to teach someone about sex. There's usually awkward phase in your adolescence during which you begin&nbsp;to experience these new urges you’re not used to, you find yourself aroused by another. Like many others, I was going through my journey of self-discovery to figure out my sexuality and how to become comfortable with these emotions.</p><p>When I was growing up, attraction was only allowed to be directed towards the opposite sex. Topics related to homosexuality or transgender people were private and you didn't exactly ask about them over dinner. Bisexuality was something even more foreign; we often forget about the ‘B' in the LGBT conversation. It's that gray area no one likes to talk about and sometimes erased from the LGBT conservation.</p><p>I was supposed to be aroused by men – and I was. It was a "normal" feeling for me, but I didn't know what it meant to become attracted to both. It wasn't something I thought I had to deal with because I believed in the binary theology I was raised to accept as truth. The only perceptions I had of bisexual people growing up were "confused" individuals or harlots that enjoyed sex too much.</p><p>I was taught that their way was wrong and that they were misguided. Sex education was already something that limited in schools; we were lucky enough to get any attention to the topic at all. When it came to discovering your sexuality, there was no manual to follow or to tell you what to expect. It was something you had to learn for yourself, and it evolved with time.&nbsp;In their world, love wasn’t limited to gender. Love was allowed to take any form free of labels.&nbsp;</p><center><img src="" alt="How Do You Know If You're Bisexual?" width="509" height="382" /><br /><em>Image: Connie Lecler via <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Flickr</a></em></center><p>I remember when I was younger one of my very close friends was bisexual, which was a foreign concept to me. I had always been taught that when it came to sexuality, you were either gay or straight but never both; there was no grey area. &nbsp;One of my close friends revealed to me that she identified as bisexual, and she had recently just entered a relationship with another guy in our class after ending things with another girl she had grown up with from her childhood. When I asked her to explain her attraction and if she could choose one, she told me she couldn’t. She explained that she felt the attraction to a handsome male as a beautiful female; there was beauty in both. Even when I saw how she interacted with people whenever we were out, I would see the intensity in her eye whenever she was attracted to someone. It wasn’t her showing off for men looking on or anything. It was the first time someone had defined his or her attraction to me in those terms.</p><p>I knew I felt attracted to men; the feeling was undeniable but when it came to women, things would get complicated. I thought women were beautiful, but I didn't know what that meant. I could look at a woman and think she was beautiful and admire her femininity. There was a different sense of attraction than I felt for men but, not knowing anything about sexuality, it was hard to figure out what were these feelings. There was always something gorgeous about the feminine shape, but was that me just appreciating her beauty or was the sign for something more.?</p><p>I have never been with a woman sexually. She was different and was the first that led me to question myself or my sexuality. The definition was complex to me. In the end, I accepted my attraction for what it is – a natural attraction. I&nbsp;was never&nbsp;moved to pursue anything sexual with her; I simply thought she was beautiful. I may not be bisexual regarding the definition, but the quest to discover the truth ultimately made learn more about my sexuality and myself.</p><p>There is nothing wrong with being an admirer of beautiful people and I still leave myself open. In this world, you don't know with whom you might fall in love. For me, it means being with a handsome man I have in my life right now and for others it may be something different. Don't obsess over a label. Attraction is an attraction, and once it takes hold of you with the object of your desire, there's no stopping it. We will always have our curiosity and a part of your exploration ultimately is to help accept you and your sexuality for whatever it may be.<a href="#_msocom_55">&nbsp;</a></p><!--pagebreak--><p><em>Dana Givens is a freelance writer in lifestyle, travel, and fashion. She also owns and operates an online pleasure blog and a store called </em><a href=";"><em>My Little Vixen</em></a><em>.&nbsp;</em></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Dating GLBT Sex Love & Sex #better sex #sex #bisexual Fri, 27 Nov 2015 16:11:22 +0000 TheVixen 2231686 at You Can Still Have Adventures with Endometriosis <!--paging_filter--><p>I want to share a little something about me. I have Endometriosis. I know sharing something like this is a stray from the usual posts but I felt a strong urge to share for the simple reason that when I was going through the diagnosis and researching how to manage the illness, I found stories from others incredibly helpful. </p> <p>More helpful than doctors to be quite honest. Knowing I wasn't alone and learning from others about how they manage the illness was both comforting and useful.