Monday, December 23, 2013

Shoshanah's Five-Year Blogoversary!

Happy Five-Year Blogoversary to my friend Shoshanah, over at From L.A. to LA.

To celebrate, several of us have gotten together to sponsor a giveaway! I contributed towards the Starbucks gift card, but other bloggers have also offered ad space. 

Good luck!

$35 Starbucks Gift Card
courtesy of
From L.A. to LA
Finding My Virginity
Not in Jersey

60 Days of Ad space
at From L.A. to LA
(200x200 sidebar spot)

2 Months of Ad space
at Beyond the Aisle
(200x200 sidebar spot)

6 Months of Ad space
at Crazy Shenanigans
(200x200 sidebar spot)

30 Days of Ad space
at Organized Chaos
(600x100 "You're a Star" in-post spot)

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Today I am 28: A Guest Post

Today's guest post is written by my friend Elle, who is one of the coolest and funniest people I follow on twitter. Elle is a born and bred Georgian, Coordinator of Toddlery, and living life just trying to get a piece of Aggro Crag.

Today I am 28 years old.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be married and having my first kid by the time I was 25, just like my mom.

I’m single, with no cats, and I have an unhealthy attachment to my couch.

I am pretty happy with my life.

However, I’m not happy with society.

I have kept quiet for many years, and at 28, I feel that I can finally talk openly about it, because now I don’t have anyone telling me to stay quiet.

I remember the first time I was body shamed

I couldn’t have been 10 years old. I was with my father visiting family friends in Florida.

They had a pool, and two sons.

I am sure some girls know what happens next because they themselves had to go through the same thing.

My father made me put a big, baggy, t-shirt on over my bathing suit before I got in the pool.

“Your body is changing now, and boys can’t handle that.”

I wasn’t even 10, and I was taught that boys could not control themselves when it came to girls.

I remember the second time I was body shamed

My stepdad got a work transfer the summer before 5th grade started. We were moving from a smallish, southern town, to an affluent suburb of a major city. I didn’t want to be bullied so I worked on losing my southern accent, and learning to forget about all the “southern” things that I enjoyed.

A few weeks into school I started hearing the rumors.

“Her boobs are fake.”
“She had a boob job and that’s why they moved here.”
“She had her nose done, too.”

I had never thought of my body as being different. My mom had worked on a college campus, and I was around college-aged women all the time--I thought my body was pretty normal compared to all the women I was surrounded by.

Still a child, and I was body shamed by my peers this time.

Shamed because of something I could NOT control.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Shoutouts: Christmas Edition

Me: You're all I want for Christmas, but I don't want you under my tree. I want you under me.
Beau: Oooh. I'll show you my wood.
Me: You can play with my snow globes.

Yes, Beau and I totally had a dirty Christmas conversation on the way home from seeing The Nutcracker. Don't judge us.

I haven't spent a lot of time online this past week. Things at work have been crazy, mainly because I was trying to get everything done before leaving the office on Friday. I'm taking this week off for Christmas, and I made it very clear to all my co-workers that I would not be checking my email all week. Add in all the pre-Christmas frenzy, and the Internet has just not been my priority.

In the spirit of the holidays, I'm only sharing posts about Christmas!

Best DIY Bath Product: One of my favorite beauty bloggers, Elle Sees, shared three recipes inspired by Starbucks. I made the Gingerbread Sugar Scrub as a Christmas present for one of my friends. I had enough left over to save some for myself. My skin felt so silky smooth after I used the scrub in my shower!

Biggest Nerdgasm: The bromance between Sir Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is the best one ever.

Best Holiday Date Night: My friend Betsy went to the zoo lights with her husband Jon! I plan on going to my local zoo lights with Beau later this week.

This week will also be quiet as I celebrate Christmas with Beau. What are you looking forward to this week?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Club Friday: The Princess and the Bear

A few weeks ago I reviewed the amazing fantasy fiction novel The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison. I immediately ordered all four sequels, and as soon as they arrived in the mail, I eagerly read the first sequel.

I was not disappointed! The Princess and the Bear was just as good as the original.

The Princess and the Bear explores the relationship between King Richon and Chala, the bear and the hound who readers first meet in The Princess and the Hound.