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><center><img src="" alt="don't let endometriosis get in the way of your adventures" /></center> </p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Echoroo</a> via Flickr</i></center></p> <p>For me, the last couple of years have been really tough health wise. You probably wouldn't be able to tell this from my <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Instagram</a> profile or even from talking to me for that matter because I don't like to let it control me, whinge or burden others with my pain so for the most part I just smile and keep it to myself. </p> <p>The smile hides that fact that I am chronically ill and have been in what seemed like a marathon battle each and every day for the last couple of years. I underwent test, after test, after scan, after test and had doctors treating me like I was a crazy woman in my efforts to try and find out what was wrong with me. </p> <p>Finally, my recent surgery gave me an official diagnosis of endometriosis <i>(side note that the doctors also think there is another illness at play with my health issues and I need more testing to find out what else is wrong, but one battle at a time right?!)</i></p> <p>For those that don't know much about the illness, it is a condition where tissue that should be living in your uterus decides to pack up and move house to live elsewhere in the body causing pain and an array of other uncomfortable symptoms as well as leading to fertility issues. </p> <p>There is no cure for the disease, which means that the best you can do is learn to manage your symptoms and smile away the pain.</p> <p>One of the main issues with endometriosis is the difficulty to get a diagnosis, with many going undiagnosed for that reason. I know that for me personally, it was a long battle to get a referral and diagnosis and I had to fight for it. </p> <p>It can be difficult for doctors because the symptoms can overlap with many other health issues beginning a long process of elimination and on top of this, it can also be hard to get taken seriously by some doctors. </p> <p>I recall at one appointment recapping a year and a half worth of symptoms and tests to a new doctor once I moved to America and having her give me some stool softener and tell me to be on my way with a complete disregard for everything I had just told her.</p> <p>I had similar appointments with different doctors during over the years before ultimately having to demand a diagnostic surgery. I'm certainly not the only one who had to go through this process and I know that some people have to fight for even longer than I did to get some answers so it is important that we get this conversation going to increase the awareness for both doctors and patients.</p> <p>Do any of you guys have endometriosis? If you do, then you probably know that some (or most) days, it is hard enough to get through the day let alone get out and about on an adventure. Hell, sometimes it is a big enough struggle to get myself dressed and ready for an adventure, and I feel like I need taking a power nap after my getting ready! </p> <p>It's a drain being ill all the time and the worst part is that on the outside you look pretty normal, don't you? All the while there is a constant war being waged on your insides making the simplest things suddenly very challenging.</p> <p>Adventuring with endometriosis is certainly not easy, however it is one of my coping strategies. Venturing out and about in the great outdoors always makes me feel better - especially being in the ocean. Not only is it my happy place but perhaps the buoyancy helps to take away my heavy, bloated feeling for a little while as I float through the salt water! </p> <p>I'm also lucky to have a great group of friends who go out adventuring with me, never getting frustrated with me when I am tired, less talkative or swimming a little slow because I am sick and for this, I am very fortunate. Good people are worth more than their weight in gold.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>For me, adventuring is better than all the medication sitting on top of my fridge. Nature is my medicine. For the time that I am adventuring, I feel young and happy instead of being a 27-year-old who feels like an 85-year-old!</p> <p>The reason I am writing this ramble is because if you are a fellow endo sufferer, I hope you to find something you love that helps you cope with this horrible illness. Find what helps to give you a break from the day to day struggle and make sure it is a part of your life. </p> <p>The diets and medication help but having that special thing, whatever it is, that gives you an escape from your illness needs to be a part of your life. I know from experience that it can be so hard to function in everyday life with a chronic illness, but I hope you keep on keeping on, live life to the fullest and find your escape from it all.</p> <p>You deserve an escape.</p> <p><i><br /> This is my number one tip for dealing with endometriosis. Check out my <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Pinterest</a> page for a whole board on endometriosis resources and if you have an endo story or tips you would like to share, pop them in the comments below or feel free to contact me - you aren't alone in this!<br /> <b><i>Katie xo</i></b></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Infertility Wellness Health #endometriosis #infertility #coping Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:24:56 +0000 thekatieshowblog 2238149 at I Have No Guilt Parenting Your Child in Public <!--paging_filter--><!--break--><p><em>By Kimberly Zapata for</em></p><p>Allow me to do your job for you.</p><p>When I was 12 years old, I was teased for being poor. Sure, we weren't poor by conventional standards (we had a three bedroom, one bath apartment, a full(ish) fridge, and a familycar) but we didn't have spending money. We didn't have movie money, pizza money, or name brand apparel money.</p><p>I was mocked for wearing sweatpants from Walmart, which were two sizes too small (hello, highwaters!) and green canvas "kids." I think that's what knock-off Keds were called.</p><p>When I was 13, my classmates had something new to ridicule: my full-body back brace. I was diagnosed with scoliosis after being diagnosed with a heart murmur and had to wear a brace — from the top of my pelvis to the pit of my arm — for 16 hours a day. Sixteen hours!</p><p>It was made of hard PVC so it was painful and noticeable in any outfit. Even if you couldn't see the brace you couldn't help but notice the extreme angle it made me walk at, and I was called everything from Quasimodo to gimp, cripple, and even the ever-painful freak.</p><p>I was the girl with the broken body. I was the girl, the quiet geek, who wanted to fit in but couldn't. I was the girl with frizzy, unkempt hair, no style, and no father.</p><p>For years I said nothing. I didn't stand up for myself. I didn't stand up for others and I was a quiet, passive, agreeable mess. I became so afraid of confrontation, so afraid of losing friends, I'd lie to your face to avoid a fight. I'd lie to your face to "protect you" and keep you happy. I'd lie to your face to avoid the shame of the truth.</p><p>Then I became a mom.</p><p>I became a mom who looked at the world differently, a mom who would do anything to protect her own child, a mom who was willing to change the world —and change herself to do so.</p><p>And while I didn't change instantaneously, I did see a shift in myself as my daughter grew, as I saw the way other kids interacted at the playground, at the park, at the pool, and even at school.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><center><img src="" alt="I Have No Guilt Parenting Your Child in Public If They Are a Bully" /><br />Credit: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Thomas Ricker</a></center><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But it wasn't until one day this past July that I snapped.</p><p>I saw a young girl, maybe 10 or 11 years old, standing at the water's edge and being ridiculed for being too scared to jump in and being bullied for wearing a swimsuit that was a bit too tight. I lost it.</p><p>It wasn't until I watched her — I never saw her face, but the way her shoulders slouched forward told me she was dejected, and the way her body moved told me she was crying — that I decided I had to step in; I had to say something — for her, for others, and for me.</p><p>Children are vulnerable. Preschool-aged children and younger struggle to make sense of most emotions, slipping from states of laughter and smiles to full on screaming fits in an instant.</p><p>Preteens find themselves dealing with a complex new set of feelings thanks to puberty, and teenagers may feel and look like adults. But from a neurological standpoint, they aren't.</p><p>While the grey matter, which handles <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">memory, attention, concentration, and self-regulation</a>, "matures when we're between 11 and 12 years old," the white matter, which affects the way we process emotions, will not be "completely developed until we're in our early twenties."</p><p>This means, physically speaking, kids' minds are undeveloped. Their emotional responses aren't yet stable, they may appear impulsive or short-tempered, and they're unable to see the "entire picture."</p><p>Which is all the more reason why they need parental guidance. They need our experience, our support, and our advice.</p><p>We're responsible for giving our children the tools they "need to succeed."</p><p>We're responsible for being their barometers of right and wrong.</p><p>We're responsible helping them through these difficult developmental years.</p><p>And that's why exactly why I have no problem parenting other people's kids.</p><p>Don't get me wrong. I'm not a disrespectful b*tch. If and when the child's parent is present I will defer to them and I don't say something every time I see a child screaming or crying or acting a damn fool because ... well, sometimes sh*t happens.</p><p>If, however, I see name calling, hitting, slapping, biting, kicking, or generally "not nice" behavior going on, I will speak up. I will ask the parent if they need anything or — when not present — I will tell their children their behaviors are unacceptable, though what I say and how I say it will change relative to their age.</p><p>Does that make me obnoxious? Perhaps. But some children need an advocate. Some children need a voice. And I'd rather be that voice. I'd rather make sure they're OK and help them than find out they became just another terrifying, tragic statistic.