From her website: A princess who was once a hound. A bear who was once a king. When they become human again, can they still find love? And can they save the world of magic which they once disdained?

I wasn't sure at first if this novel could possibly live up to the first. I just loved the characters of George and Marit so much, but they're only minor characters in this book.

Luckily I loved this new relationship just as much! 

This book explores the rules of magic further and introduces a new threat to magic, the unmagic. Richon and Chala travel in the past to Richon's original time to try and save the magic.

Watching Richon and Chala learn to communicate and fall in love is just so sweet.

If you love fairy tales, fantasy fiction, and romance as much as I do, then you should read The Princess and the Bear!

*There is one Amazon affiliate link, which pays me pennies on the dollar if you choose to buy the book!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Noël à Niort

Paris isn't the only French city where I've spent the holiday season. I taught English in Niort from October 2010 to April 2011. 

Niort is obviously much smaller than Paris, but the lights were still very pretty!

I loved shopping in the marchés de Noël in France. The ones in Niort were small, but still very cute!

One night I got together with a very international group of friends who I had met via couchsurfing. It was a nice mix of French locals, teaching assistants from Canada, the US, the UK, and Germany, and other internationals who lived in Niort. We sang Christmas carols in multiple languages and played bilingual board games. It was so much fun!

That was my first year spending Christmas away from my family. At least I had a tiny Christmas tree in my apartment. 

I like the REAL tree that Beau bought me this year much better. And while I'm going to miss being away from my family for Christmas, I like the plans Beau and I are making to celebrate next week.

Are you ready for Christmas?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Shoutouts: Another Busy Week

Between facebook, twitter, and tumblr, I feel like I shared a million links this week! I'm having a hard time narrowing them down to just a handful to highlight today.

Most Eye-Opening and Depressing: Dr. Jill McDevitt wrote about her experience in helping a friend report a sexual assault. Reading her account of how difficult the entire process was absolutely broke my heart, but it also inspired me to find local rape crisis centers to support with the rest of my charitable budget for the year.

Best Post About Teh Menz: This list on Buzzfeed about how feminism benefits men will make you laugh and nod your head in agreement.

Best Interfaith Perspective on Christmas: My friend Betsy is Jewish, but her husband is Christian. She wrote a great blog post on Christmas traditions.

And finally, in a brand-new category for Sunday Shoutouts...

Best Post About ME! I'm hanging out on Casey's sidebar again this month. Check out all the nice things Casey had to say about me, plus her favorite posts of mine!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Biblical Woman

A warm welcome to Casey's readers! Some of you might remember me from August, the first time I co-hosted the Friday Fresh Faces blog hop with Casey. Don't forget to link up again today! I wrote a special post that day just for y'all, about how I'm totes not a lifestyle blogger.

Remember the #1 reason? About being too personal and too controversial? I've already proven myself to be both this month. First I got red wine drunk and wrote about my best friend. Then I cried after overhearing rape jokes in a game of Cards Against Humanity, so I blogged about my feelings on it.

But today I'm sharing something that's both new and the same.

For the last several months, I've been slowly reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. When reading nonfiction books for pleasure, I tend to read them slowly, partly so I don't get bored, and partly so I can spend more time focusing on the book, absorbing its lessons.

I bought her ebook in October when it was one of the 100 books for $3.99 or less. I'm obviously addicted to bargain ebooks. I usually read it on my iPad, but sometimes I read it on my iPhone. I don't have my kindle apps synced, but I like how that's affected my reading of her book. Most chapters I've read twice. And by the time I finish this blog post, I will probably have read her December chapter three times.

Why am I reviewing just a chapter of a book, instead of the whole book? And why am I reviewing December, aside from the obvious?

I haven't finished reading RHE's book so I couldn't review it in full even if I wanted. But more than that, each chapter is so different, and so thought-provoking, and so inspiring, that writing a review for the entire book would either be the longest book review of my entire life, or devoid of my emotional reaction to the book.

In her December chapter, RHE does something so beautiful that it moved me to tears.

She talks about all the biblical women who were hurt by the patriarchal norms in their society. 

She cites all the passages in the Old Testament that illustrate how terribly the laws treated women during biblical times.

She briefly tells the stories of several named biblical women, but the story that resonated the most is of the nameless daughter of Jephthah, the mighty warrior of Gilead in Judges. 

The nameless daughter who dies as a burnt offering to God.

In the book of Judges, the women of Israel remembered the daughter of Jephthah, in an annual tradition now long lost.

To honor the women who were victims of rape and murder, RHE and her friend had their own ceremony, which included reading the relevant passages of the Bible, lighting candles, reciting poetry, and creating art in their memory.

These forgotten stories are why I can't be a Christian without being a feminist

These women's fates are why I choose to interpret the Bible in a way that honors men, women, and children, in a way that puts love above all else. When I "cherry-pick" my Bible, I interpret the oppressive passages within their historical and patriarchal context, a choice Christ Himself often made when countering the Pharisees. 

I think biblical womanhood is important. I think Christian women should turn to the Bible for inspiration on how we live our lives.

But if we aren't living our lives in a way that honors the women who came before us... that tries to make our world a better place for women today... that focuses on love and justice... then what are we doing with the lives God gave us?

This month, as we remember the Virgin Mary, let us also remember the other women in the Bible, the named and the unnamed. As we remember the humility of the Virgin Mary, let us also remember the courage of Esther, and the loyalty of Ruth, and the strength of Deborah.

Let us remember that we have more than 
one way to be a biblical woman.

I'm linking up with Heather for Book Club Friday...

But I'm ALSO co-hosting the Fresh Face Fridays blog hop with Casey! I hope you'll add your link below.

Welcome to the
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
2| Link up your blog's homepage or Bloglovin' page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info! 

Grab a button and share the blog hop love!
We Took the Road Less Traveled
Tweet about this blog hop!

*This post includes a single Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Shoutouts: Week Six

Apparently December is my month for blogging! I created my first-ever editorial calendar, not that it's complete and not that I will necessarily be good about following it. Today will be my sixth day of blogging in eight days! Craziness!

Best on Modesty: My stance on modesty culture has been fairly well-documented, but I always appreciate other voices and perspectives. My friend Carolynn shared her post with me on why she chooses to dress modestly.

Best on Purity: My friend Sarah has once again written a brilliant rebuttal to the arguments of purity culture. In "The Magical Marriage Switch," Sarah points out the lack of logic in insisting girls save sex for marriage and then be sexually available to their husbands all the time. 

Best on Birth Control: I love the large Catholics who agree with me. Keep religion out of our healthcare! The growing number of Catholic hospitals in this country is frankly alarming.

If you're on Tumblr or Pinterest, I've recently joined both! I'd love some new followers!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gift Ideas for Busty Women

If you're anything like me, you have definitely not finished your Christmas shopping yet. Between you and me, I haven't even finalized my list! The silver lining is that I've purchased all of Beau's presents already!

Beau promises that he's already picked out my gifts, but I figure a few ideas for the future can't hurt. Besides, I can't be the only busty woman out there who wouldn't mind adding these presents to her wish list.

For your girlfriend/wife: I know sexy gifts are fun to give (and receive!), but busty women can't wear all lingerie styles. Instead of picking out a matching bra and panty set, or a lacy teddy, think about a loose nightie or sexy panties that match a plain black bra that she (hopefully) already has. Most busty women can't wear bras without trying them on first, and very few sexy sets come in our sizes. Teddies are built for more proportional women, so it's especially difficult for slim women with big boobs to wear. 

This red satin chemise doesn't have to fit a woman's breasts perfectly, and if the skirt part is a little loose, it will still be comfortable and flattering. Personally, I have three babydolls that I love because neither the bust nor the skirt need to fit perfectly.

For your daughter: Okay, so I'm slightly biased in this recommendation since my parents bought this for me as an early Christmas present when I was home for Thanksgiving. Beau and I have a beach vacation planned for this spring, so my mom bought me a nice new bathing suit for the occasion. If other parents are at all like mine, they worry about how much skin their daughters show at the beach or the pool. My mom finally realized that my body shape requires me to wear bikinis, however, so she's become very supportive (get it?) of me buying expensive, bra-style bikinis. At my favorite local bra boutique, I picked out this bandeau bikini by Cleo, and she happily bought it for me. If my fellow busty ladies are at all like me, then they don't have the money to buy a nice, well-fitting bathing suit that will last a good five years or more. I promise this gift will be well-received!