</p><p><em>Article originally published at <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Why I have ZERO Guilt Parenting Your Horribly-Behaved Kids</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2>More from</h2><ul><li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">5 Reasons NOT To Date a D.I.L.F (And 5 More Why You Should)</a></li><li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">I Love My Daughter More Than My Husband - And He Knows It</a></li><li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Love Advice For Single Parents &amp; Those Who Date Them</a></li></ul><!--pagebreak--><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Family Fri, 27 Nov 2015 14:51:42 +0000 2245243 at 5 Ways to Spread Love on the Internet Right Now <!--paging_filter--><p>Today is Black Friday, tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, and in two days, it's Cyber Monday. Sunday doesn't get its own commercial holiday. I wish retail well and hope the next few days are good to them. </p> <p>But if you want to carry over the warm buzz of Thanksgiving and offer up some good cheer for shoppers to open when they get home from their gift acquiring adventures, I present my own version of Cyber Monday.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><center><img src="" alt="put on your santa hat and spread a little cheer" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Caroline Press</a> via Flickr</i></center></p> <p> <h1>Find 5 New Blogs</h1> </p> <p>The easiest place to find new blogs is through the comment section of blogs you already love. Just click over and find 5 that resonate with you and then add them to your favourite feed reading program, like Feedly or Bloglovin'. </p> <p> <h1>Leave 10 Comments</h1> </p> <p>I'm not talking about a "great post!" type of comment. I'm talking about reading their post, thinking for a moment, and then typing a thoughtful response. This will obviously take a while, so make yourself a cup of cocoa and dig in. Who knows, you may find that you want to do this weekly!</p> <p> <h1>Write a Post</h1> </p> <p>If you live in the US, you just had Thanksgiving. Tell us about it. Was it great? Was it terrible? Don't feel like you need to make your Thanksgiving celebration anything other than what it was. Life, itself, is a great story. Don't feel like using your words? Post a picture instead.</p> <p> <h1>Retweet, Retweet, Retweet</h1> </p> <p>Sure, we want to hear your words, but we also want to hear the words that resonate with you. Retweet the well-worded tweets that you find, spreading them out over the course of the day.</p> <p> <h1>Click Love</h1> </p> <p>Every social media site has their own version of showing love, from hearts to likes. Go around the Internet, clicking on hearts and thumbs up. And if you have the time, let them know exactly <i>what</i> you like about their picture or words, too. </p> <p><b>The nicest thing about this version of Cyber Monday is that it doesn't cost a thing, but you've given gifts across the Internet. So who is in on spreading a little cheer</b>?</p> <p>Melissa writes <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Stirrup Queens</a> and <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Lost and Found</a>. Her novel about blogging is <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Life from Scratch</a>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media cheer Christmas comments Thanksgiving BlogHer Holidays Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:58:21 +0000 Melissa Ford 2246428 at How Gloria Steinem Got Me Thinking About White Feminism <!--paging_filter--><p>This week, I went to see Gloria Steinem “in conversation with” Cheryl Strayed. I put that phrase in quotes because really it was more like Cheryl Strayed davening at the feet of the icon, as many of us feminists tend to do (deservedly so). At eighty-one years old, Steinem was dressed in that perfectly put together uniform of hers that I still love: seventies-chic in all black, form-fitting turtleneck, wide-legged pants with a silver, low-slung Navajo concho belt resting on her hips.</p> <p> Steinem embodies a swagger, a poise, an old-school New York intellectual-meets-activist-meets-Jewish-gypsy vibe and I was mesmerized from the start. I sat gratefully between my almost 70-year-old mother, a second-wave feminist who grew up poor, worked her way through the corporate rank to become a successful advertising executive in NYC, and my 13-year-old daughter — a budding feminist with a better grasp on intersectional feminism than I have. My daughter is also a tremendous Cheryl Strayed fan. I am a writer. I love literature. This felt like an evening made for our three generations of book loving feminists.</p> <p> <center><img src="" /></center></p> <p><center><em>Feb. 11, 2015 - Tampa, Florida&mdash;Author and activist Gloria Steinem speaks during the first annual Helen Gordon Davis Waves of Change Luncheon, Image Credit: James Borchuck/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Wire</em></center></p> <p>And in many ways it was. I was on edge, though. I worried that Cheryl Strayed didn’t know enough about the feminist movement to dig deep (and this turned out to seemingly be true though, to be fair, this wasn’t billed as a discussion about the women’s movement). I was concerned that Steinem wouldn’t be the feminist icon I felt she needed to be in this day and age: a woman with a strong grasp on white feminism and how we (white feminists) need to take ownership over our privilege, step aside, and work in allyship to create a truly intersectional social justice movement for all women.