For your best friend: In the winter, scarves are accessories for everyone. Scarves also double as a cleavage-hiding accessory. I have definitely used scarves with my low-cut tops or dresses to hide my cleavage at work or at church. For the budget-conscious, Forever 21 has tons of cute, affordable styles, like this fun pink scarf. If your bestie loves Parisian style, you can't go wrong with a Pashmina. And if you live somewhere really cold like I do, check out all the hand-knit scarves on etsy!

Obviously I love all my Pashminas, all from Paris save one. The outlier is from Vienna.
Of course, some gifts are good for any busty woman in your life. I know gift certificates feel like a cop (a feel) out, but good bras, in correct sizes, are EXPENSIVE. Most of my bras are $50-70 each. Even just $15 to my favorite bra boutique would make a huge difference.

Another fun gift would be one of the Busty Girl Comics books. Paige "Rampaige" Halsey Warren created 300 comics, which are now available in three books. These collections are absolutely hilarious, and any busty woman would enjoy them.

I hope you found some shopping inspiration! If I am the busty woman in your life, email me for my mailing address. ;) I wouldn't say no to any of these presents!

Are you shopping for a busty woman this year? Are you a busty woman hoping to get any of these presents? Share your thoughts in the comments!

*None of these links are affiliate because I'm lazy and because I only do affiliate links for stuff I've tried out myself but mostly because I'm lazy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Book Club Friday: The Princess and the Hound

Y'all know my obsession with bargain ebooks, right? Okay, good.

My most recent ebook read was an amazing fantasy fiction novel by an author I'd never read before, Mette Ivie Harrison.
How amazing was The Princess and the Hound?

After I finished reading it, I promptly went online and bought it in paperback.

And the first sequel, The Princess and the Bear, in paperback.

And the next sequel, The Princess and the Snowbird, in hardcover.

And digital copies of the fourth and fifth books, only because they're not available in print.

I've never done that before, but I couldn't resist. I'm about halfway through The Princess and the Bear, and I can't wait to review it soon!

From her website: A Prince with the animal magic that must be kept secret, or he will be put to death. A Princess who has only ever loved her hound, and has a dangerous secret of her own. The last thing they should do is fall in love. 

Words simply cannot describe how much I loved this book.

But maybe bullet points can. 
  • Complex, well-developed characters, even among the supporting cast.
  • A cool form of magic that seems simple and limited at first, but is actually expansive and wonderful even with its rules.
  • A big plot twist that I knew was coming, but did NOT predict.
  • Several small plot twists, some of which I predicted.
  • An unusual, but realistic love story.
  • Character growth! For multiple characters!
  • Beautiful language and imagery.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairy tales or fantasy fiction. I seriously cannot fully express how much I enjoyed The Princess and the Hound.

 *Amazon affiliate links are included in this post, just in case my raving review persuades you to buy a book.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Confessions of a Humorless Feminist

It's telling that when I googled "learn to take a joke" and searched specifically for images, that the first three results were a variation of the following.

Feminists can't take a joke! We're too uptight! We need to calm down! We're overreacting!

I try really hard not to be a feminist stereotype. I'm very adamant in my beliefs, but I try my damnedest to be patient and to teach Feminism 101 to anyone who asks questions or politely disagrees with me out of innocent ignorance. 

But I can't compromise my values just to be agreeable. 

Sometimes, this means I'm a humorless feminist.

Frankly, I don't give a damn.

Several weeks ago, Beau's brother and sister-in-law did their own version of a Thanksgiving with friends. It was nice because the group invited was a mix of people I'd met before and new people. It's important for me to get to know Beau's friend circle since I'll be living in his small town eventually, away from all of my friends in the city. 

Dinner was a lot of fun, and conversation flowed as freely as the alcohol. The smoked turkey was HEAVENLY. As we wrapped up dinner, we started discussing games we could play. One couple had brought Cards Against Humanity with them, and they were really persuasive in playing that. I did my best to rally two other people to play euchre with Beau and me, to no avail.

I have never played Cards Against Humanity, but Lauren and Hardy have both told me not to play it.
With a group of people I barely know, I couldn't just confront them about their horrible choice in board games. So I did the next best thing and quietly went upstairs to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Beau while they laughed about marginalized peoples: racial minorities, rape survivors, victims of public shootings, etc.