</p> <p> But since the event was more about promoting Gloria Steinem’s newest book, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><em>My Life on the Road</em></a>, and about the power of storytelling between two brave, smart, passionate women I breathed deep and figured I’d try and turn off my activist brain for a couple of hours.</p> <p>That didn’t work so well.</p> <p>As a white feminist (or, as Steinem calls herself “European American”), I can’t let myself off the hook and I shouldn’t let others off either. I take this stance with hope and realism. Women of color, trans women, immigrant women — many women can’t simply choose not to deal with racism, with xenophobia, with transphobia, or the consequences of white privilege unchecked. White women can. I know not all white women have the same levels of privilege. But most white women can decide not to deal with many of these isms and phobias if we don’t want to. </p> <p>The Black students at University of Missouri at Columbia cannot choose to ignore the rampant racism and violence directed at them, day after day. I’m tired of the us and them. I’m tired of pretending like racism is only visible if I see it or that women’s rights are separate from anti-racism efforts or more important than fighting ableism or homophobia. Black women at Mizzou are at the forefront of the protests because they must be.</p> <p>But where are the white women? Why don’t we see this as a women’s rights issue? I don’t want to move through life thinking about oppression and the consequences on my own life without also understanding how all women are impacted in unique, disparate, and uneven ways. What do white women need to do, that is unique to us, to shift the balance of power and foster equity and love?</p> <p>This is not just about Gloria Steinem. I am dissecting the evening as a way to understand more about myself and my fellow white feminists. Perhaps unsurprisingly given Seattle’s demographics, most of the Seattle audience was white. And while most of the conversation remained squarely situated within the white, middle-class, feminist locus, Steinem was a smart, caring, and aware advocate for all women. She just didn’t go far enough — most of us white feminists are not going far enough.</p> <p>My daughter was at turns happy that Steinem seemed to include women of color often as she discussed the feminist movement and frustrated when she didn’t. For example, when Steinem talked about the fact that women of color were a part of the women’s movement from the beginning, we welcomed her admission but wondered why she didn’t acknowledge that, in fact, the feminist movement has overwhelmingly chosen not to recognize women of color as leaders for decades. It’s important that we publicly discuss this because it’s only when we talk about our racism that we can deal with the consequences and move forward in equity and alliance.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>At one point, a young woman stood up, identified herself as Punjabi, and asked Gloria Steinem how we can build a truly intersectional movement, and what this movement would look like. Steinem offered some thoughts on how this woman can and should acknowledge all parts of herself, as she works within the movement but didn’t seem to fully grasp the woman’s comments. The woman clarified and said, “But because I embrace multiple identities at once, I often feel that I cannot advocate for my full self depending upon which movement I am aligned with.”</p> <p>Steinem said that the women’s movement was intersectional. She offered that one cannot be anti-racist without being a feminist, and one cannot be a feminist without being anti-racist. Steinem shared with a smile that she preferred the word “intertwined” over “intersectional” to acknowledge how all of our issues meet in many places, not just in one, as the word “intersectional” seems to imply. She just didn’t go far enough — most of us white feminists are not going far enough.</p> <p>Still, Gloria Steinem seemed visibly frustrated when she asked the young woman why she felt she needed to leave parts of herself behind depending upon what movement she was working with. Again, the young woman clarified, “Because if I’m working within the women’s rights movement there is often little room to discuss Punjabi issues and when I’m working within the Punjabi community, they don’t want to hear about women’s issues.”</p> <p>Steinem then said, well, just use all of the adjectives to describe yourself and turned to the audience and said, “Can anyone help me out here?” Someone yelled from the audience, “Just call yourself a human being!” to which I almost stood up and yelled back, “What?! That’s a terribly misinformed answer!” but I didn’t think that would be welcomed (shockingly) and I let it go, floating unchallenged, falling over this woman’s body, cloaking her identities in a way that she never thought she’d need to in a room full of self-identified feminists. So, what, then?</p> <p>I was left squirming in my seat and felt like either Steinem wasn’t understanding the woman’s question or truly was not fully cognizant of what it means for women to live with multiple identities in a world, or within social justice movements, that doesn’t know how to recognize and work with multiple identities at once.