We came back downstairs after one episode to eat dessert. I had hoped that the game was over, but alas. Just listening to one round while I ate my apple pie almost made me start crying. I was literally blinking back tears as they read off cards about gang rape and child molestation. 

I blogged once about joking about difficult subjects. When done well, rape jokes can be both hilarious and healing.

The rape jokes, and the racist jokes, and the tragedy jokes in Cards Against Humanity are not done well, and they do not offer any healing.

I hope to maybe one day be good enough friends with these people that I can explain to them why I'm so disappointed (and aghast, and shocked, and disturbed by) their choice in a board game. I hope that I can figure out a way to explain this to them in such a way that they don't automatically dismiss me as hysterical or overreacting. 

Until then, I will be the humorless feminist who refuses to use my position of privilege to mock those without it.

Red Wine Ramblings

I am drunk.

I was going to blog tonight. Like, officially, with a topic and everything. But now I'm drunkenly blogging, which I have done on my livejournal of 10 years, but never on my anon life, I don't think.

My bestie Lauren came over tonight for dinner. And by dinner, I mean wine and cheese. I was all fancy for her. I bought chevre with honey and brie, plus an assortment of crackers. I already had Norwegian cheese, which she didn't like last time, but my mom told me when I was home for Thanksgiving that I didn't serve it right, so I tried again. Plus red wine. A bottle of Pinot Noir was the original plan, and when we wanted more to drink, I opened my bottle of Bordeaux, which Beau Vierge had bought me for my birthday, and I was saving for a special occasion, but what's more special than hanging out with your best friend?

Her fiancé is my bestie too. I love them both. They are both awesome people. I'm very lucky to have them in my life. At different times, they have been there for me when I needed people to love me and support me. I can never thank them enough for that.

I'm going to be a bridesmaid in their wedding. I cried when Lauren asked me. She told me it was happy! I didn't need to cry! But I cry happy tears a lot, and nothing makes me happier than being a bridesmaid in the wedding of my two best friends.

I should blog while drunk more often, although the number of times I have to backspace to fix my spelling and grammar is embarrassing. 

I do have big plans for December.

Y'all should know I wrote out November first and realized my wine-inspired error.

But since life is super super super busy, we shall see if all my big plans pan out.

Until then, I hope y'all have best friends as wonderful as mine.

Everyone deserves a friend who will listen to you talk about sex toys, and family problems, and career advancements, and an anonymous blog.

I'm blessed with several of them.

So this drunken blog post is dedicated to LAUREN. That is not her real name, but she knows her blog name, and she has accepted it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Shoutouts: A Week of Thanksgiving

I know I've been quiet on both the blog and on social media recently. At least in the last week, I've been busy spending time first with Beau's family and then with my own for Thanksgiving. In the past month, my absence can be attributed to some good changes in my life, changes that take up a lot of time, changes that I'm not ready to announce to my anon life.

I didn't spend much time online this past week, but I managed to read a few things. Two Christian feminist writers amazed me the most in the last week of November. Their writing is linked below!

Best Post about the Menz: Sarah Bessey wrote an eye-opening post about how Christian feminism and egalitarianism helps men. It's so hard for me not to quote the entire post here, but just a few snippets include:
Women cannot be the ally our men deserve in the Kingdom of God when we are bowing down in a misguided attempt to lift them up. 
My father has never required for my mother to become less of herself to feel more like himself. He has not silenced me or my sister, he has given us a compelling example to follow and a high standard for manhood.
My husband has never required me to quiet my voice, hide my calling, downplay my gifts. If anything, he has felt most loved, most supported, most joyful when we are both fully alive.
I suppose that men of God aren’t usually so insecure as to require less of a woman in order to be more of a man.
Best Criticism of Complementarianism: I'm obviously an egalitarian when it comes to relationship roles. I don't think women were specifically designed to do XYZ while men were designed to do ABC, except maybe most women have the potential to grow babies in our bellies. I think each couple has to figure out for themselves who does what in the relationship, and I don't think any arrangement is more or less biblical or sinful than any other. Sarah Moon wrote an awesome post that criticizes one of the main arguments of complementarianism: separate but equal

Did you read something awesome this week? 
Did you write something awesome? 
Let me know in the comments!


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