</p> <p>I was inspired. It’s Gloria Steinem. This is a woman who does not give up. She’s 81 years old and she’s still talking about revolutions, radical actions, and unapologetic sex for women. She spoke lovingly and with humor and heat about Wilma Mankiller, one of her closest friends and the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. She talked about Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American women elected to Congress (and the first Afrian-American woman to run for President of the United States, in 1972).</p> <p>I was brought close to tears when an older woman stood up, identified herself as an Asian immigrant to the crowd and proceeded to tell the audience of Steinem’s unexpected friendship, transcending language barriers and culture, after Steinem discovered this woman’s garden one day. Her voice shook as she held up a paper-packaged pillow she said was filled with lavender and slid it across the stage as a gift to Gloria Steinem for her love.</p> <p>But I am awakened in a way I have never been, when it comes to the role I have played in keeping women of color down and it’s embarrassing to me that it’s taken this long. I’m always on the look out for the ways in which women of color are made invisible to those in and with power, for the ways in which white people squash the lives, voices, and experiences of women of color. It’s all the time.</p> <p>I am a raw nerve, entering into experiences, physical spaces, reading articles, watching TV shows and movies only to notice the invisibility of women of color, to see the ways in which women of color exist on the sidelines in the stories white people tell and share, their lives and words and bodies and minds barely noted or valued by a society rooted in and ruled by whiteness.</p> <p>It’s not enough, not nearly enough, to say that women of color were leaders in the feminist movement from the beginning and then stop. It’s not enough to politely include the names of powerful women of color as if we offer a nod to their assistance in the movement.</p> <p><em>Who were these women but more importantly why did we (white women) and do we continue to contribute towards silencing or erasing them from history and how do we own these actions so we put a stop to them? Who are the women of color who are leaders today and how do white feminists act as allies, in partnership, to embrace true equity?</em></p> <p>It must be (and especially so for those who are held as icons of the women’s movement, like Gloria Steinem) squarely on white women’s shoulders to acknowledge, as much and often as possible, how the women’s movement (in other words: us) has built a movement on the backs of women of color, over the years and to push ourselves to take responsibility.</p> <p>As a young woman named Storm Ervin said in an <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">interview</a> with NBC this week, about the Mizzou protests: “Black women have been at the forefront of a lot of movements. In most movements we get erased because of patriarchal social structures that are in place. Men are always painted as the heroes, the martyrs and the warriors. However, we were able to be more visible this time and [so people can] see that Black women did take a stand.”&nbsp;But, I ask again, where are the white women alongside them? Behind them?</p> <p>I want to continue to talk about how the feminist movement has traditionally addressed the issues most often associated with white, privileged women within higher social and economic classes and refocus on the challenges faced by all women including women of color, transgender women, poor women, Native women, and immigrant women. I’m not pointing fingers at others who have done and do this.</p> <p>I claim my role as oppressor. I’m right here and I’m awake as I’ve ever been but not yet awake enough, I think. We can no longer be fragile, though. It doesn’t do anyone any good; especially if we’re fighting for social justice.</p> <p>So, really, this isn’t even about Gloria Steinem (or Cheryl Strayed) either.</p> <p>Because, the thing is, Gloria Steinem and Cheryl Strayed are beautiful souls, women who has devoted their lives to improving the lives of all women each in their own ways. I’m grateful beyond measure that I have the opportunity to attend events like these, to feel safe and welcomed in these spaces, and to sit and breathe deep between two people I love so wholly.</p> <p>That is part of my privilege; what do I do with this privilege then? I honor the white, black, Native, trans, LGBT, differently abled women — all women — who have and continue to stand up for all of us. I want to see white women and men become the conduits for a forever shift in our society from racism and oppression to equity and compassion.</p> <p>The only way we can do this is to acknowledge the ways in which we view the world are colored by our lives and our experiences. We must own the pain and hurt we’ve wrought upon the lives and bodies of women of color and marginalized women and embrace the power, beauty, love, and brilliance that they have added and continue to add daily to our movement and our world. We must fight for inclusive representation and know when to stay silent and allow for others to speak. We must support the organizations that are led by and advocate for people of color.</p> <p>Only then can we move forward in true partnership to create a more equitable world for everyone.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Race & Class Feminism News & Politics Feminism: Women's issues gloria steinem #womenslives Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:55:03 +0000 Amie Newman 2245902 at